April 18th, 2009
Window shopping is the practice of viewing, but not purchasing, the merchandise displayed in a storefront window. Such ephemeral browsing is not limited to storefronts. It also occurs on Websites, magazine ads, billboards, and TV commercials. Why? Lack of connection.
People make purchases when, with easy convincing, they believe those purchases will solve their problems or grant their wishes. They do not want to, nor should they, exert any energy to figure out a vendor’s product. This is the vendor’s total responsibility.
How does this work? The vendor/brander creates messaging that reflects customers’ needs right back in their faces. This is Sales 101. The best branding vehicle is, therefore, a mirror.
Unfortunately, the branding vehicle used most often is a window. Take the typical Website, for example. It is a window fronting a product display. The prospect who happens upon this window views the merchandise — elaborately arrayed & labeled — and asks a fundamental question: What about me? Indeed.
People buy product benefits, not products. Unless vendors brand their products in customer language, there are no product benefits and, consequently, nothing to buy.
And, falling back on that worn and tired claim, “saves time and money,” is not branding. It is not a unique value proposition. It is boring, lazy, unimaginative, overused white-noise drivel.
Donald Trump knows this axiom quite well. He sells opulence and prestige, not real estate, and makes that quite clear with his messaging mirror. Wealthy people around the world respond well to what they see in Trump’s mirror.
Before purchasing a vendor’s products — whether consumer, commercial, or military — customers try to imagine themselves using, sharing, and benefiting from them. If they can’t conjure any gut reactions, window shopping is the result.
Rx from The WhiteNoise Doctor™
In any branding campaign, the customer — not your product — must be the star. And, the customer must feel that he’s the star and will remain so after owning your product. Look at your homepage. Is your customer the star?
Displaying products and reciting their attributes will not convince anyone to become a customer. Unless the prospect’s plight and lingo are explicitly reflected back to him, your messaging will go in one ear and out the other — no sale for you.
Use windows to attract window shoppers. Use mirrors to attract customers — but make sure those mirrors reflect them, not you.
About the Author
Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs,
producer of MarcRudovTV, and author of the book,
Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding.
© 2009 Marc H. Rudov. All Rights Reserved.