The Product Isn’t The Hero

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That awesome new product you’ve been working on for what seems like forever… that new service you’ve stayed up late, worked weekends, and missed birthdays to perfect? It’s not the hero, and you shouldn’t make it out to be.

It’s the tool. It’s the Sherpa. But it’s not the hero.

Your audience is the hero. They are the ones on the journey. They are fighting day in and day out. They’re on the front lines. Your product is the weapon. Your service trains them how to fight better. But they are the actual heroes.

To engage with your audience, you have to meet them where they are: In the struggle. You have show that you relate to them. You have to show that you understand. You do this by giving them context and showing them that you know things are tough... that you empathize. This can be done in a ton of different ways, but in reality, it’s just about spending the first bit of your communication with the audience by putting them at the forefront of the narrative. This lets them know you’re talking to them. That you get their pain. In the Three Act story structure, this is Act I and Act II - the context and the struggle. It gets the viewers to relate and engage and to show them why they should listen. Once you have them connected and engaged, it’s really easy to show them the tool or strategy you’ve created to help them fight better.

Most decision-makers push to shove in as many features and benefits as possible, and I understand that. You’ve put a lot into making the thing you’re working on great and better than the competition. But without the context, and without relating to their frustrations, your audience must be at a place where they are already convinced they want what you’re offering… and  at that point you’re really just showing them a glorified comparison chart. To reach a larger audience, you really must show that you relate.

Making your audience the hero shows them that you’re there in the battle with them, not just trying to sell them on something from the sidelines.

If you want to read more about the topic, I’d highly recommend Joseph Campbell’s ‘A Hero with a Thousand Faces’.

Justin Boh