Ty Montague

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toxic

If you were to do a Google search of all the copy written by professional copywriters, freelancers, content marketing peeps and business owners – and I mean all the copy, from websites to brochures, to press releases, etc. – I bet there would be about 40 benefit/feature words that would make up 10% of the entire count. Words like “innovative,” “best,” “superior service,” “new” and “% off.” These words as toxic. Overused and over promised, they tend to fall on deaf consumer ears. They inure consumers to other important copy that actually tell a story; the good words that convey a sense of identity and differentiation.

Play copy editor for a moment. Read you work, circle the words that sounds like copy — that sound like common promise – and remove them.  See what you have. Toxic words when used in a story are more palatable. But in copy or selling – they shut down our brains. This is why storytelling or, as Co:Collective’s Ty Montague puts it, “story doing” is the haps these days.

Just as playing a favorite song too many times or eating too much strawberry shortcake in one sitting can burn a person out, use of toxic copy words must be carefully watched. Peace.

 

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Here’s how I do it.

1. Observe. As a consultant, observation happens before an engagement and during. Before, observations are used in biz/dev. What’s going on in the culture? What’s going on in the selling culture? The buying culture? These nuggets are the grist for the emails that start a dialogue. Emails explaining what I do for living are “me” focused not “you” focused.

Once engaged, observations are the ebb and flow off the business tide – contextually set up by business fundamentals provided by senior client management. Research, both qual. and quant. come in at this stage, budget permitting.

2. Commune. Unlike anthropological fieldwork, in brand planning we need to commune with those we study. Plumbing, probing, storydoing (thanks Ty), making of friends. This is how we add dimension and luster to our hunting and gathering – talking to people. There are no wrong people.

3. Cull. A cull rack in Great South Bay parlance is the rack that catches the clams of legal edible size. With all observations in (one can observe forever), the cull begins. What to save. Knowing what is important is personal, subjective, objective, scientific and artful. Basically it’s a brain thing. Can’t really be explained. No algo for this.

4. Organize. In my work I often talk about brand planning as an organizing principle. Today I’m thinking about the root word organ. Yes, organ. The business winning elements of the strategy are like organs. They give life to the brand plan. I use 3 brand planks and there are three really important organs. (My brand plan contains one claim, three support planks.) With this structure, the puzzle pieces come together.

5. Package. Brand strategy doesn’t package well. It’s like an early Pearl Jam song, when they weren’t good at endings. The big reveal of a strategy (remember it’s not creative) often feels soft. It feels right, everyone is nodding, but it’s often a soft landing. If I may be crass, it’s kind of blue ballsy. Unlike creative which is more artful and has a hook, brand strategy is only a beginning. It needs great packaging to make it feel more creative. A touch of poetry helps.

This is how I do it. This is how brand strategy at What’s the Idea? is made. Have you a different approach? Peace!

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Poor, poor New York Knicks.  They own and play in the world’s most famous arena.  They’re backed by a smart company that has more money and love (for them) than are most sports franchises, but when it comes to marketing they can’t find their fanny with their hands.

 

Co:, a new marketing company formed by Ty Montague and Rosemarie Ryan, most recently of JWT, touted the Knicks as one of their first clients.  How’s that coffee smell y’all?  What a mess they stepped into.  Today’s New York Times reports the new Knicks adverting effort is a five agency ass-grab, sans an idea.  Co: has really taken a small role, according to the article, with only a limited mention.  Stuart Elliot, the Times advertising writer, suggests the idea is “You. Us. We. Now.”  Is that an idea…or four? Is there an acronym for Cry Out Loud? 

Everyone interviewed in the article says the wrong thing. The story suggests tactics-palloza  — and there is a focus on “fan engagement” that is well-intended but laughable.

Declare

Last year the Knicks idea was “Declare.”  What they meant to say was “Represent” but that, I’m sure, was a bit too urban.  How can you be urban and not urban in one word?  

The creative this year focuses on the players because they are all new. Lazy. It should be focusing on the basketball void that has been NYC for years. Hear that sucking sound?  If you want some hoops in NYC this year get your shoes out to Carnesecca Arena. Peace!

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