Do you remember that scene from Wayne’s World where Wayne (Mike Myers) is bracing himself over top of Cassandra (Tia Carrere) in bed and he’s switching which eye he’s looking at her with while saying, “Camera 1. Camera 2. Camera 1. Camera 2.”?
It’s a funny scene! Oddly enough, it’s more descriptive of how humans see the world than we realized while laughing along with Mike Myers’ antics.
Every person, whether we realize it or not, perceives ourselves as the hero in our own life story. We see the world through the lens of our own two eyes; Camera 1 and Camera 2.
This not only impacts how we act in the world, but also how we engage with marketing messages from organizations. That is something your business needs to consider when creating your website, social media strategy, and other marketing material.
Let’s dive a little deeper.
The Paradigm Shift: Your Customer is the Hero
For decades, brands have positioned themselves as the hero of their own story. The most egregious examples of this often come from the legal profession.
You’ve seen it before. Billboards and TV commercials with old guys looking tough. Taglines like “We mean business!” I have literally seen law firm websites where the attorneys are pulling open their freshly pressed white collared shirt to reveal superhero costumes underneath. Yikes.
The thing is, your business is not the hero in the story. Your customer is the hero. Why? Because we all see ourselves through the lens of our own two eyes. Your customer isn’t looking for another hero. They’re looking for a guide to help them win the day.
So, how do you convince your ideal customers that you are the guide to help them overcome their problem and win the day?
Stop Telling Your Story. Invite Your Customer Into a Story!
This is the central paradigm shift of the StoryBrand messaging framework. Your business isn’t the hero in the story. Your customer is the hero in the story. You need to invite them into a story, not tell your own.
You might notice from virtually any movie you’ve seen that a story doesn’t get started until the hero wants something. The hero wants the girl, the promotion, to become president, etc.
As a business, you need to determine what your customer really wants as it relates to your business to launch them into the story. This can either be something they already actively want and you just tap into that desire. It could also be something they don’t know they want yet, and you stimulate that desire through your marketing message.
Either way, you need to make sure your marketing message immediately touches on what your ideal customer wants.
Your Customer Doesn’t Want What You Offer
Here’s the catch. Your customer doesn’t want what you’re selling. Let me explain.
Your customer does NOT want
- A Lawyer
- A Dentist
- A Plumber
- A Carpenter
Your customer DOES want
- To be free
- A beautiful smile
- Their pipes to stop leaking
- A beautiful new kitchen to host parties
The mistake most brands make is assuming their customers want the service they provide. What your customer really wants is the outcome your service produces.
Get an Unbiased Look at What Your Customer Actually Wants
It can be extremely difficult to determine what your customer really wants when looking at it from within your business. You are so close to what you do it is hard to see the forest for the trees.
What you need is an outside perspective on what your customer wants. There are three ways to get this perspective.
1. Hire an outsider
Ok, shameless plug for our services. When you hire Clear Brand Story Marketing, we spend time with you not just looking at what your customer wants but using elements of storytelling to flesh out a complete brand message your ideal customers will connect and respond to. We help you invite your customers into a story!
2. Workshop some ideas with outsiders
You probably have good ideas of what your customer might want as it relates to your business. Make a list and then recruit volunteers in your community to weigh in. Which item on the list is the most compelling desire they would have to drive them to hire your business? Tally up the votes for each item and then go with the winner.
3. Survey existing and past customers.
The best place to get insight into what your customers really want as it relates to your business is your customers themselves. Get it straight from the horse’s mouth, as they say.
Make a list of customers you’ve worked with over the last few years who you think would be open to answering a few short questions. Create a digital survey (something like Survey Monkey or a Google Form works just fine). Ask them to answer a few questions.
What problem were you experiencing that led you to hire our business?
What outcomes were you hoping to achieve when deciding what business to hire?
What made you hire our business, specifically?
You can add other questions you think are pertinent, but these will get you started in the right direction.
Understanding the problem they were experiencing will give you insight into their pain points and what the flip side of that pain might be (the want or desire). Knowing what outcomes your customers were hoping to achieve gives you a look at what new customers’ aspirations and desires might be. What made them hire you will help you connect your business to customers’ desires.
4. Bonus: Keep asking the questions!
Ask these questions during the intake process with new customers. Then, ask them again as you wrap up your work with them. See how their responses evolve, if at all. Get all the information you can into their thoughts and emotions behind working with you and the problem you’re helping them overcome. The more you understand your customers the better your marketing message will be. Adapt over time.
Don’t Get Carried Away. The Hero Can Only Want One Thing.
When surveying customers or listing out potential things your customer could want as it relates to your business, you will find there is likely more than one answer. However, don’t make the mistake of acknowledging more than one customer want in your marketing message. It dilutes the message and makes it less effective.
In a good story, the hero can only want one big thing. The entire plot has to be centered around the story question of whether or not the hero will get what they want. If the hero wants too many things, the story gets confusing and the audience loses interest.
Think of it this way. If your hero wants to become President of the United States, but she also wants to adopt a cat, find a partner, learn to bake, run a marathon, and buy her dream house, the story loses your interest fast.
Your marketing message is no different. Identify the most common and powerful desire your customers have as it relates to your business and go all in. If you find that the desire you chose isn’t compelling down the road, change it. However, don’t try to use multiple wants at the same time. Then, you’re just throwing spaghetti against the wall.
Billy, Don’t Be A Hero!
Whatever you do, don’t worry about what you want. You’re not the hero in the story you are trying to tell. Your customer is the hero. If you spend your time obsessing over what your customer wants you will win in the end.
If you want some help figuring out what your customer wants and developing that into a complete brand story, we’re here to help.