So here’s something that I thought might be useful for you: What you really find when you find the Red Thread.
Because, you know, I get it. Your colleagues and bosses and friends don’t always know what you mean when you triumphantly declare, “I’ve found my Red Thread!”—or if you’re trying to argue for budget as to why you need to find one with me.
In other words, how can you translate the value of the Red Thread to someone who doesn’t know what it is?
The tricky part is that there’s a deeper tension we have to resolve first. We have to resolve the tension between what something is called and what something is.
But, as Agatha Christie so beautifully put it, “words are only the outer clothing of ideas.” Words don’t change what something is—but they do change whether or not someone understands what something is.
That matters, of course, because if the person you’re talking to doesn’t understand what you’re talking about, communication—as in the transfer of an idea from one person to another—can’t happen. Otherwise, you’re just broadcasting.
True communication requires that the message you send is actually received and understood by your audience.
This means that if you want to communicate the power of the Red Thread to someone who doesn’t yet know what the Red Thread means or is, you need to call it and its elements by names your audience is more familiar with.
What are those? Here’s a handy Red Thread Thesaurus:
The Red Thread Throughline is your Core Message. It’s the big idea of you, your organization, your product or service, or even a singular piece of content, like a presentation or post. It can also serve as your Value Proposition. Example: UrSure helps keep people on critical medications longer by turning effects people can’t feel into results they can see.
Note: the Throughline usually isn’t a tagline, but elements of it (or the Storyline—see below) certainly can be used as such. Example: UrSure—turning effects people can’t feel into results they can see. Or: UrSure—Making the invisible visible, instantly.
The Red Thread Storyline—or your Conversational Case—is your “Elevator Pitch”. It’s the shortest viable way to both explain and make the case for your Core Message (Throughline). Example: When we speak with partners and providers like you, they often want to know how to keep people on critical medications longer. The challenge? Too often you have to rely on what patients recall about taking their medication more than on what current tests reveal, since the results of those tests usually come in after your patients are already out of the office (and potentially off their medication again). Yet, as the old saying goes, “seeing is believing.” That’s why we at UrSure found a simple way to turn medications that patients can’t feel into results they and you can see—right in the office. How? Simple urine tests that make the invisible, visible, instantly.
The Red Thread Statements together—Goal, Problem, Truth, Change, Action, and Goal Revisited create the Elements of your Core Message and Elevator Pitch:
The Goal is the Core Outcome you achieve. Example: UrSure helps providers keep their patients on critical medications longer.
The Two-Part Problem is the Core Problem you solve. Example: UrSure resolves the tension between what patients recall about taking their medications and what tests reveal is actually happening.
The Truth is the Core Belief at the heart of your approach. Example: At UrSure, we believe that seeing is believing.
The Change and Actions comprise your Core Approach to solving the core problem. Example: UrSure creates simple urine tests that turn the effects of medications patients can’t feel into test results they can see.
Depending on the use case, the Actions can also be your features, offerings, markets served, onboarding or sales processes, etc.
The Goal Revisited are the Benefits of using your idea, product, service, or organization. Example: UrSure’s simple urine tests empower patients and providers to take an even more active approach to achieve health outcomes.
It doesn’t take much to turn these elements into your Mission or Vision either. Mission example: Our mission at UrSure is to empower patients and providers to be equally active participants in achieving health outcomes. By creating simple urine tests that turn the effects of medications patients can’t feel into results both they and their providers can see, and believe, we will play an important role in keeping patients on critical medications longer.
Vision example: UrSure will create the tools that make the invisible aspects of health and treatment instantly visible.
And finally, what is the Red Thread itself? It’s how you articulate, both to yourselves and to others, why you do what you do the way you do it. It’s the set of beliefs that drives your (or your brand’s) behavior, just as lines of code drive what a web page looks like and how it operates. It’s the story you tell yourselves (whether you realize it or not!) about why your idea is the right one for your audience.
As long as you’re trying to develop the elements you need to communicate your big idea to the world, finding your Red Thread will help you find what you need—no matter what you call it!True communication requires the message you send is actually received and understood by your audience. Click To Tweet
Please note that many of the links are affiliate links, which means if you buy a thing I link to, I get a percentage of the cost, and then donate it to charity.
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