By Travis Kennedy
When you need a great tagline to use in marketing, negotiations, even blog posts, you need to look no further than Hollywood. About 5 years ago, the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love came out starring Ryan Gosling and my personal favorite funnyman Steve Carrell in which the former was teaching the later the benefits of being better than his current self.
Specifically, Ryan Gosling’s younger character Jacob tells Steve Carrell’s slightly older character Cal to invest in his outdated image if he wants to be taken seriously. Taken seriously in every aspect of his life, both professionally and personally. Cal believes it’s a simple fix accomplished by simply going to The Gap for a new wardrobe and perhaps another pair of “dad jeans.” Jacob walks away in disgust before returning, grabbing Cal by the face and stating, “Cal, be better than the GAP!” He then slap-taps Cal around the jowls and pulls him through a series of stores and other modern wellness locations to accomplish the desired transformative outcome.
I feel like Jacob a lot. Not in the tone of helping “outdaters” update their wardrobes but rather helping manufacturers update their tired marketing “outfits.” In the water and wastewater market, the messaging has been the same since who knows when… perhaps since the turn of the century… No, not the most recent turn of the century but the EARLIER one that brought us into the 1900s. That message I am referring to is the one that’s all about you and your product. “My product is the best,” or “Look at my solution. It’s better than anything else,” or “Call me now so I can sell you this great solution.” Granted that last one was cheeky but it is what your buying audience hears when you only pitch your product, Company, or even your product’s features and benefits. It’s a sales pitch, nothing more.
While times have certainly changed as manufacturers understand the importance of content and connection there is still a lot of work to do. If you are still out there pitching your product, telling your audience that they should take time out of their very busy day to listen to you while you try and sell them something, I’m sorry but you’re an “outdater.” It’s simply not going to work, unless you have already laid the groundwork (which is 90% of the journey) and given the customer a reason to connect, a reason to pay attention.
That’s the purpose of brand publishing and that’s how it can transform your business. If I was Jacob and I was trying to help you update your image, modernize your approach, improve your marketing and increase your sales I would start with one simple thing. I would grab you by the cheeks, look you straight in the eyes and simply say, “Be better than the PITCH! Say it with me….Be better… than the PITCH!”
Once you’ve grasped and understand that your products, solutions, company and brand are better than a simple sales pitch it’ll be easier for you to see that your customers are too. Give them that courtesy. Give your brand an identity…. BE BETTER THAN THE PITCH!
Image credit: "Ryan Gosling Cannes 2"," Raffi Asdourian 2011, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/