One of the first clients I ever saw was a client who wanted to buy a bed and breakfast (B&B). The client spent years in the high-tech industry. He wanted to leave the high-tech rat race and had always loved the simplicity and personal nature of a running an inn. I told the client that when it comes to a B&B, the business to consumer (B2C) relationship is most often not with the business (the property) but with the innkeeper. I told him that when there is a change of ownership, there is no guarantee that past guests will continue to visit the inn.
Many consumers are drawn to a business based on a human character. Women are loyal to a beauty shop based on a relationship they have with a specific beautician or perhaps you go to your favorite bar or restaurant because of a staff member. The message here is that customers more often relate to a personable employee, or in other words an attraction character, than the business itself.
Subway sells sandwiches. While a Subway’s location may be convenient and the product may be of sufficient value, what attracts new customers is that they relate to the spokesman. Jared was the attraction character for many years. We all know the story of Jared. He was very overweight and then by eating only Subway sandwiches he was able to shed over 200 lbs. Jared appealed to everyone that was concerned about their weight, which is about everyone.
Since consumers rarely are attracted to the business, brand marketers know that they need to create an attraction character that consumers can relate to and bond with. The other day I was teaching a workshop at our local Small Business Development Center. Throughout my presentation, I often share what I call sea-stories and let the audience know that I was once a member of the United States Coast Guard. When I concluded the presentation, one of the participants raced to the front of the room and said, “I related to your sea stories. You know my dad was in the Coast Guard.” That seemingly little and rather irrelevant nugget helped create a bond between the participant and me as the messenger.
You see, business marketing is like dating game. Many situations may bring two people together but what drives the attraction is the backstory that each can relate to.
Some time ago I went to a presentation by Weldon Long, the author of “The Power of Consistency: Prosperity Mindset Training for Sales and Business Professionals” and “The Upside of Fear: How One Man Broke the Cycle of Prison, Poverty, and Addiction”. In his presentation, Weldon shared how he was sent to prison, and while incarcerated, he received a call from his father who was dying that changed his life forever.
While few people in the audience could relate to his life of crime and being in prison, they could relate to his dying father’s message. The audience was spellbound as Weldon shared his dying father’s last words: “At least you are not dying.” These words implied that Weldon had chosen to waste his life by being a criminal.
Don’t be afraid to share your character flaws. I’m a flaming dyslexic. As a person with acute dyslexia, I often appeal to people who have reading problems. People relate to a flawed person better than to someone who appears to be perfect. Being neutral is boring, so share your flaws.
I can hear some of you say, “Yeah, but Steve I don’t have an interesting backstory so I’m not sure I can be the attraction character for my business.” To that I simply say borrow one. Subway borrowed Jared. Find a customer or client with an interesting backstory and share their sea stories to make your business message come alive. People need to understand the backstory of the attraction character of your business to make a meaningful connection to your business.
Who is the attraction character for your business?
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