and Invite Them In
In the world of social media, big brands and even bigger personalities, the application of 'brand experience' seems to be lost in translation. Unfortunately, many marketers and business leaders get lost in the 'highlight" reels of people and products - and attribute branding to those looking to be famous or louder than their counterparts (tis' annoying).
Sure, it sounds good to be in the forefront of your industry, however, at what cost? Likewise, it may feel good to remain in the shadows of social media for the sake of 'remaining true' to yourself as a business owner but where is the balance? What can be leveraged or said without shouting it from a social media rooftop or relying on minimal engagement in hopes of organic growth? I'd like to think - "story".
Bottom line, humans interact with other humans. These interactions are literally fostering one narrative in our human psyche or another. When advertising our offer, you are creating positive or negative brand experiences (BX), followed by the customer experience (CX) which determines immediate reactions. So, it's become more pertinent to first, understand our customers deeply, then foster trust regarding our product or service through these engagements.
The antiquated methods businesses use to communicate their offer with the expectation of what I call "buying behavior" has become unhealthy (for BX/CX) and ineffective. Whether young or old, experienced or novice, we have what is referred to as an "aspirational identity" we are hoping to become when shopping for products and services. How this appears in real time is easily recognizable in the fashion industry - "Look like this and feel like that" wearing this designer brand. Likewise, in pursuit of said identities, homeowners can succumb to purchasing home-improvement items to gain the celebrated yet, unofficial reign of "Best _______ in the neighborhood."
Truth is, we all want to be invited into a story where we are the hero, winning the day and moving closer to a successful outcome - be it the fashionista, "grill-master" or the lady with the best kitchen. When successful, clients can live out their identities with conviction and enthusiasm whether it's B2B or B2C. A goal is for them to come back or at least, help you advertise to others in the process - a "win, win" at its best!
"A Closer Look"
"If you use the wrong words to talk about your product, nobody will buy it. Marketers and business owners struggle to effectively connect with their customers, costing them and their companies millions in lost revenue."
Miller goes onto say in his book, (I paraphrase) businesses often cause people to "waste brain calories" when trying to communicate their offer. Contrarily, when we invite customers into a story they can understand, they are more likely to buy from us vice our competitor(s) due to the conversational nature and this simple approach. Miller classifies this approach as "the grunt test" - a caveman mentality which answers the questions:
What are you offering?
How does this help me survive or thrive?
How do I get it?
Remaining lean in your messaging is just one way to ensure your offer doesn't get lost in the shuffle of a customer's busy life. Of course, being a visual-guy, my experiences have afforded me a perspective that good design coupled with effective messaging is even better. With this very approach, I have been able to help my clients really gain a competitive advantage in an hyper-connected world by focusing their energy towards simplicity and clarity.
"Invite them in"
To sum it up, it's simple - stop 'shouting' at your audience with 'cure all' ads, presumptuous claims, and big 'marketing' nets hoping your next big catch awaits. Instead, know who you're speaking to, understand their problem and communicate how you help them solve it. Bridge the gap in their lives or business and you just might land yourself a loyal customer as well as an ambassador in the process. As mentioned in Miller's book - every great story has a hero, who has a problem, who meets a guide, who after demonstrating both empathy and expertise - the guide details a simple plan to help, then calls them to take action.
In closing, it's important that I reference, I am directing most of this rant to the business owners and entrepreneurs who are in the market to either hire creative professionals to help them land more clients or who are attempting to take the DIY approach. Of course, many algorithms have been created in efforts to 'bob and weave' the human experience, however, effective or not, 'bots' cannot feel, and feeling is where most decisions are made (according to the neuroscience buffs). For a special dose of limbic and neocortex brain-activity, check out the classic video from Simon Sinek's 2009 Ted Talk on Youtube.com
Until we meet, remember - good design is good business, and good business gets noticed.
Author - Michael K. Bigos Founder - Focis Branding© & Design Solutions @focisbranding firstname.lastname@example.org