During the 1920s and 1930s, Bruce Barton was a household name in America – a hugely successful advertising man who revolutionized his industry by treating customers like people, not like sheep to be fleeced. He created some of the most memorable and long-lived advertising slogans and campaigns in history.
Secret #1 : Reveal the business nobody knows
When Bruce Barton and Roy Durstine landed the US Steel Corporation account in 1935, Barton helped whip up an ad that made history. He said Andrew Carnegie “came to a land of wooden towns… and left a nation of steel.”
This type of strategy changed the perspective of everyone. People were no longer buying a product called steel; they were supporting a mission to improve the lifestyle of a nation.
How does your business serve life? How do you contribute to the improvement of life? The way to perform this first strategy of “revealing the business nobody knows” is to think of what people really want. People want : security, sex, power, immortality, wealth, happiness, safety, health, recognition and love. How do you (or your business) deliver any of those essential needs?
Most people sell what they have in front of them. In other words, if you’re selling a shirt, you show the shirt. But a way to “reveal the shirt nobody knows” is to show how the shirt satisfies a more deep-seated desire. Maybe the shirt is made of special material that allows your skin to breathe, thereby giving you comfort. You have to look beyond the obvious.
Secret #2 : Use a God to lead them
People love experts. Authorities are more easily listened to because we assume they know what they’re talking about. It always amazes the author that anyone who writes a book becomes an expert on the subject of that book – even if the book is crammed with erroneous information.
If you have anything really valuable to contribute to the world, it will come through the expression of your own personality – that single spark of divinity that sets you off and makes you different from every other living creature.
“Every man in a big position knows in his own heart that forces entirely outself himself have played a large part in his making.”
– Bruce Barton, 1928
Secret #3 : Speak in parables
Part of Bruce Barton’s secret was due to his ability to write simple, snappy copy that was also rich in depth and meaning. He did this by creating stories that reached the common worker as well as the intellectual. A parable is a story. Barton wrote stories laced with subtle meaning.
Secret #4 : Dare them to travel the upward path
Barton believed that the great game of life was to challenge yourself to become the best you could possibly be, whether in business or at home. He knew people wanted to improve their lies, but they often didn’t act in their own best interest unless prodded. His nudge was a subtle, psychological one.
Example he offered this subtle challenge for a radio commercial :
“We believe that the people who like the finest things- fine books, fine music, fine food – are the people who should like fine tobacco. And if you are one of these people, and if you enjoy thi program, and if you have not tried Luckies lately, please buy yourself two packs and smoke them. Really fine tobacco does make a difference in the taste. ”
Hey, I personally dont endorse or encourage smoking tobacco. I think its bad for health and there should be certain ethics as to what products to promote. Though Barton’s way of advertising the tobacco is unique, but I personally do not like to promote such products.
“Be genuine…. unless you have a real respect for people, a real affection for people, a real belief that you are equipped to serve them, and that by your growth and prosperity they will likewise grow and prosper, unless you have this deep-down conviction, gentlemen, do not attempt advertising. For somehow it will return to plague you. ” – Bruce Barton, 1925
Secret #5 : The One element missing.
Barton’s writings had an element that was lacking in most of the other ads of the 1920s through 1940s : sincerity. The secret was Barton’s own belief in what he was selling. If he did not support a product or service, he would not write about it. Without sincerity, you’re selling air. Sooner or later, someone will blow the whistle on you. You’ll be exposed as a fraud. You’ll lose credibility.
Secret #6: Give yourself away
If a man practices doing things for other people until it becomes so much a habit that he is unconscious of it, all the good forces of the universe line up behind him an whatever he undertakes to do it. Barton did what he loved, and the money was a by-product of good work. Get money – but stop once in a while to figure what it is costing you to get it. No man gets it without giving something in return. The wise man gives his labour and ability. The fool gives his life.
Secret #7 : Sharpen the knife
Barton knew you had to “sharpen the knife” of persuasion by rewriting, testing, getting feedback, and being flexible. He knew that your best work comes after you have revised it. Far too many business people admire seemingly creative ads rather than asking if the ads pull in business. Cuteness and cleverness do not usually work.
Your focus should be on ads that work – on ads that get the results That happens when you “sharpen the knife” of persuasion. People usually ask themselves 3 basic questions when they look at ads : “Who cares? So what? What’s in it for me?” It’s only when we are stirred by a great demand, an insistent necessity, that we accomplish the sort of things that make us proud of our humanity.