What Do Grizzly Bears And Trump Have To Do With Your Marketing?


11 August 2019

How Do You Answer The Question: “What Do You Do”?

Why is it as soon as you meet someone new that question is posed by either you or the other person within the first 3 minutes of the conversation? It is so ingrained to our culture to need to know the measure of the person we just met so that we can adjust the context of our discussion accordingly.


I was recently on a hunting and fishing trip in the South Wairarapa, and was introduced to a mate of a mate on arrival. It was pretty late after a 10-hour drive, so we unpacked with a few beers and then headed to bed. I hitched a ride in his ute first thing the next morning on the way up into the hills. Predictably, he posed the “so, what do you do” question within minutes of being underway. However, I wasn’t prepared for what came next.


“Shoot, I’m sorry, I take that back – I really don’t need to know that right now,” he said. You see, we were on a boy’s weekend away and it was all about his son and my mate’s son turning 13 and their coming of age. It wasn’t about him, or me, or work. And yes, it certainly took some concentration to avoid that question over the next 4 days!

Table of Contents

Link through to any section or just start reading.

Section 1

The most straight forward answer in your business...

Section 2

Developing a message
& understanding your stakeholders.

Section 3

Who is your most valuable customer and how to find out.

Section 4

Worksheet

It should be the most straight forward answer in your business.

What do you do should be the most straightforward answer in your business. Especially if you’ve been running for a few years and you’ve got a million dollars plus of machinery sitting behind you in the factory!


In my experience, I’ve heard many people answer that same question differently every time they’re asked. People who intrinsically know what they do – but just can’t articulate it in a way that produces the right outcome.


On a grander scale, many businesses seem to have the same problem. The website describes the business slightly differently to the sign above the factory door, which is in turn slightly different to the printed brochure sitting in reception, and of course the sales person has his own vocabulary and set of acronyms.


The fact that Google has a criterion called “Quality Score” to reward advertisers whose adverts are most relevant to the business website being advertised should say it all! Businesses who intrinsically know what they do – but just can’t articulate it in a way that produces the right outcome.


Investing thousands of dollars into a logo and a brand is a fait accompli, and we may even strike it lucky with a “tone of voice” document that is generated as part of the exercise. But the answer to “what do you do” is generally left up to you to decide, after all, you’re the subject matter expert!


Setting Our Sights On 'Positioning'

In all your marketing, all your advertising, and all your sales conversations - is your business being consistently positioned in the most favourable way? Whether that is online or offline; with technology or not; in media – whether that be traditional media or social media or the news media; whether that be person-to-person or machine-to-person. Having a clear message and a thorough understanding of who your stakeholders are is the foundation for helping your marketing campaigns and therefore your business succeed.

Developing A Message.

Decisions are emotional. Not just the “should I choose the ‘Midnight Silver Metallic’ or ‘Pearl White Multicoat’ paint for the Tesla Model S” type of decision.All decisions. Scientific fact. Without emotions we would find difficulty choosing between things. Even multi-million-dollar decisions on which value chains to digitise first in our quest to transform the business into a digital enterprise.


Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio discovered this fact in clinical studies of people who had brain lesions. These otherwise normally logical and reasonable people, were all unable to feel emotions. And whilst they could very easily draw up a list of pros and cons for a decision that needed to be made, they couldn’t actually make the decision.


It takes a non-logical leap to get to the final point in decision making.


Accordingly, when developing a message, it is futile to simply stack a series of logic-driven, pain-point focused statements in a sentence and hope to inspire. Your goal is to shift your stakeholder from a comprehensive list of pros and cons to an emotional connection with your business and the problem you’re trying to solve.


By way of example, how much are you willing to pay for a new chilly bin? Roughly $300 or $400..... would that be a fair price? Now, how much would you pay for a certified grizzly bear proof chilly bin?

Understanding Your Stakeholders.

I use the word stakeholders to mean the groups of different people that your organisation will need to communicate with. This includes: internally – the board, investors, employees; and externally – customers, suppliers, media. Every organisation will have a different blend of stakeholders.


The key stakeholder we need to thoroughly understand is the “most valuable customer.” What type of customer brings your business the most amount of value? Value will most likely mean different things to different people, but to illustrate here is a recent example from a contract manufacturing company we work with.


Having a state-of-the-art CNC machine in the factory means that they have the ability to cut almost any design from a huge range of materials. They defined value as the combination between the amount of revenue generated and the level of complexity involved in completing a job. This meant their most valuable customer wanted kitchens, wardrobes and garage storage cabinetry.


In a world where the average consumer is exposed to up to 10,000 brand messages a day, getting to know this most valuable customer is essential to break through the noise. The human brain is the best ad blocker ever invented – what is it going to take for your message to resonate?


The answer is context. To answer the question another way, let’s ask: how did Donald Trump win the presidential election with one of the smallest campaign budgets?


In March 2016, the New York Times published an article that includes the research from mediaQuant, a firm that tracks media coverage of each candidate and computes a dollar value based on advertising rates, providing a comparison of bought versus free media.


All candidates benefit from “earned media” – the news and commentary on traditional and social media channels. Earned media typically dwarfs paid media in a presidential campaign. What makes the difference, and is very possibly the answer to the question posed, is that Trump is far better at earning media than any other candidate.

Bought versus free media

Trump had a thorough understanding of his most valuable customer.


He understood their context, and tailored his message in that context. You may remember some of the radical campaign promises that commentators said were certain to hold him back in the polls, but it never happened, and it culminated in winning the election despite all predictions of a resounding loss.


Having a clear Message and a thorough understanding of who your stakeholders are the foundation for business communication success.

Now that we’ve looked at the importance of making sure your message and communication hits the mark, whether you are a presidential candidate or trying to grow sales in your business, here are some exercises to help you get started.

It should be the most straight forward answer in your business.

What do you do should be the most straightforward answer in your business. Especially if you’ve been running for a few years and you’ve got a million dollars plus of machinery sitting behind you in the factory!


In my experience, I’ve heard many people answer that same question differently every time they’re asked. People who intrinsically know what they do – but just can’t articulate it in a way that produces the right outcome.


On a grander scale, many businesses seem to have the same problem. The website describes the business slightly differently to the sign above the factory door, which is in turn slightly different to the printed brochure sitting in reception, and of course the sales person has his own vocabulary and set of acronyms.


The fact that Google has a criterion called “Quality Score” to reward advertisers whose adverts are most relevant to the business website being advertised should say it all! Businesses who intrinsically know what they do – but just can’t articulate it in a way that produces the right outcome.


Investing thousands of dollars into a logo and a brand is a fait accompli, and we may even strike it lucky with a “tone of voice” document that is generated as part of the exercise. But the answer to “what do you do” is generally left up to you to decide, after all, you’re the subject matter expert!


Setting Our Sights On 'Positioning'

In all your marketing, all your advertising, and all your sales conversations - is your business being consistently positioned in the most favourable way? Whether that is online or offline; with technology or not; in media – whether that be traditional media or social media or the news media; whether that be person-to-person or machine-to-person. Having a clear message and a thorough understanding of who your stakeholders are is the foundation for helping your marketing campaigns and therefore your business succeed.

Developing A Message.

Decisions are emotional. Not just the “should I choose the ‘Midnight Silver Metallic’ or ‘Pearl White Multicoat’ paint for the Tesla Model S” type of decision.All decisions. Scientific fact. Without emotions we would find difficulty choosing between things. Even multi-million-dollar decisions on which value chains to digitise first in our quest to transform the business into a digital enterprise.


Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio discovered this fact in clinical studies of people who had brain lesions. These otherwise normally logical and reasonable people, were all unable to feel emotions. And whilst they could very easily draw up a list of pros and cons for a decision that needed to be made, they couldn’t actually make the decision.


It takes a non-logical leap to get to the final point in decision making.


Accordingly, when developing a message, it is futile to simply stack a series of logic-driven, pain-point focused statements in a sentence and hope to inspire. Your goal is to shift your stakeholder from a comprehensive list of pros and cons to an emotional connection with your business and the problem you’re trying to solve.


By way of example, how much are you willing to pay for a new chilly bin? Roughly $300 or $400..... would that be a fair price? Now, how much would you pay for a certified grizzly bear proof chilly bin?

Understanding Your Stakeholders.

I use the word stakeholders to mean the groups of different people that your organisation will need to communicate with. This includes: internally – the board, investors, employees; and externally – customers, suppliers, media. Every organisation will have a different blend of stakeholders.


The key stakeholder we need to thoroughly understand is the “most valuable customer.” What type of customer brings your business the most amount of value? Value will most likely mean different things to different people, but to illustrate here is a recent example from a contract manufacturing company we work with.


Having a state-of-the-art CNC machine in the factory means that they have the ability to cut almost any design from a huge range of materials. They defined value as the combination between the amount of revenue generated and the level of complexity involved in completing a job. This meant their most valuable customer wanted kitchens, wardrobes and garage storage cabinetry.


In a world where the average consumer is exposed to up to 10,000 brand messages a day, getting to know this most valuable customer is essential to break through the noise. The human brain is the best ad blocker ever invented – what is it going to take for your message to resonate?


The answer is context. To answer the question another way, let’s ask: how did Donald Trump win the presidential election with one of the smallest campaign budgets?


In March 2016, the New York Times published an article that includes the research from mediaQuant, a firm that tracks media coverage of each candidate and computes a dollar value based on advertising rates, providing a comparison of bought versus free media.


All candidates benefit from “earned media” – the news and commentary on traditional and social media channels. Earned media typically dwarfs paid media in a presidential campaign. What makes the difference, and is very possibly the answer to the question posed, is that Trump is far better at earning media than any other candidate.

Bought versus free media