What can Jason Fried teach us about marketing

Jason Fried is co-founder of 37signals, a Chicago-based software firm, and co-author of the book Rework, which was published in March. He also writes a column for Inc. Magazine. (I really enjoy Jason’s writing style.)

In his recent column for the above magazine, Jason spoke about the importance of the words you use to describe your product, service, etc.. He went on to suggest that we can taste words and that most corporate websites, brochures, etc, don’t taste very good. Jason: When you write like everyone else and sound like everyone else and act like everyone else, you are saying, “Our products are like everyone else’s too.” Jason goes on to point out a few often used but basically meaningless terms such as effective end-to-end solutions; provider of value-added service and full-service solutions provider.

I could not agree more with Jason. Fortunately, in the same column Jason pointed out some wonderful exceptions to this trend, companies such as woot.com and the Saddleback Leather Co. What was even more interesting to me however, is that Jason’s column unexpectedly reminded me of something Paul Arden, a former executive creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi, wrote a few years ago in his book titled Whatever you think, think the opposite:

Sails Talk.

What I find interesting about the Sydney Opera House is how the architect Jorn Utzon sold his outrageous and what was then unbuildable design to Sydney’s city fathers. When presenting his plan he referred to the building as a sail.

Once the committee had the image of sails on the water, no other entrant in the architectural competition stood a chance. He summed up his concept in one word.

Lesson #1: Taste Younique.

Lesson#2: Give people something to talk about.

Lesson#3: Effective word of mouth marketing generally stems from something authentic.