The internet is a battlefield—a cacophony vying for attention. It’s a warzone filled with the desperate screams of marketers trying to rise above the noise. In this brutal landscape, your brand has to be armed to the teeth to survive, or be willing to fade away in the the ever-growing sea of competitors.
But how do you break through the barriers and make a genuine connection? The answer doesn’t lie in a new logo, picking the right color, or a catchy tagline. It requires mastering the art of making your audience feel seen and heard.
Picture this: a person scrolling through their social media feed, barely registering the endless parade of ads and promotions. They’re bombarded with messages, but nothing sticks. Nothing resonates.
Suddenly, a voice cuts through the din, speaking directly to them, acknowledging their pain points and offering valuable insights. They pause, captivated, and whisper to themselves, “That’s right.” That’s the moment your brand has been waiting for, the moment of connection that sets the stage for a lasting relationship.
Today, we’ll explore how to use empathy, education, and a helpful strategy employed by the likes of Chris Voss, a former FBI negotiator turned sales trainer, so you can cut through that noise and create a lasting connection with your audience.
Let’s dig in.
The Battle for Attention
The internet is more saturated than ever before, with countless brands competing for the same limited resource: attention. Back in 2013, Microsoft did a study that found the average human attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to just 8 seconds from 2000 to 2013.
8 seconds—do you want to ride that bull? And that was 10 years ago. Now, the internet has only become more distracting, and it feels impossible to stand out.
But don’t despair just yet. The key to breaking through the noise is simple, though it will take time and practice to master. It requires mastering these three skills:
- Showing that you understand the situation your audience is in now
- Demonstrating where they want to go
- Offering them something of value to inch them closer
Instead of shouting into the void, you have to craft a brand story where your target audience learns something about themselves, and believes you can help them transform.
Getting to “That’s Right”
Being understood is one of the most powerful human desires. If you can show that you truly understand your audience, both their current troubles, and where they want to go, you will imprint on them as a mentor. This means going beyond surface-level interactions and digging deep into what drives them, what scares them, and who they want to become.
Chris Voss, a former FBI hostage negotiator, uses this power in high-stakes hostage situations. In his book, “Never Split the Difference,” Voss shares one of his most effective strategies, the “accusation audit.” It’s a tactic that involves acknowledging the other person’s concerns and fears before presenting your own argument.
Voss’s extensive background in negotiation has taught him the importance of eliciting the words “that’s right” from the other party. This phrase means an epiphany has gone off in their mind, and that he’s connected with them on a deeper level. Now, they’re willing to listen.
“‘That’s right’ is what people say when they feel heard, when they actually believe you understand their perspective. There’s a chemical change that takes place in our brain as a result of a subtle epiphany. And when we feel an epiphany, we feel better. You now have the ‘go signal’ because, even without them knowing it, their brain is willing to listen.” - Chris Voss
In the world of branding, achieving a “that’s right” moment is like striking gold – it’s the moment your audience realizes the value of your brand and the potential for being their guide.
By acknowledging what’s changed in your audience’s world and offering them a valuable insight, you create a sense of trust and rapport that can pave the way for a long-lasting relationship.
Teach, Don’t Sell
The goal of your brand should never be to merely sell products or services. Instead, focus on giving your audience a new perspective. Enrich their understanding of themselves, and help them see their challenges in a new light.
This feels counterintuitive—after all, isn’t the point of a business to make money? — but the truth is, giving without expecting anything in return creates reciprocity.
Reciprocity is the unwritten rule of human connection. It’s a powerful principle that compels us to give back when we receive something of value. It’s this very concept that can help your brand rise above the digital cacophony, capturing not only their attention, but also their heart.
By generously imparting knowledge, insights, or even just a moment of delight, you’re investing in a relationship built on trust and goodwill. In return, your audience is more likely to reciprocate by engaging with your brand, sharing their own experiences, and ultimately, becoming loyal advocates.
The point of your brand is to serve as a bridge between your audience’s current frustrations and the future they so desperately desire. They’re only logical conclusion will be that you are the right brand that can help them get there.
In the noisy, saturated world of the internet, creating a brand that stands out is no small feat. But by making your audience feel understood, you can capture their attention, and build a brand that can ultimately win their heart.
Give them an a-ha moment. Provide value without expectation. Show them the path towards a better future. You will create a brand that rises above the noise and becomes an indispensable part of their lives.
And as you embark on this journey, remember the power of getting to “that’s right”. Start there, and learn. It’s a moment worth fighting for, a moment that will make all the difference in the battlefield that is the internet.