The killer 9-word sentence: how one brand nails ‘less is more’

20th November, 2016

The killer 9-word sentence: how one brand nails ‘less is more’

There are two hardware stores a few doors down from each other on a busy North London street.

The first proudly lists its wares in its window, just as you might expect.



Looks pretty comprehensive, right?  But nothing out of the ordinary.

The second however takes a totally different approach.



In a single sentence – ‘If we don’t have it you don’t need it’ – they’ve brilliantly nailed their entire brand proposition and trounced the competition.  This is how:

  • they’re showing the breadth of their services, without overwhelming their customers (see my other blog on the danger of giving too much choice to clients)
  • they’ve summarised their brand proposition in a single sentence that’s clear and compelling
  • they’ve established a warm, welcoming tone of voice that speaks directly to their customers (using the all-important ‘you’)
  • they’ve demonstrated their ‘trusted advisor’ status before customers have even walked in the door (see my other article on this topic)
  • they’ve created breathing space in their window to make sure their products are on view and looking beautiful (no mean feat when they’re selling hardware)

These five strategies can be used with any business, including B2B services.

So make sure you can sum up your proposition succinctly and powerfully.  Be different from the competition (why are so many B2B businesses so bad at this?).  Show your value up front, rather than just telling.  And don’t overwhelm clients with choice – allow room for your brand to breathe.

It can be hard to make complex things simple, but it’s always worth the extra effort in the end to create a brand that really packs a punch.

University of Cambridge