Gag Me With a Mission Statement – Friday Curmudgeon Edition

failIf you want to be taken seriously in the age of social media you have to speak authentically or people won’t believe you. Your marketing messages are a promise. I’ve written about delivering on that promise. Today I want to focus on the words.

For the promise to be taken seriously the words you choose are just as important as the message they carry. If you dress it up too much you sound like you are selling – and almost no one is buying that any more.

Being authentic is scary. We have to reveal something of ourselves. We become accountable to others. But in an ocean of hype authentic voices are winning the day (blogs, wikis, Twitter) because people are hungry for genuine human connections.

In the end it comes down to respect. If you respect your customers you talk to them like adults (even when they are kids).

Consider this choice:

Company A – “Our Business Associates drive for extraordinary customer delight and win-win synergistic partnership solutions.”
Company B – “When you buy from us we want you to be happy. If you are not, here are three ways you can let us know about it…”

Who ya gonna call?

In the education market people fall into this trap when we tie ourselves in knots trying to satisfy every politically correct usage we can think of. A lot of our marketing copy reads like it was written by a committee of committees. Strive for making clear understandable promises in authentic language – and then focus everything you have on fulfilling those promises.

That is the path to success today.

735753_mime_timeWhat set me off this time? In the San Antonio Airport this morning a promotional announcement about the Riverwalk made reference to “Tex-Mex Cuisine.” Tex-Mex is grub, eats, cocina, hell it is just plain “food.” But cuisine? Please don’t put tacos and beans in a leotard and white face. Fake words = fake promise.

While we are on the subject of Tex-Mex if you want the real deal visit El Mirador the next time you are in San Antonio. Steve Gatland of MDR swears by their smoky salsa.

And another thing about false promises – to the folks at Boingo Hot Spots [no link for annoying morons] – the forced advertisement we have to see before we pay 10 bucks for your buggy wi-fi is not a “Welcome Screen.” You’ve managed to take an annoying “monetization” of our time and insult us as well.