Monthly Archive: November 2011

Client Showcase #12

With all the digital this and digital that on our plates, it’s easy to lose touch with your roots in this business.

Thankfully, there’s still a need for print advertising, because making a new two-page spread for a client is the kind of assignment that brings you back — to Earth, and to the reasons you got into advertising in the first place.

Our client Danville Development Corp. of Salt Lake City manages 15 well cared for properties for low income seniors and people with disabilities. The Danville team also helps people navigate the HUD application process and find a comfortable home for their retirement years. Therefore, we chose to step away from the typical product features approach you see in ads in this category and focus instead on the brand benefits.

As for the choice to run print, Danville’s prospects use the web like everyone else (and this ad drives people to the web), but the media buy here recognizes that searching Google is not the end all and be all for every product or service, nor for every audience.

The new ad will run in Seniors Blue Book, a pub that reaches 150,000 people via its printed Utah edition.

We’re Not Hypnotists, But We Do Ask Clients To Get Out of Their Head

Raf Stevens, author of the newly published book, No Story, No Fans, has an important message for those of us busy developing content for our clients.

What helps great content to spread is how compelling and inspiring the message is, not how it slants toward positioning your company as the only one to buy from. Content should make connections. I’ll go even further than that. Content follows connection. First, you need to engage, build rapport, and make your audience trust you. Pure information or marketing messages do not make that happen. If you communicate in facts and figures, you are communicating “brain to brain.” To be a successful storyteller, you need to communicate human to human, heart to heart, and emotion to emotion.

Interestingly, the best ads also reach people at an emotional level. Yet, clients who pony up big bucks to create and place an ad or to improve their website are acting rationally. They want more business and are willing to do what is necessary to make the register ring. The take away here is that it is imperative to move from the rational to the emotional when appealing to prospects and customers.

Yesterday at a Portland Ad Fed luncheon, a principal of another Portland agency told me that content marketing is just writing. No. It is writing and/or video created on a client’s behalf, but there’s no direct sell packaged up in the message, rather there’s entertainment or utility worth seeking out and sharing courtesy of the sponsoring brand.

Let’s take a look at this new content offering from Patagonia, a master of the form:

Six and a half minutes of video from an outdoor clothing company, and no mention or even a hint of product marketing. There’s no need for it, because Patagonia knows what matters to its customers — in this case environmental damage being done to a wild place.

That’s the model in a nutshell. Find the shared points of interest between the company and its customers and focus there. Perfectly executed content marketing like Patagonia’s doesn’t do away with salesmanship. In many cases, traditional marketing is still needed to induce transactions. Content doesn’t replace advertising, it lives side-by-side with it.

Is Your Company Participating In The Social Web? The Train Has Left The Station.

One of the best things about social media marketing for small business is the fact that small businesses, unlike some corporate monoliths, are actually social in real life. In a small business there is a real face and a voice behind the brand; thus, participating in online social channels is typically a good fit.

According to a new survey from Constant Contact, 60% of small business owners/managers (or their agents) engage with customers and prospects who post comments on social media platforms, whether those posts are positive or negative.

Fall 2011 Attitudes and Outlook Survey

Susan Payton, President of Egg Marketing & Communications, suggests that the 40% of small businesses not currently responding to customers and prospects get busy.

Consumers are rapidly becoming their own radio stations, and people are always listening. If they’re saying something good about you, you can reap the rewards. If they’re tweeting their frustrations about your company, your silence could cost you more customers. Brands who are stepping up to take blame and apologize are finding consumers more willing to forgive, and the damage doesn’t spread so far.

On the other hand, if people are saying great things about you, that’s all the more reason to interact! A Google + mention of how a customer loves your brand gives you the unique opportunity to build a relationship with that person. Social media users are loyal customers, especially when they’re treated right.

In other small business news…speaker, consultant and author Barry Moltz argues that, “Success in business is really about building the best distribution and marketing for the product. This is where so many business owners forget to focus.”

It would be nice if the best product or service consistently won the attention and admiration of customers and that’s all there was to it. But that’s not the case.

The good news is participating in social channels is a means to connect with people, gather consumer insights, provide customer service and manage your firm’s reputation. These are the marketing wheels that help drive a business forward today.

If you want some help “getting behind the wheel” as it were, let me know. Social media strategy and activation is one part of what we offer here — it ladders well with content and relationship marketing which are at the heart of our practice.

Condense Your Pitch To One Powerful Sentence

Are you able to articulate what your business is all about in the time it takes to go from the first to the 30th floor? If you’re running a startup that’s looking for investors you do. It’s your elevator speech and you’ve been polishing it for months if not years.

But in the entertainment industry an elevator speech is much too cumbersome. In Hollywood, you sell your ideas with a logline, which is a very brief summary of the script. As in “no more than one sentence” brief.

According to producer, writer and actor, Christopher Lockhart, a logline must present:

  • Who the story is about (protagonist)
  • What he strives for (goal)
  • What stands in his way (antagonistic force).

Like so: After a twister transports a lonely Kansas farm girl to a magical land, she sets out on a dangerous journey to find a wizard with the power to send her home.

Tom Grasty, an entrepreneurial digital and media strategist, believes business owners can benefit by taking a page from the screenwriter’s notebook and condensing their pitch to one sentence.

The next time someone asks why you are so feverishly committed to doing what it is you’re doing, don’t fall into the trap of responding with an elaborate description of your business. Tell them a story. Because at the end of the day, you’re mapping out a journey, and you want whomever will listen to take that journey with you — or at least you want them to understand why you have just boarded the occupational equivalent of “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.”

It’s not easy. Packing one sentence full of meaning is hard for writers to do, and even harder for those not practiced at whittling away excess language. Here, I’ll give it a go…

Startup helps brands put content into play, earning the company first-mover advantage and a solid foothold even while the howling winds of a scary economy blow.

Actually, I’ll go again…

A musical in its first act. The story is about a writer of brand narratives and the various challenges involved in “hanging a shingle.”

Okay, now you try.