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Become Seen As An Authority By Standing For Something
This week's 5 Minute Marketing Tip is the next in my series of simple “recipes” for becoming seen as an authority in your field.
This is one of my favourites. It's to become seen as an authority by taking a stand. By championing a cause.
Watch this week's video to find out how to use this recipe…
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Here's the interview I mention in the video with consultant John Seddon:
Hi, it's Ian here. Welcome to another Five-Minute Marketing Tip. This week's tip is about how to become seen as an authority by standing out and standing for something. I'll see you after the break.
Hi, welcome back. This week's Five-Minute Marketing Tip is the next in my series of simple recipes for positioning yourself as an authority in your field. We'll come to the details of the recipe in a few seconds, but first, I want to tell you a little story.
Back when I was a kid and growing up, I wasn't really interested in business at all. I was more interested in comic books and sci-fi and computers and that kind of stuff. But when I first came to university 30 years ago and I started going out with Kathy, we used to go into Manchester, and one of the shops Kathy would go and visit was the Body Shop. Now, today, the Body Shop is, of course, a very mainstream store. In fact, it's owned by L'Oreal, but back then, it was a little bit different. It was one of the very first businesses that actually stood for something. A set of principles like fair trade, not testing their products on animals, that it really stood behind, and the founder, Anita Roddick, would launch campaigns related to those principles. She put her money where her mouth was and be a very vocal advocate of the things that they believed in.
That was really the first thing that got me actually interested in business, and it was a shop that when we went in there and we bought stuff, I kind of felt like part of their community, like the shop was standing up for stuff that I believed in, and I felt good shopping there. Now, you can harness similar principles in your business. Now, even if you're a service business, a consultant, a coach, a lawyer, you too can have something you stand up for, that you can believe in, that you can get a series of supporters for who will use you in preference to others because of that belief.
A case in point would be John Seddon. John is a consultant I interviewed a couple of years ago for my podcast series on authority marketing. In fact, there's a link to the podcast below this video.
Now, John is an advocate for systems thinking in terms of business improvement in the services and the public sector, as opposed to the prevalent approach, certainly here in the U.K., of top down target setting, where you kind of take an overall top down target and slice it up into your different departments and set them all some targets that they've got to achieve. John is a real vocal critic of that approach. He gets a lot of press talking about how that's the wrong way of approaching things and you need to take a more holistic systems based approached to getting everyone to pull towards the same goal.
Now, as a result of that, firstly, John's made a lot of enemies in the public sector, because he's criticizing the way they do things, but secondly, for those, for the minority in the public sector who do agree with him and believe that a systems thinking approach is the right way to go, he is the obvious choice to use as a consultant. So typically, if one of the public sector bodies that believes in top down target setting wants consultants to come and help them, John's firm won't even be considered, nor would he consider working for them, but for the minority who do believe in systems thinking, he's the obvious, number one choice, because he's a real advocate for it, as opposed to being a kind of jack of all trades who would say, “Oh, yeah, I could do that or I could do the other approach.” If you really believe in systems thinking yourself, then obviously, you'll want to use a consultant who also strongly believes in the systems thinking approach.
Now, you can do something very, very similar in your business. What you need to do is to look at the different things you do and the ways you do them, your methodologies, and try and identify something that you do that is a bit different to what most people in your field do, but also something that where there's a real belief involved, where you believe that it is absolutely the right may of doing things.
So in my case, for example, maybe I could talk about the way that giving value in advance to your clients is absolutely the right way to market, rather than being self-promotional in your marketing. If it's something you can kind of build up a passion for, and you believe that others, potential clients, can be passionate about that particular way of doing things, even if it's a minority belief, then it can be a really strong component of your marketing, because that minority will always use you and see you as an authority on that particular area, rather than the people who don't have any particularly strongly espoused points of view or beliefs in that area.
The thing to do is to take, if you do identify that particular area, is to take it and visibly support it. So just like Anita Roddick did with her campaigns for the Body Shop, just like John Seddon did in terms of being a vocal critic of top down target setting and a real support of systems thinking and writing articles about that, you don't just write technical articles, for example, saying how to do it, you write articles promoting that way of doing things. Saying that that way of doing things is the best. Obviously, you have to believe that to be true, but if you're promoting the methodology and you're a big advocate of the methodology, then you will become the number one choice for people who want to use that methodology or that way of doing things or that approach to business or whatever it is you do.
So that can be a really powerful way of becoming seen as an authority by niching towards a particular belief of how things should be done. It doesn't have to be moralistic or ethical, like the Body Shop. In John's case, the difference between systems thinking and top down target setting, there's no kind of moral approach to that, it's just it does generate quite a bit of emotion about whether this is the right way of doing things or whether it's the wrong way of doing things, and you need that level of emotion in there.
So have a good think about whether there's something in your business that you could really crusade for, and if there is, think about becoming a visible supporter of that way of doing things. It can help set you apart. It can help you stand out by standing for something.
See you next week.