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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  July 14, 2016

How to Introduce a New Idea

How to get people to embrace new ideas

A lot of thought leaders offer innovative ideas in their blog posts, social media, etc. Some get traction; many don’t. One reason why some don’t: the authors don’t include context about why we should change our perspective and consider something new.

The most potent tool to create that base of understanding is a story, of course. This Fast Company article on content marketing is a great example. To build the case for his approach, author Scott Fogel tells a great “where we went wrong” story.

Move past the topic and his recommendations. You can use this story to introduce any out-of-the-box idea. Three steps to tell the “where did we go wrong” story:

Step 1: Outline what you’re doing now. Fogel begins by stating the obvious trend about brands and the marketplace. He tells a short story about the thinking behind the status quo. Note how little space Fogel spends on this step. Why? Because people already know this part. This step is just a springboard for the next two.


Related: How to Make Your Ideas Stand Out


Step 2: Explain why it made sense at the time. Fogel acknowledges the power of community and the lure of a fan club. By doing this, he’s saying, “It’s OK. It’s very logical to seek engagement. You’re not an idiot.” By making folks feel right, you avoid the usual defense mechanisms that show up when people are told they are wrong.

Step 3: Reveal the pivot point. In his article, Fogel points out the difference between participation and attention and how going after the latter makes all the difference. That’s the key here: what distinction charts a new course? What small change creates that BOOM of new ideas exploding in the reader’s head? Reveal the pivot point, and you are on your way.

The “where we went wrong” story is a great way to springboard your solutions. It acknowledges the thinking behind conventional wisdom, but it also puts us on a different path. The next time you want to educate your market, think about this technique.


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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.