Brands don’t sell brands, people do.
For those of you who know me through business, have heard me speak, or have worked for my company (No Limit Agency), you have heard me say this again and again and again. Yet, even when screaming the simplest solution to help strike an emotional chord with the potential buyer, brands fail to listen and go back to the regurgitated “Look at my building and my No. 1 in category product.”
Sure, there are some brands that have started putting people first (Jennifer Durham, head of development at Checkers has; as has Denny’s, Popeyes and Smoothie King). But the big consumer brands have yet to bridge the gap.
Open up any business publication and that multi-hundred thousand dollar ad at the beginning of the magazine probably says buy my car, my watch, or my sexy (clothes). It doesn’t show real people committing to a real brand and a real product.
Sure, Ryder is not a brand that will resonate with me, as I don’t need a giant truck (at least at this moment), but rather than shouting, “BUY MY TRUCK,” Ryder’s marketing team got smart. They created a quick Q&A with a user of their product,
Bryan Gerstner, a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK franchisee out of Kansas City, Missouri.
In the October issue of Fast Company, Ryder turned to a testimonial format alongside a photo of its product and a photo of Gerstner. They asked, “Bryan, in what respect was Ryder able to provide genuine value to TWO MEN AND A TRUCK out of the gate?” and “Bryan, what compelled you to work with Ryder?” Sure, still salesy in nature, yet putting people first in emotion.
Similarly, in the October issue of Inc. magazine, Nissan featured Jennifer Beall, CEO and founder of Tot Squad, supporting its products with real content, real stories, and a real person.
Brands don’t sell brands, people do. The sooner a brand is willing to put people in front, the sooner other people will buy into the dream. At the end of the day, everyone is selling dreams. The dream of a better tasting candy. The dream of a more luxurious car. The dream of a franchise opportunity.
The main reason any brand hires a PR firm is to gain third party validation and credibility from reporters willing to tell their stories for them. The same should be true with your products and dreams.
As you plan out your strategies for 2016, what would be the risk in featuring a few more people in your marketing positioning?