Who are you making music for?

NoiseWhilst we would advocate that your Social Media communications make music, not noise  a powerful video involving top violinist Joshua Bell shows in a literal sense why we need to go even further. There are lessons here for businesses keen to be heard amongst the cacophony.

Why Music is not enough

The YouTube video (embedded below) was designed as a social experiment to test whether ‘ordinary’ folks would recognise genuis in an everyday context.

Would they take the time to notice that the guy playing the violin was the finest of his generation – Joshua Bell – that he was playing some of the best music ever composed on one of the world’s most expensive violins?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the footage shows that even the most beautiful music, played by the most talented musician can be roundly ignored.

We would argue that Joshua Bell was very likely ignored because the message he delivered (exquisite though it was) underestimated the challenge we all face in winning the attention of our audience, caught up in the day-to-day bustle.

The video also reinforces our belief that content is not king. Even the highest quality message can be lost within the wrong context and with limited customer empathy (albeit the experiment was somewhat deliberate here).

Seth Godin describes the challenge of winning your customers attention and the successful formula as permission marketing. In essence, Godin suggests that our messages will be ignored, unless they are:

  • Anticipated – a busy subway was the last place one might expect to see a virtuoso musician like Joshua Bell. Are your messages anticipated by your customers?
  • Relevant – perhaps a statement of our lack of culture but few are looking for a dose of classical music in the rush-hour subway. Are your messages relevant – do they add value when they are received?
  • Personalised – it may not be easy to truly personalise a musical performance but the same cannot be said on the Internet. How could you better use Social and Digital Media to personalise the customer experience?

The single biggest challenge facing all of us in Social Media is winning the attention of our most valuable existing and potential customers.

It starts with making Music but Music is not enough. To win our customers’ attention we need to really understand them – what makes them tick. We should then focus on the things that add most value whilst communicating in the ways and in the places that our customers demand.

I’m sorry, rolling out the world’s best violinist was doomed to fail! We need to try a bit harder to be truly heard.

As always we look forward to your comments.

Alan, Jim and Vincent

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