7 Branding & Marketing Cliches to Avoid If You Want to Get Noticed
Your branding and marketing are some of the most important aspects of your business. But when it comes down to it, too many brands are relying on overused marketing cliches and tired phrases that detract from their overall image.
Here are seven of the worst offenders.
End-to-end marketing jargon
We’ve all been there. Halfway through a guest post on B2B email marketing, we realize we have no idea what we’ve been reading. Why? Because it’s chock-full of marketing jargon that only makes sense to 1% of the population.
The fact is, only an expert can explain an idea or concept without resorting to jargon. It’s people who don’t know what they’re talking about that hide behind needlessly complicated language like “front-end supply chain” or “integrated technologies”.
But we’re all guilty of it! It’s called copy blindness, but don’t worry: it’s avoidable. When you’ve completed a piece of content, hand it over to a colleague to get them to give it a quick once-over. A second pair of eyes is always good for seeing things you might have missed.
Or if you’re working solo, go away and sleep on it. When you return the next morning with a fresh pair of eyes, give it a re-read and see if you’ve strayed too far into jargon territory.
Generic hipster logos are overdone
Not sure what we mean by generic hipster logos? Check out this handy generator for a taste. See what we mean?
Trying to identify a new brand with its logo has become virtually impossible. The logos on show all look as though they belong on a tasteless and overpriced craft beer, not a professional brand. While advancements in technology have made graphic design accessible and available to the masses, unfortunately, branding and originality aren’t.
When it comes to designing your logo, try and break away from all the other logos out there. Try and create something that is truly different. It’ll be tough, but it’s worth it if you want to get your brand noticed.
Trying too hard to be wacky
It’s good to be different. That’s what we’re told a lot these days, and yes, it’s true. We should embrace our idiosyncrasies and love ourselves. But sometimes, brands take this concept too far.
The world is full of marketers trying to paint themselves as the wacky alternative to the mainstream. From sassy Twitter accounts to poor use of memes, there are plenty of examples of brands proudly proclaiming their unconventionality.
Unfortunately, with so many businesses taking this approach in their marketing, the unconventional stops completely. The market gets saturated with tired and lazy attempts at wackiness, and instead of being creative and engaging, it just looks hackneyed.
When it comes to marketing your brand, don’t feel as though you have to follow the well-trodden path. Speak honestly and openly about your business, and do what works for you — not for everyone else.
Offering a ‘solution’ is not the solution
This is the darling of many an earnest junior marketer, and while there are many cliche marketing phrases, this one deserves its own point!
While it sounds promising on the surface — who doesn’t love a solution to a problem? — but it is actually one of the worst marketing cliches around.
If you drill deeper into this word, you’ll find that it is simply a generic term that doesn’t actually specify an answer. It is an empty, catch-all term that lacks the substance that makes a product or service sounds much more important than it actually is.
Instead, you need to focus on the concrete, tangible benefits that your brand has to offer. Highlight specific problems and issues that your customer will experience, and then explicitly state how you will resolve them. Be clear, and your customer will appreciate you all the more for it.
Offering a one-size-fits-all service
Another promise from the over-eager marketing intern, the claim that their product or service will suit everyone’s needs is an empty one. Like Icarus flying too close to the sun, brands that promise the world generally fail to deliver. Trying your hardest to impress your customers reeks of insecurity, and only the most naive of consumers will fall for it.
Instead, do your research and identify your primary target customers. Once you’ve found them, go after them and them alone. It can be difficult to refine your marketing if you’re stretching yourself too thin, so focus on your target audience and don’t worry about being an all-rounder.
Cliched stock photos
This is a personal bugbear that I see time and time again. With the proliferation of free stock photo sites, these images can be found in every corner of the web, from guest blogs to e-commerce startups. Cliched stock photos have become so overused that they’ve spawned their own series of memes!
The result is that when people see an overused stock photo, they recoil and switch off. So take the time to find an image that hasn’t been used before. Or, if you’ve got the time and a decent digital camera, take some photos yourself to use. Use free photo editing software to touch up your photographs and make them web-perfect.
When you’re building a store it’s tempting to rush to finish everything as soon as possible, but investing in high-quality images is worth getting right if you want your brand to have longevity. Don’t let your stock photo become a meme!
Copy that shames and blames
Another habit of marketing and branding teams from all corners of the web is playing the disappointed teacher. They love to open their content with a finger-wagging reprimand, chastising you for failing to make the most of your email marketing or scolding you for using an overused marketing cliche.
The thing is, we’re adults. Opening your copy with a problem statement and a stern telling-off is a bit dated, and is generally just overdone.
Instead, take the high road. Start with an inspiring call-to-arms, a rallying cry that motivates your readers. You don’t need to get evangelical with it, but opening your blog in this way can galvanize your readers and make them sit up and listen to what it is you have to say.
Any brand worth their salt can recognize a marketing cliche from a mile off — and that means your customers can as well! Now you know seven of the worst offenders, you know how to avoid them as well. By trying to stand out, more often than not brands simply fade into the mainstream. At the end of the day: be yourself!
Patrick Foster is a writer and ecommerce expert from Ecommerce Tips — an industry-leading ecommerce blog dedicated to sharing business and entrepreneurial insights from the sector.
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