In our world of computer-generated auto-replies ("I'm on vacation" or "I went to the dentist" or "Thank you for your question. In a week and a half, someone will surely get back with you" or "I can't help you, call Susie Drum, and if she's not available, leave her a message [to which you'll get another auto-reply]") — I receive such extraordinary pleasure finding a lovely and interested human to help me.
Porter Hedges, a terrific Houston headquartered law firm, has as its tagline, "Business is Personal." The advertising campaign pays it off in phrases such as: "In deals, our corporate clients deserve quick turn-around and partner-level attention." Or, "We build relationships with construction clients by providing solutions based on experience." This isn't just catchy campaign lingo, these statements are marching orders for lawyers in those sections of the firm. You can see more of these on the website – click refresh on the home page – lawyer images and strong headlines cycle through – these match the advertising campaign.
I read Kaila Colbin's OnlineSpin post on Friday called "The Unscalable, Unbeatable Power of Personal Attention," and it got me thinking. She said that personal attention is so powerful, it works on us even when we aren't the direct beneficiary. She offered this comparison between Metallica and U2 (easy distinction in my book – but wait, she isn't talking about music). Kaila is the CMO of Minomos Here is what she posted:
The same phenomena can be seen at rock concerts: the power of attention and the disconnect of automation. At Metallica last year, every time James Hetfield said, "Metallica loves you, Auckland," I heard "Metallica loves you, Insert City Name Here." At the other end of the spectrum was U2: arriving in New Zealand just after a tragedy killed 29 miners, the band paid moving tribute with some heartfelt comments, a dedicated song, and a customized graphics display that included the names of the fallen men. It might not sound like much, but the consensus among those I spoke to was universal: they were genuine. They were present to our national grieving. They had turned their attention to what the nation was feeling and they really cared.
Here is my challenge to everyone reading this: Get away from your computers, buy some Crane's notepaper or cards and drop your favorite clients and friends a handwritten note. (This is as much a challenge to me as it is to you, by the way.)
Stand out among the spambots and auto-replies as better and different because you took the time to communicate in a HUMAN and personal way.