There are a myriad of ways to inspire people to buy something. Humor helps. Making customers feel cool can work. Motivation through fear can be effective. Even disparaging consumers can work in the right context. But for my money, the most effective, long-term loyalty-building path is by championing the positive qualities of our humanity. Encourage your audience to examine what makes us strong, courageous, kind or selfless.
If you can do this in a genuine voice that connects with the brand’s persona and intent, you’ll have hooked your audience in a way sure to make a convert out of them.
I may buy a brand of cross trainer one day because their commercial made me laugh, but that doesn’t make me a loyalist. I’m connected to the brand in only the most superficial of ways.
But you show me how your brand is connected to environmentalism and the humane treatment of animals (Chipotle), and you have connected with me – on a level that’s going to stick with me for awhile. Because, deep down, who doesn’t want to be a better human – and to be a part of something that seeks a better world?
For me, as for many writers, this writing from the heart goes deeper. I don’t just want to sell another burrito. I want people to take a moment. To look within themselves. To raise themselves up. To find that part of themselves that is strong or loving and to put a little fuel on that fire.
I would say that everyone, especially ad writers, should read more poetry, because it invites that kind of introspection. But poetry, like anything, is filled with its share of pessimists, cranks and crackpots. Still, it’s a worthwhile endeavor. Let’s lend a momentary ear to this brief poem by Galway Kinnell, who writing with his characteristic honest but melodious grit, speaks of the blithe love of a child whose “habit of memory propels to the ground of his making.”