Every author dreams of creating a bestseller, as does every business. And while 50 Shades of Grey may have worked out well in the fiction category this year, when it comes to business, a grey message will get you on nobody’s reading list.
What’s a grey message? This: “We offer end-to-end talent productivity solutions.” And this: “Training, Marketing, PR, Communications, Strategy, Logistics, and Kite String, all under one roof.” Or this: “Our Business is Your Business.”
In other words – We do something. Or everything. Just ask and we’ll give it a go. Will work for food.
Trading off a clear identity and a specific offering in order to grasp at any potential opportunity for revenue is like waving a flashlight with no batteries around in a fogbank. Not only do your customers not have a clue who you are, you’re not even sure where you’re going or how to get there.
Throwing a bunch of bullet points against the screen and seeing which ones stick is shades-of-grey marketing. And it comes about from grey thinking – a lack of clarity around what your true value is, and a forgettable message that sheds no light on that value.
Here’s the rub – it is not your customer’s job to figure you out. They have a thousand other responsibilities. If you’re not clearly differentiated from the background noise out there, you’re just adding more shades of grey.
How do you move away from shades-of-grey marketing in order to differentiate from everyone else, and become truly memorable?
The land of grey is where commodities dwell. It’s where businesses walk in circles, broadcasting noise into the void with the hope that a clear echo will return. Healthy business development begins by coming out into the sunshine and leaving all those indefinite shades of grey behind.
It’s a fantasy to think that you can be a bestselling entrepreneur without a clear and focused message. Draw bright lines. Paint vivid pictures. Differentiate, and let all your competitors stay in the grey.
So what do you think? How do you get out of the grey (and stay in the black). We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below.