If I were to try and get you to sign up for a paid subscription service where you’d get regular, exclusive and high-value content, all written by me, you almost certainly wouldn’t. Why? Because I haven’t earned your trust – not least because I haven’t posted in over two weeks.*
I haven’t built a solid track record of consistent delivery for any of you to trust that your monthly subscription would be worth it.
Within the last couple of years, my mum has taken up running. Having never done much before, she has persisted in getting out and putting in the miles on a regular basis, and lo’ and behold she’s got herself up to a very respectable standard.
I think she enjoys it now, but she’ll tell you that when she started it was a slog:
“If I only went when I felt like it, I’d never have gone. I had to tell myself that it’s just something I do, not because I feel like it, but because it’s what I do now.”
The people we admire most are those who, come rain or shine, are consistent. They are consistently productive, or polite, or principled, no matter what they’re faced with. It’s that level of consistency that builds admiration and trust.
It’s not just about consistently showing up, but consistently being consistent in how you show up.
How can you show your audience that they can trust you and your brand?
*Somewhat ironically, the last post I wrote was about ‘showing up early and consistently’ in order to build that trust…
It’s important for brands to differentiate themselves. We all know that. But why is it that ‘different’ often takes on the same form?
To my, albeit non-expert, eye it looks like almost everyone wants to be “more”. More funny. More on-trend. More innovative. More open. More consumer-focused. More trustworthy. More of an expert. More creative. More bespoke. More specialised.
But is that really the truth?
On the flipside, there are those who stand out by being “less”. Less corporate. Less stern. Less financially-driven. Less typical. Less ordinary. Less one-size-fits-all. Less secretive. Less stuffy.
But is that the truth either?
Being distinct becomes a game of top trumps: pick me; we’re the ones for you; I’m your guy; we’re more this, or less that than the rest. But with all this focus on how you’re perceived vs. the competition, where is the time to discover what you actually are?
What’s wrong with “this is who we are and we’re an entirely credible solution to your problem”? It might not sound sexy, but ‘who you are’ is all that matters in this game.
Marketing and branding should magnify the truth, not manipulate the message. The aim isn’t to get people to believe us. It’s to give the right people something to believe in.
Thanks to Bernadette Jiwa and Rory Stewart for this inspiration on this.
The other day I read one of Seth Godin’s excellent blogs on ‘overwriting‘. It’s the idea that we all tend to write in overly-complex language to make what we’re saying sound a little more true. Instead, it’s far more effective to ‘simply write and write simply’.
As a frequent sufferer of ‘overwriting’, I’m going to give his advice a go.
What does that look like? Well, I’m going to trial these shorter, bite-sized thoughts and post them (sort of) daily to see how it goes. You know, just to try something new.
Without trying something new, how can you know what works best? It’s a trap that many fall into through fear of the unknown. Of course, it makes complete sense. But ‘trying something new’ doesn’t mean constant upheaval and revolution. It’s more ‘give it a go’, and test and learn – constant evolution if you will.
So, here’s my attempt at trying something new by seeing if this type of post appeals to you more than the others. If not, I’ll change – there’s no shame in changing direction. But, there is danger in standing still.
Take a look at your business, try something new, and see what you learn.
How did I do?
I’ll still be aiming to publish a more substantial piece regularly too, but think of them as the main course. These are the snacks.