People today more receptive than ever before to Clear Solutions and Clear Messages. Clarity promises Peace of Mind in today’s chaotic world!
Here is an example by a jewellery chain that produced amazing results:
A simple headline was changed from:
“We guarantee the quality of the diamonds we sell”
“If the Gemological Institute of America doesn’t confirm our diamond’s colour, clarity and carat weight to be at least as good as we promised you, we’ll buy back that diamond for the price you paid, reimburse you for the cost of grading, and pay you an additional five thousand dollars. If other jewelers aren’t willing to match this offer, you’ve got to wonder why.”
for spectacular results!
Does your brand provide a guarantee like this? When looking at your content development, examine your Brand Promise and aim to deliver on it each and every time!
When working with content development, solutions we offer have to be immediately comprehensible otherwise they become problems and add to the sensory overload of our clients and prospects.
People are too stressed and busy for dense visuals and jargon – a common sin of Finance and IT industries.
- Time Deprivation + Technology = Compression
- Digital TV 500 channels & The Web = Life now is 24 x 7x 365
- Compressed patience and attention span of customers means that unless you grab their attention instantly they will use their Remote Control or click their Mouse to never be heard from again!
A simple PICTURE is a 1,000 WORDS, but it better tell a story much faster than that or today’s consumer will be gone before you have the chance for the proverbial wink!
Effective marketing tools look at whether your marketing communication:
- Dramatizes your brand’s most important benefit?
- Communicate simply? Simplicity is powerful – less is more
- Use natural, real life dialogue?
- Avoid jargon?
- Tell a story, leave a picture in your prospects’ mind?
- Ask questions?
- Provide proof and reasons to believe?
Why don’t any of our top tier law firms promise to explain the law in layman’s English? Wouldn’t that be nice in our age of information overload, stress and time scarcity? No matter how complex the product or service is, the simpler you can make the customer communication, the more your professional services firm can benefit! Check out www.maxsuper.com.au for inspiration and ideas with content strategy on how to turn the traditionally “the boring and complicated” industry segment laden with jargon into simple fun that sells!
Edward De Bono, the father of ‘Lateral Thinking’ rightly suggests that SIMPLICITY is a crucial competitive advantage in content strategy. The world’s top brands have forever practiced these principles of focus and simplicity while many products and services are still trying to do everything and be everything to everybody. The result is mediocrity.
Why don’t any of the firms say “we know more than anyone about all the legal aspects of mining and exploration and you would be crazy not to use us if you want to dig things up”
It seems that the closer one gets to clients – real people, not people who spend other people’s money, acting and thinking on behalf of companies, the clearer is their positioning and point of difference. One such example is Maurice Blackburn www.mauriceblackburn.com.au, a firm that targets consumers. It does so with some personality and simplicity, both in the television commercials as well as on their website, breaking out of the boring mold their corporate cousins have adopted.
Even some of the small suburban firms have done interesting things with the content strategy in their branding – from the catchy name that has meaning and lends itself to a campaignable creative theme www.amicuslaw.com.au, through to one that focuses on the actual brand experience, www.lawtoyourdoor.com.au which delivers value to busy small businesses by coming to them – a point of difference that is actually valued by their target market. Middletons www.middletons.com.au, was the only top tier law firm that we found that had a great positioning statement, yet they also failed to capitalise on it throughout their website with the brand messages being limited to their banner on the home page.
So, what could the big commercial law firms do better to create standout brands rather than just tinker with their logos and shades of blue? (Warning – if what follows sounds like a Marketing Tutorial, it is only because it seems to be precisely what these firms and their agencies are not doing now.)
First of all, the firms need to work out what it is about them that is really unique and different. A hint here with content strategy – they all hire really smart people, train them well and keep them updated and they are all “full service”… so how does that help a client? What may make a firm (or practice group) unique is if it wrote the legislation for the changes to copyright law for the government and has deep experience in advising on-line publishers on exactly how far the fair use provisions extend. Then the challenge becomes working out how a collection of these types of deep experiences or specialties roll up into something unique for a full service firm (if at all).
Now where is the evidence, proof or in advertising terms “reason to believe”?
Why aren’t the same strict principles of supporting evidence applied by the legal firms when it comes to their own promotional efforts? While every firm promises quality and excellence, it is certainly not an area where any one player can get a competitive advantage over another. In fact, if anything there is a great chance of over promising and under delivering. Quality of service is not something that you can prove to the prospect before they enlist your services or is it? We wouldn’t recommend drawing the lines for the battle of the minds of prospects in the legal industry around quality, however for the purpose of illustrating how this can be done, consider this: for a litigation department it might be for example “we win 93% of the cases we run in pollution mitigation” or “in 10 years, not a single one of our software licenses has ever been unwound – we write the best licenses for vendors”.
Legal firms need to clearly articulate the outcomes that they brilliantly create for their core market. This is the combination of what their market values (quality) and their unique skills and abilities. One firm might create agreements that maximise flexibility for outsource providers. Another may deliver workplace agreements that keep workers on a tight lead or ensure that their clients pay the least possible amount of tax legally possible.
Once these desirable outcomes are defined, the firm can then start to distil out a concise statement of their point of difference. This takes time and work and will cause discussion, argument and concern. It is also a good idea to test a number of these statements on existing clients and see what they think the firm delivers for them.
Finally, once the point of difference is well articulated in their content strategy, then and only then, should firms focus on building their communication strategy? The good thing is, from where they are today, there is plenty of room for an early adopter to get the “first mover advantage” and raise the bar for the rest of the players.
I say you should. In fact you should make every effort to do so! In general, the better your idea or Intellectual Property (IP), the harder it is to sell it, to get people to believe in it.
Your so called IP is already ‘on Google’ and if you think your IP will somehow protect your business, you’re sadly mistaken. Today anyone can learn how to do anything simply by going onto Google, YouTube, or in any of the social media channels.
But just because your prospects know what to do they will not necessarily know the intricacies of how to do it. As a marketing company, qubePartners has made many marketing resources freely available for all to see and download – http://www.qubepartners.com/marketing-resources. These templates have taken us many years to develop and we believe they are the best free small business marketing and advertising resources available. We were at first hesitant just giving them away. But then we realised that it is not only the questions in these marketing templates that deliver the results but what you do with the answers that makes all the difference. Here is a blog on ‘Marketing Secrets’ that discusses this in detail: http://www.qubepartners.com/blog/beware-of-marketing-secrets-the-problem-with-sme-marketing
Furthermore your customers may not have the patience or the skill to do so which is where you expertise comes in. By giving away your so-called IP you can exhibit thought leadership and you can provide your future customers with the confidence of knowing that you can help them, which will put your business in their “top of mind” for when the time comes to choose a provider of what ever it is you specialise in!
Here are a few examples of freely available IP and how this has not changed the market dynamics:
- Copywriting: It is a skill, there are many small players around the world all vying for SME business. There also just as many Copywriting practitioners teaching these skills in Copywriting courses, selling ebooks, e-learning, webinars etc. And there are many SME business owners using both of these types of services. Of course there are also many many books on the subject, ranging from the simple to complex. Now if you look at the standard of copywriting on most small business websites, you would be forgiven in forming an opinion that all this copywriting expertise and so called IP has not made any difference and the general standard today is just as bad as it was 5 or 10 years ago!
- For years most business owners were extremely frustrated about not being able to quickly, easily and freely or cheaply manage their own website. And then technology advanced and gave us CMS – Content Management System. Today 99% of all websites have an easy to use content management system yet probably less than 5% percent of SME website owners actually use the system properly or regularly to get any real benefit from it. Instead they use their website marketing or website design company to change the content for them and make sure the website look professional and is maintained correctly.
- Web Video is a reasonably new expertise, gaining great popularity as a marketing tool. Yet the principles of video production and engaging storytelling have not changed from those practiced by the Hollywood studios or advertising agencies. The only change has been in technology. So if you were a Video Production business specialising in video production and video promotion for small businesses would you and should you teach your customers and prospects how to D.I.Y and hence give away your I.P.? Once again I say absolutely!
- If you don’t, somebody else will! Your prospect will find someone who will do this for them or they’ll “learn it themselves for free” – although we all know it is not really free and the opportunity cost of their time is the greatest cost! So you end up losing incremental revenue if you don’t teach them, revenue you would not normally get a sniff at!
- By showing your customer how to film their own marketing web video, you will get your customer to understand the complexity of what is involved. And understanding means appreciation!
- Even showing a customer how to do it, does not mean that they can or will do this themselves! They probably don’t have your passion and enthusiasm, creativity and skill level to do a professional job then when compared to your standard! After all they are in the business of doing what they do best, which is NOT video script writing and story boarding, shooting, lighting, editing, uploading and promoting on the web, etc
You can now see the list of I.P. being given away or do-it-yourself advice is never ending…there is information on every topic imaginable and it is free! From SEO to Photography, Conveyancing and Plumbing you can get it all at a click of your mouse. Why does a UK Plumbing company have hundreds of Plumbing Video’s online for free? Because it understands that by doing so they will be seen as an expert which will help them win much better and more complex jobs, and they also understand that there will always be a segment of the market who will watch their YouTube video and say “it looks too hard, I’ll just call them!”