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One Or All?

filed in Brand Story, Marketing

The blackboard on the pavement outside the florist reads; ‘Flowers for ALL.’

It’s a busy spot with plenty of foot traffic, behind a tram stop, a few doors down from the hospital. Maybe that’s why they’re marketing to everyone, instead of trying to resonate with someone. The marketing speaks to passers-by. But it doesn’t consider why they’re passing by, where they’re going, at what time, on which day. The message doesn’t invite the prospective customer to see how the act of buying flowers could change their day or even their week.

What would happen if the florist altered the message on the blackboard every day or even three times a day? There’s no doubt Monday morning’s marketing would be different from Friday afternoon’s. Perhaps, inspiring the office worker to brighten her desk for the week, or inviting the tired junior doctor to get his weekend off to a good start by surprising his partner.

As marketers, we have two choices, we can say something for the sake of saying something, or we can say the thing that will change something.

What would you write on your blackboard?

Image by Florian Lehmuth

Important

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Marketing

It isn’t just your mind that responds when you get an email with the subject line ‘urgent’ or ‘important’. Your heartbeat increases, your muscles tense and your breathing gets faster. You feel bad. Your day is thrown off course, if only for a moment. We hate these emails and resent people who fail to communicate with empathy. And yet our marketing is designed to create urgency. An online search for ‘how to create a sense of urgency’ yields 34 million results. In a commercial world, there is an appetite for knowing how to raise alarm.

How you convince and communicate, is just as important as the way your products are made or your services delivered. The measure of your company isn’t only your conversion rate, profit margin or some other conventional way of keeping score. The measure is how it felt to cross your path. Your goal is to be as proud of the way you’re building, as you are of what you’re building.

Krists Luhaers

Knowing What You Don’t Know

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Marketing

The most unhelpful assumption we make as marketers is that our customers know why they need our products or services. From there we think our job is to offer proof—to tell people why we are the best alternative. The first rule of innovation, sales and marketing is to understand the customer’s pain points (often before the customer knows them) and then to show her what life will be like in the presence of your product.

Your success is often determined by knowing what you don’t know about your customers, and by being aware of what they don’t grasp about their problems. Double down on understanding before offering proof.

Image by UN Women

The Art Of Differentiation

filed in Brand Story, Success

We, humans, have always been good at noticing what’s compelling about others. Our species’ survival has depended on our ability to recognise strengths and weed out weaknesses. Today, that skill leads us down the road of unhealthy comparison. We have no trouble rattling off the positive attributes of a colleague, competitor or even the guy working out next to us at the gym. And yet we struggle to be as generous about our own.

It’s fine for Roger Federer to study a competitor’s gameplay before they go head-to-head because he needs to respond tactically in the moment. But the majority of Federer’s winning shots come from understanding his strengths and working on what he does well. Becoming more of who he is gets him over the line.

It’s doubtful that comparing yourself or your work to someones else’s will get you to where you want to go. Whether as an individual or a brand—you can’t own your unique identity if you’re spending the majority of your time looking over your shoulder. Differentiation happens when you authentically amplify the best of you. Not by finding ways to be a version of the competition, but by discovering how to be more of who you are. That’s where your search for clarity needs to begin.

Image by Marianne Bevis

 

The Power Of Constraints

filed in Brand Story, Marketing

What’s the best thing about the place where you live?
What word describes your favourite book?
What’s the first thing you tell a friend when you recommend a special restaurant?
What standout experience made your last holiday memorable?
What’s the main reason you shop where you do?
What’s the biggest benefit of flying with this airline and not that one?
Why choose Apple over Android? Coffee instead of tea? Vanilla above chocolate?

If you could tell a prospective customer just one thing about your product or service—what would that one thing be? Constraints can be a powerful way to get to the heart or what’s important to both you and the people you hope to serve.

Image by Edwin Bachetti

Unlock the magic in your story now.

Get the free 20 Questions to ask before launching your Idea Workbook when you sign up for updates.