Make Your Idea Matter

By: Bernadette Jiwa



Join us for the next 10 minutes as we bring you a concise, coherent, and entertaining summary of just how you can make your best thoughts matter more than ever.

Great Ideas, Poorly Marketed

According to Bernadette, the path to success is littered with great ideas poorly marketed. She warns us to not let ours be one of them.  Her book is a series of calls to action for budding and established entrepreneurs. We can all come up with great innovative ideas, but unless we make them matter to someone, then they will wither on the vine.

So let’s start simply, with a commitment to doing our best.  Doing your best has to have an effect on someone.  That one person may be the start of something big. If we don’t have that one person then there can be no future. We have to touch someone.

In today’s digital world we have all the necessary tools at hand to compete with the big guys. But the most important tool is you.  You need to care about what you are doing. You need to believe in its impact on the world. You need to tell its story.  You need to bring it to life. Co-working spaces, laptops, Wi-Fi connections and social media platforms have all made the world smaller and the opportunities greater. Now is your time to get started and make ideas that matter.

Formed in the mind, triumph in the heart

Jiwa is convinced that ideas are formed in the mind but triumph in the heart. Our ideas may be supported by facts and figures but they are not enough to get people to buy.  We need to identify why our goods or services hit the button.

What makes it so different from the rest? We need to find out and deliver to our potential customer the feelings they want to feel. Our idea must matter to them, not just to us. We need that special brand.

Jiwa suggests that your brand is a promise: a promise with a customer.  You need to strive to keep your promises, otherwise it breaks the essential trust between the customer and our business.  Your brand helps you differentiate, from other services and from competitors.

Obtaining commitment through emotion

It’s about communication with and without words with the objective of attaining commitment.  If we want people to act, we must make them ‘feel’ the benefits immediately. If they say “I’ll think about it”, we’ve lost them; they’re gone and on to the next thing.

In defining ‘feeling’, Jiwa means immediate emotional impact. She is convinced that every brand is built on the feelings and experiences it delivers to customers, all in the blink of an eye.  All transactions matter — including negative ones. Returns should be made as easy as purchases. Cancelling subscriptions should be as easy as signing-up. 

Surprising as it seems, admission of culpability and a commitment to make things better has a greater impact on loyalty than getting things right the first time.  Why? When the bubble bursts it creates an opportunity to personalise the engagement and deepen the relationship. When nobody calls, we interpret that as nobody cares. When they do call, it blows us away and we tell ten friends. That’s our opportunity.

Communicating clearly

How on earth do you communicate all of your value clearly and succinctly? Start by thinking about and framing just one thing. Craft a single mission. Have one goal. Solve one problem. Close one gap. Find one way to make your clients’ lives easier. Get really clear on how you do that, and you’ll find that your customers suddenly ‘get it’ and can begin to want it – an emotional connection.

Addressing emotional wants instead of material wants

The products and services we want to sell will not succeed in the market if we don’t address the emotional wants of ‘real’ people. It’s not enough just to fulfil the material needs of prospects. Our businesses need to look past the labels and see their hopes, dreams, fears and aspirations.

Jiwa suggests that whatever your idea, whatever your market, the best way to differentiate from your competitors is by turning up the volume on the story of your mission.  While products can be similar, missions are unique.

We don’t want people just to buy our stuff; we want it to matter to them. To believe in what we do. To ‘buy in’. Our mission is to get those people, not everyone, but the ones we care about, to care and in the course of that action tell a better story than the competition. 

Ideas vs Tactics

While tactics are certainly necessary to spread our idea, in the long run it’s more important that we have an idea that matters. As Jiwa points out, many of the answers to the tactical stuff can be found with a 60-second web search. But we can’t necessarily Google our unique mission or vision; that’s why it is the foundation of our business or cause.

How vs Why

The first question we need to ask is ‘why will people care about this?’ not ‘how will we get them to buy this?’ Toms Shoes started with a big ‘why’. The ‘how’ came later. The story of a ‘big why’ makes the product better. When our brand story makes an emotional connection with our customers, they’re more likely to spread the word about who we are and what we do. Then your customers will have a bond with your brand. They have to buy in.

It hasn't been done by you

Lost your innovative mojo? Can’t think of a single truly original idea? According to Jiwa the good news is that it doesn’t matter if it has been done before, because it hasn’t been done by you. The quota for ideas hasn’t been used up just yet. The capacity for experiencing difference hasn’t been reached. What makes anything we do unique is our voice. The story that only we can tell, from a perspective that nobody else can have.

So get up and do it. Do it now. Do the work. An idea without execution is just an idea; it has no impact on the world. As Jiwa points out, it will never matter unless we get our idea out there. So go for it. Prototype. There’s plenty of room to make our very best guess and there’s still time to change things tomorrow, after we launch.

Ideas come from uncertainty

The best ideas are born from uncertainty. Most successful entrepreneurs build a winning product by getting over the fear. They just begin. They have no guarantees, no assurances, no safety net.... but what they have is a story people want to hear. A story created to surprise, delight and bring joy to those people and to gently close the door on the people who didn’t want to listen.

If we create something with a specific audience in mind, then the foundations of our idea becomes so much easier. Jiwa tells us to start by knowing our audience; then build the idea just for them. We can call it what we want: target audience, niche market or client avatar. The label is irrelevant; the purpose is to understand the human being behind the label.

First dates

Here’s some good advice from Jiwa: We need to think of our business story as a first date with a customer. It’s a way to establish the kind of relationship that leaves people wanting more. Our story doesn’t need to give all of the information; it simply needs to foster the next conversation. It needs to reach into people’s hearts and create an emotional connection.

How are our businesses catering to our clients’ wants rather than needs? Jiwa states that many huge brands—brands like Innocent Fruit Smoothies, Apple, Zappos, Nike and TED — have built their businesses not on servicing needs but on appealing to wants. How are you selling emotional wants, and not just simple needs, to your clients?

A truly great brand creates a new story in people’s hearts and minds and positions a good product beyond its utility. Don’t just name a company or product; set out to name the vision of what we want to see in the world.

No customer is forever

And while we are busy building our business, Jiwa reminds us of a simple constant fact: no customer is forever. Yet she tells us that forever is what we should be working on.

Forever is remembering that there are five other juice bars on the same street, hundreds of running shoe brands, millions of shoe retailers, and 34 million search results for “life coach” in Google. Forever means working out what we could be doing better. There is no cast-iron guarantee, no secret formula. There is no map to our success. This means that we are the map maker. We are responsible for shaping our journey and creating your own success.

There you have it, an inspiring summary of a great book, filled with tips on how to make your idea truly matter to the world.