Treat others as you want to be treated? Not at all – please arrest this thought!!
We’ve all learned the golden rule and many of us strive to live it. But the truth is – we’re not all wired the same! Person A and Person B may not WANT to be treated in the same way. Some people welcome criticism and others don’t. Some want to talk it out and work through while others need space and time to reflect.
Rather than adopt your preferred method / approach / style of communicating, an agile audience-adapted approach is likely to facilitate better engagement and outcomes. Once you articulate it, the Platinum Rule becomes the obvious preference for marketers and business owners: treat others as THEY want to be treated.
A genuinely audience first approach to marketing requires business owners to communicate beyond their personal style and preferences in order to build trust and grow their business.
How are people different?
People are different in many wonderful ways:
- how we perceive the world
- what motivates us
- how we communicate
- how we project and perceive trustworthiness
This keeps life exciting because we never know what another person is thinking or feeling. But on the flip side, people can be confusing. The inability to navigate different personality types can have dire consequences on not just one’s business but also quality of life.
Let’s explore further our different personalities and behaviour patterns in the context of Content Marketing…
1. Perception – diverse lenses, diverse views
It all begins with perceptual frameworks. How your audiences perceive the world sets up their reality and defines their interactions with it. Here are some examples of how people are different in this regard:
“Intellectuals / Planners” love data and facts.
“Moralists / Protectors” prioritise values and principles.
“Unifiers / Caregivers” seek to create harmony and please others.
“Rebels / Funsters” look for the fun in things and need to have a play.
“Imaginers / Dreamers” explore ideas more intuitively.
“Promoters / Doers” focus on the tangible actions they can adopt.
Of course we all have each of the above personality elements within us – all of us have principles, can be playful at times and want to make others happy. But one or two perceptual frameworks are usually more dominant than others.
2. Motivation – the kaleidoscope of happiness
Your audiences all want to be happy. But everyone defines happiness in slightly different terms. Here are some of the different ways different audiences “fill their tanks”:
- pleasure and enjoyment, valuing fun
- making others happy, valuing relationships
- being efficient and the ability to fix things, valuing time
- protecting the organisation / people, valuing loyalty
- enjoying a feeling of independence, valuing self-sufficiency
- a freedom to wonder and explore, valuing alone / dream time
The curious thing about motivation is that one man’s upper can be another man’s downer. Consistently misreading your audiences’ motivational cues can prevent relationships from blooming.
3. Communication – Requesting vs Directing vs Caring
Communication is essentially about the exchange of information. Knowing what kind of information your buyer personas require is just the first step. How to exchange that information is a whole other ball game.
For example, intellectuals and moralists often like being asked for their thoughts and ideas. A requestive mode of communication facilitates the exchange of information. Imaginers on the other hand prefer to be told what to do. A directive approach to communication tends to work better with them. For still others, a nurturing or emotions-first mode of communication is the secret grease.
Mismatching your audience’s communication preferences can lead to stress and an unnecessary breakdown in communication. Conversely, adapting a communication style to suit the listener builds an important bridge between both parties. This is why it is important for business owners to grow beyond their personal “voice”.
4. Trust – same questions, different answers
We all want to build trust online. It is the foundational goal of most content marketing initiatives. Instinctively, we all appreciate that trust can be boiled down to 2 questions:
- Can I count on your brand / product?
- Am I safe with your brand / product?
But just as people perceive the world differently and value different things, so too are the answers to the above questions satisfied in different ways. Depending on what people value, they are either seeking:
- clear directions
- plenty of data and details
- openness to their opinions
- sensitivity to their feelings
Treat others how they want to be treated.
Writing an article or email or post in your own voice is straightforward. If you like it, it works. But does it work for your audience?
The most powerful content creators are able to put on different perceptual lenses, appeal to different underlying motivations and speak in the different languages of trust.
In our next article, we talk about how to overcome personality bias in your content: The Platinum Rule of Content Marketing in Action.