Most enterprises approach communication from a “Prism of Me,” as opposed to a “Prism of Value.” Think of it this way. A prism takes white light and refracts it to create Technicolor rays. In our communication, we too often lead with white light, that is, all the things we think they should know about us, or what we think is important. That’s operating through the Prism of Me. And when we only focus on our white light, we offer our audiences mere rosters of services or product or empty platitudes. We fail to engage because we have reverted to “List-speak.” But if we refract our messages through a Prism of Value and consider what our target audiences need and treasure from us, we connect authentically. We deliver memorable and meaningful content or messages. We defy List-speak. And we achieve the bold hues of “Value-speak.”
To speak effectively through a Prism of Value involves filtering all your communications through the answers to these two questions:
- In what way are we making something better for you?
- In what way are we reducing or eliminating something bad?”
It sounds simple, but even seasoned marketers have trouble doing this. So how do you communicate in Value-speak?
- Understand your audience. Why do they buy your product? What need do you answer? What problem do you solve? How do you help them be or do something that they can’t do right now? What is different or better for them because they have engaged with you?
- Speak not to the activity, but to the impact of what you do. If, for instance, you “create IT solutions and provide security services,” that’s your activity. It’s also List-speak. But “protecting firms and individuals by securing computers against hackers and damaging data breaches” focuses on impact to achieve Value-speak. “Making artificial hips and other medical devices” is list-speak. “Giving a marathoner the ability to continue running” is Value-speak. “Creating PR campaigns” falls to the Prism of Me. “Generating buzz that causes customers to flock to your business” has successfully cleared the Prism of Value.
- Use simple language that allows your audience to see and hear clearly your message. Instead of “strategies,” talk about “tools.” Strategy is abstract. Tools are tangible. Instead of “we help your business grow,” talk about how “we have helped clients build revenue and market share.” Growth, while positive, is general. The ability to build revenue and market share is tangible.
Refracting your communication through the Prism of Value will put you on a more direct path to effectively engaging the employees, customers, and donors, and generating a lasting impression that fosters loyalty—and success.
If you are interested in learning about how using the Prism of Value could dramatically improve your communications, check out Wainger Group’s training programs.
A version of this post originally appeared on Huffington Post.