I just attended the Natural Products Expo East. Thousands of new and unique products screaming for the attention of natural products retailers. I attended the Expo to deliver the keynote address for the Retailer Workshop. The Retailers are all looking for ways to stand out from all the other retailers. Then, the product makers are looking to stand out from the other products so that the retailers will pick them.

The importance of having a great “because” really stands out when you have the opportunity to look at rows and rows of new products all in one place. What’s your “because?” Getting clear on your because, or your “Reason To Believe” is a core strategy from billion dollar brands that companies of any size can use.

Why will your potential customers believe what you’re telling them? Just because I say it, it must be true, right? No way. Consumers have become increasingly skeptical. As a business, you need be as believable and authentic as possible so that customers will not only listen to, but believe your message. As the internet has increased skepticism in our society, your because has increased in importance.

Let me give you a super simple example, so you can see how this works in real life.

Papa John’s vs. Pizza Hut

Papa John’s slogan: “Better Ingredients, Better Pizza.” includes both their benefit and their because. Better pizza is the benefit. Being made from better ingredients is the reason to believe that that benefit could be true. The claim “better ingredients” is supported by their use of fresh tomatoes and filtered water in their sauce. This message was working so well that Pizza Hut sued Papa John’s over the claim. Papa John’s prevailed.

The Power of Because

The power of “because” was documented in a well known experiment by Harvard Professor Ellen Langer.
In the experiment, a stranger approached someone at a copy machine and said: “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?” 60% of the people let the stranger cut in line.

However, when the stranger added in because: “May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?” 94% of the people let the stranger in. Even when the “because” made no sense, it worked. “May I use the Xerox machine, because I have to make copies?” had a hit rate of 93%.

The lesson is that people want to know why. Consumers today are bombarded with between 500 and 3,000 advertising messages every day. Their brains need to cut through the clutter and filter out information that is not credible or authentic. Your because is what you can use to combat this. It is a very powerful tool.

The Best Reasons to Believe

In creating your reasons to believe, you have to be creative, but also be honest. What are the reasons why someone actually should believe you? Are they true, factual, and supportable? Are customers already giving you that feedback in real life? Does it pass the “sniff” test? Customers can sniff out fluff and puffery faster than you can create it. Does it “sound” true when you tell others, or does it sound like marketing speak?

Gerry O'Brion - Keynote Marketing & Branding Speaker


Gerry spent his career growing big brands such as Procter & Gamble, Coors Light, Quiznos, and Red Robin. Now, he translates strategies from billion dollar brands into techniques that any company can use, regardless of their budget.

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