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Clever, Cute, or Clear?

When it comes to your brand’s message, clarity must come first.

When it comes to marketing, companies and organizations tend to get clever and cute before they get clear. Why? Because we pay attention to clever and cute. Let’s admit it, we like funny.

Think about the ad campaigns you can remember. Maybe it’s the old Budweiser frogs. Or perhaps you think of Geico’s gecko. These ad campaigns work for several reasons – including millions of dollars for commercials during Super Bowl level events.

Here’s the problem: If you’re a small or medium business, your marketing budget can’t afford to be clever and cute; you’ve got to be clear. 

Clarity is key to success when it comes to marketing. 

During my Storybrand Guide training, I sat next to the creative team for one of the most successful marketing departments in the world. Admittedly, it caught me off guard they were in the same training. After all, I knew every TV commercial they’ve designed. 

When I asked why they were at the StoryBrand training, they said, “You’re the reason we’re here.” I was shocked at their response. But it soon became clear why.

During our conversations, I admitted loving their TV commercials, but had actually never called to purchase their product or get a quote, “But your commercials are great!” I said.  They were clever. They were cute. They were definitely funny. So how were they unclear?

They sell a full suite of insurance products, but people dominantly think of them as offering one product: cheap automobile insurance. “Would you be surprised to hear that we sell everything from auto to home to life insurance that can be bundled for additional savings?” they asked. Then they said, “You’re the reason we’re here.”

So why is clarity the key?

  • Clarity allows for quick understanding of who you are, what you do, and why people win if they engage your business, product, or organization. In today’s world of swiping and scrolling, you need to be clear and quick. The average time spent on a web page before people click or move on is only eight seconds. Clarity helps you get their attention quick, so their next click moves them towards you, not away from you.
  • Clarity is important for the business owner or leader who isn’t really clear themselves about their own customers, donors, clients, or company. When I meet with leaders or owners, it’s amazing how the StoryBrand process helps bring clarity internally to an organization. The great ideas and clever thoughts are brought together into a clear marketing strategy.
  • Clarity is also important to keep an organization heading in a unified direction. It’s even helpful for recruitment. Developing effective messaging for everyone to use, teams come together around clear thoughts and ideas. This has led to better client engagements, but also in future hiring.

Here’s the point: Before you get cute and clever, get clear. Once you have clarity, you’ll know when to be clever and cute.