Last month one of the great crime thriller writers passed away. The darling of Hollywood, with the coolest, grittiest dialogue of anyone.
Elmore Leonard, wrote 49 stories and had 22 turned into films including Jackie Brown and Get Shorty.
If you read any of them you’ll struggle to find any descriptions. All his characters are developed through dialogue. Clever, minimal, pacey, dialogue. As you read you can imagine the characters as Samuel L Jackson or Travolta and hear them delivering their words.
Social Media is all about conversations between people. Building conversations between a brand and it’s customers is the mantra. To varying degrees we all use it. “It’s no longer sending out messages, it’s about engaging them in conversations” (not that we ever just sent out messages…but that’s another blog).
You’d imagine then, that dialogue was important?
Next time you’re watching a commercial break on TV count how many ads actually feature conversations. They have a formula; footage with a cool tune or relevant song or footage plus an overlain script. Dialogue is rare, and when you do see it, it’s laboured, wooden, forced. It’s curious that in the conversational economy dialogue in advertising has died.
People are less trusting of brands now than they’ve ever been. Maybe that’s due to the digital democratization of brands; – when the bad experience of one carries as much weight as the good experience of a thousand. But my view is that there’s an intimacy lost with the casting away of dialogue; a lost intimacy that helps make us brand voyeurs rather than brand lovers.
Great dialogue commercials like “Remember Preston” took Oxo to the nations heart and “Anthony’s ‘Ology” gave BT a real personality that was anything but corporate.
Dialogue builds character and in the world of brand communication dialogue builds brand character. You don’t have to believe me about character building – just pick up an Elmore Leonard novel. It’s all in the dialogue.