You have to be aligned: head, mouth, heart, feet!

After spending two days attending the InnoVenture Southeast Conference in Greenville, SC…I started to think about one of the speakers from the CHPRM’s Conference I attended last week. OK…let’s back-up for a second. Two different conferences, how in the world am I relating these two totally different topic areas: healthcare marketing and innovation/entrepreneurship?

CHPRM’s is the Carolina Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing Society who puts on two conferences each year, one happened this Spring. The opening speaker was a man by the name of Scott Regan who was talking about how to build a better brand. He said one thing that stuck out in my mind,”Be authentic! You have to be aligned: your head, your mouth, you heart, and your feet.” Hmm…makes sense. He then charged us with seven questions:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What is your product?
  3. How is it special?
  4. How is it different from others’ similar offerings?
  5. How can I demonstrate it’s trustworthiness?
  6. How can I demonstrate I am contemporary?
  7. How can I demonstrate cool?

As I walked through the InnoVenture Conference this past few days, I was surrounded by entrepreneurs, medium size to large companies, non-profits, etc. giving 15 minute presentations. These were more than just presentations but more like pitches. Each had to tell what made them special and what they needed to be successful, their elevator pitch. Some real good, some not so articulate. As I sat there…I thought about those seven questions and Scott’s quote: “Be authentic! You have to be aligned: your head, your mouth, you heart, and your feet.”

Creating messages with groups, whether it be a video message, direct mail piece, web landing page, or even a print piece…you have to think as it being a mini-elevator pitch for that particular situation. You have to get rid of the clutter.

I compare writing and executing a 30 second television spot and even 140 character tweet the same as an elevator pitch, asking myself those seven questions. It is easy to sit down and write a presentation for a pitch knowing your time is unlimited or even more than 30 minutes. But imagine having to to trim it to 5 minutes. It is just as hard as writing that same message in a 30 second spot or even a 140 character tweet. You have to be aligned, head, mouth, heart, and feet.

I was writing a script for a small business the other day and one of the first things I asked them to do is write out a one page description of their company’s message. From there, I sat down and spent time talking with them, challenging thought, presented opposing view-points, and began extracting a message. I am looking for that pitch, that memorable piece that if you were riding the elevator with Donald Trump, you would shake his hand, tell him what you do…enough so that you leave him with a taste in his heart to want to ask you to jump off the elevator and talk more.

I would much more prefer writing a memorable pitch, a memorable script, or a memorable piece of marketing that can achieve more in 140 characters (or 30 seconds) that two pages of boring non-sense. OK…I have written 2 hour documentaries and produced long form work that warranted story development, but the principal is still the same.

So what is my point here in this long drawn out madness? We have to be memorable, authentic to survive in this crazy game called business. It is healthy for us to ask ourselves those seven questions and not only apply it to our message, but how we do business. From state supported universities to major big box companies to small businesses…we are trying to leverage what we can to succeed. We have to be aligned in-order to be authentic.

I was talking with Russ Davis from Sandler Sales Institute today as he was explaining how he helps groups become successful. I felt like he and I were speaking the same language, helping people define their objective, understand their audience and goals, and refine the message…drill it down until it is memorable. That Russ Davis…he is a smart guy and so is Scott Regan and John Warner of InnoVenture. Where do you want to go and what do you need to get there? Ask yourself the seven questions and remember to “Be authentic! You have to be aligned: your head, your mouth, you heart, and your feet.” I need a dose of my own medicine!