The Impact Equation

The Impact Equation

Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise?

Chris Brogan & Julien Smith

Summary in 100 words or less

When contrast is low, nothing you do has any impact. When you begin to differentiate yourself, you create immediate visibility. Then, you need to articulate your idea well with a good amount of reach and exposure. To build trust, you need to be credible and reliable, at the same time, create the intimacy that focuses on your audience.


My Highlights

Impact = Contrast x (Reach + Exposure + Articulation + Trust + Echo)

If you read the newspaper and visit most mainstream websites for your daily influx of news, the only ideas you are exposed to are good ideas – the ideas that have already won.

Contrast is sometimes called the USP – the unique sales proposition.

However, we’re not looking for universal uniqueness; we are looking only for uniqueness inside our own little field.

Contrast means having strong positioning so you are creating more value, sometimes with a different price, than most competitors in your category. It’s the multiplier in the Impact Equation because its value cannot be underestimated.

When Contrast is low, nothing you do has any impact whatsoever. When you begin to differentiate yourself, however, you create an immediate visibility that is not easily trumped.

Good ideas make you feel… something, anything! It’s emotional regardless positive or negative.

Good ideas attach themselves to other concepts in the brain. With existing ideas to grip on to, your idea can hold on to the audience in a much more permanent way.

Good ideas fulfill a need.

If you personally want to create something amazing, the best strategy is to act like the Internet (for me, the world) does. You have to be comfortable with creating garbage in order to have some measure of awesome stuff.

Creating today’s garbage is an important aspect of creating tomorrow’s gold. This is really about letting the audience decide what is good or bad.

Using small words doesn’t attract small minds. Small words are a way to seed ideas in anyone’s mind without creating unnecessary barriers.

Your choice of words and description aren’t the secret sauce of the idea. They are the wind that carries the paper airplane to its destination. Your words must serve the idea.

Writing is now one of the few skills you must have – and we really mean “must” here – for the twenty-first century.

Having too many ideas is a starting point. Next you might decide upon a framework to determine which ideas are worth acting upon. That’s where most people miss a step.

Thinking through the potential longevity of an idea is another good way to “gate” these opportunities and decide whether or not to give them a go.

Articulation means keeping the message brief and bite-size.

It’s possible that high Articulation (or clarity) in your message may in fact be enough of a differentiator to put you over the top – from invisible to visible, from zero impact to high impact.

Reach can be a very tricky thing to accomplish.

The most common methods of obtaining visibility are in fact the least effective. They are by definition most crowded, since they are the business owner’s first thought, so the market for attention in these spaces gets competitive first.

The platform is the channel itself. It’s the show, no the advertisements.

The purpose of the platform is audience building. Reaching people does nothing unless you provide them with enough value to make them stop what they’re doing, either now or later, and participate in your media.

Exposure is the art of hitting people, again and again, making sure that you are everywhere without offending the hell out of your prospective audience, until they finally decide to take some kind of action. At its simplest, Exposure is frequency.

The more content you create, the better you will know your audience, and even the failures will teach you about what matters to them. As your content gets spread out and hits different parts of the web, the creation of an ideal reader or audience is perhaps one of the most valuable processes available.

Community and audience are different. Your community is the people who work to maintain an ongoing interaction with you. And never ever make the mistake of crowning yourself the kind or queen of that community. Instead, realize that you have the privilege and honor to serve the community, even if they have chosen to gather around your ideas, your products or services, or something else of your creation.

Credibility x Reliability x Intimacy / Self-interest = Trust.

Credibility is what you say that ca actually be backed up by your credentials.

Reliability is what happens when you do what you say you will do.

Intimacy is all levels of closeness between individuals, often for personal reasons that aren’t related to business but that influence business decisions every day.

Self-interest is the force multiplier for everything else; self-orientation is the big problem that drastically reduces your trust in any transaction.

Echo is about finding common experiences and using them to help people realize that you have some understanding of their lives.

Each of us is the hero of our own story.

No one is perfect. There are mistakes, missteps, and mispronunciations. Thankfully, as long as you’re doing at least something right, almost no one will remember them. Instead, they’ll remember your home runs and big hits. They’ll remember the work that helped them achieve a breakthrough, reach many other people, or make a million dollars.

More book notes

On Writing Well
The $100 Startup

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