In a world where prospects prefer to conduct their own research before they decide which vendors to approach, companies who acquire a visionary status and develop a reputation for thought leadership emerge with dramatic advantages over their competition.
Small, thoughtful, agile companies are able to “punch above their weight” because the competitive playing field has been levelled to the point where an organisation’s reputation is driven more by the quality of their thinking rather than the quantity of their marketing spend.
Vision – or hallucination?
Evangelism is increasingly important in today’s business environment. Where there is no vision, companies perish – and leads dry up. But it’s also been said with some justification that there is no more than a narrow line between vision and hallucination, and this is every bit as true of corporations as it is of individuals.
The most compelling corporate visions are externally-biased and revolve around the desired future state of the markets that companies have chosen to serve. Conversely, the most ineffective corporate hallucinations are internally-biased, and revolve around the company’s aspirations without regard for their prospect’s priorities.
Your prospects understand this instinctively – and they are a lot less interested in hearing about you than they are in learning what you can do for them.
Crafting the vision…
Compelling visions start with the end in mind. They enable vendors to filter out the noise and concentrate on what’s important to win over their markets. They make it easy to evaluate ideas, make decisions and prioritise actions. They resonate with your most valuable prospects. And they make “what’s important” obvious to employees at every level.
When we work with clients to craft compelling visions, we ask them to start by defining the markets they want to lead, and to imagine what success would look like. We encourage them to describe what they do, and how they do it better, with exceptional clarity. We help them filter out the “me too” phrases and techno-babble that pervades so many weak vision statements.
Living the vision…
Your vision should lie at the heart of everything you say to the marketplace. Establishing a consistent, relevant vision has a tremendous impact on the effectiveness of individual communications, and on your attractiveness to the prospects you are trying to reach. It needs to drive not only your marketing communications, but also your sales conversations.
In fact, whenever any employee or business partner is asked to describe what your company does or what it stands for, the same consistent message should shine through. Having dozens of “elevator pitches”, all different, is no way to create confidence in your company’s ability to help your customers and prospects navigate their way to a better future state.
Is your current corporate vision better classified as a vision or a hallucination? Is it about your company, or is it about the better future you are creating for your markets and prospects? And is it consistently reflected in every communication between your company and its’ current and future stakeholders, customers, prospects and partners?