Are you making your advertising work harder for your small business?

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How do you make your advertising works harder for your small business without pushing so hard that you get accused of making claims that can’t be substantiated?

A report in a local newspaper asserted that the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa received more than 1,700 complaints from consumers and competitors in the past year. Something like 42% of advertisers had contravened the Code of Advertising Practice by communicating misleading claims. A further 21% of advertisers could not substantiate their claims. In one of the cases cellular networks challenged advertising claims. One claimed that it was the “fastest network for smart phones” and won the case. But this same cellular network was unable to prove that it has the “best and widest 3G/3G network in the country”.

What sort of claims is your advertising making? Could you substantiate your claims? Have you received any complaints in your small business from customers and competitors?

Small business advertises often make claims that they are the fastest, friendliest and best. These are vague terms that are tired and worn out and really don’t make an impact. How believable are “blah” words like this? It’s similar to those slogans that you see many small businesses use like “simply the best” which seems to promise everything but really says nothing.

Smart small businesses advertise to differentiate their businesses by being specific and making claims that are local and believable. One example is a bakery in Linden, Johannesburg, which on radio says it has the best croissants in Johannesburg. Now this claim could be challenged but who is really going to argue with that. Besides, it’s got a warm fuzzy feeling that says this bakery is a friendly place and takes pride in its baked products. How would you callenge such a claim? I recently heard about a pizza taste test and when the tasters saw the four pizzas from different pizza chains they could not tell which pepperoni pizza came from which pizza chain group. It was also difficult to pick out the taste winner because most of them tasted the same.

If there is one fault with small business advertisers, it’s possibly that they don’t push their advertising hard enough. Rather than making unsubstantiated claims they could be selling the benefits of their small business or product or service harder. Product features merely tell you about a product’s capabilities but they don’t demonstrates how you will personally benefit. Instead of saying that you are the fastest in computer repairs, you may say that when you have a laptop breakdown or virus attack, we’ll quickly solve your computer problems and restore your peace of mind.

The book “Breakthrough Ideas”, which is being made available on this website makes no claims or guarantees whatsoever about in achieving breakthroughs in your personal life or small business.

All the book does is to give you a practical, hands-on process of how to go about taking your most promising idea and commercialising it.

In our research we found that the stumbling block to implementing promising ideas is the commercialisation stage.

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It also shows you what risks are involved, how to minimise them and what key areas you should focus on.

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