We’ve all seen it.
A startup begins with a dream, a passion for doing something others have missed or overlooked, to offer something better than what we all accept as the norm.
Then we hit the legendary Wall of Hell: “Let’s describe this so people really get it.” (Oftentimes, cliches are used, and, other times, it’s simply not intelligently working out your brand story so anyone will care to listen and thus get engaged in your brand.)
The most common mistake made by brands:
Providing a laundry list of what’s inside the package vs. conveying something enticing and engaging
(Here’s a powerful before-and-after example: look at the product descriptors.)
It’s the difference between standing up in front of the class and saying, “What I did during my summer break was…” (yawn) when you could have shared, “I had no idea this would be the summer that changed my life. There I was, minding my own business when out of nowhere….”
The problem is that we communicate from within “our reality bubble” and forget “the reality bubble” of others.
Then we witness the unthinkable: nobody gets it, and our bubble bursts. Connections are broken. Sales are lost.
Because each bubble has:
- its own set of values
- its own importances and
- its own set of factors that don’t matter.
And it’s our job (or our failure to do that job) that makes all the difference whether a person cares, gives a passing glance, passionately embraces or is bored by the contents of “our bubble.”
This post is a story of a company that overcame this tendency (a tendency that claims more startups, leaving in its wake victims, lost revenue, and failed business).
The Secret Sauce of Traction:
Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost (of Broken Dreams)
In a car showroom sits a stunning, shiny new red car.
It’s an affordable red car, and boy, does it look cool….
In walks a father and his teenage son.
Of all the cars in the showroom, the red car catches the attention of each.
Some minutes pass as they circle the car (like sharks having sensed blood in the water), checking it out from various angles.
They look at each other, smiling, certain they agree that this would make a great first car for the son.
Looking under the hood of this situation, let’s look at what happened here.
The dad is delighted with its MPG, safety rating, and price tag.
The son is equally ecstatic with the car.
Because, according to the son, he’s ecstatic that dad agrees to purchase this “chick magnet.” (They never happened to talk through why they each loved this car so much, a small detail that would have uncovered their widely different “reality bubbles.”)
The Consumer, “The Reality Bubble” and How to Instantly Increase Your Brand’s Meaning
Recently, I completed the branding for a new nutrition bar. When we started, this is what their brand looked like:
Well, there was work to be done.
After doing the proper amount of homework, we saw what “our bubble” was and the “bubble” of our audience. Instantly, we knew how we needed to speak to reach the customer.
Certain insights resulted in knowing which direction to push the name.
And an analysis of the competitors showed us the path to the design approach for the package.
All with the goal of communicating to the right audience.
We needed to know, were we talking to the dad above or his kid?
With all this information, we finally arrived at a new name, a new minimalistic package design (180 degrees opposite the tendency to turn every nutrition bar wrapper into something resembling a Nascar), new messaging with a memorable slogan, and a new domain.
And the 4-word tagline that changed everything?
Delicious. Nutritious. Nothing suspicious.
How to See the Forest from the Trees
During this process, I quickly learned the product was outstanding:
- It uses as a main ingredient a super fruit 99% of other nutrition bars have somehow overlooked (which yet offers more antioxidants than blueberries or pomegranates, is higher in vitamin and mineral content, and is naturally high in fiber, helping to curb appetite and cravings)
- It’s 100% organic food ingredients that derived from raw ingredients
- It’s non-GMO certified
- It’s USDA Organic
- It’s Gluten-free
- It’s Dairy-free
- It’s Vegan
- All with less than 5 ingredients per bar, and lastly,
- No added sugar of any sort (the only bar of its kind to offer that when all the other brands are playing with some smoke and mirrors on this ingredient).
Only one problem: when we started, it was being spoken about in its own “reality bubble.”
I knew if we didn’t figure out how to bridge that gap between their bubble and the bubble of the consumer, it would flop.
So, homework was done. Important homework.
After we collected all the relevant information, I could conceive of the new name, design, slogan, and components that worked beautifully together.
Once completed, it brought all the components together in a strong (yet simple) trade ad that was instantly engaging due to the short, smart copy and tasteful use of photography.
The above shows the dramatic changes from where they started.
The Lesson to Learn?
Know the “reality bubbles” of others more intimately than your own.