Written by Canon Wing

I teach entrepreneurs and organizations the proven action steps to stand out within their market, improve the perceived value of their business, and better connect with their audience through naming, branding, storytelling, and communication platforms.

September 28, 2020

Product Selling is Dead

Selling a product has been replaced by promising a Greater Future!

Today we’re going to discuss why it’s by not selling your product… or NOT selling your service… without selling people on your product’s awesome features—We will discover what some of today’s great brands learned the hard way.

We are going to take an in-depth look at how making some simple but necessary adjustment to their sales approach, allowed them to become market leaders that are still going strong to this day. The key adjustment these brands had to make began with a paradigm shift in their brand story that would connect with their ideal individuals in a way that bonds, in a way that makes them brand loyalists.

Want to know how to make that kind of connect that creates a customer for years and years?

You simply stop selling your product, on features on the benefits of each feature and start selling a greater future. Or if you want to break it down to one simple thing you’re selling is EMOTION.
Today, products and services are bought, not sold. You don’t go out and buy an iPhone because the salesperson tells you it’s good. You buy it because you feel pride in owning an Apple product. Apple stands for excellence and amazing user experience. The brand gives you the status of a technology enthusiast, denter or the universe, creative genius bar loving individual. — because that’s the emotional impression their brand has sold to you. latest iPhone? We want Apple products because of the impression of a greater future in our minds. That’s the greater future Apple promises;. The experience of having excellence at your fingertips and envious looks from non-owners. That feeling of being, cutting edge, one up, and with the times. That’s the brand experience, the brand story Apple has told over and over – of unmatched user experience and excellence. That’s the greater future they’ve always sold. From a thousand songs in your pocket, to a lap top that fits into a manila envelope.

Today, salesmen have been outshined by brand value. Selling a product has been replaced by selling a greater future.You see, branding is never a dictation, it’s always a conversation. The brand that listens best, wins. The brand that connects best, wins. The brand that inspires best, wins. The brand that promises the greatest future, wins.

British politician Douglas Alexander. “What people want is a sense of a better future to come.”
And he couldn’t be more right.

Your ideal individuals are emotional beings, who decide what to buy and what not to buy based on how the brand makes them feel. It’s less about ‘What can this do for me’ and more about ‘How does this make me feel’. The truth is that material satisfaction is so easy to attain these days, that emotional fulfillment is now the true game when it comes to sales. Brands that succeed, are those that make an emotional connection with their Ideal Individuals, listen to what their ideal individuals say, and even listen to what they don’t say. Our buying decisions are emotional and when you can hear the emotion they are TELLING you they want to buy from you, you have a master key to brand loyalty. And no matter what business you’re in Brand loyalty is your business plan.

In today’s world, product features come secondary. What matters more is the greater future, Let give you excellent examples of fantastic products that weren’t doing too well until they changed their brand message, their brand story, to include an invitation to A Greater Future. You’re going to love this, inside these lessons is where you really up your game.

Let’s start with the story of Pampers, the top-selling brand of disposable diapers we’ve all heard about. As successful as they are today, there was a time when Pampers was struggling to grow sales, and Huggies was eating away at their market share. P&G, the parent company, couldn’t understand why, because they knew, and all their lab tests revealed, that indeed their product was better. Pampers keeps a baby’s bottom dry much more effectively than Huggies, and they pushed that feature hard in their advertising. After an expensive marketing overhaul, and a whole lot of listening to their Ideal Individuals, Pampers realized that a dry bottom wasn’t what the parents were looking for after all. The most pressing concern was the wellbeing of their babies. Parents wanted their babies to sleep better so they would develop better and grow healthier. OKAY now they were onto to some gold— dry diapers did enable babies to sleep better. Once they shifted their brand story to the emotion their buyers actually wanted Pampers sales skyrocketed– when they shifted their brand story from providing a superior product that kept baby bottoms drier, to helping babies sleep better, so they develop better and grow healthier. Sales Skyrocketed. Pampers shifted their brand messaging from being product centric to greater future-centric. And through the art of listening you can too.

Pampers’ brand leader Jim Stengel, has this to say about it, “Over time the organization morphed from a narrow focus on product benefits to a broad focus on delighting moms and enhancing their babies’ development.” DELIGHTING – there’s a powerful emotion. They changed the names of the diaper sizes to reflect developmental stages of the baby as well to reflect the new improved brand story. You can do this too. Design engineers were asked to focus more on comfort, fit, and texture rather than improved dryness, as sleeping well was now the ultimate goal. WOW. branding the greater future has a huge ROI.

The shift towards promising a greater future reflected in all aspects at Pampers. Pampers decided to partner with the parents throughout their brand community, and support their journey. Pampers’ corporate offices became kid-friendly. In-house day care services and maternity parking was added. They added tons of useful baby care information on their website. They promised a greater future in their brand story, and their ideal individuals connected with them on an emotional level. Want to hear some dollars and cents? Pampers’ global revenue grew from $3.4 billion in 1997 to $10 billion in 2001. That’s the power of the promise of a greater future.

Another brand that does a wonderful job of listening to the emotional needs of their ideal individuals is TOMS. Every time Toms sells a pair of shoes, an underprivileged child receives a new pair of shoes. Part of the profit from the sales of Toms eyewear goes towards saving or restoring eyesight for people in underdeveloped countries. Toms is involved in numerous other social activities that involve providing safe water and improving maternal health that makes childbirth safer in underdeveloped nations.

Toms’ brand story, and the promise of a greater future is what sells Toms products. Not its product features. Not a salesman. Toms makes an emotional connection with their ideal individuals. Toms touches the hearts of their ideal individuals, and resonates with their desire to help, to do something for others. It offers them a greater future, a reason to feel good about themselves. Toms makes every consumer the hero if it’s brand story, and leads every consumer into his or her greater future.

Who’s the hero of your brand story?

I just recalled these words from Dale Carnegie and it’s so apt for what we’re talking about today. He said, “Happiness doesn’t depend upon who you are or what you have; it depends solely upon what you think.”

Ask yourself, does your brand story make the buyer the hero or is your brand or product always featured as the hero? Does it promise your buyers a chance to step into a greater future for themselves? Or does it telegraph to people that they need your brand to swoop in and save the day? If you answered that your brand story makes you the hero, think about how you can change that. If you answered that your brand story makes the consumer the hero, think about how you can strengthen that message, like Toms did or Pamper did.. Work on the ability to keep your focus on your ideal individual’s heroism rather than your own. Make that emotional connection. It’s human nature that we are all walking around thinking about ourselves, our journey, our growth. So as a brand leader, it’s your number one priority to help your ideal individuals meet their milestones. It’s not your priority to make your brand look like the hero. Making your ideal individuals look and feel like the hero of their own story, should be your aim at every level of your messaging. And here’s the fun part: you’re going to love this: When you help your ideal individuals meet their milestones, when you help them step into their greater future– you will too. Your brand will grow faster when you focus on service and less on self… You see when we use a product that makes us a hero in our lives, we tell everyone about it. Whether it’s a credit card that accrues enough mileage for a family vacation in the rainforest, a diaper that help a baby sleep and grow and develop better, or a sneaker that brings footwear to impoverished kids. We are going to spread that story of a greater future to anyone who listens. And guess what, we’re are all 50x more likely to buy when a friend tells us about a product or service. That’s right! 50x more likely to buy your product when a friend tells them about it! See how being of service rather than selling your product, can help your brand grow faster, bigger, stronger?

It’s time to ask yourself some tough questions.

Here’s what you need to do to grow your brand value and your profits by leaps:

Ask yourself these two key questions:

1. Is your brand message primarily about the product features or about the greater future and making emotional connections?

2. What business are you in?

Are you in the business of selling diapers, or are you in the business of helping parents raise healthy children? Are you in the business of selling sneakers, or are you in the business of helping people stay fit? Prioritize long-term consumer relationships over short-term sales by being in the business of the greater future. Individuals who are emotionally connected to your brand are always more valuable to your growth. Emotionally connected customers equals Brand Loyalty, and whatever business you are in, Brand loyalty is your business plan!

Find the emotion. Tell the story.

Today, ideate one step you can take to shift your messaging to a brand story that makes a hero out of your ideal individual. Make them a promise of a greater future. Find the emotion behind their reason to buy. Tell a story that fulfils that emotional need, that inspires them to take action, to embrace your brand and come back to it over and over again.

Thank you all for joining me today. I hope you will all find a way to tell your ideal individuals a story of overcoming their greatest fears, moving past their greatest hurdles, towards a life with higher purpose, higher achievement, higher gain, higher pleasure. Help your customers be the hero of their own lives and always remember my personal mantra for everlasting success, Love what you do and love how you do it.