I feel confident in saying that I have seen it all when it comes to advertising campaigns. I have seen clever, award winning campaigns and I have felt literal pain when I look at campaigns that have fallen painfully short on hitting the mark; painfully. That being said I feel a commitment to each and every client to provide fresh, creative campaigns that are unique and second-to-none. Period. On the other hand, as a human being I feel that it is my purpose to tell you when you are missing the mark with your marketing efforts. Just like if you had broccoli in your teeth and no one told you, I feel that it is the humane thing to do to tell you if your website is making your company look passé, cliché, or like every other Tom, Dick and Harry Company.
Equally important as the words on your website are the visual elements. Photos can position you as forward-thinking and creative; alternatively, if not chosen wisely they can portray your company as backward and tired. Why would you want the same old cliché photos and copy that is seen on everyone else’s websites? The following images and phrases are the worst of the worst. If you have them on your site, I’m begging you to remove them… immediately. They are the broccoli in your teeth, the toilet paper on your shoe and the price tag hanging out of the shirt you wore to work today all rolled up in one.
WE KNOW BUSINESS…
What does it mean? Does it mean that two male handshakes plus a globe is the international sign for “we are all about the biz”? Whatever it means this image is all over the internet and it tops the list of bad messages. Please remove this image and replace with a picture of Stan from accounting or Lisa in Human Resources; these are the people that know your business so showcase them. Additionally if you have the catch phrases that include but are not limited to:
“We are the force behind your business…..”
“Your single source for business strategies” or
“Our handshake means something”
….take them off your site. Please.
WE ARE SMARTER THAN YOU
Is this telling us that your company is the missing piece to the puzzle or that you are going to collectively beat me at a fierce game of Scrabble? These cliché images paired with catch phrases that need to literally be spelled out for your consumers are not the answer to any website…ever. So say goodbye to the word games, puzzle pieces and Rubix cubes. No one likes pretentiousness. Replace these with real photos of your work, your products or your services. Additionally if you are spelling out anything like the following words nix them off your site:
WE- A-R-E- C-O-O-L
WE HIRE YOUNG, BEAUTIFUL, ETHNIC PEOPLE…AND ONE OLD GUY
We understand the need for equal opportunity but all this picture is implying is that you were recently in a discrimination suit or are too scared to be deemed politically incorrect. Great companies such as yours hire according to ability and it should be shown through real pictures of your team. Chances are that unless you are a company that deals in placing runway models your staff consists of real people with their own uniqueness to boast. So get ready to say “cheese” we do want to see real pictures of you and your employees and we don’t want to see phrases like:
“There is no “I” in team”
“Together we stand”
“United as one”
This graph and other similar images are frequently found on financial, mortgage and banking sites but what exactly is this graph saying? “We don’t have real number so show you but this graph…that is on our competitor’s site too…. will surely impress you!”
Replace images of graphs with real people, real numbers and real results. Case studies, current news or anything with clear and concise content will keep your audience’s attention.
Phrases to avoid:
“Because Life is hard….”
“We bank on it…”
“Investing in YOU”
We are so cool and cutting edge that we strike these poses every day right after we work on our team cheers. (Look at the blonde—now she REALLY knows what she is doing!) This image says: “Having cool people like us, like totally, means we deliver results…like ok?” My advice: time to take off the “cool” pictures. Additionally if you have any acronyms or cheers that you learned at your last Cool Team Building Retreat keep them out of the copy:
TOGETHER we stand, TOGETHER we fall, TOGETHER we win, and winners take ALL! YAY!
What does this picture mean?
That you don’t get “it: or that I don’t get “it”?
I am confused.
Whichever message you are trying to get across— you either insulted yourself or me. Please take this image off or any similar images… and while you are at it take off any messaging such as: “The Solution Finders” “Eureka!” or “Huh?”
As you can see putting together a quality website is not a simple task; it takes hours of writing, editing, careful imagery selection and a lot of invested time and resources into making sure that you are properly showcasing your company. If you are setting off on the journey of creating a new website remember to stay away from quick, fix-it solutions with cheesy stock photos and cliché marketing messaging; this will only hurt your company’s image. Stick with the imagery and company messaging that is unique to your company—by doing so you set yourself apart and ahead of your competition.