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All posts in the Communication category

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973: Meet The Narrator

Meet The Narrator.

The Narrator is one of the voices inside the heads of a very select few entrepreneurs, business leaders, and marketers.

He’s the voice that advocates for those you wish to serve, employing tactics and techniques designed to realign everything you do toward their world.

He dissuades us all from falling in love with ebooks and up-sells, instead advocating that those same affections be directed toward our people, so we can understand and serve them better.

Hearing this voice is rare. Following this voice is rarer.

The Narrator isn’t about the glory, but the transformation possible for those who listen, and for those who listen to those who listen.

We should all try to listen to The Narrator a little more often.

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971: Challenging Mental Models

We all have them: mental modals are shortcuts we design for prompt, patterned reasoning.

Anne-Laure Le Cunff challenges our mental models by asserting we should look for reliability and validity:

“When it comes to mental models, questioning the validity of a mental model is equivalent to asking yourself: is this the right mental model for the situation? There are many mental models, and it may be that you apply the margin of safety mental model, when really you should be paying attention to your illusion of control.”

This applies to your body of work, and even your body.

If we’re tired midday, we want sugary treats. Our brains tell us we’re low on energy and that treats address this for us. Makes sense. Could be anything – a nap perhaps – but sugary treats is a familiar route so it pursues that.

If the economy gets shaky and we’re less sure of certain revenue, our brains tell us we protect our team by spending less of what we have. Makes sense… doesn’t it?

Not so fast.

If everyone contracts, the market contracts, and we all suffer. If many contracts but we don’t, we gain outsized exposure opportunity thanks to less competition (because others have the above mental model).

If everyone hunkers down, but you’re the only one out there continually spending time with those you wish to serve, that connection will guide your path – you may even encounter new problems to solve during these difficult times!

The reliable and valid answer to times of uncertainty is to create certainty not by contracting, but by pursuing your people with equal or greater fervor and empathy than you would when times are good.

What mental models do you hold that ought to be revised?

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957: Narrative & Product

What’s your story?

Every Hermès scarf is screen printed by hand onto silk. Even the rolled edges are hand-sewn. Their pieces are great, but you only care when their narrative matches your own. Those with a preference for mass-market luxury goods will likely prefer LV goods to Hermès goods, for instance.

Everything in an Aston Martin is made of what it looks like – if it looks like carbon fiber, it’s carbon fiber. If it looks like wood, it’s wood. Their pieces are great, but you only care when their narrative matches your own. Those who prefer reliability over hand-built will likely prefer Toyota to Aston, for instance.

In the above examples, scarce, hand-made goods need to be important to you before those offers matters to you.

A relationship with the artisan, or something to keep you warm.

A piece of British automotive history, or something to get you where you’re going.

The story the buyer is telling – and the company’s ability to narrate that story – is just as important as the product for sale.

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955: Communication Over Tools

Tools are cool.

New tools are cool too.

But good tools don’t solve the problem. Good communication solves the problem.

Marketing problems? Tools will be used to fix them, but better communication is what makes all the difference – listening to prospects and responding appropriately.

Operational problems? Tools will be used to fix them, but better communication is what makes all the difference – listening to team members and responding appropriately.

Product development problems? Tools will be used to fix them, but better communication is what makes all the difference – listening to customers and responding appropriately.

Communication > Tools.

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954: Judge Creators

“Download Now”, “opt-in”, “it’ll be worth it.”

Opting in is supposed to be a commitment.

A promise of action.

Action that goes beyond downloading something or inputting an email address, an isolated progression-point. Yet that’s what many marketers have made it mean.

It should be a two-way valve of commitment:

The creator should commit to only producing opportunities to opt in that he/she is truly proud of, that produces results select people desire. If it’s just an excuse to hound people, don’t bother.

The recipient should commit to judging their newly-received opt-in materials in a timely manner.

If judged positively – if the offer affirms the promise and the materials are great, the recipient should expect to appreciate how much more is available to them from the creator, and explore that possibility

If judged negatively, they should move on, and no amount of pursuit should dissuade them.

To not be judged at all – to merely receive and do nothing – is the worst of all.

Please, judge creators.

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953: The Cost Of Not Knowing Your Manifesto

What is the cost of not knowing the manifesto behind your body of work?

You can’t advertise. Not well, anyway. You don’t know you’re speaking to, what to say, or how to say it. Sales won’t happen as you think they should.

You can’t pick tools. Not well, anyway. You might choose tools that reflect your values, or you might stumble into misrepresenting yourselves and not even know it.

You can’t connect deeply. If it’s not clear what you stand for, how can people connect with you over those values?

You can’t build a movement. Not if you’re not clear where you – and those you wish to serve – want to move.

Time to get clear on your manifesto, then?