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Steve Woodruff on the What and Why of Clarity

By Site Strategics
January 25, 2019

Everyone talks about “cutting through the noise” to get your marketing message through to your target audience, but what does that really mean? We asked the King of Clarity, Steve Woodruff, to make sense of it all in EDGE of the Web Episode 296 sponsored by agile digital marketing company Site Strategics.

The King of Clarity: The Backstory

Steve helps businesses craft a message so clear that they can be heard, remembered, and referred. Over 30 years of business experience, he has consulted with companies ranging from solo start-ups to top five pharmaceutical firms. His new book, Clarity Wins: Get Heard. Get Referred, launched in November.

Steve started out in the healthcare field, working with small companies where you have to wear lots hats, from sales to marketing and consulting. He discovered the aspect he enjoyed the most was the marketing and branding. His specialty quickly became helping companies figure out who they were. He could spend a day or even half a day with a company and help them clarify their identity in terms of what they do, what their message is, and who is their ideal client. He eventually started calling his practice “clarity consulting.” After consulting and blogging about clarity for years, the next natural step was pulling it all together into a book.

Three Critical Dimensions of Clarity and Two Moments of Truth

The best weapon to use in cutting through all the marketing noise is clarity – you have to be clear about the following three dimensions:

  1. Identity. Whether it’s an individual or a company, the key is being clear about your core identity. It’s surprising how many companies are not clear about their identity. They try to do too many things or be too many things and end up with an identity that’s pulled in too many directions.
  2. Focus. When you’re clear about who you are, then you can get clear on what you do or how you focus your efforts. What is it your company offers? What niche are you pursuing?
  3. Message. The next step is taking what you’ve developed for a clear identity and focus and figuring out how to package that into simple, human-ready, memorable messaging. The standard you’re going for here is that when you talk to someone about your company, they “get it” within 15-30 seconds. Not only do they get, but they get it well enough to refer other people to you.

Based on the above, there are two “moments of truth” that reveal whether or not you’ve achieved clarity. The first is whether or not you can clearly convey your company’s message to others in less than 30 seconds. The second moment of truth is whether or not that person can tell someone else about your company. This is important because one thing that has always been true and will continue to be true is that the surest way to get new business is by gaining referrals. Clarity is the tool that gets you referrals.

Why Clarity is Hard to Achieve

The challenge with clarity is that too many companies think they’ve achieved when in reality they have not. This problem is illustrated in the cartoon below:

You can’t read the label of the jar you’re in

Because you can’t read the label of the jar you’re in, you need outside, objective help to achieve clarity. Companies are too immersed in their own stuff to gain the larger perspective from outside the jar it takes to achieve clarity. It’s the classic “can’t see the forest for the trees” dilemma.

Clarity Cuts Through the Noise

The people your company needs to reach with its messaging are inundated with noise, both digital and analog. How does the human brain deal with this bombardment of information? It uses its reticular activating system or RAS to filter out the noise and focus on what’s relevant and important or what’s new, funny, surprising, etc. If your company’s message can’t get through a person’s RAS filter, you’re dead in the water. And you’ve got 15-30 seconds to get through that RAS filter. That’s why you have to be very clear with your messaging, along with being novel or new or interesting and so on. Clarity is what cuts through the noise and passes the RAS filter. Clarity is what gets you heard and referred.

Connect with Steve Woodruff’s Ideas on Clarity

The Book: http://www.ClarityWins.org

King of Clarity on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kingofclarity

Clarity Over Coffee short video snippets: https://www.youtube.com/user/impactiviti/videos

Clarity Fuel website: https://clarityfuel.com

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