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Posts Tagged ‘10 Sun Tzu Rules of the Networked World

It is not money.  It is not sales.  You have crossed the threshold between wannabe and start up when you can answer #1 of the 10 Sun Tzu rules of the networked world.

Who are your fans and how can you reach the last one? The littlest one? The one at the end of the line?

When you know that, then you are no longer a wannabe. You are a start up.

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Your personality, your wine, your personality?

Via Flowing Data, a useful little chart on the personality of wine drinkers by wine preference.  A little fun and worthy example of good marketing.

Our first job in any business is to imagine our customers

The 1st of the 10 Sun Tzu Rules of  the Networked World asks us to imagine communicating with each one of our fans.  But for noobes, we have a bigger problem.

Just who are our fans and when do we interact with them?

An easy hack to get started

A good hack is to collect the scenarios describing our meetings with our customers – even those in our imagination! – and sort them into a colour wheel – like the vintners did with their wine.

What is your wine by the way?

Mine was always a Shiraz.  But I have mellowed to a Pinot Noir.

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How can we send one message to the fans about what is happening and why it is important?

This rule looks innocuous. After all, how hard can it be to write one short message of 100 or so characters that sums up what you want to say and why it is important?

Do we convey our understanding of the world – or do we get distracted?

The original example was provided by Umair Haque when he wrote his rules for 5G warfare in the current healthcare debate in the States.  Often we start rebutting another version of reality when we should be stressing what is important.

We get a sense of what is important or not in the way a message is framed.  Framing a message tells us which facts are important.  Once we see which facts take us where we want to be, we can ignore the noise.

An example we all know too well

One of my favorite examples of lousy “feed forward” is the progress map that passengers are shown on a long haul flight. Bad, bad idea. We do not want to be reminded that we have 10 more hours in a sardine can. Personally, I don’t want to be reminded that I have no control. So I switch off and don’t look.

But if the message were overlaid with colours that related to “lights dimmed for sleeping” followed by another colour for “lights brightened & breakfast” and another for “seat belts fastened and preparation for descent” and another “descent and landing”, then we would have a sense that of what happens when and even a sense of urgency about curling up and having snooze while we get the chance.

Then I would look. Then I would experience as sense of comfort and relief.

Who drew the map?

It is the framing of the message that digs deep into professional expertise.

Novices are famous for noticing superficial detail A medical student remembers what you wore. The consultant remembers what they diagnosed and prescribed (they don’t even remember your symptoms!)

An expert chunks; relevantly.

Our job as leaders, influencers and communicators

What we are going to do is supply our expertise in a chunk that is intelligible to our fans – and yet adds tremendous value because it is the right chunk.

What are the chunks that matter? Make sure you know. Then you can package them easily.

And this is what you, as the expert about your product and service, knows best.

The social media component comes with framing those chunks in language your clients can understand in re-tweetable messages of 100 characters including a link back to resources for your fans to dig deep.

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The 2nd rule 0f the 10 Sun Tzu rules of the Networked World

Make our messages as small as possible.

An example

Once again, this rule is intimidating at first, but we can be assured that if pundits are telling us to do something, then they already know how to do it. So for an example, have a look at the link to BNET that I posted yesterday morning to a handy resource for Prospect Qualification.

Note well how they have worked out a simple decision tree and each step is small enough to do.

The General Idea

This is not a new idea at all. We often break complex jobs into small steps.

We are not, however, making information chunks small for the sake of it.  If we do, we are in danger of disemboding information and rendering it unintelligible.

But feed forward and feedback must come in ‘glanceable’ amounts – like the speedometer on our car. The information must arrive at exactly the point that we need it (not at exactly the point Head Office feels like sending it!)

Our Overall Goal

To think in networked terms, I want to reach everyone one of my fans and I want to reach potential fans – the friends of my friends.

So I have to think like Twitter.   Not only do I keep my messages under 140 chars, I allow for the RT and keep them even shorter!  After all, they are 5 times more likely to be read when they come from a close friend.

The technicalities are easy, it is the substance that counts.

The technicalities can be learned quickly enough. What is harder to work out is when and where people need information.

And the viral potential of the message

Hairdressers are often very good at txting reminders for appointments.

What we need too are messages that will go to the “end of the line.” What are we likely to retweet because we want other people to know that information too?

My local deli for example, could tweet its specials to customers who have requested tweets. That makes it easy for me to retweet and invite someone to lunch.

Hack for the 2nd rule

For each customer group that we have identified in 1a and judged to be a qualified prospect in 1b, we can ask:

  • What information do they need from us to organize themselves with people around them?
  • What is their purpose when they use my message?

Isn’t that why we love resources so much?  They become a lego block in a project of our own.

Recap of the 2nd rule

So we need to go back to the scenarios for defining our fans in 1a and think again.  Do we know what our potential customer is trying to achieve?

When we do, communicating is ever so easy.

(And it is so hard, when we try to jump steps.  Find time this weekend to work on your scenarios!  You can do them in the shower, in a walk in the woods, while waiting for your daughter to finish ballet class!).

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It is hard for a start up to get started on their social media strategy because they can’t describe their fans

Earlier today, I posted a reworded version of Umair Haque’s 10 Sun Tzu Rules in the Networked World

The first rule gives new startups a lot of trouble. “Who are our fans?”

People going into their first job or making a career switch have the same trouble. How can we say who we work for when we know so little about them? When we are asked too abruptly to describe our future customers, we feel very anxious and tend to freeze.

Freezing in terror is a common psychological response to the unknown

Freezing falls into a common ‘class of problem’ that positive career psychologists can sort out for you. This is how we think about your predicament.

We are on the edge of canyon staring at a frayed rope bridge, and our eyes are naturally drawn to the long drop down. It is sickening.

But we have all heard the advice – don’t look down – and it is good advice.

The solution is to focus on what we have going for us

What we have to do is to take our eyes off the long drop down, and take stock. Take your eyes off that drop now, and look at your pockets.

What resources do you have? What is in your pockets? Do you have a map? And so on.

Feel better?

Now we want to keep our focus on what is going for us

A tricks of the trade will help.

I found this version of an elevator pitch that will do the trick.

Hello, ____________(their name).  I’m ___________ (my name).

I heard/read in _______________ (source) that________________________________(event/issue).

Perhaps, ______________(co name) should consider__________________________(my brilliant idea.)

As _____________(informal/formal position), I __________________________(achievement/activity).

And ________________(result).

So what do you think?

Thank you.  I would like to continue this conversation. Here is my card.

And we should spot a solution quite readily

I am sure your potential customers can swimming into your imagination quite vividly. In fact, you are probably surprised (and impressed) by the clarity and detail that you imagine!

Did it work? Do let me know.

Oh, and do jot down a few scenarios down before you lose the pictures.   Then you can see if your social media strategy falls into place easily.

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