This thought might give you some paws: What do people compare you to?

January 11, 2010 at 1:08 am 2 comments

Hamlet, always loyal and loving, is never far from us.

We spent Sunday afternoon at a cat show and I came away with two thoughts. 

The show was our first TICA cat show, and we kept running into breeds we hadn’t seen at CFA cat shows. My first thought was that we were pretty impressed with Bengals,   Cymric and Toyger, some of the breeds we hadn’t seen before and that you don’t see at CFA shows.  As beautiful as those cats were, Hamlet, our beautiful Norwegian Forest Cat, still takes best of breed, show and everything else in our book, even if he “non-show quality.” 

The second thing that impressed me — negatively — is how many breeders and alleged experts extolled the virtues of their cats and their breeds and summarized those traits by saying their cats were “just like a dog.”  

 I don’t think Hamlet would take kindly to being compared to a dog. And for those trying to impress me with their breeds, I say this: If I wanted a dog, I wouldn’t be at a cat show. 

 It makes me think about how we compare our brands. It also makes me wonder what people use to describe the brand that I represent.

I can’t control what others say, but I can certainly make sure that I don’t distract from my message with a distracting metaphor. It’s bad enough to say a product is the “Rolls Royce” or the “Cadillac” (for this post, should I spell it Cat-illac?) of its category. Used in writing, these expressions are trite, and I can imagine some customer thinking, “If I wanted a car, I’d go to the car dealer.” 

Granted, Rolls Royce and Cattie (I couldn’t resist) have earned their spot in our lexicon to mean best of breed. But I can’t help but feel that if we really want to extol the virtues of the products we are writing about and elicit the appropriate emotional response, we’ll take a little extra time, invest a little extra thought and choose to say what we mean without resorting to clichés or  muddy, disconcerting comparisons.

 While failing to do so certainly wouldn’t be a cat-astrophy, it’s in the cat-alog of things I hope to do better this year!


Entry filed under: stuff & rants, Writing. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

Legislative Affairs On My Own So just how does the old dog learn new tricks?


  • 1. Mary Danielsen  |  January 11, 2010 at 11:57 am

    This is a purr-fect post. Sell the product for what it is, not what you want us to imagine it is. Cats are cats. Like any other item we introduce into our homes there is something unique about each and every one.

    I imagine that the first buyer who takes a cat home and refers to it as “just like a dog” will find the shredded curtains or knocked over vases shortly there after. Bad consumer.

    • 2. dougtheprguy  |  January 11, 2010 at 11:54 pm

      Thanks for a great response!



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