What was your favorite Halloween costume as a kid? Were you a superhero? A ninja turtle? A historical figure?
I’ve always loved Batman, but my son Nicholas is a Joker fan. When he was younger, I encouraged him to dress up as the Dark Knight for Halloween (I think he pulled it off well).
I was only able to convince him once, when he was little. Now, he’s much more opinionated about who he dresses up as on Halloween.
This year, as I was helping Nicholas plan out his costume, I was reminded of our Batman feud and started to wonder what it was about Batman that I loved so much. Was it his coolness? His fighting abilities? His piles of money?
Maybe it was a combination of all of those. Or maybe, the idea of having an underground cave full of butt-kicking gadgets really appealed to younger me.
The truth is, our love for superheroes goes deeper than just how cool they look beating up bad guys on the big screen. We’re drawn to superhero stories on a psychological level. And that same drive can help us create more effective marketing campaigns.
Why Do We Love Superheroes So Much?
We all love a good hero. Just look at how well Avengers: Endgame did in theaters a few years ago. Bringing in almost 3 billion dollars worldwide, the movie quickly became the biggest film of all time—even bigger than Titanic.
If you’ve ever wondered why we love stories about legendary warriors, super-powered good guys, and even morally ambiguous anti-heroes, you may be surprised to know it isn’t just a matter of taste. It’s how our brains are wired.
Narrative psychology reveals that we’re subconsciously drawn to heroes because we relate to them.
How? Well, because we’re also the hero of our own story. Even if we don’t have Thor’s great hair or Spiderman’s witty comebacks.
Superheroes also appeal to our natural desire to be strong and in control of our lives. In real life, few of us would say we’re as strong as we want to be. We get sick. Our emotions overpower our good intentions. In some cases, we’re not able to protect ourselves or those around us from harm.
Considering all of this, it’s no surprise that we want to be more like Spiderman or Batman. After all, I’ve never seen either of them come down with the sniffles.
And then there’s the good-vs-evil part of the superhero story. Part of what draws us to heroes is their inclination to help others and protect them from harm. Whether they’re saving the world from robots, aliens, or monstrous humans, a good superhero always saves the day.
Even if he or she causes a bit of harm along the way, like Deadpool or Harley Quinn.
In a world where everything is grey, black and white morality can be incredibly soothing—particularly to those eager to do the right thing. And watching superheroes make the world better inspires us to be better people as well.
According to a study by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and Hope College in Michigan, just looking at superheroes leads to greater intentions to engage in helpful behaviors. Seeing someone do good increases our own altruistic behaviors, helping us be even more like the caped crusaders we watch on screen.
Our love of superheroes runs deep, and it’s likely something that will persist even as our society evolves over time. So why not utilize this phenomenon in your marketing as well?
How to Make Your Customers the Hero They Want to Be
Any marketing messaging that goes against what we believe is often tuned out by our subconscious. That means if you want your marketing to break through the noise, you can’t make your business the hero. It has to be your customers.
Watch my video below to find out if you could be unintentionally positioning your business as the hero.
Empowering your customers to be the heroes they already believe they are:
- Makes your marketing more effective
- Creates a deeper bond with your customers
- Differentiates your business from your competitors
- Gives you a competitive advantage
Plus, it makes your customers see that you genuinely care about their success, which can go a long way in today’s post-COVID world.
Follow these tips to position your customers as the hero they want to be:
1. Give your customers a hero's welcome when they join your program.
If you offer a membership or community, introduce them to other group members. Exaggerate their abilities in that introduction.
If you offer a B2C product or traditional service, give them that welcome in the form of an email. Think about phrases like “we’re lucky to have you” or “we’re so grateful you selected our team.” You also can’t go wrong with outright saying, “You’re awesome!”
Welcome baskets can also go a long way. Consider sending a t-shirt, stickers, personalized socks, or another fun gift.
2. Create an experience that is memorable and personalized for them.
There are a lot of companies that do something similar to what you provide. You need to ensure the experience your customers have with your brand far outshines what other people might do.
Send them handwritten notes every so often, especially for special occasions like their birthday or anniversary with your company. Celebrate their victories when using your program, like completing a course or the completion of their project.
3. Make them feel like they're the only customer you have.
Customers want to be treated as individuals, not as numbers. Figure out their nickname, favorite teams, family’s names, and work them into the small talk you have before you get down to business. Give them status in your company by providing your direct number and business card.
While this is easier for B2B businesses who meet with customers one-on-one to provide, B2C companies can do this as well. Send out surveys periodically to get to know your customers. Then, send them custom emails based on their responses. Not only will you gain valuable insight into your customers' personalities and preferences, but you’ll also help them feel like you care about them as a person.
We’re the Heroes of Our Own Stories
In life, we often don’t feel very heroic. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never run into a burning building to save someone or fought villains dead-set on destroying the world.
But each of us has a deep inner desire to be a hero—including your customers. And by following the three suggestions above, your brand can position customers to be the heroes they subconsciously want to be. This, in turn, helps your business stand out from the crowd, build an engaged audience, and grow even in the midst of pandemics and economic difficulties.
Want to find out how behavioral psychology could help you connect with customers, provide better service, and grow your business? Check out the Mindstate Marketing Masterclass now.
This on-demand video course teaches you how to apply mindstates to your business’s marketing step by step so you can use behavioral science to grow your company.