…Well, your authentic story is the story of the purpose of the project, so what's your purpose? Your purpose answers why, not how.
…Well, your authentic story is the story of the purpose of the project, so what's your purpose? Your purpose answers why, not how.
Now begins the real maneuvers of the Davies Method. This episode illustrates how all the research and careful planning will empower the community to become your ally.
Takeaways and Teachable Moments
On the support side, social media is not as effective to inspire action.
Never skimp on stationary and printing.
Your audience cannot not communicate, so watch them.
Don’t skimp on the food.
If you build relationships with the community, they will come out for you.
Prioritize good images.
We have arrived at the episode that allows you to translate the pulse you've gathered on the community's attitudes into a persuasive message. This show covers John’s techniques for giving the most useful ideas about your project to the people that need it the most. You painstakingly build your message, version after version, filtering it through every member of your team until it is perfectly refined. Then, you must transmit it to the community or parish.
Winning messages typically have commonalities. They are built from open-ended research that gives you and your team the ability to communicate on your project's behalf. Getting the message out can be nerve-racking but it also it can be the moment when the tide changes and things begin to go your way.
Mark Sylvester: John Davies has a method, an approach he systematically developed over a career spanning three decades. He's proven it to be invaluable for dozens of industries and thousands of projects facing public acceptance. Up until now, the method has only been available to his select client list. John is unpacking his insight and wealth of knowledge to overcome opposition and earn public support for the first time right here.
Mark Sylvester: Throughout these episodes, we'll take a deep dive step by step with John into his strategies to overcome opposition and create support. Nothing is free in this world, but good ideas are priceless. The show could be just the thing you've been looking for. I'm Mark Sylvester. Now, let's get started and talk with John.
Mark Sylvester: Welcome back. John, we've talked about doing the research. We've talked about categorizing and we're answering some big questions. We're filling in buckets. We're getting our doss, and we've done all of that, and we now need to get the message out. Now, one of the things that I'd like to understand though is ... Do you have several messages that come out of the second step? You've got like three messages, and then a prime message. I love the one, the story about Texas and the kid fishing. Now, that you have the message, it's, "How do we get it out?"
John Davies: Right, and how do you ... What is a message? Right? What is a message?
Mark Sylvester: Now, are there ...
John Davies: What is your winning message? I think everyone ... We talk about message. The world is ... All we talk about now is ... Everyone talks about messaging. Everyone talks about story, and it's like no one really knows what it means, and so my deal is you need a winning message, and people say, "What does that mean?" A winning message is your authentic story. Again, what does that mean? What is my authentic story? Well, your authentic story is the story of the purpose of the project, so what's your purpose? Your purpose answers why, not how.
Mark Sylvester: We're back to why?
John Davies: Right or what. The idea is that when you're getting your message ... So, if I'm going to say your winning message answers why, not why, so why this project? Why? It's not about how or what. I'm not interested to how or what until I understand why, and so that becomes your authentic message for the project. Once you have that, now let's talk about how you get it out.
John Davies: For me, the authentic message will tie up a lot of these ideas and these ... the list and forms that we talk about with it, but let's say we got the message and we're going to get it all tied up. We get through this, but how do you get it out? How do you share your story? For me, sharing the story is so many times, people don't share their story. They don't get out there. They'll get the story done. It takes ... When President Obama was elected, he had the audacity of hope, and my audacity of actually reaching out and talking to the public. There's an audacity to that.
John Davies: Are you really going to reach out and tell them what's going on? What are we going to say? How are we going to say it? I just get reminded of the story that I've told a bunch of times about meeting with someone in an office with a little difficult situation, and the lights flick off, and it's like, "Oh, I remember. I saw something about that they're doing repair in the building to be careful using the elevators. There might be short-term intermittent power outages." Okay, so we sit there for 10, 15 minutes. The lights are twinkling in underneath the door a little bit. Finally, it just gets awkward. It's 10, 15 minutes. Two men staring at one another in the dark talking about something sensitive, and maybe ...
Mark Sylvester: You kept talking while the light ...
John Davies: Of course. Yeah, it's off, and we had a little light. They said it's intermittent.
Mark Sylvester: That didn't matter? Okay.
John Davies: What are we going to do? We're going to stand up and leave? Finally, I stood up, opened the door. Boom, the lights come back up. Oh, perfect timing. Sit back down. Talk a while. Like 10, 12 minutes later, same thing happened. It's like, "Wow, that's awkward," so we sit and talk a little bit more, and we're getting through some things. You can't see someone's eyes. Everything is a little dark. Finally, I go, stand up again, and boom, the lights come on, and I looked over this motion detector. There's a motion detector for getting out and doing things. The lights in your project, the information you need, the support, bright lights talking about the community. They don't get turned on unless you move. You got to move. You got to take a step.
Mark Sylvester: Where do you start? Do you start with the grassroots?
John Davies: For me, the grassroots even in the day was so much great social digital media to use, and it's got to start with the grassroots, but it doesn't ... It's not as 100% dependent on the grassroots as it once was, but everyone today say, "Listen. Let's just get a Facebook page and get there."
Mark Sylvester: Right, right.
John Davies: If you're fighting a project, I'm 100% with you. If I did the no side in development, I'd do all Facebook. On the no side, it's much easier to use social, and it works. On the yes side, on the support side, social is not as effective to get people to do things. It's a whole different, a whole different game. If it was, that's what we'd use because it's less burdensome, less work, and less cost, and you can really, really make it happen. We get paid for ideas and our ability to do things, not ... We don't own a printing plant, so we mail.
John Davies: Grassroots is a foundation, so if you take a piece of 8.5 by 11 paper, lay it on a side, draw one-half across the bottom, so that whole big horizontal piece, that's grassroots. On top, it can be a little box of a third. That's social media. In the middle, digital, and then in the last third up on the top would be traditional, so let's unpack those a little bit.
John Davies: Grassroots, so what am I trying to do in grassroots? I'm trying to do two things. I'm trying to bend opinion and I'm trying to find friends. Why do I want to find friends? Because I want friends to go to work for me and find more friends for me because when someone in the community gets what we're doing, they're going to go find more people that get what they're doing. They will get people who are either undecided or people who are actually opposed. They can change their mind. I can't.
Mark Sylvester: Give me an example of going on a recent, maybe a recent project where you did the grassroots method first.
John Davies: I very seldom doing anything but unless we're coming in on a rescue, and then you do some of the stuff. Have you noticed how empty your mailbox is lately?
Mark Sylvester: Very much so as a matter of fact.
John Davies: Yeah, it's interesting. When I mail, and I mail a really nice produced piece that tells our entire story, not a little postcard, but tells our whole story, and I mail it to you, and the letter says, "Dear Mark," and it says, "As a resident of this neighborhood, we wanted to share with you our plans. Your opinion is important to us. As the city begins to study what we're proposing, we want you to do the same, so we've enclosed a fact booklet. Blah, blah, blah," and then we have a really interesting fact book ... You can go to our website and look at some examples.
John Davies: We mail it nicely done, not junk mail. Nice letter, sent to you, nice envelope, and then we wait 48 hours, and we call you. "Hey, Mark. Just checking in. See if received our mail. It was in a big gray envelope and wanted to check it out, and see what ... Did you get a chance to read it? You didn't. Do you still have it? Oh, great. Why don't you take ... If you get a chance and maybe read it tonight or tomorrow, what would be a good time to call you back and see what you think about it?" Totally relaxed.
John Davies: We had a caller that used to say, "Listen to this. No emergency." I don't know why he did that, but it was like magic because everyone is like, "Oh, there's an emergency? There's not an emergency," but the idea is we're really low-key. "So, if you haven't had the chance to look at it ..." "I don't even remember getting it." "I'll tell you what. We'll send you another one. Would that be okay?" "Yeah." We send him another one. We really want to have that conversation. If we get someone to answer their phone, we want to talk to them, so we call. At the end of the conversation, say, "What do you think?" Usually, people will volunteer before that and say, "This is a great idea. I'm really in favor of it," or, "I don't like it."
Mark Sylvester: I have a question though. Before you go to that and talk about the winning message, how do you ... Winning implies. I mean, that it wins the argument, so is there a phase in between this where you go shop the message so to speak? I mean, do you test that messaging out, or have you just been doing it long enough you just ... you have a gut sense that based on all the research, based on the conversations, based on the doss, based on acknowledging, based on doing the whole method, that's the one that's going to be it?
John Davies: We do test it. I mean, we're looking ... We're talking to people in the local community when we get a draft of it, so we ...
Mark Sylvester: Got it, got ...
John Davies: In-house, we'd probably go through 12 versions before we go to the client that we're playing with it, and we go to the client and the client team, and we probably go through another 12 versions, and so we're talking to people. We consider that part of the creative process, so yes. That's a good point, Mark. We don't take our first draft and run with it.
Mark Sylvester: Right, because ... Of course, by winning message, it implies that we're going to put all our chips on this one thing, and I'm going to go do all the work for that.
John Davies: Right. Okay, so the next step in the grassroots sometimes gets put ahead of the one that I just talked about.
Mark Sylvester: Oh, what's that?
John Davies: That small group meetings or one-on-one meetings, and so the two most important pivotal message documents that we start with is a multimedia presentation or the fact booklet. By the way, we call it a fact booklet because if we have that message discipline to call it a fact booklet, everyone else does because people want to know the facts, and if we call it a brochure, it sounds like we're selling someone something, so it's a discipline that we push for our clients, and they always do it because they say, "How's the brochure doing?" "Oh, the fact booklet is coming along fine."
Mark Sylvester: That's part of acknowledge, isn't it?
John Davies: It is. It is. Maybe we start with the multimedia, and there's advantages to both. If you start with the multimedia, you're out in the community, and we're watching people look at it. We do small group meetings, and people will respond to certain things, and they ... Everyone gets stuck on the same section of the slides, and you're like, "Oh, we got a problem here." We're not telling the story right, or we think that's a contrast and that's an acknowledge, we got to fix it.
Mark Sylvester: I know that you are a master of nonverbal communication. We've not talked about that. Well, it's nonverbal, but when you're looking at ... I'm going to guess you're watching the audience, and you're looking at those nonverbal ... You cannot do that.
John Davies: Right.
Mark Sylvester: Is that a huge indicator for you?
John Davies: You just said a keyword. You cannot not communicate, right?
Mark Sylvester: Right.
John Davies: You cannot not communicate, so the audience cannot not communicate and watching ... Yeah. I mean, I don't go to all of them, obviously, and I've trained my staff to do it. We ping people when they're meeting. Part of the deal is keep communicating what you're seeing to all of us, so they're texting to the team.
Mark Sylvester: Oh, in real time?
John Davies: In real time, and it's like, "Oh, wow. I mean, these folks, these folks came in here angry." One of the key nonverbals in the small group meetings where you know you're going to have hostile audiences ... Well, usually, ideas can be really hostile because everyone is already angry, but hostile audiences. You have food out and they won't eat your food.
Mark Sylvester: Is that funny?
John Davies: That's a nonverbal that they refuse nourishment from you, and we're working on a huge project in the Central Valley that was a commercial real estate, a big commercial real estate project, and people ... These meetings would last two or three hours. They'd come in and they wouldn't eat our food. It was really low-key food because you want to look like you're buying them, but they're getting hungry, so the second night of them doing that, I started having our guys pass around the sandwiches. Even though they didn't want to eat our food because they were angry with us and they wanted to fight, they started eating the food because they're hungry, so hunger ... The dream of food I guess overcame the fear of taking our food. Yeah. Watching nonverbals are really important at this. When you do a multimedia, you can change it. It's not printed, and so that's the advantage of doing the multimedia first.
Mark Sylvester: You do a bit of that, and you're also ... I know you're really big on images and how images set tones. I mean, I've seen you work before where you go through a hundred pictures and you ... because you're so immersed in the psyche, right? We talked about that already.
John Davies: Right.
Mark Sylvester: You know which images are going to resonate, and it's almost like that's how ... Again, we're getting back to this emotional connection.
John Davies: Right. Well, and there's a way of searching for photos on the photo ... stock photo sites where you use emotional words. "Happy family in a park." You don't just say, "Family in a park." "Family having fun in a park." "Joyful ..."
Mark Sylvester: There's a hidden tip.
John Davies: Oh, yeah. When you use emotional terms in searching for stock photos, you get better things. I mean, it's crazy the stock photos you can find if you're willing to spend a long time looking and keep trying new words and new ways of looking, and so the beauty of ... Either way, you're going to use the same messages. I like doing the fact booklet first, and the reason is, is once I do the multimedia and you had the advantage of motion, it's so hard to go back to putting it on a piece of paper when basically multimedia is digital. There's motion, there's movement, and getting back, and you going the other way is a lot easier, but either way, you get tested a little bit.
John Davies: You're going to get out there, and by the way, there's also a point where ... You just got to get out there. It is not going to be perfect. There is nothing perfect. There is nothing perfect. It's sufficient. I will never say anything we do as perfect. It's sufficient, and it's more sufficient to get out there with something that is done than not getting out with something that's perfect.
Mark Sylvester: We addressed earlier digital and social, and we think about Twitter, and we think about hashtags, and we think about tagging, and we think about reducing that message to its just as most elemental bit. Do you actually ... I'm curious. Do you actually recommend hashtags, and tweets, and those kinds of things that you can start driving the conversation?
John Davies: Let me ask the audience to raise their hand so I can make a judgment here. How many of you in this room listening to this show right this moment use Twitter? Oh, look at out there. It's about one out of five use Twitter, and they're usually more the intellectual elite or the information elite. Normal like humans don't use Twitter, so let's figure out the crazy phenomenal of Twitter and the reason that it actually survived the last couple years. Now, it's doubling the number of words you can do. Twitter is 100%, for me and these projects, is a social media tool for the media because the media ...
Mark Sylvester: Exactly.
John Davies: When you tweet, you're talking to the media and you're probably talking to people that are against you because they're also information elite, but the family and the neighborhood who you want to come, you want the mom to come with the baby on the hip to stand there and say, "I would love to have this project here." She's not on Twitter. Where is she?
Mark Sylvester: She's on Facebook.
John Davies: You got it, so Twitter. We have the Trump experience with Twitter, and you think about how much attention he gets from Twitter, right? Yeah, it's amazing, but if it's only one out of five people, one of five households even have somewhat Twitter ...
Mark Sylvester: But he has 100% of the media attention.
John Davies: Exactly, and the media just repeats his Twitter because they think that that's the most important thing because they get it. They don't realize no one else has seen it, so they're amplifying what he says. They will amplify what you do, so you got to understand what tool Twitter is. It's for the media, maybe the elected officials in some places, maybe the more information elite, so it's an interesting tool. Let's go back to grassroots and end it really quickly because I want to get this grassroots today. You mail, you call, and you ... If you can't get people on a phone, you walk door to door. Now, how crazy is that? Old-school.
Mark Sylvester: Wow.
John Davies: Because you can't get them on the phone now because people don't answer the phone as much, we walk door to door, and there's technology where you can hire people to walk door to door and you can track where they've been. They do an app on their phone with the names of the people they're going to go see, and you can track ... make sure they actually did it because that's frustrating, right? How do I know that person went to that door and they hand them the ... They have the brochure with them again ... Oh, the brochure. The fact booklet. They hand it to them, and they have a conversation. They say, "What do you think? Do you want some more information? Would you like someone to come by? Would you like someone to call you? Would you like more information?" "No, I support it. I got this in the mail. I thought it was great."
John Davies: You get more people that way, and then you do the small group meetings, and at the end of our meeting, we ask people what they think. You try to get their support, and you're working with them, so you're trying to build this base of support. Once you tell me you're with me, you have just done what? What have you done? You've made a commitment to me, and when you ... In the science of persuasion, when you make a commitment, I have to seal that commitment with you. I have to seal that in a way.
John Davies: We send a commitment letter to you, so you say, "I'm with you," I send ... You send back a card, checked the box, "I support you," you tell us on the phone, you tell us front door, you tell us at a small group meeting, we now then send you a letter saying, "Hey. Dear Mark, thanks for your support," and it's from the highest level person to come to you. "I so appreciate that you took the time to talk to one of my colleagues on the phone last night, and we're excited that you support what we're doing."
John Davies: We repeat the key message on the pieces, why this project is so important. "We're counting on you to help spread the word. To get this done, we're going to need people like you to spread the word, so we're going to count on you and we hope we can. When there's public hearings and things, we'll let you know so you can participate. In the meantime, just know how much we appreciate you."
Mark Sylvester: I'm going to guess the answer to this, but I'll ask. Do most people do that, that thank you?
John Davies: No. No. We have motivated someone to come join us, right? We give them a little bit of education. Now, we're appreciating them. Just by saying thank you to someone who says, "I like what you're doing," now you're starting to build a relationship, right?
Mark Sylvester: Right.
John Davies: Now, we have a relationship with them, and they're good. We mail. We phone. We walk. We do small group meetings. We're looking for friends. Of course, we're getting information out that people that are in the middle will get, and keep in their head, and talk, but we want friends because we need friends to spread the word. Now that we have friends and they're in there, now I want to go to social media. I don't want to got to social media until I already have friends, and let's be really clear. The social media is an advertising vehicle when you're on the pro side. It is not organic when you're on the pro side of something. It will grow a little bit, but you have to advertise. Lucky that we have a friendly medium to advertise on. Social media is amazingly cost-effective. Facebook is amazingly cost-effective to advertise on.
Mark Sylvester: Well, you can also micro-target.
John Davies: You can micro-target.
Mark Sylvester: Exactly.
John Davies: When you do local regional things, it's almost impossible to micro-target down that far.
Mark Sylvester: Something that occurs to me as you've been talking here, which gets back to this motion detector, which was stand up ... which is around being active. You're actively going out and getting the message out there. There's a real positive force here, and if you can't get them this way, I'm going to go get them this way. I'm going to get them there. I'm going to get them there.
John Davies: Right.
Mark Sylvester: Being active and not passive is another keyword here.
John Davies: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, how do we expect someone else to support what we're doing or not oppose what we're doing unless we go out and ask them, share with them what we're doing and start a relationship? How do we expect them to ... We're always getting stuck in these moments. We get started, and then immediately, we have a hearing, and we immediately have to go ask these people that we haven't really got a committed relationship with to go do something, and it's nightmare.
John Davies: I just had a conversation with a project manager yesterday, and he didn't want to do this and didn't want to do that. I'm like, "You're just making me so tired, and I'm feeling so bad for you." He's like, "I don't understand." I go, "You're making me tired because it just ... I know how hard this is going to be at the end and I know that if you guys really want to get this done, you're going to have to spend a whole lot of money later doing this. Why don't we just do this now? Why are you making me so tired? Let's get done, so do the grassroots well. Never stop doing it."
John Davies: You go to social, and think about social. Facebook is your best bet. Twitter is for the media. What do you in Instagram for a project? You could do the Facebook-Instagram joint where they go at the same place. I mean, Snapchat. I don't know what you're doing. You can do My Story. I don't think so. We haven't done it and haven't found that anyone wants to follow us on it, so it's not there. It becomes Twitter for the media, Facebook for the supporters. You micro-target, you advertise, and you never stop, and you post. When you have opponents coming in there and trying to cause an issue at the very beginning, I delete them. I know that's against the law in virtual community, but I delete them because I don't want my supporters not to go there and look. Once we get a robust group, a couple thousand supporters on there, and then it grows ...
Mark Sylvester: They'll take care of it.
John Davies: They'll take care of it for you.
Mark Sylvester: Yeah, yeah.
John Davies: In the beginning, if it's an argument, people aren't going to join you. They don't want to join a corner where people are fighting, but once you're in there, they'll be the tough ones, and then they're better than you could possibly ever be of making the point of what's going on. I mean, sometimes, it's the most fun is watching project ... We have 10,000, 12,000 Facebook friends, watching someone come in and throw out crazy ideas, and then whimper away because the supporters are like, "Dude, you're just wrong. You playing wrong. We live here. I live down the street from you. Listen, I love you. You're great. I love playing ... having your kids play at our house, but you're wrong. You haven't looked at this right." "Oh, I'm sorry." That's where social media does ... So, when you got digital media, you got to have a great website.
Mark Sylvester: Yeah.
John Davies: You got to have a great website because if you don't, no one knows where to go get information, and you can send people to it. Okay, but the last is ... Remember when I said the top half graded in thirds?
Mark Sylvester: Right.
John Davies: So, social. I mean, we all know what it is. Social is by the way video. You got to put up as much video post on Facebook as you possibly can.
Mark Sylvester: Do you advocate for Facebook Live? Have you done that yet, or is that a little scary?
John Davies: Yeah. You've got to have people. What we find in social for our supporters, they click on us like they click on something. They'll say, "I like that," but they didn't decide that they're ... I'm going to be the most important thing to their life, so don't expect them to be. We'll do a small group meeting to do a Facebook Live, but we'll do something else in there that I can share in a minute, but you want to use videos because the motion, and get them that are automatic start, and that you don't need voiceover because people have their sound off.
Mark Sylvester: Yeah.
John Davies: You have to have a lot of words come on as things happen.
Mark Sylvester: Yeah.
John Davies: It's fun. It's easy to do, and you don't have to be perfect production, but you want to make your point, so what are your points? What's your winning message, which is the why? We may have three messages, and we just repeat them 20 different ways over three months, four months, six months. Go back and do it again. Don't start doing stupid things on there like, "Oh, the community is having a barbecue about something down the street." That's not your job. A lot of people think that their development Facebook page is supposed to be a community page, what's going on in the community. No. If you're thinking you're co-oping, and becoming the community Facebook page, and talking about the news, and spreading the words about what's going ...
Mark Sylvester: Thinking that will draw people.
John Davies: Yeah, and it doesn't, and it makes you look like you're ... It looks like you're trying to jump in on a conversation that you don't belong in, so don't do it. It's message discipline. It's about your project, and keep talking about it. Keep repeating it. Do it over and over in totally different ways with different stories.
Mark Sylvester: Traditional media. Why would you advertise in a newspaper today? I think there is still a group of people. I'm thinking the people in my life who are reading newspapers and grandparents.
John Davies: Right, and people like looking at the local newspaper, and the person that reads a local newspaper the most is the editor and the publisher of the newspaper who actually has a lot of influence, and so if you put an ad in the newspaper, and their advertising department takes it, and they see that you put a full paid ad in the paper and it's interesting, they seem to like you a little bit more. I mean, you're their friend. You're supporting them. They're willing to give you a chance, and who else looks in the newspaper a lot? Elected officials to see is anyone ...
Mark Sylvester: What kind of coverage that they're getting.
John Davies: Yeah. "Is anyone talking about me?"
Mark Sylvester: Right. Yeah, and [crosstalk 00:28:16] on the editorial page. Right.
John Davies: [Crosstalk 00:28:16], and TV is still is a good medium. I mean, we're all watching reruns or replays of an ... but it's still a good medium, and radio in most places is still really top. Radio is still ... People listen to radio less, but it's a bigger audience today.
Mark Sylvester: They're listening to podcasts.
John Davies: They are listening ... Well, hopefully they are. This is what you should listen to in your car. We'll have 150 of this to go for the next 10 years of driving.
Mark Sylvester: What's interesting and I love that number, 150, but what's interesting because I study this is that if your pod ... and this is news, new news. If you're podcasting general information, you probably won't get a big audience, but if you are hyper-targeted and you've just got a thin slice, it is absolutely the best way to go about doing it, which is what I love about this show is we're talking about a real specific thing, and to your point on message discipline, we've been very disciplined about getting this across. We've been staying on that point.
John Davies: Yeah. I can imagine doing a podcast just to have a chat and talk about it because it will be like having a conversation over dinner with me. It'd be all over the place. I mean, who'd want to listen to that?
Mark Sylvester: People do that all the time. John, I've got a quick question to stay on social and digital just quickly. Are you finding with your clients just, let's say over the last couple of years that they want to jump into that social before they've done all the other stuff?
John Davies: Yes. Well, social, quick. "Let's get a website up." I was meeting with a client in the East Cost in Virginia, and part of my plan was to do a website. They go, "We have a website." I go, "Yeah, that's right." Of course, they look at me like, "Oh," and I go, "Yeah, it's really ... I looked at your website, and the reason I don't remember it is I thought it was a website to sell homes. I didn't see that it was a website to ask for people's support to build ... to get approval for the homes," and so the websites got to be focused. "This is what we're asking for. We're asking for your help."
John Davies: We take the multimedia that we present in small groups. We put voiceover, turn it into a video. We break it into five videos. 10. Whatever it takes. Put it up there so people can see it. As time goes on, we'll go interview people in the community, why they support it, get that on the web as well as social. Make it happen. The other thing digitally, if you think about digital outreach, it's not just the web. It's emails.
Mark Sylvester: Absolutely.
John Davies: We only emailed people with permission. When they give us their email, we make sure that we use that as a way of communicating with them, and we don't abuse it.
Mark Sylvester: I have a question because I studied the digital side of communication so much that I think what gets forgotten on websites is the mobile version of the website is more important than the laptop version now and especially in, I'm going to say, the last 24 months that the chances of them hitting that site like in a presentation in the city council.
John Davies: Right.
Mark Sylvester: They're going to hit that thing, so do you have some advice for how you optimize for mobile, and do you ... I mean, for instance, with us, we just say, "Mobile first. Make sure it works there first."
John Davies: Absolutely. I think the beauty of that is that the mobile is ... force you to be simpler and bigger headlines, bigger statements. Easier to look at things. Think about a video on mobile. I mean, you turn your phone sideways and you watch it. I mean, it's great, so we look at our ... We use Keynote, the Mac program, for our presentations, and it's just beautiful resolution, beautiful transitions that you do on a ... and drop into a video, and it works fine. Turn it sideways and ... I mean, it plays unbelievable, so yeah, you got to design it, everything for mobile that makes your computer website even better. Then, the other thing with that is you can ... when you email, and you can drop people into those sections of your ... saying, "Hey, we just put up something new. We'd love to see what you think of it."
Mark Sylvester: Of course, there's lots of technology on that side as well.
John Davies: Right. The other thing with digital that we do now that we could do is we can do tele-town-halls. Do people want to go out, sit at a meeting? The other thing is a lot of meetings have become so ugly because the discourse in America is a little distasteful right now, so doing the tele-town-hall where we can invite a couple thousand people, get 500 or 600 people on, and we can have a conversation, we can drive them to a webpage to watch a presentation. It'd got to be short. You're not going to do a 20-minute presentation. Do four, five minutes.
John Davies: You can clear some things. Then, you start taking questions through a moderator, and you can spend an hour on the phone with a bunch of people having a conversation, and they don't have to leave their house. They can be right there doing it. People tell me all the time what they do. They said, "Do it on the cellphone." What we do is say, "Would you like to do it?" They sign up. We call them when it's about to begin, so they don't have to remember to call us. People opt in. We call them. They jump on. People tell me all the time they do it on their mobile phone.
Mark Sylvester: Sure.
John Davies: They put it down on speaker, then they ...
Mark Sylvester: While they're doing something else.
John Davies: Right, and then they go to the website where the presentation is going on, and they're able to watch it. Then, the other digital thing that's really important is doing good SEO. If you're going to have a website and someone googles your project, you want them to go to your site, not your opponent's site, so you got to make sure you do an SEO.
Mark Sylvester: Exactly, exactly. It's sounds, John, as we ... I want to button this all up that if we've got a winning message, we've got a story, we need to go out and share that story. We've got all of this grassroots ways to share that. We have the social ways and the ones, as you talked about, that are effective and the ones that are maybe counterproductive. Then, all of the nuances of digital, and each one of these, we could unpack and spend an hour talking on each one of them.
John Davies: Yeah, sorry. I probably could do an hour on the subsection of each.
Mark Sylvester: No. Oh, absolutely, and then that traditional, let's not forget. Radio, television ...
John Davies: Yeah, people are still in their cars.
Mark Sylvester: Exactly. I love that. John, what is a kind of something that someone might think about today? I know you love charts, and columns, and rows. Is there a way to maybe plan out that messaging strategy and look at on a big board and make sure you didn't miss anything?
John Davies: Let's do something really quick.
Mark Sylvester: Okay.
John Davies: Let's take out a piece of paper and draw out ... So, we're starting to think, so your authentic message. Let's think of the context you're coming into. What are the community's dreams and fears? Write them down. Remember we talked about them a minute ago?
Mark Sylvester: Yeah, yeah.
John Davies: Write down the dreams and fears, and so what is your value-based message, your moral case that we talked about? Do you have knowledge?
Mark Sylvester: Yeah.
John Davies: Contrast? Write that down. Let's say we have ... is they want to protect their land. They want to deal with the state requirements for having housing. There's so much less ...
Mark Sylvester: We get all of that written out?
John Davies: Then, you write your moral case, and then you take the two, and you melt them together and write a paragraph. It's pretty simple, really. You're crafting a paragraph with five on one thing, a couple paragraphs on the other side, and you start pulling them together, and you knit them together, and then you re-knit them together, and then you re-knit them together, and then you re-knit them together, and you got drafts. What you're trying to do is get the 25, 12 to 25 words and get it locked up. That's your authentic message, and that's what goes in. That's what you're sharing, and then who are you sharing it with? That's the other thing to write down.
Mark Sylvester: John, and then how you're going to share is going to get us to the various channels.
John Davies: Right, but who are you going to share it with, and how are you going to get them? Who's your target audience? Pick your target audiences.
Mark Sylvester: Which leads us to what we're going to talk about next week, which is cultivating the relationship, and that's really that, the relationship that we're building with the community, with those specific people, and there's ... Again, there's so much here. I almost feel like we're going to ask our listener to go back and listen to this one again.
John Davies: Maybe we should go back and do it again.
Mark Sylvester: John, we'll talk to you next week.
John Davies: Thanks.
Mark Sylvester: Thank you for listening. It's now your opportunity and responsibility to use the method today. You've completed one segment toward understanding The Davies Method. We look forward to you subscribing. Join us as we uncover and explain the nuances of John's distinctive approach. For more episodes, visit thedaviesmethod.com. I'm Mark Sylvester, recording at the PullString Press Studios in Santa Barbara, California.