With competition intensifying, business center operators depend on advertising more than ever before to attract new customers. You can opt for traditional advertising, Yellow Pages advertising, Google advertising, social media advertising or just list your business center with a directory.
But no matter what advertising vehicle you choose, beware of the language you use in your marketing. Indeed, careless use of industry buzzwords and overstated facts could give you a bad reputation at best and land you in court for deceptive trade practices at worst.
The growing number of advertising-related lawsuits should serve as a strong warning to business center: Beware of making promises you can’t keep. They could come back to haunt you. Honesty is always the best policy, no matter what advertising medium you are working in.
So what is a business center operator to do? How can you walk that fine line between wooing tenants and getting into puffery? Legal experts stress “just the facts ma’am.”
People tend to do too much puffing in their written advertising. Puffery creates risk when something goes wrong because even if the case isn’t adjudicated it can be costly.
Legal experts say there is also an obligation to have advertised systems in place. So if you advertise video conferencing on the premises, for example, then you can’t just set up a computer for Skype conferencing. You have to be fact specific and deliver what you promise in the ads.
Likewise, business centers that boast high-tech bells and whistles in advertisements need to make sure the systems are functional. If the systems break down and you don’t get it fixed in a timely fashion, then you could be accused of deceptive trade practices.
There are also considerable risks involved in advertising prices. Legal experts say it’s dangerous to put in particular price guarantees or particular office space prices and then change your pricing because you could get allegations of bait and switch. Avoid specific pricing in advertisements and stick with terms like “low prices.”
There’s another area of advertising to which business center operators need to give more thought: the selection of the facility name. You need to make sure you are not encroaching on somebody else’s name. New operators need to be more cognizant of this because 10 years ago it was easier to come up with names. You can infringe on trademarks if you are not careful.
Catch up on the rest of the series:
Legalities Of Advertising A Business Center, Part 2
Legalities Of Advertising A Business Center, Part 3