The teenage boy pops a piece of Blast chewing gum in a crowded hallway at his high school. Immediately, a cool shot of minty flavor explodes in his mouth. His newfound fresh breath boosts his confidence so high he can ask the cute cheerleader standing by her locker out to the dance. If the old adage that a “brand is benefits” still holds true, Blast provided our boy with fresh breath, pleasure, and confidence. According to the New York Egoist, “Advertising is about telling the story of the benefit.” So here, the hero of our story isn’t the teenage boy, but Blast chewing gum.

Gum is the ultimate impulse buy. You see it at the checkout counter, pay for it, and then stick a piece in your mouth. But should a brand still be the hero when marketing an expensive item? When it comes to considered purchases for the home such as mattresses, solar panels, or home improvement items, should the brand still be the hero? At Wingman Advertising, our homeowners are heroes.

Becoming Part of the Family

When selling considered purchases for the home, your brand asks to join a well-oiled domestic machine. In this milieu, the brand’s job is to contribute to a lifestyle; unlike an impulse buy it’s not a means to an end. A brand must show how it can seamlessly integrate into an existing domestic framework. According to Ad Age, “When your goal becomes participation, rather than control, the hero is more likely to let you into his world and his story.” In this case the hero’s world is his or her home.

The push into a homeowner’s world should be experience-based instead of brand-centric.

When conceiving your campaign, the content in your ads should be useful and relevant to your customers’ needs. The old adage, “Don’t tell me about your grass seed, tell me about my lawn,” has never been more true. The customer must be the center of the story with your brand as a mentor, helping hand or guide.

According to Ad Age, “Consumers befriend mentors that serve to help them achieve a goal, satisfy a desire or meet a need. Making your customer the hero of your brand’s narrative landscape empowers them.” Who is your brand befriending? According to Branding Strategy Insider, “Brand storytelling begins with a clear understanding of who the hero character is, what attributes define the hero in differentiated and relevant ways to specific audiences.”

Who is Your Hero?

Here are some questions to learn more about him or her.

What are your hero’s values?

With Verengo Solar, Wingman learned that our hero is someone whose primary goal is being a good steward of their money, not the environment (although environmental considerations could be a secondary attribute). If we thought our hero was out to save the planet, we would have talked to the wrong people.

What struggles are your hero facing?

Traditionally, Sit ‘n Sleep’s customers were people going through a life event: birth, death, divorce or a change of residence. During the recession of 2008, Sit ‘n Sleep widened its reach by addressing the struggles of customers who didn’t intuitively believe their troubles could be solved with a mattress: allergy sufferers, the overweight, and those with poor work performance caused by sleep deprivation. Reevaluating customer struggles helped the company expand in a down market.

How does your brand help your hero in a different way than other “mentors”?

In the case of California Deluxe Windows, a high-end windows and doors client, we discovered that our hero was interested in protecting their home’s exterior. After running an ad centered on their ability to install windows without breaking any stucco, we had a break-out star. We learned that as a high-end window manufacturer our heroes wanted a seamless installation as well as quality windows and doors to protect their exteriors. No other company could make that claim. We became the only people talking to these heroes.

What motivates your hero?

Is your hero motivated by a sense style or status? Knowing your hero’s internal motivations can help you participate in your hero’s life.