Dan Brown on the Need for Personalized Messages

Dan BrownWhen I speak with leaders, there is typically a current of frustration that people are not connecting with their message. “I gave an impassioned speech about a change in the company’s direction,” one CFO told me. “Why aren’t they seeing this new vision through?” I did not hear her speech, but assuming it was as impressive as she is, the answer may be the result of her reliance on a solitary communication method. Just look at Dan Brown.

Famed author Dan Brown who has penned such modern-day classics as Angels & Demons, Inferno, and The Da Vinci Code, has a “new” book coming out this fall. In an effort to engage a younger audience, Brown rewrote The Da Vinci Code. This retelling, reports Publishers Weekly, will “feature a new cover design and be abridged in length from the original.” Otherwise, it will “maintain Brown’s original plot.”

If retreading a past success sounds like a shortcut to another best seller, let’s examine it from an angle you will find more personal. When you write an all-company email, do you consider the individuals who will be reading it or are you just trying to state your message? Did you know that:

  • Personalized emails were shown to lift transaction rates and revenue per email six times higher than non-personalized emails? And personalized subject lines delivered 26% higher unique open rates overall. (Experian)
  • 73% of consumers prefer to do business with brands that use personal information to make their shopping experiences more relevant. (Digital Trends)
  • 86% of consumers feel that personalization plays a role in their purchasing decisions. (Infosys)

In short, people pay attention to and take action on personalized messages. Here are four things to consider before launching your next campaign:

How do I start this process?

Personalization begins with knowing what you are trying to accomplish. Know your purpose and what information you are trying to get across. Be clear about the intent of every message and make sure that your content supports the goal.

Doesn’t it get confusing when everyone is getting a different message?

Providing a personalized message is about honing it to a specific person; it does not involve different expectations or a different vision. Everyone should hear the same idea, only through a filter that best meets their individual needs, concerns, and aspirations.

You said that the CFO’s speech was not effective. If a formal address won’t do the trick, how do I communicate the message?

The ways you deliver information are sentinel to how effectively you can influence your team. That’s right, I wrote ways. That being said, a speech (in and of itself) may not do be sufficient, but it’s not a bad place to start. The keys are variety and regularity. Follow up your company-wide speech with small group meetings, emails, posters, memos, and any other mediums that are suitable in your organization.

How can I get to know my staff’s needs?

It’s not much more difficult than asking them what they want. Similar to the marketing research that found a 64% increase in consumers’ willingness to provide personal information in exchange for targeted offers and relevant benefits, you can utilize your management team, personal interactions, human resources department, employee surveys, interviews, and general observations to understand what those on your team want. The more you know, the more effectively you can personalize your message.

Follow Dan Brown’s lead. With some simple editing, he is reintroducing his Robert Langdon series for a whole new generation of readers. You can (re)introduce your news by broadening the appeal of your communications so your team can best absorb them. You work too hard to have your efforts ignored by those who aren’t hearing what you have to say. Don’t waste time and energy shouting it louder, diversify the medium and speak to the individual.