The well-defined platform

PreRamble:  In a recent blog post, Australian business author and brand story strategist, Bernadette Jiwa, cites “platform” as the “business buzzword of 2013.”

She stresses that a successful business platform needs to be as much about the “doing it” as it is about the “how to” … paraphrased here,

“… To be well-equipped at ‘the doing’ you need to have a reason to build the platform that intersects your needs with those of your audience (your ‘Tribe’). Building a ‘platform’ is a far cry from building a tribe. Tribes begin with the reason for building (doing) the thing in the first place. Successful businesses are born from having a reason to create the platform that serves the needs of the audience. The success doesn’t simply come from the platform itself.”

“Yes!” to the idea that a meaningful platform be aligned with the realities of context  — both on the front end ‘Tribes’ and the back end ‘action.’

To that point, let’s revel in the resonance of the term/concept “platform” 

Before it became a digital thing, the “platform” was wildly successful as a simple, flat, raised surface … definitions include:

  1. Stage for performers or speakers – a raised level area of flooring for speakers, performers, or participant in a ceremony, making them easily visible to the audience
  2. Flat raised structure – a simple structure, serving as a base for keeping things clear of the ground
  3. Raised area providing access to trains – a raised structure beside the tracks at a railroad station that makes it easier to get on or off and load or unload a train
  4. Public policy of party seeking election – the particularly publically announced policies and promises of a party seeking election; understood as the basis of its actions should it come to power
  5. Opportunity for doing something – a position of authority or prominence that provides a good opportunity for doing something

Obvious inferences from these “platform” definitions include:

  1. Increased visibility – a good platform raises up the key elements of your value proposition, making them easily visible to your audience
  2. Ground clearance – keeps those key elements up off the ground … lifts them out of the dirt of the details into simplicity and clarity
  3. Access – ease of accessibility to information and the synergy between variables is the primary purpose of a platform
  4. Policies and promise – love this!  A meaningful platform demonstrates what you and your organization, project, initiative, etc. are all about; also represents the basis of and springboard to decision-making
  5. Opportunity – the organized roster of key elements establishes you in a position of authority – a solid foundation upon which to build and take action

The Take-Away: A meaningful, well-designed platform that clearly articulates and communicates the value proposition of your organization, idea or personal brand provides a solid foundation upon which to successfully address the needs of your ‘tribe.’