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Why don't people understand what makes you special?

Updated: Mar 2, 2023

You have something you really want people to understand. You want them to get your unique approach to the industry or the incredible culture you’ve built or the clever ways you’ve solved common problems.

You talk to people. You have a marketing campaign. You spent weeks on website copy. But far too often, people don’t get your message. It’s not landing.

Here are the common problems we see:

1. Not using words that people understand.

It is incredibly common for company messaging to include nouns and verbs that the audience doesn’t understand. Often, messaging is written by people immersed in an industry who don’t realize that not everyone is clued into the lingo.

“Our ESG solutions provide 3PL providers with complete RoHS-compliance.”

If you are only selling to technical experts who are versed in the same jargon, it’s fine to use such insider language. But if people in the decision-making chain don’t know these words, you need to use words they understand.

2. Not clarifying why your product, service, or other solution matters.

This one is easy to forget. You explain your product clearly—we provide comprehensive roofing solutions, say—but you don’t explain why anyone would care. Why do I want a _comprehensive_ roofing solution? What’s wrong with a partial solution? Are you more expensive in the short term but cheaper in the long term? Guide me through the reasons why your offer matters.

3. Not making clear why you offer this product or service in a way that adds unique value.

You can be clear about what you offer and precise about why such an offer is valuable, but you haven’t explained why your version of this offer is uniquely valuable to some specific audience.

Maybe I’m fully sold on the idea that I need a comprehensive roofing solution, but there might be 20 companies offering such a solution. What makes your offer special?

4. Not communicating your story with emotional and cognitive impact.

It’s not enough to be clear, intellectually, about what you offer, why it’s essential, and why you can offer it in a uniquely valuable way. Too often, such messages are understood but quickly forgotten.

Great messaging does not just, communicate information. It places that information in a context that excites people, inspires powerful feelings, and endures.

5. Not providing an ongoing flow of information, story, and messaging that continues to engage and shape how an audience sees the world.

The best companies, the ones whose messaging is most effective, don’t just inform about their products. They provide an ongoing stream of messages that help shape the very way their target audience understands the world.

Apple and Nike, Bloomberg and American Express, all reshaped their industries and the lives of those they serve.

This is the work we do. We guide senior business leaders through the process of refining and communicating their core story in a way that has maximum impact.

Story As Levels of Storytelling

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