TypewriterFrom The Urbach Letter October 2002

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Eden Bancha TeaWhat a Box of Tea Bags Can Teach You
If you've been reading my marketing tips, you know that I'm big on message. One of the most important things you can do job number one is to develop a unique, compelling story for your business. However, many people have trouble with this (especially the uniqueness part), believing they're not very different from the other businesses in their industry. Since I don't know enough about you to tell you what to change, I'll talk in general about setting yourself apart from your competition. Sometimes the only thing that needs to change is your attitude and the way you communicate with your marketplace. Inform and educate your clients (or customers or patients). By doing so, you position yourself and your services as uniquely special.

Let's take a look and see what a progressive company did with their tea bags. Tea bags are tea bags, right? They look alike, taste alike, cost about the same... right? Here's what Eden Foods prints on their boxes (read it and tell me if you'd ever confuse their product with a generic box of tea):

Eden Organic Bancha Tea is a refreshing, authentic, traditional tea. It is grown, tended, harvested and prepared exactly as it has been for centuries. Commercial teas are dyed and are poor reflections of the Teas that became integral to cultures around the world. Bancha tea will reward you with the essence of tea's natural character and perpetual popularity.

This fine green tea of tender spring leaves, organically grown, creates a delightfully refreshing and satisfying tea whether served steeping hot or ice cold. Its bright nature makes it the most popular refreshment in Japan. Bancha is perfectly suited for enjoyment at meals, with warm conversation or quiet contemplation.

That's some pretty hot copy, in my opinion. It really differentiates their product, and sets the mood for enjoying a cup. But that's just one side of the box. Eden uses every square inch to tell a fascinating, informative story:

Certified Organic Eden Organic Teas are independently certified by the world renowned Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) to be both organically grown and processed. Eden Foods Organic Quality means that this crop's soil has been tended by growers using organic methods for a minimum of three years, and after the harvest, any processing maintains its organic integrity.

Quality Conscious Packaging The flow-through tea bags are manila fiber; they are oxygen washed for purity and sealed in moisture resistant envelopes. Cotton string is stapled to the bag which is crimped shut, not glued. We import our teas and have them packaged in the best possible manner. Eden Foods has been thorough in our efforts to offer you the finest quality teas available.

They're telling you, in detail, what makes their tea different and better. They're educating you EXACTLY why they have a superior product and adding value by pointing out its features. Could this have been done better? Sure. For one thing, they should have translated the features into benefits. For example, because no glue is used in the bag, there is no chance of it introducing off-tastes or chemical contamination, etc. Also, although the last sentence is a throw-away, there's more good info on the other sides of the box.

I'm an advocate of long-form copy in advertising. I like to tell a complete story. Based on extensive copy testing, I know that style and format is the most effective and powerful in the vast majority of cases. However, I hear people say, "Nobody's going to read all that." That's OK. While not everybody will read it, the right people will. The people I've attracted through a benefit-laden headline (or in the case of the tea box, by attractive graphics and packaging) will read it. People who are interested in a subject will read everything they can get their hands on. People who aren't, won't. It's that simple.

You can never be too long, only too boring. If you've bored your prospects, you've committed a cardinal sin of marketing and it's game over. Hopefully, I haven't bored you.

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