How To Get Others To Buy Into Your Actions In Four Stages
When there is alignment with your message, things around you start to build.
Your goal is to figure out what you believe, how you create value, and the people with whom you seek to help with this intelligence. A simple question to ask yourself is, ‘does what matters to me, matter to someone else?’
What this provides is a voice that you can transmit though all these channels available and get this to resonate with others in spaces where the biggest investment is your time to cultivate. You do it by finding a space to grow from and then you lay the foundations in other places. Everything starts to flow better, rather than jumping on everything.
This article is about the stages it takes to make the perfect positioning with your company and your message.
It Has Always Been Easier To Shout
To many businesses, they are just happy to broadcast when there is no message that sits with the overall company philosophy, but it makes them look good for that moment in time.
This has been quite prominent in the past week or so and a drum roll for….International Women’s Day. To many companies this has represented the opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge but has nothing whatsoever to do with action, change or something that sits within the heart of what a company truly believes in.
Margaret highlighted what McDonalds had championed during International Women’s Day, by flipping their M logo upside down, however, have never really given anything back in return? Margaret highlighted, “The flipping of a sign is as empty of a gesture as the flipping of a burger. The company wasn’t doing anything to support its female-identifying employees or customers; it was simply saying it supported them.”
This day brought out examples from all corners of the brand playground where they were just happy to broadcast, but have nothing deeper to contribute. Craft beer company, BrewDog renamed Punk IPA to Pink IPA and dedicated it as ‘beer for girls.’ Johnnie Walker made a statement to “invite women into the brand” by releasing ‘Jane Walker.’
On reflection, the companies that had any form of presence on International Women’s became a chase for shares and social points. It was all pretty empty. Seeking popularity and being seen as doing the ‘right thing’ doesn’t always work when you lose the focus of your core audience.
To have resonance, there has to be meaning. As Margaret pointed, “attaching an action to a press release gets you more than just buzz. It can buy you loyalty.”
Evidence Of Where It All Lines Up
This thing around action from a belief, that compliments your business is something that Dan Willis from Why Digital is progressing. Dan represents a great example of alignment to a message.
On the You Are The Media Podcast (you can listen here), it was clear you can have a cause that becomes the thing that associates with your business. Dan is a kingpin when it comes to mental health awareness. This also links to his business as a brand consultancy that helps others recognise their purpose and do it with humanity and openness.
Dan is making it work, by driving the conversation and building connection through genuine and honest content. This aligns with his business where people are sitting up and recognising.
Championing mental health, links indirectly to Dan’s business. As Dan says, “The business started as a marketing consultancy from SEO to building sites. The lightbulb moment was when I started the mental health journey and my real purpose was to help others see their day to day life in a positive light. This would enable others to find and redefine their purpose. I could see that business owners had lost that drive from where they originally started. By finding their purpose, you can find the success of the business.”
Both Sides Of The Coin. But How Does It Work?
As the saying goes, ‘it’s not what you say, it’s what you do.’
When you get people to buy into your side, it all comes down to the thing that matters to you, is the thing that matters to someone else. For example, McDonald’s aren’t bothered about International Women’s Day, but Dan Willis believes that the purpose in someone else’s business is what makes them tick both mentally and physically.
I look at this progress from circulating a message to complete buy-in within four stages.
Let me explain:
STAGE 1 – Identify and Broadcast
This is where you recognise a message that has a wider interest and connects at a deeper emotional level with others. The reaction is to take on board the guise of cheerleader and shout loudly. We have seen this over the past year from the Pepsi stance on social unrest, Heineken’s angle on social inequality and McDonald’s position on family bereavement. None of these brands went beyond having a deeper cause for these issues.
STAGE 2 – Being Present
This is when a company goes beyond broadcasting and backs up what they say with action. Cigarette giant Philip Morris, made a 2018 pledge with the ‘ambition to stop selling cigarettes in the UK.’ A leading seller of tobacco is looking to influence 8m Brits to stop smoking. Profits will be generated from e-cigarettes and £2.5bn has been spent on research into smoke-free products, intended to be less harmful to someones health. This represents a company putting their neck on the line and creating a new place within a marketplace as well as taking on board a responsibility and not wanting to be loved or seen as popular.
STAGE 3 – Genuinely Connect With An Issue
Once a company finds momentum and remains consistent, the cause moves in directions beyond broadcasting.
Colgate-Palmolive have taken the position of a brand that takes water conservation seriously. They are one of eight global companies to make the list by earning an A grade for its global water management efforts. Their ‘every drop counts’ initiative is for people to turn off the faucet when they brush their teeth. This has extended to the ‘Save Water by Colgate’ Amazon Alexa skill, designed to remind people to save water. The activity from brands such as Colgate-Palmolive to AirBnB represents a wider issue where being consistent with fixing problems, not just selling product becomes a wider responsibility.
STAGE 4 – Total Alignment
This is when consumers are completely bought in by your actions.
Away from the world of business, this is something that has happened in China. President Xi can now rule China indefinitely with the country abolishing the limit on how long a leader can serve (the maximum was two terms). From 3,000 delegates, 2,958 voted in favour of President Xi to remain in power indefinitely. He has gained popularity with Chinese people through a relentless crackdown on corruption. What this represents is when more than a few buy in, this is when everybody is on board. Whilst this maybe a bit of an extreme comparison, what I am trying to highlight is that actions create a deep rooted commitment.
As highlighted earlier in this article, the majority of companies do not get past Stage 1 as they are more than happy to jump onto a fad that has no meaning. Those who can connect with what they do and the message they distributed are where the winners are.
Whilst Stage 4 may look a pipedream, getting to Stages 2 and 3 is attainable.
You can do this by: having something that you believe in; recognise a way to share this message; find your allies who can stand beside you; recognise what you can and can’t fix; understand the audience that you can serve, beyond the three month campaign.
Lets Round Up
Spending time to create value that acknowledges what you do and what you stand for is worth its weight.
It is all about locking in for the long term. While others dabble, dip their toes in and move onto the next thing, if you can find something that truly resonates with what you do as a business and it also matters to someone else, the whole landscape changes.
You build loyalty, trust and a better audience far easier when others want to come onboard and feel part of the whole process and not coerced.