Sugar, water, caffeine and fizz

How do you sell your product? By listing the ingredients?  If you’re a repeat reader of this blog you probably know that I like my Coca-Cola.  I like to drink it and I like to learn from one of the top marketing companies of all time.  How often do you see Coke advertising the quality of their sugar refinement process, or showing a schematic diagram of their bottling and distribution process? Unless you’re a bottler or distributor, the answer is probably never.  Coke doesn’t try to sell the end consumer on the merits of all the great ingredients and brilliantly innovative processes that go into making the little 12 ounce miracle that is a can of Coke.  Instead they focus on what Coke does for you, what you get from their product.  Coke sells refreshment.  Coke sells nostalgia.  Coke sells an association with positive experiences that are varyingly hip, exciting, and even patriotic.

So what does this mean for your business? The next time you are developing an ad or a brochure  consider who it is for and what does that audience want.  Try to get beyond the logical and strictly feature-oriented  and introduce emotional and associative elements that tap into the buyer’s motivations. Ask yourself, is there a narrative?  Have you left room for the consumer to participate in an experience? If your customer can’t envision a better, more successful self through the lens provided by your marketing materials then even the best ingredients, the most innovative process, the most comprehensive set of features, will all just be noise competing with your value proposition.

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