In June last year I wrote a blog called “The power of WHY” advising the importance of understanding the emotional reasons behind customer behaviour.
Earlier this year I downloaded a book also called “The Power of Why”; Breaking out in a competitive marketplace, by C. Richard Weylman, published in 2013, so it looks like we were on a similar wavelength last year.
The book is a good read (much better, but longer than my blog) with plenty of ideas and suggestions on how to put them into practice.
Weylman argues that to truly break away from the competition and to dominate a market, a business needs to become “customer-centric”, turning neutral customers into passionate advocates. He believes that the businesses and brands that have achieved this are completely driven by their customer’s perspective.
I won’t attempt to summarise the whole book here, but the one concept I do want to share is the author's suggestion that we switch from Unique Selling Proposition (USP) to Unique Value Promise (UVP).
One key element of this switch is the move from a focus on difference to distinctiveness. Anyone can make a product or service different, but to be distinctive requires customer focus. Distinctive brands are far more likely to generate word of mouth than those that are merely different.
Another area he recommends changing is the brand promise. These are very often internally focussed and/or rational messages, which can easily fail to engage a prospective customer. Instead, the author suggests we need to find a buyer-centric promise that goes beyond the “what’s in it for me” (WIIFM) to provide a deep emotional reassurance that this is the best choice.
For anyone with an interest in marketing, especially branding and communication, I would thoroughly recommend this book, but even if you don’t have the time or inclination it’s worth reviewing whether you can make your brand promise more customer-centric and become more distinctive rather than just different.
Chris Hutchinson - Aardvark Marketing Consultants