The 5 Forbidden Words of Advertising

by | Jun 10, 2006 | Marketing

Quality – Service – Value – Integrity – Caring

They look great. They sound great. You’re sure that they’ll convince the customer that your firm, above all others, is the “the one.”

The only problem, as pointed out by this BusinessWeek article, is that those five words have come to mean absolutely nothing to an ad-saturated public.

In reality, these five attributes are all fairly fundamental business concepts. They’re not something you should be boasting about; they’re simply core competencies that all business ought to consider an operational baseline.

There are plenty of companies out there that fail at one or other of these, but why compare your own company to theirs? Proclaiming “We’re not as bad as some other companies” is no way to win a customer’s heart.

Because these keywords represent what should be basic business practices, using them in promotional materials comes across as being defensive, and nothing deflates an ad campaign as quickly as defensiveness.

Don’t believe that they’re overused? Google lists over 26 million pages that use all five of these keywords. Narrow it down to “service,” “value,” and “quality,” and you get a whopping 327 million results.

What’s the solution?

Figure out what really makes your company different. Every company thinks they’re about quality, service, etc., so if you want to stand out you’ve got to move past the bogs of trite ad-lingo and into fresh, fertile, unclaimed territory. There’s plenty of it out there!

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