Picture this – you sell sausages, your neighbour sells sausages. The sausages are identical, but his are more expensive. Your neighbour has a queue outside his door; you’re lucky to clear stock before it goes out of date.
What’s the difference?
Well, your neighbour’s sausages are sold as ‘coming from happy free range pigs wallowing in the glorious mud at Muddy Duck Farm’. The posters around his shop show young kids in gumboots feeding the happy pigs, and talk about how the kids’ dad (the farmer) has been farming this land for generations.
There are free recipe cards that turn the humble sausage into a gourmet feast, and the shop assistants wear traditional butchers stripy aprons. The sausage are sold by weight, wrapped in greaseproof paper in and placed in a paper bag – just like the good old days.
Your sausages are ‘pork sausages’ pre-wrapped in polystyrene trays and gladwrap, piled high in a fridge. Some are discounted with a hand written price because they’re nearing their use by date.
So why does one brand of sausages sell – even though it’s more expensive – and one doesn’t?
Because the Muddy Duck sausages tell a story that creates an emotional connection between the consumer and the brand – the customer is made to feel they are not just buying sausages, they are buying good wholesome food from a local farmer to feed their families.
And the moral is… good PR tells a story. Or as the cliché goes, ‘Sell the sizzle not the sausage’.
So what does this mean?
It means that in an environment where one product is not so different to another, where the consumer is confronted with a vast choice of where to spend their dollars, and where they are more informed and educated than ever before, you need to find a way to stand out, build a relationship with that customer, and foster loyalty.
Like all good relationships, the relationship between a consumer and a brand is based on trust – I buy these sausages because I know where they came from, how they were made, and the quality is consistently good.
Whether you are selling investment properties, financial advice, land, new homes – the customer needs to have faith in your product and services.
As PR consultants we build this story around our clients’ projects in a number of ways. It might mean creating a guide to buying land and building a home – so your customer begins to see you as their ‘go to’ people for advice and support.
It might mean running a Facebook promotion that encourages people to share their experiences of your product or brand – for example, sending in recipes for your sausages, or photographs of themselves enjoying a holiday at your resort.
We might develop case studies for your website, where real people talk about their experience of building an investment property, or their support from their interior designer on remodelling their dream kitchen.
These are just small examples, but they all have things in common – they include people. They put a human face to a brand. They foster customer engagement with the brand. And they create emotional connections.
Obviously, this has to all be backed up with a quality product and excellent customer service.
But the overall message is clear – in a busy, competitive marketplace, the brand that tells a story, talks about benefits rather than features, and creates an emotional connection, will win. Every time.
Talk to us about how we can help you find your ‘brand story’ – we love helping our clients to find ‘their’ story, and sharing it with their audiences.