There’s a lot of competition out there. How do you ensure your message remains above the fray? Keep it clear and uncompromising. Staying true to your message provides prospects with the opportunity to get to know your business in their own space.
Consider the print ads, commercials, and online information you are bombarded with on a daily basis. Which are the ones that stand out? The ones with clear, relevant messages. Whenever we are confronted with a message that is conflicted we tend to drop it. This is critically important. You want your message to stick. This is why you should take great care to make sure it is clear.
Keep it uncluttered
Remember that our attention spans are shorter than they’ve ever been. As the messenger, you have to grab the attention of your audience quickly and compel them to action. The ad is not the place to share everything about your company or product. How can you quickly make an impact? Understanding your underlying value and crafting a clear, succinct message is the first step. Ask yourself this question: What is the one thing that a prospect would want to know about your product/service?
Understand the target
You don’t want to do business with everyone, or just anyone. You want to do business with the kinds of people or companies that you work well with. When you identify your ideal client you can then craft your message directly at them. They are the people/companies you want to hear your message. You want everyone else to keep moving.
When a vendor thinks he wants all the business or is afraid he’ll miss out on a piece a business, he tends to splatter his message all over the place hoping that it will stick somewhere. The problem with this behavior is that the real prospects won’t land because they can’t hear the message that is directed at them.
Tell the right story
Directv used to have a commercial where the main character was Russian and liked to surround himself with only the best. A series of commercials helped to create a storyline with this character. You could follow the concept that Directv was the best until the ad where the Russian had someone else exercising for him. At the very end of this commercial the Russian says, ‘no pain, no pain.’ You could assume he’s referring to the exercise. However, the commercial is about Directv, not an exercise regimen. So, is he talking about buying Directv? Is it a painful process? Do you have to go through the difficulty to get the best?
On the other hand is the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercial. Here you are asked how you know when chocolate and peanut butter are combined perfectly, while watching two Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups moving toward each other like gears. As they connect and start turning in harmony, you see ‘when it says Reese’s on the package.’ Now that is in keeping with the story, the message. You know what the value is as well as the brand.
Decide what your value message is and commit to it. Try to refrain from getting caught up in a storyline that moves you away from your value. Keep asking yourself what message you want to leave with your audience. Maintain that message.
Some other examples of storytelling gone wrong are with GEICO and Nationwide. It is so easy to create a story that you think will humor people and draw them in. Unfortunately, you run the risk that your message will be missed, and that you’ll leave your audience with uncertainly.
Consider the GEICO ads where the gecko is smarter than the CEO. Do you really want your audience to think your leadership is stupid? I get it that it might seem funny to people who like to bash their managers and supervisors. However, the company runs the risk that the viewers will be left ill at ease about the quality and sustainability of the company. If the CEO is an idiot, will they really be making decisions that are good for me, the client?
Another example of this is a Nationwide Insurance TV ad. The Nationwide representative talks about all of the different things Nationwide insures. Great message. However, he ends by stating, “onerous.” Thinking they are keeping with the message of ‘owning the ability to insure anything you have’ they actually added a message that working with Nationwide is difficult, laborious, and burdensome. So, is switching to Nationwide a good thing or a difficult thing?
When you know your value to your clients and prospects, you can easily stick with that messaging and build a story around it. Keeping that message clear, concise, and focused helps your prospects land on your value. It’s the easiest and best way to rise above the noise.
Make it easy for your prospects to understand how you can help them and why they should do business with you. When they contact you, or you contact them, you’ll have plenty of time to share more detailed information. Your marketing is not the place to try to accomplish this.
In addition, keeping your message positive and on target will prevent you from sending mixed messages and confusing your prospects. You want them to not only understand you, but want to do business with you—to like what they hear or see. You have a split second to make that kind of impact.