Sunday, October 09, 2005

Beware of the Switch

As a marketer of people-to-people I search for ways to express good things in different ways. And so does my competition. With so many of us reaching out for attention our audience is hearing and seeing so much its become a white noise they have learned to ignore.

The human psyche does not have a barometer of “bad-average-good”. When it comes to emotional response we are either turned on or turned off. So, if I do not do anything to separate myself from the white noise then I can be pretty certain my audience is already turned off.

An example of this principle is the classic, “We really care…” statement used in ad copy and collateral. That line is used so often its more of a humorous cliché. If I use that line in my copy (even if I really, really believe it to be true about my firm) I will get lumped with all the rest that use it. Since my audience will probably read it with derision they remain turned off.

With this knowledge in mind here are few tips on creating a marketing message:
  • Research the words of your competitors and strike them from the list of words you will use.
  • Research the images and colors of your competitors. You may need to use similar colors (part of your firm identity) but find different ways to display them. Do not ever use the same images!
  • Avoid trends. Understand that your audience is receiving messages and images from dozens, of not hundreds of other professionals and companies vying for their attention. Spend a bit of your time looking at message trends in general.
  • Promote hope with your words. Everyone of us has a part inside that keeps repeating, “It can be better than this.”
  • Be as different as you can, but always do it with class. People associate intellect with class.