Today’s guest post is written by Laura Petrolino.

Today, with endless ways to communicate, we are producing messages thrown into a sea of faceless consumers. The challenge for any business is to make sure their message resonates and find its way through the clutter.

I’ve discovered, in working with clients, many need to re-learn what ‘communications’ actually is.

So, straight out of Communications 101, here is a little experiment to try. I like to call it “Operation Name Drop” (It is times like these that I wish my blogs had a soundtrack, because this one would be an award-winning cross between Indiana Jones and Superman).

Operation Name Drop can be executed the next time you are interacting with someone you don’t know well. As you are giving your order to the waitress or checking out at the supermarket, take a look at the name tag of the person helping you and….wait for it… some point in the conversation say their name.

I know…this is big. Take some time to fully absorb the magnitude.

Instead of…

“How’s the Cedar-Planked Salmon?”

Say, “Hi Wendy, how are you? How is that Cedar-Planked Salmon?”

And then, observe the change, because there will be one. Wendy will suddenly drop her guard. She will subconsciously understand you don’t see her as a nameless, faceless, ‘thing,’ but as another human being – by the name of Wendy.

Congratulations my friends, you have experienced the power of personalized communication.

We live in a nameless, faceless world where, sadly, personalized outreach has become the exception, not the norm. While online interface is thriving, actual communication is suffering. Making yourself and your business ‘the exception’ is more powerful than anything else you can do.

Enter Operation Name Drop

Operation Name Drop is a good example of how simple it is to personalize communication. Each strategy is different depending on the organization, but the overall goal is the same: Make sure whomever you communicate with knows they (as individuals) matter to you. The emphasis is on THEY, not their money, not even their business.

By this point most of you have settled into three camps:

  1. Group A: Those who are already brainstorming the simple changes to make in the communications strategy to personalize messages.
  2. Group B: Those who are sitting there mumbling something to the tune of, “Well, sure, that is easy for a business like X, but doesn’t work for my business.
  3. Group C: Those who are craving Cedar-Planked Salmon.

With all the methods that now exist to better facilitate communications, we often become so engaged with the communication platform that we forget to engage with the communication’s target (your customer).

You can use the most innovative communications methods and measure ‘impressions’ and ‘effect’ and ‘influence’, but in the end these are just numbers that have nothing to do with the resonation of your message.

Humans are ruled by emotion, not algorithms and analytics, so make a meaningful emotional connection with every Wendy, Joe, Bill, and Linda!

Laura Petrolino is chief communication officer at Ignite Venture Partners, which brings together consulting, capital, and concept incubation to build value in early and growth stage businesses.