This one is a bit of a long one, but there are some important lessons and use cases in the article, so bear with me.
How people remember things
When I started working as a growth marketer at KOBI – Helps Children Read, I had to do quite a bit of research on how our brains and memory work. KOBI is an e-reader that helps children learn to read. We had to provide tangible results, so I needed to understand what happens in a kid’s brain when they try to remember a certain word or try to connect a sound to a letter.
Turns out our brain recollects things better in small chunks. To learn to read, your kid needs to practice 10 minutes a day, not two hours on a Saturday.
It makes sense. You are more likely to remember:
– Lady, forest, unicorn
– Pillow, casserole, television set, dinner table, house, trailer park, protein shake. Correct?
The same is true when trying to improve your positioning statement or your tagline.
You are far more likely to remember:
– Just do it
– We help athletes, semi-professionals, and fitness enthusiasts find the motivation to improve their fitness results, whether they prefer running or basketball. Oh, and by the way, we now do kids’ stuff as well.
Lesson #1. Right in the first paragraph (straight to the point, huh?):
Instead of trying to tell everything you do in the first sentence, simplify your message.
When you go on a first date, you don’t want to tell your potential future partner about the gay experience you had in college. That comes later. Start small. “I am honest and I like flowers.” That will do.
Instead of saying: “We help people write things down and sync across all their devices easily.” Say: “Simplify note taking.”
It says the same thing, but people will actually remember it.
Sounds simple, yet so many companies fail at this. So how do we simplify our message and nail our positioning?
Think: Your customers
Simplifying your message is all about going back to basics. Remember the time when everything revolved around your clients?
Go back to that.
Structure the message with your customers in mind. What’s the simplest value you provide for your clients?
At KOBI, we came up with “KOBI – Helps children read.” It’s what our e-reader does. It helps your kid read.
It’s not a magic pill. It won’t do the work for you. In fact, with “helps children read” we wanted to differentiate ourselves from all the solutions that offer “magic pills” on the educational market. Our message is: “Learning to read with our e-reader will still take time and effort, but KOBI is there to support your kid.”
When I help other brands as a consultant and a mentor, I help them “grow faster by nailing their positioning”. The message clearly says that we are going to work on your positioning and the expected result is growth. There is a lot more that I know. And a lot more I can say. But I don’t. I stay on point.
What’s your message to your clients? Can you reduce it to one sentence?
Think: Your differentiation
Another way of crafting a compelling positioning tagline is to start from your differentiation. What sets you apart? Where are you better than your competitors? How can you stand out?
One of the best use cases I have seen in the past is Apple’s “Light. Years ahead.” tagline for MacBook.
In three words, they said everything it needed to be said. Let’s break it down, shall we?
Light – Their new laptop is lighter than competitive products.
Years ahead – You don’t have to compromise on power, the machine is future-proof. Years ahead doesn’t just imply that there is enough power in the laptop, but also that you will not want to change it. It implies you will be happy with it.
A while ago, a mentor told me that the word “guarantee” is the only word that sells more than the word “sex”. In fact, 7-times more. And Apple made their guarantee without even saying it and in only two words.
What sets YOU apart? What do you do better than your competition? Can you explain it in a few words?
There is a third way of saying a lot in a short sentence. By using a simple formula.
There are three key elements to the formula. The who, the result, and the how.
I help brands (the who) grow faster (the result) by nailing their positioning (the how).
If you have a brand, you can come to me and we are going to be working on your positioning in order to improve growth.
Can you do the same for your brand?
Want help with crafting your messages?
Shoot me a message: email@example.com and let’s start a project together.
Simpler = Better. Every time.
I have focused on the taglines because companies usually struggle to come up with suitable solutions for them, but it’s really about every message you write.
Every sentence, every paragraph, every text can be shortened. Made punchier. Made clearer.
Use the following steps to clarify any content you write or anything you say.
5 + 1 Steps to clarify your marketing messages
Explain it to your grandma
The oldest trick in the book. Want something that everyone understands? Try explaining it to your grandma. It’s a cliché for a reason. While trying to explain CAC to grandma might be too much (leave the poor woman alone, she is 87 for fuck’s sake), you can use the rule on other people. I started testing messages in random conversations and you wouldn’t believe how fast you can tell whether or not something works.
Rewrite it 10 times
There is a rule among journalists that you write your best work when you rewrite it for the 10th time. Why? In the beginning, what you write is a draft. It can be a good draft, but a draft nonetheless. The more time you will spend on that writing, the better it’s going to become.
A good friend recently told me: “Copy is always a work in progress”. And he is absolutely right. You don’t have to nail it the first time. But if you want your message to be clear, you need to spend time on it.
Write a tweet
Writing a short tweet is always a good exercise. The character limit forces you to think about what’s important.
Know thy audience
It’s always easier to write when you know who you are writing for. When trying to come up with your message, try imagining you are talking directly to somebody from your target audience.
I mean it. Picture the guy (or lady) sitting across the table. What do you want to say to them?
Use simple language
Rookies try to use big words to sound important. Pros dumb it down, for everybody to understand. I firmly believe that.
Don’t believe me? There is a whole Princeton study that says “big, unnecessary, complex words will lower readers’ evaluations of the text and its author.” This can be roughly translated into: Trying to sound smart will actually make you sound dumber in the eyes of the reader. Think about that for a second.
There are tools out there that can help you out. So much for technology not being your friend, right?
I use ProWritingAid to help me cut unnecessary clutter from the text. It helps me write more directly, gives my writing a bit more punch. Sometimes it cuts the entire sentences out. Just poof, gone. It turns out the computer is right. I didn’t need that sentence.
Start with your website
Ok, so you get the point. You need to say more with fewer words. If you do, people will remember you, they will understand what you do. Your positioning will be clear. Now, where do we start?
A good exercise is to take your website and delete half of the text on your main page.
(shocked) Half, are you serious? Even the part where I explain how my academic success contributed to our company’s unique process of developing the product?
Yes, even that. Nobody gives a fuck about your academic success. I dropped out of two universities and look at me all writing things and shit.
An alternative that really helped us craft our message is to prepare a pitch. Try creating a 5-minute pitch. Shorten it to 3 minutes. Now imagine you meet your perfect client on the street and decide to pitch him. But oh, no, he gets hit by a bus and the ambulance is about to take him away. You have 30 seconds.
What are you going to say?
TL ; DR
People remember simple things; short messages, funny images, simple language. If you want your #positioning to be as clear as the water in Greece, you need to simplify things.
Say more by using fewer words.
To craft a compelling message, you need to understand your audience + the topic you are talking about.
Start by examining your texts (on your website). Can you delete half of the text and keep the message intact?
Take your 3-minute pitch. Can you shorten it to 30 seconds and still tell the person in front of you everything they need to know?
I bet you can.
Hey. My name is Andrej, I am a growth marketer talking about positioning a lot. But hey, it’s important. Positioning is the basis of your marketing and sales. Flop that and you will flop your company. That’s why I created a portal of free resources on digital marketing and positioning. Access it here: RESOURCES
If you find it useful – every like, every share on social media helps. Spread the love.
+ get in touch with me on Linkedin, I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic. Thanks.