He said what?
“Don’t worry, I’m not going to try and screw you guys over,” said the man across the table from me at a business meeting.
I’d never met him before but the words were no sooner out of his mouth when I had absolutely no doubt that he was going to try and screw us over.
And yes he did.
But we didn’t get taken because the moment he told us he was trustworthy, we didn’t trust him at all.
“Actions speak louder than words:”
Think about it. Isn’t it really only the unfunny people at parties who insist on telling you how funny they are?
Honest people rarely feel the need to run around telling us how honest they are.
Truly spiritual people don’t announce their spiritual goodness at ever turn.
Kind people put their energy into being kind rather than talking about how kind they are.
Really smart people don’t feel the need to tell us about their degree from an Ivy League University. Or worse, a 2nd tier one.
We trust what we experience or witness much more than what someone tells us.
When people insist on telling us what to believe about them, we take a giant step back and say:
“Oh yeah? Prove it.”
Nobody believes what a brand says about itself.
90 percent of all marketing messages wash over the public without resonating in any meaningful way.
Or they’re rejected as lies.
Think about your own experiences:
When you visit a website, do you get all warm and fuzzy when a company says “we value our customers” or “we reinvest in our people.”
They are things that are easy to say and essentially meaningless.
Talk is cheap:
The only way to prove to potential customers that you will add value to their lives when they become a customer is to add value to them now.
Just like we take a big step back from people who tell us how we’re supposed to think about them, we do the same with brands.
But you can tell a story:
Told well, a story will show the very values you’d like to tell people about, especially if you are adding value to them.
A story, if it is truthful and reflects your core values, gives people the chance to experience the brand more meaningfully.
And then they can form their own conclusions.
Because people believe the conclusions they come to much more readily than the ones they are asked to arrive at.
Your job as a brand storyteller:
Be the thing you want to be known for. And then to give your audience the pieces they need to come to the conclusion that that’s what you are.
Andrew Stanton from Pixar, calls it giving them 2+2 instead of 4.
No one wants to be told the answer. But give them the parts and they’ll build the answer themselves.