Once upon a time, the customer’s values were none of the brand’s business. Advertisers concerned themselves with broadcasting one-way pitches that prominently featured their products’ features and benefits. The challenge was hooking an audience with creative advertising that people gladly invited into their lives. Dr. Pepper musicals of the 1970s exemplify this classic approach.
Today, the mass media challenge remains intact, but now, agencies and their clients face the additional task of developing a daily dialogue with a brand’s most engaged customers.
All of which is easy to say and somewhat more difficult to execute.
Charlie Quirk, associate director of planning and strategy at Possible in Seattle, says, “Make no mistake, brands are participating on these platforms and communities to sell their wares. But if a brand is able to align itself with the values and interests of its target audience, then that precipitates both conversation as well as influence.”
Quirk is a personal friend and Aussie-born planner on the loose in the American Adlands. As part of his job at Possible in Seattle, he recently produced a deck on corporate responsibility’s role in determining brand preference.
According to Quirk’s research, 91% of consumers would switch brands if a different brand of similar price and quality supported a good cause. Put another way, people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
As entrepreneurs, and business owners, we know why we jump out of bed in the morning to pursue our passions. The trick is letting customers know how your why makes a difference in their lives.
Let me know if you need help identifying and amplifying your company’s why.
UPDATE: This story was responded to on Twitter by copywriter Derek Walker in South Carolina. Please see our back-and-forth, for more on the topic above.
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