1. BE HUMAN
No matter what you say, or where you say it, people won’t hear you unless they can see themselves in your brand. So speak from a human truth. It can be funny, thoughtful, serious or stupid. That’s how people really are. If you don’t, you and your potential customer might as well be two deaf people shouting at each other.
2. TO REACH SOMEONE’S HEAD, GO THROUGH THEIR HEART
Facts are only useful as proof points for emotion. Emotion establishes connection and gets people to care. Once they care – care to laugh, care to cry, care to consider your suggestion – they will change their behavior. Once a few people do that, others will follow. What they share isn’t your product, it’s why they care.
3. FIND OUT WHO YOU ARE SO OTHERS CAN TOO
People can’t like you if they don’t know who you are. They can’t know who you are if you don’t show them. You can’t show them unless you know yourself. If you don’t know yourself, that’s kind of crazy (which explains a lot of brand behavior). So stop wasting money until you find out what’s authentic to your brand.
4. ALWAYS BEGIN AT THE END
Assume what you want to prove. If a brand is what it says it is, it shouldn’t have to prove it. So as an expert in value, products or service, act and speak that way. Then potential customers will relate to you on that assumption and your work is half done. (Two good examples are all the banks now telling us they’re “new” and the overnight “Re:invention” of GM.)
5.SIMPLICITY IS THE KEY TO COMPLEXITY
Even if you only have 140 characters, start with a big idea (Eminem’s Twitter campaign that created a fictional psych ward to launch his new album, ‘Relapse’ is a good example). Big ideas have “legs”. That means they’re based on a fundamental human truth and expressed in emotional terms so they can play out across all media equally well. So spend your time focusing on the big, simple idea rather than trying to reverse engineer out of social media. Brands don’t build networks, people do. Social media is just another tool.
6. TELL YOUR BRAIN TO LISTEN TO YOUR GUT
In real life, you know what to say and when to say it. Advertising, and social media, are no different. So let your gut be your guide (your brain can swoop in later and tell everyone it was his or her idea). Until then, don’t over-think, over-work or over-analyze. It only gets in the way.
7. LESS TIME MEANS MORE FUN
Instantaneous communication is stressful. Especially when you have something to say and no time to think of an idea. So to get heavy lifting done, stay light in your head. The big idea you’re looking for is right in front of you waving its arms. Relax. Play. Be stupid. In fact, grab stupid by the hand and go for a run. You’ll be amazed where it takes you. And when you stub your toe on something, stop and look around. Big ideas are hard to miss.
8. NOT HAVING THE IDEA IS PART OF HAVING THE IDEA
It’s hard enough to have a good idea without the ground shifting underneath you all the time. But that isn’t going to change (ever), especially with social media. So accept frustration as part of the process. So if you want to pin that tail on the donkey with your big idea, keep in mind that donkey is now running.
9. SAY THE SAME THING IN DIFFERENT WAYS
Once you know who your brand is and what you want to say, be consistent. People need consistency before they can trust you. So say what you want, in any media you like, but keep saying the same thing using the same brand voice. Then people that like you will tell their friends and they will become your advertising.
10. THE PAST IS NO GUIDE TO THE FUTURE
Any half decent idea is successful because it resonates in pop culture. It does so because it reflects a cultural blend unique to that moment. That moment is now gone. So don’t look back, over your shoulder or copy someone else. Instead stand on your tiptoes to see as far ahead as you can. What you spy will give you an idea. That idea can be seeded into culture even as its emerging. The idea will then feel innate to where things are headed and no one will feel like they’re being sold.
Reading Time: 1 minutesSimon Mainwaring is the founder of We First, a leading brand consultancy that provides purpose-driven strategy, content, and training that empowers companies to lead business, shape culture, and better our world.