I learned a lot about the benefits of clarity in my recent readings of Donald Miller’s writing.
Ok, I should begin by stating that I read a lot.
When I say a lot, I really mean A LOT.
Usually two or three business/marketing books every week. And consequently, I tend to notice trends between various people’s ideas which I can then translate into an article for your viewing pleasure.
That being said, there is one thing I’ve noticed more consistently, more prominently, and which makes up for more people success than most other things.
That one thing is “clarity”.
Clarity in direction, clarity in vision, clarity in marketing messages, whatever it may be, it seems that clarity really makes a difference to the success and mindset of many business owners or marketers out in the world.
Why is Clarity Important?
Clarity, depending on your perspective, is simply a way for you to transform the strategic into the operational.
In terms of business processes, strategies are the overarching long-term visions for the direction of your organization, operations include the day to day processes and duties that make that vision more immediately actionable, and that’s the key.
People want a fix to their problems, it doesn’t matter who it is, that’s what people want.
This is why clarity can transform a business’s success on both the marketing end and the internal state of the organization.
Business owners want a fix to their problems, so a clear and compelling direction gives them something to take action upon to solve their problem.
Similarly, customers want a fix to their problems, and will therefore take action upon a well-marketed message that offers clarity into the solution.
The point is this, too much clarity never hurt anybody. In the words of Donald Miller in both of his books, Building a StoryBrand, and Marketing Made Simple, “While there is nothing wrong with being cute, clever, or interesting, if cute, clever, and interesting come at the cost of clarity, you lose.”
Clarity Step 1: Define the Issue
When it comes to finding clarity you will inevitably have to begin by defining the problem you (or your consumer) faces.
Without knowing what problem you want to solve (or have solved) how can you begin to take action that is relevant to the solution of that problem in the first place?
The answer is, of course, rhetorical.
That being said, there are definitely a few best practices that go into defining the issue.
The first of which is to define the issue in terms of how you feel about the problem. This is VERY important when it comes to marketing.
Think about it this way, if an issue didn’t make you feel negative about something, what motivation is there to fix it? What urgency is there to have that problem solved? None.
This is why you can’t sell things to somebody who is perfectly satisfied with the status quo, they must be willing to see a better and more prosperous future in order to revel in the vision you create for them.
Otherwise, they will never take action.
Put simply, define the issue in terms of how you feel and how you WANT to feel later.
This will help you begin to clarify which direction you intend to head in, as well as focus your solution on the part of the issue that is actually causing these negative emotions, bettering the solution and your eventual satisfaction.
Clarity Step 2: Define the Solution
Ok, this is the logical order of things.
After defining the problem, you will need a rock solid way of describing the optimal solution to that problem.
And remember, the optimal solution is not one that solves the problem itself but rather quells the negativity of the person who experiences that problem.
Put simply, a satisfied customer may never resolve their problem at all, they must simply resolve their negative feelings ABOUT the problem.
Ultimately, the solution to your (or your markets) problem needs to be based upon an experience of some sort.
There is no product or service that exists to do anything other than provide a beneficial user experience to somebody out there in the world.
Defining the solution is about crafting the vision of a future without the negativity or the issue that you face that ENTICES that negativity in the first place.
Here’s the rub, if defining the issue is like having a compass that tells you which direction you’re headed, then defining the solution is like having a map that spells out where you WANT to be.
You can then begin to traverse the road to get there because you will have clarity in the direction that benefits you most.
Clarity Step 3: Break Down The Steps
Ultimately, we all want something actionable to do that pulls us closer and closer to that final destination of success and positivity, right?
Step 3 is about taking the solution that you have already defined, and paving a road complete with smaller steps that you can take to get there.
For example, in terms of a marketing message, let’s say I define the problem as the pain that people feel when they lack clarity in their life.
Then, the solution is achieved by having those people recognize what they want, how to get it, and begin taking action towards achievement.
I can then define the steps by stating 1) Define where you are now and how you feel. 2) Define where you want to be so you can move in the right direction. 3) Begin breaking down that direction into usable and achievable steps to ensure that you know what success is.
This is th framework I’m using in this article! It seems to be working down’t it?
Beware of Analysis Paralysis
The truth is, a large part of clarity is having the willingness to take action even in the midst of Analysis Paralysis.
Being willing to take any action at all to solve your problem is a result of not defining your solution clearly enough, and is the issue most people face when attempting to resolve their issues.
People who don’t define the solution are going to spend more time looking for the steps to take before first defining where they want to be in the first place!
When you do this, you’re just begging to suffer from a lack of actionable steps considering you will never relate the consequences of those steps to your desired future!
In other words, follow these steps in order, and you won’t have to suffer from analysis paralysis any longer (or at all).
Ultimately, these three steps above may be simple and uninspiring, but they ARE clear, right?
The benefits of clarity can’t be overstated, whether you are solving a personal issue, a professional issue, or a consumer’s issue!
Here are the summarized three steps again to give you a great start on clarifying your message or solving your problem.
Step 1: Define the Issue
Step 2: Define Your Solution
Step 3: Break Down the Solution into Steps
Thanks for reading!
Work With Austin
-Austin Denison is a management consultant and coach from Southern California and founder/CEO of Denison Success Systems LLC. He is the author of The Essential Change Management Guidebook: Master The Art of Organizational Change as well as The Potential Dichotomy: The Philosophy of a Fulfilling Life, and, coming soon: KICK*SS Content Marketing, How to Boost Your Brand and Gather a Following.