This is an article about honesty. Specifically, it’s about being honest with yourself and with the way your customers see your business. Even more specifically, I’m talking about your business’ ‘silent truths’.
Silent truths such as…
- Retailers have customers who visit their stores to look at products, knowing full well that some of those customers will then go home and buy those products elsewhere online to save money.
- Newsagents have customers who will read the magazines in the shop to find out specific pieces of information but will have no intention of buying the magazines.
- Cinemas have customers who will take their own food and drink to avoid paying the higher prices at the counter.
I call these ‘silent truths’ because essentially that’s what they are. They’re the elephants in the room. The truths we know but don’t talk about. And yet these silent truths can be great marketing material if addressed in the right way.
Here’s an example of an online retailer running an advertising campaign to tackle the first of the above examples I list: customers using brick-and-mortar retailers for product research but then buying that product online for a lower price. Interestingly, the advertising campaign probably generated more awareness and buzz due to its novel approach than the from adverts themselves.
This poster campaign was run in London by the online division of electrical retailer, Dixons (who have since merged with Carphone Warehouse). Dixons went straight after the traditional bricks-and-mortar electrical retailers (John Lewis, Harrods, Selfridges) and mimicked their fonts and colours and mocked their approach to retail. I have to say, the concept was almost very well executed, except for one very large omission: they forgot to include the value that Dixons offers its customers other than price. But aside from that, in measurements of ‘buzz’, this campaign was a big success…
Time to think about your silent truths
What are the silent truths for your business or your industry? (Trust me, there will be some). How can you use those silent truths, turn them on their head, be unexpected, and grab your customers’ attention?
If you want your business to stand out, start talking about your silent truths…. but carefully. Carefully because not everyone wants to hear the truth and some truths stay silent for a reason. Choose your truths carefully, deliver the message cleverly and make your value clear. It’s a delicate balance, but the rewards can be great.