Consider this: You are not the hero in your story, your customer is. The minute we accept this, messaging gets a lot easier.
What good messaging needs is a filter, and your customers are a great one. When you make your messages about them, you’re more likely to be heard. The problem with most companies is that they think they’re already doing this, when they are really just trumpeting themselves. There’s a great discussion about why this doesn’t work in the book Building a StoryBrand.
The easiest way to think about it is this: Every day, our brains cast us as the hero of the story. We process everything through this lens. So when a company starts pitching us, our first thought is often, “what’s in it for me?”
And if everything is about the company, there’s no room for us. And if we don’t see ourselves in the pitch, then why should we care?
StoryBrand suggests companies play into this inclination and position themselves as a guide that helps customers solve a particular problem to get what they want. As you can see, there are a lot of questions there. What’s the problem? What do customers actually want? Why do they want it? Once you answer these everything else falls into place, which makes telling your story in public a whole lot easier.
The key is clarity.
If someone can’t understand what you’re selling or the ways you’ll make their lives better, then your message is DOA. This can be especially tough for tech companies whose products and services often extend past a single market. Their instinct is to say a lot to a lot of people, which overcomplicates the message and muddies the waters.
People can only process 1–3 takeaways for any given topic, so that means you have to whittle it down. Your product might make someone’s life better in 10 ways, but no one will remember them all. When you overshare, usually the customer just gives up and moves on. Especially nowadays, when offers are coming from every angle.
So what to do?
- Study your customers. If you understand them, you can reach them.
- Pick your highlights. This may be through a story or short ideas. It may even change for different people, but it’s always short, clear, and to the point.
- Know your role. Recognize where you fit into someone’s life and where they need your help. Everything else builds from there.
And if you’re interested in scheduling a session to hone your messaging, we’re here for you.