Blog post on personal branding - BN Branding

How to sell your great new solution — pile on the problem!

brand personality from branding expertsLet me tell you a story about the problem with most sales pitches. There’s not enough problem.

Sales people like to jump very quickly into the features of their latest, greatest high tech solutions without first making sure that their audience actually FEELS the problem.

Sometimes you gotta remind people how much it hurts before they’ll accept a cure.

It’s okay to rub salt in the wound! In fact, in many cases it’s absolutely necessary.

Here’s the thing… most people are really bad at talking about their problems and putting their true desires into words. They can’t communicate them because they never think about them. Especially if you’re talking about an entirely new category of products or services.

That stuff is not on their radar, at all!

No one’s sitting around thinking about how miserable life is because they’re not using blockchain technology or Ai on a daily basis. They cannot imagine what brand semantics or state-of-the-art digital cryptography could do for their business.

Those problems have to be spelled out. Clarified. Brought to life!

Only then can you sell the solution.

It’s easy to overlook the problem side of things. Most marketing messages revolve around new, bigger, better solutions. And most good salespeople are optimists — so, naturally, they don’t want to dwell on the pain points too much.

It’s a lot easier to say “hey, look at all this cool new stuff we have,” instead of “hey, let’s delve into your real problem here.”

Too bad.

Because if you can’t get prospects to internalize the significance of the problem, they’ll never jump to buying your solution.

Eugene Swartz is a famous copywriter who wrote extensively about this problem with problems:

” Desire is hazy and ambiguous in the mind of the consumer. The primary function of advertising is to take that unformulated desire and crystalize it into concrete images and words.”

This gets at the heart of what great copywriters do – they articulate the hopes, dreams and problems of their audience better than the audience can themselves.

Tips on how to sell your great new solution — copy Clara Peller.


Here’s a good example of a dramatic problem illustration from the advertising hall of fame… Clara Peller hollering, “Where’s The Beef?” for Wendy’s.

Up until the moment when that commercial aired in 1984 no one was sitting around talking about their desire to have more meat in their McDonald’s hamburgers. “Where’s the Beef” dramatized a desire that no one knew they had.

The reaction was immediate and massive…

People started opening up their burgers to look inside. Millions of people every day were literally lifting their buns and looking for the beef.

“Well, now that you mention it, yeah. McDonald’s patties really are pretty thin. I think I’ll try Wendy’s.”

“Where’s the Beef”  became a media phenomenon long before social media was ever invented. The line was embedded in pop culture. It was even used in the Presidential campaign.

By clarifying the problem with most fast food burgers they successfully positioned Wendy’s product as superior.

Now a lot of people say “you can’t throw shade on your competitors.”  Bullshit. You absolutely can as long as your commercial or content is executed properly.

First, it has to be based on facts. The agency team for Wendy’s used exaggeration to dramatize fact. The “Where’s the Beef” spot was absolutely true… McDonald’s patties were quite small compared to their buns, and small compared to Wendy’s patties.

It also helps if you use humor in your attack ads.

And finally, this kind of approach only works for underdog brands. Wendy’s far behind McDonalds, Burger King and Taco Bell when they launched “Where’s the Beef.”

Sales of Wendy’s hamburgers jumped 31%.

That’s the primary focus of any marketing communications… take vague, undefined desires and transform them into a vivid picture of immediate need, which translates to sales.

Remember the old AIDA formula… Attention, Interest, DESIRE, action. You have to be very, very clear about desire. Much more clear than the average consumer.

So here’s a secret to success that great copywriters have always known, but most business owners miss… Shift your point of view away from your product to your prospects, and to the problems they face.

People and problems first, product second.

When you shift your marketing POV that way, you’ll open up tons of meaty new opportunities.

If you can become the very best at framing and articulating the problem, chances are you’ll be the best at selling the solution.

And one more thing… If you want to sell your great new solution to investors, users and the media, a great name makes like much easier! Check out my new book, Money Name, now available on Amazon.

Need help? Let’s talk.


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