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Words of Power

Nov 13, 2007
It doesn't matter how well you visualise your future plans and feelings for your business - just visualising business success is not enough. You need to convert your thoughts into the form of words and visual images.

Words have power - words spoken with clear intent and emotion carry more power than just random words on a page. Many businesses try and create their business plan or marketing material by just copying what someone else has done. They take the words, shuffle them around a bit and then label it with their company name.

One of the most common areas I see this is in a company mission and vision. Unless a group of people have had deep and probably challenging conversations about their personal goals and their understanding of the direction and then converted this to words ... then the company mission tends to look the same as everyone else's.

Try this out - go to the net and search for mission statements. Cut out the company name from the statement - in most cases they could be describing any company anywhere in the world. Here are two examples with the company names removed so you can see what I mean.

Expand upon our reputation in xxxx and to see the centre recognised as a world leader in the area.

XXXX is a market leading supplier of consumer and business XXXX solutions. We are a team committed to our customers' ongoing satisfaction through the empowerment and development of our staff.

To be the preferred supplier we will be easy to deal with and provide quality, value for money, products and services. To ensure success for all stakeholders we will deliver profitability, growth, job fulfilment and have a positive impact on the community.

Another common mistake I see is executives who say "of course everyone knows what we are about -we don't have to spell it out". Ask a random sample of 10 people in those companies what the business is truly about and you will get 10 different answers. Without common understanding these 10 people will all be pulling in 10 slightly different directions (and costing productivity as a result).

The problem is that words without a depth of shared understanding fail to communicate a clear and compelling message to the audience. They fail to motivate and inspire staff and they don't inform customers about what makes that business truly unique. This dilutes their effectiveness.

So how do you convert thoughts into words? The vehicles you use are things like business plans, corporate plans, marketing plans, website, brochures, business cards, flyers, magazines, articles, videos, letters, position descriptions and induction manuals.

Each one of these conveys part of the purpose of the business and encourages action and buy in by the reader. Each one needs to be consistently reinforcing the message and your business essence - they are not stand alone documents.

The "how" you do this is through discussion, drafting, more discussion and redrafting. That is why copywriting is much more than just words on a page. A truly great copywriter digs into the mind of the executives, the company and customers, facilitates discussion and then converts the thoughts into form.

This form becomes the basis of more discussion and redrafts until the true essence is captured. If your copywriter doesn't dig, challenge, research and draft and redraft then you are probably not getting the best representation of your business and will lose sales and opportunities as a result.

This also holds true for great graphic designers. Good design is not just great pictures on a page - they are the result of similar amounts of research, thought and challenge about your business. Images used should reflect your demographic both in terms of customers and staff - so people can identify themselves with your business.

Good designers and writers are facilitators of your discussions - able to stand impartially on the outside to facilitate shared understanding of the essence of your business.

Your words and images still need to be crafted with skill and there are many techniques and strategies to ensure your words and images are clear, compelling and trigger an action. Before you start putting pen to paper, read up on some core information about powerful writing or have a professional write or edit your language for maximum power and results.

You then need to test the words and images to ensure they are achieving the results you intended. Track the response rates, gather feedback, and try different variations on phrases or designs until you get the ones that have maximum results with your staff and customers.

Maximum results means that you have created something that resonates with the most amounts of people and is usually the one where your business essence is the most faithfully reflected.

All of this should tell you that your company's words and pictures are not just words and pictures - but the end of a mini strategic planning and review process for your company and should be given the same amount of care and attention for best results.

Once you have your words and images clearly identified - if you are open to it, you may choose to look at some forms of energy work such as Feng Shui or a space clearer to set your intent into your work space. I know this may sound far out, but Feng Shui is merely the essence of good design and flow for results. It is certainly worth trying if you want to get the best results for your business.

Thoughts without being committed to paper are just dreams and are not likely to materialise. Put your dreams out there - have the discussions - write down the results - test the resonance and tweak if needed to get a closer match to who you are.

If you do all of that, your business will be significantly more successful than a business that has just chosen a stock standard design and template words.
About the Author
Ingrid Cliff is a Freelance Copywriter, Business Development and Human Resources Consultant to Small and Medium Businesses with her business Heart Harmony. Ingrid writes a free weekly business development newsletter for small to medium sized businesses.www.heartharmony.com.au
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