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Don't sell a dream, sell your product!

If I got a dollar every time a startup found tells me this, I would be at least a $100 richer today.
Every cool startup founder is inspired by Steve Jobs and wants their marketing to be like Apple. They are advised to talk about the big picture.
Here is the issue, you can talk about the dream, once everyone knows what your product is.
Imagine you are building an Electric vehicle company. You have the fastest, quietest sports car out there and it’s all-electric.
You are also saving the environment. In an era where our memory spans are less than that of a humming bird, do you want to be known for :
  1. The fastest quietest car that’s electric
  2. We believe in saving the planet
If you are a scrappy entrepreneur who is facing existential risks and need to drive revenue, which one would you choose? Which one will drive business for you? Once you have gotten some traction, you can mix it up, but what would you choose today?
This introduces us to the concept of a Brand Pyramid.
There are three layers to every brand & messaging strategy.
  • Feature - you can talk about the features and specifications. For example, the car has a battery that lasts for 200km/charge, a self-driving car, a beautiful interior, temp control, etc.
  • Function - the core value that the product enables. For example Fastest, quietest car out there
  • Emotional - the deeper belief and philosophy. For example, you are making the world better for your kids
If you have little to no brand awareness among your consumers, you want to be talking at the Function and Feature layer.
You have innovated and built a differentiated product, talk about that.
Once your brand awareness grows, then your messaging moves more and more towards emotional.
Does this mean, we only do Product marketing and no Brand marketing? Hell NO!
The message in front of people who don’t know you should be product-heavy. But once someone knows you and engages with you, you want to mix it up. Add more brand messaging to it.
Once someone is already your customer, you can move heavily towards Emotional messaging. If someone already bought your EV, why would you market the charging time to them, you should talk about saving the planet and make them feel like a hero!
  • For new products launching, you want to be known for what sets you apart. That’s mostly function and feature.
  • Once you are popular, you can sell dreams. Today, sell value
  • Once someone is a customer already, sell dreams. Don’t talk about value, let them experience it.
There are exceptions to every rule.
Some companies can do a great job of making an emotional message that goes viral. If you are Mr. Disney yourself, please ignore this pyramid 😂
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Gaurav Agarwal

I share quick insights on growth and startups acquired after building two 9 figure revenue businesses and advising half a dozen startups.
Everything about growth 📈.

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