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Apr 10th, 2014 Share: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn

The Benefits of TV Dinners

The following guest post is from a good friend and fellow Heretic Matej Novak, a copywriter with a deep passion for language and branding.

When it comes to your product or service, you know what it does. You know its features. How it works. You’ll talk about that a lot when attracting clients or users. But if you really want to impress them, to convince them that it solves a problem or fulfills a need, you’ll need to turn those features into benefits.

This is not easy, not if you want to come up with really good benefits. But it’s extremely powerful, even essential.

Let’s look at TV dinners as a little case study.

TV dinners were invented in the 1950s. Televisions were arriving in homes and people were looking for more and more ways to save time. I bet they were primarily targeted at women, especially stay-at-home moms.

Here are some statements that I imagine might have appeared on an advertising brief:

“TV dinners let you cook complete meals quickly.” That’s all product feature. It just says what it does. When TV dinners were new, that might have been enough, but it’s not particularly interesting or in any way insightful.

“TV dinners let you save time.” Better, but pretty standard. There are lots of products that let you save time. This could still be for anyone in just about any situation.

“TV dinners let you spend more time with your family.” Now we’re getting somewhere. This resonates. It speaks to the target audience. It’s human and insightful.

“TV dinners make you look like a superhero to your family.” The above is already great, but now we’ve pushed it even further. This combines the previous thinking and makes it all about the person who is actually going to walk into a store and buy one.

There’s no one way to get to a great benefit, no magic formula, but you can use a product’s features as a starting point and build from there. Using the above, you could write a statement like:

“TV dinners let you cook complete meals quickly so you can spend less time in the kitchen, more time with your family and look like a superhero in their eyes.”

You can see how each idea builds off the last one and culminates in something way more interesting than where it started.

Give it a try with your product or service. Write a bunch of them. See where it leads.

People want to know more than what your product does. They want to know what it can do for them. So tell them.

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