“Suspended in time and space for a moment, your introduction to Mr. Adidas soldes Scott Robertson, who lives in a very private world of darkness…and confusion.” Ok, not quite, but looking at the world, I feel this way sometimes —and my writing often reflects it. I’m reminded of a great classic Twilight Zone episode “Eye of the Beholder” where Janet Tyler realizes that everything beautiful is ugly and vice versa in this twisted world where she finds herself. Yep, we can relate to that one, right? For example, the Web is blowing up about a story of a North Texas high school Valedictorian who had the courage to admit she was an undocumented immigrant. Martinez took 17 AP classes in high school and graduated with a 4.95 GPA. She is now looking forward to a full scholarship at Yale and hopes to one day become a neurosurgeon. asics duomax Excuse me, a Yale scholarship winner isn’t a citizen? What planet am I on, here? How can this be? And why aren’t people reading this story reacting in a more appropriate fashion? I don’t see her as “courageous,” I see her as not following the process that thousands of legal citizens of the USA are required to follow. I also don’t see speeders as “daring.” They pretty much just drive too fast. On a political note, President Obama endorsed Hillary Clinton for president this week. It’s expected of course, towing the party line and all. But in the video, he said these words, which still ring in my ears “I don’t think anyone has ever been so qualified to run for this office…” Huh? Even by today’s hype standards, that is an 11 and this is a person who caused the administration enough shame to remove her as Sec. of State. adidas sitemap (I’m sorry, thank her for her service and walk her to the exit). That’s what happened — with enough PR spin on it to choke a horse. nike air max 90 And it seems everyone has forgotten about it as they jump on the bandwagon for the first woman ever to be president (which also isn’t exactly true). This woman? Are we serious? How many scandals can we name? Man, it’s a Twilight Zone world out there and when the bandages are removed, I’m honestly more than a little afraid of what we might see or become. On the marketing/comms side of things, I truly do believe in a different approach devoid of “spin,” and being respectful of the audience, trusting them to take whatever action that works for them and building real brands in a world that is all-too ugly and fake.
Have you ever read a mission statement or company/product description and said to yourself, “what does that even mean?” If so, you’ve probably been “buzzed” by some industry buzzwords, jargon and marketing-type language and other BS. I like to call this stuff “the appearance of marketing” because it kinda sounds good for a second, but then you go, “…wait, I didn’t really get anything out of that.” It’s like the Chinese food of communications — leaves your mind hungry about 30 minutes later. Why do we create and use buzzwords? Well, I’m not a psychologist, but I think it’s because we want to include and also exclude people. nike air max 2017 goedkoop We all have those groups of friends where we share a lexicon of what things mean and more importantly what they mean to us. And in those circles, all of the inside references work really well and they help everyone feel included as a part of the group. But in corporate communications, where the objective to reach a larger audience, our “inside baseball” jargon works against us. nike pas cher 2017 It makes short sentences into longer ones and longer ones into impossibly long ones. I’m including a list of Inc. timberland femme Magazine’s Terrible Buzzwords that they’re seeing out there, but we all encounter and dislike not understanding what is going on. It makes us feel excluded and we move on from that message to another one — or a lost episode of SpongeBob Squarepants — a happy little sponge who uses zero buzzwords. Marketing people seem to love buzzwords and BS. Clever little uses of words with similar alliteration make us feel smarter. But we are not. Listen up. asics gel pas cher Marketing’s job is to get the message arrow from the sender to the receiver. Your “cleverness” could easily interrupt this. So follow these quick tips
- Say it in fewer words — always a great exercise
- Say it using active voice verbs — passive voice ones frighten and confuse people.
- Say it with no buzzwords. A good writer can ALWAYS get rid of those.
- Say it and dial back the hype knob. nike air max thea We know you’re excited, but please get it under control.
- Say it and test to make sure actual humans know what you said. If people can’t spit it back to you, try again.
I dream of a business world where we all have the emotional stability to move past buzzwords and toward actual marketing and communications.
You know they don’t really trust you, don’t you? You’re a marketer. (shudder). You’re trying to “sell” them something, interrupt their day, their programming and otherwise get what you want — and you will track them, profile them, bother them and do anything it takes because you’re a marketer. Including finding out who they WILL listen to and incentivize those poor souls in some way to take your message to your audience, hoping for that magic kitten-like feeling of trust. This latest sharp and shiny steel arrow in the marketing quiver is known as “influencer marketing” and while it can be used for good to supplement a program and build the right relationships, companies like Amazon are seeing it used in some less-than-honest ways. This week the aforementioned supply chain god announced that it is banning “incentivized” customer reviews on the site where the reviewer gets free stuff in exchange for posting a review. Well, no more. Here’s what they said: “Today, we updated the community guidelines to prohibit incentivized reviews unless they are facilitated through the Amazon Vine program. We launched Vine several years ago to carefully facilitate these kinds of reviews and have been happy with feedback from customers and vendors. Here’s how Vine works: Amazon – not the vendor or seller – identifies and invites trusted and helpful reviewers on Amazon to post opinions about new and pre-release products; we do not incentivize positive star ratings, attempt to influence the content of reviews, or even require a review to be written; and we limit the total number of Vine reviews that we display for each product. Vine has important controls in place and has proven to be especially valuable for getting early reviews on new products that have not yet been able to generate enough sales to have significant numbers of organic reviews. We also have ideas for how to continue to make Vine an even more useful program going forward. Details on that as we have them.” So Amazon wants to be in greater control of which reviews are posted and who influences the sales of which products, etc. Watch for other e-commerce sites to join these efforts, too. They want influence too — and they want to keep it. nike pas cher For your reference, here are some “do’s” for your very own influencer marketing program: 1. nike requin Do identity influencers out there as PR agencies have done for the past 25 years or so. (at least). air max homme Yep, not a new idea. 2. Do approach them early (pre-launch) and get their feedback, possible support, etc. adidas homme 3. Do clearly disclose any payments of any kind pursuant to the FTC blogger guidelines or really just common sense 4. If you’re winning people over with your product/service, do promote/merchandise that coverage as much as possible within your own comms channels 5. nike air max 1 Do treat your influencers like your treat the press and industry analysts — extremely well. Remove any obstacles for them, help them do their job and be real in your communications with them in good times and bad. It continues to be tough sledding for marketers out there, but I would submit that you might want to change your mindset from interruption to one of attraction and work to create the most useful, best content out there, work closely with your press, analysts and even influencers from a position of cooperation and not “what’s it going to take to get you to do it.” Do all of these things and your marketing will be real…and it will be powerful.
Oh, the PR/marketing profession is at it again, ladies and gentlemen, taking your lovely pure news and communication that you enjoy so much and turning it into a Frankenstein’s monster of marketing. asics chaussures They call it “brand journalism” and in a recent article in the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)’s member magazine, one energy company that does it says “like other companies before us, we are out to tell our own story in our own way without constantly relying on the traditional media to interpret and distribute our news.” How nice. Different than blogging, this new perversity is where companies create stories about their industry or related subject matter that “enlighten, inform and inspire.” (which I read as shoveling corporate spin and BS 24/7). nike internationalist Some (like Coca-Cola) even try to create separate news channels of their own. (Sigh) Here’s the problem. It’s not disclosed that these stories are being mutated and created with a marketing/branding purpose, not a journalistic one and thus, it’s basically a ruse designed to hook the consumer (the fish) before they realized they are being hooked. timberland homme People as it turns out, aren’t that stupid. We as a profession can and should do better than deception like this by working with actual journalists, also known as “earned media.” Earned media tastes better because: 1. They (traditional media) have a channel already — no need to build one, which can be costly and fragile 2. They are TRUSTED far more than you ever will be (check the Pew Research numbers on this) 3. They have journalistic training, lack of bias and access to more sources than you 4. adidas stan smith Pas Cher They can tell a negative story, you probably can’t. Your “sunshine and roses” feed will lose to actual negative news every day and twice on Sunday. (again, check the numbers) If you’re going to do “brand journalism” and expect it to have any impact out there, I urge you to fully disclose the connection to any brands upfront. Journalism (you know, our free press) is still pretty fantastic and branding is wonderful, emotion-filled and amazing, too. But two great tastes don’t always go together like a yummy Reese’s.
How hard does your company make it to break off communications if the target is so inclined? It’s an important thing to consider in our current “all-you-can-opt-in” world of comms, right? You know, how we disengage with a target customer is just as important as how we engage a new one. It really can say a lot of our brand. adidas yeezy boost The genius minds of Apple realize that sometimes just quitting an application doesn’t quite work and thus they created “force quit” which we’ve all probably used while we were about to have a “unforced fit.” Comms needs to have a force quit too — something the target audience can use to disengage right now without any further discussion about it (that means no surveys no matter how badly you want to). If you’re a good e-mail marketer, you realize that we’re required by law (CAN-SPAM Act) to have opt-outs that are not just there and clickable, but actually enforced in a reasonable time frame. bottes ugg But I’ll go a step further and say that compliance with the law isn’t the only reason you should pay very close attention to opt-outs. First of all, they are feedback about what you’re doing and who is and isn’t liking it. Second, if you are a secure, non-needy brand, then you can artfully disengage with a target audience member and still be friends. asics gel lyte 3 No one has to cut up pictures of the other party here — you’re out, and it’s perfectly cool with us and we hope you come on back sometime. nike air huarache soldes Breezy, not needy. P.S. adidas homme – that’s how you get them to come back by the way.
Powerful words right there and not used as often as you might think. Most of us have pretty strong opinions about everything from national politics to how LOST ended. nike pegasus But I’ve found that many of our fellow humans don’t really share what they really think about business decisions, especially in corporate environments. And this collective lack of thinking (or expressing same) leads to some awesome decisions like:
- Starbucks deciding to racially profile its customers and engage in casual discussions about race relations in its stores. (um…how about no.)
- Budweiser playing fast and loose with the subject of date rape and taking it’s “up for whatever” campaign into dangerous new territory. (up for dumb marketing ideas?)
- Bill Cosby thinking it might be fun to have social media networks “meme” him. nike internationalist Which of course led to fresh allegations and the consummate destruction of his entire career and legacy. (a classic example of social media gone wild)
And the list goes on and on… nike air presto In my experience, thinking doesn’t always happen. In fact, it rarely does. Most people are afraid to say what they think. Oh, they’ve been taught well from an early age to just shut it and get in line. asics france Those who don’t are punished in various ways. We as a society made up of people and organizations of those people continue to punish those who disagree, those who say the emperor has no clothes when the dude is clearly friggin’ naked. We’ve all been in those meetings. nike air max 1 Hell, you might be in one right this minute. And stop reading your phone during a meeting — it’s just rude! Happy to say that I do actually think and I do express my counsel to my clients on a regular basis in an attempt to help them avoid such massive blunders on my watch. I see thinking and expressing it as a duty to them and I don’t take those two words “I think” lightly. They are important because what comes after is going to be a recommendation from me, their trusted communications adviser. Am I always right? Nope. And no one is. Am I right this time? Probably. (But that only comes from seeing quite a lot and being wrong quite a lot before) More people need to stop and think before they just do marketing-related things. Thinking is powerful. And expressing what we’re thinking to our clients and to the world can be the first step to really changing things for the better.
Why do we do this crazy little thing called marketing? Behavior. Specifically sales-driven behavior and it’s not a crime to admit that. To be really good at influencing consumer behavior, you must first understand it (…grasshopper). First question, why do all human people do anything?
Desire. (Feel free to pause and go listen to U2’s Desire with those sweet, sweet toms and driving beat.) Ok, back to business. People from the youngest of ages want things. Immediate things like a Whopperito (yes, a Whopper and burrito combined – thank you marketing) or long-term things like education, love, security and peace. Now, we are not always completely in touch with the parts of our brain that want things to ask it why and ponder, etc. We just want them. Yep, we’re simple creatures like that.
Do you want to know how many marketing approaches I see being used that don’t even approach a deeply resonating emotional brand message that plays to human desire? Far. Too. Many.
With that in mind, here are a few consumer behavior tips for you:
- Make your marketing messages (about your stuff) lock into the audience’s true desires (their stuff) — get emotional with that brand because Lord knows they are.
- Understand that you can’t always predict human behavior — We still have the ability to surprise scientists and ourselves and no one really understands why. But you can still be closer than not taking it into account at all.
- Remember that too many choices stop the action — We’ve all been there. If it gets too complicated or too many choices are involved we shut down like that girl when she learned you still live at home. Possibly faster. Study this area and don’t bombard people with too much.
- Invoking urgency can be effective but it can also backfire and make the brand seem too needy. Do we need to do the dating analogy again? Who gets the girl? That’s right.
- Play the devil’s advocate — None of us like to be “sold” and you can be sure the objections in their minds are piling up like a car crash on the show CHiPs from the 1970’s. So beat them to it and deal with the objections in your messaging. People have been known to sell themselves, so just let them.
You see, behind the tactics — the advertising, press releases, promotions, social media channels, podcasts, white papers, viral videos, speaking opportunities and everything else — there’s a behavior that we’re looking to drive.
Yes, there are always steps (awareness, consideration, preference) to getting there, but make no mistake that behavior is the most important goal and “the why” behind everything we do for our organizations and clients. So do it right and do it well. And always respect and trust your audience’s ability to find the behavior you’re looking for in your brand as long as you’ve made that easy for them.
Nine times of out ten, when clients or prospects ask me to consult regarding social media, it goes like this. nike air max thea soldes “Scott, we have X to communicate. (pause) Now HOW would we best do that?” And now they are expecting “The Amazing Scottini” (patent pending), magician of all things communications to wave his magic wand (which chose the wizard) and somehow get that message to the target. But…. if you TRULY want to understand social media, I suggest twisting the prism just slightly to see the light. Ready? They (your intended audience) don’t care one bit about your message. They care…about…(wait for it)….themselves. And the crowd gasps. adidas superstar Can this be? But MY message is so good, so targeted, so darn appropriate. And SO WHAT? Specifically, they care about how anything they post or share contributes or detracts from the image of themselves they have in their amazingly toned, charitable, super smart, youthful-for-their-age little brains. nike cortez Because they, like us, probably are human beings, and we’re all just wired that way. asics chaussures air max homme I could show you the neuroscience if you’re deeply curious. Let’s look at some examples. adidas zx 750 pas cher If someone is liking, sharing or showcasing something someone else has said or posted, it means they are aligning themselves with it and specifically that they want others to see that they have aligned with it — why? Because in the poster’s mind, it makes THEM seem (insert whatever here). nike air max femme pas cher And again, the truth has no bearing here. This is about internal focused perception and specifically, achieving congruency in the poster’s mind and their own image of themselves. I think social media is very appropriately named — because it’s truly all about ME. For all of us, it’s our own little microcosm of a world where we let in who we want, when we want and control everything that happens in there (as much as one can.) The secret to becoming REALLY good at social media lies in human psychology. Understand that people want to share and like things that allow them to: Look cool to their friends (and of course this is all friends, family, acquaintances they’ve let in) Look smart to their friends Look charitable to their friends Look kind to their friends Look happy to their friends (sure, go ahead and sing it if you’re thinking it…) Look like good parents and adoring spouses to their friends Look like smart shoppers to their friends Look like good religious followers to their friends Look like plugged in “in the know” people to their friends Look like people who make good choices to their friends And there’s millions more of course. But the key is to twist your message they don’t care about at all into something that they will care about by making it appeal to what they REALLY want to do on social media. And again, remember it’s all about congruency with that mental picture. timberland pas cher That’s how you reach them. Move your message so that it can help someone achieve congruency and you will hit a friggin’ home run with it. (Ahem, ALS Bucket Challenge, anyone?) Now that you know this, take a look at most social media posts from organizations. It’s all about them and nothing for ME, which is ironic because they are trying to get into MY ME-dia channel. So let’s do a better job out there with our messages and together, we can make social media serve the truly self-centered purpose for which is was designed by people who are REALLY into themselves (and that’s all of us). If you want help with this, the door to the great Scottini’s magical castle (which I realize sounds like a one store fast food joint in a bad neighborhood) is always open.
As we rapidly approach the end of 2015, one thing is very clear to me — marketing is changing and needs to change even more. There are still far too many brand crisis situations caused by lack of thought, lack of trust and lack of respect of the target audience PRIOR to the communication taking place. Ready, fire…aim does not work in communications. Trust in all pillars of society (government, business, organized religion) is at an all time low and baby they’ve earned it through their consistent lies and trust-destroying ways. nike air presto soldes nike air max pas cher Trust in the media has fallen too, but there’s still some fire left there (which is why public relations still makes so much sense as a marketing tactic to reach an audience). adidas homme When you look closely at most marketing programs from companies you see a daily/weekly/monthly checklist of stuff that has to be done usually because someone else thought it would be a good idea and added it to the list. asics femme pas cher They are devoid of actual human thought and strategy…and it shows. So with that, I present my Top 5 Marketing New Year’s Resolutions
- Make your message mean something to them — Know your audience, know what they REALLY want and with any luck your message can tie in there. Resist the urge to just talk about yourself. chaussure timberland homme You can be assured that no one cares.
- Stop interrupting people with your meaningless marketing messages — People hate it and now…they hate your brand too. Way to go! Instead make your products, services and messages so damn cool and interesting that they rival whatever you were going to interrupt in the first place. nike air max 2017 zwart Note: Unless it’s a puppy-based video and then you have zero chance of being THAT interesting.
- Do less — communicate less, but make it count when you do. air max 90 pas cher Destroy your current marketing checklist and make everything on the new one earn its place there. Don’t just do. nike internationalist Think first. adidas zx flux femme Then do.
- Zig when everyone else zags — watch what you competitors are doing and look for ways to NOT do that stuff, but instead do your own, much better stuff.
- Work to build trust every day and treasure it like money. Because it is more valuable than money.
I dream of a world where marketing serves people, helps them get the things they want and need and is used responsibly and strategically by organizations. I’m an optimist and I think we can still save communications from marketing.
Ok, I admit it. As a pre-teen, I used to play Dungeons & Dragons. nike air max There I said it. And…I spent many a late night hour huddled around a piece of graph paper rolling multi-sided plastic dice in the hopes that maybe a girl might find me worthy and scoop me away from this sordid and depraved life. (And spoiler alert — that did happen..once I learned how to play the bass and sing in a high school rock band, but that is another story for another time.) Back to D&D. One of the most fearsome creatures of the entirely made-up D&D world is the troll. Ugly, mean as hell, and as I recall can really take a beating with a +10 broadsword before finally dying. These days, there are new trolls to battle in the social media world (which can be just as geeky) and wikipedia says we’re looking for a human person, “who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.” Yep. Trolls are bastards. But if you want to remain the hero of the story, there are some ways to manage trolls in this imaginary world. adidas nmd femme And they are: Start with the mindset that all opinions are welcome and valued. Even if someone is intentionally trying to sabotage your brand, a little digital respect goes a long way. nike air max 2016 soldes Have a sense of humor. No one can make you (or your brand) feel bad without your permission, right? I find that handling things with a little humor can be the difference between a four-alarm fire and a puff of smoke. Don’t block or delete your way to freedom. Yikes, please tell me you don’t seriously think this is a viable communications option. bottes ugg pas cher Have the courage and the security to allow a spirited debate to occur on your post or your site. Again, there isn’t just the one opinion. adidas messi 2017 Don’t react out of fear or any emotion. Respond with clarity and from a secure position.
Mathematics. The very word sends shivers of fear down the spines of creatives in the marketing profession like when it’s date night and your wife wants to watch “House Hunters.” Yikes. On a side note, I didn’t like shopping for MY house so why would I intentionally watch other people do it? But back to math. nike air max 90 My 16-year-old son struggles with math, too. And I’m pretty sure if you trace the origins of the Robertson family back, you’ll find some great ancestor (probably with a beard) beating his head against a rock trying to do math. asics gel lyte 5 But…I’ve learned something recently that I passed on to my son and just may set him on the path of being the first Robertson to actually succeed at math. I learned that math only beats you if you haven’t seen it before. adidas zx flux femme If you know what’s coming and have done it (successfully) before, then math is easier. And you know, the same thing is true in football. When the defense correctly guesses the play that’s coming next (usually because they’ve seen it before on tape or live) then the offense has a much harder time getting yardage or scoring. Seeing something before (and being prepared for it) is a big deal in football. It’s also a big deal in business, specifically public relations. One of the reasons senior PR people are wanted by companies is the fact that they’ve seen and dealt with many difficult situations before. Often, we’ve made mistakes, learned from those mistakes and are armed and dangerous for the next time a particular scenario comes up. And there’s nothing wrong with taking less-than-successful or even failed scenario experience and applying it. adidas zx 850 If you know what’s coming the next time, you’ll be ready and have a much greater chance of success. It’s that way in business/marketing, in football and yes, even in math. Nothing can beat you when you’ve seen it before. Except maybe House Hunters. nike chaussure Hint: They almost never pick the third house.
In a world where people are sitting around just waiting to be offended by something, America’s CEOs are getting used to apologizing. After all, the “Buck Stops Here,” right? The captain must go down with his/her proverbial ship as well? Hmmmm. But what if (I’m and just spit-balling here) the CEO doesn’t REALLY mean it? Gasp. Horror. Looks of shock and surprise. I mean, what if he or she is, you know, acting for business purposes. (not a class they teach by the way although acting for non-majors is a real thing) (Yes, I took it at Mizzou and so did Brad Pitt a few years before me.) True story. But I digress. A new Harvard Business Review article tells us that for a corporate apology to work, the CEO must (and I swear to God this is in the story) “look sad.” So if you’re a CEO who likes to smile, you had better get that crap under control when you apologize to the world for whatever it was that your company did. adidas superstar aliexpress Hey, I have a suggestion for corporate America. Mean what you say and friggin say what you mean. One of the big reasons Donald Trump is LEADING in the GOP Polls is his absolute refusal to be politically correct. And ladies and gentlemen, the world is THRISTY for the actual truth. Not the “looking sad” truth, but the REAL, UNVARNISHED TRUTH. So say it. I say ignore this wildly stupid HBR article and this type of advice and BE REAL. It takes courage, but as you can see, the world is changing and the “make sure you look sad” playbook is woefully and laughably out of date. nike air max 2017 pas cher Be like Dr. Seuss’ Horton in Horton Hatches the Egg when he says, “I meant what I said and I said what I meant.” The world wants it. chaussure adidas zx flux The world needs it. louboutin pas cher Because everyone else is just full of it. Yes, I’m looking right at you Roger Goodell of the NFL. But that’s an egg hatching (or laying) story for another time.
Ok, I’ve had enough and it’s time to set some things straight. I’m not quite sure how it happened, but this “personal branding” nonsense has got to stop. It’s way past time for the truth. If you understand anything about branding, actual branding, you know, the fun little concept invented by good ‘ol Procter & Gamble, you know that it’s fundamentally about emotion. It is not fundamentally about which friggin’ outfit you choose to wear today (for God’s sake). air jordan 11 I believe “personal branding” was sorta manufactured and co-opted by the HR profession and someone who should’ve been stopped before they cleverly concluded that people could market themselves in the workplace just like brands. The logic goes — if you REALLY want a job or want to keep your job you should really think about “your brand.” L to the O to the L. This would be fine if it were anywhere close to facts or the truth. As my company preaches from every rooftop and conference room, real branding transfers emotion from human beings and human relationships to things that have no particular emotional attachment – say companies, logos and other man-made creations. So if you engage in “personal branding” what you are literally saying the to the world is: “as a person I lack the ability to connect with other human beings naturally and must invent some clever way to do it and transfer that emotion.” In the immortal words of Dr. Evil, “Um..How about NO!” Please stop it. You are not a brand and you never will be. Actually, you as a human being are already BETTER than a brand because you have this little thing called HUMANITY – a built-in-from-the-factory way for other human beings to connect to you. It’s like Wi-Fi only you don’t have to pair with anything or enter a password. No branding is necessary. nike air max flyknit Branding is actually a step-down from your natural state. nike air max 97 All the things you NATURALLY have are the things that BRANDS want to have transferred to them, not the other way around. If you are misusing the term “branding” to mean “the perception you want to create about yourself,” that is just flat-out wrong. A more accurate term is your “image”, your “identity” or just you know, “you.” Why make it more complicated and use anything other than “you.” Sheesh! So please good readers, the next time you hear anyone talk about “personal branding,” please send them this link and make them stop. It is completely contrived BS that continues to cloud the waters of actual branding and the work we do in this area every day. Branding is extremely difficult 24/365 work that requires the perfect recipe of creativity and discipline in order to get the desired emotional transference effect. air jordan 31 I’ve adapted a little children’s story to help. nike flyknit Feel free to share with your kids or anyone who needs it. If you give a mouse some personal branding advice…. Stop it.
A cornerstone of modern marketing is “market differentiation” aka “separating yourself from your competitors,” “unlocking your unique value proposition” and a host of other BS-sounding marketing and economics phrases that make many people’s eyes roll. Ok, so here’s a question…Do you have REALLY have the COURAGE to be different? And courage is the correct word. I mean, we’re socialized from a very young age to “fit in” and of course, the we quickly learn the penalties for standing out. nike huarache Remember the famous scene from “Dead Poets Society” (such a great movie) when Robin Williams’ Mr. Keating character had all the boys march in the courtyard? How quickly they all came together in unison. See there? Unison is comfortable to us. It contains inherently less risk. soldes nike air max pas cher But…unison doesn’t work so well in the world of marketing. louboutin pas cher There must be a pecking order, a pigeon-hole and probably at least 3-4 other bird-related terms that can and should be used here. But once again, it’s a risk. No risk, no reward, right? Someone recently asked me the attributes of my “perfect client” and I said one word — courage. My perfect client knows the risks, but has the courage to try new things, crazy ideas, stand apart and lead the parade with a big smile and a big stick. And not everything marketing cooks up is going to work perfectly. adidas zx flux amazon At times, apologies are in order. nike air max 1 Especially in this world that is SO ready to be offended by anything and everything. It occurs to me that great marketing isn’t safe marketing.
Like you, I observe the world on a daily basis and probably like you, I shake my head and say “Really?” a lot. chaussures ugg femme Regular readers of my stuff know that my company’s mission is to “save communications from bad marketing,” which is why I talk a lot about the bad stuff I’m seeing. But today I want to share with you a simple secret that if applied correctly will change everything about your marketing/PR program. adidas homme Ready? Trust and Respect Your Audience. I know, right? A vast majority of marketing I see (either b2b, b2c or B2whatever) lacks respect for the audience’s time, their opinion and their needs. ugg bottes And doesn’t trust them very much either. adidas femme soldes It’s needy, desperate, non-strategic and sometimes just stupid. So take your marketing program and ask yourself — do we respect our audience? Are we interrupting them from getting to something THEY want to see something WE want them to see (which btw has a terrible impact on YOUR reputation while you’re interrupting them). Are we SO desperate to sell something to them that we’ll program our ads and content to follow them around on the Web? Do we look at them like scientists view chimps pressing a button a certain amount of times to get a banana? A few recent examples: New 3D printing tech allows milk companies to show you if your milk has expired — LOL, or you could keep the price the same and just have customers rely on their eyes and tongue to do it. nike air max 90 homme See, dumb stuff is everywhere. Coffee company wants to have its baristas engage in conversations about race with customers — Really dumb. Customers want to get into and out of line as fast as possible. Respect that and keep that line moving. Giant online retailer hypes huge online sale day, but doesn’t make sure the user experience will be great — thus creating a giant PR nightmare and doing the exact opposite of what they were trying to accomplish in building the brand. A fine idea, but execution was poor and a great example of not understanding or respecting customer needs. Trust your audience and respect them. Make damn sure that when you choose to communicate with an audience that you are looking at it from THEIR side first. Do this and your “marketing” will be forever changed.
Ahhhh measurement. If there is one area that will make most marketing people look as if they’ve seen a ghost, it’s the mere mention of measurement. I wasn’t one of those people when I started. nike requin I remember in grad school taking an art course taught by a guy named Myron Kozman. He was an important guy in my life. He changed it. So Kozman was a scraggly dude whose 1990’s look consisted of jeans, a ragged shirt, no shoes (in St. Louis, Missouri in January) and a fairly unkempt beard. ugg australia classic Yes, he looked pretty homeless. I’ll never forget my first assignment in his class, a charcoal drawing of a soda can done in cubist style (ala Picasso). I showed him mine and then asked for my grade, my measurement of presumably my time, my investment, my worth, etc. Myron looked at me and said, “I cannot give grades for art. nike femme But what is it worth to you?” I said jokingly, “Well, I think it’s an A” (of course). basket nike tn And he said, and what is an “A?” I said, “It’s really good, almost perfect.” Kozman then said, “So then, you believe in perfect art?” And that’s when it hit me and I understood. Art can’t be measured, even by one of the greats like Kozman. And the part of marketing that is creative and art-based is REALLY hard to measure too. Many have tried and some have partially succeeded. We have dashboards and there are metrics that we can measure — business goals that must be measured. But, honestly, it wasn’t until I became a business owner that I truly understood what counts. The first among equals. Sales. Period. That’s the only number that really means anything. That’s how you know if the business is healthy, growing, dying or pretty much dead. Marketing and PR are reluctant to tie their work to sales and for some very good reasons. But hear my digital voice marketers, the only real metric worth measuring is sales. For example, I got one of my clients on a national TV show (yay, PR!) and he told me that he sold $60K worth of his product immediately after it aired. See, that’s something real. PR work that moves the sales needle… That’s value. Another one of my clients told me that she has brought in more than $80K worth of new accounts just from some b2b blog postings we did. Again, that’s real value. Not impressions, not likes or shares or follows or any of that mumbo-jumbo. Just sales. nike mercurial And I know there are a million variables and reasons NOT to tie marketing work into sales. I’ve seen the pitch and I’ve even participated in that dialogue from time to time. But as a 21st century marketer and business owner, I’ve seen the light.
Here are our clients at this year’s NAMM Show. We hope you can stop by and see us! 1. INZANE Decals (Hall E, Booth 1376) — New client and new exhibitor who makes these cool decals (like Fatheads) that can be applied and re-applied to guitars and basses changing the appearance/look of the instruments as much as the player wants. They are $50 and will be available in retail stores following the big show. adidas gazelle pas cher The artwork, more than 200 designs, is quite cool, visual and would make for some great TV or video coverage. Also, the concept is simple and there’s really been nothing like it (in terms of quality of design and ease of use before.) www.inzanedecals.com/designs.php 2. JAMHUB (Hall B, Booth 5315) — Showing the new Tracker MT16 with its all-new Wi-Fi upload capabilites to Dropbox, Box, iCloud and Google Drive. This allows you to go out record a band and wirelessly upload the tracks for mixdown without too much effort. It’s a first and Tracker is the smallest portable multi-track ever developed — about the size of a smartphone. http://www.jamhub.com/trackermt16/ 3. Nike Pour Homme WOOD VIOLINS (Hall D, Booth 3404) — Celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, this company invented the electric violin and cello and brought rock n roll graphics to conservative stringed instruments. nike air jordan soldes They are showing their latest Stingray SVX4 and SVX5 electric violins and love to talk about helping school music programs rock through their charitable “Electrify Your Strings” program. www.woodviolins.com 4. chaussure nike pas cher VOCOPRO (Hall B, Booth 5876) — 30-year old company that cut its teeth in the karaoke business, today provides everything vocalists and DJs need for a great show. Showing cool wireless systems with glittery mics, and useful DJ products. www.vocopro.com 5. MIDI Manufacturers Assoc — (Booth 1086, Hall E) MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) dramatically changed music-making 30 years ago—and it remains a key technology for music-making today. The MMA is a coalition of leading industry companies and organizations including, Roland, Yamaha, Gibson, Fishman, Korg, Dream, Mediamation, etc, educates consumers about the benefits of MIDI technology. Resources, videos, company links and more can be found at the org’s website. nike homme solde www.midi.org MEDIA CONTACT: Scott Robertson, APR Robertson Communications Corp.
It’s been a week since the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris and all the talk in comms circles has been, “what is the proper response when things like this happen?” So I wanted to offer a few words about it. It’s also Thanksgiving next week and I think we can find an appropriate metaphor right there at the family table. When you’re little and you’re stuffing yourself with mashed potatoes (ahh the comfort), sweet potatoes, turkey and of course stuffing (named for the verb of the same name), it’s cute. yeezy adidas But sometimes, you would start talking while eating and your Mom would gently correct you by saying (all together now) “Don’t talk with your mouth full.” Because the animal flesh and vegetation you’re consuming should not be a wet and sloppy projectile on this great day of giving thanks. Marketers should heed Mama’s advice and actually just the first part. adidas femme Don’t talk. And this is really, really HARD for marketing and comms people because we LOVE to talk. So much so that we sometimes forget the single most important facet of human communications — listening. Far less sexy than talking, but infinitely valuable, listening provides a way to not only rest your larynx for a bit, but it provides that incredible golden sound of silence that makes people kinda miss your voice. nike pour homme pas cher When events like the Paris attacks happen, the world’s plate is pretty full. And at these times, the world doesn’t care about anything other than offering sympathy and support. Brands can do this too, but always do it with respect and honor, you know, like a real human person would —not a marketing idiot hell-bent on talking through the moment of silence. I mean, who DOES that? Here’s a good mental trick for marketing comms folks — During times of crisis just imagine YOUR message at a funeral. If you’re at a funeral and everyone is offering condolences and support and you scream out, “hey, want to really honor the dead? — just paint your nails with my awesome “wish you were still here but you’re not” black nail polish to mark the occasion,” Then you’re a bit of an insensitive a-hole. adidas ace When you do this on a global scale, you are officially a globally recognized insensitive a-hole. So don’t. Just….don’t. When the world’s plate is full, it’s not the time to do anything other than offer sympathy and support. nike air max thea soldes And if that’s too much, then follow your Mother’s advice and don’t talk at all.
I remember it well. I was in second grade and all of the other kids had left the classroom for recess. I had the opportunity to snag an additional Dums Dums sucker from my teacher’s bowl on her desk and no one would ever know. So I did. And, gotta say, as I can recall it was a great sucker. Cherry, I think, but possibly Watermelon. When the teacher came back, she noticed something was wrong and she asked me, “Scott, did you take an extra sucker from my desk” Boom. The moment of truth. A direct question and a choice. asics gel lyte v To lie or not to lie. I chose to tell the truth mainly out of guilt (a very powerful emotion), but it was the right thing to do. Since then, I’ve cut back on the Dums Dums suckers and I’ve dedicated my life to the pursuit of better communications. Better for people, for companies, hell, for the world at large. And believe me when I tell you that effective communications is designed to build something powerful. A currency that is worth all the Dums Dums suckers on the planet. timberland soldes Trust. Lying destroys trust without exception and without further delay. People and companies who lie get caught and then…well, you know what happens. Despite the giant smokescreen of many colors surrounding Rachel Dolezal, one thing remains. She lied. A lot. For a lot of years. To a lot of people. She said, “I think the discussion is about what it means to be human.” Not at all. adidas nmd The discussion is about you, a single person faced with a choice to lie or not, and…lying. And lying does what again, class? That’s right. Welcome to the land of no trust, Rachel. Montel Williams gets it and does a fine job explaining the real issues pertaining to the NBC Today Show interview of Rachel where more softballs were lobbed than a junior high PE class. I try not to work with people or companies who lie. Not for simply moral reasons, but also for business reasons. Lying or exaggerating is bad for business because it destroys the very thing my company is trying to build. asics gel quantum 360 Sure, the Cherry (or Watermelon) sucker will be amazing and you could probably get away with it.
There is true evil in this world, my friends. It waits in the shadows biding its time for the perfect moment to strike and inflict untold havoc on its innocent prey. I’m talking of course about marketing. (shudder) Think about it. Marketing has all but destroyed human communications as we know it. Don’t believe me? Here are some examples. asics chaussures Mankind invents the letter — marketing counters with junk mail and floods all of our mailboxes with untargeted, awful garbage — and that’s exactly where most of it ends up. Where is Wall-E when you need him? Mankind brings forth the telephone — marketing is there years later with telemarketing and is the single reason why most people have abandoned their land lines or don’t ever answer them. Also a big reason why marketers would rather introduce themselves as a male nurse rather than a “marketing professional” Mankind creates e-mail (you’ve got mail) — marketing, undaunted, is there with spam and entire new tools must be created and used just to keep it all away. Ridiculous. adidas superstar aliexpress Mankind designs the Internet and Web — marketing oozes all over it with unsightly banner ads, which are “re-targeted” at you until you either submit and buy whatever it is or block them from your screen (hating their brand all the while). acheter chaussures nike Mankind creates text messages — marketing is looking for ways in there, but hasn’t quite peed in that pool just yet. nike air max 2016 But just give ‘em time, right? Yes, irresponsible, awful marketing is responsible for the very breakdown of human communication and of course we have no one but consumptive culture and addictive ways to thank or blame. But, I will say, that not all marketing is evil and the difference lies in a simple choice. “Are you willing to risk your brand’s reputation and relationships to get sales in the short term?” If the answer is yes, you’re going to be moving over the Dark Side of the Force pretty quickly. If no, then you have the unique opportunity to do things better, to create better marketing that attracts people and doesn’t interrupt them. The kind that has credibility and trust and works hard every day to protect that trust. You’ll be one of the good guys.
Ah….Privacy. nike air max The P word. The thing that can generate any number of emotional responses from happiness and security, to worry, fear and even rage. nike pas cher The study of privacy goes hand in hand with communications because it is ultimately a lock which could prevent message delivery or much worse. And make no mistake that people are afraid of privacy, so much so that they might make some poor decisions. adidas nmd So I thought I’d share what I consider to be everything you’ll need to know. Asics Gel lyte 3 Pas Cher
- Personal privacy doesn’t really exist and it hasn’t for a very long time—As I detailed in a previous blog post, privacy is a cute and sometimes necessary mental construct, but does not actually exist in our modern world. We traded it a long time ago for convenience. adidas ultra boost Sorry, but there is no going back.
- Privacy invasions (aka data breaches) can and will happen to any company at any time—But, it’s not the end of the world — have a strategy in place so you can communicate about it proactively and keep it close by.
- Make sure IT is complying with all privacy regulations especially if you or your partners collect customer data—Again, this is not rocket science and just like paying corp income taxes, every company is in the same quasi-private boat.
- Privacy can be a relationship killer— Please temper your company’s intense desire to communicate against the customer’s desire to only hear from you when they want. air max pas cher Remember, in today’s world, the audience is more in charge than ever, so listen well, adhere to their desires and maybe, just maybe they’ll let you in (occasionally).
- Don’t Pretend Privacy is Important to You — I’ve seen a million privacy statements that are fake drivel created in a lawyer’s office to make someone feel good and which the company wouldn’t need in the first place if they demonstrated any strong feelings about protecting our privacy. Be real. Most companies only care about privacy so a) they don’t get sued or b) they don’t get sued. I’d have far more respect for an approach that says — “hey, we really want to talk to you like a new puppy really wants to jump and bounce against every object, person and animal in the immediate vicinity. chaussure nike pas cher nike air max pas cher But we get that you really don’t want that so we’ll back off just enough to let you breathe, cool?” There you have it — everything you need concerning the mythological condition known as privacy.
Every great company is born from a great idea. timberland femme An idea that then takes shape as friends, relatives and resources are brought in until the new product/service/idea finally hits the market. asics france basket nike tn Ideas require strong communication or they can be killed at the earliest stages, before they really even get a chance to blossom. And in my experience, these critical early stages is when you want to bring in your public relations support. soldes nike air max pas cher Why?
- The communications strategy is as important as the product/service development strategy. First, there needs to be a strategic approach in how the new product/service/idea will come to market and that takes experience. nike femme solde PR can help figure out the moves and counter moves on the board that will set the company up for a successful launch.
- Deep, strong brand messaging is NOT automatic. Just because you have “a” message in mind, does not mean it’s “the best possible” message for the new product/service/idea. PR will spend a good amount of time here before anything is written or created to make sure that message connects deeply and won’t have to be erased time and time again, which is costly and pretty dumb too.
- Solid communications increases the chance of early stage funding and survival. Venture capital firms and angels appreciate a good pitch and that requires messaging help. ugg classic mini Not just explaining the idea, but really engaging audiences with a powerful story. If you lack storytelling skills (and many engineers do), don’t pitch until you’ve got that part handled.
- Media support builds credibility and trust. One in ten people believe businesses when they communicate, according to the latest Pew research, but four in ten believe the media (unless it’s Brian Williams of course). nike air huarache soldes Not great, but it’s the best chance you’ve got…so you’re gonna need them. And engaging the media isn’t easy in 2015. You’d better have your act together and that requires some outside help.
- Founders are often too close to objectively handle communications. I see this all the time. One of the very best reasons to engage PR is to avoid the “Emperor’s New Clothes Syndrome” where everyone is a “yes” man and you end up naked and embarrassed…and not in a good “oh those college memories” kinda way. A good PR firm cuts through it and sets the company up for success in the marketplace and you want some truth-telling abilities on your team in this game.
For these reasons and many others, startup companies need to take a hard look at their communications, their fragile baby brands and make sure they are making the proper investment with a darn good strategic PR firm. ugg bottes It will probably be more than you want to spend, (assuming that you want to spend close to nada). adidas stan smith But if you hire a good firm, your investment will pay dividends. Here at Robertson Communications Corp., we just love cool tech, biotech, musical tech and interactive entertainment startups. And we’re one of the good ones that adds value and gets solid results for our clients. If you’re a startup company or know one that needs these services, please contact us and let’s get to work.
Professional football fascinates me. It’s the strategy behind how to move the ball 10 yards (or more) and the myriad of options to do it that gets me. And of course it all comes down to plays. Having just the right offensive play called against the defensive opposition at just the right time to produce fantastic results. That’s the game right there. But sometimes, the plays have to change and that’s usually because the defense (which has its own plays) has figured out how to stop you. Lots of great parallels in marketing and I can’t help but notice how many companies seem to be running their offense from a very outdated playbook. nike air max homme So I thought I’d share a few plays that I see working out there. Old Play: Creating any type of staged media event on location. You know, it used to work and much better than simply a blank backdrop or logos. But did you see Hillary Clinton’s visit to the Iowa coffee shop? I’ve seen better facades on the Universal Studios Tour. And she was called out in real-time across social media for being “fake,” and big news flash, it was staged. Every. Single. nike air max 2015 Minute. Used to work…people are too smart now. The defensive has caught up. New Play: Being real. No staging or dressing because we’ve all seen the facades, the actors and when you insult our intelligence, we just know you’re full of it. Old Play: After something awful happens, you hold a press conference and apologize and explain what you’re going to do about it. Ok, this isn;t a lock to work anymore, but can depending on the situation. asics gel lyte 5 Ironically enough, the NFL ran this play last year with its ridiculous mishandling of the Adrian Peterson situation and got smoked for it. Again, fans live tweeting that they didn’t believe the apologies were sincere. (They weren’t sincere). nike air max 2016 soldes The defense caught up again and sacked them for a big brand and reputation loss. New Play: Again, be real. The audience is too smart, too savvy for your spin today so you probably won’t fool them. There is no substitute for real people behaving like real people. The defense can’t stop it because guess what, they’re pretty fallible people too…and deep down inside, they know it. Old Play: Interruption. Oh, how marketing LOVES to interrupt interesting things people are doing to stick in their much less interesting stuff. But, we are growing less and less tolerant of this thinking and the defense will start to block, limit and remove themselves from these messages (especially as more abuse occurs). New Play: Be as interesting or even more so than what they’re doing. nike internationalist When you look at what’s really working out there, you see that it’s a creative approach that entertains people and gives them what THEY really want. If you aren’t really analyzing (psychologically) what your customers want/need, then how do you even start to play on this field? And there are many more, but the point is, use the offseason to sharpen your marketing offense with some new plays and you might be able to move the ball a little better. …And use last season’s playbook at your own peril.
I recently had a lunch meeting with a gentleman who runs a private security and investigation business. His personnel, well, they mostly wear black and carry large guns. So, not surprisingly, we talked quite a bit about guns. adidas stan smith And of course, the subject of “gun control” was so much in our face that the monitor showing CNN provided an almost constant reminder that there are those among us who might not be trusted with such instruments of destruction. Because yep, they crazy. chaussure timberland homme We all know that guns are dangerous. But I submit to you today, that they have a lot in common with marketing & communications even though most people don’t really stop to think about it. Here’s what I mean. Belstaff Womens Wax Cotton Both guns and comms: Require training or bad things can happen — Guns are complex, lost of moving parts and you want to know how each part works before you discharge them. mu legend items online So gun ranges offer training and often require completion of these courses to even buy or own a gun. Same with communications — just because you can, doesn’t mean you should and it takes years (usually of making mistakes) before you really know what you’re doing strategically. Plus, communications deals with many psychological aspects of human behavior and you’d better have memorized the owner’s manual for the human brain before you tread into those unpredictable waters. Produce recoil that can damage the user as much as the target – Ever fire a large shotgun? Chances are, the first time you did, you got quite a shock as the weapon smacked backward into your shoulder or chest. That’s recoil. Guess what, comms have recoil too — it’s called unsubscribes, ad blockers and just general brand distaste. adidas stan smith Belstaff Womens Jackets Oh yes, if you’re the ad stopping me from seeing my Jimmy Fallon clip, then I pretty much hate you and can’t wait to skip you. If you’re going for anger or hate, by all means, please interrupt the consumer from the content they want to view. nike tn pas cher Here ended the lesson. asics france air max 1 pas cher Communicators, you are wielding a powerful weapon. Treat it as such. asics gel lyte air max 90 pas cher Protect your audiences and your brand from improper usage and protect yourself from the recoil of not being ready when you decide to communicate. Asics Gel Lyte V When you do communicate, use lots of planning, careful consideration and a friggin’ laser sight to make sure you’re protected from what you’re about to do.