Building a Brand (part 1)

Why should someone buy your product or service? Because of what you do? Probably not. My guess is that your competitors do pretty much the same thing. One way to think about how to distinguish your product or service is to conceptualize your claim in an ad. Whether you use advertising or not (you probably should), an ad helps condense your message into the essential promise that can engage customers and differentiate you.

Headlines
The most important part of an ad (and most other marketing pieces) is the headline because of how many things it needs to do at the same time. Good headlines get someone’s attention, create interest and relevancy and help position your product or service in a differentiated way. Some would say it’s the ‘ad for the ad.’ Headlines come in many forms, the most common of which include:

  • Questions. Does She or Doesn’t She? Who Else Wants [blank]? Tongue-Tied at a Party?
  • Answers. Why some foods “Explode” in Your Stomach. Where to Go for Your Next Car.
  • Offers. Call Now for Your Free Guide to Writing Ads
  • Assertions. The Secret of [blank]. Guaranteed to [blank]. Lose 10 Pounds in a Week.
  • Promises. We Try Harder
  • Commands. Give In To The Call of the Wild.
  • How-To Statements. Advice to Homeowners. How To Make a Million.
  • News Announcements. The Child that Won The Hearts of All.
  • Indirect Actions. Discover the Fortune That Lies Hidden in Your Salary
  • Invitations. To Men Who Want to Quit Work Someday
  • Quotes. I Lost 10 Pounds in Two Weeks.
  • Conceptual Statements. Think Small (Volkswagen). Be Different (Apple)

Underlying them all is an understanding of the need or problem your product or service addresses. As a starter, it’s usually a good idea to write down, in plain English, what you want to get across, and try to frame this message in one or more of these forms, focusing on either or both the problem, solution or benefits.