Effective advertising and packaging claims can strengthen brand image, reinforce or build brand personality and drive sales. Conversely, ineffective claims are costly missed opportunities to tout product benefits and strengthen a brand.
Given their importance as a central component of a brand’s overall marketing strategy, below is a list of tips to help you design effective claims:
1) Incorporate claims development into your new product development process. Some of the most effective claims are developed during the early stages of new product development. Knowing what you’d ultimately like to be able to say about a product early in the development process focuses your innovation efforts on the right elements to develop from the start.
2) Make sure claims map back to important customer needs. Claims that resonate with consumers often emphasize key product features or benefits that were developed to address one or more key unmet consumer needs. Understanding unmet customer needs often begins with a comprehensive and thorough needs gathering exercise or Voice of the Customer research.
3) Look for areas of differentiation. When considering what claims to make, capitalize on opportunities to say something unique about your product that competitors can’t say.
4) Make sure claims are written in consumer’s language, not company-speak. Make a point of using words and phrases that consumers would use to describe your product to ensure that the claims resonate with your target. Listen to consumers talk about the category and take note of the language they use to describe the products and the benefits they seek. Probe on specific words to ensure you understand how they talk about the category and what they truly mean by the words they use.
5) Pay close attention to tone of voice. How you make the claim is as important as the claim itself. Ensure that the tone of voice is consistent with your existing brand personality or with the brand personality you strive to create. A brand that conveys ruggedness, such as one that produces hiking gear, should use a very different tone than one that conveys sophistication, such as a fine wine brand.
6) Carefully consider where to make claims. Claims can be made in a variety of locations including in advertisements, on product packaging, and on at-shelf displays. Not every claim is well suited for every possible placement. The messaging, language and tone of your claim should drive its placement. For example, claims that are intended to get people to the store may belong in a television commercial or print advertisement whereas claims intended to encourage consumers to switch brands may be better suited for at shelf.
Once claims are developed, they should be rigorously tested for effectiveness. This can be done using a variety of qualitative or quantitative research methodologies ranging from qualitative interviews with consumers to conjoint analysis. The method you choose will depend on the specific aspects of the claim you’re looking to test as well as time and budget.