When I first meet someone to discuss their branding, I always ask what problems they’re seeing in their business. It doesn’t take long for someone to say, “I need better clients.”
This is a common complaint among business owners who are ready to move to the next level of their business. They frequently want to work with fewer people who are willing to pay more. But how do you find those people? And how do you convince them to choose you?
The answer is surprisingly simple.
You need to focus less on what you sell and more on what you believe.
The truth is that there are no buying decisions that are logical. They’re always emotionally based and they are firmly rooted in, “If I purchase from this company, what does that say about me?”
As branding genius Marty Neumeier says, “People don’t buy brands, they join them.”
You need to give your perfect people a reason to JOIN you and the best way to do that, is with a Big Idea.
What’s a Big Idea?
A Big Idea is your brand’s philosophy. It’s the common thread that runs through your body of work and it’s the key to connecting with your perfect people.
Often this is what entrepreneurs refer to as “their why”, but the why is so frequently misunderstood that I prefer to describe it as a Big Idea.
I find everyone has a Big Idea but most people have never thought about it or learned how to bring it out. If you’re trying to clarify your Big Idea, here are a few key pieces it needs to have.
A Big Idea Reflects Shared Values
How many Facebook fights have you had with a friend or relative who is spouting completely insane opinions about politics? And how many times have you clicked the LOVE reaction to a good friend who posts a story that completely backs your beliefs?
We want to hang out with people who share our values and we are naturally repelled by those who don’t. Sure, there’s a value to listening to people who don’t share our views, but when it comes to where you’re putting your money, it’s going to be with the people who align with you.
What we buy says something about us so we’re going to join the groups that match our beliefs.
A Big Idea Puts a Stake in the Ground
It’s pretty common knowledge that if you think your work is for “everyone”, that’s the same as saying for “no one”. But even when people do try to niche, often that niche is still too large. A Big Idea helps narrow that group and at the same time highlights you to the people who are a match.
The main goal of a Big Idea is to rule people in or out. It means you have to be really clear about what you value and have the guts to share it with the knowledge that some people are going to scroll on by. This is good. We’re looking for “better” clients and this is a way we can get them to identify themselves.
A Big Idea Captures Imaginations
Ever find yourself watching a Netflix series and suddenly there’s an actor you’ve never seen before and they are so amazing that before you know it you’re down a Google rabbit hole learning about all their other work, where they went to high school, and what they like to cook on weekends? (Just me?)
Well, a Big Idea is like that. It’s something that wakes people up to a new possibility and makes them want to know more. It gives them something to discuss with others, share their reactions, and further clarify how they feel. You know you’re on to something when people start telling you, “I’ve been thinking about what you said….”
A Big Idea Builds Longevity
Your Big Idea needs to relate to your work but it can’t be your work. Confused? I like to use what I call, “The TED Talk Test”.
Imagine you’re going to give a talk based on your Big Idea. Would anyone actually attend a talk on what an amazing coach you are? Even if it’s true, it’s not “an idea worth spreading”.
However, you could easily imagine a talk on, “How to change the world in 10 minutes”, which is based on your belief that taking action fundamentally affects how we see our circumstances. People who are attracted to this idea are definitely going to look you up when they need a coach.
The right people are looking for you, you just need to ask them to join.
Your better clients are out there and they are looking for reasons to choose you. Don’t make yourself invisible by leading with what you do and what you sell; step into the spotlight with your Big Idea.
Clarifying and defining the right Big Idea can be difficult to do alone. If you’re interested in getting some help, here’s a way we can work together.