It's not just about a newspaper or morning TV headlines, anymore. With media being made available instantly at our fingertips, startups need to make careful decisions about how they tell their story to ultimately capture the attention of the customer. 1871 mentor and independent media consultant Mark Daniel offers some solutions.
What makes mankind different from the other animals? For one thing, it’s the way we share complex thoughts and ideas between each other. Obviously the way we communicate has changed over time. Lately that change has accelerated and been made more complex.
At first, man was a visual learner. He drew pictures on cave walls to describe a hunt. Later, after we gained language, we became verbal learners; listening to stories, hearing the news from the town crier and having basic conversations with each other. Written words again changed how we learned (you get the picture).
But what about now? Now we have all types of methods for getting ideas across; verbal (audio), written, pictures and video. And on top of that, people can get their information whenever it suits them. They no longer have to wait for the newspaper to be published or for the news to be broadcast at the top of the hour on TV or radio. The web has freed us to learn in our own way and in our own time.
That makes the job of the 1871 entrepreneur very difficult. 1871 start-up companies are looking to provide services and/or products that add value to potential customers. That vision of ultimate value is usually quite clear to the start-up. What is not clear is how to get anyone else to pay attention and understand the value when there are thousands of the other businesses vying for the customer’s limited time.
Once you know what people need to understand about your products and services, you have help them learn about it in their own way. Is it better to produce a video or simply have clear written descriptions and engaging pictures? It usually isn’t an either/or decision. If you focus on only one method, you miss out on the potential customers who learn differently. How about people who prefer to learn socially? Is social media the only answer? How about conferences and sponsored events?
This task is made even more difficult when the start-up has little or almost no definition of the journey that will get them to their ultimate goal. I always emphasize to the startups I mentor that passion will get you started, but it is the plan and the journey that will get you where you want to go. Success usually comes in small bites. The definition of what you need to do to succeed today, tomorrow and the next month, in many cases, is not always clear.
I always emphasize to my start-ups that passion will get you started, but it is the plan and the journey that will get you where you want to go. Success usually comes in small bites. The definition of what you need to do to succeed today, tomorrow and the next month, in many cases, is not always clear.
Your media and communications focus has to be coordinated with your timeline for success. What do you have to do to achieve this month’s goals? Don’t confuse hard work with progress. It’s almost as hard to run in place for three to four hours as it is to run a marathon, but only the planned marathon route will get you to the finish line.
As a mentor at 1871, my expertise is media, but my experience is in how to build, maintain and grow a profitable business. I started out as an amateur filmmaker in college, but for most of my career I have worked with cable TV companies, broadcast networks and major motion picture studios around the US and Europe providing business process design, program/project management, content production, content management and advertising systems.
My job as a mentor is to help my startups understand how media and communication tasks fit into their plan. If they haven’t got a plan, I help them find one. That includes introducing them to other mentors who have skills that are different from my own.
Our mentor community is diverse at 1871. Working together as a unified team of experts, we can ensure that our start-ups see not only their ultimate destination, but also the roads they need to travel to get them there. We all have one thing in common and that’s working to help you win!
1871 mentors donate hundreds of hours of time per month to member companies, guiding them through an abundance of subjects critical to their businesses from marketing to legal to tech. With such a large pool of talented experts, we regularly ask our mentors to contribute their insights to the 1871 blog.
Mark Daniel is an independent media consultant and has been an 1871 mentor for ten months. He specializes in media, communications and marketing strategy and has worked for major tech companies throughout his career. His clients have been major motion picture studios, broadcasting networks, cable TV, OTT providers and content producers.
Interested in becoming an 1871 mentor? More information and a signup form is located here.