When you hear the word “cheap” associated with a product or service, is your reaction a)”Wow, this must be a good deal!” or b)”Wow, this must be a piece of junk!”?
When you hear the word “economical,” is your reaction one of the aforementioned options? Or perhaps something not so…definitive?
Throughout advertising history, words like “cheap” and “free” have successfully attracted new consumers and even lifelong, brand-loyal customers. Today, TV shows like Extreme Couponing and retailers’ constant BOGO deals highlight our love for “getting something for nothing (or practically nothing).”
Many would argue, however, that thanks to the plethora of less-than-quality products out on the market today, words like “cheap” and “free” are often accompanied by unfavorable connotations in the minds of buyers. And therefore, if buyers are assuming your value-packed offering is essentially valueless, your brand – and ultimately your bottom line – will suffer.
The old childhood expression “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me” isn’t true when it comes to advertising. Telling a customer they can get this new Cadillac “cheap” probably won’t break your bones, but it will certainly break your customer’s desire to buy from you.
If you’re wondering whether to utilize the power of these words, you should first consider how they will relate to and represent your brand.
- What is your company culture and philosophy? Are you a business that emphasizes accessibility rather than exclusivity?
- Who is your target audience and what are their buying habits? Do you want your advertisements to speak to consumers who aren’t necessarily looking for top-shelf quality in such a product or service?
If you’re not answering “yes” to some of these initial questions, but still – like most businesses – want to promote your product or service as a cost-effective alternative or at the very least a good value, consider words that land further into the gray area (see “cost-effective” and “value”). Even “value” can carry mixed meanings, so give your language some thought before immediately opting for words that sound sensational but can instead suggest that your product lacks substance.