Making sure of the obvious

One of my printers proudly showed me a catalogue of baby clothes his firm had recently printed.  It wasn’t the content he was proud of, but the particular colour blue they had managed to create – but this post isn’t about that.

I looked inside the brochure, and appreciated the beautiful bouquets on the first pages. But what had these to do with baby clothes? The printer pointed out that some of the flowers were in fact rolled up baby clothes made to look like flowers. Hmmm. But why did it need to be explained to me? The concept was certainly innovative, but did the business owners have so much faith in their bouquets they thought everybody would be able to spot the rolled up clothes?

Never assume people will get a concept immediately. This doesn’t mean you should treat all people as ‘stupid’, but concepts should be adequately presented to make them obvious. Cleverly presented marketing will disguise this ‘obvious’ method so that instant recognition applies. Readers should be able to understand your message with the least amount of effort, preferably within a nano-second. This is very difficult to do, but visuals are far more effective than a page of small, closely placed text that requires time, effort and a pair of reading glasses to deliver the message.

My solution would be to show the ‘fait complete‘ bouquet in all its glory, and another one underneath in the same position but with some of the clothes partially unrolled and appropriately displayed. Then this clever concept will be revealled and appreciated.

The moral? Avoid making assumptions. Carefully explain all your concepts in plain, ordinary language, avoiding any jargon or academia, and as clearly and concisely as possible. Use visuals whenever possible, but be aware that, through NLP, not everybody reacts favourably to pictures: some prefer words, other sounds, some even moving images.

Put yourself in your reader’s or potential customer’s shoes. How would they think? What’s going through their heads and what would they look at first when they open the brochure? What’s their priority or reasons for looking? Is it for themselves or for another? How much time do they have – browsing, flicking through, scanning, etc? How can you get the products, or the concept within the products, to jump out at them?

And once you’ve got their attention, how do you entice and cajoul them to make that purchase? Special offers? Loyalty schemes? Time dependent action? Intrigue and persuasion? Or just because it’s a really good idea?

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