Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Many brands are heros without a damstel in distress to save

Most companies, brands, organisations and people are well aware of their own assets. Especially small scale entrepreneurs have trained themselves well in 30 second pitches and have an ability to rapidly say what they do and who they are.

This morning I was at a networking breakfast with a bunch of solo entrepreneurs, hungry for business. They stood up one after the other, held their little presentations and let everyone know what they have to offer.

Unfortunately it was all about them! Very few focused on their consumer and WHY someone would buy their services. Most of them failed in presenting a problem before selling a solution. Like a Hollywood hero without a murder, a damstel in distress or a president in danger. Pointless.

Almost all brands I´ve ever worked with - gigantic or tiny, global or from the hood - have spent loads of money investigating their own navel. Business plans, brand plans, SWOT analysis, sales material... mainly about them. Their benefits. Their USP´s. Look at me, I´m fabulous!

- if you don´t know what your target audience think, say or feel around you - how can you communicate?
- If you have not figured out how they live, what matters to them, what they fear or crave - how can you connect?
- If you are distant - how can you get close, and close the deal?

Most clients I work with need help in understanding their value for consumers and turn the spotlight on to people first. The search for facts and insights on human behaviour, target audience footsteps and emotional state etc is in most cases done way too late. Really, strategy is booming in communication agencies all over the world at the moment, but our job should have been done when setting up the business! Not when marketing it. Research, to find insights, should not just be made in order to find ways to create a campaign, it should be the base of the operation.

I´m happy to help brands I work with and to be able to make a difference of course, but it hurts to see how many businesses that live in confusion. They scream out their message, trying to tell everyone how wonderful they are - while most of people in the audience couldn´t care less. It´s kind of not about them...  And most people just care about themselves anyway. Like when you see a photo of you and a bunch of mates; what face do you look at first...?

An example: Sure, a schampoo for dull hair is great for girls with dull hair - but this is not really what will make her buy. The problem is not dull hair - it´s probably insecurity, a feeling of not fitting in, a fear of not being pretty enough, fear of not getting a boyfriend, fear of not being loved, a craving for an extraordinary life like those girls in the magazines, a feeling of doing what you can with what you got... blah - blah. It´s not like a girl wakes up thinking "oh, my hair is dull, let´s go shopping for a solution". The purchase process is much more complicated and packed with emotions.

Make sure you know the real problem you are a reply to. Make sure you know your crowd. Make sure you know your place in their lives. The customer don´t really care about you, so stop bragging :)

Some of you will now think of Steve Jobs and his aversion against market research or Henry Fords statement "if you had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses", and I know... You should not over adapt to please a verbalised need. But good research goes deeper, and seek not facts on how many percentage of the population that thinks a certain thing, but insights that is shown between the lines. It puts the product into a bigger perspective. Into life.

We all fail of course, in living our message. I have not asked you what you want to read about for example. I have dated men who I have tried to charm by telling them all sorts of things about me :) it´s ok. If you want help from someone outside your bubble, let me know!

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