Understanding every brand and content writer’s fear and defence
Photo by Wouter Supardi Salari on Unsplash
Those who write to produce results are aware of the challenges it brings. They are also aware, that they are engaging with fixed emotions and beliefs. Brands which have a history do not chase customers in the same way new companies do. This basic distinction changes the way we write.
It’s important to understand that unpredictability cannot be tracked and therefore fully understood. Some would argue that it can, but what can be observed, in what they call proof is similarities rather than correlation. At first, this may not look like an important distinction. But when it comes to the inception of thoughts, ideas and the branding of a product, it is.
Those who write like catching a wave are trend followers. But those who create waves are the ones that will lead a new way in familiar ground. This is especially important if you are writing for a start up.
Think of the similarities between 7up and Nike. They are both brand names, but that is where it ends. The obvious difference is that one is a drink and the other is an apparel brand. In ancient greek thought, Nike is the goddess of victory. But what does 7up have to do with lemon and lime? What is 7up? Whatever it is, it is famous and everyone who has heard of 7up knows what it refers to.
This is just one example that would be hard to measure independently. In other words, these two brands are connected to specific products. We may drink 7up, not because of the name, but rather because we like the taste of lemon and lime. But most people wear Nike apparel because it is Nike.
Therefore, we must be clear about the history of the brand if we are to write for them. What causes their success and what could cause their downfall (think about Cristiano Ronaldo removing Coca-Cola from his press conference and telling the audience to “Drink Water”).
In the invisible gorilla (I’m referring to the book) a great lesson can be learned. Two pieces of information which seem to make no sense, make perfect sense when a third piece of information is included.
I am referring to the particular data of ice cream sales and those who drown when swimming in the sea. The data in some locations, show that these two rise together. More people drown when more ice cream is sold and the reason, is because of the third piece of information. Hot days, on hot days more ice cream is sold and more people go swimming.
The point here, is simply to recognise that there are multiple reasons for why a product is bought. It’s not always possible to copy the apparent success of other brands, especially when what you have assumed is wrong. Many people when faced with the two pieces of information above (drowning and Ice cream sales) can see why they are related. When the third piece is introduced it seems to provide an explanation. But all that it actually shows, is two things rising independently because of the weather, which have no real relationship with each other.
This matters, because when you are looking for evidence to prove that what you’re doing is working, you may not find any answers. Distinctions matter and if you can’t make these important distinctions you will spend time developing in the wrong areas.
Photo by the blowup on Unsplash
The pressure of results is great, especially when you are being paid. Because of this, your results will be as a reflection on your method, skills and professionalism amongst other things. But sometimes it is nothing more than a product of good timing (or bad).
Those who write to change minds understand that there is almost nothing as unpredictable as people. What worked before may not work again (at least for sometime). Cycles are cycles and what worked before might work again but not always. when it does work, it is often because it is new to the person who’s attention you have gained. History repeats itself because people repeat what other people did in the past.
Unpredictability is both the writer’s fear and defence. Fear, because if you are trying to create change, you know how little control you actually have. Defence, because people can be persuaded in a number of different ways, especially when they have strong underlying emotions.
Fear, because those who employ you know the barriers which must be broken through and overcome. Defence, because like your posts on Medium, you can never be sure when the article goes viral or for what reason.
Those who try to write a viral post because of what’s trending, find that they are already behind the curve. They are surfing, they are not creating waves. Those who create waves don’t always recognise how big it will become or if it will just fade out in the deep water of everything else which is written.
If you want to be a writer decide what kind of writer you want to be. Then stick with it. Success cannot be copied as easily as some would suggest. Embrace the fear and remember the defence — this is reality.