March 18, 2009

Nicholas Boothman: Creating Your 10 Second Commercial

What do you understand that others don't? What do deliver that others won't?

What's your competitive advantage? What's your unique selling proposition? What makes you remarkable? 

Tough --- but important --- questions. Once you discover the answers, how do you convey what you do to others? In an "elevator speech"? A soundbite? A tagline?  

In a scripted 10 second commercial. 

This is one of the many practical ideas from Nicholas Boothman in How to Connect in Business in 90 Seconds or Less. As a former photographer for fashion and advertising, Nicholas knows about clear, concise communication.  

Free Airtime
Aren't commercials expensive? Not this time. You're the creator. Airtime is free: you deliver your commercial live. To audiences as small as one person. You can certainly record your creation but that's not necessary.

The Components Of Your Commercial
Your 10 second commercial answers three questions:
  1. What do you do?
  2. Who do you serve?
  3. How does what you do make your clients' lives better? [benefits]
What difference do you make? What's important to your customers? What do they want? What do you do for them?

Crafting your commercial takes time to draft and revise. What you think you understand & deliver may differ from what your clients think you understand & deliver. For example, you may think you're selling a car when your customer thinks they're buying freedom or a Bluetooth phonebooth or a mobile concert hall.  

For months, I've been branding myself as a marketing actuary with a passion for simple. Although concise and challenging stereotypes, this phrase doesn't answer the three questions. In particular, it's not clear why this matters to clients. Here are newer, unpolished works-in-progress
  • I transform financial risk into peace of mind for wealthy Canadians
  • I help turn risk into opportunity for families and business owners
  • I help the wealthy see the rewards beyond risk using actuarial science and business savvy
Other Benefits
Do others have difficulty introducing you? Your short commercial can help your host say what you want to convey from memory. This gives your more control over your branding. Much better than being introduced merely by your corporate title. 

Commercials get repeated to get remembered. You can subtly include your commercial in your presentation several times to achieve a similar result. This also gives your audience an easy way to tell others about you. 

Some commercials make you feel like changing the station as fast as possible. That's why you want your creation to have a hook and a point but no pressure to buy. You'll know you've got a winner when your audience asks you to tell them more.


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