While I’m driving to and from meetings I usually have the radio on. (I find this is much less dangerous than talking on the phone while I’m driving.) In the last couple years I find myself on the AM dial more than I use to and I have noticed a difference in the commercials. A lot of them use the company owner as the main voice for their commercials, much like the TV ads where you see the company president pitching their products.
I use to think this was a bad idea. You see some guy (it’s almost always a guy so I’m not being gender biased here) who is stiff and uncomfortable if not downright scared. They almost come across as irritating. Certainly they’re not as easy to listen to as the professionals with their rich, clear voices and silky smooth delivery.
But after thinking about this, I’ve changed my mind. Here’s why.
First, even though these company owners or presidents are not professional media people (and most are certainly not smooth) they are often memorable. And I think they’re memorable precisely because they’re not smooth and silky. They are different, unique. They are REAL PEOPLE.
Second, they connect a personality to the company. They play to a strength that smaller, locally owned companies have over the big, nameless, faceless corporate goliaths. They tell us “we’re like you”, “we’re real people who put our pants on one leg at a time just like you do.”
(To be fair, even some big companies do this well. Think of Dave Thomas at Wendy’s. I’d much rather buy a burger from a friendly grandfatherly guy than from a clown who wears lipstick, white face paint and goofy red boots!)
I think there’s a lot of marketing value in doing this. People buy from people. And people are loyal to people. Even if you never meet the guy doing the commercial, you know he’s there, should you ever want to talk with him. It’s sort of a “buck stops here” mentality. We like to know there’s a real person calling the shots. This gives us an added level of comfort.
So, as you think about your local marketing, find ways to make it personal. Find ways to connect you (or whoever the owner/president is) to the company. Brand the company owner/president/founder along with the company. You’ll find more people will remember your company and will lean your way next time they need whatever product or service you provide.
Please tell me what you think. Are these amateur commercials a waste of time and money or are they more effective than using a TV or radio professional?