There's a phrase I constantly repeat: position or be positioned.
In other words, the act of positioning happens whether we like it or not. Competitors slander us. Partners invent our script. Even customers (or devs if you're in Web3) have the potential of spreading narratives that are disadvantageous to us.
We are human beings, after all. We need to quickly make sense of information and categorize it. We rely too heavily on the first piece of information presented to us. Among psychologists, this phenomenon is known as a cognitive bias known as the anchoring effect.
Here's a simple definition:
The anchoring effect is a cognitive bias that describes the common human tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information offered (the “anchor”) when making decisions. During decision making, anchoring occurs when individuals use an initial piece of information to make subsequent judgments.
You want the anchor to come from you, not someone else. Define your narrative, or else someone else will. Position or be positioned.
To position, I begin by asking two sets of important questions:
- Who exactly are you? And why do you matter?
- Why you (and not others)? Why now?
The answers to these questions should be rooted in authentic differentiation and relevance.
Web2 Example: Salesforce
Now, let's take a look at some examples. First, we'll look at something from Web2, Salesforce. Below is a screenshot from the "about" section on their website.
In one simple sentence, they clearly position as a maker of cloud-based software with a value proposition: "help businesses find more prospects, close more deals and wow customers with amazing service."
Good example of narrative defining.
Web3 Example: Polkadot
The headline image is mainly fluff. The paragraph below that is where they attempt to define their narrative. It tells me what they do "unites and secures" and it tells me the value proposition Apps and services on Polkadot can securely communicate across chains." Good, but What's missing is what Polkadot actually is.
A not so good example of narrative defining.