You see it all the time. Companies make bold claims:
- “We are the oldest…”
- “We are the greatest…”
- “We have the best customer service…”
- “We have the best people, products, features…”
We. We. We.
But please! Please! Don’t we-we all over your customers. Nobody likes to be we’d on.
I’m making a joke, but it’s actually serious. Go look at your website and marketing collateral. What tense is the copy?
Does your marketing speak in “you” and “I,” or is it taking a “we”? If it’s taking a we, it’s time for an upgrade.
It’s amazing how few companies can clearly explain their services. They pontificate and use puffy language, benefit statements, and other phrases to create a value proposition. And inevitably, all that language is focused inwards.
But what about your customers?
A prospect or customer doesn’t visit your website to read your brand’s boastful claims. They came there to solve THEIR problem. Sure, they want to ensure your company is qualified and credible, but that’s more to do with their needs than yours.
It’s All About Clear Brand Messaging
Nothing will accelerate your marketing more than clear brand messaging, what I call Simple Clarity. It’s so important that Simple Clarity is the first principle of my book, Sticky Branding.
Simple Clarity is the ability to describe your brand and what makes it unique — simply, succinctly, and in the language of your customers. The ideal is to be able do this in 10 words or less.
When you achieve Simple Clarity it makes your brand easier to remember, easier to refer, and easier to talk about. It gives your brand credibility because you can speak about it with authority.
Make Your Brand Messaging Unforgettable
A good way to think about Simple Clarity is it’s like a label on a file folder. The label doesn’t provide a lot of information, but it has to be clear and descriptive to be effective. Too much or too little detail makes it hard for your customers to understand, categorize and remember your brand.
For a label to be effective it should have three things:
- Short: Ideally 10 words or less.
- Descriptive: The label offers an explanation of the contents.
- Memorable: Easy to find and easy to refer.
Simple Clarity follows the same principles. You can write your label by answering three questions:
- You are: What is your company’s industry or category?
- You do: What does your company do? More importantly, what does it do better than everyone else?
- You serve: Who does your company serve?
Simple Clarity distills you are, you do, you serve into a statement about your brand. And there doesn’t have to be any we-language in it at all!
For example, Patriot Software is a prolific advertiser in the United States. In its ads the brand repeatedly states, “Patriot Software is accounting and payroll software for companies with 1 to 100 employees.”
It’s not a particularly colorful or catchy statement, but it’s blunt. You know exactly what Patriot Software does and for whom. If you fit their target market, you will pay attention. If not, you can tune them out.
Paint a Picture In Your Customers’ Minds
One of the leading contributors to we-we marketing is puffy words and jargon.
Memorable brand messaging is based on “concrete words.” These are words or phrases that stimulate visual images in your mind. This makes them easier to understand and remember than abstract or puffy words like “innovative,” “revolutionary,” and “world-class.”
The problem with abstract words is that, though they sound good, they lack a mental reference.
Try to picture “innovative” in your mind. What do you see? For example, consider these three car company slogans based on the word innovation:
- A tradition of innovation
- Driving American innovation
- Innovation that excites
Did each generate a mental image? Probably not. Do you know which brand each slogan is associated with? No? That’s not a surprise either. When you lack a mental image, it’s hard to remember an idea. I’ll give you the answer: Firestone, Ford, and Nissan — in that order.
Abstract words such as “innovation” may seem smart, and they may even feel good to say, but there’s nothing to anchor the word in your mind. As a result, each slogan is completely forgettable.
Concrete words, on the other hand, are more memorable because they create a visual image. For over fifty years M&M’s have told us their candy “melts in your mouth, not in your hands.”
There are no abstract words in this statement. It’s clear, succinct, and direct. You may not know what the candy tastes like, but you know they won’t make your hands messy when you eat them.
Speak to What Your Brand Does Brilliantly
As you approach your brand messaging, focus on the facts. No fluff. No pomp. No buzzwords.
Cardinal Couriers, for example, is a regional courier that specializes in making deliveries before 8:00 a.m. Its global competitors describe themselves as couriers and logistics companies, but Cardinal Couriers differentiates itself by focusing on the facts.
Cardinal’s Simple Clarity states what it does: “Pre-8:00 a.m. package delivery service.”
It’s clear, concise, and you know exactly when to call Cardinal Couriers.
Try it for your business. Just answer 3 simple statements:
- Category: You are…
- Service: You do…
- Market: You serve…
That’s it. That’s the essence of Simple Clarity. The challenge is to distill it down to a short phrase that’s ideally 10 words or less.
Need Help With Your Marketing?
If you’d like to discover how Sticky Branding can help you, let’s chat. Here’s a link to my calendar.