This week I’ve managed to sink my teeth into TinyOffice which is often the most neglected child in my professional family. Since I’m essentially volunteering, paid client work often jumps the queue. This week though I managed to finally get some solid hours in which we desperately needed to prompt our next Factory Open Day on February 18th. 

First thing I did was send out a newsletter to our mailing list letting them know about the open day. I obviously write the content of these newsletters myself. Matt doesn’t have time and it's something I am comfortable doing. On the advice of people far smarter about this sort of stuff than myself, we’ve been told that my voice is an important tool in talking about TinyOffice. 

When we first started marketing TinyOffice we spread a net wide (Australia wide) and focused on the technical details and benefits of our studios. We were raving about the fully insulated panels and the double glazed windows and found that people's enthusiasm for such things wasn’t as high as our own. What we came to understand through some great mentoring from Greg Branson and Carol Mackay from DBC was that we needed to sell the sizzle and not the sausage.

We needed to talk about the benefits of having a separate space in your life and how transformative that could be rather than talking about the prefabricated Panels R rating. This is where my voice came in. While I originally had felt very peripheral to the core of our business, this was an opportunity for me to combine my design skills with my (relatively new) writing skills and become the brand ambassador for TinyOffice. To become our voice.

On our website, in our newsletters and on Instagram you’ll hear me. However it is probably a slightly toned down version of me, this blog is full Jess - TinyOffice is Jess minus the swearing and raw vulnerability. There is most definitely a time and place for more technical talk and this is Matt’s area of expertise, but overall we’re trying to send out a professional and positive vibe so people will trust us enough to start a conversation. It's quite obviously a real human writing the copy and that's particularly important right now in the age of AI or at least that's what I thought.

After I sent out my newsletter I got this reply from ‘John’ let's call him:

“This marketing style has millennial female written all over it. But I'm in Rockhampton not Ballarat Victoria.”

This person had directly emailed us so I felt obligated to reply:

I’m flattered John! I’m closer to a Gen X’er than a millennial! 

Sorry you can’t come to the open day but next time you're in Victoria you’re welcome to come visit. 

We're looking at putting together a virtual tour for people who can’t make the trip to Ballarat. 

I’ll be sure to let you know when this is available,

Thanks and enjoy the rest of your week,

John then replied with:

No thanks. I don't need to be exposed to cheesy lovey dovey millennial style marketing. It reads as being more about you than the customer. Take it from a former State Marketing Manager. 

My final reply:

Thanks for the advice.

All the best,

When I first got this email I was surprised but I wasn’t put out at all because I’m now a stoic and know that I have no control over John’s response so should not dwell on it but it did make me ask a few questions. Questions around a human voice in branding in this new age of ChatGPT.

Over the last few weeks I’ve heard of more and more situations where friends have used ChatGPT as part of paid client work. Writing a quick SEO rich blog post or captions for instagram. There was one example of a script for a commercial having been written using ChatGPT and the client was none the wiser.

Coincidentally this week I learned about GPTZero which is an app developed by Princeton University student Edward Tian that determines whether text was written by a human or AI. GPTZero uses two variables to determine if the author is a human. Perplexity, or how complex the writing is and burstiness, or how variable it is.

This got me thinking - Would you want to know if the content you were consuming was created by AI or not? 

I’m not suggesting that my newsletters or blogs are written by AI but I’m wondering if my voice, which is so clearly a ‘millennial female’ becomes even more valuable because you can feel that humanness? God knows what instruction you would have to give ChatGPT to end up with one of my weekly blogs. It would be impossible to reduce the story, ideas and lived experience of 40 years into one instructive statement that would produce a blog like this.

I think the major elephant in the room when it comes to AI is authenticity. My newsletter may be ‘cheesy lovey dovey’ but so am I. If you walked into our factory right now you’d be greeted by the same person who signed off her email with ’have a fantastic week’. I mean it - have a bloody fantastic week! When a real human writes like a real human, people feel good about themselves. You make a connection. 

On reflection there are 100 different responses I could’ve given ‘John’. Some are more pleasant than others. His email only confirms how important your authentic voice is as a brand and a business, especially in this new era of AI. I’d like to thank the former ‘State Marketing Manager’ for his feedback and wish the rest of you a bloody fantastic week.

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