One Chair Turn

The Voice is one of the most intriguing shows on television.  Four superstar coaches sit in oversized chairs with their backs turned to the stage.  On that stage stands a person who hopes to impress the coaches enough for them to turn their chair.  Not since ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ kick-started a revolution that turned music into a visual medium, has a moment like this been so thrilling to a television audience.  The only tool at the artist’s disposal in their quest to be chosen…is their voice.


This show is not like American Idol or AGT where several people who can’t sing are moved forward in the competition simply because of how bad they sound.  Every contestant on The Voice can actually sing, whether they turn a chair or not.

Each performer has a unique sound. The same is true in the world of advertising.  Each industry has a sound that is distinct and easily identifiable. You know a car ad when you hear it. You can tell the difference between an ad for a hospital drama and a hospital.  You don’t even have to hear the entire commercial. All you need are a few keywords, a specific music genre and you know.  Now, if each industry has a similar sound, how can a business hope to stand out?

I’m glad you asked.

When it comes to advertising - highlight your strengths.  As a matter fact, it’s better if you focus on one at a time.  Rather than telling your audience you have a board certified staff, and the largest inventory, and have world-class customer service, and have been in business since 1987 and, really like the color purple; pick one. Talk about it creatively, in your unique voice.  Let them know how your strength will take care of their needs.  Your audience will hear you and respond.

During the blind auditions on The Voice, performers only have 60 seconds to make an impression on the celebrity coaches.  Knowing this, it is amazing to me when good singers play it safe and sing it straight.  They do nothing during their audition to make their voice stand out from the crowd.  Here you have a captive audience, the opportunity of a lifetime, and at this pivotal moment you choose to sound like everyone else.  Is it any wonder why chairs did not turn and someone else was selected instead of you?

Businesses make the same mistake with their on-hold advertising all the time. 

You have a caller right where you want them.  It is the moment you have prepared for – they are interested in you and have taken the time to call. They are your captive audience, yet when you place them on hold, you choose that pivotal moment to sound exactly like….everyone else.  Is it any wonder when you return to the call they are disengaged, frustrated, or even worse – no longer there?

It doesn’t have to be that way.  On-hold advertising can sound so much better!  Treat this like a precious 60 second audition on The Voice.   Keep the needs of your caller in mind as you highlight your strengths - one at a time. Pull out all the stops, and use the caller’s time spent on hold creatively. Grab their attention in such a way that they like what they hear and decide immediately to choose you.

You have a powerful tool at your disposal and a unique voice. Now, get them to turn their chair!

Tom McTee, Super-Genius

Tom McTee