IN SEVEN WORDS, WHO ARE YOU?
If you can’t answer that question for your SELF and
for the business you own or operate or represent,
odds are no one else can answer it either…
and it’s a good bet that things are
probably going nowhere fast!
Think about this:
With very rare exception, every great branding line, theme line, identification line, logo line, jingle line, motto, slogan,
and email “Subject” . . . is 7 words or less.
This is not to suggest that websites and online articles should be short. Remember, that just because you have great graphics to offer or viral- bound videos or Earth-shattering embedded links included doesn’t mean you can expect sales or even attention.
On the Internet,
Graphics may serve to attract attention, and maybe even stimulate desire, but words are what sell. Words bring about action. Words deliver satisfaction. Words alone can answer the only “radio station WII-FM question” every consumer has with every purchase:
Successful exceptions to the 7-words-or-less identity formula are few and far between, and are usually the product of creative and manage- ment teams that work days on end —often weeks or months. The right words do not come easy, especially for those branding lines that succeed at breaking the 7-words rule of thumb.
Examples that come to mind are often created with intentional violation of limited word memorability by going way over the top (like the purposefully-long catchiness of ACE Hardware advertising phraseology and rhythm) . . . or by segueing a 7-words-or-less message directly into a memorable piece of music (like Farmers Insurance: “We are Farmers… dum, da, dum, dum, dum, dum, dum, dum”). Yes, and sometimes one small extra word will cut it: “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.”
But REALITY? Reality is that “7 words or less almost always work best” . . . which is why the challenge attached to coming up with those words is so daunting. It’s not a matter of going into a closet with an armload of junkfood, and emerging a couple of hours later with the “genius” one-liner.
The kinds of 7-words-or-less combinations that work magic (“Do it!”, “I’m lovin’ it!”, “America runs on Dunkin’”, “Should I stay or should I go?”, “It’s in you!”, “Thank heaven for 7/11”, “We’ll leave the light on for you”— Add your own!) are most often born only after weeks or months of studying the products, services, markets involved, and even then creating an innovative little twist on the most provocative way to represent the message.
Consider that it’s long been the ad agency absolute rule for successful drive-by billboards to max out at 7 words because more than 7 cannot typically be read and absorbed at parkway speed. The same is true for email subject lines. Here, by the way, in case you missed it, is a “Clear Channel” billboard with no words OR graphics… just their name on the “provider plate” at the bottom:
Most ideal, of course, is:
A) to have 7-words include the brand or company name (but it needs to be a natural fit; forcing it defeats the purpose), and/or
B) to use a (good taste) double entendre whenever possible, and
C) to, of course, rhyme when the occasion permits.
The trick is to make it all flow in a natural way… especially in the use of humor! When anything seems or feels forced, it defeats the purpose… and will usually backfire.
Here’s an assignment you can do, and grade yourself on: Carry a piece of paper with the first 7 words you can think of that describe your SELF and the first 7 words you can think of that best describe your business. Look at it every day for a week and as you do, edit it, change and substitute words. Keep at it even after you think you have an “Aha!”
(BUT BEFORE YOU KISS YOURSELF IN THE MIRROR BECAUSE YOU HAVE JUST PRODUCED BRILLIANCE, and just for curiosity, how do your two sets of words compare?)
[Hint: You’ll wish you had done this pen to paper and kept each scribbled out version along the way. That scenario learning curve far surpasses electronic notepad use.]
MUCH more about all this in quick take-home thoughts that span decades of successful branding experiences can be found –no obligation, no tracking cookies, no arm-bending, no strings attached, no bombardment of followup emails, no deals— just good free input stuff at http://www.halalpiar.com/todays-branding-tip/
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