If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: Your voice is the right voice for your business.
And I’m gonna keep on saying it because it’s true.
Your voice is the right voice for your business. There is no other way to build a conversation with your most cherished audiences other than to be authentic.
In the last few weeks, I’ve been digging deeper into authenticity and what makes some content “sound” authentic and true and what makes some content “sound” stodgy, boring and somehow unreal.
And the thing is, it’s a slippery concept to describe. It’s right up there with what Supreme Court Justice Potter had to say about defining pornography back in 1964. "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced... [b]ut I know it when I see it ..."
My “I Know It When I See It” Standards
As I continue to work on this topic (and thank you everyone who has emailed me, commented on Facebook or LinkedIn), I am sharing a piece that hits the “authentic” mark for me, Richard Branson’s note about the closing of Virgin America airlines in “Dear Virgin America”.
Back in my corporate communications days, I ghostwrote countless “we’re closing this” and “we’re shutting down that” messages for leaders, so this one hits home because it has everything in it I tried to get my leadership to say and do.
To me, it’s engaging, it’s human and it’s on point. It praises the wins, addresses the losses and acknowledges mixed emotions. That’s a rare combo.
How does it strike you? Authentic? Wannabe authentic? Stiff? Pretentious?
I have no idea if this is the work of Sir Richard himself or a team that gets, and is given the freedom to use, his voice. But I do know that in a sea of corporate speak, gobbledygook, stay positive messages from corporations, entrepreneurs and small business owners, this one is a nice example of speaking from the heart.
I also know that he’s a famous, super-rich, white guy; while many, if not all, of the readers of this blog are not (but maybe…?) So you might be thinking “well, he’s got less at stake so of course he can say whatever he wants.”
It takes a bit of bravery to come out from behind the curtain of happy talk, lingo or saying what you think people want to hear.
Content written in your most authentic voice might not be expected or appreciated by all.
You can’t possibly contort your message and words to be all things to all people. All you can do is use your right words for your authentic message. It will resonate with the right people.
Consider what’s at stake if you don’t.