Your firm has grown 100% in just one year and has created a workflow that is the buzz of affluent clients throughout your market. That cover story in the hot local magazine brought scores of highly-qualified leads, and your new project management team is implementing with unprecedented efficiency. Your cash flow and personal earnings have soared to more than three times anything you had imagined before. Highly skilled designers are begging to go to work for you…and bring clients with them.
How do I know all of this? Because I read it in a press release, the press release that you wrote, or what Jeff Bezos of Amazon would call a “future press release.”
It turns out that when anyone at Amazon has an idea for a new product or breakthrough technology, Bezos requires that they write a press release as if all of the desired results had already happened. By putting the ideas into prose form (rather than PowerPoint bullet points) the concepts take on the aura of reality and provide more clarity for in depth discussion.
The Four Rules for Future Press Releases
I really hope you’ll do this exercise, in part because it will force you to think about some innovation, process, idea, or other means of improving your current value proposition.
Rule 1: Set the Release in the Future. It should be written as if the productd has already launched and, more important, is already a success in the marketplace. You’ll also want to set the time frame, with 6-12 months being common choices.
Rule 2: Start with the Customer. The press release should explain why the product improves the customer’s experience, what it does better than any one else in the category, and how it delights the customer!
Rule 3: Articulate Audacious and Clear Goals. The future release must contain clear and measurable results you’ve achieved, including financial, operating, and market share results. Since it’s hard to measure market share in a market as fragmented as interior design, you can use new clients acquired. But make your future press releases specific and bold!
Rule 4: Describe the Hurdles You’ve Overcome. Just because you’re living in the future doesn’t mean you get to have a magic wand to wave. You must anticipate the real-world problems, and then tell us how you overcame them. (Even if you don’t actually know just yet.)
The future press release acts as a forcing function—it forces you as a leader or entrepreneur to clarify your vision and as we learned from Alice in Wonderland, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will do.