Was Your Marketing Raised On Family Farms?
I really enjoy cooking and baking - so if you have any good and unique recipes, do send them my way. But I don't want to talk to you about cooking today; rather, I want to talk to you about a marketing lesson I was reminded of when I went to prepare dinner the other evening.
I pulled out my package of chicken breast and noticed a big banner running across the top of the package that read "Raised On Family Farms". I couldn't help but think what a clever marketing tactic this was - a tactic that you and I can easily apply to our own businesses right now.
No, I wasn't raised on a family farm - northwest side of Chicago, as a matter of fact. But there's a broad marketing concept at work here. You see, the chicken wasn't organic. It wasn't fee range. It wasn't antibiotic-free. It wasn't in any way "better" chicken. It was simply raised on a farm owned by family members.
As far as I know, a family farm has no effect whatsoever on the quality of the chicken. There are no regulations that say a family farm must be more humane or ethical than a huge company. Family farms don't need to use healthier chicken feed. In fact, there are no regulations at all that say a family farm must operate any differently than a corporate-owned farm in any way.
And to further complicate the issue, when I checked out the chicken company's website, I found out it was actually a conglomeration of over 1,500 different farms. So I would imagine there is actually a huge difference in the operations amongst these family farms.
And yet "Raised On Family Farms" painted a quaint little picture in my brain of a small mom-and-pop operation, with little Sally filling her apron pockets with bird seed, singing a merry song as she happily hand feeds her chickens eagerly gathered around her. The chickens are treated just like pets and they live out their lives peacefully until it's time to go to the big chicken coop in the sky.
At least that the picture that flashed through my brain in the second or so that it took me to read the "Raised On Family Farms" banner. Because, yes, our minds do think in pictures and those pictures are often created instantaneously, without us even being aware of it. The chicken company painted a very advantageous picture in their customers' brains with a somewhat meaningless positioning statement.
So what can you do to paint a effective picture in your customers' or prospects' brains? Keep the "know-like-trust" factor in mind when you're brainstorming ideas. The family farm picture was brilliant because it touched on all of these. But even if your mental picture only touches on one factor, it can still be very powerful.
Here are a few examples to get you started:
Our client Sam was a brand new life coach. He was so new, in fact, that he hadn't even passed his certification test yet. He needed to find clients quickly, so instead of waiting for his certification to be finalized, he decided to go ahead with a new marketing campaign. Naturally, we were a little worried about the "trust" factor since he wasn't a certified coach yet. Actually, he wasn't certified in anything. He didn't even finish college. But he had taken many different classes and courses. So in his marketing materials and on his website, we created a bullet list of all the things Sam was "educated in". This huge list painted a picture of a highly-qualified coach, even though he wasn't certified yet.
Peter is a personal injury attorney, and almost no one likes personal injury attorneys. Heck, even the injured person doesn't like personal injury attorneys! Even though Peter is a very likable guy, he wasn't getting many referrals, and I thought the "ambulance chaser reputation" might have had something to do with it. So we immediately got rid of Peter's stern-faced lawyer-looking photographs and replaced them with casual pictures of Peter and his family. We took him out of his suit and tie and put him in a pair of dockers and an oxford shirt. We painted the picture of a loving, friendly family man whom clients and prospects could easily like.
Keep in mind, the value here is that the prospect or customer is creating these mental pictures. Nowhere in their marketing did the chicken company say their chicken was healthier, happier or in anyway better. We never said Sam was a certified coach, and we never said Peter was a friendly, likable guy. The prospect drew his own conclusions - and people never question their own conclusions. They simply accept them as fact.
There are dozens of ways you can paint pictures in your prospect's brain to help him draw his own conclusions about you, your product or service. Think about the words, the colors, the graphics you're using, on your website, on your business card, in your brochures, etc. What kind of instantaneous mental picture are they creating, and how can you change them to paint the picture you want your client to see?