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October 26th, 2012

How-to How-to.



A few weeks ago, my wife and I took a short bed and breakfast tour of Wisconsin. It was a weird vacation choice. Especially because, as a couple in our 30-ish-es, we’re well outside the B&B target market. By about 30-ish years.

As someone who had stayed in nothing but hotels of varying (READ: moderately low) quality my entire life, a B&B was an extremely foreign concept. How do you check in? Is there a curfew? Do I have to watch my language? (ANSWERS: It’s easy. No. Kind of.)

Turns out, the experience was great. You get these breakfasts that blow the Holiday Inn Express pancake machine out of the water. And while I ate this egg dish that could have doubled as a holiday decoration, one of the owners told me that their biggest problem with attracting visitors who aren’t carrying AARP cards is that Millennials and young Gen X’ers have no idea how to use a B&B.

Turns out that sometimes, the biggest barrier to your brand isn’t necessarily awareness or overcoming existing consumer habits. It might be that people just flat-out don’t know how to use your product or service.

Apple understands this in spades. They’ve spent decades making complicated technology easy to use and millions of advertising dollars simply showing you how to use it.

Making an effective how-to even extends to public transportation. Like installing a Bus Simulator at the Cleveland Auto Show.

People just really, really want to know how to do things. There are how-tos on YouTube with tens of millions of views. For everything from picking a lock to having super awesome dreams.

So, the next time you’re wondering why 30-ish-y people aren’t staying at your B&B or aren’t buying your innovative new corkscrew, maybe you need to take some time to explain it. Heck, it worked for Cortelco. Thank heavens it comes with an instruction manual.