Marketing Sense

A discussion of marketing tools and tactics with a common sense attitude

Archive for July, 2010

Brands: Stand up. Stand for something.

Posted by Colin N. Clarke on July 8, 2010

I encountered a billboard posted by a reputable national insurance company that said, “For all your insurance needs.” My immediate thought: “Really, that’s the best you can do?”

The statement, “For all your [insert term here] needs” is overused, ignored, and irrelevant yet multitudes of businesses continue to use it. To prove a point, out of curiosity I ran a Google search for the term, “For all your needs.” 1.15 BILLION results! So by using the term, you essentially are saying you are just like 1.15 BILLION other businesses out there… no big deal.

Think your business is unique enough to get away with it? Think again. You can search for pretty much ANYTHING with the, “For all your needs” statement and find millions of results and other businesses just like yours using it to generalize their services… and scoring no points with customers along the way.

How about, For all your fertilizer needs (10.4 million results). Or, For all your filtration needs (7.8 million). Or Logistics (19.8 million), or Catering (10.5 million), or Zoology (7.5 million), or Votive candles (What are votive candles anyway? Seriously, 1.3 million results for all your votive candle needs!).

I once worked with an esteemed copywriter who would bristle whenever he saw or heard the term, “For all your needs.” He would flat out refuse to include it in anything he wrote. He would say, “How do they know what I need? It’s impossible for them to have everything I need!” He had a book where he kept examples of ads that used the term and as you would turn page-after-page the statement would become more and more irrelevant. A wasted opportunity to share a meaningful message with a customer.

Every business is built on some point of differentiation, be it price or quality, service or product line, convenience or style. Every brand stands for something, so let your communications be about your differentiation. In most cases you have likely invested significant time and money to cultivate a point of differentation for your business, so let it show. Communicate it clearly in everything you do. In your service, your marketing, your direct communications and your advertising.

Make your message meaningful and memorable. Your customers will appreciate knowing what makes you unique.

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