Turning Business Inside-Out (Part 1)

(Post by Andrew Thorp)

My good friend, Adelaide-based Ian Berry (I think of him as the Sage from Down Under) once advised me to have a BHAG – a Big Hairy Arsed Goal. Well I think at MojoLife we’ve got a BHAG, and that’s to turn business inside out. What I mean by that is persuading businesses to fundamentally change the way they communicate.

At MojoLife we’d love to rid the world of soulless corporate-speak (with its client-focused modular matrix approaches) and replace it with a more authentic, open style that comes from the heart and cuts out the BS (as Ian would call it).

But it’s much more than just the words we use. It’s about moving away from a shallow, transactional culture to something that’s more centred around our beliefs and our sense of purpose.

It seems to me that both these things emanate from somewhere that’s rather overlooked in the corporate world right now – that’s the INSIDE (inside us, and inside our business). So much attention is placed on sourcing clients, targeting new markets, accessing finance and tracking the competition, that we take our eye off the most important resource we’ve got – ourselves. Our view at MojoLife is that we have to start somewhere else – on the INSIDE – if we’re going to flourish in the new economy.

Over three separate posts I’m going to look at 3 aspects of business where an Inside-Out approach can have a tremendous impact:

  1. Marketing with a Strong Story
  2. Persuasive Leadership
  3. Engaging and Motivating Employees

Does your business message communicate your PURPOSE?

Have some businesses lost sight of why they set up in the first place? I think so. Their original purpose (to right a wrong of some kind) is no longer the drum beat – it’s all become rather transactional and commoditized.  It’s about process and systems and price and outwitting the competition. In our view, it’s time to look deep inside again and consider our purpose – there’s a great story in that.

Building your business message around a strong sense of purpose (Simon Sinek would call it your ‘WHY’) turns your business from a commodity into an idea or a cause. Howard Shultz had a fantastic spell at the helm of Starbucks when he realised that it wasn’t really about the coffee. In his mind, it was about creating the ‘Third Space’, somewhere between work and home that could provide comfort and conversation. Shultz saw the bigger picture – the coffee and the sofas merely supported the idea.

When your business is built around righting a wrong, when you’re seen as fighting the cause of the repressed consumer – you adopt HERO STATUS in their eyes (think Jamie Oliver, Mary Portas). You’re essentially tapping into the vault of emotional frustration held by your audience, and that creates a powerful connection.

Of course, the audience might not yet know it’s got this pain. People didn’t know they needed i-Tunes or Pixar movies until Steve Jobs and John Lasseter came along, but they were visionaries. Imagine the uproar though from their fans if Apple and Pixar shut down their operations tomorrow!

You may have to ask yourself some searching questions to arrive at your true purpose. These get at the heart of why you need to exist, from the perspective of the client.

  • In your industry, is there a niggle/inconvenience/inconsistency that really irks customers?
  • Why are you well-placed to fix it?
  • Why are you connected to this?

The last question is interesting because it describes why you feel strongly about your cause.

The point is your overall purpose forms the core of your message, and your products and services emanate from this centre.

Your MISSION becomes your STORY and your STORY becomes your MARKETING.

(Next post covers persuasive leadership and inside-out communication).


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About Mojo Your Business

Mojo Your Business is an innovative training & consultancy company based in Manchester, UK. We're passionate about helping businesses and individuals perform better through effective communication. We specialise in corporate storytelling and how it applies to internal and external communication (employee relations, employability skills, leadership, relationship building, sales, marketing and public relations). More at http://mojoyourbusiness.com/
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