Why You’re Shouting But Not Being Heard


Why You’re Shouting But Not Being Heard 


In our digitally-driven, fast-paced and noisy world, attention is an increasingly premium commodity. You’re probably familiar with the feeling of being bombarded with information on a constant basis. Many describe how we now live in an ‘attention economy’ where, in exchange for free information, people have transitioned from customers into products. The truth is, the idea that attention is a scarce commodity is not a new one, at least not in the field of Economics.

That’s not to say things haven’t changed significantly. Over the last 50 years, we have gone from being exposed to some 500 brand messages per day to an average of 5,000. Capturing even a fraction of the attention of your target audience is becoming increasingly difficult.
And with an ever-growing push towards short-form content and instant gratification, you might think that bombarding your audience with daily snippets of content is the way to remain relevant. Little and often seems to have become the go-to method recently. Which is why your LinkedIn feed is probably like mine: full, noisy and increasingly annoying.


“Ironically, you might be posting yourself into irrelevance.”

There is a real problem with this approach, in that you run the high risk of joining an entire sea of people doing the exact same thing. Anyone trying to grapple with LinkedIn’s algorithm will be all too aware that with the current state of play, businesses run the risk of disappearing into a swamp of similarity. In this incessant competition to keep ahead, grab more likes, get more views – at any cost – authentic human connection is scarcer than ever before. Ironically, you might be posting yourself into irrelevance.

So, how do you avoid being just another blip in an endless scroll of options and attention-grabbing tactics?

“Why should I care?”

To be really relevant, brands need to find a way to make an enduring connection to the people they are reaching out to, and that connection needs to respond to that most fundamental of questions that your target audience is asking: “why should I care?”

To prosper in this new world, businesses can no longer afford to be impersonal, positioning themselves as mere service or product providers selling to anonymous receivers.

I know it sounds basic, but your customers are not customers. They are people. And people need meaning and connection. And the way in which meaning has been conveyed since the dawn of man is via the art of Storytelling.

Storytelling is one of humanity’s most enduring traditions and the basis for everything we do as a species, an insight revealed in Yuval Noah Harari’s ground-breaking, erudite and immensely readable treatise on the history of Humankind: Sapiens. If you can tell the right story, you can captivate (literally) billions of people.

“Brand Storytelling is a business’s way of making a lasting connection with the people they want to be heard by.”  

Your audience lives in a world of stories and are genetically wired to love and respond to them. Brand Storytelling is a business’s way of making a lasting connection with the people they want to be heard by. It’s the story behind your brand, why it exists and, most importantly, why it matters to the people who matter the most.

In short, a captivating story is your primary opportunity to be unforgettable.

“With more choice than ever before they will remember and indeed decide to work with you based on how you make them feel.”

In our digital age where we have become obsessed with statistics, ROI, CPC, likes and views we too often forget that emotion is more powerful than logic. We’re stuck in a world of the rational and we’re ignoring the intuitive. Your audience may not actually remember what you do or say, but with more choice than ever before they will remember and indeed decide to work with you based on how you make them feel.

We use these words like “customer” and “client” and “acquisition” and “target” and we forget that at the end of the day they are people, and people do business with people. There’s a risk in forgetting. Personally, you lose your heart and commercially, your work loses its soul.

Think about that in reverse: what you do might not be as important as how you do it. What you’re selling, might be second in importance to the feeling you instil in your customer.


“The benefits of your product are what people are really interested in.”

For your business to succeed in 2020 and beyond, it needs to be so much more than just the product you sell or service you offer. It needs to be the impact it has on the lives of the people you are talking to. What you offer is really just a means to an end; the benefits of your product are what people are really interested in.

There’s a famous business adage: “people buy the hole, not the drill”. I want to take that a step further. Companies tend to sell solutions to external problems, but customers buy solutions to internal problems. You’re not helping your customers drill a hole, you’re helping them build furniture and make a home. Do you see the difference?

Product, price or even marketing may no longer be your key competitive differentiator. Meaning is. Connection might just be your enduring competitive advantage, and storytelling is one of your paths to achieving it.

So here are some short tips to thinking differently about the way you present your company, product or service in the next conversation you have:

1. Make the customer the hero.

I know it’s tempting to write about how great you are. I’ve read your ‘About Us’ section and you’re undeniably magnificent. But it’s not about you. It’s about the people you are serving and how you can make their life better. You’re not the hero of the story, your audience is and you step in as the wise, knowledgeable and experienced guide, showing them the way. You can also talk about how you facilitated the success or greatness of other people just like them.

2. Stop grabbing attention. Start paying attention.

Yes, it’s important to be consistent and to maintain a presence in your audience’s lives. But let’s think more quality and less quantity. Business is and always has been about paying close attention to what people want, need, desire, or lack—and solving those problems in ways that are quick, easy, delightful, or unexpected. Branding requires you to take a deep breath, ask important questions and start listening. To yourself, to your organisation, to your audience. Try asking these questions:

Who are you talking to? What world do they live in? What are their pain points? What role do you play in their life? How do you make people feel? What do you want them to say about you?

3. You cannot inspire unless you are inspired yourself

The name of the game is authenticity. You need to genuinely understand your audience and what you offer them. And you need to believe that you’re actually offering something of value. If you don’t believe in your story, and yourself, nobody else will.


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