Key ingredients that can make your 'boring product descriptions' sell

It is difficult to imagine a product information or description to go hand in hand with a witty story or an engaging piece, especially in BFSI and healthcare categories. speaks to experts on how to create an engaging piece of communication while keeping product information at the heart of it

Akanksha Nagar
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Products in the BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance)healthcare and automobile categories need to dole out more information in their communication as compared to others because of their nuanced and serious nature. If a customer reaches a product touch point and faces a complex description or jargon, he will lose focus, no matter how good the product is.

Brands are now experimenting with various formats of content capsules to educate audiences around their products. Content teams face a massive challenge to ensure that their content is understood by first-time consumers in a limited time. The greatest challenge faced by a content piece, which is not only serious but has a lot of information to convey, is how to make the key message shine without being too complex.

A lot of companies try to capitalise on the emotional side of customers while highlighting the rational benefits. However, not all brands understand the need to cut the clutter while being intelligent about the product description placement. spoke to experts to find out the challenge brands and content teams face. The experts talked about the tonality such content pieces should have and in what formats they can be explored.

Abhishek Gupta

“The real challenge is how the brand should retain the consumer interest, especially when the attention span is a few seconds. Today’s consumers don’t like to be told what to do. Hence, care needs to be taken and not to sound preachy. With so many platforms available, each of them has their own nuances. So, how does your content adapt to all these is the question,” said Abhishek Gupta, Chief Marketing Officer, Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance.

Aparna Mahesh, Chief Marketing Officer, BankBazaar said banking as a category is a limited pool of things. Keeping it interesting without losing the depth in content is a very important thing.

Aparna Mahesh

“When it comes to finance, it is about hard facts and you have to give them enough information. How do you give them that information in a manner that is not too boring, not too in-depth and overwhelming? How do you present the information in a very concise manner without going into very long formats? People have very less patience when it is about long-form content,” she said.

Anngad Mnchnda

The fine line between too technical and easy to understand is what is to be kept in mind when writing content for brands.  In the end, it's all about striking the right chord with the right audience always. Not to forget that the content needs to be optimised for the search engines, which means maximum use of brand keywords and keywords with the highest search volumes in the category, said Anngad Mnchnda, CEO and Co-founder of Chimp&z Inc.

However, for the BFSI category, the audience will go through a content piece if it provides solutions to their problems. What needs to be done is to have an interesting hook as the precursor to the content piece, which will make the audience stop and read. 

How to make descriptions catchy

Every interaction touch point between a customer and a product or service is crucial. More than anything, relatability and emotional connect drives customer trust and curiosity in a product or service. In addition to being relatable and catchy, a brand must focus on accurate product descriptions to make the final decision easier for the audience, especially in the BFSI category where the product value is higher and requires a lot of decision making before a purchase.

Pranesh Mishra

Pranesh Mishra, Chairman and Managing Director, Brandscapes, said some innovation needs to be intrinsic to the product or service. If there is no innovation, then it is difficult to make the product description exciting.

Yashwant Kumar

In order to be catchy, the product description should use a natural and conversational language and tone that appeals to the buyer persona. Use of power words that trigger emotional or psychological words is effective in catching attention. Humour is commonly used to bring in an element of fun in an otherwise serious category, said Yashwant Kumar, CO-founder and CEO of GenY Medium.

To create engaging content, it is important to first understand the customer, their pain points, their aspirations and then figure out what role a product plays to eliminate problems and facilitate those aspirations. Once brands have that clarity, creating content that appeals to the customers becomes easier. Brands have to perform a fine balancing act between delivering information and creativity.

Kedar Teny

Kedar Teny, Chief Strategy Officer, Tilt Brand Solutions, said, “The one way I believe we can make the messaging more engaging in this category is to move away from the holy grail of marketing — bull’s eye TG and single-minded messaging. With the proliferation of digital media, it is imperative for the marketer to identify cohorts/personas and cast the net wider. This allows the brand to unearth more meaningful insights and build greater empathy.”

Ankita Chauhan

Ankita Chauhan, Group Head Strategy, Tonic Worldwide, summed up five pointers every agency and brand should keep in mind while churning out such content pieces. She advised that every piece should be exact and easy to read, reflect the audience’s taste and a story should be woven smartly defining the versatility or emotional value.

It’s very important for a brand to find its voice, a specific tone that aligns with the beliefs of the company and the benefits as well. So, if audiences read a piece of content, the customer should be able to crack which brand is speaking. 

Gupta said the tonality of such pieces should be non-preachy in line with brand values. The depth and width of the content should be consistent with the product and brand’s identity and the same should also be able to communicate a bit of excitement and brand’s desired personality to the targeted audiences. 

Products within the BFSI category, particularly insurance, come with a lot of complex information about their features and benefits. Also, there are several brands that have unique and innovative products with specific advantages and disclaimers that need to be communicated to prospective buyers. In such cases, it certainly helps to have a dedicated website that serves the purpose of educating consumers about the product in a conversational manner.

“Dedicated websites then direct people to a separate domain where users can purchase the product of their choice. I see this trending as the market gets more evolved and consumers become more discerning as to which products they would like to buy,” said Yashwant.

However, the separate website shouldn't break the flow of the customer, or it might affect the sale of the brand. So, if there’s a huge gap between the main website and its micro page, it’s likely to turn off a customer’s interest in a particular product, said Mnchnda.

Kalyan Kumar

Echoing the same view, Kalyan Kumar, Co-Founder and CEO of Social Catalyzers, said such self-serving websites only work well for high-involvement products, unless brands have third-party endorsements as they operate inside a wide spectrum of advocates who are apparently neutral.

The media landscape over the last decade has changed dramatically and the task of building effective reach has become difficult and expensive. According to a Hubspot report, 90% of users say product videos are helpful in the decision process. Among these, explainer videos can detail out a product or service in an engaging way. They are cost-effective and can be promoted using video-sharing platforms in addition to having it on the brand website. Well, who can forget " target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Wedding Speech by PaisaBazaar.

ICICI prudential was able to build very strong brand recall through its Chintamani series. Creating a series is an effective method of product description as it helps bring out the unique features of the product and helps target the audience that will benefit from that specific feature.

“If the series fits then it is a good idea, if it does not then it is not. What I can say with certainty is that it can be the icing on the cake but it can't be the cake,” said Teny. 

Fahad Patel

In addition to series and websites, brands have been experimenting with text blogs, image posts, GIFs, slideshows, and meme posts, said Fahad Patel, Social Media Manager, Hats-Off Digital.

If a product is a high-involvement category like medicines or BFSI, one can use bullets, making the information is easy to consume. In case of a lifestyle product, storytelling can work well. Other ways or writing like turning features into benefits for consumers can also work for household products and similar categories, said Chauhan. Mnchnda said audio descriptions are also on the rise globally and can be experimented within the Indian subcontinent. Augmented reality and virtual reality is picking up too to ensure the content is reaching out to the next generation.

boring product descriptions