Key Message Blunders part 1: Presumptuous Use of YOUR
In promoting their company, many people like to present its products or services as already adopted by or already belonging to their market. This is how the presumptuous use of your often appears in slogans and mottoes. Better to articulate an authentic key message that reflects the thoughts and feelings of the ideal client.
Consider these examples:
- "Your view" - with a photo of the view from a new condominium development.
- "Your family pharmacy" - on the storefront sign of a drugstore.
- "Your outdoor store since 1946" - on the billboard for a camping outfitter.
The falsity of such statements is intuitive to anybody but their authors.
To example 1, one might respond, "No. Not my view."
The same would apply with example 2. One might respond, "No. Not my family pharmacy."
When encountering example 3: "Not my outdoor store. Not since 1946, either."
The crux of the problem is that the word your always speaks to the reader as the recipient of the message. Your never speaks for the reader as the thinker of the message in self-reference.
Moreover, your never means my or our. Hence, "Our new president" could be a perfect slogan to accompany a photo of the recently appointed president of a company in that company's internal newsletter. "Your new president" would register awkwardly.
A good key message plants an intuitively acceptable idea into the mind of the reader instantly.
Unless a promoter can present to their market what actually belongs to or has been adopted by every person in their market as their own, then the use of your has no place before the market's eyes. It is effective at confounding people and ineffective at getting into their minds favourably.
Better to articulate an authentic, basically relevant key message that reflects the thoughts and feelings shared by people who match the ideal client profile.
- Glenn R Harrington, Articulate Consultants Inc.