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Five words that kill your advertising

Last month, BusinessWeek ran an article describing the five most worthless words in advertising. Here they are in all their glory:
  • Quality
  • Service
  • Value
  • Integrity
  • Caring
Sound familiar? If you add a stockphoto and a pun, these words represent 80% of credit union advertising. There are a couple of problems with these words:
  1. They represent the status quo. You can’t build your marketing around the fact that you’re doing what any business is expected to do. Imagine if I had tried to woo my girlfriend by telling her “Hi, my name is Brent. I’ve never murdered anyone, plus sometimes I bathe.” She would have moved on. Fortunately, I told her I was filthy rich and could bench three times my bodyweight. Perhaps this isn’t the best example. Let’s move on.
  2. They have become so overused and tired that your message will instantly slip out of consumer consciousness. A U.S. Department of Labor report on the chemical formalin explains that “prolonged and repeated contact can cause numbness.” Mundane advertising has the same side effects.
I like the closing paragraph of the article:
What you think about your company doesn’t matter. All that matters is what your customers and prospects think. The next time you’re tempted to use one of these five words in an ad, stop and ask if there’s a better way to get the message across. Using common words that have become empty cliches is a shortcut to nowhere. Just because you sell it doesn’t mean people will buy it.
So here’s a direct question – Without using those words, or a facsimile substitute, what makes your credit union (or company/organization) different?

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