« October 2009 | Main

The Lost Art of Taglines

The art of writing great and memorable taglines seems to have disappeared. A great taglineImages should tell a story about the brand, and more importantly, help the consumer recall the brand instantly, without the brand name ever being mentioned. They simply don't make tag lines like they used to.

How many of these do you remember? Can you name the brands to which they are associated?

1. From the valley of the jolly, Ho, Ho, Ho... ________ _________

2. Tell 'em, Charlie sent you.

3. The San Francisco treat.

4. They're magically delicious.

5. The Uncola

6. Finger-lickin' good.

7. Does she, or doesn't she.

8. Ring around the collar.

9. Good to the last drop.

10. You're in good hands, with ___________.

Answers are on the bottom of this post.

(1. Green Giant Vegetables. 2. StarKist Tuna  3. Rice-a-Roni  4. Lucky Charms  5. 7-Up  6. Kentucky Fried Chicken  7. Clairol Hair Color  8. Wisk Detergent             9. Maxwell House Coffee  10. Allstate Insurance)

Automating the Sale

Do you remember when people talked about "online" stores versus "brick and mortar" stores? Industry experts use to love to argue which retail strategy they thought would win. The reality is, they have both survived, and in many cases thrived. Many online retailers are doing extremely well, as are brick and mortar sellers.

So where do we go from here?

Lately, I have been seeing many retailers and brand owners experimenting with vending machines as an opportunity to sell their products. What do you think of this concept? Is this a way of the future? Would you feel comfortable making major purchases through automated vending units? Can vending replace some smaller brick and mortar stores, saving on store leases?

I think this is a trend worth keeping a eye on. I think we are about to see an explosion in automated retailing, and I think the next generation is going to tie in social media with these machines.

Ready to be on the cutting edge? How could this concept work for the business in which you are involved? How can you automate what you market or sell within your business? 

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Learnings from WOMMA

I'm attending the WOMMA Summit in Las Vegas, where I am speaking on Friday. I'm fortunate Speakersmallto be one of MANY great presenters, and not only do I get to share my knowledge, but I also have the opportunity to learn. My feelings about conferences are simple; if I can walk away with one or two great ideas or learnings, it was well worth my time. 

I heard two things today that while simple, was extremely meaningful, and a great reinforcement to the work that we do for our clients. 

Rob Bondurant, VP of Marketing at Patagonia, talked about what makes their brand successful, and more importantly what makes their Social Media and Word of Mouth campaign work so well with its customers.

Trust Your Brand

Tell Your Story

Have Fun

Simple right? But so important. And not so easy to accomplish.

Here is the second learning I want to share with you today, and I apologize that I don't know to whom I should attribute the credit.

Influencers are not influencers simply because they have a lot of friends. They also have to be able to change behavior.

Think about that the next time you connect with someone who has 1000+ friends. If they aren't the leader of their tribe, with real followers, they really can't serve as an influencer.

Who Positions the Brand?

Have you noticed that when a patient is laying in a hospital bed, the nurses and the aides come in and try and position the patient so that they will lay in the bed properly. They use pillows and blankets to prop up the patient so they are properly positioned in bed. The patient might say that they would prefer to be positioned differently, but the medical staff likes to do things their way, and many times won't listen to the frustrated patient.

Images-4But as soon as the aides leave, more often than not, the patient will tend to move their own body until they are comfortable on their own. They know the best position for their own comfort.

I got to thinking about this as it relates to companies who struggle with positioning their own brand.

Companies can position their brand any way that they choose, but ultimately the consumer decides what position is most comfortable for them, no matter how much the brand owner might prop up the brand.

Consumers know what is best for them, and what is most comfortable to them; all we have to do is listen.

How About Breakfast?

It is funny how brands can become iconic, but still mean different things to different people.

About six months ago, I had to terminate an employee, a part of the job that I never get used to. I chose to do this outside of the office to make it less painful for the employee, and met the person at a local Denny's restaurant. I know, I'm a big spender, and in retrospect, probably not the best choice. That person will always remember that they were fired at a Denny's. Nonetheless, I did it.

Images-2Yesterday, I asked another employee from the same company if he would like to meet me for breakfast. I suggested the same Denny's since it is close to the office. He sent me an email, asking me if he needed to worry. Was he too, going to be let go from the company.

I find this fascinating. First, I didn't know that people knew that I had met with employee #1 at Denny's to handle the termination. Shows you the power of Word of Mouth. The word must have spread pretty fast that this is where the "dirty work" was done. Secondly, in the employee's mind, Denny's has now become synonymous with potential loss of job security. Within this small group of employees, the Denny's brand has a whole new meaning.

No matter how YOU position YOUR brand, the consumer will ultimately position it any way they so choose. 

And all I wanted were some eggs this morning. 

How Video Can Enhance Your Brand

I'm a big proponent of using video to communicate a company's message. If done properly, videos can be a great addition to the overall marketing campaign, and can reach a targeted group of potential consumers who are not willing to read a blog, follow a tweet, or become a fan.

Images-1There is little barrier of entry to producing and uploading your video. The cost of a Flip camera is under $200. You can upload your video to Viddler, Vimeo, or YouTube, just to name a few. You can produce a live video stream and send it out to your customers using Ustream or Livestream. You can tweet videos utilizing 12 seconds. Best of all, you can execute your video strategy on all of these platforms for absolutely no cost, other than the cost of the camera and the time it takes to produce and shoot the video.

When videos go viral, and many company videos are fortunate to have this experience, the ultimate brand awareness can be staggering. For those companies who are obsessed with ROI, what can be more cost efficient than spending $200 on a camera, and getting one million viewers hearing your corporate message? It happens every week. But it can and will only happen if you jump in, and implement a video strategy.

I will be the first to admit, the video strategy for our consulting business is almost non-existent. But we are changing that. We have started to put together a strategy that we will roll out over the next few weeks, and we will share the progress with you, what we find is working (for us), as well as the mistakes that we make. I always think it important for us to walk the talk, and if we are encouraging the use of video for our clients, well shame on us for not doing a better job on our own execution.

In the meantime, take a look at this great use of video to promote a corporate brand from the UK. The video is relatively short, as it should be. It is engaging, and maintains the viewer's interest. It tells a story (they have lots of mattresses in stock, and a huge warehouse in which to keep them). It allows you to peer through a window into the company (hey, these people are having fun. Must be great to work there, and a great place with whom to do business). Most importantly, it became viral. 

In 3 months time, over 736,000 viewers have watched this video, and have seen the corporate brand. Cost of camera, $200. Cost of upload, $0. Value of brand awareness, Priceless!

As you watch this video, think about how video might enhance your company's message. Enjoy!

20 / 20 Vision

The hardest thing about trying to share your vision with others, is that most people can't see what you see, in exactly the same manner.

Xray_glassesI wish there were a special pair of glasses I could purchase that would allow others to see things the same way I see them in my head.

I wish I could allow people into my brain similar to the way it works in the movie Being John Malkovich. It would allow people to see what I see, with little explanation needed on my part.

I have to keep working at being a better story teller. 

Vision yields Stories which result in Acceptance which ultimately leads to Action.

Why Providing "Samples" Can Be a Great Strategy

I want to revisit the concept of providing free advice, or free services.

When I have the opportunity to be introduced to a new potential client, I normally will schedule a call to discuss their needs, and their current situation. I find these calls to be great fact-finding calls, and during the conversation it helps me better understand exactly what challenges the potential client are facing, and how we might be able to help them.

CIMG6488During this first one-hour call, I always try and throw out some ideas and some suggestions that they can use immediately. I want to emphasize that I'm not simply sharing basic information that I've shared with others in the past, but instead I tend to provide specific answers to their questions that they have today that pertain only to their business.

I do this at no cost, and if they choose not to retain us as their marketing consulting group, they just received some meaningful free advice. Other consultants that I know think I'm crazy, and they say that I'm just giving away knowledge which ultimately devalues my work.

I think just the opposite. First of all, if I have to worry that I am giving away the majority of my knowledge in a one-hour call, I have bigger problems than a reduced revenue stream. I hope I have more than a simple hour's worth of intelligence and insight.

Secondly, I am a big believer in Tryvertising. In my book (no I haven't written a book yet, just using the phrase), there is no better advertising vehicle than people trying the product or service for a short period of time, giving them a taste of what they can expect, and then following that up with a proposal or offering. It puts the prospect in the position of anticipating your proposal or offer, and being eager to receive it.

Its like sampling yogurt in the dairy aisle in the supermarket. Let the customer have a few spoonfuls, and if they like it, they might purchase 3 cups to take home with them.

Think about this in your business. What can you share with your customer, client, prospect for free? How can you whet their appetite for more?

Daddy Needs a New Pair of Shoes

You know the story about the shoe cobbler's child who walks around with no shoes? Well, I guess I'm barefoot.

ImagesI met with two people yesterday, one in person and one by phone, both for the first time. After they had searched information about us on the internet, and found us with a significant web presence, they both asked the same question:

"So tell me, what is it that you and your firm really do? On what do you concentrate your efforts?"


We have a web site for our consulting group.

We have a landing page for my professional speaking.

We have a blog.

We have a Linked-In site.

We have a Twitter feed.

We blog regularly on Retail Wire.

We have a Flickr page.

We have a Squidoo page.

We review books on Amazon.

With all of this, our message is still not clear as to what the focus of our business is. Some companies that get this response would ask the question, "how can people not get this?" Instead I have to ask the question, "how can we better communicate what we do, and make it more clear."

This is our failing, not the failing of our community. 

This is what I love about marketing. No matter what you do, and no matter how well you can execute, you can always do better. You can always make the message clearer, more compelling, more meaningful, with more impact.

Time to work on a better pair of shoes.

10 Ways to Help Your Business Fail Faster

Here are 10 sure-fire ways to help your business fail at a significantly quicker pace:

1. Think you are smarter than your customers.

Believe that your customers simply "don't get it", and that they don't have the ability to understand what it is your are telling them. Believe that it will take some time for your customers to gain the knowledge that you have.

2. Think you are smarter than your suppliers and advisers.

Ask a lot of questions, and receive a lot of advice from the people with whom you have hired, and then listen to little of it due to the fact that it is not what you want to hear.

3. Believe that you are irreplaceable.

There is no one who understands this business better than you. No one can do what you do.

4. Believe that people are more loyal to you than they are.

Your employees will do whatever you ask them to do. They will follow you wherever you lead them. They trust you implicitly. And if someone else came into the business to run things, they would simply leave.

5. Stop listening.

There are so many ways to listen to what is happening in the marketplace. Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, YouTube, Newsletters, Industry RSS Feeds, it is simply overwhelming. You simply don't have the time, so just ignore it all, and eventually it will go away.

6. Ignore the "warning signs" as they come in.

Your sales are slipping, it must be the economy. Customers are leaving, their business must be bad. People stop buying your product, it must be due to the fact that their cash flow is bad and they're cutting back.

7. Believe in your own hype.

Google your name once a week and see how many times you or your company comes up in a search. If you are so Googleiscious, you must be doing something right, right?.

8. Stop taking risks.

Relax, enjoy the fruits of your labor. Things have gone well, so why rock the boat.

9. Stop innovating. Just keep doing what you're doing.

Your products or services have sold well over the years, why would you want to start worrying about innovation now. Your current products are what got you to where you are today, and innovation is really expensive. Leave innovation to the people at Apple

10. Continue to use the phrase, "because that's just the way we do things."

Start your day every morning by listening to Bruce Hornsby's "The Way It Is". The refrain can become your mantra:

"That's just the way it is. Some things will never change. That's just the way it is."

Think about it....

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