Is the Opposite True?

A litmus test for the selling points and features of your startup.

April 20, 2020

What is the opposite of having great customer service?

It's not a trick question, the answer is shitty customer service.

What is the opposite of having the best products and the best prices?

Having the worst products and the worst prices.

You see, the flaw in baseless superlatives like "best products," or "great customer service," is that they don't help a startup sell product because it's expected. Think about it, what company doesn't want to have the best product or the best service? None of them, the same way none of them want to have terrible customer service. If the opposite of the claim is not also a unique selling point, then it's not unique.

For example, tech startups jump to "easy to use" as another feature. Since "hard to use" is not a selling point, neither is "easy to use." It's expected. Now, what makes the product easy to use is a unique selling point. Webflow, the tool I use to build websites, has a drag and drop interface built for designers who usually work in Adobe Creative Suite, that is the feature that makes the product easy to use. They also have a customer support team filled with designers and developers who can answer technical questions, that is the feature that makes their customer service great.

If you are going to rattle off a list of features and selling points to investors or customers, ask yourself if the opposite of this is also true. If it's not, you have a baseless claim.

More you say?

Target

You might not know everything about your brand, but that's ok.

5.8.2020

If you show up to a gun range with no target, you have zero chance of hitting something worthwhile.

Conversely, even if you can't hit the bullseye every time, a target makes the process exceedingly more enjoyable. You can track progress, you can try new methods, and you will  hit a bullseye at some point.

If you try to build a brand without first defining it, you have zero chance of making something worthwhile.

Conversely, even if you can't be on brand every time, defining it makes the process exceedingly more enjoyable. You can track progress, you can try new methods, and you will be on brand at some point.

Point being, have an aim.

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One Cliché at a Time

Why your startup's tagline sucks and how to fix it.

3.3.2020

Saving the world, one (blank) at a time.

Are you really? What is your metric for doing so? How are you different from companies x, y, and z that are also saving the world, one (blank) at a time? Lastly, what good does it do for me, your intended customer?

You weren't thinking of that when you first wrote that tagline, were you? Probably because it's bullshit and it's not really why you're in business. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you don't care about whatever cause you want to help, but if this phrase has crossed your lips in trying to build your brand, it means you are not diving deep enough.

You are choosing to piggyback off a phrase that has no intrinsic meaning other than being a cliché that won't offend anyone.

You can do better. You and your brand are worth more than a worn out phrase void of passion.

How would you fix it? Take a look at some of the best taglines ever written:

Think Different.

Just Do It.

Belong Anywhere.

Open Happiness.

What do they have in common? They're simple, they break from convention, and they encourage the user to be something more. To be more creative, to be a champion, to feel secure, to be happier. These taglines don't impose the idea that a user needs your company, they inform the user that this company has a shared aspiration whether they use their product or not.

They're not salesy, they're not imposing, and they are not trying to make it about themselves. These taglines are calls that signal the user to a new adventure.

You want people to be inspired by your tagline? Don't settle for cliché bullshit. Dig deep and think about how you can encourage a user to be something they never thought they could have been. Most importantly, do it in a way that brings your unique flavor to it.

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