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The 7 Deadly Claims (Part 6) — “Cutting Edge”

Posted By Jeff Sexton On February 12, 2008 @ 3:04 pm In Articles,Branding,Copywriting,Product Development | 5 Comments

the cutting edge needs no spin [1]It seems corporate siblings experience the same divergence of personality and temperament as real siblings.

Even though Black & Decker owns DeWalt, their Web copy couldn’t be more different. In fact, the contrast between the two brands illustrates both mediocre and powerful ways to handle the sixth deadly claim: “cutting edge” (aka, “next generation,” “revolutionary,” etc.)

Both companies have followed current trends by releasing a line of tools powered by lithium-ion batteries. Lithium batteries provide much greater energy density than other rechargeable battery formulations, which means you can fit more power into a smaller battery. This can allow tool manufacturers to create lighter cordless tools, provide more run time, or increase the voltage rating of a tool (or some combination of those benefits, depending on design goals).

Moreover, lithium batteries won’t self-discharge: If you charge your battery and leave it in the garage, it will still be charged by the time your spouse’s nagging finally forces you to complete that home improvement project you’ve been planning to get to “this weekend” for the past six months. ;)

This innovation means a company could legitimately claim that lithium-ion batteries represent the “next generation” of cordless tools. But handle with care. The claim may be true, but that doesn’t guarantee it will be persuasive to — or even believed by — the reader. The copywriter still needs to substantiate this claim.

Break Through the Hype

Let’s take a look at Black & Decker and see how they do. If I go to the Black & Decker homepage [2] and click on the rotating Flash banner touting the VPX System™, I’m taken to a page [3] that contains the following copy:

  • Breakthrough Lithium-Ion technology – holds charge longer, so it’s ready when you need it
  • Includes: VPX Screwdriver, Cutsaw and 3 LED Flashlight
  • All 3 tools powered by 1 VPX 7V Lithium-Ion Battery [included]
  • VPX Batteries interchangeable with all other VPX products
  • VPX Chargers include Daisy Chain Cord to power multiple chargers on one outlet

So, they’ve claimed their battery technology to be a “breakthrough,” and they do a decent job of explaining the main benefit to the casual home user. Not bad, but they might want to make room for a bit more copy and to bullet point at least one other benefit of their new Lithium-Ion batteries. I’d also want to hyperlink the phrase “Breakthrough Lithium-Ion technology” so readers could click-through to find more information. As it is, I had to use the left-hand navigation to find this information by clicking on “The Power [4].”

This page does a nice job of illustrating the size and weight savings offered by the new battery, and the copy reiterates the “holds a charge longer” claim — though I’d strongly recommend they substantiate it by comparing the VPX charge-holding capacity to older battery technologies, so readers can know exactly how much longer they can let the batteries sit idle.

Overall, Black & Decker does a fair job of handling their claims of “breakthrough technology,” and at least the copy points out the benefits of the new battery formulation. Still, it would be much better if they dramatized the benefits.

Also, by marketing the technology against yesterday’s competition, Black & Decker fails to persuade. Chances are they’re not really competing against older battery formulations, as most consumers are likely comparing them to other Lithium-powered tools. Yet their copy ignores this entirely. They should at least address the issue of how their lithium-powered tools stack up against the competition, don’t you think?

B & D may or may not be the “best” lithium-powered tools, but the VPX System probably does represent good value for the money for the casual home user. It would help if they made that case outright. (Check out this Amazon page [5] and accompanying reviews for one of the VPX drills. Better than the brand’s own site, isn’t it?)

Saw, Don’t Tell

Now let’s take a look at the copy for the new lithium-powered DeWalt Nano™ [6] products.

First, note how DeWalt compares the new technology against their old Ni-Cad powered tools and other Lithium-powered tools. Also notice how DeWalt actively dramatizes the benefit of its new technology by showing how it translates to increased cycle life and faster task completion.

Finally, notice how DeWalt never mentions “cutting edge” or “breakthrough” or “next generation.” They simply talk about how they partnered with a pioneer in new battery technology and how their new (and exclusive!) battery chemistry was developed at MIT. Then they let the geeks among us drill down to the technical details on battery technology. Though they never really explain how the batteries make use of nano technology, rather than drawing attention to a would-be unsubstantiated claim, DeWalt shows us how their tools are cutting edge.

Want to see what this looks like on TV? DeWalt’s approach is basically the online equivalent of Dyson’s “airblade technology” commercial [7]:

Remember, the key to making this claim work is to SHOW us HOW your new technology represents a breakthrough and WHY that matters to the customer. Do that and you’ll never even have to mention the term “cutting edge,” or any of its other overused siblings.Tune in next week for “Best Value.” Until then, don’t cut yourself on these other Deadly Claims:

  1. Superior Customer Service [8]
  2. Easy to Use [9]
  3. Most Experienced [10]
  4. We’re #1 [11]
  5. 100% Risk-Free [12]
  6. Cutting Edge [1]
  7. Best Value [13]

[Editor's note: Is your website losing its edge? Sharpen up your virtual sales pitch at our Persuasive Online Copywriting seminar [14] on March 28th in San Francisco. Jeff and Holly will be your instructors for this first-ever West Coast edition of our popular one-day copywriting crash course. Class size is limited so that attendees can get real advice and actually learn something. You'll even get $100 off if you register [14] by 2/29.]

Article printed from Conversion Rate Optimization & Marketing Blog | FutureNow: http://www.grokdotcom.com

URL to article: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2008/02/12/cutting-edge-web-copy/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2008/02/12/cutting-edge-web-copy/

[2] homepage: http://www.blackanddecker.com/

[3] page: http://www.vpxsystem.com/products/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductID=18378

[4] The Power: http://www.vpxsystem.com/power/

[5] Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Black-Decker-VPX1212-14-4-Volt-Driver/dp/B000UME3FG/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1202833635&sr=8-2

[6] DeWalt Nano™: http://www.dewalt.com/nano/index.html

[7] Dyson’s “airblade technology” commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-8sNl1Iqkw

[8] Superior Customer Service: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2007/11/26/superior-customer-service/

[9] Easy to Use: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2007/12/06/easy-to-use/

[10] Most Experienced: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2007/12/11/most-experienced/

[11] We’re #1: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2007/12/19/were-number-one/

[12] 100% Risk-Free: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2008/01/08/100-percent-risk-free/

[13] Best Value: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2008/02/28/best-value-copywriting/

[14] Persuasive Online Copywriting seminar: http://www.futurenowinc.com/poccta0308.htm?utm_source=GrokDotCom&utm_medium=Post&utm_content=Link-1265&utm_campaign=POCCTA0308

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