If you sit staring at a product that needs a demonstration, hoping it will inspire you to write a WOW demo, you've already missed the first step! First Impressions are just as important when writing a product demonstration as they are when meeting a person for the first time. Important, informative and essential.
When you see something for the first time, it is almost as if your mind is subconsciously taking random snapshots of the item or person and then processing all of these little snapshot into one big picture. That big picture is your first, and often lasting, impression. You have heard the expression you only get one chance to make a first impression? In the case of product demonstration development, you only get one chance to gather the information from that first impression.
The first thing you see is often the product box or packaging. Forget that. The packaging contains very important information, which comes into play later, but for our purposes we need to look directly at the item itself without being swayed by the glossy photos or ad-inspired messages on the packaging. So, as hard as it is, pick the box up, and cut it open but don't look at it!
Now, as you open the flaps of the box (or whatever else contains the item) start paying attention! Here's why...the very things that pop into your mind will be there very same things that pop into the consumers mind! Good or bad, these "impressions" MUST be addressed in the demonstration and, if possible, in the script.
As I am in the process of writing several demonstrations for Jarden products that will be used in a Macy's Gift Registry Consultant symposium, I will use one of the items, the new Designer Series Crock Pot (which is not available until Fall) to illustrate this crucial first step in demo writing.
Keeping in mind that I do this all of the time and see hundreds of kitchen products, follow along with my first impression thoughts as I open the box, pull the product out and remove all of the packaging.
"Ugh, look at all of this packaging", "Wow, this is heavy", "Oh, I like this design", "stainless steel", "yeah, this is really nice, I'd leave this out". "Oooh, the lid is rimmed in silicon".
OK, now the product is out of the box, the packaging has been discarded, and I can really take a look at the item. First things that pop into my head:
"Where is the cord?", "oh, it's tucked underneath and snaps onto the back, nice!", "look at these handels, they flip down". I stand back and form my final impression as I notice the flared crock, the digital panel and the overall look.
Now it is time to analyze the information obtained. In this case, most of the impressions were positive so it is easy to see how these impressions can be easily worked into the demonstration (or pitch) as powerful selling features of the product. The demo would show the "compact handles and on-board cord compartment for easy storage", "how nicely it looks on the counter top" so it can "proudly stay out the for everyday use" and "the sleek modern design with digital display".
Many times, there will be negative impressions, which is a GOOD thing! Now you have a chance to take those negatives, "heavy, big & cumbersome", "ugly & unattractive", "flimsy" or whatever else, and turn it into a positive! "Heavy, sturdy construction for years of use", "lightweight for easy use without adding stress to you joints", etc.
The main point is this: You are the same as your customer. If you think it, so do they! However, if you aren't careful you may miss your first, crucial impression of the product. By paying attention, you have the opportunity to capitalize on the best features as well as spin the negative into a positive. This way, your entire, fantastic demo isn't met at the end with the customer thinking...."Yeah but it's ugly". Instead they see the "latest European design"!
This is the first article in a series on demonstration writing techniques. Be sure to like my page or, better yet, subscribe to get all the latest articles in the series.
If you need help writing a demonstration or script for a product, contact me. firstname.lastname@example.org