Working in PR, I’m on a life long mission fighting with blunt brand messages and copy-paste mission statements.
In a beautifully diverse world where every personal experience is unique and every story, even the simplest one about a day in your life can teach, motivate, and inspire, many beginner entrepreneurs somehow settle for some cookie-cutter statements that might as well be printed on a t-shirt or a poster in an independent provincial coffee shop.
Turns out, it’s not our fault, that’s just how our brains work. This study proved that people with similar views tend to mirror each other’s speech patterns, likely in an attempt to be better understood. However, a beaten phrase that might get you more head nods in a friends gathering would only do a disservice, if you are trying to stand out as a personal brand.
To create a message that stands out, ask yourself this question
Here is a tactic I’ve been using to create powerful PR campaigns for my clients. It’s called “Stupid majority.” PR adviser, Jerry Silfwer shared this idea in his TEDx talk.
Ask yourself this question: In my area of expertise, what is one thing most people are wrong about?
It can be a publicly accepted belief, a common way of doing something, or ignorance about some latest facts. Of course, as long as there is a stupid majority, you can be a smart minority, educating the rest of them on what only you seem to know.
Below are 3 examples of stupid majority:
We all used to believe in hard work and putting in extra effort, before the 4-Hour Work Week, 4-Hour Chef, and The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. That’s a great example of tackling a belief.
Marketers used to crack their heads about reaching the largest audiences until Seth Godin taught us to 10x marketing efforts by focusing on early adopters, popularising an idea from a 1962 book by sociologist Everett Rogers.
Finally, there’ve been lots of PR dollars put in explaining links between heart disease and fats, which lead to demonizing all fats for years. Until recently when some health coaches, like Eric Edmeades or Dave Asprey and others, started educating the stupid majority about good fats. They also brought to light new facts, such as those about sugar which effects have been neglected all throughout the witch hunt against cholesterol.
Here are a few steps to discover your own “stupid majority:”
1. Study the competition
Just start digging – you’ll find hundreds of people at a different stage of influence repeating similar messages. Instead of trying to say the same thing with different words, pull out your notebook, and start taking notes. The more popular a particular opinion or belief is, the more buzz you can create, pointing out what’s wrong with it or what’s missing.
2. Understand why the majority holds a belief
To communicate your “smart minority” idea most effectively, you’ll need to get clarity on why the majority holds a particular belief. It’s an easy job, as people spend a good amount of effort justifying their opinions, even when sharing something common.
3. Get some facts to back up your point
Roll up your sleeves and get facts and stats. Saying that the majority is wrong will firstly catch attention. Yet, if you don’t have strong enough evidence to prove it, the attention won’t hold long and might even backfire.
Interesting enough, even some widely known facts, illustrated with little known statistics, can result in a viral message. We all know coke isn’t the best choice for your health. Yet this infographic that just put some numbers behind this common opinion, went viral in just a couple of days.
4. Don’t be afraid to tackle popular topics
You have to be confident in your expertise, but once you get armed with all the facts, don’t be afraid to launch! Remember, you are not just going against the stream to turn a few heads your way. You are providing a new, researched, and educated opinion.
Think about it like this: by addressing the “stupid majority” with new facts and a fresh perspective, you are doing everyone a service, by advancing the conversation on a particular topic.
5. Be ready to get criticized
Critics go hand in hand with followers, the more attention you get, the more you’ll be criticized, especially if you choose to go against common knowledge. I suggest you get ready to celebrate every new critic as milestones of your success!
Why does this work? You are capitalizing on the fame of a popular belief. One of the key components of creating a viral message is providing a fresh perspective (or fresh facts) about something that already exists in public awareness.
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffet
When to use it?
This tactic is best when applied to your content creation, pitching media, or for speechwriting. In many cases, your “stupid majority” message would translate into one of your campaigns that you can use to gain publicity. Don’t confuse your “stupid majority” campaign with your overall brand message – this is just an effective way to get attention to your brand, and may lead to you sharing your brand message, but should not be used in replacement of it.
How do you make sure your personal brand is sending the right message out into the world? Share your ideas with us below!
Post first published on: Addicted2Success