It’s funny how we change the rules depending on which side of the counter we’re on. If we’re the shopper, then we want to hear a clear, succinct and engaging message from the sales team and the marketing materials. We like it short and sweet like “1000 songs in your pocket” from the early iPod or the image of the first Mac Air slipping into an inner office envelope — it’s a quick visual message of how thin that computer is.
But what gives us the permission to deliver a disheveled, long winded, unclear marketing message when the shoe is on the other foot? Have you ever done this — become the salesmen and then half do the communication?
Your people want what you want — a necessary desire (or at least a marketing message that makes them feel that way). And to be effective in your marketing, you have to get clear — so clear that you can get to the point in 7 words or less, in one sentence, in a small paragraph, in a one page description.
The clearer your message, the better your impact.
But what is clarity?
To the photographer clarity is a sharp image—you know what you’re looking at. To the musician clarity is an unmistakable sound—you know what you’re listening to. To Napoleon Hill, the author of the classic book Think & Grow Rich, clarity is a definite purpose—you know what you need to do. To Steve Jobs clarity is the ability to cut through the clutter—you know what you want and you know how to say it in a way that taps into what your audience wants too.
Clarity is the quality of being easy to see and hear (New Oxford American Dictionary). If it’s not easy for your audience to digest, then it ain’t clear. A clear message is like a fresh glass of water, you understand what you’re looking at and you’re ready to dive in.
“We have to be really clear…”
After returning to the Apple Company in 1997, Steve Jobs made this statement in a staff meeting,
“This is a very complicated world. It’s a very noisy world. We’re not going to get a chance for people to remember a lot about us — no company is. So we have to be really clear about what we want them to know.”
The same is true for every business and individual,
“we have to be really clear about what we want them to know.”
This includes your team of employees and independent contractors. What do you want them to know about your company? And what do you want them to share with their corner of the world? — because every moment is a marketing moment.
Let’s give them something to talk about
People talk, so it’s important to get clear about your message and then give them something to talk about that benefits your bottomline. Since we trust others just like us more than we trust some slick ad — though there is a place for both — modern companies have to help their customers spread their marketing message.
Stories from people with first hand experiences are the best and most authentic components to any marketing strategy. And while you cannot tell people what to say or think, you can create an experience that is worth talking about and you can create a marketing message that is spreadable. But you have to get clear first — about everything…
…about the company,
…about the vision behind the business,
…about the problem that you solve,
…about the solution that you offer,
…about the message you send out,
…about the people that you serve,
…about your purpose for doing all of this in the first place.
Clarity is not optional — it’s a requirement
In that same meeting back in 1997 Steve Jobs said, “our customers want to know what we stand for.”1 So what do you stand for? Who are you as a person and company? Who do you serve? Why does it matter to you and your clients? The answer to these questions will help fuel your marketing. But it takes effort to say more with less words, it takes time to get to your core message.
If you’re going to serve your client, then remember, they want a great product and a clear message.