“A promise is not a claim, or a theme, or a slogan. It is a benefit for the customer. It pays to promise a benefit which is unique and competitive. And the product must deliver the benefit you promise.”
— David Ogilvy
If you have previously read one of my stories, you know that I work as a copywriter and content strategist for startups.
And, while I am not yet great, I am good. For example, last month, I wrote a sale pages for a customer that has since generated $140,000 worth of crowdfunding.
When I write for clients (whether that be sales emails, landing pages, video scripts, etc) I notice one problem that comes up again and again ––
the customer promise.
No, I am not calling you or any of the startups I have previously worked with “liars”.
Most definitely not.
But, what I am saying is that businesses aren’t telling customers the truth.
Generally not on purpose, but rather because they themselves don’t always know the truth.
Businesses think that the truth is a claim or a theme or a slogan. But, in reality, it’s just a benefit and more specifically the promise that the customer will get said benefit after using the product.
A bad copywriting habit that has become common practice in Silicon Valley is saying your startup is “the Tesla of underwear” or “the Apple of smart shoelaces” or “the chipotle of Vietnamese food.”
When I read promises like these, I am always left thinking –– what the hell does that even mean?
Generally speaking, the reason brands do this is because they don’t yet know who they are. And, in turn, aren’t fully aware of the benefit(s) they offer the customer.
If they knew who they were, “the tesla of underwear” would instead be “we are fusing tech and style to create the comfiest pair of underwear you have ever slipped around your loins.
Of all the companies I work with, mattress companies generally understand the customer promise best.
A mattress maker rarely, if ever, sells the mattress. No, they sell the benefit of a better night’s sleep.
It’s your job as a brand to discover what your night’s sleep is and sell the hell out of it to your customer. Find a promise (not a slogan) and build an empire.
By Cole Schafer.