Trust is also a vital part of maintaining and building your reputation through advertising.
Considering the three questions that follow will help to achieve a positive public relations outcome.
1. Will the market understand the terms and language used?
Try to remember that now everyone is an expert and often have a limited understanding of your products and services.
If you are advertising to increase your client base, then it is likely you are attempting to attract first timers. New customers may seek to improve their knowledge by seeking testimonials from friends and look you up on your web page.You may also be attempting to attract people with more experience and knowledge of your industry sector and the services and products it offers. In this case you may be asking them to choose you over services and relationships that are already familiar to them. Using jargon and technical terms in a business to business market may be okay but in retail it can be a barrier to the uniformed seeking your services.
Providing clear definitions about your services with terms that clients can understand at a glance is an important part of communicating effectively, and in motivating them to make contact.
2. Can I substantiate the claims I make?
In the eyes of the law, and your customers you must be able to prove your claims with substantiated facts. (Trade Practices Act to the Competition and Consumer Act).
Making spurious or implied claims about the benefits of your services or about your qualifications is illegal, and risks undermining your reputation, making promises you cannot keep, and breaking the trust of your clients. There are substantial fines that penalise businesses that mislead consumers, whether intentional or not.
Further information is published by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) (http://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/) and the ACCC publication ‘Advertising and Selling 2007’. These include information about the use of fine print and qualifications, inaccurate comparative advertising or comparative advertising that derides or otherwise criticises, bait advertising of discounted products that are not available, environment or green claims, exaggerations, country of origin, prize giveaways, and premium claims including moral or social benefits and quality.
3. Will this ad campaign improve or damage my reputation?
Do not give false impressions or lead clients to have false expectations about your service and its benefits.Omitting important information or creating ambiguity can also lead to false expectations or conclusions.
If robust research is available to support your claims and you intend to quote it, then quote it accurately and do not make claims that misrepresent or exaggerate the conclusions and findings of the researcher.
To labour the point, it is important to see the ad campaign as part of your relationship with your clients to ensure you maintain the highest possible standards and level of integrity.
Disclaimer: The information, views opinions, advice and tips expressed in this article are offered as an overview of issues to consider and should not be regarded as comprehensive or definitive advice. The author accepts no liability in respect to any losses or damages in regards to the views and ideas expressed in this article. It is your responsibility to ensure you are complaint with the law and to seek professional advice regarding your advertising campaign.