Sun, March 11 2007

Made to Stick Week: Finding Your Core aka Sweet Spot

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

Years ago, my dad once gave me some really good advice about relationships - stick with people who bring out the best in you.  Better yet it should work both ways - that you bring out the best in the other person too.  I wish I’d followed this wise counsel my whole life. 

Don’t worry, you haven’t stumbled upon Dr. Phil’s blog.  I’m getting to my point, and the theme of my blog for the next week.

When we’re thinking about how to market ourselves as organizations, we need to think about what’s best in us, and how it matches with what our audience wants.  I put up the following nifty little diagram a long time ago, but it is worth running again. 


It shows that you want to focus all your efforts on the marketing front - and the organizational front - on the intersection between:

-What your organization focuses upon (which is hopefully what you’re good at)
-What you do better than anyone else (what is completely unique about you)
-What your audience cares about

I think we’re pretty good at identifying the first two but we tend to forget that third circle.  PLEASE ADD THE THIRD CIRCLE TO ALL OF YOUR STRATEGIC THINKING.  Ron of BrandCurve posted a comment this week about email that takes it a step further - not only should you add the circle, he says you should then start a conversation.  I agree.

I think the real issue behind email effectiveness [all marketing, I’d say—KA] is the consumer’s willingness to participate and receive that mail [message]. Intrusive, one-way, monologue-like messages where the consumer has no say – are sure to stay closed!

We want a relationship with our target audiences, so to have that relationship, we need to not only think about ourselves but also how we


with them.  We need to bring our audience back into the picture.  The center of this diagram is our sweet spot, in our relationship with our audience but also for our organization in all we do.  It’s what will bring out the best in us!

I am focusing on this sweet spot, which is based on the work of some branding folks and which is related to Jim Collins’ hedgehog concept, because it’s also at the


of the best marketing book that I have read in a very, very long time: Made to Stick.  I am so enamored with this book, I am going to be blogging about it all week. 

It’s Sticky Week here at my blog.

One of the main points of Made to Stick is that simple, core concepts are what stick in people’s minds and guide whole organizations, and I think this is a useful way of viewing the idea of the sweet spot.  The authors of Made to Stick call the process of identifying this essence, “finding your core.” 

So what is your core, aka your sweet spot?  If you stuck to it - and only it - in deciding what to do and what to say, you might find yourself with a renewed sense of focus and heightened impact.  The books says Southwest Airlines succeeds in large part as an organization because it knows its sweet spot is low fares.  Every decision is weighed against this organizing principle—will this lower fares?

Much more to come.

  • Comment: (7)   


I’d suggest that some organizations (more often smaller, younger ones) sometimes forget one of the other circles, even as they have that third circle in mind.

Mission Drift: Many organizations are so close to their audience’s meandering interests that they lose track of what they’re doing.

Redundant Organizations: “Let’s start a _____ group” when there are already plenty doing the same thing.

My only point is that while more established organizations run the risk of ignoring their audience, newer organizations run the risk of a myopic focus on what their audience is interested in at any given time.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/11  at  06:44 PM

Great post, Katya. I totally agree. Many nonprofits are all over the map, trying to do a bunch of different things to generate money so they can live their missions. Sticking to their core competencies will not only keep them on track and operate more efficiently; it can also simplify conveying the core message.

Posted by Elaine Fogel  on  03/12  at  11:04 PM

Thanks sharing your dad’s great advice.  For weeks while recovering from a major health crisis, I have been struggling with my decision to resign from a position I loved.  I enjoyed success in my work but am resigning because my relationship with my boss is toxic. In the midst of turmoil it is hard to see truth—-I felt stuck- focused on the unfairness of the situation.  Your dad’s words turned on a light for me. So thanks——
I am free to do what I do best.

Posted by Carolyn Wilson Koerschen  on  04/07  at  02:06 AM

your father really gives you a precious advice. when i was very little my father told me, that relationships are very easy to made, but its very difficult to keep them with you till your last breath, and if you really want someone to be with you then never let ego came between you.

Posted by full color printing services  on  05/13  at  03:21 PM

The post is really prettttty nice.thank you very much.

Posted by wholesale jewelry  on  05/22  at  08:29 AM

keep them with you till your last breath, and if you really want someone to be with you then never let ego came between you.


Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/26  at  10:52 AM

Your father really gives an inspiring advice to the readers. It is true that you should decide on things that you really want, not what other want for you.

Posted by Sharon Dingoy  on  07/28  at  11:45 AM

Leave a Comment





Preview Comment:

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Submit the word you see below:

<< Back to main