November 21, 2008

Stepping On Toes

I was hugely tickled to read in yesterday's
Irish Times
of the uproar over at the BBC where a 'non-dancing Mickey Rooney' (AKA John Sergeant) is stepping down from the BBC's flagship dance programme Strictly Come Dancing for fear 'that I might win the competition'.

The show follows the now-familiar format of ousting one dancer per week and the strictly too-serious-for-their-own-good judges are outraged that the public continues to vote for a contestant based on his personality rather than his dancing prowess. Naturally enough, this only encourages the public and Sergeant has taken the decision to waltz into the night as he thinks his winning might be a "joke too far".

Brand-owners often trip over themselves in the same way as the BBC judges by mistaking the basis on which the public makes its buying decisions. More often than not, the customer votes with their feet according to the appeal of a brand rather than its technical excellence. The brand-owner can rail against the poor judgement of the customer but is missing the point.

As business-owners, we can't argue our customer around to our perspective; instead we must sell to their standpoint. Too many of us tread on the toes of the shopper by rattling on about the features and benefits of our offer, whilst they're just looking for someone to gaze into their eyes, whisk them off their feet and dance the night away.

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