Wednesday, July 9, 2014

If you want to engage customers, you need to understand the profound difference between storytelling and presenting the facts..

By Mark Helfen

If you want passionate engagement with your current or future customers, you need to connect “south of their head” – where their feelings, wants, and concerns are. You can’t lead with company or product facts when customers are now in charge of the interaction.

Or so says Barry Feldman of Feldman Creative, who will speak on Kiss My Glass - How to Create Passionate Relationships between Your Brand & Buyers at the next SVForum Marketing and Social Media SIG. The meeting will be on Monday, July 14, 6:30 at our usual location, Detati Communications.

Feldman has a unique view on communicating, branding, and positioning. His experience includes 25 years as a copywriter, so while he develops strategy and assembles and leads teams, he is a “word guy,” and still does the writing. He has an eclectic view of marketing – for example he recently posted a pean to his new, old fashioned landline telephone.

He has seen and contended with the marketing power shift from businesses to customers over the last few years. Before the millennium businesses, and money, controlled the brand experience using advertising and direct mail. But now Google, web pages, and social media have moved power to the people. Before your customers ever contact you, they have done their research and formed an impression.

Feldman’s response to this change is to create passionate engagement – the kind that gets attention, gets customers to care enough interact, to share what they have learned, and eventually to buy from you.

You can’t do this with web pages spouting facts about your products. Instead you need talk to your customers interests - “south of their head” to where their feelings are, the things they really care about in their lives. An example is Red Bull – “caffeinated sugar water.” The company displays extreme sports in their marketing, rather than talking about flavor or pharmacology.

It took me a few minutes to get the “kiss my glass” meaning, but after an explanation, it became clear. Feldman has clients all over the world, some of which he has never met in person. Instead of a face-to-face relationship, they have a screen-to-screen relationship. Or maybe better, a passionate glass-to-glass connection.

Feldman has spent time studying “the art and science of engaging real people,” and he will talk about not only why you need to create engagement, but also provide how-to guidance to get your engagement strategy going. In his words, “there is a profound difference between storytelling and presenting the facts.”

He has examples of engaging marketing programs, and maybe a few that don’t work as well. If you have a favorite web site, or work for a company that you want Feldman to show and comment at the meeting please send him a note, or bring it to the meeting.

Feldman also seems to have an eye for personal branding (note the hat.) While that isn’t the topic of this meeting, it’s worth checking out a list he co-wrote titled The Complete A to Z Guide to Personal Branding.

So come by Monday night, and learn how to create passionate relationships with people you might never meet.

Be sure and sign up at the Marketing and Social Media Meetup site:


Mark Helfen is a freelance writer, journalist, and marketing consultant.

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