Imagine that a technologically sophisticated product is introduced to the market. The new product allows you to perform certain functions faster and more efficiently than the current products in the market. It could be a trading platform, risk management software, etc. You need to learn more about this product. So you visit the developer’s site and read a product description.
Now, a product description describes the product, correct? It contains information about the product so that readers can decide if its functions match their needs. It represents through words and images what a product does, what it looks like, etc. As simple as this notion sounds, it is a common blind spot for many people and businesses.
Let’s imagine a few different approaches to describing this platform:
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- Technical descriptions explaining details using tech-geek engineering and software-development lingo of the product’s sophisticated software or engine.
- Hard sales descriptions telling customers how they will miss out if they don’t purchase this product immediately (especially before the low promotional offer expires).
- Stylized descriptions illustrating the product using (for example) terse and indirect rhetoric: “the speed of ___, ”
- Personal and casual descriptions as if coming from a friend giving advice: “why not make your life easier and less complicated?”
- Customer-centered descriptions that emphasize the customer needs served in contrast to the full functionalities of the product: something to the effect of “you need a, b, c, and d, and we have a solution for all your needs.”
- Product-centered descriptions that tell you in plain language what the product does (brief laundry list of functionalities).
There are many other ways to write a description as there are endless variations of the ones mentioned above.
But here is the main point: each description, which refers to one product, expresses a different personality which, in organizational terms, can be taken as different organizational cultures or attitudes. Moreover, the choice of words, images, graphic layout, and everything else that goes into the overall presentation has a way of indirectly telling customers what the values are of a given company as well as the assumptions they hold with regard to their customers, markets, and industry.
What this means is that the description does not merely perform a descriptive function. It is not just a difference in style. Content expresses the attitudes of the organization, and in so doing, plays an active role in creating the organizational persona. In other words, content does not represent a business or product. It creates the perception of the business and product. And when it comes to business reputation and brand, perception is (practically) everything. Given content’s significance, it pays to re-examine organizational attitudes toward content creation and production.