Tag Archives: marketing

Liquid content – a fascinating presentation from Coca Cola

Liquid content – Fascinating on multiple levels: great to see a glimpse of how Coca-Cola, the best in the world at branding, are thinking about the future of marketing content, and it is a simply gorgeous presentation.

This is part one:

and here is part two:

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Harry told me, Work is Personal

In the bookstore

Have you ever been in a bookstore and just felt drawn to a book like a magnet? Yesterday, I had just finished a meeting in a bookstore coffee shop, so before heading back to the car I thought I would do a little title scanning – one of my favorite hobbies. As I patrolled the aisles I came upon the clearance shelf and there, staring back at me, with an inviting, “come hither”, $4.98 markdown price tag on the cover was Harry Beckwith’s “The Invisible Touch – The Four Keys to Modern Marketing.” I figured that’s a buck for each key and 98 cents for the experience: How could I resist?

Like I said, this was yesterday, so I’ve really only just cracked the cover, but I’ve already stumbled on this little gem: “Work is personal.” That’s it, three words, but when I read that I just thought “wow!” which I think mirrored the author’s reaction when he first encountered those words as a slogan on the back of a Fast Company baseball cap.

“Work is personal” – it’s kind of juicy, but I’m not going to try to outdo Harry breaking this idea down, because he just nailed it, I just felt compelled to share his words though:

“Work is not about business; it’s about us. The human dimension of business — the messy, emotional, utterly human dimension — is not merely important; it is all encompassing. As a result we must plunge into the world of feelings — truly frightening territory.”

I just love that! I think it nails a lot about why I do what I do, and I think it is so important that as a business author he acknowledges that this is not an easy nor comfortable place for the business-minded to dwell. Every day it seems the amount of evidence and literature mounts up supporting the idea that success in business is not so separate from our human qualities – just read a few Dans like Dan Pink, Dan Roam, Dan Ariely or Dan Goleman and you’ll get a taste of a rising tide of interest in the inescapably human aspects of business. We may wrap ourselves in corporate veils, but beneath that cloak we are people: frail, humble, shy, bold, altruistic, greedy, brilliant, bullheaded, savvy and irrational people. We want meaning, we want fulfillment, we want marvelous experiences – I believe that a business can provide all of those and I think you can build one of those businesses if you keep the human experience in mind for your customers, employees, vendors, and yes, for you too.

Thank you Harry for reminding us that Work is Personal – and if that’s the kind of insight that’s in the intro, I can’t wait to read the rest of your book. I’ve already gotten great returns on my $4.98 investment.

What’s the best book you’ve read lately? Got a “Wow!” to share?

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Love, brands and forgiveness

love and forgive

Doubtless there are tons of marketers spending heaps of time, money and resources toward trying to make their brands lovable. Sadly, many of these efforts fall far short of that lofty goal and at best achieve a temporary state of likability.

Cool features, great packaging, witty ads, attractive pricing are all dutifully studied, discussed, reviewed and presented and are all too often cast aside when a new ad, a better price, a shinier package, one extra feature or yikes! – one misstep comes along. Loyalty, or rather its lapse, tells us if we are liked, but not loved.

Perhaps the thing to put the attention on and the energy behind is not to strive so systematically to be lovable, but instead to figure out if your brand might be forgivable.

What does it mean to be forgivable? When we forgive we are letting go of resentment that we feel when someone has offended or hurt us. We look past the infraction, the shortcoming, the fumble and refocus on something else, something that forms the basis of the relationship, something that we deem worthy of forgiveness, something that merits a second chance. Is it love? Maybe not always, but it is certainly a step in that direction. When a company can give us something to believe in and then consistently acts in accordance with that belief – demonstrates the belief not just in words, but in choices and actions, then it is developing for those aligned with that belief something that for want of a better word I would call forgivability.

If I can forgive a brand for a mistake, even an offense, then it is likely that I am drawn to some ideal, a value, belief or empathy with that brand. Certainly some offenses are too severe to be forgiven, but I think that more often forgiveness is simply a moot point, because despite the efforts towards being lovable there is no relationship established, no buy-in to anything meaningful beyond the veneer of product, package and price.

If your company should stumble, release a clinker of a product, have a little scandal, make a PR gaff, who would forgive your brand? Who amongst your customers would give you a second chance? Learn who they are and why they would deem you worthy of a second shot and you may find yourself staring at a mirror’s reflection of your core brand values – or perhaps a compass for finding a true and sustainable path to your customer’s hearts.

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A visit with The Passionate Entrepreneur

I recently had a great time visiting with Kenneth Brown, The Passionate Entrepreneur. Ken is a multi-media machine so I was delighted when he invited me for an interview session on his BlogTalkRadio podcast. You can check it out here:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/e3c/2010/02/12/what-is-your-personal-brand

I’ve actually been considering giving the BlogTalkRadio format a try, perhaps even doing some live “Brand Therapy” sessions to give listeners some insights into what I call the Whole Brand ThinkingTM process. I’d love to hear from you if you like the idea, or if you think you might be interested in being the subject of such a session.

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I4U Newsletter Ends – Sign of Things to Come or a Last Gasp?

Like many of you out there, I have a bit of technolust. I like gadgets. I own a modest collection of tech gear, and I have a drawer full of retired power cords and adapters, but more to the point, I like to be in the know about the new stuff. The gizmos and thingamajigs that push the envelope or hint at cool features that might just become mainstream. Of course most don’t, but that is part of what makes it interesting. So for these reasons one of the few newsletter that I used to look forward to appearing in my email inbox was the eye-jolting green missive put together by Luigi Lugmayr & company over at I4U. It was a newsletter that did a great job of sticking to their mission – they brought you the new stuff. It felt more informative than sales-y. Like I might actually have the jump on other nerdy friends when it came to discussion of cool new laptops or innovative portable electronics. Well imagine my surprise when instead of their usual array of thumbnails of interesting gadgets I received this note:

Hello I4U News Readers,

This is our last weekly I4U Newsletter. We feel that email newsletters have had there time and are not the preferred way anymore to receive our news.
Thank you for being a subscriber and I hope you will continue to read I4U News for you daily technology news and shopping tips.

Please consider to follow us on Twitter and subscribing to our RSS feed.

I mean what’s going on here? The company is continuing on, but the newsletter is going away? Is this a sign of new marketing truths from a progressive company that has always had it’s eye on the future? Or is this a last gasp of a failed campaign? Perhaps they got the reach, but couldn’t convert the readers, or maybe the readers simply stopped opening it because we’re all so flooded these days with a zillion more newsletters than ever before.

So why do I care, and why should you? It’s not because I thought that this newsletter was cool – that’s too subjective. It’s the mystery that gets me. It doesn’t cost much to put out an e-newsletter, especially if you’re already aggregating the content for other purposes, which is exactly what I4U does. So it’s cheap to produce, and VERY measurable. That’s something we like in the marketing department. That’s why there is such a glut of newsletters heading your way everyday. We get to measure what happens: we know what gets opened, we know if you click, and if we’ve planned our landing pages right we know if that click led to a conversion. These things make a marketer get up early in the morning with a big smile, because what you measure you can tune.

But I4U is throwing in the towel on its newsletter contender. How low does the threshold of response have to dip to make the superior measurement ability not worth the effort? Have they found equal or better measurement through Twitter and RSS? I want to know and unless you’ve got unlimited time and resources for your marketing department, you should want to know too.

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Social Media Marketing and Lemonade Stands

Ice cold lemonadeI get called “Big D” sometimes and I like to flatter myself that it is because I like to think big, however, I can’t pretend that my 270 pound, “more of me to love” frame might not have a little to do with that nickname.  So big guy, what’s your point? Well as an XXL type I’ve learned to distrust the one-size-fits-all approach in clothing and frankly, just about everything else.

I think there is one-size-fits-all epidemic in social media marketing.  There are too many experts and enthusiasts pitching solutions without regard to your business needs. I’ve got nothing against e-books, teleseminars, and online courses, but I get nervous when someone is advising that you do what they do and then point to things like numbers of Twitter followers or extensive lists of “friends” as proof of their effectiveness.  Truth is they might very well be effective at what THEY do, but unless you do what they do it may be a moot point.  Worse it can sometimes be harmful to approach your market with tactics that are out of alignment with you brand, products and services.

The point is different businesses work different ways, and the marketing that makes a success of one might make a flop of another.  Here in Atlanta it can get hot – it’s in the 60s in December today, and in July… forget about it! When it’s hot a big guy like me likes to have a little lemonade to cool off. Atlanta is a great town for a lemonade stand. Pick a busy corner, put up your stand, set your price and keep your inventory in step with demand.  The marketing approach is simple, easy to break down into component steps and therefore a very reproducible model.  You could extend it to fruit punch or sweet iced tea, however it is a lousy platform for selling enterprise software.  It’s hard to pitch 3 months of integration while sweating in the open air.  It flops for selling shoes – not enough shelves, too hard to relocate with changes in traffic patterns.  You get the idea.

If you’re enticed to jump in on the program of a social media marketer ask yourself if the one-size-fits-all formula they are promoting applies well to the services you provide. Are you in a similar price range? Are you prepared to apply all of their tactics? Are your purchase decisions made on an equivalent timetable? Are the ongoing relationships with your customers and prospects the same type of relationships that they are cultivating? Are their multi-level approvals/buy-in required to get the win?  Or can you just mix up a cold batch of product and sell it by the glass?

If the answers to these questions don’t line up well with the formula being offered, then you may be buying into magic beans – strained trust, wasted time and brand damage, not a recipe for effective marketing.

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Posted in branding, Branding Thoughts, commentary, social media, Thought for the day, trust | Also tagged , | 2 Comments
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    Caitlín Mowbray"I adore your doodles... I swear looking at those bunnies lowers my blood pressure, calms my mind and makes me smarter. Who needs meditation when there are bunnies?"
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