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Remember the story of The Velveteen Rabbit? In this classic children’s tale also known as “How Toys Become Real,” a beloved toy bunny became a real rabbit when he cried a real tear.

Real. Authentic. Transparent. Relevant. Have you been hearing these marketing buzzwords tossed around lately? What does it mean?

Ms. Jones is getting tired of jargon. She craves conversation. She wants to hear the plain, unvarnished truth, with all its fur rubbed off. (Read the book.) She wants to hear real people talking, not hucksters hyping.

Just when you think your message is shabby, when it doesn’t feel slick or spun, is just when she starts to listen. The shabby chic style that became popular a few years ago was truly a precursor to this new way of talking to our customers. It’s comfortable and familiar, like sitting with an old friend. Just two people talking, without pretense or posturing.

This doesn’t mean you can stop using your grammar check or that your message can be dumbed down. It means it must ring truer than true. Enough to bring a real tear.

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