Build Your Business:

Key(words) to Success

December 1, 2014

Just last week I needed to purchase a pair of new athletic shoes. After visiting several of the major shoe retailers, I couldn’t find any pair that would fit. As I left my local shopping center, I saw a high-end retailer (famous for women’s shoes), and thought I would give it one last try.

I was hesitant to shop there as I thought the prices would be too high, but as I peered into the Men’s section I saw some good athletic shoes. Lo and behold, they had a size and width that would fit me. I did purchase them — though I thought the price was a little steep — but got the service and shoes that I wanted. When I got home, I compared the prices online to what I had paid at the store and found that they were the same.
Now, I was not feeling as bad about buying the shoes. Then came the “added value” part. As I showed my wife, I opened the box to see that the new shoes had a simple tag attached. It read, “100% Made in the USA.” That little added tag changed my perceived value of the shoes. Now I knew I had gotten a good deal on a pair of quality shoes that were made in America. I went from feeling “good” about the purchase, to feeling “better” about the purchase, to “Wow, what a great purchase!” all because of a simple tag.

How can you grab this idea and add value to your product? The answer is fairly simple: Keywords. Think about it for a moment. A decade ago, everything was about “going green.” Then came words like “sustainable,” “environmentally friendly,” “organic” and “carbon footprint.” Were these words tangible? I don’t believe so, but they sounded nice and made people feel good about purchasing products using those keywords.

Can you use them today? Yes, but for maximum impact, I suggest using the newest trending keywords. Today there are a ton of keywords that you can add to your product or product offering. It is not hard to find the keywords, just look around where you shop. From the grocery store to street vendors, trending keywords are everywhere.

Don’t think that you can’t do this — it can be simple. Here’s an example: I bought a cookie the other day, and it looked as if it was hand wrapped with the nutritional value tag in the wrapping. Upon eating the cookie, I noticed on the backside of the tag was a simple slogan/keywords: Hand-Made With Love. It probably cost the baker a penny to add that line to the back of the tag, but it made me feel good to eat a hand-made cookie imbued with love. And it means that I will buy that brand of cookies again.

Adding value to a product is simply increasing its perceived value by differentiating the product from that of your competitors. Although you can do it in many ways, this often can be simply achieved by marketing the product a little differently, such as with taglines and keywords that appeal to the consumer’s feelings. I notice it all the time with newspapers, magazines, emails and such. You will see folks use taglines such as “Help the environment,” “Save paper” and “Recycle.”

Think about how commodity foods, such as apples and eggs, are now being differentiated by some suppliers by adding their tagline stickers or company stamp to each piece. It tells the consumer that each piece was inspected for quality, passed and was good enough to be branded with the supplier’s name on it — “Just for you.”

With all that said, I now must go out and buy a pair of Free Range, 100% Organic, Gluten-Free, Cage-Free, Made with Recycled Material, BPA-Free, Lead-Free, Non-Phthalate, 100% Vegan, Dairy-Free, Hypoallergenic, Not Tested on Animals, Made with Real Sugar, Non-GMO and Eco-Friendly socks for my Made-in-the-USA shoes.

Mark Brouillard, International Coatings’ product manager, has considerable experience in formulating and manufacturing industrial compounds. For the past 16 years, his focus has been on the formulation and product development of textile screen printing inks. Brouillard coordinates the company’s product development efforts and deployments. For more information, visit and read the company’s blog at