I resisted this for a long time. I resisted the “Twitter-isation” of society. So how come I gave in? Why do I now think it’s vital? Why is it the next 21stC BizDev step which must come after the all-important Value Mining and Refining?
First we aren’t talking about summarising ourselves (whatever you might read) just our current key business proposition. Don’t worry – you will get a chance to talk about yourself (or a part of you) later in the conversation. In fact there is a whole book about “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek – one for another day.
Secondly as the information overload long since went exponentially exponential and certainly, “post Lehman’s”, everyone’s cup is overflowing. You are lucky if a couple of weeks later someone can remember two words to label you. Excess busyness, excess overload, no free “head space”. Business cards are rather old hat these days – or rather a nuisance as one either keeps them (?) or has to type the darn thing into a contact system. Value encapsulation is the new “business card”. It says more about you than a tiny piece of paper ever can.
Thirdly it’s the key to opening the door to a conversation. It’s the most subtle form of incremental commitment – Staircases not High Jumps. Seth Godin is associated with the whole concept of permission marketing … the antithesis of the “old” model of splurging your Ads all over people … whether it’s TV or a tube train. The old model is to take advantage of a captive audience and tell them what you want to tell them … it’s all about you … and certainly not about them. Actually not just an old model these days – anyone here like the Ads Google puts at the start of YouTubes?? [If you don’t by the way you gotta get AdBlockerPlus ;-)]
This third point bears more fleshing out. Let’s take the permission angle first…
I ask you what you do or what you are selling… You blab on for what seems like hours. Will that work? No. You don’t yet have my permission (aka interest) and by over-stepping that you have already shown yourself to be someone more interested in yourself than myself – a big no-no in any century’s sales and marketing.
Let’s look at the key angle (or rather “no key” leads to no “unlocking”)…
I ask you what you do or what you are selling. You give me a job title which would have been recognisable in the 19thC … “I am an accountant”. Will that work? No. If someone says “accountant” or “VP” or “salesman” – are you really going to follow-up with some question asking for more information or will you stifle a yawn and change the topic of conversation?
So how do we design a key which gives us permission?
To quote Godin again “create a vacuum”.
In designing a Value Encapsulation phrase we need a very short summary – a Google search engine category if you like – that is, on the one hand precise, but on the other hand simply asks for elaboration.
Taking the example I mentioned in the prior post on Value Mining and Refining – “Regulatory Architect”. This is nice and clear isn’t it? It’s a “Google search engine category” as in the Financial Services sector it didn’t exist before we created it. But on the other hand … here’s the seduction angle – it invites a follow-up question. “So what is a Regulatory Architect?”.
Nice and simple, nice and clear I hope. But it goes against a lifetime of programming for many. None of us were ever trained like this 🙁
In my recent networking I caught up with over fifty people and went away thinking things like “X is a good chap looking for something kind of non-exec-y”. But after a while I had lots of Xs in my head – all of whom occupied the “good chap, kind of non-exec-y” space. In this age one needs to speciate, specialise, occupy an ecological niche – which takes us back to the Value Mining and Refining process. Be a non-exec in Icelandic companies, in global growth funds, in under-funded Pension Funds. And encapsulate that value simply clearly, and preferably enticingly 🙂
How well do you encapsulate your proposition? How well do you sum up your brand?
Does it make me curious to ask for more?
Is it in a way that I will recall two weeks later? In a way I can tell a friend and so make you/the proposition “viral”?