The Art of Communicating from the Inside Out

art of communicatingLast month I talked about how to inspire action by communicating from the inside out. This certainly struck a chord; it was great to hear from so many of you.

Once you realize that communicating from inside out is more likely to inspire people and change behaviors, the next step is determine exactly what you want to communicate and how to best communicate it.

This is more art than science.

Let’s take a look at Simon Sinek’s Apple example from my previous post:

In everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?

Since most of us know Apple, we get it. But how did we end up “getting it?”

A look at their homepage today shows pictures of the new iPhone 6 and upcoming iWatch.

There’s no section in the top of their website that explains how they communicate.

When I walk into the Apple Store nobody tells me that they believe in challenging the status quo. People simply come up to me and engage in a conversation.

There’s no sign hanging above the checkout register that says they challenge the status quo.

But then again, there’s no checkout register, which is very unusual for a retail store. How are you supposed to make a purchase? If you haven’t been to an Apple store, reps handle transactions wherever you are in the store using their iPod. It was a very different feeling the first time I experienced this. Apple didn’t tell me that they think different. I experienced it.

Creating the Art

As one of the world’s most valuable companies, Apple is fortunate to be able to engage the world’s best creative agencies to create their campaigns. Mid-market companies don’t have that luxury. And most of us don’t employ that creative genius who can create world class campaigns.

But not all campaigns are brilliant, and not all mindshare is won from a single campaign. For a deeper dive into this, take a look at this historical account of the creation of the “Think Different” campaign in Forbes.

einstein-think-different

If you’re still here after reading the above article, I wanted to give you a few takeaways to use in your business.

Say It

After people find their “why,” they often ask if they should communicate it loud and clear to their market. Absolutely.

Show it

Stating your why is the first step, but adding it to your marketing materials and website isn’t enough. Seeing is more effecting than telling, so show it everywhere possible. Tell customer stories. Use visuals. Get your team involved and brainstorm the creative.

Live it

This is the most important part. The entire experience you deliver to your market must support your why. Establish criteria for your people to follow. Have it become your culture. Emphasize it, and hold people accountable. Your why is your reason for being. Make sure it’s authentic.

This can be intimidating for some of us to grasp, but remember the following:

  • When the “Think Different” campaign launched, Apple immediately felt the boost despite having no significant new products. (That’s the power of a well-done mass market campaign.)
  • The creative will only work if it’s authentic. Advertising CAN change perceptions, even if nothing else has changed in your business. But if you’re a mid-market B2B company, your brand is delivered mostly through your people — what they say, how they interact with your market.
  • A single campaign won’t transform your mid-market company. But delivering a consistent and repeated message and experience can.

Finally, remember that your why isn’t spin or something an agency will come up with. You are who you are. Your stakeholders know why you exist. Creating the art is an exercise of sharing what’s already there.

Then you put it front and center.