Make Your Idea Matter

“Ideas are formed in the mind but triumph in the heart.”

Make Your Idea Matter, page 7

Ever since I read Seth Godin’s All Marketers Are Liars I’ve been looking for practical advice on how to tell my story better in business.

I learned more in a 20-minute chat with Bernadette Jiwa than the rest of last year. Now, you can get an entire hour of Bernadette, three to five minutes at a time.

While each bit of Make Your Idea Matter stands alone, they add up to a clear vision of personal connection as your best marketing strategy.

Golden Egg

Your Story, Their Point of View

“The secret to the success of [various companies] comes down to one thing: the ability to stand in the customer’s shoes and see the world from that person’s point of view.”

Make Your Idea Matter, page 44

Communication is the art of taking the picture that’s in my mind and getting it into your mind. Like travel directions, though, how to get there depends enormously, if not entirely, on where you’re starting from.

When we assume that others share our world view, communication fails. When we try to persuade them based on our perspective, it’s like the old joke about how you get to Little Rock: you can’t get there from here. You have to go somewhere else first.

“Somewhere else” is that other person’s perspective.

Go there, and you can get them to come here.

Genuine empathy is rare, which is one reason truly great brands are rare.

To successfully convey how remarkable your offering is, start with a deep understanding of your prospect’s world view. What drives them? What bothers them, and how much? What thrills them? What bores them? What problem would they give anything to solve? What desire do they dream of fulfilling?

Tap into their psyche and they’ll begin the journey the same place you do. Tell your story with emotion, and when you reach your destination they’ll be right beside you.

GEM #1

You Don’t Have A Marketing Problem

“If you are marketing a fabulous product, an innovative application or a life-changing coaching program that isn’t selling, then your brand story isn’t connecting your audience to the idea.”

Make Your Idea Matter, page 97

As the travelers cleared a path through the forest, one member climbed to the top of a tall tree to get a bearing on the sun. Once he was up there, he realized something was wrong.

“Hey, guys! We’re going the wrong direction,” he shouted down.

The answer came back “At least we’re making good time.”

If you’re on the wrong path, making better time does you no good.

If you’re spreading the wrong message, spreading it farther, faster, more efficiently does you no good.

Is your message all about facts and figures? Is it about how much you love your service? Is it filled with jargon, high-falutin’ talk? Does it assume that your target market is “everyone”?

Don’t fix the method, fix the message. 

GEM #2

Branding is Shorthand, Not a Shortcut

“Everything you do . . . must amplify what you stand for, and communicate to the world why people should care that you brought this thing to life in the first place.”

Make Your Idea Matter, page 26

So, you’ve got a beautiful logo, an inscrutable company name, a flashy website, glossy business cards, fancy equipment, and a big advertising budget?

Welcome to the dot com bust.

Those companies had all that, and for a while, the shortcut to cool worked.

Nowadays, nobody is paying any attention unless you show them immediately why your offering is going to change their life by solving their biggest challenge or fulfilling their greatest dream.

Do that, and you can forget the rest. Get that wrong, and you’re back in the opposite of GEM #1, moving fast in the wrong direction.

When someone sees your simple logo, visits your easy-to-navigate website, Googles your name instead of keeping your business card, everything they see is shorthand for the last time they interacted with you.

If the last time they spoke to you, you took the time to listen with genuine interest, your logo is beautiful.

If the last time they emailed you they received a thoughtful personal response in a timely manner, your name sticks in their mind.

If the last time they had a problem you fixed it, no hassle, no questions asked, your simple and obvious business name becomes part of their positive, even affectionate view of you and what you do.

And that, dear reader, is your brand: love from the people who pay you to do what you love every day.

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Joel D Canfield

ABOUT Joel D Canfield

I'm a creative who works mostly with words, sometimes accompanied by music. I write because I have to, and I have very little patience with money and its attendant issues...
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