Audiolytics Key Component #4: Demonstration

We’re almost halfway through our Audiolytics™ Masterclass. From the Setup Audiolytics™ Key Component #1, to the Value Prop Audiolytics™ Key Component #2, to Positioning Audiolytics™ Key Component #3, we’re now onto Audiolytics™ Key Component #4: Demonstration.

Are you watching closely? You better be, because no matter how well you accomplish the first three Key Components, you’ve wasted all of it if the audience can’t picture themselves using the thing. Yes, demonstration is that integral to your service or product’s success. The good news is that humans are built to watch closely, especially if they’re watching another human. Back in the 90s, a team of Italian neuroscientists made a groundbreaking discovery in the brains of Macaque monkeys. Motor cells inside their brains fired, the exact same way when one monkey conducted a behavior as when it watched another monkey do the same thing. Watching created the sensation of doing.

These cells, called “Mirror Neurons,” have unlocked major advancements in the study of how people relate to each other. They’ve helped clarify what exactly is happening in our brains when we experience media and imagery. Mirror neurons help explain the voyeuristic impulses that command the audience’s attention. When we watch another person experience something, our imaginations automatically simulate that experience for ourselves and we feel a miniature version of it.

Seeing isn’t just believing. Seeing is DOING.

All of this is to say that mirror neurons have made it a lot easier to understand why demonstration is so important. Anyone who has ever tried to sell anything knows this without knowing anything about mirror neurons. In 1932, legendary ad-guru John Caples laid out the safest bets in his seminal text, Tested Advertising Methods. 

  1. Pictures of the product.
  2. Pictures of the product in use.
  3. Pictures of people who use the product.
  4. Pictures showing the reward of using the product.

To demonstrate your product or service you simply need to show the audience how it works. This can be as simple as showing a picture of a well known type of product. You’re showing them what yours looks like, how many there are, or how it looks different than other similar products. Almost 20 years ago, an old school marketing guru was sharing with me how to sell a DVD collection on TV. He told me to fan out the DVDs, showing the audience, i.e. demonstrating what they were getting. Movie trailers accomplish all of this at once—they are pure demonstration with the added benefit of showing you the product while giving you a taste of the feeling you will get when using the product—in this case sitting in the theater and rooting for Maverick as he battles both gravity AND aging.

In the same way you need to simply show the audience WHERE to get the product—say, if it’s a website—don’t just show the website full-frame, show it on a phone or other device with human hands holding the device. Thanks to their trusty mirror neurons, the viewer will be imagining holding the device and visiting your site or downloading your app with their hands. Case in point: At Oxford Road, one TV advertiser we were working with was already showing the product on a phone. We added human hands holding the phone and scrolling. This was one of several Audiolytics(™) Optimizations that ultimately catapulted the campaign’s success beyond their best performing TV creative of all time. This simple tweak capitalized on how our minds work.

Even a massive brand like Coca-Cola, one so ubiquitous it can afford to be more subtle in its product demonstration, knows the value of targeting our mirror neurons. They constantly demonstrate how Coca-Cola works in their ads. Every single one includes people drinking Coca-Cola. Every time you see somebody smiling with a bottle of Coke in their hand, your mirror neurons go to work and now you are at the center of the fun right along with the models. It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling the most famous cola brand in the world or you’re selling at-home fitness equipment, our brains are built to place ourselves in the center of the narrative. Thousands of years ago this was to learn vital survival skills. How does one kill the Lion? Watch the other members of the tribe kill the Lion and you will know, for you will have killed the Lion with them.

AdAge has a succinct breakdown of the types of Demonstration from 2003. Though it’s been over 15 years since the list was put together it still provides a solid framework for how to approach different ways to demonstrate your product or service.

from 2003. Though it’s been over 15 years since the list was put together it still provides a solid framework for how to approach different ways to demonstrate your product or service.

The first five types are all relatively straightforward in their presentation of the material. Bringing as many of these demonstration techniques together as possible creates a practically undefeatable case for your product.  Dyson does this with aplomb. But the fun comes in with the Whimsical demonstration. A couple of recent examples are Spike Jonze’s “Welcome Home” and the entire “We Know a Thing or Two” for Farmers Insurance. In Spike Jonze’s commercial the feeling the product gives you is powerfully demonstrated. This also accomplishes an emotional Before and After comparison—how FKA twigs appear at the beginning of the short film vs. the end. The Farmer’s Campaign combines the Whimsical and the Torture Test to give the viewer an entertaining boost to their confidence in Farmer’s claim that they cover almost everything.

But what do you do when there is ONLY audio? I could write an entire article on “The Theater of the Mind” using audio to influence the listener to visualize your product or service. Thankfully, Pandora already wrote it. The same old mirror neurons can go to work even if the person your listener is envisioning is in their own head. You can also use unique attributes—sound effects, music, multiple voices, even silence—to demonstrate in an unexpected way. Hiscox uses an engaging audio sleight of hand to demonstrate the type of cyber threats they protect businesses from in this UK audio ad.

No matter how you do it, you’ve got to do it. Show them where to go, show them how to use it, show them Before, and show them After. A properly executed demonstration will leave a powerful impression on your audience and naturally lead them, and you, into the very next Audiolytics™ Key Component, “Substantiation” effortlessly. It’s as if their were some sort of formula out there for how to persuade a person to take action. I can’t wait to Demonstrate how to Substantiate.

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