What if I told you that I knew a single word that could change the way people perceive your brand or business? Is it crazy talk? Perhaps, not!
One of the first business books that I ever read was Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and it set the stage for the rest of my entrepreneurial development. In the book, Carnegie talks about the power of saying someone’s name in order to show that you intentionally care about their needs and see them as an individual.
Nerd Moment: He even has an entire system dedicated to helping you remember the names of people you meet in passing, here.
“A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest
and most important sound in any language.”
– Dale Carnegie.
We live in a world where people so often feel unheard and lost amidst the thousands in the crowd. Everyone is striving for the ‘k’ next to their Instagram follower count and every blog post seems to focus on growth rather than engagement. (Gain more followers, Expand your email list, Double your reach!)
If you have ever felt like a number, a random face in the crowd—you know precisely how demoralizing it can be. Gosh, I run a massive community of brilliant creative entrepreneurs and sometimes I still feel like the kid at the back of the classroom who never gets called on to share her opinion!
Eliminating that feeling is one of the most powerful things you can do for your customers and community members. Being able to call someone by name and use it with intentional care throughout your communication efforts increases levels of trust between you and the customer. In my own marketing efforts on social media, I have seen dramatic improvements in loyalty and affinity by intentionally using names in my responses online.
Using someone’s name communicates:
“I see you and you matter to me.”
So, I know something nerdy is coming… Right?
Yep! I can’t help myself!
Many psychologists argue that a person’s name is deeply connected to their sense of individuality and perception of self. Historically, a person’s name is one of the first words that they learn as an infant and carry throughout life as a marker of their individuality. During some of the most transformative months of brain development, babies learn to identify their name and it serves as a mechanism for capturing their selective attention.
The Cocktail Party Effect:
Imagine that you are in a crowded room during a busy party. There is music blasting and conversations are happening all around you. You are chatting with a friend about your latest Netflix binge when (without your awareness) one of your friend walks in and says your name. In that moment, despite all of the noise and your intense conversation around the return of the Gilmore Girls, you feel your attention being pulled away and hear your name from amidst the jumble of cocktail party conversation. Your attention is diverted and you want to see who is talking about you.
How does that happen? Neuroscience studies (such as “Brain Activation When Hearing One’s Own and Others’ Names”) demonstrates that hearing your own name triggers greater brain activation than when you hear the name of another person. In other words, your neurons are mini-narcissists. Kidding, of course!
The study showed that this spike in activity occurs in a part of the brain closely associated with social behavior called the middle frontal cortex (along with a few other regions). This leads us to believe that messages that have personal relevance are more likely to capture your attention and will have preferential access to your conscious awareness.
When used carefully, including someone’s name is a fantastic way to stand out in a crowded room of marketing messages and email blasts. Personalization is one of the key ingredients to providing a meaningful client experience.
Three Key Areas to Include Someone’s Name:
- Networking Events
- Email Campaigns
- Social Media Responses
- Packaging Materials + Client Gifts
As you begin to chart out your marketing strategy, remember this one tip, and you’re sure to make an impact, friend! [Here’s where I wish I could insert your personal name in every blog post! #goals for future blog tech updates!]
Want to nerd out? Read this amazing study:
Carmody, Dennis P., and Michael Lewis. “Brain Activation When Hearing One’s Own and Others’ Names.” Brain research 1116.1 (2006): 153–158. PMC. Web. 21 Feb. 2017. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1647299/>