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!

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