I love to watch commercials. I don’t know why, but I do. Most of them fly right by me and don’t leave a mark. Others have a real impact on me. I realized it’s because of the story they tell. Some tell the story of the people who work there. Some leave an impression of the company—either good or bad. Most of the time it’s the bad impressions that I remember most. Sometimes, however, the good messages leave their mark.
Have you seen the Kayak.com commercial where they position successful people as idiots? That one hit me like a ton of bricks. While they were trying to say that smart people use Kayak to book their travel, the real story they told was about how stupid successful people are.
On the other hand, the other day I saw a commercial for TurboTax where the programmer was telling his story. Their message was clear: We do business with people we know and trust. In order to trust someone, we have to know things about them; we need to know how they feel, how they value their job and their clients. And we connect with a company when we can relate to their people.
This is why you see more and more commercials where real people are telling their story. You see Toyota talk about why they put their plant in Blue Springs Mississippi. You see Ford talking with real consumers about car buying preferences. These commercials are aimed at humanizing the company and therefore the buying experience.
So what does this mean for small business? Learn the lesson. Take a look at the various messages offered in the media, and notice the impression they leave on you. Then, borrow the good ones. You always want to leave the best impression because that is what will compel people to action. There are steps you can employ to craft your message so it really hits home.
1. Know your audience. You want to be sure you are providing a message your audience will hear. So you have to really know them and their needs. Frame your message around those needs. Don’t get caught up in the story line if it isn’t speaking to value. Remember you are trying to connect with those people and companies who need what you have to sell.
2. Tell YOUR story. One of the mistakes companies make is trying to be funny or clever. They take a humorous storyline and play it throughout the advertising. The problem is that their story gets lost in the joke. And if the ad ends on a negative note, that is what people remember. So you’ve lost your opportunity to make a lasting, good impression. I find that when you stick to your story, you can share it anywhere, on any platform, and your audience will hear you.
3. Be there. Make sure you are sharing your message where your audience is. It doesn’t work to market just anywhere. You first want to identify where your prospects are, and where they gather information. If you sell to businesses tell your story in business arenas. If your target is consumers, go where they go. This really makes a difference. It’s easy to be swayed by a dynamic salesperson selling advertising. Plan ahead to avoid putting your message in the wrong place.
Messaging is critical to business success. You want to appeal to your target audience in a way that they will hear your message. The easiest way to do this is to tell your story. Who are you, what matters to you, what is the value of your product or service? Keep to the point, speak directly to your audience, and make sure you are communicating where they can hear you. You’ll enjoy the rewards that come from your unique story.