Fast cars and feeling good
Please indulge me while I digress shamelessly to talk about fast cars.
The ‘features’ of a sports car might include engine size, top speed, acceleration rates, horsepower, finish and so forth. Some people might say the ‘benefits’ of a sports car would be beautiful paint, power, style and so forth. But they haven’t got it.
The real benefit of a beautiful sports car, is how the owner ‘feels’ when they own and drive one. Yep, those pesky emotions. The driver might feel younger, energetic, confident, deserving of respect as they show off their social status and wealth. They might also seek to attract romantic attention from the opposite sex. Those emotions sell sports cars, not minutiae of brake horse power.
Ah, but emotions also sell investment products, as discussed earlier. The two most prominent, of course, are greed and fear. Related emotions might include uncertainty and confidence. Nearly all fund and investment advertising is designed to allay the former and engender the latter.
Emotions and investing
In an attempt to create confidence in the firm some investment marketing operations may fall back on bloated hyperbole about just how great they are.
Here’s some examples randomly gathered from a trawl through this week’s investment press:
“For a measure of our success call XXX.”
“This Fund combined the recognised expertise of over 100 dedicated investment professionals based around the globe, with a proven track record of successfully managing money across all asset classes, evidenced by the strong performance of our award winning …”
“Our XXX Fund has been awarded 1,000 stars by [Insert rating agency with zero credibility left]”
“We are a leading, truly global asset management company, managing £3 trillion for clients in 426 countries.”
Seems fine doesn’t it? Now, try to name the fund management firms that used this copy in its advertisements. It’s impossible, which makes this writing useless.
This type of feature-based writing leaves no imprint on the reader’s mind. They read it, and forget it. Why? Because the copy is about the fund manager, not about the investors’ needs.
Investment managers are enamoured of the minutiae and features of their products and company, so you end up being forced to write in a self-centred, features-based style that has no impact on potential clients’ buying decisions. The prospective investor honestly couldn’t care less. You have to draw a direct connection to a specific benefit to get your prospective client’s attention.
“You can rest assured that we will do everything in our power to protect your capital and invest it wisely on your behalf. By choosing XYZ Investments, you can feel confident that you are investing with a financially secure company, with a well-earned reputation for … “
Now you can go on to prove your point with some facts, but first, you have to draw a line to the benefit, rather than just launching into talking about how big, great and successful you are. Remember, if there’s no benefit to the client that can be linked directly to an emotion why’s it there?
“Emotional Branding”, by Mark Gobe.
“Bottom up Marketing”, by Al Ries and Jack Trout.
“We, Me, Them, It; How to write powerfully for Business”. John Simmons.
“Write to Sell: The Ultimate Guide to Great Copywriting”, by Andy Maslen.
“Basics Advertising: Copywriting”, by Robert Bowdery.
(Excerpted from: Writing for Financial Services and Investments: How to build trust and communicate clearly and fairly with your clients. ©2016 Andrew Mark Skeen, All rights reserved. Kindle version available, print version pending)