Your visuals need your attention!

March 8, 2017

Visuals

No matter what kind of marketing we’re producing, it seems like we give most of our time and attention to the words. We agonize over the messaging and each and every syllable. And rightly so – they’re all very important. But for some reason, we don’t give our visuals anywhere near as much attention. That’s a huge mistake and it’s keeping your marketing from being as effective as possible.

Remember, we are visual creatures. Sixty-five percent of human beings are visual learners and even if we’re not wired that way, all of us process images 60,000 times faster than we can process auditory or written messages.

Ninety percent of what is communicated to our brain is visual. And much of the information is visually communicated in ways we aren’t even aware of at the time. We take in so much more than we realize and much of it is emotionally based. We react both intellectually and emotionally to everything we see.

Why does all of this matter? Emotions are at the core of every buying decision and long before the cash register rings – emotions allow us to form the know • like • trust chain that leads to that first purchase.

When we talk about marketing visuals, the possibilities are vast. I want you to think about everything from:

The simple aspects of your visuals like the size and shape of your marketing materials: Think about how much more we notice a square brochure versus the traditional tri-fold that fits into a #10 envelope. We’re drawn to die cuts, round business cards and websites that leverage shapes to get our attention.

Color selection: Too many companies disrespect their own color palette because someone in the marketing department is bored. Beyond protecting your brand visually by not messing with your corporate colors, remember that color is a great way to show emphasis, guide someone through a marketing piece or create eye rests on digital pieces.

Illustration versus photographs: Is what you’re trying to communicate a concrete thing or is it conceptual? What kind of a mood are you creating? Which option would be more surprising and arresting? A visual isn’t just a placeholder. It needs to add to the understanding of your message or it’s a waste of space. If you feel like your visual is trite – it is.

Stock photography versus shooting your own: This is a tough one for people because of the perceived cost variance. But don’t dismiss shooting original photography. The ability to control the mood, feature real locations, people and situations and the authenticity can be worth the expense. One budget helping option is to shoot your most vital visuals and augment them with well-chosen stock.

What kind of chart/graph would best communicate your information: When you are trying to communicate a complicated concept, charts and graphs can often be helpful. Sadly, most people cram so much into each visual that they render them useless. With charts and graphs, remember that less is more. Be mindful of the relationship between each fact you’re including. That should suggest the type of chart or graph that would best illustrate the connection.

If you’re creating an infographic, what is the storyline? Infographics are the hot “new” visual tool but most companies miss the mark. An infographic should do more than spew out stats or data. The real power of an infographic is that it can actually tell a story. Identify the arc of your story and let the visuals and facts move the viewer through the arc.

Your visuals should not be an afterthought. In fact, they often communicate on more levels than the words you so carefully craft. Give your visuals the time and respect they deserve and your marketing will be the better for it.

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Context is King

December 28, 2016

ContextContext is king.  When you think about companies who take risks and are edgy when it comes to their marketing – the insurance industry would hardly be the first to pop into your mind. But that’s what happened during the 2015 Superbowl TV spotathon.

Nationwide unveiled a TV spot during the Superbowl where a small boy was talking about all the things in life that he had missed. All because he died in a preventable accident.

The spot urged viewers to visit www.MakeSafeHappen.com, a site that Nationwide was sponsoring to increase awareness about preventing the kinds of accidents that hurt or kill children each year.

The spot was well done and the message was clear and well intentioned. But the outrage and disapproval were over the top. The tweets, Facebook posts on the Nationwide page and general commentary were swift and disapproving.

What went wrong? We can all agree that trying to prevent accidents that kill children is a noble effort. Nationwide wasn’t really trying to tie any product to their message so it wasn’t overly commercial or self-serving.

The problem was that Nationwide and their agency totally disregarded context.

People are at a Superbowl PARTY. The day is practically considered a national holiday. It’s loud and celebratory and everyone is having a good time.

Which means they don’t want to think about dead children.

The audience could not and would not hear the Nationwide message at their Superbowl party.

Superbowl ads typically fall into two categories. They’re either funny or sentimental. But they are not sad. They are not heavy or laden with information. Just like the snacks at a typical Superbowl party – they’re puffy little hors d’oeuvres, meant to tantalize, not satisfy a deep hunger.

Nationwide released a statement the day after the Superbowl because of the uproar. They said that they accomplished their goal, which was to get people talking and cited the number of hits on the website after the spot aired.

Sorry Nationwide, but I have to call BS on that. Yes, people were talking, but they weren’t talking about preventable accidents, they were talking about how much they hated the spot. And they weren’t visiting the website to learn how to protect their children, they were visiting the website to see what in the world you were trying to communicate.

As you might imagine, there are lessons for all of us in the Nationwide Superbowl mistake in terms of context.

Get into their heads and hearts: You need to really understand how and when your messages are going to be in front of your audience and what they are thinking and feeling in that moment. Every word you use or visual you include is filtered through their state of mind at that moment. As Nationwide learned, even the most sincere message can fall flat if the mood doesn’t match.

Assess their ability to take action: Be mindful of how and where your audience is going to see your communication. Putting a phone number on a billboard, when people are whizzing by at 70 MPH is probably a waste of space unless the number is so easy to remember (800-CLOGGED) that the few seconds they have to see it will be enough.

Consider their setting/who they’re with: One of the reasons the Nationwide spot got so widely criticized is that Superbowl viewing is an all ages activity. Many people felt it was inappropriate to run the spot when so many children were in the viewing audience.

Even if there weren’t children around, everyone was hanging out with their friends. They love the Superbowl spots that made them all laugh together and enhanced the party feel. A spot about a dead boy hardly has that effect.

Don’t ever ignore the context of how, where and when your communication will fall into the audience’s day. Those filters may enhance their reaction or, as it did for Nationwide, might completely destroy your effort.

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Storytelling, storytelling, and more storytelling

October 24, 2014

storytellingSeems like every marketing book, blog and study is talking about how we should be using storytelling as a marketing technique. I couldn’t agree more.  Unfortunately, I think most attempts fall short.

Marketers clearly believe that storytelling is a critical component of their marketing efforts.  It’s one of the most talked about topics in marketing circles today.

So — no argument that marketing’s version of storytelling is critical to a business’ communications success. The question is — why are so many companies doing it badly and not experiencing the results they want?

The stories don’t evoke an emotion: There’s not a memorable story around that isn’t seeded in emotions.  For some businesses, especially those in the B2B sector, it’s hard to imagine what emotions their products or services might trigger.  That’s because the marketers are staying at the features level of sales, not delving into the benefits that lie beneath.

It might be as simple as your prospect is afraid if they make a bad decision, it will cost them their job.  Or it could be that what you sell is helping your clients fulfill their reason for existing — which to them is very emotionally motivated.  If you dig deep enough, you’ll find the emotions behind your stories.  Be sure you expose those in your storytelling so that your audience can relate to and empathize with the people in the tale.

The stories don’t use data to lend credibility: What makes true stories so dramatic and grabbing are the facts that are dotted throughout the telling.

Data can be used in a variety of ways to tell your story.  Think visual data like an infographic or let the data suggest a new angle or insight for both you and your audience.

The story doesn’t take us on a journey: In marketing’s version of storytelling, we often take shortcuts to get to the big reveal.  But in taking the shortcut, we rob the audience of story’s arc. Every story is, in essence, a journey that chronicles the problem, the fight to solve the problem and how things are better once the challenge is resolved.

But a great story lets the journey also help the audience see the motivations, frustrations and worries of the characters while they try to face the problem. The outcomes are also wrapped in more than just the tangible results.  When the story is rich with details – we also learn more about the intangible results and ultimate value of delivering the right solution.

The story doesn’t include a next step/call to action: Here’s where most marketers really miss the boat.  A well-crafted story draws the audience in, helps them connect with the main character and feel their common pain.  As the story evolves, the prospect is pulling for the character — because in reality, the character bears a striking resemblance to them.  They experience the ups and downs within the story and as the story delivers the happy ending — the prospective customer is thinking and feeling relief and a desire to share in that sort of outcome.

So marketing’s version of storytelling is all too often, a big tease.  You led them right to the edge — get them hungry for what you’re selling but don’t give them a clear and defined next step.  Ask yourself — what do I want them to do next and be sure you make it easy and quick to take that next action.

What do you think? Can you tweak the way you’re telling your company’s story so that it actually drives leads and generates sales?

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Are you social sharing to your best advantage?

October 20, 2014

Social-SharingIf your company is involved in social media, one of the elements you worry about is if you’re sharing in the best way. You want to maximize your company’s exposure but choosing the best social networks, the best way to communicate and even the best time of day.

Your blog content:

If you aren’t using your corporate blog to fuel your social media strategy, you are almost certainly not as effective and efficient as you could be.

If you are sharing great content on social networks that doesn’t exist on your blog or content hub, you are missing out on a huge SEO opportunity. If your content is on your blog, it will generate links and social indicators (likes, shares, +1s, etc.) that will benefit your website’s domain.

Blog content is permanent – social content is not. Let’s say that you posted a great tax tip on Facebook that received hundreds of Likes. When tax time comes around next year, that post will be long gone. However, if you post the tax tip on your blog, you can re-share it year after year. In addition, the tip will be indexed by the search engines and will likely drive search traffic as well.

Social sharing:

How you share content influences the your audience’s reactions. Here are some suggested copy do’s and don’ts as you compose your next update.

  • 11-15 words is the sweet spot for Twitter (about 100 characters), and you’re safe to use up to 25. Go any shorter, and your message will likely lack enough information to draw people in.  But you want to leave enough “open real estate” so you your audience can re-tweet or comment.
  • LinkedIn postings should aim for 16-25 words, but you are safe to go shorter if necessary.
  • Messages on Twitter and LinkedIn receive significantly more clicks if they use a hash tag.
  • Using a number (i.e. 4 smart ways to work with your attorney) generate  more clicks on Twitter.

Social timing:

It’s not just what you say, but when you say it.  Timing your social sharing matters.

  • Want to get some social love on LinkedIn? Be sure to share your content on Sundays, which delivers more clicks that any other day of the week.
  • Fridays yield more clicks on Twitter than any other day of the week.
  • Facebook content does well around lunchtime and later in the afternoon. This is because many people get on Facebook during lunch and towards the end of the workday.
  • Schedule tweets between 10am and 2pm. Many people check their Twitter stream after they settle into the office, but they are less likely to check it once they start wrapping up for the day.  There’s another spike of activity in the evening, when everyone checks back into their social networks.
  • Twitter and LinkedIn content are both more likely to be consumed during the top and middle of the hour. This is likely due to the reader’s need to check their feeds in between meetings.
  • Again – keep in mind that these are good rules of thumb, but your industry, audience and experiences may vary. The key is to actually look at your analytics and identify the patterns so you can be as effective as possible in your own social sharing strategy.
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Why isn’t marketing’s version of storytelling working?

November 11, 2012

Storytelling, storytelling, and more storytelling.

Seems like every marketing book, blog (including mine if you’ve been reading this week’s posts) and study is talking about how we should be using storytelling as a marketing technique.

I couldn’t agree more.  Unfortunately, I think most attempts fall short.

Earlier this week — I made the point that A) It seems that despite all the hype — we’re doing less real storytelling today and B) storytelling is hardly a new tactic.

Marketers clearly believe that storytelling is a critical component of their marketing efforts.  As you can see (click here to see a larger version of the chart above) by the chart above, according to a 2012 B2B Content Marketing Trends survey conducted for Holger Schulze for Optify, 81% of respondents listed engaging and compelling storytelling as one of the three most important aspects of content marketing.

So — no argument that marketing’s version of storytelling is critical to a business’ communications success. The question is — why are so many companies doing it badly and not experiencing the results they want?

The stories don’t evoke an emotion: There’s not a memorable story around that isn’t seeded in emotions.  For some businesses, especially those in the B2B sector, it’s hard to imagine what emotions their products or services might trigger.  That’s because the marketers are staying at the features level of sales, not delving into the benefits that lie beneath.

It might be as simple as your prospect is afraid if they make a bad decision, it will cost them their job.  Or it could be that what you sell is helping your clients fulfill their reason for existing — which to them is very emotionally motivated.  If you dig deep enough, you’ll find the emotions behind your stories.  Be sure you expose those in your storytelling so that your audience can relate to and empathize with the people in the tale.

The stories don’t use data to lend credibility: As we discussed in my post about the Revolutionary War book — what made those stories so dramatic and grabbing was he facts that were dotted throughout.

As the folks at the Content Marketing Institute points out in this blog post — data can be used in a variety of ways to tell your story.  Think visual data like an infographic or let the data suggest a new angle or insight for both you and your audience.

The story doesn’t take us on a journey: In marketing’s version of storytelling, we often take shortcuts to get to the big reveal.  But in doing that, we rob the audience of the arc of the story. Every story is, in essence, a journey that chronicles the the problem, the fight to solve the problem and how things are better once the challenge is resolved.

But a great story lets the journey also help the audience see the motivations, frustrations and worries of the characters while they try to face the problem. The outcomes are also wrapped in more than just the tangible results.  When the story is rich with details – we also learn more about the intangible results and ultimate value of delivering the right solution.

The story doesn’t include a next step/call to action: Here’s where most marketers really miss the boat.  A well crafted story draws the audience in, helps them connect with the main character and feel their common pain.  As the story evolves, the prospect is pulling for the character — because in reality, the character bears a striking resemblance to them.  They experience the ups and downs within the story and as the story delivers the happy ending — the prospective customer is thinking and feeling relief and a desire to share in that sort of outcome.

So marketing’s version of storytelling is all too often, a big tease.  You led them right to the edge — get them hungry for what you’re selling but don’t give them a clear and defined next step.  Ask yourself — what do I want them to do next and be sure you make it easy and quick to take that next action.

If you don’t include this as a part of your storytelling — the whole point of telling the story in the first place is wasted.  You aren’t a court jester earning your supper.  You’re trying to help someone decide whether or not you hold the answer to their problem. Once you demonstrate that you are the right choice — be sure you give them a chance to tell you so.

What do you think? Can you tweak the way you’re telling your company’s story so that it drives leads and sales?

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Persuasive storytelling is centuries old

November 7, 2012

Let me tell you a little story.  I promise — we’ll close the circle with some marketing insights but I need to set the stage.

Back when I launched my blog in ’06, I met Todd Andrlik about the time he was creating what would eventually become the AdAge Power 150 index of marketing blogs.  Todd participated in the first Age of Conversation book and was a part of the Blogger Social weekend in New York City where about 100 of us early adopters to marketing blogging gathered just to hang out.

As a thank you for being a part of the organizers for that weekend, Todd gave me a very special gift that told me a great deal about him.  It was a collectible version of a front page from a very old newspaper – the kind Todd had been collecting for years. Until then, I’d had no idea that Todd was an avid collector of old newspapers and in fact, he owns one of the most significant collections of American Revolution era newspapers in existence (Some of his collection is actually housed in the Library of Congress!).  He’s considered one of the nation’s leading authorities on 18th century newspapers.

Todd’s new book Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before it was History, it was News (click to buy*) was just released and it is stunning in both it’s eye-opening content and it’s eye pleasing presentation.  It has the appearance of a beautiful coffee table book — with remarkable photos of some of the most historic front pages in United State’s history.

But the book then combines these newspaper accounts with essays from 37 historians and American revolutionary experts to take us from the Boston Tea Party all the way to Independence, introducing us to incredible stories, characters and plot twists in the story of the US’ fight for freedom. What’s so cool about this book is that the experts talk about how the newspaper accounts impacted each stage of the revolution.

Todd has also built (as you might imagine) an online companion to the book at BeforeHistory.com, so interested readers, teachers and others can learn even more.

I will tell you — this is not the sort of book I normally read. But I couldn’t put it down.  The storytelling was that riveting.  That’s where you come in.  As i was reading the book, I realized it was an incredible primer on how to tell compelling stories.  Not only did I learn a lot about the Revolutionary War, but here were some takeaways for all marketers.

Bring your characters to life by making them three dimentional: One benefit of telling stories about real people is that they’re not flat.  They have dimensions, good and bad qualities, failings and virtues.  Stories are much more believable when the characters are genuine.  And today’s jaded audiences find “too good to be true” characters much less compelling.

Remind us of the greater good: Part of what made Todd’s book so exciting was that even though I knew how the fight ended, I found myself rooting for those who were truly fighting for the greater good. Many times in our marketing efforts — we get too granular and we forget to take a step back and talk about the bigger picture.  Be sure to remind your audience why what you sell matters and how you can help them in their quest to be significant.

Blending facts and emotions builds credibility:  Emotion is what triggers our hunger to buy but facts support the decision. The best storytelling marketing combines the two. Part of what made the content in Reporting the Revolutionary War so sticky was because the newspaper accounts and quotes from the stories documented that it wasn’t just fluff.

I don’t expect that most of us are creating marketing materials that would qualify as coffee table worthy but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a few lessons from a book that belongs on everyone’s coffee table.

A huge congrats to Todd on producing such a fantastic book and a reminder to all of you that despite all the hype around the word storytelling — it’s actually an ancient art that all of us can use to help connect the right people to the products and services we sell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Affiliate link

 

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Have we lost the art of storytelling in marketing?

November 5, 2012

As the buzz about content marketing, social media and all things digital continues to rise, one of the catch phrases that gets a lot of attention is storytelling in marketing.  We afford it incredible lip service but do we actually practice it?

As we give way to our USA Today sound byte style of sharing information, are we losing the emotional tug of telling a great story?  Even in our case studies where we’re trying to help the prospects see themselves in relation to someone we’ve already helped  — are we too focused on the facts and too willing to sacrifice that emotional tug?

I worry that we are so focused on making sure we communicate the facts that we don’t trust your audience enough to find them if they’re wrapped in the emotion of the brand. The danger of that is that buying is an emotional response.  We buy based on our emotions and justify the purchase with the facts offered. But we very rarely buy on facts alone. So it we don’t offer up both sides of the equation — we leave our prospects wanting and our cash registers empty. Storytelling in marketing isn’t just to entertain or be memorable.  It is to drive brand loyalty and increased sales.

What made me ponder this on a Sunday morning is a local phenomenon that put the spotlight on the potency of storytelling for me. A Dunkin’ Donuts opened up in my community (we may be one of the few cities in the country that didn’t already have one) and the line on opening day was literally around the block.  Seriously — who stands in line for an hour for a donut?

Well, they did. And when I thought about the brand…I too had a very warm reaction to it. When I hear “Dunkin’ Donuts” my mind immediately goes back to the wonderful story driven TV spots they did back in the early 80s.

They used a character (Fred the Baker) to tell the audience why Dunkin’ Donuts were better — fresher, more variety and certainly made with more love.  I still crack up when I think of Fred in his dress, covering up his mustache, trying to get some competitive intelligence.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwO4B_pxI7s[/youtube]

That’s great storytelling.  I not only learn that Dunkin’ Donuts bakes their donuts all day so they’re always fresh, but I learn about the variety (5 kinds of jelly donuts) and their commitment to quality. And it was funny to boot.

On the flip side of the emotional scale, there are few brands that tug at the heartstrings with their TV spots like Hallmark and Folgers.  Very different products but the same link to family and special times.  Check out these spots and see how you react to both the story and the brand.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4kNl7cQdcU[/youtube]

 

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37-r7Jtru8E[/youtube]

If you look at the dates on these spots — you’ll see that they’re all more than 20 years old.   I’m hard pressed to think of a company today that takes the time to tell the same sort of story (Budweiser may be the exception) today — in any media.

So here are some questions I’m pondering and wonder what you think:

  • Has this sort of storytelling become passé?
  • Are their any brands out there today who do this sort of storytelling in any media?
  • Does social media and content marketing really lend itself to good storytelling?
  • Do we need to go “old school” to really work storytelling into our marketing efforts?
  • Are we equating storytelling to factual case studies rather than emotionally triggering customer stories?
  • Is there a current brand that is really using storytelling to create an emotional connection with their audience?
  • How can we better marry the digital marketing tools with the age old art of telling compelling stories?

Storytelling in marketing is hardly new. But it’s as effective today as it was when David Ogilvy and the other patriarchs of our field wove their compelling tales. The question is — how good are we at marrying the old and the new?

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7 keys to compelling case studies

October 2, 2012

Why do case studies work so well?

It’s simple really. Everyone loves a good story. And there’s a reason why Aesop and others opted to teach their life lessons through stories that have been told and re-told for many years.

Smart parents know this trick too. They teach lessons to their children through stories of their own foibles, tough lessons and triumphs.

This same technique can deliver incredible results when it comes to your marketing as well. There are lots of different ways to use stories in your marketing efforts but one of the most compelling is through good case studies.

Case Studies are the marketing version of Aesop’s Fables. Stories told to make a point or teach a lesson that demonstrates the value of your product or service.

So how do you create a good case study? These tips will get you well on your way.

Case Study Tip #1:  Structure it like a story. Make sure there’s a logical flow.  Explain the problem (identify the villain).  Introduce your company/product (bring in the hero). Describe how the challenge was overcome (tell of the battle). Sum it up (give it a happy ending).

Case Study Tip #2: Include lots of details. Don’t just say, “We were losing customers.” Give specifics. Our sales were down over 42%. Just like a good fable, the details make it work. So be sure to talk about your initial goals, the exact steps you took, any pitfalls you ran into along the way, and of course, the results.

Case Study Tip #3: Use quotes to give your case study its authenticity. Be careful not to dumb them down so they sound generic. Or even worse, don’t clean them up so they don’t sound authentic. Remember, we all tend to write more formally than we speak. So the minute you edit their comments – odds are you’re adding formality. Use real people, real names and when possible, real pictures.

Case Study Tip #4: Don’t get stuck in a rut with your case studies. Most people present a case study in writing, on a plain 8.5” x 11” piece of paper. But you can approach it in a variety of ways. How about a video case study? Or an infographic case study? Have you thought about journaling through a challenge and letting the entire journal be your case study?

Case Study Tip #5: Let your customers do the talking. Your voice can outline the problem and tactics you took to attack the problem. But when possible, use your client’s voice to celebrate the successes and to talk about the outcomes, both long and short-term.

Case Study Tip #6: Visuals are key. Before and after shots, growth charts, photographs of the results and infographics are all really powerful ways to help your audience really capture the value of your case study’s outcome.

Case Study Tip #7: Make sure everyone signs off on it before it goes public. The power of a case study is that it reveals an actual problem and its solution. Some businesses may be reticent to air their dirty laundry. Before you pitch your case study to a reporter or post it on your website, get everyone’s blessing.

Case studies are incredibly compelling when done right.  If you’re lucky, you’ll tell a story that people will tell over and over.

What’s the best case study you’ve ever seen?  What made it so memorable?

 

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Any brand can become talkable

July 28, 2012

Are you talkable?

On this blog, we often explore the importance of brand and the power of word of mouth. It seems that many business owners/leaders believe that you can just plan on something being spread by word of mouth and voila, it happens. (Sort of like planning for a video to go viral).

The reality is — to become a brand that is worthy of being talked about is hard work.

It’s about being very purposeful in every little detail of your business.

That’s why I love this video series by John Moore from Brand Autopsy.  John’s listed a bunch of attributes (29 to date) of a talkable brand — like believable, measurable, and emotional to mention a few.  And he’s done a video for each “able” that makes your brand talkable.

The videos are part education, part entertainment and part inspiration.  I think you’ll enjoy the short (less than 4 minutes each) offerings.

Check out the series (click here) and then come back and tell me which of the “ables” you think your business has already mastered.

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Start with Why

July 27, 2012

One of the 20 most watched TED talks of 2010 was given by Simon Sinek and speaks directly to anyone who is trying to market or sell something. Sinek’s premise is simple.

Always start with why.

Sinek began his adult life as a student of anthropology. His fascination with people led him to a career in advertising and he found himself combining his chosen work with his earlier studies to try and understand what motivated people.

All of that pondering led to his book Start With Why*, his focus on how leaders motivate companies and customers and his famous TED talk.

His findings are very applicable to us as we market our products and services.

In the vast majority of marketing today, the lion’s share of the language and imagery we use is self-focused. We talk about ourselves, our products, our services and our organizations. When we don’t think that is enough, we dissect even deeper, breaking down the facts into bullet pointed lists of features that detail and justify the claims we make.

It’s not that anything we are saying is inaccurate. In most cases, it’s spot on. But we are blathering on about facts and figures. That’s the what. We know that people buy base don emotions and justify that purchase with the facts…but all too often we just feed them the justification with first holding up the emotion.

We rarely get into the why of something.

The why of something inspires. It makes a consumer want to believe in you. It leads them to want to give your product a try. It makes them feel as though you’re on the same team.

I’ll give you an example. I never really paid much attention to which brand of dishwashing soap was on my sink. My theory was – they’re all pretty much the same so I’ll buy whichever is the cheapest. I’ve probably seen hundreds of commercials for dishwashing soap over the course of my adult life. But they all talked about how well they cleaned dishes. The facts. And it all sounded pretty much the same to me, so not one of them stuck in terms of brand loyalty or preference.

But when Dawn started showing the commercials of the oil spill rescue workers using donated Dawn to clean up the wildlife covered with oil – all of a sudden, we had a common why. We love animals.

Did you see what happened? It went from them and me to we. And now, when I go to buy dishwashing soap, I don’t think about getting clean dishes. I think about ducks covered with oil and how Dawn is going to make a donation if I buy their product.

All the other dish soaps are still talking to me about removing grease or their aromatherapy scents. They’re talking what. And they are talking to me. But Dawn talks about how we are going to protect and care for the world’s wildlife.

You don’t have to align yourself with a cause move from what to why. You just have to re-frame the way you think about and talk about what it is you market.

This gets back to a question we asked a few months ago. What do you really sell? If your answer is your product or service – you’re in trouble. Whether it’s insurance, a boat or a complicated piece of equipment – you’re a commodity. Someone else out there does (or will do) what you do.

Harley Davidson creating a community of bikers that rule the road, have plenty of attitude and join together at rallies, rides and for causes. People don’t buy their motorcycles. They buy being a part of the Harley community.

You need to find your why and own it.

*Affiliate lnk
Photo courtesy of BigStockPhoto
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