“People want to be told what to do so badly that they’ll listen to anyone,” Don Draper muses in Season 1 of Mad Men.
It strikes at the heart of the attitudes that drive the advertising landscape painted by the hit AMC series–people are yours to manipulate and control to your own ends and profit. And sadly, is it that far-off from the accepted standard today?
The marketing industry has a less than stellar reputation at the moment. Hit Netflix documentaries like The Great Hack and The Social Dilemma have shed more light on the dark underside of targeted advertising and data privacy.
To a lot of business owners I talk to, marketing is at best a ‘necessary evil’. It’s self-promotional, confusing, and expensive. So you plug your nose and do it, but you hardly ever feel great about it in the moment.
Is this what we should be stuck with?
I think not. Call me idealistic, but I believe marketing can be redeemed.
Instead of manipulating people, your marketing can honor them.
Instead of demeaning people, your marketing can empower them.
Instead of controlling people, your marketing can love them. (Yep, you heard me right. The L-word.)
Creating redemptive marketing requires a gut check for you and your brand–are you willing to tell a better story?
If you are, then you’ll also need some practical tools. Here are three ways you can create more redemptive marketing material:
1. Empower your customer as the hero of the story, not your brand.
Most brands place themselves as the hero of the story. So they talk incessantly–and annoyingly–about themselves in their marketing.
Your brand can place your customer as the hero of the story. So you can talk incessantly–and refreshingly–about your customer in your marketing.
2. Position your brand to serve your customer as the guide.
Most brands exist for their customers to serve them with their money. So their marketing comes off pushy and salesy.
Your brand can exist to serve your customers with your products. So your marketing can come off genuine and helpful.
3. Inspire your customer towards a worthy aspirational identity rather than view them as a mere consumer.
Most brands are asking, “What can I get out of my customer?” So they market to the bottom line, regardless of whether it’s actually good for their customer.
Your brand can ask, “Who can I help my customer become?” So you can market to their best self, helping them move forward as human beings.
This kind of marketing doesn’t just feel better. It works better.
When people feel authentically empowered, served, and moved toward their best selves by your marketing, they want to do business with you rather than the others. (Go figure!)
These insights come from the StoryBrand framework. You can read this PDF or the book to get a deeper handle on these concepts.
Don’t have the time to make these changes on your own? Or tired of trying? Let’s talk. I can help you create the marketing that closes more deals without the icky aftertaste.