Once, looonng ago (in 2015) I was approached by a non-profit to produce an introductory video about their organization. The head of the non-profit was very likable and engaging. When he explained what his non-profit was, he was standing up, and waving his arms with energy and vigor. When he was finished and everything started to calm down, I asked him one question: “what is your message? What makes YOU different from the other non-profits that are involved in EXACTLY what you are doing in this city?”
Having a message to send is very important for any business or organization, whether it is a non-profit or commercial. Every website has an “About Us” page, but what is the message that represents the business or company? What are YOU trying to do? What is YOUR company all about?What makes YOU different from your competitors or other non-profits? Who is YOUR audience?
Sacramento is filled with small businesses and non-profits. There is a lot of competition for people who have a message, but it is the voice who is the most powerful that can get people’s attention.
Whenever I work with a new client and we are working on their message, I ask these questions:
- What is YOUR company? I know this may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how many business owners cannot actually DESCRIBE their business in less than a paragraph. Whether you are at a networking event or even talking to a potential investor while getting coffee, you may have only minutes or even seconds to talk about what you do. Some people just casually look up your company in their browser and need to be grabbed in the time it takes to click to another page. It is important that you understand your company to the point where you have an “elevator pitch” ready that is short and emphasizes what your company is.
- What is YOUR company about? This goes hand in hand with the “elevator pitch”. Does your company have a goal? Is there a mission that your company or non-profit wants to achieve? What does your company do? Once this is figured out, you can have a better understanding of what kind of people will listen and work with you to help express your message.
- What makes YOUR company different from your competitors? Competition is normal and is a part of business, even for non-profits and charities. Competition is especially hard when the area of business is saturated with the product/service you provide (take a look at the realtor business here in Sacramento!). You have to stand out even more when that happens. Ask yourself: What makes MY company stand out? Why should someone give ME their money or time? What can WE do that no one else can?
- Who is your audience? Sometimes, it is great to draft up a few “mock customers” to think about how to aim for those specific people. How old are they? What do they do? What do they look like? What can you do for them? It can also be a good idea to compose a survey about your company and have people you know take it to see if you are on the right track.
A good message can be engaging, get people excited for your product of service, and can make allies out of investors, employees and customers. There is a saying I heard years ago that I think makes sense for this post: when you talk to someone in your language, you speak to their head, but when you talk to them in their language, you speak to their heart.