What business are you in?

The power of the word

What business are you in?

Parker Pens addressed this question in a revamp of their marketing strategy. The answer is not what you might think.

They came out as being in the ‘gift’ business. Parker is associated with achievements and so designs prizewinning pens and gift sets around this ‘niche’.

If you go to the website it oozes words such as quality and richness, and continually uses the quote of its founder, George S. Parker; “It will always be possible to make a better pen”.

The website weaves a wondrous tale about a family business and its ‘rich history and bright future’ which draws you in.

So what is the story around your products or services? What words work best for you? How do you get your customers to remember your message?

What are the best words to express how your products are the right solution for your customer’s problems?

In presenting your brand, what problems are you solving for your customers? Find the ‘core’ issue concerning them and connect on an emotional level that is hard to ignore.


In 1988 Nike launched ‘Just do it’

Don’t want to run 5 miles, Just Do It. Don’t want to walk up four flights of stairs? ‘Just Do It’.

It expresses a universal truth around feeling the emotion of reluctance. So how does Nike ‘do it’?

It uses words and messages in its slogans such as ‘If you have a body, you are an athlete’. The image that goes with it though, shows runners pounding city streets.

They could be a running club, friends or an Olympic team, but definitely more than one person. This is more about the emotion of being associated with a group, a team.

Its website is all about delivering ‘innovative products, experiences and services’ as well as ‘inspiring the world’s athletes’.

There is no mention of history in its story. Instead it uses words that promote a sense of responsibility around the community impact of its brand and sustainable innovation of its product.

The appliance of science

Customers love facts and figures, proven tests and clinical trials.

Fisher Price are renowned for inviting children to put new toys through their paces before being launched.

Supermarkets employ a variety of taste tests involving their customers, and then quote the most emotive comments.

In one advert for Head and Shoulders Shampoo, the script includes the following lines,

“But you don’t have dandruff’

“That’s because I use Head and Shoulders”

Immediately the user is a living testament to the effectiveness of the product.

However, the company sees itself in the business of being ‘The world leaders in dandruff and scalp care’. The story revolves around working with a dermatologist, ‘a leading doctor at the cutting edge of research’. Powerful words. 

So what is your message? Who are your customers? who do you serve?  What questions do you ask your customers to identify if you can help them?

I help businesses discover the answers around their messages and help create a sentence that identifies them.

“Are you the sort of person who…..?” Then test out some of those sentences on potential customers.

Now, if you’d like to get in touch and find out how we can work together, do contact me.

I work with people all the time who want help with their message and brand.

So what business are you in?