This is a little message to my entrepreneur friends with beautiful branding and no spine.
To build a business, we used to be able to scream loud and clear in the red megaphone of branding, marketing, and storytelling. It didn’t matter if the “song” we sang was almost the same as everyone else’s, as long as we poured more money to buy more attention.
But this doesn’t work so much anymore.
What’s left, then?
Because you can lead, should you choose to do so, of course.
Leadership might very well be the only viable marketing strategy.
But before I go on, let’s clarify:
- Leadership is not a title or a position. Who cares if you are a CEO, founder, or business owner with no balls? Excuse my French.
- Leadership is a capacity.
Here are three ways to use your leadership capacity to turn your business into a source of inspiration and transformation that few can resist; the greatest Marketing strategy ever.
Form an opinion
Stuff doesn’t have opinions. People do. When you have an opinion, you become human, you become real, and you don’t become another corporation. Your opinion is a chance to disagree with your competition and differentiate. Form it on your own, but don’t form it alone. Involve your friends, your team, and your community. Let them tell you if your viewpoint puts words on what they always wanted to say but didn’t dare say. Don’t expect to have an option overnight. So, don’t wait; yesterday is the best time to start having an opinion. The process takes time. At first, you may feel like your ideas have no value, and then you will realize that they do, for a few faithful fans waiting for you to lead them. Turn your company into a group of humans, not a logo. That’s what forming an opinion does.
Use your background
There is only one of you, so if you show up authentically, you’re doing something new. When you’re competing with others for business, talent, or investor money, this is how you stand out. No one else has your life experience. No one has your unique perspective. No one went through the exact things you did the same way you did. Understanding why a business exists matters more and more for people to decide if they will work with you or buy from you. What triggered the conception of your organization will help you stand out. Explaining how it happened is a capacity that you should spend time developing. How do you expect people to get excited if they don’t know why you were excited in the first place?
Frame the opportunity
The idea that you have a vision and a mission and that people should follow you because they’ve been superbly worded on a pretty poster or website is 100% bankrupt. Who cares about your selfish mission and vision if we don’t share it? Instead, please tell us where you think we should all go. Together. Why now? Where exactly? Become a possibilitarian. An opportunity is “when the situation is right for us to do something we are interested in doing–we then have an opportunity to do it. Together. Keep in mind that an opportunity is never a guarantee: the path remains uncertain, but there is hope that it will likely work. Guarantees are for consumers. Opportunities are for members and close friends. If you are open and brave enough to admit that you may not have all the answers yet but are asking for help, people in your community will see it as an opportunity. They will know that they can participate in building a future that benefits everyone.
- Don’t let your company brand replace you.
- Your product alone will not mobilize people to change their habits.
- You need to show up. Be visible, be heard. Act courageously and relentlessly.
- Say something different. What stands out is interesting.
- Guide us through transformation.
- It’s OK to say that you don’t know everything. Because you don’t.
I hope this helps.