The end of complete thoughts and the homogenization of brands

Have we reached the end of complete thoughts, sentences and brands? The latest trend in marketing copywriting. Is incomplete thoughts. Like this. For the entire family. In short non-sentences.

In school, we are taught how to form and structure complete sentences with intelligence and meaning. Beyond complete sentences, we learn to write purposeful paragraphs that start with a statement, are proven in the middle, and we end with a cap summary which ties the whole thing up, making sure to reinforce our original point. The point of such paragraphs is to teach. Incomplete sentences do not make points, nor do they teach.

I’m unsure who started this undermining of intelligent writing, but what has happened since is downright disturbing. One by one, companies are copying each other. Originality has been replaced by plain and simple copying. It is no longer possible to differentiate between marketing copy written for Wal-Mart, Target, JC Penny or Macy’s.

This homogenization signals a fundamental shift away from belief in their own brands. If everyone sounds the same, the value of the brands is quite literally zero. If you encounter the same messages from Macy’s as you do from Wal-Mart, why pay the higher price? So you can feel the warm-vibe environs of a cooler building for forty-five minutes? Hardly. And Target’s website could be Wal-Mart’s—they’re essentially the same. Big brands have lost their way. They appear to no longer know who they are or what they stand for.

Short homogenized sentences do not increase absorption. They fail to make brand-to-people connections with any sense of purpose. Short sentences produce nothing more than short-term sales.

Forget brand loyalty. Embrace one sale. For the entire family. In spring. In every place. Go now.

Kelly Hobkirk - teaching marketers how to harness strategy, goals, reality, and purpose to connect and do better work.


Kelly Hobkirk has been helping companies succeed in creative ways for nearly 25 years. His work has been featured in Time Magazine, and books by Rockport and Rotovision. Get exclusive articles when you sign up for his monthly newsletter.

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