Do you know what your audience is thinking?

If most opportunities come attached to a person, then the more conversations you have will uncover possibilities that may not even be on your radar.

ISEEC: Inspire, Surprise, Engage, Excite, Challenge – is the mantra of Talent Lab we call Audience Thinking and is the methodology that links everything we do. All companies have two audiences – the ones who have already discovered you and the ones who don’t know your brand, services, or products – yet.  Audience Thinking at the heart of your strategy helps them find you more quickly and keep them when they do.

The modern success stories in business are based on finding a large audience and quickly. The recipe for a fast and rich exit – the Holy Grail of the business founder – is to find an idea, bring the audience to the idea, sell the idea and its audience. For all other companies, especially start-ups and SMEs, without the VC dollars to back them, growing an audience organically is why we spend all our time on Linkedin, Twitter, and Instagram looking to attract eyeballs to our websites and convert viewers into prospects. And it works. But why?

Engagement is everything

Engagement is the buzzword for many sectors, but it requires many different skills and pieces of information. You need to know your audience and find the best channels to communicate with them in a way they find relevant and a worthwhile investment of their time. Once you have their attention, you need to constantly adapt and shape both the information you send them, but more importantly, help them to share their opinions about you with you.

For a modern B2B company, there are numerous ways of starting a relationship with a prospect and helping them become a customer, from digital and online, to live events, exhibitions, conferences, networking and beyond.

But as you expand, you also need to find ways to keep your customers close to you and make them feel valued and listened to. We all have relationships with brands that we trust and trust them enough to give them money in return for a service or product. But many of Talent Lab’s business services providers  – banking, utilities, mobile, website hosts, insurance, etc. – I have no relationship with, beyond the direct debit I pay or the monthly newsletter they send me.

Conversations run two ways

One day, a provider will turn up at a networking event or via a recommendation from a trusted source or a targeted online offer – and I will judge the value of my existing relationship is not equal to the money I will save by moving our accounts. Indeed, competition regulation is making this process easier all the time.

But an occasional personal email, or invitation to meet, or to be part of my existing providers’ community of fellow clients would give me a relationship where I felt valued as someone who pays for that company to exist.

If most opportunities come attached to a person, then the more you talk to them – and let them talk to you, the more valued they will feel and you will receive. Understanding and acting upon the information your audience shares with you is the key to building a community around your brand and the critical shared ingredient of successful modern companies.

Mark Herring

Mark Herring

Co-Director of Talent Lab. Business and Brand Strategist. Connector-in-Chief at Urbano Network, leading on Zero Carbon Engagement Programme and Only Connect Podcast.

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