“The way to generate interest in the past is to show people some relevance to their own lives,” says Julian Siggers, Ph.D., Williams Director at Penn Museum. This quote from this month’s Uniquely Philadelphia really resonated with me because I think it also applies to the vast majority of businesses.
The Penn Museum, as the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is more commonly known, has found relevance by coming up with special tours that focus on food as well as a self-guided tour that encompasses 10 food-related artifacts. In addition, a cookbook, “Culinary Expeditions: A Celebration of Food and Culture Inspired by Penn Museum Treasures,” features 80 recipes from the ancient world.
The museum even has fun programs like 40 Winks with the Sphinx that allows children and their families to spend the night at the museum.
This kind of thinking brings people into the museum and helps non-history buffs enjoy what they have to offer.
Making it personal
In journalism school, we learned the same thing that the Penn Museum is doing. In order to make an article interesting, you need to determine how it relates to your readers’ lives. Why should they care about a local city council meeting? They should care because if the measure passes, it will raise their taxes by X amount.
People want to know how something will affect them. With all of the information thrown at them on a regular basis, it matters so much more when it’s personal.
When it comes to selling your company’s products or services the same thing applies. Your customers need to know how this will impact their own lives.
They don’t care what it does for your business. They don’t care that you’ve spent millions of dollars on research to find the right formula. They want to know why they should pay money for this product or service — and more importantly how and why it can help them.
The power of knowledge
But the first step to really connecting with your customers is to understand them. If you don’t know how their world works, how can you hope to offer something that will improve it?
The Penn Museum understands that food is something that many people care about. It’s relevant to their lives, and therefore they care about how it was relevant to people in the past.
I would suggest that it’s always important to continually research and survey your customers. You need information about their lives in order to find out how you can connect.
Once you have up-to-date knowledge, you can position yourself to be important and relevant with the right message.
You should try to step into their shoes and find a way to connect because your customers may not take the time to adjust to you. Being relevant to their individual lives is what can make your product, service or company matter.