“I describe myself as a simple Buddhist monk. No more, no less”. That is the sparkling clear answer of Dalai Lama to the question “what do you do?”. No matter how simple it may seem, but this is a difficult question to answer to. Today, more than ever, you literally have seconds to say things as people are skimming information. They do not have time, nor patience. Saying the right thing in a short way is even more important if you need to spread the word about what your business or association does.
It could be during a meeting, a dinner, or a glass of rosé after a satisfying Friday, but we always find ourselves in front of that question: what do you do? Here we have three main types of answer.
- The quick and over confident one, who thinks that a name is enough. “I work at Apple” or “I work at the Commission” does not actually mean anything. (Tip – ask the question again)
- The “let-me-explain-you never-ending” one, still trying describing the fields of activity 10 minutes later that question. (Tip – find an excuse to jump off from the conversation)
- The one standing out, delivering a clean and straightforward description in around a minute, making the point quite persuasively, both in terms of profession and business sector.
A company or association description aims to provide useful and meaningful information to those seeking to learn more about it. Yet, it happens very often to have an ineffective presentation or a weak description. It happens on a flyer, on the company website, during a public speech.
To be honest, I’ve been in the situation as well: not being able to properly and efficiently describe it! So, I’ve been working on it and I’d like it to share with you a very useful exercise that will allow you to understand the essence of your association or company. I named this exercise “1 minute to 1 word”. Expect to spend some time on it!
A preliminary note – adjectives issue!
There are many companies that are using meaningless adjectives to describe their services or field of activity, for example “quality”, “experienced”, “superior”. These are general adjectives that do not speak about your organisation. Of course, we all offer quality products/services, with fully experienced professionals, and superior expertise. Did you ever heard of a company promoting itself as offering low-quality services, with unexperienced professionals and inferior expertise? What I am trying to say is that all these adjectives are (and should remain) implicit. Using meaningless and generic adjectives in company descriptions makes these descriptions forgettable. You should try first to focus on the content rather than the form and then to choose words that are simple, straightforward, benefit-oriented and preferably not already belonging to a competitor.
Then, I must say it loud: tendentially both international and EU associations are a step further on this, being able to have a very effective usage of adjectives.
Now, let’s get started with the “1 minute to 1 word” exercise
Let’s start with answering to four questions. Remember, your information must be brief. Let’s keep the answer for each four of maximum two sentences.
- What do you do? Here you should start highlighting the scope of your company/association. Remember, a well-crafted description also indicates the right audience. List everything that your company provides or that your association represents and advocates for, and then narrow the list down to what is your main everything.
double-id services include branding, graphic design, printing and production, web design and development and marketing and business strategy for International and EU associations and Large corporations.
- What problem does your company/association solve? Here you will conclude the scope of what your company/association does. List all the possible problems your offer can solve and, again, narrow the list down to what is your main problem your audience are experiencing
All our communications services and the right balance between them, make your entire business strategy consistent and effective.
- How is your company/association different from the others? This is a surprisingly difficult question, but once you get the answer, it pays off a lot. It may not be apparent immediately, but it will make future decisions easier because now there is a reference point. Ask yourself what is that makes you unique.
Because we have a strong strategic orientation, our job goes far beyond a pretty design, involving another level of action, that is quite difficult to find around.
- Why should anyone care? Here you explain what your solution means for your audience, and in which way it is unique.
Imagine to have a partner who is willing to understand your business/advocacy filed and tailors a strategy just for you. That’s the extra we offer that sets us apart from all the rest.
No, the story should sound something like this:
double-id services include branding, graphic design, printing and production, web design and development and marketing and business strategy for International and EU associations and Large corporations. Our communications services and the right balance between them, make your entire business strategy consistent and effective. Because we have a strong strategic orientation, our job goes far beyond a pretty design, involving another level of action, that is quite difficult to find around. Imagine to have a partner who is willing to understand your business/advocacy filed and tailors a strategy just for you. That’s the extra we offer that sets us apart from all the rest.
Now let’s go shorter! 10 words or so…
Your goal is an around 10 words statement that exactly describe your company or association focus and added value. A short and clean sentence can get your message far away, where a longer description might not.
How then do we proceed?
- Start taking words away from the 1 minute description. Combine and compact sentences if needed.
- Take out everything that is extra and identify the main elements.
- branding, graphic design, printing, web design, business strategy (communication services)
- International and EU associations and Large corporations.
- strategic orientation
- Keep writing everything repeatedly.
- double-id offers branding, graphic design, printing, web design, business strategy for non-profits and large corporations.
- double-id offers communication services for non-profits and large corporations.
- double-id is the partner for non-profits and large corporations for communication services and strategy.
- Communication services and strategy partner for non-profits and large corporations.
- Partner in communication services and strategy for non-profits and large corporations.
Once you have that around 10 words statement, spread it – on your website, socials, newsletter and so on.
Now, the cherry on top – the 1 word.
There is only one word that describe the spirit of your company/association. No matter as much “souls” your company or association have inside, there is only one word that describe the essence of a brand, and this should be the basis for creating consistent marketing materials that convey the personality and offer of your company/association. It could be a name, an adjective or a verb. Some example?
- Nike – determination
- GoPro – extreme
- Apple – innovate
- Armani – classy
- Disney – imagination
This is a huge step, and somehow also an intimate one. This is not something you will communicate out loud, but your communication materials will indirectly communicate it! People could guess it, but you keep it internally, to develop a coherent and cohesive way of communicate the brand! It may not appear as a crucial element at a first sight, but it is a big plus for decisions as this will become your reference point: as simple as a word, as complex as life.
And now, the question must be asked: what do you do?