Have you fallen into the exaggeration trap?

If you ask a room full of people what’s really important to them they will tell you trust is one of the most important things there is. I know because we did this recently. Of course, trust, yes very important – everybody nods. We have to trust people, we have to be trusted. We must tell the truth.

Then we all go out and write marketing copy.

Now, truthfully, I’m exaggerating a little for effect. Of course our marketing copy isn’t a lie but is it honest? I’ve seen excellent writers fall into the exaggeration trap. Where they start by exaggerating just a little, to make the copy better. Then they revise and revise and suddenly they’re making loads of claims that, hand on heart, aren’t really true. Aren’t truly authentic.

This happens all the time. How many Twitter bios start with “I’m passionate about this banal subject.” Are you? Do you leap out of bed each morning, pump your fist into the air and shout “Yes! Another day of whichever mundane buzzword is current flavor of the month?” Maybe you do. That’s fine.

But if you don’t, if you aren’t truly passionate about what you present yourself as, isn’t that a lie? Aren’t you breaking the very rules that you said were so important to you?

In marketing, we’re under pressure to make sure our messaging paints our business or product in the best light. We need to pain ourselves in the best light. So, sometimes you might be tempted to exaggerate in your copy. Don’t. Because as soon as your customer realizes you’re not able to back up the claims you made, that you weren’t telling the truth, that’s a customer you’ve lost forever. Because customers are only humans and humans need trust.