My soul is full of longing for the secrets of the sea, and the heart of the great ocean sends a thrilling pulse through me. — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Sea Dwellers is a leader in diving experiences. They train, certify, and lead diving adventures from their base of operations in Key Largo, Florida. After many years of leadership in their industry, they found other operations copying their system and imitating their language for communicating with the public. What should Sea Dwellers do to continue to innovate? How should they separate themselves from the crowd?
As a long established business, Sea Dwellers had to be willing to change how they thought about their business and services. They needed to connect with a person that had fears about breathing underwater and drowning.
I feel like I can’t breath…I’m going to die.
Sea Dwellers had to rework the language and context of what they were saying to their customers. They needed to help people become more comfortable with the diving certification process. The recognition of people’s fears would allow Sea Dwellers to address those concerns in training. There is a real sense of claustrophobia when you are underwater wearing a mask and breathing from a regulator. They needed to demonstrate that with the proper training you can overcome those feelings.
Understanding the fears associated with a strong survival instinct was a major challenge in understanding the customer.
We interviewed multiple divers from novice to expert levels. The interviews began to show a large divide between the language used by experienced divers and the language used by novices.
Diving deeper into the disconnect between the two mindsets, we found that the beginners’ fears were not being addressed by Sea Dwellers’ current communications.
After multiple conversations about our findings, we began to change the companies language and determined the best channels for communication. If you want to connect with your audience, you have to go where they are.
This led to a social media campaign that featured new language, videos, and images that would help all levels of divers connect with the experience that Sea Dwellers offered.
Sea Dwellers content was tested and reworked to promote information that was both easy to find and easy to understand.
The social media campaign was a tremendous success. Sea Dwellers more than doubled their positive feedback and Facebook likes. The change in language started an important dialog with their customers. They used their customers feedback to find out what they wanted from the experience.
This feedback and dialog helped us identify the effectiveness of video explanations in helping people better understand the diving experience. The videos were a valuable tool for Sea Dwellers to build trust with their customers.
An important insight was discovering the divide between the feelings of a beginning diver and those of a more experienced one. Once you become more experienced in diving, you tend to forget what it was like at the beginning – The primal fears of survival and discomfort. Sea Dwellers began to address the concerns of their novice customers, which inspired a better connection with their entire audience.
When customers are faced with life and death situations, the stakes are high. You need to address the customers’ concerns directly in order to build the trust that leads to a good relationship.
Once the content of Sea Dwellers’ communications was changed to reflect their customers’ concerns, they got an immediate positive response. The addition of multiple forms of media including video, pictures, and sound, helped people connect with the expertise of Sea Dwellers before they committed to the underwater adventure.