Category Archives: Advertising

Advertising Direct Mail Marketing Online Strategies Outdoor Advertising Radio Radio Advertising Television

V is for Variety


Untitled


read more »

Advertising Brand Development Brand Marketing Branding Integrated Marketing

Q is for Quiet


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.

 

Advertising Brand Marketing Branding Copywriting Uncategorized

M is for mmm-mmm good



mmm-mmm

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.

 

Advertising Brand Development Brand Marketing Branding

L is for Love.


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.

 

 

Advertising Brand Development Brand Marketing Branding Integrated Marketing Strategic Marketing Planning

K is for Kick-Ass Creative


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.

 

Advertising Brand Development Brand Marketing Branding

J is for ‘Just Kidding’


just-kidding

Deliver on Your Promise.

photo 2Ultimately, business is about relationships. It’s about trust: earning it and keeping it. So when you say you’re going to do a thing, you’re best bet is to follow through. In the fast paced, deadline driven world of a brand agency there is a lot of juggling going on. So, there are times when we say we’ll have something for you to review on Thursday, and some other critical situation arises to push that possibility out the window. It happens. Not very often, but when it does it’s essential to give the appropriate head’s up. It’s not a good idea to wait until Thursday to address it. The worst idea yet is to ignore your promise and deliver it on Friday (hoping they won’t notice).

Your Brand is your promise. When you reneg on your promise, or even a tiny speck of your promise, you are damaging your Brand.

My last boyfriend promised he would “love me forever, even if I weighed 200 pounds.” I believed him, and interpreted that to mean that he would love me forever. While I did not set out to test him on his big fat promise, I did hit some tough times when my dream vision for a multi-media production company, crashed and burned. Clearly, said boyfriend did not want to go down with what appeared to be a sinking ship.

Apparently, we have different standards in our personal and business lives. Or, do we? Maybe people who say what they mean and mean what they say are really like that, all the time. My practice is to under promise and over deliver. Clients seem to like that because they know they can count on me to do what I say, and then some. It’s simple. I value their trust and work at keeping it every single day. It’s not always an easy thing to do, but hey, who ever said relationships were easy?

 

Advertising Brand Development Brand Marketing Branding Strategic Marketing Planning

I is for Interesting & Interested


interesting

Getting Attention.

photo 1In a recent blog post from Seth Godin he wrote, “Interesting & Interested … it helps to be both. These are two ways you earn attention. If it’s so obvious, why is it so difficult?”

There’s so much to this simple post. And it really got me thinking about mistakes that so many clients make with their marketing. It really comes down to these two words. If you’re interested in who your target audience is, they will find you interesting. How simple is that? The thing is, a lot of clients over think this stuff. Understanding your audience is the real key to successful marketing. Because when you “get them” you can speak their language. And when you make yourself (your company, your product) relevant, you create receptivity.

On the flip side, being interesting is all about being yourself. Don’t try to be like the other guy. Find out what makes you uniquely you and tell your audience about it over and over again, in as many ways as possible. Eventually they’ll think, wow, that company is really interesting.

 

Advertising Brand Development Brand Marketing Branding Copywriting

H is for Honesty


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.

 

Advertising Branding Copywriting Outdoor Advertising Print Advertising Radio Television

G is for Great Writing


great-writing

Connecting emotionally with your audience.

photo 1What makes the difference between an uninspired headline and a great one? Emotional connection. If you can evoke emotion from a reader, that means you’ve captured their attention. If you’ve captured attention, you’re much more likely to get the type of reaction or response you’re going for. The thing is, lots of clients hesitate to use emotion in their marketing messages. Maybe they think it lacks polish, is too out there or too risky. There are lots of ways to say the  same thing, but changing the words can make all the difference. Take a look at this video from UK content developers, PurpleFeather.

If your copy doesn’t evoke an emotion, it fails to really connect with the reader. So many ads and marketing messages miss the boat by simply stating the obvious. (I’m blind. versus It’s a beautiful day and I can’t see it.) (Or, We sell Widgets. versus  Our Widgets Will Make You Sing.) Sometimes a client will argue that we’re speaking to engineers or contractors or some other narrowly defined demographic where emotion doesn’t ‘apply.’ And I always say, engineers  (or whomever) are people too. We all have hearts, we all feel things and the best brand advertising and marketing makes you feel something because of great writing. No matter what you’re selling.

 

Advertising Brand Development Brand Marketing Branding

E is for Exceeding Expectations…?


exceeding-expectations

Elevate Your Brand.

photo 2 copyHow many times have you read this phrase in a marketing brochure or on a web site: “We will meet or exceed your expectations.”? What, exactly does that mean? The problem with this kind of canned marketing language is that not only does it do zip to build your brand — it’s a real buzz kill. Words and phrases like this do nothing to distinguish you and, therefore, elevate your brand. Think about it. This common phrase can be (and unfortunately is) used by virtually any business or service organization. I could say it as an Ad Agency,(in fact, a lot of marketers do use this phrase which is not a good sign for what you can expect in terms of creative product), the law firm around the corner, the caterer down the street, the florist across town, the salon, the landscaping company, the bank, the insurance agency, the auto body shop — you get the idea — can all use this phrase. The fact that it can be used by anyone renders it virtually meaningless from a brand marketing standpoint. The whole point to establishing a strong brand is to determine what makes you different. AND, to find a way to express that difference to your audience. It doesn’t have to be clever necessarily, but it does have to be unique.

Part of establishing and elevating your brand is showing (not telling) your tribe what their experience with you will be like. Apple is a brilliant example of this. Their TV spots literally “show don’t tell” you what you’ll experience when you purchase one of their products. Set to catchy tunes with barely any voice over, after just thirty seconds you come away thinking, “I want one of those (iPhones, iPads, iPods) – it looks like so much fun.”

One of the hardest things to do in marketing is to say a lot with a little. It’s the real trick of branding. Empty words are like empty calories, they just take up space and make you look puffy. Boil it down to it’s essence and then push it out there in as many places as you can. Do your best to stay away from language that pretty much anyone and their brother could use with the same drab, meaningless tone. Above all, don’t be afraid to be uniquely you. If you’re quirky and you know it, be quirky. It has much more brand power than being a clone.