You can't be 3 Things

Sunday, November 18, 2012

By Adam Kleinberg

I had a conversation with a potential client on Friday afternoon. She works for a technology company. A company with great technology in the cloud space.

I asked her about the brand messaging. She told me three product attributes. We have great scalability. We have great customer service. Etcetera.

The same things everyone in that space is saying.

When I asked her what she was looking for in an agency, she told me, "Well, we have the messaging done. We're looking for someone that can help us drive revenue."

You do not have your messaging done.

Every brand gets to be one thing. You don't get to be five things. You don't get to be three. If you say you are three things to your customer, you are saying you are nothing. If you say you are three things your competitors are already saying, you are saying you are less than nothing.

I recently asked a client for a reference. Here's how he described our approach and the role of the core idea we developed with them.

... The idea needs to be the starting point. It needs to be honest and representative of the company so that it can be executed in all of the marketing channels and interactions of the business... Simple, thought-provoking ideas that motivate employees, start conversations and challenge people to think twice...

That idea is your One Thing.

If you have no idea, your attempts at revenue generation will be feeble. If you have no idea, you will be a follower in your space, not a leader. If you have no idea, your entire company won't know what you need to do.

What's your One Thing?

About the author
Adam Kleinberg

Adam Kleinberg is CEO and and a founding partner of Traction. He has written over 75 articles in publications like AdAge, Adweek, Fast Company, Forbes, Mashable and Digiday.

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