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So, What is It You do Exactly

One of my favorite things to ask any CEO is what they think it is their company does. The answers are as often incoherent as they are staggering.

Michael hits on this phenomenon when asking the CEO’s of Yahoo! and AOL what their respective companies do. There are a few communications lessons here:

  1. 1. Get what it is you do down to one sentence. One very short sentence.
  2. 2. Get training if you think you can’t articulate this publically.
  3. 3. Before you get to all the other standard patter, answer the question. Make it the headline.
  4. Never treat any Q&A session casually. Never casually give an answer.

Here is what they had to say:

Bartz:

What is Yahoo?…Listen Yahoo is a great company that is very, very strong in content for its users, uses amazing technology to serve up what increasingly we think is going to be the web of one. For instance, on our today module in the front page, every 5 minutes we have 32,000 different variations of that module. So you don’t even know what I’m seeing in fact we serve a million different front page modules a day and that’s just through content optimization. And that’s just the beginning…Customized because we know the things you’re interested in. Maybe you don’t like light entertainment maybe you like a certain sports team, etc., etc. And our click through rate went up twice. So the point is, people come to us to find out what is going on with the world in a very nice quick fashion to do their communications, email, messanger, check-in on their teens. We all know about Yahoo finance. It’s a places where you can just get it together. It’s collated for you, it’s all the things as you’re moving, you can even get your social information there. Everybody moves through many websites in a day, Yahoo is one they always stop at.

Armstrong:

AOL is planning on being the largest high quality content producer for digital media.

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