It’s an old expression that I was taught in sales training and it’s still as relevant today as it’s always been. To give you some context, when I was a pharmaceutical sales representative, gaining access to “detail” my customers was always the biggest challenge. You always had to have “new news” to get access to the clinician but you sold using the “old news.” I define the old news as how the brand is positioned and the reasons to believe in its Brand Promise. The old news had to be relevant and believable and consistently delivered over time.
The old news that I thought of then as my consistent detail, I now call the Brand Story. I was taught to “walk the patient across the doctor’s desk.” In doing so, I was not only describing an ideal or typical patient who could benefit from my product, but I was setting up a clinical challenge or problem that my brand could address. When I set up the clinical challenge in the right way, I could see I had their interest. If they leaned in, even better, but they listened.
Once I knew that we were aligned on the clinical challenge, I had to be clear and consistent in describing how my product or brand could help address that challenge. I call this the “Truth” about your brand. The Truth is a sentence or two with a single thought and its intent is to appropriately position your brand in the minds of your target audiences. It had to be believable and differentiating from the competition. Sometimes there were very minor differences in my product versus the competition, but I had to establish the difference with the Truth and be consistent over time.
A sales pitch or detail should be conversational and can take you in a number of directions in a very short period of time. However, I had to be able to deliver 1-3 very important Proof points or “Reasons to Believe” for the Truth to be believed.
Like every good Brand Story, there was a clear take-away or lasting impression that I wanted to create. I call that the Outcome. The outcome should be the short story of the Brand Story
I’ve taken you back in history because the same principles apply in successful sales and marketing today, no matter the vehicle or medium. How you message the Brand Story will be slightly different to your various customer segments but you need to create the right Brand Story and tell it consistently throughout your marketing mix. Campaigns can change and new news should change but the Brand Story is the old news that sells!