Ideavirus: seeds, seeding, seedlings

Seth Godin kicks ass. Sorry for putting it that way, he just does. He also costs me a lot of money at Amazon.

(Guy Kawasaki just reviewed Seth’s new book Small is the new big. Now I have to buy it.)

The growth of ideas is of critical importance to me and to anyone else who is passionate about a cause, a product, an opinion, a company, a person. How do ideas grow?

(Note that I don’t say spread, because you can spread a lot of manure without it sticking anywhere, and deservedly so.)

Seth says that people don’t communicate an idea farther unless four criteria are met:

  • Intellectual
    They get it.

  • Emotional
    They like it.

  • Benefit
    They get a benefit from communicating it.

  • Simple
    It costs less energy to communicate than the benefit they get.

Some of my thoughts on each of them, from the perspective of a person who is trying to stimulate the growth of an idea:

Getting it: building seeds
The first one is surprisingly hard to achieve. The best way is to have a simple but memorable message. How do you do that when your product or its benefits are so great and varied and complex?

Build seeds.

Maybe there are 5 important things your product does. Probably you think you can’t communicate any one of them in less than a paragraph. But identify each and build a seed for each … one sentence that captures the essence and invites further investigation.

Liking it: positioning the seeds
No one’s passionate or emotionally attached to things that don’t matter. Build your seeds around results and outcomes that your potential client or audience is passionate about.

Ergo, you need to know your potential client or audience. Ergo, you have to talk to them … or at least listen to them.

Then craft your seeds to match their passions. If you can’t, throw out your seeds. In fact, you may have to throw out your products.

Communicating: spreading the seeds
How can your audience benefit by spreading your seeds?

Make them look like experts in their field by providing e-books that credibly say things they’re already predisposed to believe. Give them an avant-garde aura by presenting your product as cutting edge. Give them conversation-starters by showcasing a funny or ridiculous use, affect, or incidental attribute of your product. Help them present their compassionate side by presenting emotionally compelling or charitable aspects of your product or service. Let them benefit others by being able to give them a special rate, or a private deal.

Figure something out. Figure many somethings out. Try them all … different people are, by definition, different. And you want your idea to grow in and through many people.

The energy required to care enough about your idea to invest the time to understand it is significant. The opportunity cost is significant. The sharing cost should be insignificant.

Add a Digg this button. Stick a Add to link. Email and print. Offer help to communicate it. Ask people to blog it. Give them a personal benefit if they spread the idea.

[tags] seth godin, guy kawasaki, ideavirus, new big is small, communication, marketing, advertising, john koetsier [/tags]