Hosted by:
Cut the Bull:
Writing that Turns Heads,
Changes Minds and Gets
Decisions
Carla Johnson
Principal
Type A Communi...
90%
OF MARKETING
CONTENT ISN’T SEEN
AS DIFFERENT OR
RELEVANT ENOUGH
TO CREATE MUCH
IMPACT.
We all sound the same
Too Many Firms Sound Like This…
COMPANY is one of the leading providers of transportation
engineering services in the Stat...
COMPANY is an 8(a), HUB Zone contractor specializing in General
Contracting Services. Committed to quality and excellence,...
What We Do Differently…
• Quality
• Trust
• Experience
• People
• Values
• Attitude
• NOTHING!
I gotta be me!
But just lik...
5000MESSAGES A DAY
The more I can fill the
consumer’s emotional well
with brand stories, the
less I have to trade on it.
-Jonathan Mildenhall...
Research Tells Us -
When surveyed, 70% of executives ranked
commoditization or competitive
differentiation as #1 threat to...
Research Tells Us -
Your challenge – avoid commoditization
and set yourself apart from the
competition.
Your message is yo...
65%
OF SR. LEVEL BUSINESS
DECISION MAKERS
WANT TO WORK WITH
SOMEONE WHO
SETS THE VISION
Source: Forrester Research
95%OF CONTENT IS
DESIGNED AROUND
WHY ME AND
NOTHING ELSE.
THEY’RE MISSING
STORIES, MESSAGING
AND WHY CHANGE.Source: Corpor...
WHY?
COMPANY is an 8(a), HUB Zone contractor specializing in General
Contracting Services. Committed to quality and excellence,...
Tell a story
that matters
in their
world.
Stories are Interesting
Stories are Concise
Stories are Shareable
How to Create Your Story
• Revisit your past
• What are the biggest initiatives your firm
has undertaken?
• Compare succes...
Owners Execs Clients
Partners Fans Employees
US Army Corps of Engineers
Omaha District
• Est 1934
• Focus on Missouri River Basin
• Civil works, military projects, env...
US Army Corps of Engineers
Omaha District
Keeping People Safe at Home
and Abroad.
Why
What
How
Start With WHY by Simon Sinek
y
Why
Story Essence
What What
You Do
What
How How How
You
Do It
How
You
Do It
How How
Essence of Your Story
Is not
• A mission statement
• A vision statement
• Tagline
It should be –
• Simple
• Focused
• Insp...
UNDERSTAND
YOUR AUDIENCE
Composite of characteristics of a group of
people
Understand their perspective, fears,
drivers and content needs
Types of ...
Mike Kennedy, Hospital Administrator
“I need a partner who understands how our immediate needs
can fit into a longer-term ...
Karen Olson, Chief of Staff
“I need a firm who understands the demands of how a
healthcare environment and our medical sta...
Glenn Anderson, Facilities Director
“I constantly have to battle for budget just for
maintenance. I can’t afford to have a...
Tell a story THEY want to hear…
…not what YOU want to say.
WHAT’s your business objective?
WHO are you talking to? (Personas)
WHEN in their decision-making process?
WHERE/HOW are th...
Tell them
Something They
Didn’t Know,
About a Problem
They Didn’t Know
They Had.
US Army Corps of Engineers
Omaha District
WHY Keeping people home safe at
home and abroad
WHAT Civil works, military, envi...
US Army Corps of Engineers
Omaha District
To respond to the aggressive
Schedule of the Base Realignment and
Construction A...
Multiple Platforms
Has a purpose for your audience
Has a specific audience
Tells the same story differently
Supports all other platforms
Help...
General Materials Why, touch on what and
how
RFQ Overview of why, heavy what, touch on
how
Proposals Lead with why, tell h...
Social Media Why, touch on what and how
Newsletters Overview of why and what,
focus on how.
Special Projects/Reports Lead ...
• Use your story as a filter for content
decisions. Does this help tell it?
– Yes – continue
– No – stop
• Everything you ...
“People will
forget what you
said, people will
forget what you
did, but people
will never forget
how you made
them feel.”
...
Cut the Bull.
Speak Human.
Carla Johnson, Principal
Type A Communications
(720) 344-0987
carla@goTypeA.com
www.goTypeA.com
Type A Communications
@car...
Cut the Bull: Writing that Turns Heads, Changes Minds and Gets Decisions
Cut the Bull: Writing that Turns Heads, Changes Minds and Gets Decisions
Cut the Bull: Writing that Turns Heads, Changes Minds and Gets Decisions
Cut the Bull: Writing that Turns Heads, Changes Minds and Gets Decisions
Cut the Bull: Writing that Turns Heads, Changes Minds and Gets Decisions
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Cut the Bull: Writing that Turns Heads, Changes Minds and Gets Decisions

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Perhaps nothing makes a faster and more profound impact on clients, prospective clients, the media, employees and other audiences than that of the written word. In fact, research shows that nearly 90% of what you create is not seen as different or relevant enough to create much impact. Many A/E/C firms have technical teams weigh in on proposals, presentations and marketing materials. Even marketers find their strengths lie more in strategy and planning, rather than articulating expertise in an engaging, compelling and lasting manner. While accuracy is important, firms often lose out in the early stages of proposals because they don’t understand how to craft messages or get dropped later during consideration.

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Cut the Bull: Writing that Turns Heads, Changes Minds and Gets Decisions

  1. 1. Hosted by: Cut the Bull: Writing that Turns Heads, Changes Minds and Gets Decisions Carla Johnson Principal Type A Communications @CarlaJohnson
  2. 2. 90% OF MARKETING CONTENT ISN’T SEEN AS DIFFERENT OR RELEVANT ENOUGH TO CREATE MUCH IMPACT.
  3. 3. We all sound the same
  4. 4. Too Many Firms Sound Like This… COMPANY is one of the leading providers of transportation engineering services in the State of STATE. Since its inception in 1976, COMPANY’S signature has been its responsiveness to clients and its delivery of a superior product. Our commitment to excellence, combined with our responsiveness, has gained us an outstanding reputation in the transportation industry and more importantly, the trust and confidence of our clients. Today, we are one of the largest minority owned civil engineering firms in STATE and among the top in consulting engineering firms specializing in civil and transportation related projects. Our corporate headquarters are located in Miami with regional offices located in CITY 1, CITY 2, CITY 3, CITY 4, CITY 5, CITY 6.
  5. 5. COMPANY is an 8(a), HUB Zone contractor specializing in General Contracting Services. Committed to quality and excellence, COMPANY has been in the SBA 8(a) program since 2008. COMPANY, as an emerging small business, has enjoyed a successful beginning and continue to grow based on quality, service, and knowledge. The Principal, NAME has over 15 years in the construction industry. COMPANY is equipped to meet our client’s demands. Office and field personnel work together organizing and facilitating all phases of our contracting services. And This…
  6. 6. What We Do Differently… • Quality • Trust • Experience • People • Values • Attitude • NOTHING! I gotta be me! But just like everyone else…
  7. 7. 5000MESSAGES A DAY
  8. 8. The more I can fill the consumer’s emotional well with brand stories, the less I have to trade on it. -Jonathan Mildenhall Coca-Cola 2020 Project
  9. 9. Research Tells Us - When surveyed, 70% of executives ranked commoditization or competitive differentiation as #1 threat to growth – outside the economy There are more capable competitors than ever before Clients are overwhelmed by the amount and complexity of information
  10. 10. Research Tells Us - Your challenge – avoid commoditization and set yourself apart from the competition. Your message is your most strategic competitive asset when everything else appears to be the same.
  11. 11. 65% OF SR. LEVEL BUSINESS DECISION MAKERS WANT TO WORK WITH SOMEONE WHO SETS THE VISION Source: Forrester Research
  12. 12. 95%OF CONTENT IS DESIGNED AROUND WHY ME AND NOTHING ELSE. THEY’RE MISSING STORIES, MESSAGING AND WHY CHANGE.Source: Corporate Visions
  13. 13. WHY?
  14. 14. COMPANY is an 8(a), HUB Zone contractor specializing in General Contracting Services. Committed to quality and excellence, COMPANY has been in the SBA 8(a) program since 2008. COMPANY, as an emerging small business, has enjoyed a successful beginning and continue to grow based on quality, service, and knowledge. The Principal, NAME has over 15 years in the construction industry. COMPANY is equipped to meet our client’s demands. Office and field personnel work together organizing and facilitating all phases of our contracting services.
  15. 15. Tell a story that matters in their world.
  16. 16. Stories are Interesting
  17. 17. Stories are Concise
  18. 18. Stories are Shareable
  19. 19. How to Create Your Story • Revisit your past • What are the biggest initiatives your firm has undertaken? • Compare successes and failures • Start asking “why” • What inspires people about your firm? • What’s the difference you’re trying to make? • If your firm went away tomorrow, what would be missed?
  20. 20. Owners Execs Clients Partners Fans Employees
  21. 21. US Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District • Est 1934 • Focus on Missouri River Basin • Civil works, military projects, environmental • Innovative thinking to solve problems never before addressed • Believed in looking for better ways to do things
  22. 22. US Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District Keeping People Safe at Home and Abroad.
  23. 23. Why What How Start With WHY by Simon Sinek
  24. 24. y Why Story Essence What What You Do What How How How You Do It How You Do It How How
  25. 25. Essence of Your Story Is not • A mission statement • A vision statement • Tagline It should be – • Simple • Focused • Inspirational
  26. 26. UNDERSTAND YOUR AUDIENCE
  27. 27. Composite of characteristics of a group of people Understand their perspective, fears, drivers and content needs Types of content: o What drives them o What information matters to them…and when o How they access it, when and where PERSONAS
  28. 28. Mike Kennedy, Hospital Administrator “I need a partner who understands how our immediate needs can fit into a longer-term strategy. We can’t afford to waste money on fixes and patches now that won’t have a long-term payoff.” Frustrations/Pressures/Concerns: BOD and revenue pressure, recruiting and retaining top medical staff, ensuring a future-forward healthcare environment for patients and families. Needs/Drivers: Strategic insights to thwart competition and attract and retain patients throughout their healthcare life cycle. What we want him to think: This firm can help set the vision for our healthcare system and show pitfalls to avoid. Content Needs: Vision for integrated services, phases planning and construction Content Types: • Research reports • Case Studies • Articles • Blogs • In-Person Peer Events
  29. 29. Karen Olson, Chief of Staff “I need a firm who understands the demands of how a healthcare environment and our medical staff need to work to take care of patients. I want a facility that’s functional and beautiful. We can’t have great design at the sacrifice of quality patient care.” Frustrations/Pressures/Concerns: Efficient operations, patient safety, proximity of staff to patients and ability to respond during emergencies. Needs/Drivers: Highest quality patient care, high impact staff, a physical environment that facilitates patient recovery and staff energy. What we want her to think: This firm understands the collision clinical needs, physical structure and technology demands. I trust their recommendations. Content Needs: Trends, best practices Content Types: • Research Reports • Books • Articles • In-person Peer Events • Research Reports
  30. 30. Glenn Anderson, Facilities Director “I constantly have to battle for budget just for maintenance. I can’t afford to have a firm come in and not know what they’re doing, because it will prove disastrous to my long-term capital budget. Whatever we spend money on has to work.” Frustrations/Pressures/Concerns: Budgets, constant facility upkeep, balance between long-term planning and short-term demands. Needs/Drivers: Ability to prove my value and having a voice in long- term facility planning. What we want him to think: This firm knows that whatever they design and build, I have to make it work daily. Content Needs: Hands-on facilities management and efficiency. Content Types: • Articles • Reference Books • Case Studies • How-to Videos (repairs)
  31. 31. Tell a story THEY want to hear… …not what YOU want to say.
  32. 32. WHAT’s your business objective? WHO are you talking to? (Personas) WHEN in their decision-making process? WHERE/HOW are they connecting with you? WHAT do they want to know? WHY do you matter to them? (Story) Cutting the Bull -
  33. 33. Tell them Something They Didn’t Know, About a Problem They Didn’t Know They Had.
  34. 34. US Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District WHY Keeping people home safe at home and abroad WHAT Civil works, military, environmental HOW Military: - Missile silos - NORAD - Military housing - BRAC Act - Strategic Air - Overseas Infrastructure Command
  35. 35. US Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District To respond to the aggressive Schedule of the Base Realignment and Construction Act, the Omaha District revised its design/bid/construction process. The result was a MILCON transformation policy that enables crews to build facilities cheaper, faster and more green yet at the same level of quality as the past. The immediate impact was tremendous – construction costs fell by 15% and timelines moved 30% faster.
  36. 36. Multiple Platforms
  37. 37. Has a purpose for your audience Has a specific audience Tells the same story differently Supports all other platforms Helps move people through the decision- making process Each Platform -
  38. 38. General Materials Why, touch on what and how RFQ Overview of why, heavy what, touch on how Proposals Lead with why, tell how that drives what and how Web Why (top pages), what and how Platforms
  39. 39. Social Media Why, touch on what and how Newsletters Overview of why and what, focus on how. Special Projects/Reports Lead with why, tell how that drives what with heavy focus on how. Provide insights. Thought Leadership Heavily on why and where you see that driving your clients’ industries. Platforms
  40. 40. • Use your story as a filter for content decisions. Does this help tell it? – Yes – continue – No – stop • Everything you write should follow the why, what, how structure • Weight of each depends on purpose of the piece • Your WHY opens new doors to tell your story Lean Writing Machine
  41. 41. “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou
  42. 42. Cut the Bull. Speak Human.
  43. 43. Carla Johnson, Principal Type A Communications (720) 344-0987 carla@goTypeA.com www.goTypeA.com Type A Communications @carlajohnson Carla Johnson Carla Johnson
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