Who among us marketers has not at one time or another touted our company as "a leading" something-or-other. As long as we were mentioned in some industry-rag round-up, or got a slice of the market-share pie from IDC, or had Gartner say something (anything), hey, we're definitely "a leading provider" ("The" leading something-or-other if we could gen up some new, unique category that only we could be part of, thanks to some obscure differentiating feature that we had.)
So when I saw McCabe's Bakery in Galway sporting a sign claiming "World Pastry and Bread Champion," and with a colossal silver trophy in its window, I thought: what a lot of hoo-ey.
But, no, this was apparently a case of truth in marketing, and Richard McCabe has indeed been crowned the World Champeen four years running. (In addition to bragging rights, he walked off with a Lexus and 100,000 Euros. With prizes like this, I don't imagine that the contest was any piece of cake.) Anyway, I tried a scone which was, in fact, one of the best I've even eaten: tasty, moist, and light - quite unlike the more common stone-scone that's desert-dry once you manage to bite your way in.
The lesson could be one of "oh, ye of little faith" - why was I so suspicious? But the marketing lesson is this: if you're going make a claim, make sure that you can back it up with some evidence. There may be a customer (like me) who actually wants the proof. (For those of us whose products aren't World Champion of anything, just remember: if you can't outright claim that you're the best, there's always room for another "leading provider.")