Rob Frankel - Branding Expert

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Saying Something, Meaning Nothing

Ever look at an ad and scratch your head, wondering what the heck these people were trying to sell you? I get that way all the time. Probably because I'm old.

Nah. Why mince words? Probably because they're stupid. In fact, if you look around a little, you'll find that while lots of people enjoy talking, very few of them actually say anything. The state of communication has disintegrated to the point where people say what sounds right, instead of delivering a clearly thought message.

Think about it. Advertising tag lines like "Just do it", "Some people just know how to fly", "A different kind of car company" may sound like they mean something, but when examined closely, mean nothing at all. I mean, you could apply those lines to any competitors in their fields and they'd be just as effective.

Or ineffective, if you get my drift.

Admittedly, the most egregious offenders of these sensibilities are those inbred creative people at traditional ad agencies. People who feel that weird hair and strange eye wear compensate for their lack of marketing and communication skills. But remember that those kids have one thing you probably don't:

A huge advertising budget.

They don't have to be clear, because they'll hammer you over the head with the same coded message a bazillion times and sponsor every special interest event from tennis to tiddly winks.

The smaller your budget is, the clearer your message has to be, because it has to work faster. Who's got time to figure out some oblique Freudian reference when all you really want to do is sell more staplers?

This is why you should always put clarity before creativity, in virtually all your communications to your staff, your customers -- heck, even your wives and husbands. Enhancing clarity of communication shortens sales cycles, makes communications more appealing, amplifies management techniques and provides more rewarding social relationships.

Besides that, it can save you big money.

Lack of clarity costs businesses millions of dollars annually in unclear memos, minutes, correspondence and advertising. And if you think it doesn't happen to you every day, try this:

YOU: Hey, Bobby! What's shakin'?

BOBBY: Aw, you know. The same old same old...What about you?

YOU: You kiddin' me? It's been hell most of this year!

BOBBY: Really? What's keeping you so busy?

YOU: Well, it's the same old stuff, only more of it. You know how clients are...

BOBBY: Tell me about it. You still seeing what's her name?

YOU: Nah, we broke that off months ago. How long has it been since I talked to you?

BOBBY: Forever, man.

YOU: So what are you doing lately?

BOBBY: I've got a couple of new things I'm trying, but basically waiting for everyone else to.....

You get the idea. This can go on forever and NOTHING would ever be communicated. And that's the state of communications today. Heck, even the most popular TV shows are reruns and retrospectives of past lives we all once lived.

So why I am I ranting this way?

Because part of branding is separating yourself from the clutter. Another part is separating yourself from your competition. And if you can communicate clearly and precisely -- the first time -- guess who's going to get to the hearts and minds of your prospects faster?


Hit 'em hard. Hit 'em fast. But make sure it's a clearly communicated shot. In the world of amateur gibberish, you'll stand out like a sore thumb -- all the way to the bank.

Rob Frankel

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