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June 24, 2004

News & Opinion: Passionate / Schaminate!

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 3:08 PM – Filed under: Big Ideas & New Perspectives

Grant Thornton is an accounting firm. A big one. And they're very successful.
Maybe recently, you've seen or heard their ads. They're everywhere. In newspapers, magazines and on TV. Now I hope their advertising yields monstrous results. I like to see folks succeed. However, I'll confess, it baffles me. Especially the theme, tagline and headline which is:
A passion for the business of accounting.

Huh? Who cares? So what?
Shouldn't it be a given that they're passionate about accounting? Heck, that's what they do.
Wouldn't you want your surgeon to really dig medicine? Or an airplane pilot to be enamored with flying?
A print ad for Grant Thornton includes the following copy:
Our passion for what we do for our clients has made us one of the largest accounting firms in the world, with 585 offices in 110 countries.

Boring!
Seems like it would be far more impactful if they waxed rhapsodic about how they're passionate about their clients' businesses and not just theirs.
And then, they could give examples, share case studies or tell stories about how they helped clients achieve extraordinary outcomes, boffo results and improved conditions. It's these advantages and benefits that drive buying decisions.
Boasting about your passion versus your decision makers' results is not exactly the kinda stuff that stirs emotion or inspires action. The focus in Grant Thornton's advertising is Grant Thornton. That's the wrong party.
Their decision maker, (prospect or client) is ignored. Instead, it's "Hey, look at us. We're really cool. We got lots of offices in lots of places." These are giant yawners.
By contrast, I heard a RadioShack radio ad this morning exclaim, "With over 500 stores, one is within five minutes of where you live." (This conveys convenience, time-savings, and accessibility.)
What's interesting though with Grant Thornton, is that their website is customer friendly and customer focused, i.e., providing links for timely tax tips and knowledge nuggets. Smart. (They oughta adapt the same principles to their
advertising.)
Remember, when you attempt to persuade, imagine your decision maker is sitting across from you, with their arms folded and bellowing, "Big deal! What's in it for me?"
Does your story matter? Sure. Is it worth telling?
Probably. But the story that always must be heard, is your decision-maker's!
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