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5 Stories: How to Create a Compelling Product Story

Because the best product doesn’t always win. The best communicator always does.

It’s no secret that 90% of startups fail.

But did you know that marketing mistakes are the most common reason why? Research carried out by Failory showed that the biggest problem startups face, on average, is a lack of product-market fit. Damn

Luckily, we’ve learned a LOT about creating the kind of Product Story that not only achieves product-market fit, but helps you build a compelling brand, too. 

Today, we’re giving you the full lowdown on how to position your product, the emotions you should be conveying, and why nailing that all-important Product Story could be the best investment you make in your business. 

Trust us. This is going to be fun. 


Step 1: The consumer psychology every founder should know

Allow us to start with a little consumer psychology. Data uncovered by Harvard professor, Gerald Zaltman, has shown that 95% of purchasing decisions are subconscious. 

What does this mean for your brand exactly? Well, this data proves that effective product marketing means focusing beyond features and on your product’s associated lifestyle and feelings, too.

The secret is to help your audience understand what they’ll achieve by using your specific product. Sell the sizzle, not the steak. And the smell. And the feeling they’ll get after. 

Put it this way: 

Good product marketing delights in product specifics. Unforgettable product marketing is ALL about the specific feelings and senses associated with your product. Know the difference. 

Pro tip: when thinking about how to bring your product marketing to life, it pays to think of the best retail experience you’ve ever had. (Personally, I’m a big fan of Selfridges.) Think about the smell. The lighting. The music. The energy. When you’re selling your product online, the theatre of retail applies to you, too. What could your business do to create a more compelling product experience?

Step 2: Is it clear? Is it concise? Is it considerate?

“People spend money when and where they feel good.” 

– Walt Disney

When you think about consumerism, are you tired? I’m tired. We’re all tired.

It’s no wonder: I mean, just consider the amount of information we’re exposed to every single day and how it far exceeds our ability to process it. And then there’s the fact we have about 70,000 thoughts per day, but our short-term memory can hold no more than seven for about 20-30 seconds. Phew. I need to lie down.

This is majorly important in branding because to get someone’s attention and inspire them into action takes work. 

And the LAST thing we should do, as marketers and brands, is overload our customers with jargon or an overly complicated Product Story.

Something we live by at Make Us Care is to do the hard work for the customer. In the context of your Product Story, this means bringing your customer:

  • The facts they need to know, concisely
  • The things they care about, clearly
  • The emotions they feel, considerately 

A Product Story litmus test: is it concise? Is it clear? Is it considerate? 

Step 3: Know that it’s never about you – ever

Real talk: 

“A brand wants people to desire its product, but people don’t desire products.”

– Steve Bryant, dropping truthbombs 

Nobody cares about your latest software update. They care about easier, more efficient work.

Nobody cares about your sleep app. They care about their sleep quality.

Nobody cares about your clothing business. They care about how it will make them look.

Nobody cares about your vegan ice cream. They care about whether it will bring them joy.

You get the point. It isn’t about you. It’s about them. If you take one thing away from this article, allow it to be that. People buy into emotions. Feelings. Better versions of themselves. How can you help your customers do that?

Step 4: Find your product copy formula and follow it religiously

“Get to know your customer so well the product or service fits them and sells itself.” 

– Peter Drucker, founder of the Drucker Institute

At Make Us Care, we’re big fans of Ohne’s approach to product marketing. As a period product brand, they’ve finally bridged the gap in women’s products that are actually written for women, by women. 

Let’s get formulaic and dissect this short and sweet example together:

Their main copy here speaks directly to their audience’s goals. It’s aspirational. It’s alive. It’s already actively helping their customers achieve a better version of themselves. YES. 

Next, they’ve broken down the categories people might care about, but it’s up to you whether you read on. They don’t force you. They respect your time.

Lastly, it talks like their customers do. It understands that, for years, period products have been, well, sanitary – in tone, in brand and everything in-between. So, Ohne are consciously speaking to that pain point without explicitly saying that. As a result, their audience feels seen and like they really get it. Because, of course, they do. 

Step 5: Use this checklist in every Product Story you create

Feeling motivated? Us too. To summarise, your Product Story needs to: 

  • Affirm your customer’s worldview. Show them you see them
  • Connect with your customer’s emotions. Make them feel something. Something good and moving and significant. 
  • Give them the information and let your customer choose what to do with it. Make it easy for them to make a decision.

You’ve got this.


Make Us Care is a team of strategists, storytellers and visual creators who have been bringing ideas to life for well over a decade. 

We regularly run 5 Stories workshops tailored to you and your business. Whether you’re in need of powerful copy, revitalised branding or otherwise, we’d love to chat.

Source: https://www.inc.com/logan-chierotti/harvard-professor-says-95-of-purchasing-decisions-are-subconscious.html

Amanda Baker
Amanda Baker

Co-Founder at Make Us Care. I’m here to help founders, leaders and their teams build brands people actually care about. HELL YEAH profit matters but people matter sooooo much more.

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