The greatest message will have no impact…

The greatest message in the world will have no impact if no one is listening.  This is not exactly a new concept.  But if you forget it, you can get into BIG trouble.

You may have heard the famous riddle:j0438604[1]

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

While often attributed to Irish Philosopher George Berkeley, this is more likely a paraphrase of Berkeley’s writings from his musings in A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, that delved into knowledge and perception.

From Berkeley’s perspective,

“To be is to be perceived” .

In the language of the great philosophers if his day, the maxim was “Esse est percipi“.

In the language of today’s business we might say …

If you are not perceived to exist, you do not exist.

But what does this have to do with business and messaging?

Actually quite a bit.  Berkeley may have been writing in a time before any of our businesses where even a glimmer, but when you apply his words to the goal of growing a business, they are profound.

“If you have a great MESSAGE and no one is around to hear it – does your message matter?

The answer is Probably Not.  Too often I have seen companies fail.  It was not because they did not have a great product or service – they did.  They failed for the simple reason that the right audience NEVER GOT THE MESSAGE.  Since the message never reached the customer. employee, partner, or investor, the perception of value was not created – and the company did not get what they needed – more sales, more productive employees, better partnerships, or investment dollars.  Eventually, the companies failed to achieve their goals or in some cases disappeared completely.

In business, perception IS reality

Equally important is how your target audience perceives your message or business.  You may have the best service or widget in the  world, but if aren’t aware of it and perceive the value to THEM, you are just whistling into the wind.

So if Audience and Perception are that important …

Here are some tips for finding an audience and helping to shape perception.

  1. Know who your audience is. Unless you have universal product – EVERYONE is not your market.  Define them first!
  2. Understand where they hang out. This is the first rule of both messaging and networking.  If you are singing like a bird in an empty forest.  You will have very little impact.  No one will hear you. Use media – both social and traditional wisely.  Unless you have unlimited funds, look at the demographics of the audience BEFORE you invest your time and money there.
  3. Share a message that provides value to the listener. Do your homework on what your target audience is hoping to learn, to solve, to fix.  Build your message around how your product or service will do just that.
  4. Never forget – the perceptions AND words of others will always be more powerful than your own. You can spend millions and have your reputation destroyed when unhappy customers, employees, or partners raise their voice, just as your fame can be assured when enthusiastic customers, employees, or partners spread the word.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay Tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

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