Identifying winning language in ad agency new business

Hi. So, I was out of town last week, staying in a fancy hotel. Just got hired by an agency to help build a prospecting plan (then execute). It’s a terrific assignment with a great firm. Anywho, there I was, in the bathroom of the hotel. Fortunately, you are being spared the details. With the exception of the thing that inspired these few hundred.

The “cleansing bar.”

Ya mean…soap?!

Yeah. Now, this place wasn’t all that fancy. Nice room and all. But no doormen. No concierge, even. And yet they felt compelled to call their soap a “cleansing bar.”

I’m a Midwest kinda guy. Absolutely a what-you-see-is-what-you-get fella. But cleansing bar? C’mon now. I suggest to you this is bullshit. Smells good. But still…

Agency new business prospects can smell bullshit, too. We, as an industry, seem to be a little too high falutin’. We have names for processes. Special, proprietary thinking. And as we all know, most of it is the same. That’s why when something truly new and differentiating comes along, it’s all the more reason to get excited.

Does a “cleansing bar” suggest upscale? Sure. But it’s soap. If you are looking for a way to use language to differentiate yourself, consider McKinsey. I envy these professionals. The writing you will see on just about anything they do is clear, simple and easy to understand. Logical, too. It just flows. Don’t about you. But to me, these guys are the top of the professional service ladder. They are the bomb. And it’s not because they use cleansing bars. They’re just plain smart. And their writing reflects this. Without pretense.

There are other ways to denote your agency is special. Service is one way. Plenty of others to consider, too. Break down the client/agency experience to find them. Identify what our target needs. Etc.

Looking for some more thinking around this? Check out The Rainmaker’s Toolkit. Written by Harry Mills, a professional services marketing guru. Chapter Two gets into “how to revitalize and renew your value proposition with new services, sharper differentiation and premium pricing.” It’s worth adding to your library.

To me, I think the notion of being special is related, of course, to your agency’s positioning. That ain’t rocket science. But what is super cool is taking your special sauce and demonstrating it through your agency.

And stay away from the cleansing bars! Thanks for reading.

A few related posts:

One agency’s take on the client experience

Some thoughts on an agency audit (inspired by Apple)

Some ways small agencies compete against bigger ones

Michael Gass: 7 benefits from the right positioning for ad agency new business

Tim Williams: 10 more ways to differentiate your brand