I saw this banner the other day when I was walking past a chemist, and it caused me to do a bit of a double-take. It reads: “Moo Goo products originated from a cream used in dairy farms to repair the skin on cow’s udders.”
Is that genius or insanity? Why would they say that?
Having a point of difference is really important. Too many businesses these days, rather than having brands, it’s more like they have “blands” – saying the same old undifferentiated, boring stuff.
Have a look at this article on Killian branding. If you have a look at these taglines here:
- “The new symbol for quality in America.”
- “Bringing quality to life.”
- “Quality in everything we do.”
- “Quality and innovation”… Blah, blah blah.
These are so generic and uninspired. They could belong to anybody.
So while you need to be different, you also need to be different in a meaningful way to your customer. I see too many businesses that pick lazy, internal or politically motivated things as their taglines.
And they might tick some boxes with management, a board, or a CEO, but they don’t mean anything to customers. They’re not words that a customer would use.
It’s a bit like a web designer promoting what version of HTML they write your website in. Do you care? Does it matter to you?
Of course. Not.
That’s internally important to them. And might mean something within their industry but not for you as a customer.
So, coming back to Moo Goo again. When I first saw that, I thought, well, that’s a really internal point of difference. And that can work. A while ago, I recorded a video that’s telling the story from the TV show Mad Men, where Don Draper’s in the room with the execs from Lucky Strike cigarettes, and they arrive at the “its toasted” tagline. So, check out that video if you want to see how that evolved. Internal differences can work if they’re done right.
So what about this? This Moo Goo one is part of the product’s origin story, and they’ve picked on that and thought, “Yep, let’s run with that.”
Or have they?
Does it mean anything to their ideal customer? Are they people out there who see that and go, “Oh, they’ve used this on a cow? I’m gonna stick that on my face”?
Well, look, maybe they are, and hence that’s the question: Genius or insanity?
It’s obviously and certainly different. It’s not a bland claim at all, and I guess it’s either gonna repel you or it’s gonna attract you, depending on how you relate to that.
And let’s think about branding and brand strategy. It’s just as important to consider whom you don’t serve and who you don’t want as a customer as much as who you serve and want as a customer.
So, when you think about that, I think I’ve shifted from my initial position from “that’s insane” to “quite possibly genius”.
It has a peculiar, unique point of difference that will appeal to some and not many, and that’s okay.
Because that’s what branding is supposed to do.