Did you hear about the caption that works with every New Yorker cartoon?
New York designer Frank Chimero recently discovered the phrase, “Hi, I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” somehow makes sense when applied to every single cartoon in the New Yorker.
This concept isn’t new.
Advertisers do it all the time.
Just listen to the radio. Watch TV. Read a print ad. Open an email newsletter.
- If you swapped the name of the business and that of another company, would the message be anything different?
- If you swapped out one business category with a completely different industry, would the ad stay the same?
Why, then, do so many advertisers rely on clichéd fill-in-the-blank marketing? And why are there so many advertising companies offering clichéd fill-in-the-blank marketing services?
The advantages: It’s quick, easy, and anyone can do it.
The disadvantages: It’s quick, easy, and anyone can do it.
And it makes as much sense as a New Yorker cartoon.
Would you allow a competitor to remove your name and use your message?
Make sure you fill in all the blanks so nobody else can.
Well, it’s relatively simple. But it’s not necessarily easy. It requires some work on your part.
It begins with your Sword in the Stone.
The Sword in the Stone is your company’s core culture and nonnegotiable standards. What do you stand for? What do you stand against?
“Wait, won’t that tick off some people?”
Yep. But it will also attract people who share the same values.
Speaking of values…
Now it’s time to work on your Brand Diamond.
A Brand Diamond is made up of four unique values that make up the characteristics of your company.
For example, Miles & Company’s Brand Diamond looks like this:
Notice how three of the values – wise, helpful, and clear – are very similar. The secret of the Brand Diamond lies in the fourth value – playfulness. As Sesame Street once taught us, “one of these things is not like the other.” And it gives Miles & Company it’s own distinct personality.
The fourth value makes it impossible for others to fill in the blanks.
Identify your Sword in the Stone.
Build your Brand Diamond.
Then, use them as a litmus test for every radio ad, print ad, billboard, web banner, Facebook post, tweet, email blast, business card, and any other touch points that put you in contact with your prospective customers.
And let everyone else fill in the ______.