courtesy www.arizonalivingtrust.info How often do you come across one of these words? Way too often if you ask me. The excuse?  "Perception is Reality" a quote attributed to a politician (who else) named Lee Atwater.

"You know, if you tell them you're the best, they'll believe you. Perception is reality".  There are two problems with this nonsense masquerading as advertising. One, integrity. Most often, these declarations are simply not true. "Wait a minute, I think we are the best so when I say it, I'm not lying". Good for you, I say, but your intention is less than honorable otherwise you would say " I think we are the best. But that's just my opinion".

The second problem with made-up "creative" statements like these is the assumption that people are plain stupid and will believe in anything. Maybe years ago, when everyone was glued to their television set and was bombarded with advertising, statements like "we are the leading agency that's why everyone comes to us first" worked. It wasn't stupidity, it was massive amounts of ads hitting you everywhere. Sadly, for those who still believe that "if you say it they will come", we're all graduates of the Internet University. Heck, we can even diagnose our own diseases now.

So, whenever you come across empty statements, simply say out loud "that's your opinion now prove it". You see, the internet and the amount of data that is accessible to everyone, has transformed the buying public into "inquiring minds". Gone are the days of carte blanche to everyone or anyone who chooses to make stuff up.

What marketers (ouch, that's an overkill in this case) don't understand is that finding the "truth" has become a challenge with  lots of positive reinforcement because you can get information so easily. "I am certified in advanced holistic therapy". Great, by whom? when? What did you actually do to be certified? And, how credible is the certifying body?

If you're deciding based on a worthless statement like "we are the best" , think of it as a drug in clinical trials. If you're going to make claims, the FDA requires you to provide "objective scientific evidence" that the drug works according to your claimed benefits. You can't just say " patients felt the best they had in years" - compared to what? Under what circumstances and was the research "controlled".

It is way too common to find bogus declarations on the "About Us" section of web sites. Here, suppliers have an incredible opportunity to engage with a "visitor" and establish credibility. They miss a golden opportunity it by regressing 30 years into the world of politicians where "perception is reality". Don't even think about putting small-font disclaimer in the footer of your site "based on what our customers tell us".

Own what you say. Don't wait for someone to ask for proof or giving them reason to doubt you. If you have credible evidence, then share it. If you don't, focus on the value you provide, commit to an amazing shopping experience and spend a lot of time and effort asking your customers what they think about you. Not everyone will tell you, "you're the best". Ask them why, fix it and repeat the process.

Here's one I am happy to quote because it is so true: action speaks louder than words.

This blog post was written by Zev Asch, a certified blogger, a leading marketing expert with a winning attitude and unmatched sick sense of humor. He is followed by millions of fans who keep checking their inbox for his latest pearls of wisdom.


*Photo by www.arizonalivingtrust.info