Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Have We Lost Credibility?

Advertising is replete with claims.  It has to be by its very nature.  A business can only attract customers by asserting that it can solve problems those customers might be having.  But that said, there is a very fine line between making a credible claim and, well, lying.  Sadly a prospect who has become jaded by some bad experiences may reject many other advertising claims.

How, then, to establish credibility within an advertising message?

The first advice I give is to avoid fantastic claims.  This ranges from the sly intimation that various cosmetics or "enhancements" will make one more attractive to the simple but absurd label on the pizza box that says "now try the best."  If it sounds over-the-top to you, it will also to a prospect.

The second advice is to support a claim that may sound boastful with some data, either in the form of a testimonial or survey or some such.  If you can prove that "our customers say we have the best in town", then feel free to make the claim.

And the third advice is stick to plausible but meaningful differentiation.  Do you have a special expertise? is your product made in a unique way?  Your service may not lead to World Peace but it just might be the very right thing for a customer who needs someone who has a certification in forensic accounting.

Bottom Line:  By making extravagant claims you risk alienating prospects.  People are pretty good at spotting nonsense and then disbelieving anything else that's said.  But by making sensible and defensible comparisons one can earn trust and improve the bottom line.

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