Marketing, more often than not, is about the quality of the stories we tell.
Just as it’s hard to make someone understand something if their livelihood depends on them not understanding it, telling someone a story they want and need to hear is the quickest way to get them to take action.
Lorna Jane make activewear for women. Stylish, well-made, fashionable activewear.
But lots of people sell activewear. How do you stand out?
One approach is to start with the tribe of people you want to reach.
Is this for someone who thinks that working out and looking good should go hand in hand?
Is it for someone who wants to know the clothes they buy feature expert craftsmanship, and are ethically sourced?
What are their preconceptions? Their biases? What are they willing to pay extra for?
Do your buyers want to be able to customise your product and make it personal for them?
Brands that succeed start aren’t those that shout the loudest, they’re the ones that start with the worldview of their customers.
One of the things I found amazing about working at Global was how they had so many brands that were so different under one roof (covering music genres from pop music, to urban, to dance, to classical) and yet, each brand had an incredibly loyal and devoted following.
They achieved this because each brand had such a strong understanding of who it was for (and who it was not for).
So many marketers (especially in tech) start with the features. “Here’s our product!” they say. “It has this widget and that widget and it costs this much. Would you like to buy it?”
Instead, start with the buyer. Does the buyer want something easy to use, battle-tested, powerful, differentiated, commodity, analyst-approved, trendy … what am I going to tell my boss about buying this? Ultimately the purchase I make is going to reflect on me. It’s about how I’m going to feel when I power up the software, open the box, turn on the radio, put on my jogging pants.
It takes real confidence to take this approach, as by its very nature, it means excluding people. Maybe your product isn’t really for the power user, and gives up some cutting edge features for the sake of ease of use.
Maybe the care and attention you put into the design process means that you can’t cater to orders from big box retailers and make a profit.
So many people go the other way. They make their widget and then they try to find a group of people to sell their widget to. It almost never works.
Identify a worldview, a set of biases, an ideal customer, and then figure out how to tell a story that resonates with that customer.
It’s thinking like this that gave birth to brands like Patagonia, Subaru and Atlassian.
Maybe it’ll work for you too.