Want to Turn Your Book, Brand, and Business into a Bonanza?
By Sam Horn
"There are few times in your life when it isn't too melodramatic to say
that your destiny hangs on the impression that you make" - Barbara Walters
Want to know a quick way to make a powerful first and lasting impression? Give your book, brand, and business a name that help them POP! What do I mean by POP!?
P = Purposeful. Ad genius Bill Bernbach said, "Dullness won't sell your product, neither will irrelevant brilliance."
Books, brands, and business names that feature clever wordplay don't qualify for POP! status unless they 1) accurately articulate the essence of your offering, 2) position it positively with your target audience, 3) motivate people to follow up and take action.
If people think your business name is witty, but it's not related to what you do, that name is for naught. If your book has a fancy cover, but no one remembers the book's title, its a waste of your money. If you create a unique brand and no one can pronounce it, that brand is counter-productive.
POP! communication (whether that's a title, tagline, pitch or descriptive copy) is always designed to accomplish a clear, stated objective so it's purposeful and high-ROI (Return on Investment.)
One way to do that is to place your name in your business, brand or book title or slogan. For example, Debra Fine titled her book, "The Fine Art of Small Talk." What is international speaker David Price's slogan? "The Price is Right!" Jim Payne promotes his learning products with "No Payne, no Gain."
Why is this so effective? Every time people hear, or see those titles and slogans, they're imprinting the author or owner's name.
Think about it. Fill in the following blank. "I wish I were an________ _________ weiner." Did you say Oscar Meyer? A well-known insurance company makes sure consumers think of them every time they see or hear the phrase, You're in good hands with__________ ." Did you say Allstate?
Now, those are purposeful jingles. Even if you hadn't heard them in years, those product and company names were on the tip of your tongue and the top of your mind.
Wouldn't you like your book, brand or business to be in on the tip of people's tongue and on the top (POP!) of their mind? If you have a common last name, experiment with inserting it into your marketing material. It could result in imprinting your offering in people's mind every time they see it or hear it.
O = Original. Actress Bernadette Peters said, "You've got to be original. If you're like everyone else, what do they need you for?"
No matter what you're saying or selling, you're one-of-many. You're one of many authors. One of many entrepreneurs. One of many companies or consultants competing for customers' business. Why will people even notice you? How can you distinguish yourself from your competition?
The easiest way to distinguish yourself is to come up with a name that doesn't sound like everyone else's. If you want to take dance classes and you're scanning through the Yellow Pages, you'll see dozens of options that look much the same. But, there's only one FLOOR PLAY, and that original name may be just enough incentive for you to check them out first.
You may be thinking it's hard to come up with original titles because "There's nothing new under the sun." Sure there is. One way to create novel taglines is to "riff" off common words to create new language, just as a jazz pianist spontaneously riffs off common chords to create new music.
How can you do this? Identify ten key words you use when describing your book, brand or business. Then, enter "quotes," "clichés" or "proverbs" into your favorite online search engine.
In seconds, your computer will bring up a variety of quote dictionaries and proverb sites. Select one that looks most promising and enter your search words one-by-one, (i.e., doctor, lead, manage, sell, sports, money, marriage, date). In seconds, the site will list a variety of common adages containing "your" words.
Do not repeat these common phrases verbatim because they'll come across as platitudes. As movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn said, "Avoid clichés like the plague." Instead, let the word play begin. Reverse key phrases. Substitute words.
You've heard of Spell Check? I suggest you try Spell Chuck. Discard the normal way of spelling to originate clever twists on familiar phrases that get a smile and a sale. As George Washington Carver said, "When you can do common things in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world."
This type of "riffing" off a well-known saying and then word-smithing the result can help you produce intriguing sound-bites that make your product, project or program stand out.
For example, a financial consultant who advises newlyweds could title her book, "Til Debt Do Us Part": A thought-provoking corporate slogan would be "I think, therefore iPod." The popular online auction store eBay could launch an ad campaign with, "Go ahead, make my eBay." A perfect pitch for the offbeat, over-sized military vehicle could be "Do you march to the beat of a different Hummer?" A book that focuses on how salespeoples often alienate potential customers by being too pushy could be called, "You Lost Me at Hello."
One of my all-time favorite examples of this is the phrase cosmetics giant Avon is using to promote their walks to raise money to fight breast cancer. Their inspired slogan? Good Things Come to Those Who . . .Walk. Well done.
P = Pithy. "Instant gratification takes too long." - Carrie Fischer
Pithy (defined as "concise and precise" - the ability to say a lot in a little) may be a rather un-elegant word, however. it is a prerequisite for POP! In today's ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) society, we have 30 seconds or less to capture someone's interest. If we ramble when trying to explain what we have to offer, we've lost them.
That's why having a succinct pitch or "Elevator Intro" (let's agree not to call them a speech - who wants to listen to a speech?) is essential. The human mind can only hold seven bits of information in short term memory, which is why the best names and slogans contain less than seven words. If they're longer, people simply can't remember them.
That's not just my opinion, Advertising Age magazine selected the Top Ten Slogans of the 20th Century, listed below. Please note the longest is 5 words long.
1. Diamonds are forever. (De Beers)
2. Just do it. (Nike)
3. The pause that refreshes. (Coca-Cola)
4. Tastes great, less filling. (Miller Lite)
5. We try harder. (Avis)
6. Good to the last drop. (Maxwell House)
7. Breakfast of champions (Wheaties)
8. Does she . . . or doesn't she? (Clairol)
9. When it rains, it pours. (Morton Salt)
10. Where's the beef? (Wendys)
These succinct slogans are proof that pithy phrases pack more power and get remembered over time.
Comedian Jonathan Winters said, "I have a photographic memory. I just haven't developed it yet."
Most people don't have a photographic memory, which is why it is your responsibility to give your book, brand, and business a name that POP!s so people can easily remember it. If you don't, how can they recommend your business to a colleague? How will they find your book online or in a bookstore? How can they select your brand over the competition?
If your goal is to build a back-end bonanza, then your first step is to give your creation, cause and company a Purposeful, Original, Pithy title and tagline that people notice, remember, and are motivated to try and buy.
Sam Horn, 14-time Emcee of the world-renowned Maui Writers Conference, is the author of 7 critically-acclaimed books including Tongue Fu!®, ConZentrate, Take the Bully by the Horns, and What's Holding You Back?
These are just three of the 25 techniques featured in Sam Horn's best-selling book POP! Stand Out in Any Crowd which has been hailed as one of the best business books of 2006. POP! Has been enthusiastically endorsed by Ken Blanchard (One Minute Manager) Jeffrey Gitomer (The Little Red Book of Selling), Mark Sanborn (You Don't Need a Title to be a Leader), John Jantsch (Duct Tape Marketing) and Seht Godin (The Dip) who said, "A third of the way through POP!, you'll be begging to hire Sam Horn as your consultant."
The top-rated speaker at two International Platform Association conventions, Sam helps individuals and organizations identify and strategize how they can be one-of-a-kind instead of one-of-many. Her clients include Fortune 500 Forum, NASA, Boeing. Copyright, Sam Horn, 2006. All rights reserved
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