The essence of business: The problem and solution find each other. Think about it.
This is an area where I have to be careful. I love to think about ideas and possibilities. I could dream about things and find a bit of fulfillment in merely imagining what could be accomplished. Yet dreaming about doing is vastly different if action is never taken. So this is me telling myself to not get stuck in the talking loop. Instead, do something.
I came across a post by Kathy Sierra about her approach to presenting. This part stood out to me:
Open with a question they would very much like an answer for.
That’s it. Pose a question. You don’t have to announce you’re going to answer it, just… start. If you’re looking for an opening phrase, try something like, “Imagine you want to…” and then go. Don’t hesitate. And whatever you do, do NOT try to “establish your credibility”. Never try to tell them or sell them on why they should listen to you. If the question is one they want answered, their brain won’t let it go. The rest of the presentation is just a steady reveal of the answer(s).
There’s a lot more great stuff in her post, like focusing on making the audience more awesome, instead of being in a race to be the most awesome presenter. If you want more, check it out here.
I could also call this “leverage,” because that’s what it is.
It beckons the questions:
What are you doing?
Why or how is that any different from anything or anyone else?
I’ve heard both Hugh MacLeod and Seth Godin make the challenge to differentiate. It’s also a challenge to be willing to be great in a way and with an approach no one else is taking.
You can look at it as risky because it might be harder to gain traction. Yet at the same time it could be safer because if you gain any traction at all, you’re set.
Starbucks is pretty smart with how they engage you. I think it all comes down to this: They want to build a habit in your life of buying coffee from them.
1. It starts with good content. Ok, coffee divas, you might not consider it good, but you probably agree that it’s better than the coffee at most restaurants and gas stations.
2. They give you free music and apps. In store you can get the download code cards for free. If you have the app, it will give you notifications that there is a free download ready.
3. They want to turn the gift card that you were given into a reward card.
4. When you buy a bag of Starbucks coffee at the grocery store, they’ll still give you a “star” for your reward program.
5. When your are finished with a bag of Starbucks coffee you can bring the empty bag into the store and exchange it for a coffee. —> This one is a kicker. Even if you bought the Starbucks brand from another place, they are still driving you toward their retail store.
These are just a few small things, but they add up. By giving rewards and coordinating giving away music to you, they are trying to train you to respond favorably when they ping you. Also they keep themselves on your mind steadily. A constant slow drip of changing your habits and impulses. And from what I can tell, this strategy is working.