OK this is a bit of a rant but only because I get frustrated when people get lazy when describing their business. I see them everywhere, I bet you have too. Before you read on, I apologise in advance if these appear on your own website, van or business cards. This is only my opinion, marketers will have another view as is always the case. But hey, if I’m thinking it then maybe other customers are thinking it too. These marketing phrases are not big and definitely not clever.
All aspects of….
Who searches for, or asks for someone who covers all aspects of? Honestly, I have never heard anyone actually say this phrase and I’m sure it’s not a common google long-tail search either. This lazy phrase is synonymous with the building trade. All aspects of building is probably the main culprit here. It’s easy to understand why it’s used in the trade though. Many builders, plumbers, electricians and plasterers can actually perform so many services and if they can’t, their mate or subby (subcontractor) will do it.
It’s better to use the language of your customer though. So what do customers actually ask for?
If you’re a builder say what you are an expert in and the type of work you specialise in, this will lead to more of the work you want. Try something like “We’re the best at extensions, conversions and renovations” for example.
Plumbers try “Brilliant shower installations, wet rooms, appliances fitted in minutes.” To be fair, I am rubbish at decorating or jobs around the house. So respect to you if are the practical type.
We’re passionate about…
In the last few years “passionate about….” is everywhere. I hear this at networking events, but it pops up on business cards and especially strap lines on websites too. There are 2 common meanings of the word passionate the 1st is kind of acceptable in business terms having, showing, or caused by strong feelings or beliefs. But the original description is the reason why I cringe when I hear this “arising from intense feelings of sexual love.”
So if someone tells me that they are passionate about accounting, cleaning, or legal advice I have to laugh. If someone is passionate about animals then this needs to be reported the appropriate authorities. The picture this paints is awful, I won’t expand on that, but I guess you know where I’m going with this.
Again, to be fair, I do often feel strongly, usually enjoy, I have even said I love helping others and sharing what I know. However, I won’t suggest for a minute that I am actually aroused by my job. This phrase is reserved for my feeling to my wife and unless she becomes a client (unlikely to say the least), I’ll never say that I am actually passionate about my work. Please don’t you say you are passionate about it either. Unless, that is, that being sensual, amorous, or even sexy is your job.
Try “We feel great when our clients say….“.
Now this could be the laziest word in marketing. I’m actually getting angry typing the word too. In a meeting with a customer or colleague this could be used. But when it’s on a website or worse, in the name of your business or brand it means NOTHING.
Mostly this appears in technical services like; IT solutions, Website Solutions, Accounting solutions. However, this pointless branding word is seen used in all trades and sectors. Surely other adjectives exist.
So if someone asks what is it you do, would you say solutions? Would you use this when searching online? I guess you’d actually explain what you did like, we fix computers, we advise on tax VAT and bookkeeping, build websites and so on.
So this essentially means that you do things a little differently, well doesn’t everyone? I recently attended the Medilink awards dinner, the BioMedical sector thrives on innovation. These guys CAN use the word innovative, they have to innovate to save lives. However, a web designer for example, rarely innovates. Usually someone else has designed something like this before, there’s nothing wrong with copying success though and marketing better. But claims of innovation are too commonplace and this word is overused. This word has all but lost it’s value unless associated with a new product or service, use with caution!
Try saying that you like to do things a little differently and say what, or better still why.
Everyone provides a good maybe even a great service or product. But the word quality now only describes good. It means very little, it’s just as lazy as nice, ok or alright. No-one says they provide a poor quality service or low-quality products, therefore by default saying it’s quality says nothing to distinguish from the norm.
Use stronger claims than quality like “Market Leading, The Best xxxx Around, The Areas Favourite…”
I understand that creating a strap line can be difficult, describing ourselves can be awkward. We often default to copying others. The problem comes when we copy poor ideas or to be better than we actually are. When it comes to branding and marketing, my advice is to speak with a professional, whether it’s an agency or consultant. Stick to what you do best and outsource the rest.
So what straplines drive you crazy? Please share your thoughts!