Who are you and what is it that you do?
Today’s business landscape is crawling with consultants. Whatever — it’s also crawling with words like “landscape” and I use them because sometimes I just get lazy and don’t want to say “business world.” Don’t be judgy. Or judgey. Or however that made-up word is spelled. Maybe we should just set semantics aside and think about it this way.
If you’re going to be the almond in the jar of M&Ms, how do you (1) stand out, and (2) help people understand why the hell you landed in the jar of M&Ms in the first place, and (3) why they shouldn’t just either eat you alive or chuck you in the bin because you
Just. Don’t. Make. Sense.
*insert question mark*
Sure, it’s crystal freakin’ clear. TO YOU.
Every day, I work with teams to help client answer this question. But when’s the last time I asked it of myself? Yesterday, in fact. But it had been awhile.
And that’s because it’s crystal freakin’ clear what I do and for whom I do it. TO ME.
Which matters ZILCH.
I was reminded in pretty short order that we all walk around with this list of assumptions that have pitched tents and decided to camp out in our heads. We’re the only ones who know that those assumptions exist and those assumptions alone are the single greatest obstacle we have to growing our businesses in the direction we want them to grow.
We assume people get what it is we do, when the opposite is most likely the truth.
So here’s a process I went through last night that’s designed to help me take the ass out of my assumptions and get some messaging straight for myself. It’s the only way I’m going to help other see me straight and get some building for my business done in the right direction.
Let’s just pretend for a moment that these otters aren’t in some bizarre National geographic-style 69. You know what you’re good at. What you love doing. What makes your heart sing like an otter with a fish-flavored prize. That’s your otterness — your innate ability to score. It’s why you get paid. Your bargaining chip.
The bitch of it all is that you have to be able to help people understand why they should care and what your otterness means to their business.
So first, you have to have in your head — in plain English — who you are, what you do, and why these people should care.
These is the most important part of that equation.
Because it’s only then that you can get to the how — as in how you’re going to help them get from where they are to where they want to be.
Think about your audiences. Plural. You don’t have just one. Not even a Chia Pet has just one audience. There isn’t a single successful brand that has only one audience so first, focus on you and your otterness.
Next, focus on the different whos that you enjoy working with most — or would like to begin working with (ah hah!).
And now, you’re ready to focus on expressing your otterness specifically for that audience, because one size doesn’t fit all. At all.
You’ve got who you are and what you do on lockdown, you aquatic mammal, you. And shit howdy, you’ve identified who needs your fish-flavored prize! Now it’s time to deliver the fish.
In the most rudimentary of terms, it sounds like this: “I am X (OTTER) and I help companies like yours do Y (OTTERNESS) so that you can Z (FISH: DELIVERED).”
Small print disclaimer: Verbiage in the X/Y/Z format as above is only appropriate in the company of colleagues or in the company of no one at all in your bathroom. Start simple (it keeps the bullshit buzzspeak out) and then sass it up as need be. Messaging that works (aka “delivering the fish”) is simple and makes the target audience do one of a three things:
- SHITBALLS! I need that and where can I get it.
- REALLY? You have my attention…go on.
- BOLLOCKS! I think what you do is nonsense.
Either way, your otterness is clearly expressed. And I know the “bollocks” option above scares the shit out of some of you. But your target audience isn’t everyone. You’re not the slutty girl, so don’t start thinking like one.
Otter. Otterness. Deliver the fish.
Yesterday was a wakeup call for me, asked to explain my target demographics in an instant and how what I do makes them rockstars. Given my propensity for cute animals, it was only appropriate that I turned to the otter as a metaphor for working out what needs work.
Wherever you are in your business, you could be doing better. Yesterday, I reached out to someone in an effort to do better and got blindsided by a question that I answer for clients daily. So if we’re going to do better, the path of otterness is a pretty good path to get there, methinks. Not only are they adorable and not nearly as annoying as a rat dog nor angry as a honey badger, they know (as we should) that there is one goal:
Deliver the fish.
And the one thing that maddens me incessantly is when I don’t get what a company or vendor can do for me and why I should care.
Seems that since I can do this for other companies, the time has come to do it for myself — and make it an ongoing process. We have an onus to make it easy for our customers to understand what it is that we do.
It’s respectful of their time.
It’s attentive, as the customer always comes first and is the reason we’re allowed to be in business from day to day.
And honestly, it’s just smart.
Because when you make it easy for your audience to understand what it is you do for THEM, it’s a boatload easier for them to tell other THEMS why they should be working with you, too.
can’t see the video? click here.