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Important

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Marketing

It isn’t just your mind that responds when you get an email with the subject line ‘urgent’ or ‘important’. Your heartbeat increases, your muscles tense and your breathing gets faster. You feel bad. Your day is thrown off course, if only for a moment. We hate these emails and resent people who fail to communicate with empathy. And yet our marketing is designed to create urgency. An online search for ‘how to create a sense of urgency’ yields 34 million results. In a commercial world, there is an appetite for knowing how to raise alarm.

How you convince and communicate, is just as important as the way your products are made or your services delivered. The measure of your company isn’t only your conversion rate, profit margin or some other conventional way of keeping score. The measure is how it felt to cross your path. Your goal is to be as proud of the way you’re building, as you are of what you’re building.

Krists Luhaers

Knowing What You Don’t Know

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Marketing

The most unhelpful assumption we make as marketers is that our customers know why they need our products or services. From there we think our job is to offer proof—to tell people why we are the best alternative. The first rule of innovation, sales and marketing is to understand the customer’s pain points (often before the customer knows them) and then to show her what life will be like in the presence of your product.

Your success is often determined by knowing what you don’t know about your customers, and by being aware of what they don’t grasp about their problems. Double down on understanding before offering proof.

Image by UN Women

What’s Beyond Reach?

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

When U2 perform a stadium concert, their reach is the entire audience of 60,000 eager fans. As he sings the first note, Bono understands his job is to create an emotional connection with every member of the audience. If the concert goer isn’t changed by the experience, then she might as well have stayed at home and listened to the album on her iPod.

In a commercial world, we spend the majority of our time trying to reach people—often measuring our success by counting the numbers of people who receive our fliers, browse our products or view our pages. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that ‘reach’ is never the end goal. It’s simply the starting point on the road to delivering value and creating an impact.

What’s the real marker of your influence or progress?
Are you investing resources in the things you want to change?

Image by U2 Start

The Forgotten Marketer

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

The best marketer I ever knew was a magician. Literally. John Knight was legendary, and not just amongst children. His act was the highlight of birthday parties and community events. He could keep a group of sugar high children transfixed. But he also knew a big part of his job wasn’t the magic tricks—it was his ability to reassure and take pressure off frazzled parents come party day.

John Knight’s magic tricks varied very little, and that didn’t matter. His real magic was empathy for his paying customer. Everything he did, from confirming the booking, to turning up early and herding kids to the table to sing happy birthday, said; ‘I see you,’ to his customer. The skill was in how he did it. The way he showed up—his way.

Of course, at the end of the party, John had six more bookings. No advertising required. His work was his message. In a world where we’ve become obsessed with followers and followings, likes and shares, simply doing a great job is underrated. Your work can be your message.

Image by Oliver Gouldthorpe

Perfect Ten

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

When we think of our work or products and services, we imagine the perfect ten version of them. The days without a wrinkle, when we are in the zone, and everything is running like clockwork.

Striving for ten while knowing it’s rarely achievable is not easy. The ability to live that paradox is how we make progress and create change—by the millimetre. Showing up to do our best, even when we wish it were better.

Image by Andrea Passoni

Unlock the magic in your story now.

Get the free 20 Questions to ask before launching your Idea Workbook when you sign up for updates.