Can you be more effective if you simplify your messaging? Does it pay to be solution-focused? Do the little things really matter all that much? Matt Kerbel certainly thinks so. In this episode of The Content Callout, Matt shares why simplifying your messaging and focusing on what matters is so impactful.
Matt Kerbel is the VP of Marketing at Homie. He’s previously worked as the Head of Marketing and Brand Strategy at Canoo, was the Senior Director of Innovation at MeUndies, the Head of Marketing for Lyft, and so much more. His breadth and depth of experience in marketing makes this a transformational conversation you cannot miss.
Outline of This Episode
- [1:44] Matt’s three actionable strategies + tactics
- [3:33] Dialing in on your messaging
- [6:04] Brand evolution: solution-focused to lifestyle
- [9:44] Hiring for large corporations and startups
- [16:55] Stop relying on the campaign mindset
- [19:02] How to build empathy and trust at scale
- [25:16] The evolution of communication
- [30:10] It’s time to look out for each other
- [31:24] How to connect with Matt
Simplify your messaging
Matt believes you should always think about how you can distill your message down to its simplest, purest form. Don’t overcomplicate a powerful solution to a problem—or anchor yourself to something else. Uber didn’t come out and say, “We’re a better taxi.”
Marketers try and include all of the bells and whistles in their messaging when you simply need to get one message across. If you’re trying to create a value proposition or you have a complex solution, you need to take the time to get familiar with who your consumer is. You must understand what piece of the puzzle speaks to them so you can be simple and direct with your messaging.
Matt notes that you can test calls to action and benefits. You can target different groups. But the core is understanding what is universally most important to your audience and why your company was started. Then you balance the universal problem and the powerful key insight with the one-to-one messaging. People want to feel a part of a community but also have individual personalized experiences with a brand.
You need to be solution-focused at the beginning
Large established brands are often bold about what they do because they have taken decades to get it right. When you’re in the first 5–10 years of startup mode, you have to focus on the problems you’re solving in an emotional way. You can’t just become a lifestyle brand.
Coca-Cola isn’t talking about their taste or secret recipe anymore. They’re talking about joy. But earlier, companies have to solve something that may not be top of mind, and when it happens, it’s annoying. Dave.com solves annoying financial issues like late fees. They built an ecosystem solving other annoying problems. They’ll cross the line that moves from problem orientation and solution to lifestyle branding. But that takes years.
Allbirds is another great example. They’ve focused on comfort for so long, so now they’re able to lean into sustainability issues. You never forget about the solution you’re solving for, but eventually, it becomes inherent when you become a household name. You start to compete with an emotional orientation.
You can’t lose track of what you’re great at. You can’t be everything to everyone. You’re watering down your brand message and lose the edginess that got you there in the first place. How do you move from start-up to a culturally relevant brand but stay in touch with your edginess and core message? If you’re hiring people from startups, how do you change the corporate mindset? Listen to learn more!
Remember that the little things add up
Matt emphasizes that every touchpoint—no matter how big or small—is an opportunity to delight. Don’t miss out on free marketing. A Slack load screen message? An out of the office message? Don’t discount the micro-moments. What about your packaging and what comes in it?
We discuss how no one wants to sit on hold for 50 minutes to wait to talk to a person. You can be like Delta—get someone’s number and give them a call back when it’s their turn in line. Don’t underestimate those things. They can turn people off.
What if these telecom companies stop using the same two hold songs that everyone else uses? Matt recently called out Spotify and asked them to buy up the hold music companies so he can use Spotify to listen to whatever music he wants while on hold. That would be an epic game-changer, wouldn’t it? You can’t forget that the little touches make a big difference.
In the rest of the episode, Matt talks about hiring for both large corporations and startups. We talk about the evolution of communication and the shift away from marketing campaigns. How do you build empathy and trust at scale? Matt delivers a plethora of value in this episode. Don’t miss it!
Resources & People Mentioned
Connect with Matt Kerbel
- Connect on LinkedIn