I generally find that the saying “the more you give the more you get” holds true when applied in life and business.
In life, the rewards of giving are more intangible and somewhat spiritual – feeling good inside, aligned and centered, and riding the wave of a positive force. It’s more of a karma thing.
But what about in business?
How much should you give and share with the market, even competitors?
When I look at the tech industry, and software delivery in particular, there is ample giving. Take open source as an obvious example. The amount of shared and freely available software, much of it critical to everyday computing, is quite astounding. There also is the communal spirit of the startup community, where collective support and mentoring not only is commonplace, but part of the fabric of the industry. Having been deep in the Agile software development movement, and now DevOps, it is equally inspiring to see colleagues, often from competing companies, sharing their best thinking at conferences like DevOps Enterprise Summit – all for the betterment of the industry at large.
All ships rise with the tide, right?
Following that line of thinking, we here at Catapult have worked our best to apply the “more you give” principle within our own business. From volunteering and mentoring interns into a career in high-tech PR, to providing pro-bono services and helping the underdog out from time to time, we’ve tried to give where and when we can.
Most of what we offered was more of micro-giving, as opposed to macro-giving. However, through more than 17 years of hard work and countless experiences helping clients of all types and sizes, we saw an opportunity and need within the PR industry for a new approach to messaging and, as a strategy, focusing on defining and owning a market category.
Our premise is simple – by creating and/or owning a new category or industry approach, businesses can instantly stand out, have something compelling and meaningful to advocate for and, as an added benefit, align their organization around a single, common cause that was “not about them.”
We dubbed the approach Strategic Narrative Marketing (SNM). That, in turn, became our secret sauce when pitching for new business. We are now more than a “PR firm,” but a hybrid brand marketing/PR/social/content marketing agency that leveraged the SNM approach to clearly and repeatedly differentiate us from our competitors. Most importantly, we’ve moved to a position that is much more strategic – something we would like to see the entire PR industry achieve.
As owners of the “story,” we help develop strategic messaging that is critical to not just marketing, but sales, recruiting, investment and organizational alignment – things important to both marketers and, importantly for us, the CEO.
So, the question begged: what do we do with Strategic Narrative Marketing? Hold it tight and hope no one else steals it from us? Or, as we advocate in the approach itself – make it available to all to help advance our own industry, public relations and marketing?
Believe me, it’s not easy or even natural to give up your own “secret sauce.” But, if you step back, take a deep breath and really think about it, the upside tremendously outweighs the possible downside. A great example was the book: “Crossing the Chasm,” Geoffrey A. Moore’s seminal book on start-up tech marketing. First published in 1991, it’s now in its third edition and is, perhaps, one of the enduring marketing manifestos for those of us in the technology industry.
Ask yourself, is your company holding back great thinking, ideas and concepts that could advance your industry, due to fear? Thinking about creating something entirely new, be it a category or new industry approach, is really just an extension of literally every startup ever founded.
Good ideas that change thinking and behavior.
However, crafting and sharing you or your company’s IP (or secret sauce), is both exciting and scary at the same time.
As a PR firm that has done less than a stellar job at self-promotion (the Cobbler Has No Shoes Syndrome), we have been asserting our voice and advocating a new approach. We wrote a book, “A Practical Guide to Strategic Narrative Marketing,” that outlines, step-by-step, our unique approach to industry level messaging.
It’s not about us – it’s all about the approach.
So far, the more we give, the more we get.
Think about it – and how giving in business can indeed result in getting more!
What can you give?