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How would you answer that new neighbor’s question?

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Start a new job, small talk with a new acquaintance, move to a new town, and you’ll be asked this question over and over and over.

“So, what do you do?”

A combination of “who do you work for” and “what is your job there”, I’ve always enjoyed this question for one simple reason: it’s practice.

What is Marketing
Marketing is a lot of things, but among the most important is the ability to distill the complexity of a product into simple, bite-sized messages that describe why someone would find it interesting.

Subject lines?
Yep, turning a 500-word email into a 5 word reason to read it.

Taglines?
Yep, turning a 50-page marketing plan into 3 word summary of its essence.

So when someone asks me “what do you do,” I’ve slowly learned that this was a perfect situation to practice the art of taking something complex and confusing and turning into something simple and interesting.

I work…
Imagine someone just asked you this question about the resort you work at. Start you reply with the intro below and finish the sentence.

“I work for a company that ____________”

Try not to just say “ski resort” or something similar, get to the heart.

During the Ryan Solutions days I used to say:

“I work for a company that helps ski resorts do better marketing.”

I found that if they asked a follow up question, I had done something right. If they didn’t, I had probably spoken in language that didn’t make sense to them and felt them feel dumb and, in turn, disinterested. That was almost always what happened when I’d say:

“I work for a resort CRM.”

Not the Answer, but Close
These statements are rarely the word-for-word answer we need as we boil down the complexity of our products into the messages we’ll distribute to the world, but they’re also not far off.

Try it. Get creative with it. See how clean and concise you can make it. Maybe it’s something like:

“I work for a company that helps families spend time together in the mountains.”

Or maybe it’s something totally different.

But whatever your answer, remember that practice makes perfect and this question…well…it’s actually really good practice.



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