How We Paint Ourselves

How We Paint Ourselves


A History of Competition

We all want to paint ourselves in the best light possible. Have you ever noticed how friends describe their theoretical heroics in a crisis situation, when you know they would do the exact opposite? They do this because they are presenting themselves in the best possible light. But why?

As humans, we have a long history of development. I mean generational development, which puts our behavior in a finely tuned nature. What behavior have we been developing over this vast amount of time? In a word, reproduction. You may be asking, “wait, I came here for branding information, not a lesson in the evolution of behavior.” Hang in there. Historically, we wanted to reproduce with the best possible quality of partner, or quantity in the case of males, and to do that, we had to be high quality ourselves. Males needed to outcompete other males and females needed to be more attractive than the rest. So why not add a little smoke and mirrors and broadcast how great we are? That’s exactly what we do when we describe how we would run into a burning building and save all those who could not save themselves.

Fantasy Into Reality

If this is what humans do, then there is a strong desire to live up to this potential we have fantasized about. This is where we as business owners can help our customers. We need to help them realize the dreams they have. Your toothpaste will make their smiles so white, it will cause others to pause and appreciate what they see. The cars you sell will carry your customers with style to their business meeting, making them feel confident and prepared. The healthy foods at your grocery store will invigorate the minds of your shoppers and cause them to think more clearly.

Whatever you do for your customers, you need to let them know how you are helping them become the person they want to be. It can be difficult to find what dreams your customers have, but not impossible. Survey your existing customers to find out why they purchased from you and why they purchased specific products. Don’t settle for an answer like “I ran out of soap, so I bought more.” Probe for better answers with these questions.

  • Why did they buy that specific kind of soap?
  • How does it make them feel when they use the soap?
  • What would their friends think of them if they used the soap?
  • What do they want their friends to think of them after using the soap?

These are by no means an exhaustive list of questions to ask, but they are representative of the kind you should use. Once you get to the heart of their dreams, you can advertise how your products or services help realize their dreams. You may need to adjust a product based on this feedback too.