Do you promote what you do well or what matters to customers?

If you want to discover the Power Attributes that
drive your customers
to choose your brand rather than the
competition, you have to have start by generating a list of possible
attributes.  When we help clients do this, we get the initial attribute list
from talking to the customers.  You can only really rely on customers to think
like customers.    However, the business team can think of attributes that
customers cannot even begin to imagine, so we also get some valuable attribute
ideas from the client management team.

We do
this through our facilitated workshop approach. 
These workshop
events often attract a senior audience.   When we work with these knowledgeable
and experienced managers we often find that the list of attributes is a list of
features or things that the company does well.   But that is not always what we
need.  We know that what will be powerful for the customer is a specific benefit
or a special way the business helps the customer solve a problem. 

for example the director of a financial services firm tells us that what really
matters to the customers is "we give independent
  which we translate  into a more customer focused
benefit "has independent advice I can trust", but when we talk to the customers,
this is still not good enough, the most powerful attribute turns out to be "makes my business more successful"

Time after time, we discover that the hot
power attributes are all about the customer
and the cold
attributes are all about the business and the brand.

Experience this week
brought this home to me and showed that directors
may not always be the best choice when we are generating potential insights
about what matters to customers.

In one of our current
projects we are trying to discover some Power Attributes in a whole new category
for the business.  We ran a workshop this week where we wanted to generate a
list of candidate attributes that we plan to investigate with customers.  The
investigation and consumer research will establish which attributes are most
powerful in influencing customers to choose a product. 

The project is being led by the sales director who helped
us bring a fresh approach.
Rather than directors, he invited a
number of the PA’s and front line team to the session and this proved to be an
inspired choice.  They seemed to think more like customers and in a more natural
way.  As a result, we have come up with a list I am confident is much closer to
what customers will suggest.  This means when we do workshops with the customers
we are already part of the way there and we will be able to spend time
discovering why the attributes are powerful rather than just generating the

Our ezine always aims to deliver practical advice, so I would
suggest you can take two things out of this When you are thinking about what is
important to your customers,

1.    always
challenge yourself to think "is this about the brand or about the customer" 
I can pretty much guarantee that if it is about the brand it
will not be that important to the customer.
2.    go and ask some customers or at least a few "real"
around the office, they might just shed some insight on
your thinking.

Our Power Attributes paper discusses how you can come up
with this insight in more detail click here