Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Rediscovering your voice.

Of late I have had what seems like dozens of meetings with clients and agency colleagues where we've spoken about things like content strategy (that's content, as in table of) and storytelling. I find these discussions as close to excruciating as home lasik surgery. Painful, dangerous, and unproductive.

Last night I opened a pdf I have carted around for a decade. It is an IBM annual report from 2002 and it features about 40 pages under the heading called "16 Decisions that Transformed IBM."

What some people feel about Apple, I feel about IBM. Like me, IBM ain't flashy. But they're there when it matters, doing the heavy often anonymous lifting that needs to be lifted.

About three-quarters of the way through this document there's a page that speaks to me. I wish it spoke to more people. It's titled "We Found Our Voice." Here's the copy: 

"We recaptured something we’d lost—our ability to engage our customers and our industry in a meaningful conversation about what matters to us, and to them. 

"This wasn’t about cranking up the volume, issuing more press releases, or producing memorable TV commercials. It was about rediscovering our confidence and articulating what we believe. Things like: 

we are entering a post-pc era.
the dot-coms are fireflies before the storm. 

the winners in this industry will do one of two things: innovate or integrate. 

"When we rediscovered our voice, we discovered something else: our sense of direction, the courage to stand apart from the crowd and, ultimately, what it means to speak out like a leader again."

If you care about communications, please spend careful attention to that last sentence. 

There's a lot of bullshit that pummels our industry like asteroids hitting a forgotten moon. What really matters, however, is very simple. Speaking plainly, clearly, memorably and actionably.


Tore Claesson said...

As I'm also a former IBM "creative I do remember it. As opposed to what many thought and think of IBM that document was totally devoid of corporate speak, the usual pretentious fluff. It had a human voice. I never asked who actually wrote it? Do you know? Chris or Steve perhaps?

Anonymous said...