By Isaiah Baldissera, lead educator, Groundswell BUILD.
This post is a continuation of 'Social Doesn't Mean Special' (Part 1/3) based on my learnings working with urban social entrepreneurs at Groundswell.
Clarity is king
This year’s cohort at Groundswell has included many talented and experienced participants. Some have led legal teams overseas, been trained as product designers, worked as specialist educators, or spent decades in the industries they’re now launching a venture in. Experience and expertise aside, the simple (yet crucial) parts of launching a venture often remain the most elusive. More specifically, I’m referring to clarity of communication. It seems that crafting a clear message and communicating it effectively are still a challenge no matter your experience level.
Clear communication is rooted in a sturdy understanding of the problem you are trying to solve and the people you are trying to solve it for. Without this insight, it is impossible to craft a compelling message that persuades your target audience to take action.
Once this is established, however, there’s still work to be done. This takes the form of identifying which parts of your product or service (1) solve the user’s problem, (2) solve the problem in a way that is different from other products or services, and (3) excite the user enough to remark about it.
Let’s focus on the third point. It’s no exaggeration that startups live and die on clear, thoughtful messaging. Given that founders are working with minuscule budgets, word of mouth is still the best form of marketing and therefore it is essential that what they say and write provokes a noticeable, positive response with the target audience. Direct, simple, compelling copy and language will be the only messaging that spreads.
I’ve found that getting participants to pitch and refine weekly (if not daily) with an audience is the fastest way to achieve this. I also encourage them to closely observe the facial expressions and body language of the person(s) they are pitching to. If the person seems at all confused, distracted, or ambivalent, it may be time to spruce up your spiel.
Key Takeaway: Refine your messaging to include a compelling one-liner, and 30-second pitch that strikes a chord with your target audience.