It was Aunt Bessie who brought it home to me at the weekend. Not 'my' Aunt Bessie, but everyone's Aunt Bessie; she of the frozen Yorkies and roast spuds.
Pulling a bag of roasties from the freezer for our impromptu roast Sunday lunch and reading the directions, I was struck by the unusual way the list of ingredients was displayed. There, beneath a picture of the lady herself, was text that spoke of 'my ingredients' and 'my roast potatoes'.
Now, I'm not naïve enough to think Aunt Bessie actually exists any more than I think the spuds were prepared in a homely cottage kitchen, but the use of that little personal pronoun established a connection. This was personal. Aunt Bessie was beside me, coaching me. I liked her spuds better at once.
Let's re-write that last sentence. Let's make it read: 'I liked her products better at once.' Immediately we have the scenario we'd love to have; one that encourages repeat business our own businesses. People are social animals. There's every chance you're reading this on social media, for a start. And people do business with people; people they trust.
So why do we seek to hide behind keyboards and screens to try to do business, turning our back on the opportunity to interact face-to-face, or at least in live conversations on the phone? We're driven to do it because we need to sell over a much larger geographical area, and because the technology at our fingertips enables us to reach more people. But that's no excuse to lose the personal touch. Don't write your web site, media releases and LinkedIn posts in cold, corporate language. Make it personal. Write a conversation. Write it engagingly. Or have someone do it for you, so you can do more of what you started the business to do.
Make today the day you reach out to your customer base in the same way Aunt Bessie set out to do with that personal pronoun. It cost the company nothing, but they earned a returning customer. Do you want more of that?