One of the hardest parts about starting a business is finding someone to buy our products or services. In today’s episode, we’re going to discuss how we can find the passion statements of our ideal customers so we can connect with them on a deeper level and win their loyalty.
What are Passion Statements?
For many years, I worked with Adoption.com. At Adoption.com we have a service called Parent Profiles, where hopeful adoptive parents put their profile online and then pregnant women who are considering adoption go and choose a family. At one point, I had an intern creating a brochure for us. When I received the first draft of the brochure I noticed the brochure only listed the basic features of our Parent Profile service, such as how many photos they can put on their profile. It didn’t have any emotion to it.
I wanted to turn this into a teaching opportunity for this intern, so I taught the concept of passion statements. At the time we actually had a hopeful adoptive mother who worked for us and I invited her to come join us in the meeting. As she sat down, I asked her, “Why would you buy our Parent Profile service?” She said, “Because I want to adopt.” Then, I asked her, “Well, why do you want to adopt?” I asked her “why” five times and the answer to the fifth reason she gave me was, “Because I have a hole in my heart that I don’t believe can be filled any other way.” That is a passion statement.
Passion statements usually start with the word “I”. They usually contain phrases such as I am, I want, I love, or I hate. In order to find our customers’ passion statements I like to use the five whys method, asking “why” five times to find the root passion. As in the example above, the fifth why, “I have a hole in my heart,” evokes much more emotion than, “I want to adopt.”
I’ll give you another example of how passion statements can help our brand. An editor that I’ve worked with a lot told me this story. She was surfing the internet once and she saw an ad for a journal that said, “I am ready to achieve my goals.” That statement, “I am ready to achieve my goals,” made her stop in her tracks. She ended up buying the journal for herself and sent it to her friends as well.
That statement, “I am ready to achieve my goals,” was a passion statement that moved her. It moved her enough to make a purchase decision. When we find the root passion statements of our ideal customers, we have the power to call our customers to action. They will be much more likely to buy from us if we can connect with them on a deep level.
We’ve all seen many different versions of these passion statements. One of the most famous ones is Nike. They’re passion statement is, “Just Do It.” Another famous one comes from L’Oreal Paris. They created the passion statement “Because You’re Worth It,” in 1971 and still use it because it has helped fuel the growth of their makeup organization. You can feel the emotion that it evokes. It evokes the passions of “I am confident” and “I want to be valued.”
So why should we want to find these passion statements of our customers? Content Marketing Institute found that 62% of customers are looking for content that speaks to their pain points when they’re in the purchase decision making process. Passion statements address a pain that we’re feeling. They talk about problems that people need to solve. They talk about aspirations.
“Just Do It” encourages customers to get up, exercise and achieve their athletic goals. Nike addresses problems of motivation and drive many of their ideal customers face. In L’Oreal’s case, they address the problem of low self-esteem and confidence.
How to Find Passion Statements
To find our customers’ passion statements, we first need to know who our target audience is. This is the most important step. We have to identify our ideal customers— the ones who love us most, the ones who buy the most, etc. That’s who we need to be asking. With Adoption.com, our primary target audience was women within a certain demographic. So, when we were trying to make important decisions, I wasn’t able to weigh in on that since I was not part of their ideal customer group.
Then, once we find that group, we’ll want to bring them into a focus group or a one-on-one interview. We just need to have a large enough number that we’re getting feedback from many people. We shouldn’t just ask one or two people. I’d recommend getting at least 10 or 12 people that we’re getting feedback from initially.
In the focus groups, we can take them through the five whys exercise which I’m going to go over in-depth in the next live streaming session next Wednesday. I love using a big whiteboard, and as we take them through the five whys method by asking “why” five times, I write down each answer.
Once I get their fifth why, I try to turn that fifth why into a passion statement, often starting with I am, I want, I hope, I love, or I hate. I brainstorm the best passionate statements that most effectively communicate that fifth reason and then I have the people in that focus group vote on them. I’ll have them put up the number of fingers to indicate on a scale of zero to 10 how passionate they are about that passion statement. If they couldn’t care less about it, they keep all their fingers closed and if it’s the highest level of passion that drives their life, they put 10 fingers up.
This method allows us to very quickly go through the passion statements. You then erase the statements that did the lowest and take the versions that did the highest.
How to Use Passion Statements
The question I get the most often is, what do we do with the passion statements once we’ve found them? My answer to that is to use that passion statement everywhere we possibly can in our business. We should use it in our hiring process to try to hire people that share that passion statement. We can use it in building out our social channels. We should use it in our content and branding. We could even use the statement as the title of a newsletter. As we do marketing messages to try to get people to follow our channels or buy our products, we should use the passion statement as the titles and content in the marketing messaging. We can use it in product creation and try to create products that help people achieve those passion statements. Use passion statements everywhere you can.
I’ve used passion statements throughout my career and many times it’s been wildly successful. Yet, all it is, is this concept of finding the level 10 passions of your ideal customers that you can leverage throughout your business.
Don’t forget that problems and pains can also be extremely good passion statements. Even negative things can be passion statements. For example, if you’re dealing with a group of ideal customers that have cancer, maybe your passion statement is something negative like, “Cancer sucks.” That can definitely apply to what I call a negative passion.
It’s very important that when we go into this exercise to find passion statements that we go in with an open mind. Every time I do this, I’ve gone in thinking I know what the passion statement is going to be because I’ve done enough research. Yet, every time I’ve done this, I’ve been wrong. I have never correctly guessed what the passion statement was going to be at the end. And this is a really important point for CEOs because sometimes CEOs think they don’t need to do this passion statement exercise, because they know what the passion statement is going to be for their audience. And I can tell you right now, I have not yet had a CEO who has guessed right.
If you’re a CEO and you don’t want to go through this exercise, I challenge you to still go through it and prove me wrong. Maybe you’re right and the exercise will validate that, but odds are, there is a higher level passion statement that you haven’t thought of yet.
There was a food storage company in the emergency preparedness space that I worked with once. We did this passion statement exercise for them and the highest level passion statement that came out of it was, “I love bacon.” Nobody ever would have guessed that, but because we went through this exercise, we learned something new. It gave this company the very good idea of developing a bacon lovers line of food storage for their organization. So, be open to new highest level passions that come out of your audience. You will probably be surprised.
Thank you so much for joining us. If you enjoyed this episode, I encourage you to tune into next week’s livestream on Wednesday on the five whys method.
Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
- We can use focus groups and the five whys method to help us determine our customers’ passion statements.
- When we find the root passion statements of our ideal customers, we have the power to call our customers to action. They will be much more likely to make a purchase decision if we resonate with their passions.
- Passion statements often start with I love, I am, I want, or I hate.
- Once we have our passion statements, we should use them in every aspect of our brand.