I recently received the following email:
Can you produce evidence that you are "North America’s leading product marketing and architectural consultant"? This is such a broad and outrageous statement that it gives me suspicion that any consultation advice or information coming from Chusid Associates is likewise suspicious. But if it is true, I am quite impressed.I started describing Chusid Associates as "North America’s leading building product marketing and architectural technology consultant" about twenty years ago. The slogan was suggested by my father, a man with substantial marketing insight. "But," I protested, how can I say that? I have just a small business and there are lots of consultants with much bigger practices."
I learned a valuable lesson from my father, that day. And ever since, I have proudly described Chusid Associates as a leading consultant. It reminds me of the high aspirations I have for the work I do. To justify the claim of being "leading," my associates and I have to lead. It is a goal that inspires us to do our best.
Here is my email reply to my correspondent:
"Leading" has a range of meanings. Chusid Associates is leading in the sense of providing leadership or guidance, and advancing ideas that are often in the forefront of the industry. Each person can decide for themselves whether the description fits.Thanks, Dad, for providing such leading advice.
There is also the sense of leading that means being first; when I began practice about 30 years ago, I did not know anyone else providing the type of focus on building product marketing and technical consulting.
If you want evidence to prove the claim, speak to my clients. Most of them will tell you that Chusid Associates helps them create better business outcomes. Chusid Associates' work has also been recognized with awards of excellence from Construction Specifications Institute, Construction Writers Association, and other industry associations.
Perhaps it is hyperbole is to call Chusid Associates "the" leading, rather than "a" leading consultant. This type of puffery* is acceptable in general marketing claims. For example, Coke does not claim to be "a real thing;" it is "the real thing," and most consumers understand it in context. When, however, I provide the specifications about Chusid Associates' credentials and capabilities I try to be objective and avoid exaggerated promotional claims.
The claim that the company is a leader inspires me, every day, to do the best I can for my clients and to improve best industry practices in construction.
* The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defined puffery as a "term frequently used to denote the exaggerations reasonably to be expected of a seller as to the degree of quality of his product, the truth or falsity of which cannot be precisely determined."