Tamsen Webster, The Red Thread – InnovaBuzz 116

Tamsen Webster, The Red Thread

Tamsen Webster, The Red Thread

In this episode, it’s a privilege to welcome to the InnovaBuzz Podcast, Tamsen Webster. Part “idea whisperer”, part message strategist, and part presentation coach, Tamsen helps people and organisations find and communicate the power of their ideas.

Tamsen combined her 20 years of experience in marketing with her experience as a Weight Watchers leader and Executive Producer of TEDxCambridge to develop a simple structure for understanding, talking about, and creating lasting change called The Red Thread™.

Neen James on episode 111 suggested we interview Tamsen.

Listen to the podcast to find out more.

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When we change how we see something, we will by definition change what we do as a result. @Tamadear on #InnovaBuzz podcast Share on X

Show Notes from this episode with Tamsen Webster, creator of The Red Thread

Key points and take-aways from this episode include:

  • When we change how we see something, we will by definition change what we do as a result.
  • When you’re speaking at a conference, even if it’s a breakout session, you’ve got 50 to 150 people who elected to come hear you speak. From this small investment of time, you are suddenly in front of pre-qualified leads in a lot of ways. If you treat that opportunity with the respect that’s due and you don’t try to sell them, and you work to educate them to see the world in the way that you do, you’ve got an incredibly rare opportunity with self selected people to continue the conversation in a really powerful way. Make the most of that opportunity when you’re in front of them.
  • There are two big phases when it comes to marketing and sales. There’s the phase where people are learning and there’s the phase where they’re doing. In the learning phase, they’re gathering information that helps them make a decision. It’s like an expanding funnel opening up. The other half is winnowing the information down. That’s where they’re really now comparing exactly what they will get and assessing value. You have to match your message to each of those mindsets because if you try to sell someone who is still in the learning phase they are going to reject you out of hand. At the same time, when somebody’s ready to make a decision, there’s a point where they are not interested in learning more or what they want to learn is actually really specific information.
  • Narrow the message down. Do not broaden it. When you focus your message, you’re able to get the clarion call of a message that actually does cut through the noise.
  • The Red Thread is based on the idiomatic expression which means “the thing that connects everything” or “that thing that makes things make sense”. It is based largely in the way that we as humans understand and code information which is essentially as a story.
  • A goal, to be really worth it, has problems that stand in the way. When putting a message together, really understand what the problem is that’s out there, what is the underlying reason, as your company sees it, that people aren’t achieving that goal effectively or in the best way.
  • If you can go back and reconstruct for yourself, why is it that you do what you do in the way that you do it, you have already made an actual map of your differentiation. If you focus your messaging on those pieces or on telling that story in all the different ways it shows up, you can’t help but differentiate. It’s going to be really hard for anybody else to come and put those exact same pieces together in exactly the same way.
  • Figure out who you are for, and for any given message whether that’s a high level or a really tactical level it’s really just figuring out the five statements that create the Red Thread:
    1. What’s the goal?
    2. What’s the problem of perspective that’s getting in the way of that goal?
    3. What’s the idea that makes that problem impossible to ignore?
    4. What’s the change and thinking or behaviour that must result, or that makes sense as a result?
    5. What are the actions that are needed to create that change?
  • This is the operating system of a company. The brand is the sum total of people’s experiences with you – we need to look before and beneath the brand, the internal codes, commands, beliefs and thinking that lead to what those experiences are. That’s what the Red Thread is. A company, people, individuals, everything is driven by these set of concepts – what does somebody want, why they aren’t getting it, what do they believe to be true, what would they do differently as a result, and how are they going to do that. If you could figure that out and it’s a lot simpler than you think, then you have really unlocked the key to an enormously powerful and more importantly enormously elastic, flexible and able to evolve, understanding of what your company is, that allows you to capture that brand more effectively.
  • Understand what you help people achieve, why your perspective on that is different, and why you believe that perspective is the best one, and then you will have the case for why your approach, your products and your services are different and more effective.
Quality content leads to quality leads. The quality of your leads is directly related to your quality of content. @tamadear on #InnovaBuzz podcast Share on X

The Buzz – Our Innovation Round

Here are Tamsen’s answers to the questions of our Innovation round. Listen to the interview to get the full scoop.

  • #1 thing to be more innovative – Understand how you see the world. If we want to change somebody else’s world view, which is key to getting the change that they want, we have to understand our own. If you want to change somebody else’s mind, you have to know your own, personally and organisationally.
  • Best thing for new ideas – Go all the way back to who am I for, what do they want, what are they struggling with that I can help them get.
  • Favourite tool for innovation – Time blocks of 25 minutes. Pomodoro technique. Work on things in rotation.
  • Keep project / client on track – Finite sets of deliverables. Define projects in very clear steps with a very clear outcome. Keep things in modules. Sell the modules separately. Let the client drive the pace.
  • Differentiate – Understand how you see the world in a way that nobody else does. Anchor your messaging on why you do what you do in the way that you do it. There isn’t just one “why”. Why are you doing this at all? Why is that important to you? Why is it different to other people? There’s at least three and those add up to why the thing that you do is different. So don’t stop at one “why”.

To Be a Leader

Understand why you do what you do, the way that you do it. Understand that and you will stay away from features and benefits, which is always going to be a race to cost and price. If you want to transact on value, then you have to understand why your world view is different and better for the people you serve, than the alternatives that are currently out there.

Reach Out

You can reach out and thank Tamsen through her website, on Twitter – @Tamadear, and on Linkedin.

Suggested Guest

Tamsen suggested I interview Jay Acunzo, founder of Unthinkable Media and an award-winning podcaster. So Jay, keep an eye on your inbox, for an invitation from us to the InnovaBuzz podcast, courtesy of Tamsen Webster. 



Cool things about Tamsen:

  • She can score a baseball game.
  • She likes to have dark chocolate after lunch.
  • Everything she knows about people, speaking, and change, she learned at Weight Watchers.
The operating system of a company is more than the brand. It is the sum total of people's experiences with you. @tamadear on #InnovaBuzz podcast Share on X

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Jürgen Strauss

Dr. Jürgen Strauss is The World's Best Human-Centred Podcasting Coach and the only Podcast Innovator with the signature bright yellow headphones, who masterfully crafts human connection for high-impact achievers in a vibrant community. You can find Jürgen on LinkedIn, The InnovaBuzz Podcast, The Flywheel Nation Community as well as on Innovabiz' InstagramTwitter, Facebook pages and his personal Photography website.  

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