Over the past 18 years I've written many different ad campaigns and slogans for businesses and experiment with words in ads. My quest has always been to try to find out what works, what doesn't, and why. That is why I five years ago I went to the Wizard Academy. Business owners are always looking for that magic ad or the magic words that will make people rush in and say, " I heard your ad and am here because that ad convinced me to do business with you."
But I've never heard someone say that. I have heard lots of people say they had heard an ad on radio or TV. But nobody will say an ad convinced them… because no one wants to admit to being manipulated. I really don't have any words that are magic. Let's face it…there are no such things as magic words, particularly in a culture that is being saturated with 3000 or so advertising messages a day.
I do know some words you should NOT use. Here they are along with my reasons not to use them.
This one is probably the most overused word in advertising, which is the primary reason why you should stay away from it. What exactly does "quality" mean? Lexus and Hyundai both say they area quality product. I have a client that has a deli and a slogan that says, "Where quality is the main ingredient." In our local phone book there's a big ad for, Quality Plumbing" "fast friendly service." There you have it… car dealers, fancy jewelry stores, pizza places, a deli, plumbers and septic tank services all using the word quality.
Every product worth buying is a quality product. It may be high-priced quality or it may be low-priced quality, but it's quality either way. That means every company believes it can use the word "quality" in its advertising. Too many have, and as a result, now "quality" has become a cliché.
Like quality, value has been ruined by overuse. In the Lexus and the Hyundai examples -- which car is the better value? It depends -- on the buyer, on the purchase occasion, and on what features and benefits value is being judged. Both dealers say in their ads that the cars are a good value
Wal-Mart says they have good value, but so does Tiffany & Co. Saying in an ad: "We provide the best value" is a waste of money to purchase the airtime to say it. To me… value happens when what you paid for something is far below what the estimated worth of it is in your mind. But everyone has a different opinion of what a "good value" is.
Have you ever heard an ad promising lousy service? I bet you have heard a lot of ads promising good service, or fast friendly service. Good service is a foregone conclusion. In the hostile environment today, about 98.5% of the time when people complain about a business it is about poor customer service. If everybody is claiming good service and hardly anyone getting it, a business that gives "over the top" good service stands out like an airplane sitting in your front yard. It's great if you have really good service but don't say it in your ads. If you don't have it and say you do… please email me, and let me know how that's working out for you.
Can you really say your company cares more about your customers than your competition does? You might think so, but if your competitors didn't care about their customers, they couldn't stay in business.
Service companies tend to get caught up in wanting to promote "caring" because they don't sell a tangible product. But to say "we care more" in an ad presumes that your competitors care less, and that would be hard to prove. Consumers are very savvy and for you to say you care and indicate that your competitors don't is like the Republicans saying. "Democrats are not patriotic." Or the Democrats saying, "Republicans don't care about poor people."
These four words should be left out of ads. They're way overused, and they're based on variables that are different for everybody.
I'm not saying don't use this one. Just understand the way it might be perceived by the consumer. A company either has integrity or it doesn't. It's either honest or it isn't. Most folks will give a business a chance and the benefit of the doubt one time. You wanna know what brings a customer back for the second visit? Their FIRST visit! If a business espouses having integrity in their advertising it's for one of two reasons. They're either trying to cover up some lack of integrity in themselves or their industry or they're implying they live by a higher standard than their competition. Every company needs to have integrity. No company needs to blatantly advertise it.
Do you want consumers to view your products and services as being high quality and of good value? Yes. Do you want them to appreciate your caring, your great customer service and strong integrity? Yes. Every company wants those things. But those that win the hearts and minds of consumers over the long haul have good word of mouth advertising working for them too! The customers themselves are singing the praises of the caring, integrity, quality and value of the service or product.
What you think about your company doesn't matter when writing an ad. 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. You'll get more Bang for your Buck in your advertising if you'll find creative ways to leave these words out.