This week someone on the InfoGuru Support Forum asked the question: "How does an Audio Logo differ from a meme, from a sizzler, from a tagline?"
I answered and I thought my response would be a pretty good eZine that really got to heart of marketing your professional services. By the way, today is the 22nd anniversary of Action Plan Marketing. Festivities coming up!
So... How does an Audio Logo differ from a meme, from a sizzler, from a tagline?
Here's my definition of these terms.
Audio Logo -
An Audio Logo is a problem-oriented, attention-getting statement that you use when someone asks you what you do.
"I work with harried HR managers who have too many demands put on them by upper management."
An Audio Logo does not contain a solution. It's about the problem. And it clearly targets its audience. The purpose of an Audio Logo is to "hit a nerve" and get a "that's for me" response. You follow it up with an Ultimate Outcome (see below).
A meme is pretty clearly defined in the InfoGuru Manual. A meme is an idea that can be expressed simply and communicated easily. So an audio logo can be expressed as a meme. It's a core idea, something that is so clear that people get it right away. Read about memes in Geoff Ayling's remarkable book "Rapid Response Advertising."
That's a budget steakhouse. I don't use this term in marketing myself. :-)
The way I use this is as an addendum to a business name.
Unlike an Audio Logo, taglines usually work better if they are expressed in a positive way:
Action Plan Marketing - Helping Independent Professionals Attract More Clients.
HR Solutions - Making HR Work
Nike - Just Do It
A good tagline is a meme. A bad tagline is not a meme.
Also an important term I use:
Ultimate Outcome -
This is what a client actually gets as a result of using your service. It's the mirror image of the Audio Logo and it's very close to the tagline, only even more results-oriented. It's the answer to the question: "If I work with you, what will I really get?"
And the answer had better be a bottom-line result they really want, or you've missed the mark: "We help you attract all the clients you'll ever need." "We help HR managers get the recognition and resources they need to do a brilliant job."
With all of these, the key is making sure the idea connects with your potential client. They all need to answer the question: "What's in it for me?"
Great ones are very compelling. A Tagline, Audio Logo, Ultimate Outcome, etc. all express the heart of your marketing message.
They are not just clever throwaway lines, They really mean what you stand for. They are what you deliver. There's a whole value system and philosophy behind them. So you have to go beyond clever words.
You also have to be careful about obscure marketing messages. Ones that sound clever but really don't mean anything to anyone. They are not memes and they are not good marketing.
If you hear or read a marketing message and the reaction is "Huh?" then it probably missed the mark!
A good one results in more of an "Aha!" reaction. It speaks to a real need you have and you instantly want to know more.
In developing your marketing messages, test people's reactions, not their opinions. Does it result in a "Huh?" response or a "Aha!" response?
What are the biggest mistakes people make with marketing messages?
1. They are all about process, not solutions: "We prepare your taxes with the X100 auditing protocol." Sorry, but nobody really cares.
2. They are just too general: "Profitability and productivity will increase." Ho hum. What else is new?
3. They are unbelievable: "Your profits will increase faster in one month than they have in the past twelve." Good if you can really deliver. But you'd better prove it or lose all your credibility.
4. They are too convoluted: "Our management approach utilizes an effective strategy that optimizes ten key factors in the throughput of primary marketing initiatives with bottom line measurability." Say what???!!!###
So just speak English. Tell what your clients get. Don't be afraid to be bold, but make sure the message is above all clear, meaningful and interesting. That will draw prospects closer, wanting to know more.
But you also have to remember that your marketing message isn't everything.
I keep talking about the game of "Marketing Ball" where people are expecting the Audio Logo to literally win the game for them.
Admit it. You don't just want to get to first base with an Audio Logo, you want to hit a home run! When you deliver your perfectly crafted Audio Logo, you want people to say: "WOW!!! that's what I've been looking for all my life! I have half a million dollars to spend on this. Is that enough?"
You should be thrilled if your Audio Logo gets you onto first base, and generates some sincere interest. that's a great start, and that's real.
What's even more important is everything that stands behind the message - the actual Ultimate Outcome you really deliver and the Experience of delivering it.
Look, if you produce extraordinary results for clients and they love you and you love working with them making that difference and it's a passion for you, I promise that it won't be hard to deliver your Audio Logo and other messages that get through, that grab attention and get interest.
"YOU" as a complete brand need to be authentic, need to be the real deal in order to take anything past first base. If it's all about the perfect phrase, the perfect follow-up, the perfect article, the perfect whatever, you're missing the point.
I recommend everyone read Tom Asacker's gem of a book, "A Clear Eye for Branding." I think he brings this point home very well. He emphasizes that there are no perfect marketing techniques. The thing you want to put more focus on are the feelings, experience and results that clients get when they work with you.
Another way of saying it is "The message is YOU." Everything you say, your Audio Logo, the questions you ask, your authenticity, your web page, your eZine all need to shout out the message that you have something great to offer, something extraordinary.
This takes more work than crafting a perfect Audio Logo, it's crafting a perfect brand, a perfect business that hits the mark every single time you communicate with, and interact with, your prospects and clients.
It's easy to identify companies who do this well (although they are few and far between). Apple comes close; Nordstrom is great at it; Hertz is pretty darn good. Certain restaurants you go to have it. They all have a congruent brand that is way beyond the marketing message. As a result they are enormously successful.
So, in crafting your Audio Logo and Tagline and Ultimate Outcome, think about all of this stuff. What do you really stand for? What are you going to deliver? What does it mean to the client? How will they be better off after working with you? How will they feel working with you?
Then your marketing messages will go beyond the words, beyond the sound bite, beyond anything you can imagine.
The More Clients Bottom Line: Marketing messages are very important, but they are only a reflection of something bigger and deeper in your business. Find that thing, the thing that delights clients and makes a true difference to them. And then marketing won't be something you do; it will be your whole business.
How are you communicating "beyond your marketing message"? Please share on the Blog.