Put an End to Logos

Put an End to Logos

Widget Maker: We are a new company. We have a great location, a recognizable name, a solid market that will love us, and now we need a logo.

Marketer: No you don’t.

Widget Maker: That is silly. Of course we do. We need something to put on our building, business cards and stationery.

Marketer: Why not just put up this recognizable name of yours? Why make people go through the steps of visualizing your logo just to recognize your name. Just put up the name instead.

Widget Maker: Get out. You don’t know anything about marketing.

Marketer: I know about human nature. You don’t need your name to be read aloud, you need that name to mean something. Surely one of the best ways to deliver the meaning of your brand is through a logo. People will recognize it in a snapshot, but that is only useful if they recognize the meaning of brand that logo represents at the same time. Your brand doesn’t need a logo, your brand needs meaning. Without that meaning, a logo is useless.

You will get a logo. But it is only a tool to convey the meaning we will help develop for your brand. If I were to give you a logo first, I would be providing you no service.

Robin Williams on Golf: How to Launch a Brand

Robin Williams on Golf: How to Launch a Brand

The classic Robin Williams bit on the invention of golf is really a lesson on launching a unique brand. At the time there was no demand for the new sport of golf. As a marketer, and not a comedian, I’d have argued that the world was in need of a frustrating five-hour competition in a tightly managed wilderness. Then I would have introduced the sport of golf as the solution to that need that no one realized existed until I told them it did.

My story would not be nearly as humorous, but it might have been successful. This skit, and the story of Red Bull energy drink are identical in that regard.

They both created a need. Invented a marketplace that didn’t exist before they made an argument for it, then they introduced their product as a way to fill that need.

So don’t fear launching a brand new product. Just push the category that it satisfies, whether that need is recognized to exist or not. Then introduce the new product as the solution to that dire category, which screams for attention.

Just be careful. This is inappropriate for work. Sure there is foul language, but the loud laughter it creates may be unproductive.

 

The Seven Deadly Sins Are Your Friends

The Seven Deadly Sins Are Your Friends

15801919559_a4331dc6a6_mThe new year has arrived, and we celebrated the most hedonistic of holidays. Celebrate to excess on New Year’s Eve, while counting down the inevitable.Then, lounge about on New Years Day, watching parades and bowl games. The only honoree is Father Time, who appropriately changes into an infant at midnight. What symbol is more self absorbed? The only gifts given are those that are to be consumed that day.

The very idea reminds me of the most fundamental rule of advertising. To promote a product, appeal to one of the seven deadly sins. Pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth may carve your path to Hades, but suggesting that your brand will feed any of these will help make that brand successful.

How many times have you been attracted to a product that made one of these promises?

  • A beer that makes you popular with women (beer teaches marketing, I always say).
  • A car that makes others stop and look at you drive down the street.
  • A restaurant where you feast like a king.
  • A cake mix that lets you get back at the perennial baking queen by just opening a box.
  • Financial services that make you wealthier.
  • A home appliance that does the work for you.It works.

Plain and simple. So when you are about to find a marketing angle for your next project, be sure to ask how that product will make the user envied, sexy, rich, pretty, fat or lazy.

Four Steps to a Profitable Brand

Four Steps to a Profitable Brand

brandingDeveloping your brand results in a brand that is more valuable to your customer base. That additional value allows you to charge more while growing a larger and more loyal following.

Build your brand through this four step process which can be incorporated into your current marketing activities.

 

  1. Develop the category in which you, and only you are the best. You’ll be surprised to find that the category already exists. You just haven’t claimed your position atop it.
  2. Sell the category, not your product. Convince your audience of the fact that they need a solution to the category at which you are best.
  3. Introduce yourself as the solution to that category.
  4. Provide news about the category, excitement at introducing a solution, and directions on solving it with every audience contact to make yourself, and their path to happiness clear.

Do this with every audience contact and make their path to happiness clear.

I am happy to share this plan, because it takes a true marketer to properly implement it, to fight for it over time, and to measure every contact against this plan. After all, a pro golfer can tell you how to hit a golf ball too, but you are better off having him do if you want the best results.

What are you waiting for? Do I really have to come out and tell you to call  us at (773) 253-4954,
or write so we can discuss how to implement the program into your organization?

Analytic vs. Imaginitive: List Selection vs. Creative – Not What You’d Think

Analytic vs. Imaginitive: List Selection vs. Creative – Not What You’d Think

right-brain-left-brain-ss-1920-792x600You would expect that the artist at an advertising agency is the creative team, and the numbers geeks in data selection are the analytical ones, wouldn’t you? In fact, most people would bet on it.

However, the opposite is true. Sure, each of them are mired in the rolls we expect them to hold, but the geniuses in each of those areas are the ones who employ the opposite talent.

The list is the most important part of an advertising campaign. How do we get our message most efficiently in front of the right audience? No matter the media, we can find a lot of data about audience behavior. What they do for a living, how much money they make, their family structure and set of beliefs tell us a lot about the products they are likely to purchase. But everyone knows that. Your competitors know that. To set yourself above the rest, you need someone who can read into all that data, information that isn’t obvious.

For instance, if you are selling carpet cleaning, find pet owners, or homeowners with children. Their dirty carpets need cleaning. But how about identifying drivers of cherry red Ford Mustangs? That color is daring and catches attention when sparkling clean. That group is likely to be particular about their surroundings and fond of cleanliness. You may find a golden audience with that group. Create a message just for them, and you are likely to find success.

So now, you move that assignment to the creative team. Their task is to develop a message that promotes the need of clean carpets to the audience of proud red Mustang owners. It must convey a sales offer, and hold true to the branding requirements of the offeror (let’s hope their corporate colors don’t clash with a red Mustang) and must do so within the physical limits of the media chosen. A 30-second TV spot, print on a 6″ x 11″ postcard, or remain under the seven words readable on billboards of various, unknown placements.

The creative team does what they do under more rules than we know, whereas, the audience identification crew starts with accepted knowledge, and has unlimited imagination available to them to enhance the program’s reach.

If a program is successful, you can probably count on one of those teams being able to use the other side of their brain to lead the success.

This TV Icon Should Create Icons

This TV Icon Should Create Icons

don-draperIt is the last season of Mad Men. Of course, I enjoy the show. How could I not? I live it here, right down to smoking in the office (don’t tell the city please). We even have a retro martini bar that is our favorite stop after work.

But there is one thing about the show that bugs me. In advertising, the era of the 60s was famous for its use of advertising icons. In fact, many of those icons have endured until today. Tony the Tiger, The Green Giant and Mr. Clean were but a few still in use. But Josephine the Plumber, the Ajax White Knight and the Frito Bandito were all icons created in the Sixties as well.

So why do we never see Don Draper pitching the use of an icon in the show? It almost seems deliberate that they ignore that part of 1960s advertising. Perhaps an episode that showed Don Draper pitching Cap’n Crunch would be bad for his image. More likely, creating an advertising icon is a lot more work than can be whipped out in a show that has enough realism on its plate to begin with. Either way, to me it is the most glaring omission in an otherwise wonderfully realistic show.

In case you wonder just how prevalent these icons were in that era, here is a list of some that were either created or had their most popular days in that era.

Tony the Tiger                          Norelco Santa                                    NBC Peacock
Jolly Green Giant                     The Pillsbury Dough Boy                Speedy Alka-Seltzer
Marlboro Man                          Aunt Jemima                                     Betty Crocker
Madge from Palmolive           Josephine the Plumber                     Mr. Clean
Cap’n Crunch                            Count Chocula                                   Quisp and Quake
Frankenberry                            White Knight from Ajax                   Frito Bandito
Hawaiian Punchy                     Mr. Whipple                                       Maytag Repairman
Juan Valdez                               Mr. Peanut                                          Campbell Kids
Charlie Tuna                             Elsie the Borden Cow                        Lucky Charm Leprechaun
Sonny of Cocoa Puffs              Toucan Sam                                         The Twenty Mule Team
Trix Rabbit                                Geoffery The Giraffe                          Mrs. Olson
Raisin Bran Sun                       Quaker Oats Man                               Ronald McDonald
Wendy of Wendy’s                   Morris the Cat                                    Choo-Choo Charlie
Cornelius the Kellogs Corn Flakes Rooster                                       The Hamm’s Bear