Eyes light up (ELU)

The litmus test for whether your story struck a chord

Positioning and messaging is exciting because you’re picking your angle. Of all the ways you could talk about your product, which way should you talk about it?

Even if you’re feeling confident in your brand’s spiky point of view, it’s important to test your story.

At this point, clients will usually ask,

“So how do we know if our story resonates?”

“How do we test our positioning and messaging?”

“How can we tell if customers are excited by this value prop?”

I want to share one of my favorite frameworks because it’s super easy and intuitive.

Here’s the deal:

They perk up. Their energy level shifts. All of a sudden they look alive — and they want to hear what you have to say.

I call this the Eyes Light Up moment. Or ELU for short.

This is the moment when your audience is viscerally, undeniably excited about what you’re talking about.

That is the reaction you’re looking for. Whenever you tell a story, share your value proposition, or test your positioning/messaging…

Eyes lighting up is the ONLY reaction that matters.

If you ask a bunch of intellectual questions, you’ll get intellectual responses. These intellectual responses are usually not helpful at all. Hypothetical questions are even worse.

In the wise words of Ogilvy: “The problem with market research is that people don’t think how they feel, they don’t say what they think and they don’t do what they say.”

They’re usually saying that because they don’t know what else to say. They’re being polite.

If they were ACTUALLY interested, their eyes would light up. They would be interrupting you with questions, and you’d be having a lively conversation.

One of my clients was going to SXSW.

I said, “This is a great chance to test your new positioning. Every time you talk to someone, describe the new product in a slightly different way. Notice what makes people’s eyes light up. Jot those down and let’s discuss when you’re back.”

They did this — and came back with insights on what resonated in conversation. We emphasized and aggrandized those elements. Then we trimmed parts people didn’t care as much about.

ELU will help you answer all of these questions:

  • Which parts of your story are boring?
  • What parts do prospective customers actually care about?
  • What should you spend more time talking about?
  • Where are they confused?
  • What did they remember and repeat back to you?
  • What hot key words got them to perk up?

When you’re telling your story, the way to prepare is NOT to memorize a bunch of tactics. This is only going to make you nervous. You’ll be like an athlete trying to remember to keep your knees bent, but not too bent. Keep your back straight. Remember to follow through. Hold it for X number of seconds.

No. When you tell a story, the only thing you need to remember is this: ELU.

Look for moments when your audience’s eyes light up. These are the clues you’re looking for.

Marketing | Product | Strategy | Prev: altMBA, Seth Godin HQ, Flite (acq by Snapchat), Gap Inc. @wes_kao | weskao.com