Message Mediocrity

20th September 2014

The sheer volume of direct mail we receive from services organisations is still huge and its still true that many are very similar. Rather than being centered on a point of difference, the communications focus upon the well-travelled trail of product and service features and benefits:

• Better rates
• Higher returns
• Personal service
• Fast turnaround
• Product specific benefits – including insurance, identity protection, travel benefits
• Affinity programs – sport, holidays etc

The majority of these direct mail pieces feature happy families, happy employees and serious bankers. In other words, corporate wallpaper.

As Frank Capek observed: “The challenge is that most banks have a long legacy of product-centric, ‘everything for everybody’ ways of thinking. This leads to decision- making and resource commitments that reinforce ‘better sameness’ rather than true differentiation.”

And that’s the challenge that faces each and every one of us – the avoidance of corporate wallpaper; pleasant enough but ultimately unremarkable.

As Ann Livermore of Hewlett-Packard said: “These days, building the best server isn’t enough. That’s the price of entry.”