By Jeffrey Hedquist
Beyond the business life of each of your clients is another life filled with stories, interesting facts and material that just might make interesting and effective radio commercials.
I’ve talked in depth about going beyond the typical client needs analysis questions and to do an audience needs analysis (R.A.P. April 2004 & July 2004) to unlock good story material from your client.
You can go a step further and gather input that will give the audience a way to connect with the client as a person.
This technique won’t work with every client, but for some, it’ll be the most powerful approach you could take.
As you get your client to open up, continue through the business, positioning, competition and benefits questions into the realm of the personal. See if any of these topics and examples yields the stuff from which story commercials can be made:
Former lives: What career did your client have before their current one? Did they grow up in a large family or were they an only child? Did they have an overbearing sibling? Were they adopted? Did they/do they take care of ailing parents?
Events, situations, circumstances that shaped their lives: Did they come from a family that was financially or otherwise handicapped? Have they overcome obstacles to succeed? Were there any watershed events that changed the course of their life?
Relationships: We’re used to getting comments from employees and customers, but what about: Family – admired him, thought he was crazy, knew he’d succeed. Spouse – puts up with long hours taking care of customers. Other business people – suppliers who admire the client’s vision, persistence, or ethics. Influences – inspired by a teacher, coach or mentor?
Quirks, attitude; Education; Hobbies; Philosophy
There may be more topics you can think of, but you get the idea.
As you uncover these mostly unpublicized parts of their lives ask yourself, “How can these insights benefit customers?” These secrets made them what they are today – driven, compassionate, detail-oriented, hard working, successful, talented, skilled or multi-faceted. Now, tell their stories.
Your commercial stories could be in the form of interviews with relatives, neighbors, teachers or suppliers. They could be produced like documentaries, or an episode of Biography. You could dramatize their stories with characters, music and SFX.
You could have the clients tell their stories alone. You could intersperse their voice, or the voices of their relatives, friends, neighbors or associates with narrated benefits for the audience.
You may find that these secrets can differentiate a business or put a human face and personality on an advertiser and keep their businesses from remaining secrets.
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