What a beautiful word.
One of my favourites, in fact. You’re probably a fan, too.
As both biz-owners and consumers, we enjoy the freedom to make our own choices, to decide our own fates, to follow our own unique paths…
And as marketers we often leverage our customers’ desire for freedom to help them choose our products and services.
FREEDOM is very similar to LIBERTY…
But crucially, there’s more than one kind of freedom. And more than one kind of liberty.
As psychologist and author Barry Schwartz writes in The Paradox Of Choice:
Many years ago, the distinguished political philosopher Isaiah Berlin made an important distinction between ‘negative liberty’ and ‘positive liberty.’
Negative liberty is ‘freedom from’ – freedom from constraint, freedom from being told what to do by others.
Positive liberty is ‘freedom to’ – the availability of opportunities to be the author of your life and to make it meaningful and significant.”
So, by this definition there’s freedom as a kind of escape from what’s holding us back, a breaking of chains…
…and freedom as more of a ‘luxury’ of choice, a desire for something we don’t yet possess.
As marketers and storytellers, it’s important to understand the difference between the two definitions.
Here’s how I see it:
‘Negative liberty’ is like running AWAY from something… ‘positive liberty’ is like running TOWARDS something.
They’re very different states of being.
All of your prospective clients and customers are either running to or from something.
It’s your job to help them get where they need to go.
Because when they encounter your sales message, they’re seeking freedom: ‘freedom from’… or ‘freedom to’…
And that impacts their behaviour, their decisions and the way they respond to your messaging.
So you need to understand what kind of freedom your prospect is seeking at any given moment…
Are they DESPERATE to escape the shackles of a problem they’ve been stuck with for so long?
Are they DRIVEN FORWARD by a recent change in their life to pursue something they’ve always wanted but never had?
Are they FLEEING with terror from a predator (like a competitor, an illness, or an angry spouse) who’s hot on their heels?
Or are they LOOKING for a way to demonstrate to their friends and neighbours just how free they are, by scooping up luxury goods they can proudly display?
Whatever they’re running to or from, your ideal customer needs YOUR help to achieve their freedom.
Will they recognise your offer as a way to help them?
Is your unique value clearly expressed so it resonates with their desire for freedom from X… or is it focused too tightly on the idea of freedom to Y?
It’s important that every sales message your business uses considers this month’s Clarity Question:
“What is my ideal customer running to or from?”
Once you know what that is, you’ll be in a better position to grant their freedom…
Which is a pretty good place to be : )
(If you’d like my help with that, run towards this.)