What do you want to be when you grow up?
“I used to tell people that when I grew up I was going to be a pediatrician. Why? Because I loved being around kids and I quickly learned that is was a pleasing answer for adults to hear…
Now I think it is one of the most useless questions an adult an ask a child — what do you want to do when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that is the end.”
She goes on to talk about how she has been a lawyer, VP of a hospital, director of a non profit and FLOTUS. Yes, this quote is from the preface of Becoming by Michelle Obama. It is my book of the month and would highly recommend it. It is a great read and very inspiring.
Back to the question at hand, much like with children, this question is often asked of companies. Not so much what you want to be when you grow up, but what do you do? Being able to answer that in a way that is not only pleasing to the recipient, but easy to understand is beneficial. With companies much like ourselves they evolve. We start out with one thing in mind, as as we learn to listen to our customers, we find ourselves evolving to meet the needs and wants of those we serve. As we mature as a company, we realize it is not so much what we do but — why we do it.
It has been just over a year since starting Epiphany. As you can imagine, the buzz in the first year was exciting. We practiced our answer to what we do and why we do it into succinct soundbites. We wanted people to remember and we knew consistency was the key to building a solid foundation moving forward. Plus, people in general want to help startups. They will tell people about you if they can remember what is is you do and why. We wanted to follow our own advice with the KISS principle and keep it super simple. We wanted to be memorable, and use terms that would be triggers, so that when they heard it again, we would be top of mind and thought of first. Sound advice! Great theory!
BUT, in our effort to keep it simple, we may have made ourselves look bland, blah and (shudder) basic. NOT a good appearance for a creative up-and-coming public relations firm. You see how I switched that from marketing to PR? Well that is because truly by definition we are a public relations firm that happens to also do marketing. “Po-tay-toe, Po-tah-toe” — sounds like semantics doesn’t it? Let me explain…
The word MARKETING, is such a HUGE word! It means so much to so many. We became the sales people, advertising people, creatives, web designers, digital marketing experts, nonprofit marketers or — dun dun dun — the marketing generalists. That is when I knew we needed to define this a bit better. We were and are NOT marketing generalists. There is nothing general about what we do. There is no easy button. There is not a one size fits all. We are strategists. We are strategic and tactical marketers. We look at what your doing, what is working, what isn’t, where you want to go and why and THEN we determine how to tactically get there.
Yes we can do press releases, digital ads, videos, social posts and jump through the search engine hoops. But, we are also firm believers in pulling out some of those tried and tested old school methods that are still very cost effective and measurably affective. We pride ourselves in finding ways to do more with less. We don’t believe in the “Myth of the Big Budget.” We know a bigger budget doesn’t exactly mean the strategy is better or even there at all. It may mean they threw more spaghetti at the wall so it was more likely to stick. We strongly believe that you can build a strong brand by doing what you say and standing by your word. By being authentic and creating super fans who help you spread the word. We help create smart marketing strategies that are not distracted by the next new and shiny marketing tools. Rather, strategies that are focused on the why and what truly matters. Nothing about that sounds basic or general.
I can see now how trying to answer the question in a way that was “super simple” and pleasing to the recipient caused some confusion. This might be happening with your brand or maybe you are having an identity crisis. Either way, we are here to help you define what truly matters and how to super simply communicate that to your customer base, build up your fan club and help you be the brand you want to be when you grow up or at least until you pivot again. And, when you pivot, we will be right by your side to help spark you through that as well.