Last month, 23 million Americans and perhaps billions more around the world tuned in to watch the wedding of Prince William and “commoner” Kate Middleton. If the population of the United KIngdom is around 62 million, how does one account for all the other millions of people who put their lives on hold to watch someone else’s wedding on TV?
Certainly everyone had their reasons. Anglophiles were a big part of the audience, as were the fashionistas, who were dying to get an answer to the most insipid question of our time, “Who are you wearing?” I’m sure there were also the folks who just tuned in to see the hats, but most likely, the bulk of the audience was the people who just love weddings and this one, on the grand stage (in a special, commemorative issue of People sort of way), was the ultimate. These are the people who take joy in the romance of seeing love bloom as the handsome prince whisks the commoner away from her dreary existence via a horse drawn carriage to a storybook wedding. These are the people that watched the royal wedding to see the fairy tale happen in real time.
So how is any of this relevant to marketing and advertising? Simple: Every element of your marketing and advertising should be selling the fairy tale. You may be selling goods or services but, to market it properly, you have to overcome your customers objections and show them you offer the solution to their problem. Whether it’s a new TV, carpet cleaning, or article of clothing, your marketing needs to connect with your customers so they’ll be convinced that new TV will enhance their viewing experience like no other, their carpets will turn their home into a castle, and that new shirt will make them look just like Brad Pitt (or some other handsome prince).
For an example in its basest from, just look at anything that’s been done to sell the Axe line of men’s body sprays and grooming products. If you can’t stand to watch it, the gist of the campaign directed toward young males is that, if you use this crap, you’ll be irresistible to women. The takeaway is simple I know, but it certainly appeals to the post-pubescent male.
So how can you do it? Easy! While you should sell the benefits and USP (universal selling point) of your goods or services, you should also make sure your marketing and advertising shows how you provide the solution your target audience is searching for. Yes, “breathable, 100% cotton” will help sell a shirt but, if the shirt isn’t going to enhance the wearer’s appearance (that subliminal, “make me look like Brad Pitt” thing), then you’re wasting your time and money talking about its’ composition. Ultimately, your goal should be to establish your brand such that your consumers will buy your product based on reputation alone (i.e. “Brad Pitt wears that brand of clothing so, if I buy it, I’ll look like he does by association.”).
In the end, it comes down to this: Don’t just sell your product. Instead show how your product or service will change, improve, or complete your customers’ lives. Whether its cat food or carpet cleaner, there’s a fairy tale to be told. And if you’re having trouble finding the storybook ending in your marketing and advertising, maybe you need a new story teller…