Building a Brand (part 2)

Evaluating Your Claims

Determining the best promise or ‘claim’ for your product or service isn’t just a matter of defining the message. You have to make it engaging, relevant and differentiated. So many claims (and copy) use words like ‘biggest,’ ‘cheapest’ and ‘best,’ that are platitudes at best and probably not true. More importantly, they waste the most valuable opportunity to engage and differentiate you. Here are two simple tests you can do in the privacy of your office to evaluate your claims and headlines.

The “Duh” Test
Ask someone why you should buy from them. They respond, “because we give great customer service,” or “We Deliver Results.” A plumber says, ‘we’re there when you need us,’ or a builder says, ‘the house you’ve always wanted…’ Duh. If it’s something you (and your competitors) need to do to just be in the game, that’s not a claim. It’s simply a description. Not engaging, relevant or different.

A charter school, called Propel Schools , used to say they provided a ‘Student Centered’ education. Duh. By using their name, and making the claim that they ‘Propelled’ students, they and created a compelling promise that had energy and engagement. You’ve got to answer the question, “Why would anyone choose you over one of competitors.” For Real. No Duh’s.

The “Different” Test
The issue of differentiation isn’t a matter of what you do. Your competitors probably do it too. Usually, difference lies in some specific detail of how you do it. Your “3 Steps,” “113 Simple Ingredients” or “10 Inspectors.” All those ‘differences’ like experience, quality or creativity aren’t differences. They could well be characteristics of your competitor as easily as you. Gleem toothpaste has GL-70 . Domino’s Pizza has 30 minute delivery and Saab’s are designed by aerospace engineers (as well as having the coolest cup-holders in the business). If you can cross off your name in an ad and insert your competitor’s name without substantially misrepresenting them, you’ve got a problem.