Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Right Balance

An entrepreneur I know well has been ramping up messaging on social media pages and email contacts with a surprisingly candid, yet highly effective approach.  It's refreshing!

I'm hardly ever impressed by braggarts.  Perhaps you know the type.  Those folks claim to be the absolute best in their field or geographic area on little more than their own say-so.  It's a bad place to be when, if met face to face, they are found wanting.  There is but one place for their brand to go.

My peer mentioned above has been brave enough to talk about a time when she was, at least in her own view, less effective and wracked by self-doubt.  She then talks about her story overcoming those doubts and how she put her own medicine to work building a consulting practice.  And that leads to a discussion about how she in turn helps others present themselves to best effective.

What works so well in this messaging is the vulnerability.  I think that doing so establishes a genuineness and credibility with the audience.  And when someone meets my peer, I think they only find a consultant who is more effective than she claims.  She laid the foundation where there is really only one place to go---up. 

Bottom Line:  Look at brand messaging as an opportunity to establish a genuine "you."  Writing a story to share is a wonderful way to start.  Use that exercise as a means of eliminating braggadocio and undue claims.  A genuine person is most likely to attract clients and customers.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Hyperbole: A Two Edged Sword

This past week I came across a brochure published by a professional service provider whom I know well.  It was a marketing piece that I think will work against this person.

The thing had obvious flaws:  amateur production quality, abuse of fonts, underlining, and color, and ill-chosen illustrations.  All of these might have been forgivable had the brochure's text not been thick with hyperbole and overstatement.

I think that as a basic rule a marketer needs to use adjectives with care.  One or two chosen ones is ideal.  A few more if they can be justified.  More than half a dozen?  Never.  In the case of the professional with the brochure, self-congratulatory adjectives rained from the heavens.  In the "address" block alone were more than five.  I don't know that they were all justified.  When someone tells me that (in their opinion) they are extraordinary, I'm going to need extraordinary proof. 

The reality was that the professional, while a pretty nice person, tends to be their biggest single admirer and the services are satisfactory, not exceptional.  That language, tied with the cheapskate production of the brochure, was off putting.  And if I am not alone...  you get the point.

Bottom Line:  Be careful with the use of hyperbole.  If you can't objectively assess your market value (and potential) ask someone else to review the text.  Many small business people can use more promotional language---there are many with "imposter syndrome", but far too many take adjectives to an extreme.  And that can deeply hurt a business!