Monday, March 29, 2010
Is Your Tongue Tied? Review of “Speak Human” by Eric Karjaluoto
By Sarah Thompson aka @SarahFlack
At first, I thought that “Speak Human” isn't a book I needed to read. I have put many of the ideals that Karjaluoto, Founding Partner of smashLab, details into practice for most of my career. I was wrong. This book was like talking with a dear friend that reassures you that marketing is about relationships and people.
Each chapter is packed with personal and professional anecdotes and experiences by Karjaluoto. He starts with explaining why the small guys can beat the big guys in marketing and personal touches and ends with an overview of how to take all the lessons he has and put them into practice.
In his chapter on “Storytelling,” he states that “most marketing doesn't give the audience any reason to listen.” A recent statistic that I came across noted that we humans spend 6 per cent of their lives storytelling. The math works when you realize that we all spend 50 per cent of our lives asleep. Stories are more powerful than a discount, promotion or coupon offering.
Karjaluoto writes, “What you must do is compellingly present information on topics that people care about – that's it.” We love a good story, and we retell them everyday. Over my career, it has always surprising to me the marketers that I encountered with over my career that didn't tap into the power they could have to push the customer's pen in writing a great story.
He reminds us in his chapter on “Fostering Relationships,” that “on countless occasions I see companies treat their customers poorly, or approach them as a resource to strip mine.” I have a telecommunications provider, bank, cable operator, and regular grocery store.. but I don't love them. What I do love is my personal trainer Nicole, who sends me my workouts and checks in on my progress. I love my chiropractor Rachel, who texts me to check to see if I am okay. I love my drum instructor Jeff, who transcribes songs I want to learn and sends me videos. I send them referrals all the time, without hesitation. They are very good at understanding my needs, cultivating trust and realizing that business is “personal.”
From start to finish, Karjaluoto, writing, much like his blog ideasonideas, is approached with humour, insight and common sense. He tells good stories. The advice within the 282 pages is great for anyone looking to build a good company, revamp their marketing strategy or start their career in marketing.
On a personal note, I have worked with some agencies that treated their clients and employees like human beings. I have also worked with people that didn't appear to have a soul. The only downside to this book is that the people that need to read it might not even pick it up. For those people like me, who try to “Speak Human” in a sometimes cynical marketing world, my recommendation is to buy it and throw it at all those archaic and unfeeling marketers that have forgotten that the customer is a human being (as are their employees.)
Next on the reading list is “Bozo Sapiens,” a book about all the many ways human beings make bad judgements. We are all beautifully flawed and make mistakes. I love people.
Sarah is the Director of Interactive, PR and Social Media at the Women's Executive Network. She drinks the best espresso in Toronto while reading book and telling stories.