Don’t Sell The Thing, Sell The Thinking

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Enter radical concept: It’s not about what a product can do. It’s about what a product can do for you.

The retail world is saturated with companies vying for your attention and your hard-earned cash. (You might have noticed a relentless assault of ads every 4-6 posts on your feed.)

Successful brands, that have stood the test of time, learned to adapt and evolve. Think Nike or Apple or even Cadbury’s.

These brands, and ones like them, understand that in order to conquer their respective industries, they need to go deeper than just explaining what their product can do.

After all, an advert for an Apple laptop that just spouts off technical specifications would be catastrophically dull.

Instead. these brands got human. Focusing instead, on how their products will enhance your life and potentially, alter your lifestyle.

They have become household names that act as an extension of their customers.

Apple products are practically considered limbs nowadays as is having a sneaker from Nike or Adidas. They’re not just things we own, they’re part of our lives and by extension, identifiers.

If you haven’t already, just think about that for a second. The people masterminding these brands are exceptionally talented folks, let’s offer a mental round of applause. *cheers*


Now, I won’t pretend to know what they do or even how they do it but what I can speak about is the messaging and offer some tips on how to make your brand stand out.

First, we need an example.

Let’s take something generic like… Colgate toothpaste. Really, yes, really.

Toothpaste cleans your teeth. Right? It most certainly does.

Now let’s imagine if Colgate put out an ad that went something like this:

“Colgate’s whitening toothpaste removes plaque and cleans your teeth.”

*Cue fake enthusiasm*

“What?! Shut the front door! Really, it does?!!! Gimme, gimme, gimme!”

No sound-minded human is going to elicit this response from that advert. Ever.

But if we simply shift the focus from what it does, to what it can do for you, then we might get something more like this:

“Put a sparkle in your smile. Clinically proven to fight bacteria and freshens breath for up to 12 hours.”

Can you see the difference?

Suddenly we can visualise what this product can do for us.

On top of that, we’re getting multiple benefits too.

We’re now thinking that if we buy this we’ll get whiter teeth, a better smile, fresher breath, healthier mouths and gums and we will somehow feel happier in ourselves.

And it’s all credible information because of the phrase “clinically proven”, so now we trust what we’re reading too.

Pro-tip; make it more active.

Words like, “sparkle”, “fights” and “freshen” all add another dimension to the sentence. It feels alive. It’s active.

Having spent time in the motor trade I can tell you that we were never selling the car, not really.

We were selling a lifestyle, the “dream”.

Part of the sales process is identifying the needs and demands of your clients. Why do they need more boot space? Do they have pets? Or children? Will they cram a 10ft surfboard in the back?

These questions help to find the right product that matches their needs but also lets the salesperson sell them a lifestyle.

Pick the SUV because you can pack all of your equipment in, so you can do more of what you love. Your life will be richer for it.

Get rid of the ’05 banger and upgrade to something newer, and more stylish, with more gadgets and power because you want those things in your life.

So, tying that back to branding, it’s all about getting people to see themselves in a better light through the use of your product, your thing.

Streamlining employee productivity? This software does just that so you can save masses of time.

Signing up for yoga classes? This is going to centre you so that you can feel in control, calm and focused alongside numerous health benefits.

Thinking of buying a new hoover? This one is powerful and light so you can spend less time on chores and it won’t break your back doing it.

These are everyday examples of things that we consider so that our lives can be enhanced in some way, minor or major.

Tap into that. Sell the thinking, not the thing.

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