Theres a lot of talk lately about brands and the voices they speak
with. Be it through products or services, conversation is the new
currency through which everyone wants to be measured. If what weve
been saying for a while now is true, and our brands are to be imbued
with human traits and personalities in order to inform the way they
speak to their audience, then we need to look at intent, and I will
explain why.

Picture yourself at a party – dinner, cocktail,
whatever. Moving through the room chatting to interesting people, you
come across a person who cant help but tell you how wonderful they
are. They do this not quite looking you in the eye, staring over your
shoulder to make sure theyre not missing out on anything, trying to
figure out in as few seconds as possible what you can do for them, who
youre connected to in the room, and what talking to you can achieve
based on the partys social pecking order.

I cant speak for the
readers on this site, but I can say personally I know the second
someone is talking to me as a means to an end. People have writing
scrawled across their foreheads, neon signs blinking You are a rung in
my ladder, nothing more. It is transparent as the glass theyre
sipping from, the contents of which far more potent than the
conversation spewed forth from the holder. In this situation I feel
sorry for them; sorry that their ability to interact socially is
reduced to such nonsense, even more sorry they didnt have the good
sense to realise I dont have enough clout to let you jump the queue in
Hungry Jacks, let alone put you on a fast track to anywhere.

The
above scenario is most brands. A one-way talkfest under the guise of
listening, of genuine conversation. Intent is revealed in their social
actions, in the way they speak, in the products and services they
attach themselves to. If your intent is to provide value to your
consumer but also to engage them, then the conversation with the
bartender is as lively as it is with the CMO. If however your intent is
to make a quick buck before moving on to the next prospect, this is one
party you wont be invited back to.