A Teardown of Teardowns
Brand messaging is a form of strategic business consulting. Teardowns are a form of proving expertise. But are they better suited for consultants or services providers?
Based on the general copywriting theory of melding emotion, logic, proof, and calls-to-action, in the customer's own voice, I offered some ideas about what was wrong with what I had been shown.
1 out of 2 times I get on a call with a prospective (or even an existing) client they ask for something similar.
They say, "look at our site - tear it down, what's wrong with it, what do you see". Sometimes they want validation, sometimes they want new ideas, sometimes they want to evaluate how you the expert think and express yourself.
Long ago, I might have objected to this request on the premise that it constituted free work. But now it seems so trivial, I oblige them. I can usually spot a few "mistakes".
But that's mistakes in quotes, with major caveats.
Brands have valid but invisible reasons for how they express themselves. Teardowns are useful exercises (and good practice for burnishing your expertise at anything). But ultimately, they are a flimsy business practice because they overlook invisible reasons.
From the outside, I don't know:
the internal team dynamics
the future product/company vision
the founder/owner goals or other idiosyncracies
what I don't know
Maybe acquiring new customers is less important this year than retaining 2 or 3 existing ones. Maybe acquiring investors is more important. Maybe there's one single partner the company is courting and that's the audience. Maybe there's an email campaign underway that I'm unaware of. Maybe the founder wants to wind down the firm and retire, after her own fashion. All of this affects the "right" brand messaging.
So take teardowns with a big grain of salt.. or look at them as a way to open a deeper engagement, not as a way to provide answers.