Just One Thing

Ever wonder why Apple commercials are so effective? Or McDonald's? Think for just a minute. When was the last time you heard or saw one of their advertisements mention more than one product? The twelfth of never, my friend. It just doesn't happen. Apple doesn't say, "Buy our MacBook, iPad and iPhone in the same ad. And McDonald's doesn't push Big Macs, Egg McMuffins and McCafe Lattes all at once.

Now, imagine yourself on the streets of New York City. Some guy walks up and open opens his trench coat in front of you, offering a dozen different watches hanging from the inside (we've all seen this movie, right?). You know what he's selling. He has a simple, easy-to-understand message. But, what if he opened his jacket and there were watches, sunglasses, stuffed animals and gift cards? Either way, you'd probably be caught off guard. But, in the latter case, your mind wouldn't know what to process first. Plus, it might dawn on you that all the merchandise is probably stolen.

Trying to sell one product five ways works way better than trying to sell five different products at once. Let consumers focus on just one thing, and one thing only. Don't try to cram every product or service you sell into a 60-second commercial. We've heard many radio ads where people obviously couldn't resist the temptation to use all 59.9 available seconds, even if it meant cluttering the spot with extra things that the listener can't possibly absorb, and watering down the message they were actually trying to convey.

The "one thing" concept isn't exactly new, but, in this busy world where people have so many distractions, it's good to remember that simple, direct messages work while other messages get lost in the shuffle. During his long career, advertising legend Bill Bernbach (co-founder of DDB Worldwide) developed principles of advertising that he followed with great success. Among these principles was this advice; be simple, not simple-minded, but single-minded.

Let us guess, now you're confused about which product or service you should advertise, since you can't possibly squeeze them all in to one ad. Are we right? You can't just compete on low interest rates and service. There are a zillion financial institutions doing that already. Sure, you have certain products to push at certain times, and maybe monthly or quarterly promotions to emphasize, but never lose sight of the questions that are most important to your members and your brand. Why are you so wonderful? What makes you unique?

After you figure out the answer, run with it, and don't look back.