Saturday, July 18, 2009

Don't say that

Here are some words you should never use when describing your product or service:
  1. Premium: If I don't have a sensory experience that confirms your premiumness then you telling me about it only makes you look delusional. And if I do have that experience, your telling me about it is unnecessary. If I eat premium ice cream, it has got to taste so much better than non-premium ice creams. If I attend a premium concert (sometimes they use the word premier) it has got to sound much better. The colors on that TV you're selling me have got to blow my mind. And your service better make me feel like a king. Of course, "super-premium" is even worse. Ditto for all those other modifiers: super, mega, ultra... Don't do it.
  2. Value: See above. If you've got a value offering, my reaction when looking at it and, even later, when using it has got to be: "holy &$#&! What a deal I got!" If that's not the reaction then you do not have a value offering. It may be cheap. But it is not a value.
  3. Finest ingredients: First of all, how much of the finest ingredients actually exist?? Isn't "finest" a relative term? Surely you all can't be using the finest. And seriously, let's be honest. Your $3 box of cookies sitting on a store shelf does not use the finest ingredients. The finest ingredients are used by the artisanal bakery, by the elite restaurants... You just look silly when you say these things. And just as important, see above. If your product doesn't taste out of this world, then I don't care about your ingredients. One exception: if you're talking about things like fair trade and other moral issues. Here, the result may not be perceptual. It's fine to talk about those things.
  4. Best: see #3
  5. Most preferred: This one is on it's way out. In a totally socially networked world, I won't need you to tell me this. I will know if the people I care about like your product or not. You can continue to use this now if you really need to. But think carefully about this. This is basically an admission that your product sucks. That its qualities will not be evident to me. That I need to take your word that other people like it. Or, maybe, you're just telling me that I'm an idiot. That I don't see the wondrousness of your widget but that those other, smarter, more perceptive people do. Either way, you can do better.
Basic point: Don't tell me what you're all about. Just be it. Do it. I will figure it out for myself. If I can't then either your offering isn't good or I am the wrong target for you. I think Ralph Waldo Emerson said it well: "Don't say things. What you are stands over you the while, and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary."

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