The best part of my job is also a double-edged sword. I love that I get to talk to a broad range of people in the AV industry but that can be the biggest challenge too. Sometimes my conversation is for an article I’m working on, sometimes it’s informational, and sometimes it’s a potential client. While these interactions are very different, the sum total result is that I get to listen to and ask questions of a good cross-section of people.

I’d like to recap a recent conversation I had with a potential client. After exchanging pleasantries and background info, we got into the meat of the problem.

Him: “We need to rebrand Product X. The marketing is stale and we need to liven it up.”
Me: “Liven it up in what way?”
Him: “We need to make it seem bigger than it actually is.”

Whoa, stop. I put the brakes on right there. Bigger than it actually is? After a few more minutes of listening to what he meant by that statement, it became clear to me that I wasn’t the right person for the job. I love good PR and good writing, and the most effective messages are grounded in truth, not in trumped up half-truths and fluffy language.

Want your product to be bigger than it actually is? Then improve it so that it crushes your competition; that way, when your PR speaks, it speaks the truth. Spinning the truth about an inferior product to make it “bigger than it actually is” is not a great goal to have. Spend that energy elsewhere.

And if you’ve already invested in fluffy, best-of-breed, best-in-class, game changing, state of the art, revolutionary, award-winning writing for your PR and it’s not working, try to remember these three things:

(1) People aren’t stupid; more specifically, AV people aren’t stupid. If you BS them, they’ll know it and stop listening right away.

(2) Be the context. Just because you’re really excited about something doesn’t mean that everyone else is, unless you can provide the context so that it makes sense. A revolutionary product to you may seem like an evolutionary product to the industry if the context is missing.

(3) Communicate effectively; not necessarily loudly. You don’t need to do the marketing equivalent to shouting “We’re better than them” from the roof in order to be heard by your customers.