Walmart. Save money.
Nike. Just Do It.
Disney. Most magical place on earth.
Memorable brands focus on conveying one story. Relentless execution of a clear story is what made them remarkable brands in the first place.
I’m not talking about taglines, although a tagline may be an important part of conveying your story. Walmart has changed taglines without changing their story. They simply found a tagline that helps better tell their story.
Compelling stories are simple, clear, and emotional. Walmart, Nike, and Disney all use these ingredients. The often missed Special Sauce in all of these examples is empathy. These brands don’t tell the story from their perspective. They don’t try to jam benefits and features down our throat.
Walmart, Nike, and Disney have all mastered the art of understanding what their customer wants, needs, and desires. They take that understanding and spin it into a story where their customers see themselves.
Few campaigns exemplify this better than the Find Your Greatness campaign by Nike. Empathy oozes from every scene. Try not to feel emotion when watching this campaign.
Feel For Your Customer
Every business has the opportunity to leverage empathy. Stop thinking about what you offer for a moment, and start thinking about what your customer wants, needs, and desires. Now craft a story with your customer as the hero and speak to that desire.
Use your customer as a guide for website content, ad copy, and marketing campaigns. Put your customer’s conversion goals ahead of your own for a moment. A funny thing will happen when you make this change, you’ll hit more of your KPI’s.
Customers don’t care what you want, they care what they want. Empathy allows you to identify what that is and speak to it in all of your communication.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Once you nail the story, relentlessly execute like Walmart, Nike, and Disney.
“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.”
– James Clear, Atomic Habits
This idea from James Clear applies to the brand you’re building as well.
You can apologize to a customer when they’re unhappy and offer a refund, or you can refuse the refund and keep their money.
You can buy the cheapest materials to put behind the walls where your customer will never see, or you can demand quality in all aspects of construction.
You can take an extra second to offer a genuine please and thank you to every customer, or you can just get on with the next transaction.
Your decision is casting a vote for the type of brand you wish to become. No single customer transaction will transform your brand, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your brand identity.
Core values, mission statements, and manifestos are pointless if you don’t back them up with habits and cast votes every day. Be living proof that you empathize with your customer.
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