Want to know what you’re really selling?
Spoiler – it’s NOT what you think
While motherhood has made our excursions less frequent, one of my absolutely favourite things to do is escape down to Cornwall in my campervan. We have a 1980s, white pop-top VW and she’s an absolute beaut…
And yes, I made those cute flower curtains myself!
I know a modern camper would be way more reliable and there’s a good chance we’d have more luxury and mod-cons too, but having explored the alternatives I’m telling you – the experience just isn’t the same. Nothing stacks up to the love of the VW.
And that’s why we continue to pour a whole lot of love, fuel, and cash into a part of our family that helps define who we are.
It may seem illogical. When you consider the compromises, our decision to stick to this little ol’ camper may make no sense whatsoever. But there’s NOTHING you can say that will change my opinion.
The van is here to stay.
And the reason I’m sharing this with you here is because you can make the same true for your customers.
You can ‘make’ them stick to you like glue – even if you cost more, do less, and fall short of what others may have. When you nail your brand, you create an experience that goes beyond logical reasoning. Instead, it becomes so important to that customer that they never want to leave.
FEELINGS TOP EVERYTHING.
Not that I need a lot of persuasion to talk about my campervan, but the reason I shared it today is because the love I have for my van reveals everything you need to aim for when making your mark with your brand.
Let me break it down…
** LOYALTY **
I’ve already admitted that there may be ‘better’ alternatives out there on the market, but even though I know this, I’m just not going there. I’m not even prepared to consider the possibility because I’m fiercely committed to what the VW experience gives me.
Interesting, this is the exact same reason that Apple fans stick like glue to the brand they love, who doesn’t fancy a bit of that kind of love for your business?
** IDENTITY **
Now, this is a biggie. The brands you love help define WHO YOU ARE. I define myself as fun, adventurous, and quirky – the very same values that VW stands for. It’s why I’m so connected to the brand – because it helps me to express that part of myself.
And going back to Apple, because I’m a designer so let’s be real, I’m always going back to Apple! it’s why hard-core Apple fans will never switch to another model – because Apple products make a statement about who they are.
Finally, and most importantly…
** EXPERIENCE **
When you interact with a brand, you have an experience.
Going back to our lil campervan breaks; I become a particular version of myself, a version that I love. A version that makes me feel connected to those feelings I want to feel in myself, that reminds me what I value most in the world, and that makes me feel more ME. When I pull onto the beach and brew a cuppa on our camper stove, I become a freer version of me.
This ‘experience’ is the reason we stick to the brands we love and it happens because these brands inspire those particular FEELINGS in us.
The way we feel when we’re around a brand is a very big deal.
Us humans, we’re instinctive beings. We make snap emotional decisions over rational logical ones every single day.
When emotions come into play and we rely on gut instinct to help us make decisions, logic goes out the window. That’s because emotions happen deep down in our subconscious where our logical, analytical brain has no control. We’re at the mercy of our emotions which is why we:
- Make spontaneous purchases, which we may or may not later regret!
- Instantly like or dislike certain people, without any real reason
- Feel drawn to some brands while turning our nose up at others
It’s because of all those things, that the FEELINGS your brand inspires matters. Not only do these feelings influence what your audience thinks about your brand, but they determine whether or not someone buys.
Feelings explain why there are some people you’ll buy ANYTHING from. And those same feelings are the reason you’ve never EVER buy anything from that business owner.
Inspire the right feelings and you’ll make your mark.
Inspire the wrong ones and you’ll get ignored, lost and forgotten amongst the stampede of internet traffic.
That’s why FEELINGS are the 3rd step in the CTFO process.
What FEELINGS are you selling?
In much the same way as the CTFO process encourages you to define your brand’s CORE and the TRIBE you want to attract, it also guides you to define the feelings you want to inspire in the people you want to work with.
- Apple sells creativity and innovation. It’s a brand that appeals to the rule-breakers and ‘crazy ones’ doing their own thing their own way.
- VW campervans embody values such as freedom, cool, quirkiness, and free-spirited adventure. Yup, they call out directly to the flowers in my hair wearing part of me.
- Disney sells magic, happiness, family, and the place where dreams come true.
Using these simple examples we can see that people don’t buy products or services. They buy how those products or services make them feel.
It’s a subtle, but crucial difference.
It’s the reason Disney remains an aspirational holiday destination for families, why Apple can charge more for their products, and why a passionate community sprung up around campervans.
The way we feel towards brands and products help us define who we are – and who we are not. It’s why FEELINGS influence what you buy – and what you won’t.
What’s more, when you have a strong connection to a particular brand, you’ll be reluctant to change – because the switch says something about you.
And this principle doesn’t just apply to the big, household names we talked about above.
This principle applies to you too, even if the only thing you’re selling is services that you provide yourself.
We react emotionally and instinctively to everything.
Our gut reactions help us made sense of the avalanche of sensory information that’s thrown at us every single day. You simply do not have the energy or the capacity to make logical, sensible, analytic decisions about everything you see.
It’s why your subconscious steps in – to help you quickly and easily sift through all your options. Your emotions will tell you if you love something or hate something.
And if you want to attract your perfect customer, you better be sure that your brand inspires the feelings that are going to make them want to be associated with you.
And that, in a nutshell, is what this thing called branding is all about – using the power of visual persuasion as a tool to grow your business.
Create visuals that your perfect customer connects with and you’ll build a TRIBE of people who will fall in love with your work again, and again, every single day.
Time to Crack The F*ck On!
Here’s a quick summary.
- Even if you do nothing, your brand will inspire feelings in your audience. So to ensure that reaction works for your business, you’ve got to take control over what those feelings are.
- Once you’ve defined the feelings that fit your brand, you can use your colours, fonts, and images to inspire that specific reaction.
So let’s CTFO and figure out what you’re really selling.
For example, my brand is about fun, creativity, and quirkiness, while also delivering straight to the point information to help you take action. My entire brand is designed to inspire you to feel those feelings whenever you encounter me – whether that’s through this article, on social media, or in person.
Now if you’re looking for creativity, fun, and quirkiness with a face slap of pure action, chances are we’re going to resonate with each other – even if you don’t realise at a conscious level that those are the values you are drawn towards.
And that’s how your visuals help forge connections between your business and feelings in your customers.
What are you really selling?
It’s time to brew a cuppa and grab a big sheet of paper and your favourite pen. Think about the feelings you want to inspire and capture your ideas on paper.
Then pick the THREE that speak to you the most. These should be words that people will feel when working with you. This is how we tie back to your CORE.
Keep them safe because we’ll be referring back to them another time.
But the feelings don’t stop there.
The most powerful brand experiences happen when there’s an immersive experience. Where the visuals tie into the language in a way that’s consistent every single time. That’s why we’re going to cover your VERBAL LANGUAGE in the next article.