It Works When You Look Out, Not Always Looking In
When you look beyond the space you sell within, you recognise the bigger entity that connects others.
There is a world to explore, rather than get comfy under the duvet.
This article looks at the importance of moving beyond our own safe places ie. the sectors we represent. People make something stronger by being connected to a message. This is where growth happens.
Growth is not down to the safety of being inward-looking and thinking you are your customers best answer. In a recent article, I highlighted that ‘making people feel part of something, creates a better experience.’ It is by being aware beyond your own space where you specialise and recognise how everything connects on a wider scale.
The same message, to the same audience, that floats around in an echo chamber, benefits no one. Life becomes a vacuum.
The more you listen to your niche, the more you only hear the views of those you follow. How do you know the message you are hearing is a representative message? For instance, on Twitter, my timeline is predominately taken up with marketing messages angled towards preferable approaches. Not heavy sales messages but advice on how to get more people opening emails, the best social strategies to general advice on how to get more leads.
Everything starts to fall into the same category of ‘I know best.’ This is the ‘how to type’ articles, the ‘be the customers best question’ type posts. No one ever wanted to participate in a world of constant Q&As. When you log into Netflix, you will never search for Q&As, you’ll go where your mood suits you if you haven’t already locked in an entire series waiting to indulge in.
This is where you start to realise the difference between looking out, versus looking in.
The Difference Between Looking In And Looking Out
Looking in is keeping everything safe. It is about reflecting on your own successes.
This is the how-to advice, the legacy of a having the best clients in 2018, telling everyone else to ‘think big’ because everyone else is saying it (or my favourite that is having a resurgence, ‘work smarter, not harder’) and telling everyone how you went from potless to greatness. This is the echo chamber we are all part of and feel the comfiest within. No one can question you and is easy to hold your head high through your own self- gratification and self-professed acquiring of the answer.
Looking in is this is the equivalent of living on an island where everything is plentiful. Why would you want to leave? The alternative is to recognise there is a world out there to explore and look to find the answers.
Looking out is about recognising the bigger entity. You stand a stronger chance of people connecting and staying loyal to you.
Bringing The Proof
Let me explain what I am seeing from my own experience.
I have the monthly You Are The Media Lunch Club and seeing changes that need to be addressed. The most recent event (Thursday, March 29th), I noticed a different slant. The March event was much more about the wider picture. The topic was GDPR. Everybody in the room took something away, many contributed to making a three-hour session make sense in 45 minutes.
The themes for the regular You Are The Media Lunch Club do have a strong tie to an owned media/content marketing led approach. This is where the message is led by someone who has managed to build an audience through a channel they leaned into or a discipline that relates to content marketing. For instance, we have had lunch events on how to find your voice, how organic SEO can work and how to build an alliance with the local press (you can listen to that topic on this show of the You Are The Media Podcast).
The GDPR event, whilst it had close ties to the ability to be more relevant it went beyond a content marketing theme (develop a space, generate a message that connects, deliver a message to a target audience over and over again). The recent Lunch Club was all about how we need to switch the needle so we can be more meaningful to others, by tidying up what we have and who we communicate with. What I noticed was that the event was a success because many people participated and became a sharing experience. This was led by:
Someone who is helping businesses become aware of GDPR
The legal perspective (from Steele Raymond)
Three businesses who have started to put plans in place (this wasn’t about showing off that someone was ahead of everybody else, but the things they are doing)
What happened was something I always wanted, but don’t think we had quite made it in other Lunch Clubs. Over half the room had a role to play in that particular Lunch Club. Whether this was people sharing their own side projects and initiatives (we do this in the first 15 minutes) or the questions from everyone that kept the main discussion going, what happened was that everyone made the Lunch Club stronger. It was stronger because the majority of the room did not have the definitive answers (GDPR is something we are all approaching with a sense of trepidation), but wanted to find out more and contribute to making stronger businesses.
Making That Change
It made me realise that I have to move the needle slightly for the April Lunch Club. For people to get the most out of it, I have to look beyond my own comfort zone and look at what is relevant for everyone.
This what I am seeing. You start off standing, for one thing, ie. in this case it’s an owned media/content driven approach, and then start standing for other connected branches to a growing tree. This becomes much easier to feel grounded with, namely having a business where other people can see where everything joins.
The change is going to be this, the original theme for the April You Are The Media Lunch Club was to look at how paid media works where I spoke to one guest.
What I am now doing is to bring in the merits of paid, earned and owned media by practitioners to share what tips other people can take on board. The point I am highlighting here is that things are changing in 2018. What has been about looking in ie. a purely owned approach is now looking out ie. giving people advice and how they can make their own decision. Maybe the Lunch Club will start to manifest more into business support centered on the importance of a loyal audience and others making defined choices to go forward, only time will tell?
Starting Small & Bringing Others OnBoard
I can see that starting small helps an idea to manifest. For instance, the origins of Fair Trade dates back to the 1950s within the UK.
Oxfam stores (the first shop opened in 1948) started to sell crafts made by Chinese refugees. From its origins in the mid 20th century, the wider picture is apparent for everyone. Fairtrade is now recognised as more than a stamp on a packet of coffee, but a way to make a difference to the lives of people who make the things we become so accustomed to.
Eyewear company, Warby Parker are another example of a company that looks out rather than looks in. Looking in represents every high street chain where the business model is centered on transparent deals, fast service and competitive pricing (to the detriment of independent retailers).
Warby Parker operates to a buy one, donate one business model. For every pair of glasses it sells, it makes a donation to a non-profit which will produce a pair in the country where it operates. According to the BBC, “The company started to make a profit from the end of 2016, and has no debt thanks to successful crowd-funding campaigns and partnerships with local retailers.” Warby Parker is currently valued at $1.7 billion (the company started in 2010).
The reason I am highlighting these examples and how it relates to you is that growth and buy-in come down to lots of small actions but a representative message is shared and not just you banging on about how good you are. Other people recognise a valid intention and will then step forward.
When you become fixated on your own agenda where you shout loudly, people become less inclined to stay for the long term.
It is other people who make businesses, side projects and initiatives stronger, not just you.
What connects them is the simplicity of the message in front of them and how it relates to their position to build a better business. Using industry terminology, a new slant to an old tactic and complicated explanations does not make anyone wiser, it just makes the person saying it more comfortable in themselves that they know best.
Growth and buy-in on a wider scale links to lots of individuals, rather than your own preconceived answer to everything. This isn’t about preaching to the converted, but getting everyone to harmonise.