Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Finding Your Message - Finding Your Messenger

Snack Food. Software. Consumer Electronics.
Whatever you’re selling, you want people to be buying. But what sets your product apart? Why should anyone choose your widget over all the others?
This problem has perplexed us since advertising began. The answers have been varied and, sometimes, humorous:
“I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV. That’s why you should try brand X.”
“They Laughed When I Sat at the Piano, But When I Started to Play!”
“Plop plop fizz fizz, oh what a relief it is.”
“Things go better with Coke!”
“Please don’t squeeze the Charmin.”’
These messages all have a couple of things in common. First, their selling messages have pretty much nothing to do with the actual products. And second, these messages were all fabulously successful.
But why? Exactly which things go better with Coke? Why listen to someone who’s not a doctor? How does someone’s being insecure and unpopular make for a good ad for piano lessons? And why not squeeze the Charmin?
Research has shown that people don’t necessarily need a very good reason to act in a particular way.  Remember the classic show “Get Smart?”
Remember Max telling the Chief one of his “brilliant” ideas only to have it ignored? And then Agent 99 would speak up with the identical idea, and the Chief would eagerly agree that it was a great idea?
Same message, different presentation. Different messenger.
What about your message? “Best Value.” “Make Your Desktop More Efficient.” “The Eyes Have It.”
It sounds clever and witty, and yet you can’t seem to generate the interest and excitement you think it deserves. Maybe you need a different messenger as well. Try taking your message and reframing it into something catchy (maybe kitchy?) that taps into people’s feelings as much as their thoughts.
Happy selling.

Danny Kay is a marketing and advertising professional as well as a designer, photographer and writer with over 25 years of experience. He’s worked with businesses and organizations of all sizes, up to Fortune 500.
He can be reached through his website, www.dannykaydesign.com, or at dannykay@mac.com.

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