Creating a Positive Label

I don’t have to tell you that we live in a busy time. So many things fight for our attention and there are more distractions than ever before. So much noise means it’s harder than ever to be heard. The result is that people come to quick decisions about businesses and services. They take the avalanche of messages and “sort” them into mental labels. Once your business has a label, it’s very difficult to get it changed. Think of all the businesses and services you have never used and never will, because they have a negative label in your brain.

As a business owner, how can you get more positive labels in the minds of potential customers? First, keep it simple. We have such little time to make an impression and if the message is long or confusing, it will be ignored. Figure out how to say what needs to be said in as few words as possible. Next, define your message. This is the most important thing you can do to market your business.

Next, define your message. This is the most important thing you can do to market your business. The human brain is wired to ignore or be unimpressed by things which blend into other messages. In other words, your message must be distinctly different any other in order to be processed. To create this impact, you must determine what your business does better than anyone else. You must create a space between your service and all other services you compete with. There is a huge difference in a message that says we are really good at_________ or we specialize in_________ and one that says we are the very BEST at _________.

Your business needs to be the very best at something. Figure out what that is and start telling everyone.

Your business must be the very best at something. Figure out what that is and start telling everyone. If you are not able to determine what you are best at doing, then you need to work on developing that- it’s essential to being heard. How do you decide what you should be best at doing? A couple of factors should guide your choice. First, pick something your business is very capable of being the best at doing. If you tout your unparalleled ability and clients try your service because of that message, you better be able to deliver. Secondly and most important, it must matter to the potential client. If you pick something to shout about that really isn’t important to potential clients, then it won’t matter how good you are at doing it.

Recently, I heard about a company who owns and operates truck stops on major interstate highways. Their message was that they had the best and cleanest bathrooms in the world. I wondered what they did to back that up and found that this company had 50 urinals and toilet stalls in their men’s rooms and 100 toilets in the ladies rooms. They had a full time person dedicated to cleaning and serving each room at all times. They had TV shows playing in the bathroom. They offered free deodorant and lotions and toothbrushes. There were over 25 sinks. They had backlighted mirrors. They even made sure the free Wi-Fi worked in the bathroom!

It seemed a bit odd that this company chose to build its business on bathroom power, but they knew this is what their customers valued and they were determined to blow them away and totally support their claim of world’s best.

What “label” do you think pops up in people’s minds when they hear this company’s name? No doubt it’s positive- a great “experience” using their bathrooms. This company could have chosen cheapest gas, best truck stop food, greatest roadside assistance, but they chose best bathrooms. It works very well for them and they have people talking about them and stopping there to buy gas and food and…

If you are not sure what your clients really value, then start asking them. You could list 4-5 choices like price, design, delivery service, installation, guaranteed satisfaction or any other considerations on a survey card. Ask them to rank their choices while they have their piece designed. This will give you some real insight into what is most important.

Once you decide you are going to be the very best at a certain aspect of your service, it’s time to begin telling everyone- over and over again- don’t stop repeating this one central message. But before you start marketing the message, you’ll want to think about how you say it. Too many businesses talk about the features they offer instead of the benefits those features give people. Potential clients have no interest in what your business does – they only care about how it will make their lives better.

Lets’ use the truck stop business as an example. The message of “We have the World’s Best Bathrooms” would be one many customers would not care too much about. Why? It doesn’t put the feature of great bathrooms into easily recognized desired benefits. Terms like spacious, spotless, no waiting, pampered, free amenities- now those speak much louder to the road weary traveler you is used to crowded, dirty and dingy highway bathrooms. Your message needs to speak to the emotional benefits of using your service- it should remove any fears potential clients have and replace them with exciting about getting something they value.

The bad news is that there is too much noise today for average messages to be heard. Because of this, potential customers tune out things that don’t resonate.  The good news is that great messages reaching the true needs of the customer, standing for one clear benefit and creating a clear difference between you and the competition, create a strong brand. Customers will always be looking for the companies who provide what they want better than anyone else.

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