Who Do You Think You’re Talking To?

Whether you can sell something as “skim milk” would seem quite straightforward. After all, according to Merriam Webster’s it’s just milk without the cream. But not according to the FDA and even some competitors in the dairy industry, which require the incorporation of additives to enhance vitamin A and D content before a product can be sold as skim milk. A producer who omits these additives in an effort to create a so-called pure or natural product must instead use the phrase “imitation” skim milk. Anything less could be courting FDA action, and also a potential competitor lawsuit for false advertising. 

As can be seen, when you run your brand or promote your business there is more than just one audience you need to consider. They may not not all be desired, but they all have varying degrees of interest in what you have to say and how you say it. The obvious audience is the direct purchaser of your goods and services. But others include competitors, industry and trade associations, regulatory agencies and politicians, and even judges and juries. As much as anything else, success in business means understanding your audiences and ensuring the context of your commercial speech if effective for each of them. 

Practically, a few considerations you may want to consider include:

  • Do you know what you really want to say?
  • Do you understand how your words work with each other, reading from multiple perspectives, including consumer, competitor, regulatory, and more?
  • Is what you’re saying ambiguous to any of your potential audiences, and if so, can it be said more clearly? 
  • Are there laws or regulations that limit what you can say about your good or service or that mandate specific things you must say? 
  • Is anything you say subject to common industry or marketplace meanings or understandings, and if so, are you in line with them?
  • Do you have data, studies, literature, or trusted and dependable sources of opinion and information that support what you say, and if so, how and to what extent?

There are multiple audiences for what you have to say, each with their own list of concerns and interests. This holds true whether you operate a bank or make apps for smartphones. Whenever you speak, you speak to all of them. Understanding this reality will put you on stronger ground legally, help you fashion better communications, and enhance your trustworthiness and credibility in commerce.

If you have questions or concerns about your marketing strategy, talk to an experienced Atlanta business lawyer at Baker Jenner LLLP. We have the experience you need to help you make legally sound decisions in regulated markets, including how you communicate with your audiences. To schedule an initial strategy session, contact us.

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Baker Jenner LLLP

Baker Jenner LLLP is a business solutions law firm. We partner with clients to achieve their goals while managing transactional, regulatory, and legal risks.
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