The overlooked secret to getting our prospects to care about our purpose-driven brand

In today’s information-overload world, getting our prospects attention is tough. But it’s not just their attention that we want. We want them to care. There are times that this can feel like a near-impossible task. Even for a purpose-driven brand.

It is times like these that I have to remind myself to ask that one penetrating question. The one that will give us the best shot at getting them to care.

“Who (or what) is their villain?”

Our prospect’s villain is the urgent problem they face. It's that thing that has them looking for help.

If we let them know that we understand that urgent need and that we want to help, well, now we not only have them paying attention - we have them caring about what we have to say. Moreover, it perfectly aligns with the aim to serve that every purpose-driven brand embraces.

A purpose-driven brand understands the secret of personas

To get a good bead on their villain, I recommend creating a persona for this prospect that we’re hoping to serve. Here is a process I’ve used to help all kinds of organizations develop personas for their marketing that help reveal the villainous problems of our prospects.

  • Start with any research we have on your prospects. If we don’t have any research, we can go over to Facebook Audience Insights to see what we can learn. At the very least, we can talk to our frontline people. They can tell us a lot about what prospects are struggling with.
  • Note their demographics (age, sex, etc.) but remember that their mindset is more important. We may find that a 22-year-old single person, a 37-year-old wife, and a 55-year-old divorcée are all struggling with the same villain.
  • Think about their villainous problem - the thing that keeps them up at night and steals their peace and joy. We probably have an inkling of what it is. Do a Google search and look at the related searches at the bottom of the search results page. This can help us understand the language they are using to describe their villain.
  • Write down what this person is thinking, feeling, and doing when it comes to this villain.
  • Write a short story about this person and their villain.
  • Do this again for a different type of person who is struggling with the same villain (remember what I said about the 22-year-old, the 37-year-old, and the 55-year-old).
  • Do it a third time.
  • Find pictures for each of the people.
  • Aggregate all the key insights from the three personas (eliminating duplicate thoughts) and consolidate all the stories into one. Don’t forget to include the three pictures to represent the range of folks we’re describing.

Now let’s step back and see what we have. We should have a well-informed start to credibly capturing that villain that our prospects are wrestling with. Don’t worry about it being 100% accurate. Nobody has perfect information. And we will evolve the personas as we create messages and learn what resonates in our marketing with prospects.

In my experience, these first-pass personas are very effective. They have an empathy-inducing ability to reorient us. To care more about what the prospects need rather than what we want to sell. And in the process, give them a reason to care about us.