No business owner is going to say they don’t want to create meaningful connections with their customers. It just makes sense. The more “bought-in” your customers are, the more profitable your business will be. So, why do so many businesses struggle to make those connections? It’s because they’re having the wrong conversation with their customers.
I’ve written about how everyone is looking for meaningful connections. But, if you’re like some business owners I share these concepts with, you may be skeptical of how all this “fluffy talk” can actually make an impact in your business.
Here’s the truth: The most successful businesses are those driven by purpose, not profits. It’s the great paradox of business—in order to make money, you need to not focus on money. To explain this point, I thought we’d take a look at a few examples of companies who’ve experienced significant impact after changing the conversation.
What does it mean to ‘change the conversation’?
Most companies lead their marketing, sales, and hiring conversations with ‘what’ their company does. It may seem logical, but it actually creates relationships that are tactical and transactional, instead of loyal and meaningful. Imagine if your favorite novel was just a series of logistical anecdotes. It wouldn’t be meaningful or entertaining. You need to connect on a human level.
By connecting through a deeper meaning, you’re going to create a better relationship with customers. When you start conversations with why you do what you do and then explain how you do it, you begin to make meaningful connections to your brand. You’re having conversations that connect with people.
How Dove changed their conversation
Dove is one of the most well-known examples of this transition. In 2004, they realized many women in their target audience struggled with appreciating their own natural beauty. Hollywood’s version of “beautiful” was unrealistic, and the gap was causing many women to have self-image issues.
Dove saw this growing problem as something they needed to change. They saw a purpose for their business, so they began having new conversations. They became advocates for women and girls of all ages. Here’s an ad from 2004 that serves as a great example of their purpose-driven marketing:
This film was part of the initial rollout of Dove’s campaign around redefining real beauty. Did you notice that they never mentioned their product? They simply showed their logo at the end. We inherently connect the emotion we felt through watching the film to the Dove brand. The emotion takes us to the place in our brains where meaningful connections and buy-in decisions are processed. It’s inspiring and makes you want to align with their brand.
Here’s another example of a more recent ad. You can see that after all these years, Dove has stuck with their purpose-driven conversation:
This is a more recent ad. You can see that after all these years, Dove has not changed their purpose conversation.
Dove started talking about making life better for women, instead of the benefits of soap. People who wouldn’t normally be talking about a soap brand started talking about Dove. Influential people from across the globe enthusiastically joined the conversation. It doesn’t even feel like advertising, because honestly, it’s not. It’s an authentic conversation about why Dove exists.
When Dove adopted its new purpose-led model in 2004, its annual revenue was $2.5 billion. After changing the conversation, their sales increased to $4 billion annually. They’ve focused on this purpose story and it continues to make an impact in their revenue with over 117 million Americans using Dove in 2018 ( that’s twice as many as their closest competitor).
You can change the conversation, too
It’s one thing to talk about Dove, a massive brand, but how does it apply to your company? Well, all of the principles remain the same. You can update your existing brand assets and communication channels to reflect your purpose. You can create an online presence that aligns your messaging to your ‘why’ so future employees and customers can see what you care about. You’ll be amazed at how people are naturally drawn to this approach.
For example, we helped a 20-year-old concrete company change their conversation. Colt Concrete owner Dave Reeder knew he wanted to infuse purpose into his business. Through our OVRFLO process, we helped him create a brand story that revealed how Colt exists to restore and build up lives through paving and restoring parking lots.
Their ‘paved for good’ strategy is now how they start conversations online, internally, and with their prospective customers. This approach quickly attracted key leadership personnel needed to help Dave take his company to the next level. You can learn more about the Colt Concrete story here.
Making this type of change in the conversation takes clarity, authenticity, and consistency. It goes beyond your branding and marketing. It takes leading with your purpose conversation in every area of your business.
At AM, we’re here to help you change the conversation for your business. Once we uncover and clarify your purpose, we then build your branding, marketing and internal culture on it to clearly tell that story to your team and to the world. We help you ensure that your purpose is what you are focusing on, infusing meaning into your organization and profit to your bottom line.