How To Create More Value With Better Experiences
To differentiate you have to find a beating pulse where better experiences become a central theme.
To do this you need to change the basics of the actual business to become more about changing behaviour rather than the quickest route to sell.
Why should business communication solely be about selling products and services that they think others need to have?
Communication can evolve to be more about what a business stands for, rather than creating specific campaigns.
Playing A Different Tune
This is what has been instilled in us, since the age of putting on a commercial head, where claiming authority and expertise is supposed to make someone more desirable.
Just keep on banging that drum about what your product delivers and if you want to sound louder, create that eBook that provides no value at all, apart from a hidden agenda.
We can all express ourselves differently. It is just a case of finding the media that you feel comfortable with and use it as your stage.
It is the experiences you create that can break the traditional approach of the pursuit of wanting to be seen as knowledgeable by others.
It is about flipping a format that everyone becomes accustomed to.
What Others Are Doing
It is what Quartz has done be delivering news content. Rather than reading reams of text on a topic, Quartz delivers a conversational interface that allows the reader to respond via two routes that are either ‘tell me more’ or ‘what’s next.’
The presentation of news is stripped back from a matter of fact, one directional dialogue to one where chat and interaction takes precedence. A formula has been broken.
It is what Bubblekid are doing in Amsterdam by breaking a custom when it comes to a haircut. When you visit the salon, there are no mirrors. Your ultimate trust is in someone else, rather than a ‘can I have a bit more off the top.’ The delivery is still a hair cut, but it’s the way that it’s done that is a different approach.
What I am trying to highlight here is that these are not examples of campaigns, but ways to build an interesting company based on brevity, authenticity and transparency. This trumps over any whitepaper or ’17 reasons’ type of article.
Now lets bring it to a B2B comparison.
Try Something Out
On a personal crusade (along with others), turning a B2B approach on its head is something that I am ‘giving it a go’ with. Why should a business be just about product 1 to person A, B, C and D by any means necessary? Why can’t it be about building an audience and long-term relationships based on value, entertainment and community?
I want to create conversation based on an owned media approach where people stop to take notice, hang out together and not be reliant on Facebook ads or prompts from LinkedIn groups to allow access.
This happened last week (Tuesday 22nd March) with the first Marketing Homebrew Live podcast. The Friday show with Ian Rhodes and myself was picked up, dusted down and placed in front of an audience for one evening (and not Ian and myself on either ends of Skype). Please don’t think that Ian and myself are well versed in each others character traits. We have only met up face to face a handful of times, but I interact with him probably more than anyone else when it comes a business perspective.
We wanted to see if there was something that can extend the format of what we do via another medium. Imagine a networking event, that managed to build a loyal audience, started a podcast that focused on small business issues. It’s like that, same message, new spaces.
There were some new insights we took from the live podcast. When you take something that is intended to educate and inform (a weekly podcast) and change into a live format, where people already know the format, it still serves the same purpose.
Lessons Learnt From A Live Event
Some key things learn, that I didn’t know last week:
- You can create familiarity even if you don’t know someone. Ian (Rhodes) had travelled down from Cheshire to Bournemouth and meet people whom he had never met before. To be chatting to people who mentioned they felt they already knew him, shows that if you create a channel for others to connect (ours is a podcast), it almost feels like a group of friends in a room.
- An audience become familiar with each other. Linked to the first point, the events I curate are building a community of people who come to each one. That means that people who were unfamiliar with one another a year ago, are now becoming recognisable. It then becomes easier to build a relaxed environment where people feel part of something.
As an aside, the sixth Once Upon A Time is scheduled on Tuesday 28th March. Four brands chat to me on the stage in a 19th century theatre on the clifftop in Bournemouth. Why not join Matt Desmier and myself, click here.
- You can create a learning environment by making the learning environment entertaining. Related 100% to this article, you can change behaviour. What was once networking events where the focus was on the two course meal, overlooking the sea/golf club and talking to strangers, loaded with business cards, why not flip an outdated model by providing people a reason and an outcome, but at the same time in a way that entertains.
- You can create a pulse. After the event, we received great feedback. We have now made the decision to make this a quarterly event. We have to make the next event better than the first.
The show was streamed via Periscope, you can watch it below, but we had feedback of streaming the next event and invite questions from everyone who was not in the room but want to be present. It also opens this up to our international audience (the US in 2016 is double the amount of UK listeners). When you create something that is received well, you have a responsibility to keep the momentum.
- There has to be an objective to provoke and inspire others to behave differently. If this was just all wrapped up into an evening with Mark Masters and Ian Rhodes with a weak ’26 Things To Be A Better Marketer In 2016,’ with a call to action being a download or some form of sign up it would have completely missed the point. Our whole intention was to get people to think about creating their own project that is meaningful to an audience and think beyond the blog. Why pay for attention, when people can pay you attention.
Becoming More Creative
This is the challenge that is presented to businesses today. Rather than accept a pay to play model within the social channels as the norm (as Instagram are about to do, if the new algorithm change is anything to go by), we all have to evolve by developing more creative techniques, better delivery, stronger messages and to grow an audience that connects better.
When I mention the word ‘creative,’ I mean discovering new ways to deliver your message that is in a space that you have never been before. It can be messy, unforgiving, challenging but can be exciting and rewarding when done correctly.
What happened with last weeks live podcast was to target a small audience of listeners (this can make it to the middle of sunny Bournemouth for the evening) and to create a real-time experience. We all talked after the recording, we shared, we all felt part of something that was more than a polite, ‘any questions’ at the end and one person asking a question that reaffirmed a point.
If you can connect with a community and do it in a way with humour and normality, then you can create valuable experiences.
Lets Round Up
Building your brand is more than taking advantage of LinkedIn Publisher, the AdWords campaign or buying lists of strangers to target via a DM piece. It is all to do with making your company more interesting to a group of people.
Brand building today is about building a useful company, not initiating a short-lived campaign.
This is where progress lies within those companies who are transparent, have a viewpoint and the confidence to jump into uncertain waters, while the rest dip their toes into seas where they know exactly what the temperature will be every time.