This Godin interview is specifically about selling … but the lessons are for anyone who creates and communicates:
Tag - seth godin
Here are more than seventy big thinkers, each sharing an idea for you to think about as we head into the new year. From bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert to brilliant tech thinker Kevin Kelly, from publisher Tim O’Reilly to radio host Dave Ramsey, there are some important people riffing about important ideas here. The ebook includes Tom Peters, Fred Wilson, Jackie Huba and Jason Fried, along with Gina Trapani, Bill Taylor and Alan Webber.Here’s the deal: it’s free.
Tweet it, email it, post it on your own site. I think it might be fun to make up your own riff and post it on your blog or online profile as well. It’s a good exercise. Can we get this in the hands of 5 million people? You can find an easy to use version on Scribd as well and from wepapers. Please share.
I have been reinvigorated lately by following Hugh McLeod, the Limey-turned-Texan artist, idea vendor, marketer, and self-described CDF (CrazyDerangedFool).
In this economy and in the overwhelming crush of ideas and messaging, you have to be a little crazy, you have to be a little off-the-wall … you have to STAND OUT from the deafening crowd in order earn the attention necessary to tell your story.
That’s why this recent cartoon of his really speaks to me. George’s first plan better be to re-name himself, jump out of line, change clothes, and break out of the ordinary. But – here’s the key – George’s new George needs to not be another mask marketers wear, but a return to what makes George unique. This level of authenticity, coupled with a real eccentricity, gives George a chance.
Perhaps the crazy ideas are better just because they’re crazy. Perhaps the ordinary plans and ordinary ideas will die just because they’re ordinary. As Seth Godin said a week or so ago, the problem is that you are boring. I am boring – we’re all boring … when we’re simply repeating the party line, doing the standard thing, following the company protocol, going through the motions.
What’s going to make people sit up? Pay attention? Work with us? Hire us?
Here’s a big clue: it won’t be boring. It won’t be standard. It won’t be average. It won’t be a commodity, and it won’t be something you can buy at Wal-Mart.
This, from Hugh’s own experience, is remarkable:
- Drawing cartoons on the back of business cards started off as an act of futility.
- Getting an English tailor to blog in the hope of selling more $5,000 suits started off as an act of futility.
- Launching a national UK supermarket wine via the blogosphere started off as an act of futility.
- Getting Microsoft to re-think about who they are using nothing but a single cartoon started off as an act of futility.
- Choosing a highly irritating puppet to launch a major new French wine started off as an act of futility.
- Convincing one of the most respected publishers in the world to turn a blog post into a hardcover book started off as an act of futility.
- Getting West Texas cowboys to start drinking South African wine started off as an act of futility.
Now. What am I doing that is futile and crazy?
What are you doing that is futile and crazy?
Seth Godin has a short post about how to sound smart (or not) when talking about techy stuff. A reader named Jackson chimed in with this:
A blog is the whole, and a post is just one article (like the one you’re reading). So you don’t say, “I wrote a blog about that,” you say, “I just blogged about that,” or “did you read my post on how to talk about the Internet?”
Thank you! I’m seeing that in well-respected publications lately, and it’s annoying.
Seth Godin posted an article on really bad branding a couple of days ago, pointing out some company names that don’t differentiate companies very well:
Jewelry Central is a really bad brand name. So are Party Land, Computer World, Modem Village, House of Socks and Toupee Town.
It’s a bad brand name because Central or Land or World are meaningless. They add absolutely no value to your story, they mean nothing and they are interchangeable.
Why is differentiation such a key marketing strategy?
It’s simple – you only truly succeed as a brand, and as a business, by being top-of-mind in your targeted clients’ minds. And you can only be top-of-mind in your clients’ minds by having a clear, identifiable, distinguishable identity … ideally an unique identity with a story.
The name is a piece of it – an important piece. The image is an important piece. The story is an important piece. The products you choose to create and market are important pieces. The successes you build are important pieces. The customers that you enable are important pieces.
Put them all together, you’ve got a brand.
But if it’s not differentiated … if a client can’t distinguish your name, image, story, products, and successes from competitors … all of it is meaningless.
Because that client will open up the yellow pages (in other words, Google), search, find you and your competitor, and go eeny meany miny mo. Which means that all your hard work and all your investments in marketing mean nothing. Differentiation, which needs to start before your marketing, and even before your product development, is an effort to ensure this doesn’t happen.
This is all obvious. So why are so many companies not differentiated?
Here’s why: differentiation requires discrimination. If you want to be differentiated, you must say no. There must be certain products you won’t build. Certain markets you won’t pursue. Certain clients you don’t want. These are all clear and undeniable corollaries of choosing certain products that you will invest in, certain markets that you will pursue, and certain clients that you definitely do want.
However, many companies can’t say no.
They fail to see that in saying no, they gain increased capability to say a very focused, powerful yes.