“Resonance” feels like a word you hear all the time, but could you define what it means? Merriam-Webster has seven official definitions of the word ranging from music to electrical systems to mechanical frequencies. To the layperson, though, the verb form of resonance - resonate - has taken on the modern slang of “to vibe.”
Does this resonate with you?
Does this vibe with you?
The essential, modern, meaning of the word:
Does this vibe with you?
Yet, we see the word resonate thrown around in the buzzword-loaded lexicon of the business world nowadays as a term used when marketing professionals can’t think of anything better. When in doubt, throw up something that’s not entirely accurate but sounds good enough that no one would want to spend time arguing with it. Then we end up with jumbled messaging that we hope vibes, syncs, or connects with our audience.
Reader, it’s time to realign. It’s time to ditch the pitch and start crafting messages that draw audiences in with magnetic aptitude.
It’s time to strike the right chord and let it resonate.
For this article, I’m diving into three points around the why and how behind resonating, magnetic messaging.
Resonate: to strike a chord, to hit on something of personal, emotional importance.
How can we build this up to add to the rich layers of resonance around our messaging?
Resonating with someone means going deep and triggering their “gut feeling.” This means aligning the unconscious design with the Neocortex, Limbic, and primal elements of the brain.
The “gut feeling” that lingers with you deserves more stock than we’ve given it over the years. Recently, the hard sciences have revealed that our stomach and intestines react to emotions more than our heart or brain ever will. For a myriad of reasons, the gut has recently been named “the second brain.”
While our modern, hard sciences have lent evidence to this idea, the gut feeling is far from new. Looking back into literature stretching back to ancient Roman or Greek times, there is symbolism throughout:
Trust your gut. The feeling you get when you know something to be true - good or bad - is the gut manifesting the vibrations from your head and your heart. Chances are the more intense the feeling, the more out of alignment you are to whatever you are reacting to. The next time you get the intense gut feeling, take a moment to reflect on what’s really going on - after all, your body is trying to find resonance with the world around you.
When it resonates, the audience will feel it at their core. It will be irresistible to them. A resonating message will give them a gut feeling; it will drive the response you want.
The Muslim faith has five daily calls to prayer - the salat. In religious centers, a network of loudspeakers comes alive to call the devoted to their prayer mats. By nature or by nurture, for many reasons, faith resonates with people at their core.
Compare this to when a brand pitches you a tagline in a commercial. They are throwing, pitching, it out there and seeing what happens. Maybe someone bites the line and gets reeled in.
Don’t pitch, resonate.
Don’t push, pull. And even then, it’s not so much pulling as guiding. You are reminding them to act upon what they feel at their core. This isn’t easy to do. For starters, you need to be an authentic brand - which is a feat in and of itself.
I challenge you to ditch the pitch.
This is the difference between playing catch with someone versus hucking a ball at them unannounced. One is a game they’re happy to play, the other is rude. They will get defensive, angry, and put up their walls. Now you’ll have to throw higher, farther, and harder to try to connect with them.
Either way, no one wants to play your game. This is the result of an inauthentic brand with non-resonating messaging.
How does this situation look from an authentic, resonating position?
Imagine it is lunchtime in a busy office park. People in professional suits are milling about, eating lunches, getting fresh air. You show up in full football gear with a pigskin under your arm. You call out, “hey!” to the crowd and everyone stops and looks at you.
Half the crowd brushes you off and goes about their lunch hour. A few smiles: look at this person in this football uniform!
But a few put up their hands. Pass it here.
Another one or two start jogging out farther. I’m going long.
Another handful jokingly starts playing coverage.
None of this was organized; it just happened. Something about your presence, the uniform, and the football resonated deep within this handful of people. You throw the ball, a perfect spiral, and someone catches it cleanly. Now you have a game going!
This is what it is to trigger someone on a gut level. To reach deep inside of them and remind them of the good ol’ days - back when they were on the JV squad or playing touch football with their dads or their college roommates. Your presence may not have fit, but you were authentically yourself - and the right audience resonated.
More than just giving out vibes, more than just manifesting what you want out of the universe - magnetic messaging is meant to attract a specific audience in a very particular way. As we pointed out in a previous article - this requires taking real, actional steps to align who you are with the audience who matters most.
Your audience aligns when your message speaks directly to the Unconscious Design. This goes beyond having “proactive” or “engaging” copy or content that is riddled with buzzwords and catchphrases. How is speaking to the Unconscious Design different?
It leaves everyone with a sense of hope.
One of the worst things marketers do is build up their audience’s hope, only to have it dashed when the expectations are unmet. When they don’t lose ten pounds, find the love of their life, or learn how to make a million dollars from home without lifting a finger.
Paint the pain, resonate the hope. We do this by framing the reality of your messaging - this is the very thing a lot of brands struggle with: who are you for? How many times have you heard of the business owners who answer the question, “Who is your ideal customer?” with the cheeky answer: anyone with money!
In a prior article, I emphasized how important the who of your business is. You need to know who you are and who you ultimately serve because it is the foundation of the what and the how. In the Big BAM Process, we end our brand strategy framework by discovering:
I/we help [who]:
Find [the “what” of their success]:
While this is the start of the messaging process, it takes extensive research and soul searching to build the foundation of your resonating messaging. You might be able to fill in the above with a handful of words and phrases, but is it truly the foundation of something that will resonate with your audience? Are you using the right kind of language or writing style that will reach through the noise and connect with them?
When we work with clients in the Big BAM process, it takes around 8 hours to discover the who/ what/ how of their business so we can then come up with the actionable messaging. It’s not that you are solving a problem, but that you are solving it in a very specific way for a very particular set of people - you are speaking directly to their unconscious design. Not only do you need to speak their language, but you need to talk about what matters to them.
In the end, thanks to your messaging, there should be no question about who you are meant to work with. Once the Big BAM clients have the above foundation figured out, we work to refine the idea into 30- and 15-second pitches before we ultimately land on a tagline - the tool which ultimately cuts through the noise with a message that resonates.
So I ask: does your brand messaging resonate with the audience who matters most? Take a few moments and fill out the foundational statement:
I/we help [who]:
Find [the “what” of their success]:
But answer honestly: How easy was it for you to fill it out?
Let me know what your response is.
And if it wasn’t easy, definitely let me know.