This is not a White Paper! White Papers pretend to be unbiased.
This is an edited copy of a post from May, 2016
by Ted Steinberg, Co-founder
The 3 C’s of how everyone communicates are:
- The Context of The Communication = where the communicator is coming from. (The recipient picks up on this. We do not need to tell them, nor should we, unless we want to sound ridiculously terrific.)
- The Concept of The Communication = the rationale for why we are communicating with them. (We need to tell them why we are doing this, no matter what, unless we have something to hide.)
- The Content of The Communication = the stuff, details, features, benefits, opportunity, etc. we are communicating, which we want them to know. (Less is More! The less content the better, and eliminate the self-congratulatory phrases and put the product superlatives in the trash where they belong. Save the plaudits about your company for the recipients to decide upon. Customers like to sell themselves.)
The Content of Your Communication = What are you offering?
Understanding The Content of Your Communications.
Like everyone in business, what you are offering (selling) is capable of being quantified, and since all things are quantifiable, no matter how you intend to dress up your communications with catchy phrases, you sell stuff. I sell stuff, you sell stuff, all god’s children sell stuff, especially when we pretend we really aren’t selling stuff, or if we are forced to admit that we sell stuff, our stuff is better than their stuff. (Their stuff = what they already have or what they might be thinking of buying from our horrible competition.)
Since you sell stuff, the content of your communications (spoken or written) will need to have some features and benefits so that your recipients will like your stuff.
Before we focus on the good stuff (great content), which all communications need let’s look at the Concept (the rationale) for what we want the communication/s to provide. Let’s pretend your products and services (the content) are contained in a vessel, and your vessel is on an ocean, and your vessel is coming from somewhere, and you’re headed somewhere. Your stuff is the Content, and you vessel is the vehicle (media, website, brochure, sales talk) which contains your stuff, and where you are headed and why is the Concept, and the way you hold your relationships with your associates and customers is the psychological climate (the Context) which affects where you are headed, and why, and where you are coming from.
Your Communications Reveal The 3C’s.
- The Context is the climate. Your climate, the one you have decided to operate within, is either.
- You AND Me. (And is a multiplier. And = a cooperation.)
- You OR Me. (Or is a divider. Or = a contest.)
- The Concept is your journey and why you are taking it. There are only two objectives (why you are communicating) for marketing and sales communications:
- You want to sell a Doing Business Relationship to the recipient/s.
- You want to sell a Product Purchasing Relationship to the recipient/s.
- The Content is what you are offering. There are only four subjects which describe the features and benefits, and the opportunities and value of what you want to sell them according to the relationship you wish to have with the customer. (See preceding paragraph.)
- The Product = simply described without the puffery. Short sentences, Save the “good, better, best” superlatives for your associates. No bragging to customers.
- The Support = pre-decision (pre-sale) & post-decision (post-sale) support.
- The Proposition =pricing, terms & conditions which you offer. (Since most sellers have “value propositions,” there is no point in pretending that one is better than the other unless a seller has a Specific Proposition which less than 1% of potential customers might receive. In all cases this Specific Proposition is customized to suit the situation, and never presented in a glossy format. It is always verbal and delivered in person, and when it is accepted, then it is reduced to writing. Thus, every seller has a general way of doing business, and this should be described in The Proposition.
- The Company = a bit of history. No mission statements. No self-congratulatory smoke. About us should be personal with a touch of biographical information. Save the nobility for your family and friends. When they laugh at you, you won’t be upset because you’re used to it!
- The quality of your content depends on the quality of the concept (your reason) for communicating it.
- Your Content and The Concept are dependent on the Context of how you hold your relationships with others, especially customers.
- If the Context of your communication is You AND Me, your ship sails in fair weather.
- If the Context of your communication is You OR Me, your ship sails in bad weather. Bring a life raft; you’ll need one!
- Pretend you’re Mark Twain. Before he chose Mark Twain for a pen name, he was Samuel Longhorn Clemens, and as a cub reporter he was advised by his editor, “write for the ear, Sam.” From that moment forward he listened to the words he wrote. He had two pieces of advice for people who wanted to write:
- “Write for the ear.” (My take on his advice: read your copy out loud as though you’re talking to yourself. If it sounds good or bad, it is,)
- “Cross out the unnecessary words.” (25 years ago, I restated Mark Twain’s advice for the benefit of Adobe’s Vice President of North American Sales, Tom Dyer. He laughed, “what are you trying to do, put us out of business.”)
- You’re not Charles Dickens. Before he was a famous popular author, he got paid by the word. (Wordy communications rarely communicate. So there!)