When it comes to mastering the art of connecting a product with imagery, underlying emotion and a mini story, television commercials win hands down.
Have you ever gotten choked up over a simple telephone commercial because you see the grandmother wiping her eyes with joy as her grandson calls to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day?
OK. Maybe you don’t but a lot of people do. In literally 30 seconds, the advertisers have reached their audience on a profound level. How about you? Are you accomplishing that in a 30-minute meeting with an important client?
When a car is advertised, it’s done so with sensuality, adventure, fun, status, or joy. We see the car careening around mountain roads, across rocky terrain, or swerving to avoid a dangerous obstacle. Music adds to the mood. The emotion and imagery sell the car and depending on the brand, variables will range from the luxurious (Lexus) to the rugged (Jeep) to those that illustrate family safety (Volvo).
Unless a particular deal is being heavily promoted, all the details regarding price, financing, lease, and dollars appear as an adjunct, often quickly, at the end of the spot and often at the bottom of the screen.
What we are left with is a strong impression of the “future experience” — the story and emotional promise behind the sale — one that is based not on intellect, but on emotion and imagery.
Too often in sales, however, people do exactly the opposite. They focus on details, data, facts, figures and functions, pointing to complicated graphs and tossing out terms the prospect barely understands.
Years ago, I did a television commercial for Metro-North, the local rail system in the New York Tri-State area. My role was that of a working mother coming home to her son and husband.
The commercial began with a series of shots of the train moving through urban landscapes, and a soundtrack that was rhythmic, pumping, and hopeful. The finale: A series of shots that added the critical human element and dream. (1)The first of the closing shots shows me coming off the train in business attire, with trench coat and briefcase. (2) The second: my husband and little son standing on the platform eagerly awaiting my arrival and then my son running towards me smiling gleefully. (3) The third reveals me kneeling, wrapping the little boy in my arms. On this final image, the music comes to a crescendo and the Metro-North logo appears.
We weren’t simply selling train tickets. We were selling family unity and love.
What are you selling? How can you help your customers and prospects see the mini movie, the commercial or story of what their life will be like if they buy your product or service, and how what you offer can truly help them achieve their dreams? Start with the challenge; offer the solution. This doesn’t have to be done with fancy camera work, film/video and actors. It can be done verbally — by telling a great story, by painting a verbal picture of the future.
And if what you create is extraordinary enough, you might just end up in the Super Bowl.