One Stop Shop

One Stop Shop. If there’s three words in advertising that make me shiver more than any other it’s “One Stop Shop.” Everybody seems to think this phrase sits at the pinnacle of effective advertising. And hey, maybe it is a fantastic way to run a business in your industry. But, I can promise you this... it is one of the dullest, clichéd, trite things you can say about yourself.

Phew! Forgive my tirade. I realize I’m biased. I do sit in hundreds of meetings with clients who are thrilled with their shiny new positioning line. It’s tough for them to hear when I explain that it just isn’t that good. I’ve written many times about how some things are better shown within your business than talked about in your commercials. Being a “One Stop Shop” is somewhat in that category. But, I do understand that it is an important part of your business strategy. My argument is that the importance is lost in the description.

If you describe your business the same way as everyone else you will be viewed as ordinary.

Good advertising should make you extraordinary.

That means, we must eliminate phrases like “One Stop Shop” from our vocabulary. You need to promote your business in a new and interesting way. The content can still be the same, but you need to say it differently. If you really want to stand out though, make the content different as well. But, I’m not fighting that battle today.

If you have the budget to market your business you have an obligation to make it stand out. If you want to play it safe, just keep the money in your account. One of the most important lessons I try to share is this: If you recognize a commercial as nothing more than an advertisement, it is a failure.

The reason a commercial ends up sounding like a commercial is pretty simple. Clients want commercials. They want something safe. They want something that they have heard before. Something that is tested and true. Something that has their name in it five times with their phone number, address, and a big fake voice. Advertising people rarely have the balls or courage to disagree.

When I began making commercials, I made them this way. When a commercial came out sounding like a commercial I felt like I had done my job. The last thing I wanted to happen was for someone to point out that something I made was unlike everything else. That would mean it was bad. “Oh crap! I’ve been found out! I’m a hack! I don’t belong here with real writers/producers!!” So, I continued to make beige commercials until I realized my folly. The goal of a commercial is to stand out. A commercial cannot stand out if it sounds like everything else. I wasn’t making good advertisements. I was making invisible ones.

This is the same thought process for marketing managers who don’t have the experience to realize the difference. Everybody starts at the same spot, with the same fear of failure. That fear of failure actually prevents us from success. Success is only possible in advertising when we open ourselves to the option of doing absolutely anything.

In essence, you need to become a “One Stop Shop” for creativity. Unfortunately, if you describe yourself that way the terrorists have already won.