While watching Netflix one night, I came across an interesting story. It’s a Greek fable by Aesop called The North Wind and the Sun.

The story concerns a competition between the North wind and the Sun to decide which is the stronger of the two. The challenge was to make a passing traveler remove his cloak.

However hard the North Wind blew, the traveler only wrapped his cloak tighter, but when the Sun shone, the traveler was overcome with heat and had to take his cloak off.

aesop north wind and the sun
From The Aesop for Children, by Aesop, illustrated by Milo Winter, Project Gutenberg etext 19994

Since then, many versions were created with a similar moral, but I like the Victorian’s model the most, “Persuasion is better than force.”

Gentle Persuasion

Trying to push too hard creates ulterior motives, thus distrust. I’ve narrowed everything into four steps.

  1. Listen to your audience and learn what they love, hate and couldn’t care less about.
  2. Create content that resonates with your market and supports your niche position.
  3. Convert your fans, friends and casual readers into clients and advocates.
  4. Evangelize your brand with passionate followers who’ll spread the good news of your work.

Social media has many wonderful platforms for conversations and engagement. It’s a beautiful tool to humanize your brand. And with time, you’ll persuade casual readers into advocates … or better, clients!

A good comparison would be Disney vs. TheKnot. I recently went to Disney World and they sent me a thank you card with nothing more than “Hope to see you again soon!” No sales. Nothing. Conversely, TheKnot would call to compliment a photographer’s work followed immediately a pitch for advertising in the local area.

Bottom line is that persuasion takes time. It does not yield instant results let alone concrete metrics for a calculable ROI. This is sounding like social media … hm. Be the gentle sun.

Have a good weekend,

Lawrence Chan

P.S. I’m currently in Austin, Texas at SXSW getting my learning on. Staying weird and loving it.


P.P.S. What are some must see things in Austin, Texas?