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Positioning and creating a story about your unique selling proposition
on December 17, 2011
The ideas in this book are not new - they revolve around the core of successful marketing, around positioning and creating a story about your business that revolves what is at other times called a unique selling proposition, how is what you are selling different than the similar products by other sellers.
The book is ultimately about creating your story, not just verbally but through the whole experience a potential buyer has with you, your company and your products. In other for the story to work it has to be authentic.
We create stories all the time, both as buyers and as sellers and in every area of our lives - they are part of selling, advertising, seduction, court-room, healing, and any form of inter-personal relationships. In the TV series "Shark", the lawyers begins instruction of his assistants with the words "Truth is relative. Choose one that works." This is true in any area of our lives, including in marketing.
We meet someone and we begin to weave stories in our minds out of the information we have and the information we don't have we fill in with whatever seems appropriate to us. When we buy products we may buy stories offered by the company manufacturing the product or we may create our own, according to our own beliefs and experiences (or lack of experience with anything similar).
The seller may weave the story around selling a kefir that says Hunza people live healthy and long lives - over 100 years old - from eating kefir and the buyer may translate the story that if he were to eat kefit, he will also have a long life - never mind all the other differences in lifestyle of people who have long and healthy lives. Kefir may be part of the truth, part of the elements that contribute to healthier lifestyle, but not the whole story - still it is the truth that would work for the company selling kefir.
In this book there are examples of companies that have created stories around products that have injured people - like advising young mothers in poor countries to use powdered milk instead of to breast-feed their babies, which ultimately resulted in premature death of countless babies, partly due to the fact that the water which the mothers used to mix powdered milk was impure, partly because the babies were denied nutrients that support immune system and which are available only through the mothers' milk.
While this book and any other book related to marketing and selling would suggest that the seller focuses on the benefits and weaves the story around how his product can fulfill the needs and wants people have; the book also clearly points out to focus on genuine value for the customer and not to invent things that have nothing to do with the product or worse that can injure people because such stories can and will backfire.
On the other side of the coin are buyers, who should do their own research. Just as an example, there are all sorts of nutritional supplements many of which contribute to better health, none of which are likely 'cure-all" supplements even though they may contribute to general health and some of which may have serious side-effects. People in general seem to act as if they were hypnotized and they tend to go along with what someone says without finding out for themselves and whether it is a marketer or a seller or a friend who shares a story and the story may be valid from one point of view, it may still not be the whole truth and the more we know about things we are consuming, the more we may put those things in proper perspective, without expecting overnight miracles, and the more we may benefit from the products.
We live in a world where the word "instant" this or that is very popular element of many marketing stories, and people tend to get disappointed when they don't get instant results. On the other hand, people get so much bombarded with the promise of "instant" results that many actually seem to believe such stories before they buy the product - buyers will create their own stories based on what they want to believe, not necessarily upon what may be realistic to expect - and then they will get disappointed.
So, when weaving authentic stories about your product or service, it will help if you weave them in way that distinguishes your product or service, that is able to fulfill the needs and desires of customers and that will make your customers feel good for a long time to come. If you are passionate about your work and your work revolves around genuinely helping other people in some way, then the story you create would naturally be authentic and beneficial for your business and for your customers.