Posted by Dana VanDen Heuvel, November 26, 2012
The point of today’s moxie is that I feel there’s something that helps us as marketers make sense of our world, streamline our processes, make better decisions and achieve better outcomes and it has nothing to do with a new media marketing tactic, but rather is based on a simple approach and a simple number. Three.
According to Dr. Vincent Covello, the unified ‘big idea’ in brand communications is ideally supported by no more than three key messages. (He’s also big on the old adage “bad news doesn’t get better with age,” which is the clarion call of crisis communication folks)
In the book Three Simple Steps by Trevor Blake, he offers a simple and elegant explanation of how he settled on the magic number three for his title. Trevor pointed out that many of the most profound concepts in nature and in the world around us are based on the number three.
Thinking about this further, we use three in marketing (and in life) in so many ways.
- Most books, plans and articles have three parts. A beginning, a middle and an end.
- We try to always “triangulate” on a problem to come up with an answer. For example, when launching a new service, we look at our internal situation, the competitive benchmarks and the best practices
- The best social media content (for Facebook) is typically comprised of three elements: 70% value, 20% share other’s content, 10% promotional content
- When evaluating competing options, we don’t choose between the two, but often consider three points. In his book Mid-Course Correction, Ray C. Anderson states: “when you find two opposites, you don’t try to choose between them but to find a third place that reconciles them.”
- People often ask for your “top three priorities” when seeking decision criteria, or coming to consensus on a path forward.
- The genie always gives you three wishes.
- Christianity is based on the holy trinity.
- We often use the analogy of the proverbial “three-legged stool” as a metaphor for creating something that can “stand on its own.”
When you’re confronted with a new challenge or opportunity this week, think back to the Power of Three and come up with your top three priorities, frame the timeline in three phases, create the three pillars for your platform to stand on or just take three minutes to think about how you can simply and clearly explain the challenge or opportunity in three simple bullet points.