Some days the hypertext does a great job. Other days, it doesn’t matter how many times you click you end up no where of interest. But today is a good day.
I am sure that most of you know how great MarketingProfs can be, so I won’t bore you. But today I was surprised to see my buddy Mike Wagner at the top of the page. Nice article about brands that people hate (and love too).
And as I looked around, something caught my eye. An article by Alain Thys which looks at the Ten Truths of Branded Storytelling. Cool … I am always up for such an article. I like his first “truth” … the need to uncover your USP — unique story proposition (I love an acronym that surprises me). There is also more than a little truth to guiding people to the USP and then watching the wheels kick into motion … there is also some danger in such an approach.
I remember working with a professional services company who actually did understand their USP. It was “collaboration” or “partnership”. But everyone speaks about these things … these words have been devalued by corporations and emptied of meaning. So a couple of the sales managers half jokingly came up with a slogan that was accurate, but smutty — and, to my horror, it stuck. Then slowly, but surely, the phrase started working its way into the company lexicon (isn’t that a great word?). I started hearing it more often. THEN one day I read it in a proposal that I was reviewing.
This was one USP that had gone too far. Everytime I heard it I could feel myself cringe with embarrassment. I could see clients flinch when they heard it. And the more it was talked about, the bolder everyone became about saying what became (for me at least) — UNSPEAKABLE.
What we needed was an intervention. A storytelling intervention. An editor with a big stick.
A USP is a great idea … but just make sure that the story you want told is the one that everyone is telling. Don’t make me slap you.