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The two most important elements in marketing are claim and proof. It’s how you build businesses. Simplified and organized, this claim and proof approach is the foundation of branding. One claim, three support or proof planks.
One of my kids just graduated college and is on the interview circuit. Loaded for bear, somewhat unfettered, he believes a willingness to work hard, learn and focus on achievement are the qualities that will land him a job. He’s not wrong. But these things sound like your average cover letter. When shared face-to-face over a desk, they are a bit numbing. My suggestion was “don’t forget the proof.” Follow up each claim with examples.
This is what marketers often forget. More often than not marketers and their agents remove proof so they can shoehorn in more claims. It’s claim-apalooza out there. All theater, exposition, and context – no proof.
When a job seeker organizes what s/he wants the interviewer to know about themselves and sells it with stories about real event it can be indelible. Same with brand building. When the dude jumped out of the capsule up in space and free-fell to earth while drinking Red Bull (JKJK), he evinced an energy rush second to none. 10 million media impressions be damned. That was a powerful moment of proof. Peace.
Tags: brand plan, claim-apalooza, claims and proof, job interview techniques, job interviewing out of college, moment of proof, Red Bull, support planks, whats the idea, whatstheidea
There seems to be a trend in TV programs these days, especially heady police drama imports where directors use a good deal of white space during dialogue. If a :60 radio spot contains, say, 120 words then a 47 minute TV drama probably contains a 3500 words of dialogue. Some of these new white space shows are quite powerful because of camera work, performance and real acting. What is left unsaid and anticipated can drive the viewing experience.
When it comes to marketing and advertising, there is very little white space. White space is usually left to the art director – who becomes the only artist (ar-teest) in the room. Everyone else is piling on. Strategists should be preservers of whitespace. No unnecessary noise in the message to cover up the key selling points. Brand managers, too, can learn a thing about the power of white space.
That which we do not say, allows what we do say to have more ballast.
White space. Tink about it (as my Norwegian aunt Inga might have said.) Peace.
Tags: brand manager, brand plan, marketing nosie, number of words in a radio spot, radio spot length, strategy, TV drama, whats the idea, whatstheidea, White space
One of my favorite advertising campaigns is for Frank’s RedHot Sauce. It may be my only favorite ad campaign. I heard if yesterday morning and had to remark about it to the lady at Ace Hardware. The business strategy is to get consumers to put Frank’s RedHot Sauce on more dishes. I use hot sauce on burritos and tacos only. My brother in law from North Carolina likes it on his eggs. (It’s not bad.) The more dishes Frank’s can get you to spice up with hot sauce the more sales it rings.
Now normally funny advertising for the sake of funny is not something I advocate. Funny is rarely a brand plank. But the little old lady with the graggy voice who performs these spots is quite the star. But the copywriter is the true star. Each ad repeats the line “I put that shit on everything.” Of course the word shit is beeped out. The bleeped word is the hero of the spot. Try not laughing. Try not understanding the strategy. Try not visualizing a little old lady putting hot sauce on her breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Some church people will be offended. Some parents with small children will have to explain to their kids why they are laughing. Some will want to protest. Me? I just love that ____. The best ad campaign I’ve heard in a long time. Peace.
Tags: ace hardware, copywriter, Franks red hot sauce, franks redhot sauce, radio advertising, whats the idea, whatstheidea
I recently had a big argument with a company in transition. They were known for one thing, with 75% of revenue tied to that thing. Problem was, their future was tied to the other 25%. I was told “Get the old thing off the home page. Fill it with the new thing.” That was the easy part. The hard part was I was instructed to “Create different doors for different kinds of customers.” I argued “For a company in transition, without a lot of awareness and mindshare, the home page needs to deliver the brand strategy.” Home pages that don’t convey brand strategy are often montages of pictures, products and navigation. They lack a POV. A heart. Home pages are the one place in the online world where marketers have complete control of their brands. They can control the story, the claim and the proof. The 3 door approach would have evicerated the strategy.
Why do so many company make brochures out of the home page real estate? Brochure tables of contents, really. Homepages are more and more important in marketing today and they are the least attended to.
For new or unknown companies the home page must communicate the Is-Does. For mature brands, it must move customers emotionally and rationally closer to a sale. Not closer to another page. Templates suck at this. Plants and trees that stay the same are either plastic, hibernating or dead. Your home page should be none of these. Peace.
Tags: b2b, Brand Strategy, Home page, home page tips, Is-Does, mindshare, twitter streams on home pages, whats the idea, whatstheidea
Dell needs a facelift. But you don’t invest crazy money in a makeover before your facelift. (I’m projecting here. Hee hee.) Michael Dell is trying to take the company from public to private and to do so must convince shareholders that $13.00 ish is a good share price. Some say recent poor earning are a way to get shareholders to agree to sell. Duh. If Mr. Dell does get the company back, he will be able to make the bold moves needed to keep it alive. And perhaps even thrive. He’s too smart, generated too much revenue and been around too long to stumble again. And let’s face he, stumble he has. The company has sold millions of machines but still languished.
Name the last hero product Dell has launched. Describe it for me. The Adamo? Alamo? Whatevs.
Dell needs to design and launch a tablet that whistles. Not something boxy with bells and whistles. Something that whistles. It’s that simple. One killer, hero design will begin to refresh this stagnant brand.
Here’s a test: Get a bunch of teens and/or tweens in a room and have them draw pictures of a Dell laptops. Better yet hve them use Makerbot and create plastic prototypes. See what you get. Then have the group do the same for a similar Apple product. Have them talk about the differences. This is where the brand is and this is what needs fixing. New product design and vision can fix the brand. It will be interesting to see the plan in action. Peace.
Tags: apple, Dell computer, makerbot, michael dell, new product design, whats the idea, whatstheidea
One thing that seems to be a norm for my consulting business is what happens when I present the brand strategy. (A brand plan is made up of one strategy statement and three support planks.) Almost always there is one word in the strategy that makes the client uncomfortable. Until recently whenever I remark about this phenomenon to clients, I feel a little defensive about it – almost apologetically so. Not anymore. I’ve grown up. The objectionable word is usually the strength of the brand plan. The ballast (which is long for another word).
This “one objectionable word” notion echos things I’ve heard creative people say to clients about advertising. “If it makes you feel a little uncomfortable, it is good creative. It will be noticed and remembered” they say.
The discomfort clients’ feel is because a good brand plan is not easy. It’s work. Born of the category, target consumers and the company DNA (sorry about the markobabble, but is is a good work sometimes), a brand plan is only a beginning.
Clients that want to slide into a brand plan with great ease and a sense of constant well-being are not ready to work. To innovate. To sweat the wins and losses. Those who are ready are prepared to live the strategy, to toil and feed it. To create life around the brand. If your brand is a name, color palette and the ad agency’s new campaign, your brand is not alive. It’s not pulsing. You don’t have a brand, you have a product. Peace.
Tags: brand plan, brand planks, Brand Strategy, Brands, creative, markobabble, one objectionable word, Products, whats the idea, whatstheidea