Is A Name Ruining The Campaign?

"Insert Name Here" "My ego is ruining my business."

You might have noticed advertising telling you to "call Doug for a quote" or a great deal, or a new fence - anything. Doug is usually the business owner.

For the record, Doug is a fictional character. Let's be honest, no one with the name Doug has ever owned a business. You're welcome to sub out that name and insert one that you feel is more realistic.

There's HEAPS of this kind of advertising around. There are a couple of reasons why business owners want to mention their name in their ads. One reason:

They believe it'll make the business feel more down-to-earth. And they're right, in a way.

In a small town, everyone knows who Doug is. They know he started up his timber yard in the late '90s and they'll go to him every time they need timber and hardware. Let's place a bookmark here. I'll come back to this point.

On the flip-side, if Doug owns a car yard which falls under one of those big car brands, his name can make it feel like a local company that sells a popular brand. This is where you'll hear about Doug telling you to see him for a great deal.

It's interesting how most of the time, it's the owners of small to medium businesses who want to mention their own name. It's as if they want to seem smaller than they actually are. Why?

Are SMEs too worried about growth?

In Australia, we're all about cutting someone down when they get too successful - Tall Poppy Syndrome. But it's business.

If QANTAS was too shy to grow, the company would still be shuffling passengers across the top end of Australia. Now they're one of the most famous and respected airlines in the world.

Isn't the point of business to grow?

Take share from other companies, and make them close down so you get more business? It depends on your goals... however, if that's not yours, you'll probably be the company that closes down.

Now that's out of the way...

Mentioning someone's name in any way takes away from the overall message - what they are going to do for their customers. You might be able to mention something that they do better than anyone else with that time or space.

"But it's only like... one or two words!"

"Yeah, but you need to set it up somehow, otherwise it's going to sound tacked on."

Instead of mentioning the boss' name, a business should be focussing on what they do.

To that bookmarked point: If Doug, the owner, truly believes that everyone knows him and will go to him every time they need timber, he doesn't need to advertise to them because he has their business. He needs to target people who don't go to him.

What experience will a customer actually have?

The call to action was "call Doug on [Insert Phone Number]". If a customer calls that number, will they get Doug or another staff member?

If the latter, will the customer be able to speak to Doug? What if he's at lunch? On holidays? There are too many variables to list.

That call to action really only works for a one-man-show.

Are your staff any good?

I worked on a job where an architect told people to call Daniel. What if Sally answered the phone? She could be as qualified, perhaps more qualified to answer the question... but no, Daniel wanted customers to speak to him.

By telling people to call one person, the ad is subconsciously saying "no one else can help".

Daniel is the only person who can design a home and Doug is the only one who can secure a length of hardwood.

You can get around that by telling the audience to "speak to Doug and the team"... or you could save that time for something worthwhile. Think about it, if you include the whole team, you could have said "call [Insert Business Name]."

Why do bosses mention their name?

It has to be an ego thing. They like to hear their own name on the radio, see it on TV or while they're cruising around the internet.

They'll get people calling them to say they heard their name in the latest ad.

OR maybe they're trying to track the commercial activity. This is a poor way to measure.

A boss needs to keep their ego in check for the sake of their business. But if they demand it - the success of the campaign is on them.

For more advice, and to contact me for any freelance opportunities, send a message via the contact page.

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