current writings on all things

How to Better Explain Your Brand

Companies that become so familiar with their product, service, or organization sometimes forget that the people who should care the most, their customers, might not fully understand the value the brand provides. Sales and marketing become such experts about their products and service offerings that they make the mistake of thinking that everyone knows as much as they do. This is what is referred to as the “curse of knowledge,” or knowing too much about your brand.   When companies take this expert knowledge about their product or service for granted by assuming that customers have the same level of knowledge (and by using words, messaging, and imagery that are hard to understand or no longer relevant), customers might become alienated from the brand. This can lead to lost interest, lost opportunities, and lost revenue.   What to do if your brand suffers from the "curse of knowledge"Instead of bombarding customers with a list of features and/or facts, successful companies explain the value they provide by telling customers a compelling story. Stories are not just about the “what” of the brand (what it does, what it is) or even the “how” (how it works, how it helps); rather, stories should explain the company’s understanding of the common problem customers have, and tell a narrative that provides the resolution. Framing the messaging, imagery, and wording within this context makes it is easier for people to understand, not only how your product, service or organization will benefit them, but more importantly, why they should care.   Brand stories should transcend culture, language, and international borders, while providing a consistent experience for customers. They convey ideas that the target audience can identify with, and use words they will understand and relate to. They should not be too complex, or too detailed, or too esoteric. They should not get lost in detailed descriptions of features, but instead focus on big picture ideas.   Brands stories should not get lost in translation. According to Lee Lefever, author of The Art of Explanation, facts can give your brand’s story substance, but it is stories that give those facts meaning. Lefever continues, “Explanations that make people care also have another benefit: people who care about an idea [or brand] are often more motivated to learn more.”   We have observed companies that are the best in their business, having the best solution for customer needs; however, their message is not getting through to the target audience—even with brochures packed with benefits and features, and a web site that contains enough content to produce a technical manual or novel. While they may suffer from the “curse of knowledge” about their brand, simply finding better ways to explain the value they provide will help them connect more with customers. And getting those customers to care about the brand is the first step of any sale.   By: Ryan Hembree, Principal | Brand & Creative Strategy