My wife, Jillian, drinks a gallon of water every day. She doesn’t accomplish this by replenishing a glass numerous times until she hits her target. That’s what regular people do. Instead, she fills a water bottle so comically large, it looks as if she’s sipping from a humidifier. “It’s called the gallon challenge,” she tells me with a small trace of arrogance, as if the freedom to take long car trips was for suckers anyway. Then she showed me several people in her social feed whose torsos were obscured by that same weapon of mass hydration. That’s when I knew this daily ritual wasn’t about being thirsty or health conscious. Jillian’s behavior was driven by a much larger and unstoppable force—desire.
If you think about your relationship with your audience as a courtship, desire is the stage that happens after you’ve stirred up their interest and serves as the springboard to their choosing you. Desire is not a sensation that can be achieved overnight with a single gesture. It’s a feeling that needs to be first ignited, then gradually stoked until consideration is transformed into action. For Jillian, it was the difference between wanting to drink more water and longing to be part of a community. For you, it’s the ability to stand apart from your competition by shifting the perception of your product or service from that of a commodity to a necessity.
Where do you begin? Surprisingly, it’s not with your marketing.
You Can’t Sell the Sizzle with a Lousy Steak
A few months back, a prospective client invited us to pitch for an opportunity to build an awareness campaign littered with promises that, in their wildest fantasies, they would never be able to keep. Of course, the invitation wasn’t worded that way. But while this company was upfront with their challenges, they were equally as candid about their refusal to remedy their shortfalls. Even on our most impressive day, we knew that whatever communications we developed would be dreadfully misaligned with the customer experience. And no amount of revenue is worth an endeavor that is doomed to fail.
If you want to create desire, you need to have something worth writing home about. A good place to begin is by identifying any defensible points of differentiation—a uniqueness that your customers will regard as truly meaningful. Even a single head-turning attribute like enhanced usability, the alleviation of a common anxiety, or proven outcomes can entice even the most casual window shoppers when packaged properly. So, before you invest in a mouthwatering proposition, make sure you’ve got the goods to back it up.
Make Your Customer the Hero
One of the simplest tactics for engaging your audience is by leading your message with “you” rather than the more tempting “we.” But a wise choice of pronoun alone won’t create desire. You need to place your customers in a setting where they can clearly see themselves benefitting from your partnership, whether it’s breaking sales records, achieving fitness goals, or nailing an Instagram-worthy Thanksgiving turkey. It’s not unlike when coaches have their athletes visualize themselves hoisting the championship trophy as greater motivation to win. By putting your customer through that same mental exercise, while linking their future triumph to your support, you begin building desire for your offering.
There are companies that make their customers the hero all around you. Ore-Ida® is currently promoting their French fries as a way for parents to “potato pay” their monstrous children to eat their vegetables, keeping mom and dad in control at mealtime. And what could be more heroic than surprising your partner with a brand-new Lexus in the driveway with a gigantic red bow on the roof (which also sort of sticks it to the neighbors). But you don’t have to resort to the excessive or outrageous to get people excited about your brand. Something as straightforward as a powerful customer testimonial can allow prospects to picture themselves in a similar position of strength.
Perhaps the most challenging part of creating desire is putting your own opinion aside. In your eyes, why wouldn’t someone want to do business with you? But what you should really explore is why they should. What makes you stand apart from other worthy suitors competing for your customers’ consideration? What emotions will you tap into to make your audience question how they ever functioned without you? Figure that out and when you finally go for the close, it will truly be an offer they can’t refuse.
Is there something desirable about your brand that your prospects are overlooking? Contact us and let’s get you dressed to impress.