Why your message can only have one central truth

The problem with many messages, from taglines to web home pages, is they try to say too much.

Instead of presenting one clear argument, a proof, of what’s on offer, you get mixed messages.

For our relatively straight-forward minds, which are always attempting to sift and categorise information, this is really confusing.

Indeed, such is our ability to sort useful from non-useful, it is often about this point that we turn off – go to the next webpage, ignore, not bother.

Any piece of written persuasive message (or spoken for that matter), no matter how long, must have one central truth at its core.

Our brains process information and make a judgement pretty quickly.

By definition, any persuasive message has to get its point across even more quickly.

You only get one shot, preferably loaded with one central truth.

However, getting to your one central truth, the nub of your argument, is increasingly harder to capture and deliver the higher up a company’s story chain you go. That is, a tagline for example is much more difficult to create than a letter advising about a new product line.

One of the main things you want from a message’s one central truth is that is ‘rings true’.

And luckily, it is a relatively simple thing to test among work and non-work colleagues whether the encapsulating idea you’re playing with, actually works for them. Ask them and gauge their reaction.

Want an example of a tagline that possesses one central truth?

Look no further than Las Vegas.

Prior to 2004 the city attempted to position itself as a great family destination, a bit like Disneyland.

Anyone who has, or hasn’t for that matter, been to Las Vegas, knows this is rubbish.

What did the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority do – it created the following tagline, which reinforced peoples’ image of the gambler’s paradise, and tourists returned.

What was, and still is, its tagline?

What Happens Here, Stays Here


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