I have a problem. I can’t stop talking about Popeye! It started last year when I was trying to explain the difference between features and benefits during a Personal Branding talk. It is funny how the simplistic things strike you and make a lot of sense when trying to translate concepts. And it seems to capture the audience too.
You see Popeye is a perfect example when we look at marketing content. Whether it be social, blog or video we need to make sure the content we share is BENEFIT orientated. The big mistake people make is focusing on features. There also seems to be a big disconnect in people’s understanding of what a FEATURE is and what a BENEFIT is. So, I thought I would try to clear things up.
I definitely recreated the below from the internet BTW… But can you identify which of these is a benefit and which a feature?
The left is a feature, it is a cold, hard, shiny fact. Imagine car sales. Lots of features from AC, rear-wheel-drive to heated seats. In the example above, low calorie. Features are great for giving us short sharp information that can enable the audience to understand the usability of products and services. But benefits are different because they evoke emotions in us. Benefits take us on a journey, they play a powerful role in personal branding because they make us FEEL something. They sell the dream. We want to look better than Carole at the office party. Benefits tap into our feelings, our desires and our psyches.
Feature and benefits actually work together in a cycle. Want/need, product, features and benefits. We need the features to sell the benefits. But it all starts from the need or want of the audience and how the benefit of the product serves that need.
So… Popeye. For those scratching their heads Popeye offers the simplest explanation of the features and benefits journey. See below.
Popeye needs something, he wants to kick some ass. He knows there is a PRODUCT that can help him, SPINACH. Yum! He knows it is full or iron, green, yummy etc (FEATURES), it comes in a handy can, it is cheap to buy and easily accessible (FEATURES, FEATURES, FEATURES). The spinach makes him grow big fat muscles with which he can kick some ass! (BENEFIT), he can also appear mega strong in front of Olive Oil (BENEFIT), improving his love-life (BENEFIT), he can also ward off any future reprobates who want to “try it on” (BENEFIT) and as such have a happy and peaceful life (BENEFIT). See where this going…?
We all want to satisfy our client’s NEEDS. We want to deliver a great service and give them fantastic products so that they can increase their wellbeing, ROI, sales, knowledge, confidence etc. But what we really need to get to grips with is how this all makes them feel and how it delivers a real impact in their life.
This is actually difficult to communicate on-mass as everyone has completely different motivators and the outcomes for each feature will be totally different depending on who uses it. So it is worthwhile spending some time considering the audience you are communicating with and what the selling feature is for them, then forecasting the benefit for them. There may also be many benefits for them, some you can’t even predict, so asking your audience is often a great idea.
The next time you are writing any social content consider the benefit to your audience and see if you can communicate this to them in a personable way. I would be really interested to know how this increases engagement in your content. Please feel free to let me know.