A simple grammatical trick can make you stand out among your competition. Well, at least until they do the same thing!
Take a look at these slogans you’ve probably seen in the mass media.
SBC: “Fastest internet in Austin for the price”
Sprint: “The most powerful network”
Verizon: “America’s most reliable network”
Cingular: “The fewest dropped calls”
What do all these have in common? They all use superlatives. Do you remember that term from grammar lessons long ago?
This subtle phrasing helps the companies mentioned above appear as though they are the only valid choice. Superlatives are great at making a good first impression. However, when superlatives are flying all around, it may cause your customer to start to ask questions. Will your superlative claim stand up to scrutiny? Let’s take a look at these examples.
I saw SBC’s claim “Fastest Internet in Austin for the price” on a roadside billboard. The “fastest” part caught my attention and I, driving by in my car, often didn’t get past that first piece and never read the “for the price.”
The second half of their claim is a big caveat, exemption, and doubt creator. What do they mean by “for the price?”
Don’t leave your customers guessing or even thinking there is a catch to your statement.
Sprint claims “the most powerful network.” What do they mean by “powerful?” Are we talking about volts, amps, or mystical waves floating through the air? Something else? It is hard to say because they make the claim as if it is self-evident.
Your marketing statements should be self-explanatory.
Verizon Wireless boasts “America’s most reliable network.” Surely this resonates with consumers whose current cell provider drops their calls or never seems to have an available signal on hand.
Use words that ring true with customers. A customer should hear your statement and then immediately picture how their current problem can be fixed by your solution.
Not to be outdone by the competition, Cingular makes the longest statement: “The largest digital voice and data network and the fewest dropped calls.” What does the “largest network” do for me? Doesn’t that make it more crowded, harder to get customer service, and turn me into just another account number?
They may be wiser to stick with the final claim: “fewest dropped calls.” While not as broad as Verizon’s reliable claim, the dropped call statement would resonate with customers that are plagued by such.
Avoid marketing claims that also make you look impersonal.
Be the Best
Using superlatives in marketing claims can easily make you look superior to others. However, your claims need to relate to customer’s needs, make you look nearly perfect, and be truthful. Boasting your own strength or greatness will do little to persuade the customer to make a change and do business with you. Take it from the other side: what does your customer want–or need–to hear?