A few years ago, I felt an emotional connection to raw chicken…
It was through a commercial for Maple Leaf Prime, called “Sundown,” and it showed a montage of mini-stories. The stories included a large family getting together for dinner; a group of friends catching up at a dinner party; and a woman who had just come home from a long day of work and was eating dinner while chatting on the phone. As I saw these stories, a calm voice spoke in verse about dinnertime – how it was about “breaking bread” and asking the world “to stop spinning, for now, we eat.” It was a beautifully shot piece – you almost felt like you were there!
I remember every time I saw this commercial, I would think: “I need to call my mom,” or “I haven’t seen my friends in a while.” I would well-up with emotion, but I enjoyed watching the ad every time it came on.
Later on, when I was at the store shopping for chicken, I took notice of Maple Leaf Prime Chicken first, and would instantly be brought back to the commercial and the feelings it gave me. As I began to think about why this commercial had resonated with me, it hit me: “This is a commercial about buying raw chicken!” I laughed to myself and revelled in the brilliance of the piece.
You are not selling a product,
you are selling the experience that surrounds it.
In other words, when you show the experience surrounding your product, you present to the audience the purpose that product can serve in their lives. Similarly, when you forego emotion in advertising, and simply list all of the features your product or company does, there is no connection made and no longstanding reason for people to choose your product over others, over time.
The Maple Leaf commercial didn’t list all of the ways you could cook their chicken. It showed the experience that can come when you use their chicken, and the purpose their chicken could serve. It may sound silly, but it’s true!
Many manufacturing and B2B companies think that they don’t belong in the storytelling realm, or even need video as a sales tool. They think that they make products that only serve a function, and that buyers base their decisions purely on facts and features. These companies feel that there is limited-to-no emotional value in their products. But that simply isn’t the case.
I was recently talking with a client, who was involved in the steel business. After going through the regular gambit of questions, I asked “what is the emotional value of your work in steel?” They didn’t know. After digging a bit more, we discovered that it wasn’t the steel, itself, that was important, but the amazing structures that can be made through the use of steel. We determined that they were the backbone to just about every amazing structural design that exists – be it museums, stadiums, skyscrapers. And we had found the cool-factor for their emotional piece.
If this client talks to their audience about the experiential benefit, rather than the listing off the general product benefits, they will connect with their audience in a much deeper and profound way, and likely engage their patronage over a longer period of time.
Everything your company makes serves a purpose beyond the product itself. It could be to make the world a safer place, or to solve an unsolvable problem, or to make an industry more efficient. And with that, there are emotional experiences tied to it that impact people’s lives every day.
When you’re trying to find the experiential value of your product, don’t ask yourself what it does but, instead, ask yourself what purpose it serves. Does it save lives? Does it make products globally accessible? Or does it simply save money or time for your customers?
You have experiential value in everything your company makes, regardless of your product and industry. Find that deeper purpose and lead with it. See how you can create a better connection with your current audience, future audience, your employees and even your team, in ways that will garner long-standing buy-in.
Here’s the ad, if you’d also like to cry over chicken like I did…
This article was previously published in the March 2018 issue of Prairie Manufacturer Magazine
POSTED BY DOUG DARLING