Your Audience’s Self-Image is Key to How Your Message Hits

Your Audience’s Self-Image is Key to How Your Message Hits

If you want to eat healthier, exercise first thing in the morning.

Mornings are a pretty crucial time when it comes to achieving your goals. There’s a whole movement around the idea that you can change the world just by making your bed at the start of the day.

That’s because the morning is the perfect time to use the power of habits to “trick” your brain. See, brains are kind of lazy. They like to find shortcuts, especially when it comes to making decisions. Honestly, we’re faced with so many decisions from moment to moment that if we stopped to think about them all nothing would ever get done. You’d still be sitting on the edge of the bed wondering if your left sock should go on before your right one.

One of your brain’s favorite shortcuts is tied to your self-image. Seth Godin famously summed it up when he said, “People like us do things like this.”

When you start your day with a healthy habit like a workout, your subconscious brain says, “Ah, OK. Healthy people work out. We worked out. We must be a healthy person.”

Throughout the day, your brain will use this shortcut to help it make decisions. When offered a choice between steamed vegetables or fries with lunch, your subconscious remembers, “We are a healthy person. Healthy people eat vegetables.”

That’s not to say you won’t be tempted by the fries, but they will be surprisingly easier to resist.

What does this have to do with marketing? Everything.

As Seth said, “More than features, more than benefits, we are driven to become a member in good standing of the tribe.” Fitting in with what is expected of the person we aspire to be is a powerful, primal force.

Your marketing formats, platforms, and messages will have the greatest resonance if you know

a) who your customer is right now,

b) who they aspire to be, and

c) how your product or service can bridge the gap.

When you can appeal to “people like us do things like this,” you can position yourself as the most natural choice – a shortcut their lazy brain doesn’t have to think about.

This article originally appeared in Atomic Content, a twice-monthly newsletter of practical content tips you can implement right now. Get your free copy by signing up here.

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