Finding a Hook: Uncovering Powerful Insights that Differentiate and Deepen Brand Connections

By guest blogger Sarah Dow

Anyone with responsibility in sales or marketing has extensive knowledge of customer wants and needs. Ultimately, are you leveraging that knowledge to connect with them better than your competitor? The deeper the connection, the more valuable they are to your brand, as a repeat buyer or advocate to others. Typically we develop a target profile, listing relevant facts and concluding why this type of customer buys our product or service. This is all great. However, whether your brand is new, young or mature, you can take further steps to uncover a compelling, leveragable insight that can dramatically deepen the connection with your target.

I love learning about niche industries, and this is one I had not given much thought to. Elevator interior companies fabricate and install anything from wood, steel, or glass into an OEM cab shell, made by Otis, Schindler or Kone to name a few. These custom materials are installed in new building cabs or remodeled ones, for a cost of roughly $15,000 to $100,000+ per elevator.

When I first began working with Travertine Elevator Interiors, it was clear the owners were already focused on good service. It would have been legitimate and easy to recommend a “good service” positioning and immediately begin to develop communications material. I asked to conduct one hour long phone interviews with several OEM customers (such as Otis or Schindler) who were already fans of Travertine. I heard a lot of great, passionate responses about the sales people, the responsive service, the high quality products, etc. But I needed a way to differentiate Travertine from the other companies who I was told also provided good service. I needed a hook to make a deeper connection.

During one interview I uncovered a key fact. Installing the elevator interiors was the very LAST item to be completed in a new or remodeled building. The building owners were essentially using them as freight elevators, literally hours or minutes before the scheduled "grand" (re)opening. So for many projects, sometimes requiring months or years in the sale process, Travertine's installation timeline was often the victim of typical construction delay after delay. This put Travertine and its' OEM customer in the risky position of holding up the building opening. Countless instances of great performance could be erased just one foot from the finish line.

Yet time and time again, Travertine delivered and never missed one of these make or break deadlines. This insight held all the tension, magic and emotion Travertine needed to distinguish itself among others. It beautifully answered the one question customers inherently ask when evaluating brands - - - "what's in it for me?" A Travertine Never Misses A Deadline positioning was also the kind of bold, raise the bar idea the owners longed for, and, it was relevant for every stage of the buying process, from initial estimate to schematic drawings to installation. In addition, it gave every member of the organization a role in fulfilling this promise, and a clear goal to live up to.

The tagline Travertine's agency developed was "Consider It Done", giving OEM customers the peace of mind that only comes with hiring Travertine.

Every brand communication implicitly has an insight, but the question is whether it’s has the power to deepen bonds with customers. It’s always a good time to uncover a powerful insight.

Sarah Dow is an indepenent marketing and brand strategist

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