Time for some tough love, everyone. One of the experiences I hate the most when taking on a new client is managing their expectations. Too many people want me to write the same mindless drivel as their competitors.
Frustrating as it is, I’ve learned how to handle it. I say, “Look, I haven’t studied your competition yet, but I’m pretty sure I know their copy.” In every industry, it’s the same – “We’re the best, most trustworthy So-and-so company in our industry. Now give us your money”.
Of course, they try to mask this message using fancy words, but when you boil it down to its core elements, this is what you get. Then I ask my client, “Is this really what you want to sound like?”
Nine times out of 10, they say “no”. Then the real work can begin. However, every once in a while, someone says, “Well, yes – we are the best and people need to know it.” To which I usually reply, “If you really were the best, people would already know it.”
At this point, either the client will be deeply offended and go to someone else (to which good riddance – I hate wasting my time); or they’d actually listen and we can do something good together.
As Tywin Lannister aptly put it, “Any man who must say, ‘I am the king’, is no true king”. You don’t tell people you’re the best in your copy. You show them with the quality of your service or product.
How do you show people your product or service is the right choice for them?
It’s simple – address their problems. Show them you understand what ails them and present the solution. This is what brand strategy, and more specifically positioning, is all about.
People, regardless of industry, rarely look for “the best” option.
Instead, they want something solid and reliable. I have a few Apple fanboys around me and they all say the same thing about choosing Apple, “It just works”. OK, in all fairness, they also say Apple is the best, but they can barely operate a Windows system, so what do they know…
Now, you can dispute the idea that Apple makes the best tech in the world all you want (I do it all the time). You can say their hardware is overpriced or their software lacks customization (which it is and it does). But you cannot, in good faith, dispute the claim that “it just works”. And this is what makes Apple great. Well, that and great branding.
Apple doesn’t need to say they’re the best. In the minds of their customers, they already are. And people on the fence will not be convinced by tired claims of superiority. Instead, Apple shows these potential customers the company understands their problems and offers solutions.
When everyone says they’re the best, no one is.
Don’t waste everyone’s time telling them you’re the best. That never works. Show them you understand their problems and present the solution. Be specific about what you do and how it benefits your clients. That’s how you win people over.
Till next time.
P.S. While Apple is an example of a great brand, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention they’ve also been involved in some ethics scandals regarding their manufacturing.