2018 - It's all about awareness and honesty!

Robin Hawksworth - December 7th 2017

As the new year fast approaches, we all start diving into our plans, hold meetings and look for that competitive edge that push us to the forefront of our business community.


Many will open their excel documents to input their usual four percentage growth, some will convince their company to go all out for double digit gains, while others will plan to go global and then, of course then, there are those 'entrepreneurs' who will aim to purely gain another round of investment so they can keep spending other peoples money while taking delivery of their new Tesla Model X.


Then there are the consultants, like me, (I really should not be saying this) the so called experts who will be working hard to get you to sign up. We will be knocking on doors and appearing in your social media feeds trying to convince you that we, and only we, know what you need.... endless invitations to webinars, free samples of 10x coaching and of course, the five reasons why you really need to hire us.


A cautionary note on the above. (Please read)


Before you finalise budgets, decide on the focus of your marketing efforts or sign any contracts, please be 100% clear on what YOU want first.


I say this for one reason...


The world we all knew has changed and there is no going back. If nothing else, this years obsession with the term ’Fake news' has highlighted how quickly we create blind spots to anything we deem miss-communication or false. We now pay less attention to 3rd party articles and adverts then ever before.


As 2018 offers up a very mixed bag of political instability, dramatic shifts in work-place etiquette and to all accounts, an uncertain mid-year global financial market place, we will be presented with a perfect storm of opportunity for those willing to take it and kill off those who do not.


The only way forward is to commit to telling your unique businesses story while honestly showing us what you do. If executed correctly you will stand in good stead to gain potential customers as all this unfolds.


Firstly become self-aware.


It is often hard for an individual to be honest with themselves. Who are you and how are you perceived by others? It is hard but even harder for a company as they are often so far removed from their customer (and employee) feedback that it gets diluted. Take an honest look at all sectors of your business. What are your strengths? How could your employees act better? How can your interactions with customers be improved? and above all What are your business principles?


How to gain awareness honestly.


  • Honesty matters - If you want to gain real awareness then stop allowing the marketers to deliver any message they wish to sell your products. Customers can see through this, so be honest and stop wasting money on useless creative than inflates audience metrics but not sales. Invest more in frequent messages to smaller groups of interested people who will be more likely to buy from you.


  • Stories matter - Look to where your customers eyes are, and turn up. Right now it would be a mistake to dismiss Instagram and Snapchat stories. These are real time, daily snapshots that can place you in an ideal position to interact with your customers in relative real time. These platforms (along with their 'live' options) should be placed at the top of your ' how can we communicate better' list. Yes it will take time and effort but what else would you suggest.....


  • Do not expect people to be interested in you - Not everyone will be. It is getting harder to produce break through 'must have' trends or viral videos. If you create content without expectation then you will not be disappointed. Even Shakespeare knew that the he wrote this words. “Expectation is the root of all heartache”


  • Social platforms first, second, third.. - Everyone will rightfully advise you to spend most of your advertising budget on social media but please be aware that we are reaching a saturation point on larger platforms as they navigate the delicate balance of marketers needs versus community voice. I currently get an advert for every five posts in one of my streams. Due to their sameness and pushy message they become an annoyance rather than a clickable point of possible interest... do not put yourself in this category. Offer a creative first approach.


  • Be authentic - You are you, so that is what we need to see. Remember all cafes are not Starbuck's so why do that try to act as if you are. Be honest while forming a creative narrative that your customers are comfortable with. Tell us about your products and if you have anything special this week, highlight it and let us decide.


  • Balance - This is the hardest one to pull off as you have to be aware of how your audience is reacting to your content. By monitoring their reactions, comments and shares, you can find that sweet spot of showing up just enough in a style they are most comfortable with.


  • Content and context - As always remember to deliver your story in a creative way that entertains your audience as well as the using right context for the platform you deliver it on.



I wish you all success in 2018.


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