In marketing, the dreaded “talking heads” is used to reference a type of video where an individual is speaking directly to the camera without any b-roll or other elements that enhance the production. Here’s an example of a talking head video that I watched three times and still can’t tell you what this guy was talking about, good thing it’s just an example.
Does a talking head video communicate a specific message? Of course.
Are people listening to it? Maybe.
Are they moved by it? Probably not.
The talking head loses the attention of a viewer somewhere between 15 and 30 seconds – but it’s not because of WHAT they are saying. That same line of thinking can be applied to every single element of your marketing mix: it’s not always about what you say, it’s in large part about how you say it in a way that moves people.
Over the years I’ve worked with two types of clients: the type that know exactly what they want to say and the type that have no idea what they want to say. The difference between working with these two very different types of clients is that as marketers, we don’t always have to tell our clients what to say – sometimes we just have to guide them on how to say it so that it moves potential customers to take action.
Take for example, this really ridiculous example:
Technically, these are both saying the same thing. Something is on sale!!! The difference here is HOW it’s being said. Sure, a yellow starburst made in Microsoft Word expresses urgency… but by adding a timeframe (that ends soon) and a number (that is enticing), the way that the message is being communicated becomes much more moving.
The takeaway here? The next time you create a print ad, TV commercial or design a new website – let the message come to you as an accurate portrayal of what you want to say and put your time and energy into communicating that message in a way that moves people.