It’s an overused statement, but magic does NOT happen inside your comfort zone.
Nearly every day, clients and prospects bring up examples of groundbreaking ideas. Things they’ve seen in case studies or heard about, brilliant work that made a difference. Then they proceed to explain that they want something just as groundbreaking, something that will disrupt the market, something that will break through the clutter…BUT, they want to do this without making any changes, without breaking new ground, without learning new tricks, without taking some chances, without being the bad-ass decision-maker they’re trying to emulate.
Asking for magic without leaving the comfort zone would be like handing Picasso a single bucket of grey paint and expecting a masterpiece.
If you’re wanting to disrupt your market, be a market-leader. Today is the day to roll up your sleeves, grab a shovel, and break new ground.
You’ve worked for years on your brand. You’ve carefully crafted a look and feel for your company. You have that elevator speech down to an actual fucking art, you can make someone want to hand you money if you have 3 minutes alone with them.
Things have changed in the past few years. Now it appears that every business has to be on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram if they want reach consumers. You don’t want to spend time every day trying to monitor online activities and posting narcissistic images, but you have several staff members or family members or family members of staff members that seem to love to use social media. These odd acquaintances have 1000s of followers and can talk all day long about social media and absolutely love to post pictures of their hair and the food they just ate. It seems natural to hand social media activities over to these little online zombies and let them use these ‘skills’ to build your brand and keep you in front of the public eye.
I see this happen almost daily. Brands handed over to people without backgrounds and education and experience in branding. Suddenly the online brands look very different than the brand that has been carefully crafted. The look and feel of your company that exists online would have made you cringe a few years ago. Logos are suddenly pink because it was more visible on the image that was stolen via a Google image search. Likes are counted as important when they have nothing to do with influence – quite often, the type of people that like the new online presence are not the least bit like your actual demographic, they just find the headline funny and notice that one of their ‘friends’ liked the post.
If your online branding is in the hands of someone that doesn’t handle branding for a living, take a look at it. Scour through every post with a new eye. Is this really how you want to be seen? Do the posts fit the carefully crafted messages you are putting forth elsewhere? You’ve been warned, your brand is crumbling in front of your eyes.
Each day you get up, you have to play the game. Work has to be done, there are certain tasks that must be completed. However, you don’t have to do things the way they’ve always been done. If you want to succeed, be disruptive. Play the game, but change the rules.
Take a look at your routine today. Why are you doing things the way you do? Have you thought about doing them differently? Look at your marketing and public relations budgets and highlight anything that’s just there because it always has been, I guarantee you there is a better way to allocate those funds. In most cases, I find there is a way to save money while shaking up the system and getting better results.
James Dean, picnics, whiskey, red lipstick…some things never go out of style. They may not be the current trend, but they’ll always be there in the background.
There are also those things that simply don’t have the staying power. Cupcake stores, Duck Dynasty, Gangham Style, Crocs, Honey Boo Boo…they may have moments of extreme popularity, but they die out over time.
You have to stay on top of trends, and you have to adjust communications to fit the fickle nature of the world we live in. You don’t, however, have to be a brand that will pass like just another fad. Always be cognizant of your positioning, and unless you’re simply trying to make a quick buck, be a brand that never goes out of style.
Whatever you do, whatever service you provide or product you create, you have to be memorable.
Maybe you’re memorable for being the absolute best, maybe it’s because you’re a square peg that fits into a round hole, or maybe you’re like me and you make up for your shortcomings with loud clothes and tattoos…however you do it, you have to stand out.
Each day I work with people that offer perfectly suitable products/services, and there’s often absolutely nothing memorable about them or the service. Providing quality simply isn’t enough in today’s world of constant input and competition. You have to be memorable.
Kick back with Simple Minds and enjoy ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’ a few times. Think about your brand. Do what has to be done to make sure that you stand out.
I always apply my favorite quotes to work, that’s what makes them resonate so well for me. My favorite television quote of all time is from Fox Mulder on The X-Files. “If coincidences are just coincidences, why do they feel so contrived?”
Very often, budget is better spent bypassing traditional media and by putting your product or service directly in the path of those you wish to reach. Get in front of people, be in front of them at the time they decide they need you, make that coincidence happen.
How do you do that? Get creative, be clever, have a plan, and do things differently. Make the best use of grassroots marketing and event tie-ins, pitch the media with a unique twist to be included in stories not directly related to promoting your product or service, don’t push your services on anyone but be in front of them when they need you.
Making coincidences happen may not always be the easiest route to follow, but it can be very effective. It’s also more cost-effective to cleverly find your audience than to try to beat them into submission with TV and radio and Google Ads.
Public Relations, Advertising, and Marketing. The lines blur at times, it’s hard to distinguish between them some days. Luckily, no matter what the task of the day is, I Make Stuff Up.
However, contrary to Seth Godin’s book title, not all Marketers are liars.
At no time do I fabricate lies on behalf of anyone. I do, however, look for creative ways to reach audiences with a story. I look for new ways to share stories. I make up creative ways of reaching people. I make up events that didn’t exist so that clients have a fun way to reach intended publics and everyone has a great time doing it.
Hell yes, I make stuff up. However, I don’t lie on behalf of clients to sell products or services. Not only would I not do this, no client I have would want me to.
Happiness is where you find it, especially in the world of advertising. Some mornings I get completely sidetracked looking at vintage ads from days gone by, and they make me somewhat jealous. Look at the simple truth in this ad, they’re happy and they eat lard. What more could there be? The guy in this ad is almost like James Bond, the thought of Daniel Craig smiling wildly in an ad, woman at his arm, discussing his proclivity to eat lard…I want to work on this campaign!
This one is a few years old, but will still provide a chuckle to those that haven’t seen it. Those awesome Japanese folks opted to have one incredible sale. A sale so good, what else would you possibly call it?
This brings up a fairly important thought, be careful with the message that you’re sending this time of year. Make sure that all of those holiday ads and last-minute promotions stay true to your overall branding strategy. If you’re a high-end retailer, don’t hurriedly cobble together holiday promotions that look like they’re tied to an entirely different company. BE TRUE TO YOUR BRAND.
Along the same lines, which would apply to the image associated with this post, if you’re known for having really fuckin’ good deals. Don’t be shy in telling people.