There are countless product stories that go untold—innovative features and advantages that remain best-kept secrets among engineers, designers and even sales staff. When customers aren’t aware of the unique things that make a product special, the impact on sales and loyalty is limited. That’s why telling the story is so important.
Successfully conveying a product’s unique differentiators requires first being able to identify what exactly makes a product special. It seems obvious, but companies can actually be too close to their products to see what makes them special. Often it takes someone from outside a company to identify advantages that are worth sharing.
Once an advantage is identified, the next step is to form an engaging story that customers can relate to. For example, a business won’t get as much leverage by saying, “We have an extra inspection step in our manufacturing process” as they would if they created more of a story: “Instead of only one inspection at the end of our assembly line like our competitors, we perform an additional quality control check by a trained team of experts who understand every aspect and nuance of our product.” Now that kind of story will resonate with customers. Add a few quotes from some of the inspectors or communicate all the things the quality control checks, and the story gets even stronger.
Stories should first be shared with employees and sales networks. When they understand and buy into the value proposition, they can successfully communicate it to customers. If they don’t believe in it or fully understand it, the uniqueness is lost. They’re the face of the company, which makes them an essential part of conveying what makes a product special.
Communicating the story to end users is also important. Many factors influence what communication strategy or strategies should be used. Is it something complicated that needs to be explained in detail or in person? Is it something that’s better shown visually in a video? Is it something customers should be able to take with them and read about? Based on the answers to these questions and more, an effective communication plan can be created.
The story may also be an opportunity for a public relations campaign. Industry publications, association websites, social media and other channels present opportunities for explaining a product’s unique advantages. At the same time, companies can position themselves as thought-leaders, industry pioneers and experts.
Everyone loves a good story, especially customers who need and want to know why one product is better than another or what extraordinary things went into designing it. If the story goes untold, the uniqueness and value are lost.