One way to disrupt your market is to disrupt your marketing.
What if you set aside the hard-sell persuasion techniques and the broadcasted interruptions, and instead served up a generous portion of radical helpfulness? What if helping people actually became your marketing strategy? Do you think you could still compete and win?
Some brands are doing just that.
One example is Warby Parker, the online seller of eyewear that has disrupted the industry with its helpful business strategy. It is a lifestyle brand that offers value and service with a social mission. The company delivers on its brand promise in unique ways.
For one, Warby Parker’s designer eyeglasses sell for $95 – significantly less than what other retailers charge. Online it is able to emulate the shared, relationship-based shopping experience that people want when they buy glasses.
Its website has a virtual showroom where customers can use the camera on their computer to “try on” frames they are interested in. Then they can select five frames, which Warby Parker will send to their homes for free so they can try them on for real.
That’s when things get social.
Once customers have their home try-ons, they can make a video of themselves with each pair of glasses and share them on Warby Parker’s Facebook page. There they can get comments from employees and fans about which frames look best. Customers can also interact on Twitter. Warby Parker will respond to some tweets with a quickly-shot video to discuss the merits of different frames, giving the customer a one-to-one shopping experience.
A second way Warby Parker delivers helpfulness through its brand promise is in its social mission. Every time the company sells a pair of glasses it donates a pair to a person in need. With every purchase, customers can be a part of helping somebody else who needs glasses but can’t afford them.
Helpfulness is a winning strategy
Being helpful demonstrates how you create value in meaningful ways. It is meaningful because it is driven first by the desire to help people. A helpful experience positions your brand and your product as more than a commodity. It makes people feel significant. And they transfer those good feelings to your brand.
Warby Parker’s success shows people will also be moved to buy from you.
The company is currently valued at $1.2 billion and its annual revenue is estimated to be well over $100 million. Even more significant is the long term goodwill and brand loyalty they’ve built by being helpful.
Helpfulness is more powerful for building organic awareness than traditional branding that focuses on media impressions. Because it touches the human heart by making people feel important, it earns the trust, loyalty, respect and awareness of those who might buy from you.
The helpful brand wins the heart and wins the customer.