Finding the hook

Understanding the various audiences you want to engage is key to unearthing your organisation's distinctiveness; and you can only do that by listening effectively.


Contributed by Stephen Izatt, July 2011.

Distinctiveness is about the way an organisation is. It’s not just about what you do but how you do it. It’s what gives other people and organisations the reason to engage with your organisation rather than the many others out there. But you have to be able to communicate that difference consistently and coherently for people to know you and what you stand for. 

Think of it like a conker – at the core is a seed: the essence of what a conker is and what it passes on to future generations. This is nourished by the fruit: the substance that helps the seed develop. Then there is the outer casing with its prickles: these are the hooks that enable the seed to be caught up and carried to where it will have a chance to grow.

For an organisation, you need to have a core, the thing that is your own distinctive identity, and you can only find that by looking inside. But then you need the processes and activities that nourish and maintain that identity. You need to work at your identity to make it thrive. And then you need to find the ‘hooks’ that will enable you to connect with the people and organisations you want to do business with. 

To do that you need to understand the various audiences you want to engage with – research them and understand what they want and what their motivations are. Only in that way can you find the ‘fit’ between what you are and what your potential partners are looking for.


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Stephen Izatt is the Managing Director of Thinkfarm strategic branding consultancy.

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Topics: Communicating your distinctiveness.