So What?

The So What? test is nothing new but I thought it would be worth covering here as it’s something I have discussed with a number of people this week.  If you’re unfamiliar with the So What? test then there are lots of great books out there on it but, in essence, it is the practise of looking at your messaging and asking yourself “so what?”  Are you talking about what matters most to your audience?  The idea is to help you focus on what’s important to your client base and communicate effectively as a result.


To give you an example, how many presentations have you seen which start with an introductory slide listing facts about the company?  A typical first slide will usually contain some company facts along the lines of:


  • Established in 2012
  • 3 clients by end of 2013, 70 clients by 2016
  • Created app for tracking your child’s school progress
  • Work with Government around tests and assessment
  • Team of 5 people based in Cambridge


While these facts are important to your company, the client’s response will be probably be so what?  So you were established in 2012, so what?  Why is that important to me?

It’s crucial to always look through your messaging, and particularly opening slides such as these where this will be often be your first contact with you potential client, and ask yourself so what?  And keep asking yourself so what until you get to a satisfactory answer.  So, for the example above, let’s do the So What? Test on the first bullet point


  • Established in 2012


So what?  Well, it means we’ve been in business for a few years now.  So what?  So we’re not going anywhere, we’re established and have a good reputation.  So what?  Customers can trust us.

By asking so what you can usually find a better way of getting that message across.  In the case of the above, a much stronger opening bullet point would have been something along the lines of:


  • Trusted provider since 2012 with an excellent service track record


Try it with the other bullet points and see what you come up with.  Try it with your own messaging and share the results.  I know this has helped lots of companies in the past so hopefully it will help yours too.


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