How to Strike Brand Gold

I’m an unapologetic economic dummy. I’m not an abstract thinker, which apparently is a prerequisite for understanding economics. My modus operandi is strictly “need to know,” and besides, I’m way too literal to wrap my head around any of it.

But the other day, in response to my recent post, TikTok, You’re Dead to Me, I got this question from an economist who was starting a newsletter about “everyday” economic issues.

She wrote:

“In a sea of economists on social media, how can I set myself apart as someone who can explain things to self-professed “economic dummies?”

It’s such a great question. In fact, it’s THE question.

Here’s my advice, and it applies to anyone who’s jockeying for position, looking for a way to break away from the pack.

First off, economics is scary. Jargon, models, and graphs — no wonder our eyes glaze over. But here’s the good news: this is exactly where your opportunity lies. If you can decode this complex world for people like me, you’ve struck gold.

To do this, think about the following:

1. Embracing Simplicity

Your first task is to simplify. Use plain language and everyday examples to explain economic concepts. Remember, your readers like me shy away from things like “fiscal policy” or “quantitative easing.” Instead, relate these concepts to daily life — compare fiscal policy to a family’s budget decisions or explain quantitative easing as the government ‘printing money’ to stimulate the economy.

2. Telling Stories

We love stories. They’re engaging, relatable, and memorable. Use anecdotes and first-hand accounts (no pun intended) to illustrate the complex stuff. For instance, talk about how a small business owner makes pricing decisions or tell the story of a country that recovered from a recession. Make them relevant to me.

3. Painting a Picture

Attention spans are short. No one wants a lecture. Create simple, funny, “economics for dummies” at-a-glance visuals. Make friends with Canva. If I can create my own visuals (well, most of them), then you can, too. Photographs, infographics, simple graphs, and even cartoons help break down complex ideas.

4. Making It Really, Really, Really Current

Link posts to what’s happening in the world. Whether it’s inflation during the pandemic or the economic impact of the new student loan forgiveness plan,  bring it down to earth. Real stuff for real people.

5. Chatting with Your Readers

Encourage questions and discussions. Make your newsletter a two-way street where there is no such thing as ‘dumb’ questions. Become a turn-to resource.

6. Being Consistent. Being Patient

Finding your voice and building a devoted readership takes time. Post new stuff as often as you can, and be patient as your audience grows. Yes, you’re sharing your knowledge, but at the end of the day, you’re building your brand.

So, dear newsletter reader, put a stake in the ground and claim your real estate. Think about the ways in which you can brand yourself as a straight-talking, no-nonsense Guru of Economics for people like me.

And don’t, for one moment, be afraid to be controversial, unconventional, and bold.