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For anyone in business hoping that the general public will become addicted or at least committed to their product or service, the magic word is Velcro.

In fact, this lesson about the ‘fabric’ of society could be valuable for just about anyone who wants to be noticed. That's the message from Roy H Williams, once described by US magazine, Your Company, as a small business marketing guru.

Williams put out a book called The Wizard of Ads. For anyone wanting to use advertising, it should be repeated – the key word to remember is Velcro. Williams says ads are simple – they should be either emotional or intellectual.

While an emotional ad is experience-focused, an intellectual one is information-focused. He says intellectual ads must begin with a punch line addressing a felt need. This must be followed up with a quick bit of proof.

Williams believes deceitful advertising is too common, but that's because as he puts it, “the truth is rarely persuasive”. He says many basically decent people rearrange reality because they believe honesty in not the right policy for selling. This is where Velcro comes in.

In 1941, George de Mistral, while walking in the woods somewhere in the US, found it difficult to remove burrs from his woollen pants. Using a magnifying glass, he found the burrs were made up of hundreds of micro-hooks. The wool was made of loops and by applying these principles to nylon, Velcro was born.

The goal of advertising, according to Williams, is for your message to hold tightly to the brain. For truth to work in advertising, it needs the hook to latch onto the brain. (Do we assume the brain is loopy?)

Williams, in fact, calls the brain the hooks and the message the loops. Either way, the lesson is clear – your ad, message or product has to get stuck into the mind of potential consumers.

The bottom line is that our minds will ignore the predictable and as he advises, “Advertising arrives as an uninvited guest, pounding the door of an overcrowded mind”.

The guru tells us the best ads that really get the best results always suggest that the product being advertised will change a customer's life.

The rules are: get to the emotions first and then a customer who is hooked will use logic to justify it.

A hell of a lot of relationships are built on precisely the same emotion-logic play. And the ultimate goal of advertising is not just to sell products but to build lasting relationships with some loyal customers.

Catching their attention in a crowded marketplace is the first step.

Published on: Tuesday, October 27, 2009

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