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On Persuasion

Why are travellers paying to offset carbon emissions of their flights in record numbers?

Is it guilt that’s fueling this carbon offset boom?

It’s hard to persuade anyone to change their beliefs or behaviour.

But we all like to act in ways that feel consistent.

If we find ourselves liking a climate crisis Instagram post, or nodding when we hear Greta Thunberg speak, we’re more likely to pay to offset our emissions next time we fly.

Persuasion is less about making people have a complete change of heart and more about finding common ground.

The most persuasive people convince us incrementally—not by trying to change us, but by reminding us who we are.

Image by Li-An Lim

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Make Your Customer The Hero

Most marketing makes the company the hero.

Most companies go to great lengths to prove that their product is better.

Most marketer’s main aim is to close the sale.

The most effective marketing makes the customer the hero.

Beloved brands show people who they can become in the presence of their product.

The best marketers give people something to believe in, not just something to buy.

Image by Monica Leonardi

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Faith Vs. Proof

In a digital world, where customers have infinite choices, and loyalty is precarious, it’s easy to believe the more information we give people, the better.

It turns out that the opposite is true. We’re more likely to retain customers, get repeat sales and be recommended by simplifying the decision process.

What people want is the quickest way to discern if they can trust us and our offering.

Our customers don’t always want more proof—often what they need from us is more faith—not just in us, but in themselves.

Image by Sam Wheeler

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The One And Only

You will not outthink your competition. Neither will I. None of us will.

We will never outwith, outsmart or even outrun them.
We will not outmanoeuvre, outguess or outdo them either.

The truth is competing is a zero-sum game. We succeed when we make peace with the fact that we don’t need to compete when we know who we are.

Every smart, brave, generous member of the Right Company is building the business only they can build.

This is the last time we’ll be inviting membership applications to the Right Company for 2019. If you want to succeed on your own terms, it might be for you.

Image by Boudewijn Huysmans

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Better Marketers Show And Tell

Every day, we sell ourselves in adjectives that sell us short.
Leader, expert, communicator, specialist, efficient, experienced, better, faster, cheaper.

We’ve forsaken the effort of showing, for the convenience of telling.
There is a better way.

Don’t just tell us about the features and benefits of your product.
Show us how that product changed the lives of the people who used it.

Don’t just tell us about the services you offer.
Show us how you helped your client achieve the outcome they dreamed of.

Don’t just tell us about your skills and expertise.
Show us the impact those skills had on someone or something.

Your work matters. Show us why.

Image by Susan Jane Golding

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Do’s AND Don’t Do’s

Clare’s accountancy clients tell her she’s like a breath of fresh air.

When she started her company, she took time to onboard her clients— walking them through how she could help them, taking a pile of paperwork and other mental clutter with her as she left. Nothing was too much trouble. Clients valued her approach, and her business thrived.

But as Clare’s business grew, her posture started to shift. She was too busy to serve people in the way that had originally differentiated her company. Small mistakes were made, and apologies overlooked. She stopped picking up the phone. As her business scaled, Clare continued to do her job, but she’d forgotten to show she cared. And that made all the difference.

The day came when her very first client decided they should part ways. Clare understood immediately that she’d lost this client because of the one small thing she could have done, but didn’t do.

It’s worth remembering that it isn’t only what we do that people notice— sometimes it’s what we don’t do that determines our results.

Image by Cowomen.

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Purposeful Connection

Our new neighbour Bob is renovating the old terrace house next door. Well, when I say renovating, what I mean is rebuilding the entire house from the top down. The roof is off, and there’s not much left but a shell of the existing property.

It’s not the first time Bob has taken on a project like this, and it shows—not just in how he organises the team of builders, but in how he communicates with the people who will be affected by the work. Namely us.

Before work began, Bob’s first move was to invite us onsite to walk us through his plans. His second was to show us the common wall that needs to be rebuilt and to explain how he will fix it for our mutual benefit. The third was to give us his phone number, with instructions to call if we’re concerned about anything.

Bob has taken the time to empathise with us, his new neighbours. He’s anticipated our fears and our questions. He’s made us feel like we’re in good hands. And even though we barely know him, we trust him.

It turns out that we don’t have to build connection and trust on the fly.
We can do it on purpose.

Image by David Siglin

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Being Heard Is Overrated

It’s easier to be heard when we shout. But being heard needn’t be our ultimate goal.

What if we aspired to be listened to instead?

To be embraced rather than just noticed.

To be valued rather than used.

To be sought out and remembered.

To be recommended and treasured.

To be loved.

Image by Felix Koutchinski

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Your Brand Is What You Consistently Do

‘There’s nothing remarkable about what we do here,’ my hairstylist Leanne says, as I take a sip of the iced water, flavoured with fresh lime, placed next to a pile of new magazines and the coffee menu, by the receptionist who shows me to my seat.

‘It’s just what we do.’

And that’s the point. It’s what they consistently do—every time, without fail, that differentiates this business from the twenty others in the same suburb, where I could get my hair cut faster and cheaper.

The kind of people they consistently employ.
The type of products they consistently use.
The service they consistently deliver.
The promises they consistently make and keep.

Choices greater than the sum of their parts, that combined create a brand clients are loyal to, and a story they want to tell.

Image by Guilherme Petri

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Earning A Competitive Advantage

The German restaurant in our neighbourhood closed its doors after a year in operation. The chef’s reputation and inventive menu were not enough to draw sufficient numbers of customers to make it viable.

We knew it was only a matter of time before another owner took over the lease. And sure enough, last weekend we saw a new coffee machine installed and the tables and chairs being delivered.

There are six cafes selling great coffee and a decent brunch within a hundred metres of this one. So, what does the owner believe her competitive advantage will be?

Few new businesses have an unassailable advantage—one that makes them the only choice for a prospective customer. Most don’t make measurably superior products or own proprietary software. They haven’t patented a secret formula, and they don’t necessarily have more resources or talent than the next company.

Successful companies don’t expect to start out ahead of the game on day one.  They plan to earn an advantage over time, by knowing who they want to serve, and how—then building on their strengths to tell the story that matches their ideal customer’s worldview.

And when they do, they give their customers a story to tell, compounding their advantage as they go.

Image by Valberg Larusson

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