We need to spice it up

The whole piece needs to be more emotional to get people interested. Let’s add some in. Juice it up with some nice storytelling. And gorgeous images.

Also … count me out.

Because if you need to decorate your story with emotional bits, it means that your story is flawed.

A way better approach would be to EXTRACT the emotional aspects, not add them.

What’s the spice INHERENT in your idea? Surface that!

Of course, the obvious question is what to do if you feel that that’s exactly the problem … because it feels like there is no inherent emotion.

I don’t believe you.

If your product is the solution to an actual struggle that actual humans have, then there is no way that there are no emotions involved.

Surface them! Make me feel the pain of my struggles, make me feel the happiness once I get rid of the struggles.

Add-on emotions might give you attention, inherent emotions drive action.

Silly Faces

Making a silly face and writing a provocative statement beneath it is one of the best ways to get people on YouTube to click on your video thumbnail.

If silly faces are what you want to be known for, that is.

Not everything that works needs to be done.

What do you want to be known for?

(Also: if you’re on the other side, the audience’s side, it’s your decision to click on that silly face or not.)

Silly things marketers do

Among the silliest things marketers do is decorate diamonds.

You don’t decorate a diamond, you polish it. You don’t hide its beauty underneath layers of fluff, you surface it.

Many marketers don’t trust in the beauty of their products, though. So many great products are buried underneath layers of fancy sounding marketing slogans and flashy videos.

But if your product is a diamond, i.e. it solves an actual problem for your customers, you don’t want to decorate it. You want to polish it to surface its true beauty.

By saying – in plain English – how it solves my struggles rather than dazzling me with bonuses and stuff that I don’t really need.

What’s the true beauty of your product?

What’s your promise?

Marketers spend so much time looking for fancy statements that they sometimes forget to just plainly state their promise.

What’s yours?

In love with an idea

Did you ever act foolishly after you’ve fallen in love with someone?

Probably, your mind went a little over the top with all the things it suggested to impress the beloved one with. Or you struggled to find the right words, bombarding the beloved one with thousands of things you love because you thought that they might love it as well. So maybe, in trying to make a good impression you achieved, well, the exact opposite?

You’re not alone.

Also, this does not only happen when you fall in love with SOMEONE. It also happens when you fall in love with an IDEA.

We’re easily overwhelmed with all the things we love about that idea. We would want to tell the world everything about it – at once. And it’s not uncommon that in trying to impress others we’ve actually alienated – or at least confused – them.

Just as with building new relationships, it helps to listen more than you want to talk. It helps to figure out what the others love so that you can figure out whether it’s a good match. And it helps to take a deep breath so that the words that you do say come out in a way that makes at least a little more sense.

Selling diamonds

All too often, corporate messaging suffers from – let’s be straight – bullshitting. Promising the blue from the skies, using fluffy statements, and decorating vague claims with some sweet candy and cream.

One of the reasons for this is that these corporations think that great messaging can fix inferior products.

And maybe it can.

But I think it pays much more to fix your product first. To make sure that you’re actually selling diamonds.

If you’re selling a diamond, you don’t need to decorate it. You wouldn’t even want to. You much rather polish it to surface its pure beauty. You wouldn’t ever hide it underneath layers of fluff and stuff to make it appear more beautiful. It’s already pure beauty.

When you’re selling a “diamond” product, your communication becomes way easier. You just need to speak the truth, in plain English, making clear statements and bold promises.

Do funny ads work?

Remember that funny ad?

Well, can you also recall what it was advertising? Let alone did it make you buy the product?

You’re not alone, judging from a study by Ace Metrix which found that “funny ads were slightly less likely to increase desire or purchase intent than unfunny ones”.

But let’s look closer. Michael Curran, the study’s author explained that “humorous ads tend to be light on informative content, which in turn creates a lower desire for the advertised product”.

Which – to say it straight – is disrespectful to the audience. Essentially, funny ads fail when they favor the “wow effect” at the expense of the “aha effect”. When they go for the laugh without going all the way to the insight.

In other words: Make your communication fun and entertaining, but do it in a way that serves your message – rather than having it steal the show.

Humour is a great way to get people’s attention. But clarity about the message must come first: What’s the point? And why should I care?

PS: Essentially, what Ace Metrix found is that funny ads do work if implemented that way.

The Leaders Light the Path Manifesto

Every change start with someone who sees a better future.
Change happens when you make others see what you see.

Introducing the “Leaders Light the Path Manifesto”.

Whether in tiny ways or affecting the world at large, great communicators make change happen by helping us see what they see, a future that matters and that we strive for. Through their communication, they light us a path that brings us there.

In the past 14 years, I’ve had the honor to work with many of those leaders. On top of that I’ve spent an enormous time analyzing even more of them, some well known, others not so much.

What’s common to all of them is that they don’t persuade harder, but resonate stronger. They start with empathy, honesty, and trust. They do work that matters and tell true stories about it.

The Leaders Light the Path Manifesto captures the essence of that approach: https://LeadersLightThePath.com

I hope that you take it as an inspiration to follow their example. Please spread it far and wide if you find it useful.

Keep lighting the path!

Electric clocks

In the 50s, Rolls Royce claimed that their cars are super quiet.

But how quiet were they? Here’s how Rolls Royce explained it:

“At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.”

Can you explain to me your promises in plain English in a way that I can make sense of them from my everyday experience?

Clarity is revelation work

Clarity is much more revelation work than it is creative work.

When we encounter one of these charismatic leaders who seem to just magically nail it and find words that make the complex feel simple, it can feel like they are just natural born talents.

I don’t think that’s true in most cases. More often than not, they are just much more rigorous in their thinking. They:

  1. Reflect on what truly matters
  2. Strip the non-essential
  3. Focus from the right perspective
  4. Refine the difficult parts and
  5. Boost their impact

I built “Crack the Clarity Code” to walk you through this process and find that rigor in your thinking. My goal is to take you from a gut feeling of possibility to razor-sharp clarity.

It seems to work. Even after day 1, I got this note from Bob: “The clarity is already coming.”

Find out more at https://crack-the-clarity-code.com.

Spread the Word

Dr. Michael Gerharz

Dr. Michael Gerharz