Trust is the first step to any sale, or relationship. You will not make a single sale without building trust (a solid brand), and the only way to do that is to prove what you say. Skepticism is at an all time high. Kids are taught in elementary school to see through lies – they’re taught in kindergarten how Joe Camel is aimed at children, or that hidden words like “sex” are placed in ice cubes in alcohol ads, etc. Unfortunately, since so many advertisers have lied to the public for so long, the mere fact that you’re advertising starts you off with a negative trust factor. You can’t just say it any more, you have to prove it.
Brand = trust: your brand is the amount of trust you’ve created. Your brand is not your logo / tagline, your market positioning, what you say or what you sell. Your brand resides in only one place, in your customer’s minds – it is what they trust they will receive from you, and that you’ll make good on your promises. If they trust they’ll receive value from you, they’ll buy and be your customers. If they trust they’ll receive no value, and do not trust your claims they won’t buy from you.
Too many companies advertise their “unique” selling propositions that are the exact same advertising points as all their competitors – “We are the fastest, the best, the longest-lasting, the strongest, the largest, quality, service…” and other, often anemic claims. If 10 competing companies say they are the “best quality”, we all know only 1 can really be the best, which means 9 must be lying. And the market is smart, they can see through these unsubstantiated claims. Another problem is most of these claims do not really even say anything – “best, fastest, quality…”, these words have been so over-used for so long they have become diluted in power
(see white paper “Advertising/Design Mistake #4 – Three strikes, you’re out”).
The market now says, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Don’t just say it, you gotta prove it. If your market values “quality,” tell them what quality means, how you’ll exceed their expectations, and then prove your claim. Make this the foundation of your advertising/marketing. The ultimate power of advertising and design lies in it’s ability to clarify the message and distill it to a powerful selling proposition, motivate the viewer to believe, and then act.
For example, instead of saying “our product is the strongest on the market,” say “our product is made with a titanium alloy blend, which lasts 10 times longer than all our competitors aluminum based products. Although 2 times as much as the competition, they run 10 times longer reducing your cost-per-usage by 500%!”
And don’t just take my word for it, look in the latest issue of BusinessWeek®, Wired® or People® – Symantec® internet security software has an ad that lists over 180 new viruses their software has destroyed – in the last 30 days. Honda® Civic Hybrid says you get 50 miles a gallon. Intel® says their new Core 2 Duo goes 40% faster. Porsche® says their Cayman S has a 295 horsepower V-6 with a top speed of 171 mph. And Apple® literally lists over a dozen reasons why a Mac is “different” than a PC.
Your advertising and communications are not cheap – a full-page ad in People Magazine or Time® Magazine costs about $250,000. Get your moneys worth – find what makes your product/service different, and prove why the market should buy from you and no other company. Again, proof builds trust, and trust is the first step to any sale or relationship.
3 tips to keep in mind:
• Don’t just say “we’re committed to customer service” like everybody else. Say, “we have 500% more tech support on hand than any of our competitors, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A live person will answer the phone within the first 4 rings, or your tech support call is free!”
• Watch infomercials. Although not highly regarded in “Creative” communities, these guys know how to motivate and create sales! They tell you why their product is so great, they show you, they make you taste it and touch it and sense it and believe it. And they prove it, over and over and over, in a variety of different ways. And of course, they make it easy to buy.
• Ask your customers! Why do they buy from you and no one else? Why do they give you their money and not the competitor down the street? These are the points you need to prove to your prospects, over and over and over…
Kevin Daniels is a Principle rabble-rouser at Ruckus Creative, llc, with 20 years in advertising and marketing.
Ruckus Creative is a results-driven, full-service creative and branding agency
“Business results through strategic creative.”
4 Hearthside Rd.
Ladera Ranch, CA 92694