As a brand strategy company, it is important for us to keep track of what is going on in business. So, I am constantly being bombarded with Google alerts from companies we follow. Generally, these alerts are either new product announcements or financial news.
One of the things that both angers and baffles me is the lack of attention that most companies place to their boilerplate. Sure, boilerplates are traditionally little more than an abbreviated “about us” statements, but it is amazing and sad at how generic and misused they have become.
Lets look at the medical device industry, for example. Clearly, the medical device industry as a whole has some serious problems from a brand perspective anyway. (Read two of our articles on it HERE and HERE.) But when you look at the boilerplates for those companies, it really highlights the lack of focus on a meaningful brand.
In a quick study of the boilerplates for a dozen medical device companies who are in markets from cardiac devices to prosthetic implants to monitoring devices, we discovered that 11 out of the 12 were “leaders,” half of them have a “broad range of products,” and nearly all of them are dedicated to improving or advancing patient care. What is missing is the reason a customer or an investor should choose them that goes beyond simple category descriptors. For as many press releases as these companies send out during the normal course of business, this wasted opportunity to build brand meaning is almost criminal.
But this is only a symptom of a larger problem. Most medical device companies have put insufficient focus on their brands. And the homogenized generic mess of the boilerplates are big signs telling the world that. A CEO from one of our client companies once said in an executive management meeting, “If you don’t care about yourself, no one else is going to.” For the medical device industry, at least, the boilerplate has become nothing more than a corporate advertisement for not caring about their brand.