September 27, 2008

Beware of personalization

Driving down State St. last week, hubby and I spotted a sign in the window of a soon-to-open Pinkberry: "Pardon our dust as Santa Barbara awaits Pinkberry's flagship store."

Did Pinkberry really need to remind me that the store is opening in Santa Barbara? Because I'm driving down State St., and I know where I am.

When someone tries too hard to personalize their message to fit in with the audience, they oftentimes end up looking like more of an outsider.

Like when you go to a concert and the singer shouts, "Hello, Santa Barbara!" Or even worse, "Hello, Seattle!" because they've forgotten where they are.

Or when a speaker tries to use hip lingo with an audience of teenagers, when that's not how they normally talk.

In reality, personalization without real connection makes you look more generic, and less like you belong.

Be careful about trying to fit in. Understand your audience and where they're coming from, but be yourself and don't try to be "one of us."

"Insert name here" is rarely convincing, sincere, or relationship-building.

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