What do you think of when you hear the phrase: "Baking Carrot Biscuits"?
It’s not from somebody’s goofy recipe file. It’s actually a mondegreen (misunderstood lyric) from a classic song by Bachman Turner Overdrive, "Taking Care of Business."
(If you want a good laugh, do a Google search on "misheard lyrics".)
I found this little gem in a book called "1001 Dumbest Things Ever Said" by Stephen D. Price. It’s both funny and thought-provoking.
The reason I mention this here is because when we promote our businesses we communicate with people. And when we communicate with people we always risk misunderstanding.
Whether it’s a print ad or a brochure or a conversation with someone, we can never be 100% certain people understand the message we want to deliver.
Several years ago, I had a customer who ran an ad for their business. It had their logo (a tree) and this headline:
"We Want Your Business"
This was followed by:
"Quality service in a professional package."
Their phone number was big and visible. So were the words "Residential/Commercial." They also listed others things about their business.
But the ad didn’t clearly say what they did.
You had to look hard to figure out what the company did, what their product or service was. The only place in the ad where it explained what they did was at the bottom of their logo in very small print.
Looking at it now, it’s almost impossible to know what they do by glancing at this ad. If you know exactly where to look, you could see what kind of business it is. If you didn’t know exactly where to look, you might never guess what service or product they’re offering.
I don’t think the ad worked very well for them.
When we mishear lyrics in a song, it’s often funny and entertaining.
But, when our ads or other marketing are misunderstood, it’s bad for our business. At worst it could be embarrassing. At best it wastes the time and money that went into the marketing.
Keep this in mind when you plan and execute ALL your marketing. It’s best to have several people look at your marketing before you publish it. Get some feedback from employees, vendors, customers, even prospects. People are usually willing to help. Most will be flattered that you asked them.
Go the extra mile to make sure all your marketing is clear. Make sure it delivers the message you want, before you publish it. You’ll get better results and it won’t cost any more.
Do you have any funny or striking examples of misunderstood marketing pieces? If so, let me know.