When you have one word you stand for, it becomes easier for others to associate with you.
Let’s share with you how it works, so you can start applying your side.
This article is about categorising trust. It is the thing you believe in that you can sum up in one word (or related words), so it has legs. It works whereby you deliver a repeated experience that helps you, so you start to find a consistent overall thread. It benefits others where a shared belief is better than always reading how good you say your business is. It provides a starting point, for everything.
What Is The Thing You Believe In?
What is the word that connects you and what you believe in? This has got nothing to do with ‘excellent customer service’, ‘creativity,’ ‘bespoke solutions,’ or ‘delivering exceptional results’ for others. What these represent is from a world where you used to believe that you were everything to everyone and used every word to make you sound even more generic.
Can you find longevity for something you believe in?
Can you build others around a core principle?
Can you capture their attention on a consistent basis?
It has never been more important to find the thing that others can connect with. Buzzsumo’s Content Trends Report 2018 highlighted that social sharing of content has been cut in half since 2015. There is too much going around that sounds the same. We need to be so much more, so others ‘get it.’ On the plus side, the report states that ‘the big winners are sites that have built a strong reputation for original, authoritative content.’
It is this focus on authoritative content that can become your beacon. You build within a space that connects to the value you provide other people. A common theme from the You Are The Media Conference was about finding an uncontested space that you can dominate.
Instead of telling everyone about your approach, you put things into action. More importantly, what was once telling theory, starts to become tangible.
Value That Travels
It is easy to get carried away on the purpose wave, but what does it actually mean? I don’t want this article to get swallowed whole by definitions, as it starts to become distracting. Shouldn’t all businesses be good, no one wants to be seen as Dick Dastardly. You can’t pay lip service to something that just makes you look noble in your own eyes.
Let’s figure out a way that aligns what you believe into what you sell, but where you add value that goes beyond the products or services you want people to buy from you.
You can build a business with a belief based approach. The crux is how you deliver it, time and time again, so people can make that association, so they then want to spend more time (and money) with you.
How Can You Do It?
Finding that thing so you can say ‘we are…’ is such a key element of the content strategy workshops that I run, that I want to share with you. This is effectively taking the smallest eye of a needle with the longest thread. It is an important stage for the start of your journey, so you don’t find yourself down a content cul-de-sac ie. it looked nice, but now nowhere to go.
Let me explain:
The smallest eye of the needle = one word you stand by
The longest thread = transmit your narrative in a whole host of places that is centred from your word (you start to create a category)
Content that stands alone from the rest of your marketplace, is content that is true to what you believe in. The greater trust you have, the easier it becomes to introduce new areas of interest that aligns back to your category.
You can lead with insight based on sticking to the fewest words possible, rather than looking for meaningless paragraphs of brand values on your website.
Whilst my business specialises in content marketing, everything I talk about and share is related to loyalty. This has helped create a category where everything that I create relates to ownership, audience and self-sufficiency and ties back into the main word. I did this because you can read more about the nuts and bolts of content marketing in far better places, such as the Content Marketing Institute, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, and Contently.
It Works Like This
If you can find an audience that values you and you can deliver over and over again. It works like this:
YOU CAN…capture the imagination/interest of someone else.
WITH…The fewest words that describe your overall viewpoint
Here are some examples to show how one word can be so much more:
Disney = family. This brand keeps the child in you forever, where the majority of experiences are shared with those people who are closest to you. Watching The Jungle Book as a kid is now shared with my children.
Airbnb = sharing. Back in 2013, Airbnb wrote an article called ‘Who We Are, What We Stand For’ that share a philosophy to share and connect. Tom Goodwin in his book, Digital Darwinism, highlights this about Airbnb, ‘The platform can now grow in two very interesting horizontal directions: it can stand for humanity and people helping people…but also offers potential future expansion into anything about people that requires trust, such as casual jobs, food preparation, ride-shares.”
Spotify = access. You can have more songs than you will ever listen to (over 30m songs) and a brilliant listening experience. There was once a time when we paid to own music, now we are happy to pay for access to music that we don’t own. What is stopping Spotify giving people better access, such as setting up a music label or even a festival?
Let’s look at broader industries, where you can keep it really simple. Here are some examples:
A GYM = wellness
AN ACCOUNTANT = efficiency
A BAR/RESTAURANT = interaction
A LAW FIRM = reassurance
A BANK = relationship
When something is simple, you believe in it, others believe in it too and you want to carry it out. Paulo Coelho said, “We have lost contact with reality, the simplicity of life.’
Sharing An Example With You
Let’s share with you an example of a company doing this. Michael Grubb Studio is a lighting design consultancy and works with some huge brands such as McLaren, Amazon, Guinness and national stadiums. Within the lighting design industry, there is an emphasis to share with people how beautiful a finished project looks. Seeing environments lit up and looking pristine and captured for all to see is in a different league from a stock library image of someone looking out to see from a beach.
Everything they are sharing relates to their word of the reveal. This is what goes on behind the scenes, how things work and sharing a human element to lighting, rather than stunning images that get entered into an award. Have a look at what happened when they worked to a ticking clock for McLaren or when one of the team went on a pilgrimage to Japan to see if he can define what is the perfect lighting.
This represents the smallest eye of a needle (the word ‘reveal’) with the longest thread (the connections and categories within this world). What Michael Grubb Studio are doing is making all of this real. These are the experiences of the team to share with others where they have created their own approach. It is the word that is the reveal that they bring to light (and yes….that is a pun).
What About You?
These single words are here to help you look at what you do and how to emphasise your personality traits within an uncontested space. It also helps you connect on a much more personal level.
1. What do you do that resonates with others in simple terms? For instance, if I was just writing and sharing articles about how content marketing works, then I would compete in a far bigger pool and would probably get swallowed up.
2. Create a list of words that reflect what you believe in (this cannot be adjectives ie. describing words). Out of that list, find three and then look to see if there is one word that can combine and link your choices to become standpoint? Too many words to go with, it then starts to become confusing.
3. Can you find longevity in the words? By this I mean consistency. For instance, you start to open up a whole new world where you can then bring others along for the ride and they associate with you and you start to carve a clear personality.
4. Can you then start to create a narrative (written, audio, video) based on the words that you believe in? For instance, if a restaurant is based on interaction, then bring everyone together from their world, from the stories of the people who supply produce to the regulars who visit and feel a part of the whole experience.
Let’s Round Up
If Facebook is happy at the moment to throw money at a problem, by buying ad space to say that fake news is something they don’t believe in, this is bribery of trust. The alternative is to create trust around the simplest terms you believe in.
By having a word that you know there is longevity, you then start to build a framework around it and develop your own categories. It is something that has helped me and a journey that clients go on.
If you can understand that one underlying word to create an emotional bond for others to empathise with, believe in and come back to you on a consistent basis is one of the biggest opportunities that you can have for your content marketing efforts.