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Smile for the Selfie

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Smile for the Selfie

I’d like to tell you how fabulous I am. No, seriously, you’d be amazed what a rounded, caring, all-round amazing guy you’d be talking to if we ever got to meet. In fact I’m going to put a contact form at the bottom of this page, because you’re going to need it. I’m just that good.

Still reading?

If you’ve reached this paragraph, it’s either because I’ve convinced you, or you can’t believe this garbage is for real. And I’m betting on the latter. So if it’s such outrageous twaddle, why do you present your company this way? Come on, own up, you know you do. I’ve seen your brochures – you’re unique, you’re innovative, you’re focused on customer service, you tailor solutions and, unless I’m mistaken, you’re one of the leading companies in your field.

If any of those statements do appear in your brochures, on your advertisements or on your Website, call every one of your customers in turn and apologize for the time they had to waste either throwing them in the bin or looking for a more interesting site. And if they turn up in your presentations then get out. Now. I mean it.

When you’re done apologizing, join the Caravan Club. It’s full of people who point their cameras in exactly the wrong direction. They hook their Sprite 14 (whatever that is) to the coathanger thing on the back of the Maxi and chug off to an area of outstanding natural beauty. Then they park in front of it and take a picture of the caravan. “Here’s Ethel and me completely obscuring the view across Loch Stochanbarel”.

If I’m being unfair to you, congratulations: you’re one of those rare people who’s learned which way to point the camera. How come my opening paragraph gave you a picture of an egotistical twerp suffering from terminal “I” strain? Could it be that you’d rather form your own opinions?

Good marketing points its camera at the customer. It puts him at the centre of a picture that shows exactly where he wants to be. As soon as you move the caravan out of the way, the view behind it becomes clear. I work with a client who prints barcode tickets for retailers like Next and Arcadia. It would be easy to focus our camera on those tickets, and the (genuinely excellent) service behind them. But how much quality do you need in a piece of cardboard that will be thrown away anyway?

Now look at what the ticket does: without that piece of card, the whole supply chain stalls. If the tickets aren’t right, how much is lost in missed opportunity? If market reaction can be speeded up, how much extra profit can we drive to the bottom line? The benefit that my client brings to his marketplace carries the focus completely away from the product he’s selling, and into a world that’s real and persuasive to his customer.

The bad news is that this takes more thought than throwing out a few more “experience to deliver” and “customer-driven” clichés. But put that extra thought into your pitches and you’ll immediately pull ahead of 90% of your competitors.

And your holiday pictures will be more entertaining too.

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