Being Understood

Have you ever looked at a brochure, web site, print ad or mailer and had to read it twice to figure out exactly what it was all about? Have you ever listened to someone talk about their business only to wonder what kind of product or service they provide? I am constantly amazed by the number of ads, business cards, brochures, web sites and logos that I see that leave me wondering just what it is that company does!

How can we clearly communicate what we do at a glance. And more importantly how can we communicate the BENEFITS that our target customers will receive if they deal with us.

“Marketing Mimes give us the ability to become instantly understood.”

Where They Come From:
In 1976 Oxford University biologist Richard Dawkins wrote a book called “The Selfish Gene.” In this book he introduced a new concept. Dawkins asserted that like a “gene,” a “meme” is a self-replicating idea that is passed along from person to person. He sited examples of memes: memorable tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, fads and so on. Just as genes propagate themselves in the gene pool by leaping from body to body in the form of sperm, memes propagate themselves by leaping from mind to mind in a form of cultural imitation.

What a Meme Does:

  • It is obvious in its meaning
  • It focuses on the outcome
  • It is self-explanatory and simplistic
  • It is easy to replicate in someone’s mind
  • It actively transfers information

Developing the Meme:
The meme is not necessarily a slogan, headline, or a tag but it is most effective in that form. It really is the core message of what you do. In some ways the meme is your branding position statement. Memes are often seen with a company’s logo. This is called a logo assembly. Here’s some tips on developing your meme:
First ask: What do my clients get as a result of using my service?
Next: Strip the phrase down to the essentials.
Try to strike an emotional chord with your meme
Make it easy to remember
Make sure it rolls off the tongue nicely
Examples of Memes:
The meme is not necessarily a slogan, headline, or a tag but it is most effective in that form.

Hewlett Packard – “Expanding possibilities”
Fiji Film – “You can see the future from here”
United – “Fly the Friendly Skies”
Service Merchandise – “One Call. Done.”
In Focus – “Project yourself”
Continental – “Work hard. Fly Right”
Best Buy – “Now that’s a great idea”
Jeep – “There’s only one”
Alamo – “Drive Happy”
AAA – “We’re always with you”
Moore Paints – “We make it simple. You make it beautiful.”
Testing the Meme:
Once you’ve developed your meme, you need to test it. When you communicate your meme, do people ask the right kind of questions?

I.T. Advertising – Not just pretty pictures and clever headlines – bottom-line RESULTS! Well that’s what advertisers want, right?The Small Business Hour – “Helping small business owners make better decisions.” – – – This begs the question, What kind of decisions? – “Providing answers for small businesses” – – – This begs the question, What kind of answers?These are precisely the kind of questions that allow me to demonstrate how I am different, how I solve problems and how I may be the ONLY solution in some cases.HERE ARE SOME TIPS for writing good memes, taglines or slogans for your business:1) Start by noticing ads on billboards as you drive down the road. Billboard advertisers have but a couple of seconds to grab your attention and sell their product or service. Usually their copy is going to be a very good meme or tagline with a picture of the product or service. These are great examples of how to write effective taglines.2) Notice other media forms like magazine and newspaper display ads, business cards, brief radio and TV commercials. Observe the thing that caught your attention and makes the message easily remembered. It’s usually a concise and well-written meme.3) Write down everything you can think of that relates to your business. You may even start with a narrative description in paragraph form.4) Now, make a list of the top 25 or 30 things that are important and worth mentioning. Whittle that list down to 8 or 10 of the most important things you wish to say. Now eliminate repetition or things that are not really that necessary to your product or service. Get your list of words or phrases down to 3 or 4 central elements.5) Based on your final core selection, make up some phrases that will serve as your meme or slogan for consideration. Keep it short and use simple, everyday language.The authors of “Advertising: Its Role in Modern Marketing” (Dryden Press, 1994) list five rules for slogan writing. Dean Krugman, Leonard Reid, Watson Dunn and Arnold Barban say:

  • Make the slogan or meme easy to remember and unlikely to confuse.
  • Make it help differentiate the product (or service) from the competition.
  • Make it provoke curiosity, if possible.
  • Make it emphasize a reward or action.
  • Use rhyme, rhythm or alliteration.

I hope this has been helpful for those of you considering tag lines or slogans for a new business or even the introduction of a new product or service. Developing these kinds of promotional elements are precisely what we focus on in our classes and workshops.If you are interested in applying this kind of creative promotional strategy to your marketing effort, enroll in my “Out-Marketing The Competition Class.” This nine week course focuses on learning and practicing specific marketing methods and strategies that can be implemented very rapidly and cost-effectively in a small business. Participants will develop a complete marketing plan by the end of the class.

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