Radio-Hed-Logo-2By Jeffrey Hedquist

You and I are advertisers, communicators, crafters of compelling messages, yet we’re consumers first. As members of the audience, we know how difficult it is to be convinced that a product, service or brand offers a genuine benefit. We’re all skeptics. We know that special effects, technology and money can create a façade of believability; so most advertising doesn’t “reach” us.

So, to sell today, what can an advertiser do to crack through the armor of skepticism? Sometimes just being liked is the important first step. Does that mean that all my years of telling advertisers to tell stories about the prospect instead of about themselves was wrong? No. When you tell a story about your audience, you’re starting to build a friendship, because you’re interested in and understand them.

We’re more likely to hear a message from someone we like rather than a stranger, or a pitch-person, or someone we don’t trust.

Bathing constantly in a sea of electronic media has conditioned most of us, like it or not, to expect to be entertained – by every experience in our culture: news, politics, education, religion, art and… advertising,

When your prospects doubt every claim made by every marketer, the most salient criterion for their purchasing decisions might be “Do I like them? Have they made me smile?”

If they choose you and your product or service delivers, then that most powerful of media, word of mouth in the form of conversations, blogs, IM, graffiti and email takes over. It works because people believe their friends more than they believe advertisers.

So think of ways to make friends by helping, informing, entertaining, educating or gifting your prospects. Make ‘em feel good for having listened.

“Play well with others” and you’ll get more acceptances to your invitations.

© 1997-2008 Hedquist Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.

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