15 Nov The Role of Claims in Concept Writing
It’s no secret that companies—especially manufacturing companies—love their advertising claims. During our concept writing projects, we are often asked to help develop claims for our clients who want creative ways to get consumers’ attention AND beat the competition. My years of working at a giant CPG company helped me understand how difficult this process can be and, as concept writers, we have strong ideas about the best approach to developing claims.
Here are a few tips for developing advertising claims that stand out from the crowd:
1. Seek point of differentiation (POD) first
Whether you’ve developed concepts yourself or engaged someone like Writing by Design to help you with that effort, you should have a good understanding of how your new product is unique and different from others in the market (or maybe you’re first to market, and if so, congratulations!). The strongest claims you can develop, then, will be built around the positioning you’ve identified for your new product.
For instance, in 2009 when we helped launch the Depend Silhouette brief, Kimberly-Clark identified a powerful new discretion positioning for this protection-dominated category. In launching with discretion-focused benefits, then, it made more sense to pursue a relevant claim like “America’s most discreet incontinence brief” instead of ones that are only related to protection (the category’s “go-to” claim).
By pursuing a claim that is ownable AND helps position your product in your consumer’s mind (exactly the way you tested the concept, by the way) will help consumers quickly pocket the information you are trying to give them and give you a unified way of talking about your new launch—in concept and claims.
2. Aim for better or best (but don’t rule out parity) claims
Claims are better when you can assert (and support) that your product does something better than a competitor’s (comparative) or is even the best in category (superiority). But if your product is a “me-too” entry, don’t be afraid to utilize a parity claim. Well-worded parity claims can help your product stand out in a sea of sameness and give your branded product a shot at being in the consumer’s competitive set from the get-go.
For instance, in our Depend Silhouette example, if Depend couldn’t beat the competition on protection or discretion, they could still launch the product with a claim like “no other brief protects better” or “no other brief is more discreet” which in essence is saying “we’re just as good as the rest.” Parity claims help the consumer know you are at least as good as the competition, performing with the best in the category and a viable purchase option.
3. And if that doesn’t work, get creative
Everyone surely remembers, “Nyquil®—The nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, aching, coughing, stuffy-head, fever, so you can rest medicine.” Some would argue this is a tagline. We think it’s a bit too long for a tagline but may have represented a creative way to manufacture a new ad claim. Was this a creative way for them to get a memorable claim because they couldn’t get a comparative or superiority win? Maybe Nyquil didn’t do anything better than any other cold medicines, but simply delivered on the category antes—beating cold symptoms. They certainly did it in a memorable way, and a way that positioned them for years of future success.
Developing advertising claims is not an easy process. You often have to cast the net wide and then work with your R&D and legal teams to whittle down the options to the ones you can actually support in market. But by prioritizing claims in a way that starts with your product’s positioning (i.e., the almighty new product concept), we think you’ll find some creative new ways to stop consumers in their tracks with an interesting, engaging, sustainable, no-brainer, so-you-can-win claim.
Patti Purcell brings 25+ years of journalism and marketing skills together to provide national and international companies with outstanding concept writing and marketing communications services via the company she founded in 2006, Writing by Design LLC. She and her growing team, based in Wisconsin, tie strategic thinking, efficient processes and Crystal Clear℠ thought and execution into all projects supporting clients large and small.