The “Schlitz Beer” Lesson
Have you heard this story?
A famous advertiser, Claude Hopkins, received a call from Schlitz Brewing Company (this was a long time ago). Schlitz Beer was struggling. No matter what they did, they could not get ahead. They were being beat by several other beer companies (people say they were somewhere around 8th place). So they were putting the future of their company in the hands of Claude Hopkins.
Claude was given a walking tour through the factory. As he walked through, he was overwhelmed with the great technology and precise processes that went into creating this beer. There were plate glass rooms where beer was cooled in filtered air, white wood pulp filters through which every drop was cleared. Bottles were washed 4 times by special machines. The water for the beer was drawn from 4,000 feet down. All the yeast was made from the adopted mother yeast cell. 1,018 experiments were made to find the exact flavor.
Claude told them “You need to tell people about all of this!” And the company said, “But every beer company does this. It’s just how the beer industry works.” (Keep in mind that at this time, everyone was just advertising “PURE BEER” or “THE PUREST”)
Well, they took Claude’s advice. And he wrote an ad detailing the process of making Schlitz beer. And their sales went through the roof.
There’s something about being specific that caused customers to run to the stores and pull the beer off the shelves.
Now, I run into small business owners all the time that have similar stories. There are a lot of interesting details about what goes on behind the scenes in their business, but no one knows about it. And it could be the exact thing to communicate to prospects, and boost business.
I have a friend who owns a silver jewelry business. One day we sat down and she told me how in order to make her products, she finds a special type of clay (I think it’s called precious metal clay). She exposes it to a specific degree of heat until the clay disappears and she’s left with silver that is 99.9% pure. Which is pretty much the purest it’s going to be.
Isn’t that cool?
Wouldn’t you be more likely to spend your money on a jewelry that was described in that way instead of just… fine jewelry or pure jewelry?
Today, take a pen and a piece of paper, and write down the details of your business or product or service. If you are sandwich shop, what kind of sandwich shop? What specific bread do you use? White bread? What kind of white bread? Italian white bread? What kind of Italian bread? A local half, sourdough loaf, crunchy on the outside, and soft and chewy on the inside, dusted with a semolina flour?
I don’t know. I’m just making stuff up. But you know your industry. And the things that might seem ordinary and mundane to you, will attract customers in a way that you never would have dreamed.