Posts

, , , , , ,

R is for Real

 The Case for Authenticity

photo 3If I could give you one word that sums up how to create and build a powerful Brand that works, it would be ‘authentic.’ Keeping it real is not just something you want to aim for in your romantic relationship, after all. Be real with how you communicate with your audience. Getting real about who you are as a company is the absolute first step to creating a Brand that is unique. Once you are clear about who you are and what you offer, you will have clarity about who your target audiences are. Who’s going to resonate with your Brand? Is it young, busy moms? High net worth individuals? Retired baby boomers? It makes a big difference when you truly understand your audience and you can communicate with them authentically. They will be drawn to what you’re selling when you are real.

 

, , , ,

Q is for Quiet

Follow Your Own Voice.

phasdfasfoto 3So many companies vying for your attention makes the world a very noisy place. Sometimes, as marketers, we need to take a step back, get quiet and remember what we stand for. The most powerful brands are simple and really know what they stand for. Nike. Apple. Google. BMW. Disney. We all know who they are and what they mean to us. That’s the power of good branding backed up with ingenious ad campaigns and really smart integrated marketing strategy.

If you’re a business owner, or looking to expand your business, shhh. Take some time out. Think about what you stand for and write down, in five words or less, what you bring to your  customers. This will become the core of your Brand strategy and you’ll want to use it on everything you do to communicate who you are and what you offer to the world. True, it’s easier said than done. Just be quiet and trust your inner voice. It’s almost always right.

 

, , ,

P is for Perfect

Positioned for Success
rtyy

As Westerners, we spend a lot of our waking hours (and one would guess, our dreamtime too) reaching for perfection. The concept that ‘nobody’s perfect’ has been written about, sung about, filmed about … and yet we are inundated with other imagery and messages that conflict, that make us believe on some level, just maybe, perfection is attainable. And so we set out, either consciously or unconsciously, seeking and striving for the perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect partner, the perfect kids, the perfect car, the perfect meal, the perfect friends, the perfect Brand Strategy, the perfect website, the perfect blog post, and on and on it goes. No wonder we’re exhausted. No wonder so many of us turn to ways of escaping all this pressure to be perfect.

We might take a lesson from ancient Japanese wisdom. Wabi-sabi is a notion which nurtures what is authentic by acknowledging three simple truths: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect. Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, irregularity, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the objects and processes of nature. In a word, I would call it peace. An acceptance and understanding of what is. A calm acceptance that life is fluid.

How does this relate to Brand Marketing? As Marketers, we spend a lot of time defining our target audience. What makes them tick? What do they want? What I’m finding these days is that no matter who our particular audience is, they generally don’t want more pressure to be perfect. They want to be inspired, they want authenticity. These days more people are reaching toward the Japanese world view of wabi-sabi. We are looking within more. Letting go of outside influencers that contribute to our need for perfection (which by the way, does not exist). It’s just more sane, really.

Ever since I adopted my puppy, Brodie, a couple of months ago — I have really noticed a change in my perspective. I’m lighter. I’m finding joy in simple things like crisp November morning walks, writing a great headline (although I’ve always appreciated that!) and being woken up way-too-early by the happy spirit of a 5-month old puppy who can hardly wait to start another day. Brodie is helping me be more flexible, too. To see that I can have fun and still be productive. This slight shift has me looking at new ways to approach my work. To be open to the constant changes and find perfection in the fleeting moments in between the big presentations, deadlines and campaign launches. Living a balanced life knowing that nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect seems like the perfect way to position yourself and your business for a rich and creative life. Like a way to position yourself for success.

I don’t entirely agree that ‘nothing is perfect.’ I do believe we experience moments of perfection; a breath-taking sunset, the smile of a loved one, laughter of a child, or creating a beautiful ad that inspires. If we can spend more time appreciating those perfect moments, knowing that nothing lasts and nothing is finished we can learn to be more present and less focused on what’s missing from our less-than-perfect lives.

Brodie

Brodie

 

 

, , , ,

M is for mmm-mmm good

 

The Power of a Good Tagline.

asdfowkfI’m a huge fan of great lines. It’s so awesome when something is delivered in a few words that really captures the reader (or the listener) and communicates the essence of a company or product. Like a lot of marketing terms these lines go by several names: slogans, taglines, straplines, or even mottos. But I refer to them as Positioning Lines to my clients. That’s because the string of words that you place alongside your logo and your company name are key critical to establishing your position within the market place.

Here are 5 tips to creating a great Positioning Line. 1. ID: It needs to support — and stay consistent — with the brand name. (eat fresh) 2. Sticky: Great positioning lines stick around because they’re memorable. (‘Does she… or doesn’t she?’) 3. Positive Benefit: You want to convey the consumer benefit for using your product or service in a positive way. (Just do it.) 4. Shine: With so many competing messages in an overcrowded playing field it’s important to set yourself apart with a creative and original Positioning Line, ie, don’t be boring and don’t do what others do. (Have it your way.) 5. KISS: Keep it simple, stupid. This is one of the toughest things to achieve. One word is rarely enough and 7 is usually too many. (Stronger than dirt.)

I think “mmm mmm good” is a much more successful line than, “It’s amazing what soup can do.” What do you think?

Let’s play, “Name that Brand.” Click on the Your Thoughts? link and tell me how many brands you can name for the lines I’ve used above as examples.

 

, , ,

L is for Love.

Fate vs. Free Will.

ph;lllloto 2I love what I do. I also love Matt Damon’s movie, “The Adjustment Bureau.” In fact, I’ve watched it four times in the last six weeks. Each time I watch it I feel uplifted because his character represents the qualities that I crave in a relationship: honesty, devotion, absolute commitment and the ability to put the other person first. These are all qualities that lead to great client relationships too, and I dare say that I do my very best to sustain them with all my clients.

It’s not always an easy thing to do, however. Especially when the client decides to exercise their own free will without any input from me. It’s a classic red flag in any relationship when one person makes decisions without clueing the other in on said plan. I consider myself a partner in my client’s business, so imagine the upset that can occur when a client goes rogue. At first, it’s insulting. Then confusing. Next comes the anger and disappointment. Then the final stage of apathy. Like… whatever.

The reason I’m obsessed with “The Adjustment Bureau” is that it gives me hope. Hope that maybe there is someone out there willing to look past what they think is their path and really consider the possibility of something spectacular. Someone who understands that going for spectacular results requires taking risks. If you believe that maintaining the status quo is the best you can do, that’s exactly what you’ll get. But, if you believe something great is possible despite what others think, or what repercussions might arise — I believe the rewards are great.

You do have a choice in your relationships. If a client is moving in a direction that you are not comfortable with — that impacts your ability to produce great results — consider the consequences of resigning the account. You might just free up the space for a new, more perfect client for you. Same thing goes for other relationships in your life. I always scratch my head when people stay in relationships that make them miserable. Take the chance. Exercise free will and choose the best thing for you. Time is our greatest commodity. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you have an unlimited supply.

 

 

, , , , ,

K is for Kick-Ass Creative

Creative Marketing
fuktukkk

What drives success? Well, when it comes to marketing I feel it’s a split between intelligent strategic planning and kick-ass creative. After many years in the field I’ve crossed paths with shops who have a primary strength in one area or the other. Some are whiz bangs at strategic planning but lack any real creative flair, and others are all about the creative with little interest in strategy. You need both.

Of course, the creative is the fun part. But it’s a lot like life, really. You can be creative with the way you dress, or decorate your home, or pick up chicks — whatever. But, you still have to clean the house, pay the bills and plan for the future.

A lot of people may think that Branding is all about being creative, but the best brands are driven first by the strategy. Take this example that we did for our Physical Therapy client.

We developed the Brand position of “Get Going.” and in this piece we created a look and feels that’s all about movement. The best part? When the client saw the online flash ad we developed as part of this campaign, he wrote back: “This is kick-ass.” Moral of the story? Live creatively and be smart about it.

 

, , , ,

H is for Honesty

Truth in Advertising.

photo 2A few years back, someone said to me, “You’re too honest to be in business.” I was stunned. What an interesting thing to say. Add to that, that the business I’d chosen to be in was advertising! It’s something that I’ve never forgotten. Why is it that we have this notion that to be great in business you have to be a schemer or a wheeler dealer? I look at my business as an integral part of my life. Why then would I have one face at work and another for the rest of my life? I think a lot of my success with marketing comes from helping clients to be honest about who they are and what they are offering. It’s in that honest inquiry that some of the best advertising is made. It’s during that process of establishing what makes a client unique that allows us to mine for gold. I think we’re all pretty savvy about when we’re being jerked around. We can tell when an advertising message is authentic and when it’s just … not. I’m really proud of the work that we do. I feel we are providing a valuable service by helping our clients to articulate who they are and what they are about. Some business people are all about the sale, it’s true. And those are the people who want to gloss over the essence of who they are and send out slick messages to lull consumers (or potential clients) into buying their product or service. So, while in many ways, my chosen field has a bit of a bad rap, it’s not the way I choose to do it. I equate branding with authenticity. And by definition, that’s honest.