It was my pleasure to be interviewed by Chaya Weiner for this Medium piece called 5 Things You Need to Build a Trusted And Beloved Brand!
I always wanted to go into advertising. I was a musician who could easily write catchy radio jingles and produce the music to go along with them, so I thought that’s probably how it would go. But a funny thing happened on my way to the ad agency, advertising kinda stopped working. 🙁
And you see, I’m a big fan of things actually working, not just looking or feeling like they do. The appearance of marketing-looking work is NOT marketing in my opinion. The RESULTS are. And the thing that works the best for me (and my clients) is public relations. Good old PR.
PR is a tough one to describe in 2019 mainly because there has been quite a blurring of marketing disciplines in the digital age. But, here’s a really good way to keep it straight. PR is fundamentally about trust and credibility. And no other marketing arrow is gonna give you that. Not advertising, not promotions, not events, not social media —only PR.
And we live in a world where trust and credibility are at all-time lows, but somehow no one in the entire marketing profession wants to talk about that. Because marketing is actually the villain in that story.
Smoke, exaggerations, hype and just outright lies are the tools of some marketers, and we as consumers (both b2b and b2c) have learned from a very early age that they are NOT to be trusted. If trust is the goal, none of these paths will get you there. They won’t.
Now, some people (even PR people) will say PR’s primary role is “brand awareness”and “we don’t want to be measured by sales and things we cannot control.” LOL. Ok. Brand awareness is good, but the real treasure we’re seeking is trust and credibility. Because without those things, you aren’t selling a darn thing to anyone.
PR looks for credible and trustworthy messengers (media, analysts, influencers) to take our clients’ messages to their audiences and somehow transfer that trust to us. That’s the whole game right there. And it REALLY works. One of my clients recently SOLD OUT of two complete runs of a very cool product simply because we put the gadget on TV, radio, online and lots of credible people were saying “Wow, this is super cool — you have to have this.” …And so they did.
Now I love advertising. I love the control, the power, the creativity — everything about it. Except the fact that it just doesn’t deliver very much value except in a supporting role. The star of the marketing show in the trust-free world of today must be PR.
And we are SO much more than simple brand awareness. We do something that simply cannot be done in any other way. We systematically EARN trust and credibility for brands, which leads to sales and growth and all of the good stuff. And maybe, done in this way, marketing doesn’t have to be such a villain after all?
Did you know that nearly half of all Internet traffic today is fake?
Studies generally suggest that, year after year, less than 60 percent
of web traffic is human; some years, according to some researchers, a healthy majority of it is bot.
What’s a bot? Well, it’s a software program designed to do one very specific thing—impersonate a human being. Some are so sophisticated in their multi-level behaviors, they can fool the software designed to find and filter out the bots, which is kinda like bot on bot crime. And this is all done to inflate audience numbers so sites can charge more for advertising — oh you knew the money was gonna be a part of this somewhere, didn’t you?
Now in the glorious profession of marketing and communications, we’re all about reaching and building relationships with people. We have no interest in bots. And we have no interest in bots acting like people. We’d just like the people, thank you.
Heres a good stat from Facebook for you. FB claimed that 75 million people watched at least a minute of Facebook Watch videos every day — though, as Facebook admitted, the 60 seconds in that one minute didn’t need to be watched consecutively. Real videos, real people, fake minutes. Because people do not watch portions of a minute of videos and add them up. It kinda messes up the story, you know?
Traffic isn’t the only fake thing out there. Instagram this week reported more fake followers, fake profiles and fake metrics. Twitter shut down more than one million fake accounts designed to fake follow real brands and people. Sheesh!
Today in marketing we have more data and more metrics than at any time in my career, yet I trust those metrics much less. Mainly because of all of the fake traffic and the bots. So how do we REACH actual people in 2019 and beyond?
1. Make YOUR message all about THEM — I don’t know about bots, but people are REALLY into themselves and the stuff that’s going on with them, their needs, wants, desires, dreams. etc.
2. Help THEM get what THEY want — Again, the nuances of marketing these days should be about connecting the hero (your customers) with the things they need.
3. Get someone else (besides you) to carry the message — the media or influencers are a great place to start. When you find a channel that your audience trusts, see if you can get them to tell your story.
And yes, I’ve just described modern public relations. Great message, great delivery, great measurement. Repeat as needed until you retire or the bots take over everything and enslave our race. After walking the halls of CES, don’t worry, it’s coming. We had a good run. 🙂
The real people are out there and they WANT to connect with brands and believe in brands–for their reasons, probably not ours. And WE want to believe we’re reaching them. Maybe just maybe there’s something real out there after all.
If a tree falls in the woods and there’s no one around to hear it, did it make a sound? That’s the classic and fairly famous philosophical question and the second most famous “in the woods” question (the first involves the preferred restroom of bears). But in marketing here’s the thing — if YOU receive a targeted marketing message from a sender and don’t understand it, then WHY on earth was it sent out? Why indeed!
Here are a few examples of meaningless marketing that companies create and inflict on audiences:
Vision/Mission Statements — These went out with pleated pants in the 90’s yet some companies and old-school marketing firms still create them. Here’s a quick tip – No one cares about your mission, they ONLY care about their own needs and how your thing might possibly help them get closer to their thing. Don’t have a mission statement unless you take out all of the “we” and “us” pronouns and substitute for “our customers” “our audience,” etc. Your mission (should you choose to accept it) should be ALL about them or it’s 100 percent worthless.
CEO Quotes in Press Releases — Man, there are words strung together where the quote should be, but I challenge you to find any meaning. Words like “upward trajectory” and “synergies” are used, but unless you’re trying to set up the perfect card in Buzzword Bingo, just speak like a human would and try to deliver an opinion or unique thought that could really only appear in a quote. Or, better yet — leave it out because if your quote sucks, then reporters will definitely be happy to handle this part for you.
Marketing Sounding Language — For this, I include cutesy words that all start with the same letter and end up saying nothing or just those dumb words and phrases that can only come from marketing like “disruption” and “turnkey solution” (FYI — NEVER use solution — it’s trite). Really anything that SOUNDS like it was written by the marketing or PR department should be closely reviewed and promptly canned. Instead, let’s SOUND like humans. Novel I realize, but give it a try. And for your futher reading enjoyment, here’s a list from Spin Sucks of PR and Marketing Buzzwords that need to die. https://spinsucks.com/social-media/big-question-pr-buzzwords-must-die/
And here’s the main point — Marketing is about trust and relationships—and every single time you hit send to a single person or en masse on behalf of an organization, you’re at risk of damaging or ending that relationship. (Yes, it should be pretty scary every time). The good news is that you also could build and strengthen those relationships and create new ones. But it’s all in the choices made before it’s sent. So make it clear and make it great (for them). Then your audience will keep riding along with YOUR brand for a little while longer!
In wartime, when an army crosses a strategic position such as a bridge, often the order is given to blow the bridge up behind the advancing forces so the enemy cannot follow. But what about the people who also needed that bridge or even those who might get caught in the dangerous blast? This is known as “collateral damage” and no matter what it is (lives destroyed or lost) it’s justified by the accomplishment of the military objective.
In other words, “that’s not my problem.” or “we don’t really care about that.”
But brands sometimes have this same thinking in place in the ongoing quest for sales, conversions or any other term that means “money coming in.” Some companies are happy to sacrifice long-term relationships for short-term money—and that’s just not good.
If RobertsonComm branding rule #1 is “Everything Counts” then #2 surely is “Think Things Through.” I’m telling you, it doesn’t happen as often as it should and that’s why so many companies place their faith and their brands in the hands of horrible tactics like:
Telemarketing—Don’t EVER let your brand be associated with the almost always negative emotions encountered on telemarketing calls. No one wants them and they WILL remember you long after they’ve hung up in anger.
Re-targeted Online Advertising—TRUST your buyer and seriously, back off because the FTC is coming.
Banner ads — especially ones on your site that block the viewer from seeing content so they can sign up for your e-news and get 10 percent off. Just stop it!
Chat Bots—If it’s not important enough for YOU to actually be there, why should the customer participate in the conversation?
Sponsored Posts—No one is logging into THEIR social worlds looking for YOUR promotion. Learn it.
Marketing Automation—Instead of sending more stuff, more frequently and making it easier on YOU — why don’t you create something that ATTRACTS them to YOU. I know, it’s novel thinking, but try it.
Your brand is your most valuable and most important business asset. Every time a potential client, customer or audience member encounters it, try to make it a pleasant experience for them. Remember, we are supposed to be in the LONG-TERM relationship business and that means trusting your audience to make the right call without so much prodding.
If you are truly great at what you offer, whether it be a product, service or just a cause, then they will find you and they will behave like you want them to.
So let’s end the vicious cycle of collateral brand damage and think everything we do ALL the way through. Just remember, if they would’ve done that in Jurassic Park, everyone would’ve lived. (but it wouldn’t have been a very good movie I guess) Think about it.
In the movie Jurassic Park, Jeff Goldblum’s character Dr. Ian Malcolm makes a miraculous observation when he says “your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could (make dinosaurs) that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” Ahhh the difference between can and should is important when making dinosaurs — and it’s equally important in marketing and communications.
You see, back in prehistoric times (before the Internet) yes, the 1990’s, marketing used to cost money. You had to invest some resources, buy things, have things printed, mailed and THAT put your skin in the game. Thus, there was a consideration step to determine whether this target was appropriate, etc. I remember it well. But today, thanks to technology, many believe that marketing is “free” and why send one free e-mail (or freemail) when you can send one million? Why indeed!
I will submit to you that marketing still costs something — your credibility, your reputation, your customer relationships—and you put these very valuable items on the line every time you decide to communicate. Believe it. Marketing’s guiding light is something we haven’t seen in since dinosaurs roamed the earth—EMPATHY.
Robertson Communications Celebrates Five Years of Providing Public Relations, Branding and Marketing Services to Music, Audio, Tech and Professional Service Business Clients
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif., March 2, 2017 — Today, RobertsonComm, a full-service public relations and branding firm specializing in helping some of the best music/audio, technology, non-profit association and professional service business clients win in the marketplace through stronger communications, celebrated its fifth anniversary. The company had its strongest year yet in 2016, being selected by clients including, Taylor Guitars, BandLab/MONO, VocoPro, Moore Benefits Inc., Benefit Equity and Recover & Heal among others. asics chaussures RobertsonComm continues to provide top-level counsel, strategy and implementation of programs to increase sales, build market share and strengthen corporate reputations. nike blazer The firm also was named to the Orange County Business Journal‘s list of Top PR Firms in Orange County for the second year in a row. “Building this company has been the wildest and best ride of my career thus far,” said Scott Robertson, CEO, RobertsonComm. ugg boots bailey “At RobertsonComm we are guided by our philosophy that PR and marketing shouldn’t just be something you do because you can, it should be something you do very well every single day to generate real business outcomes.” Interested parties can hear more of Robertson’s educational and entertaining views about marketing and PR every Friday at 2 p.m. nike internationalist PST live on Entertalk Radio, (www.entertalkradio.com) the undisputed leader in music biz talk, as he presents his popular podcast show May the Best Brand Win.
Pssst wanna know a secret? You are probably pretty creative. I say “probably” because I don’t know you and it’s at least possible that you’re an accountant or an actuary. air max pas cher 🙂 But barring that, I’ll bet you’re more creative than you think. Defined as “the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work,” Adobe did a survey a few years back on creativity and here in the good ol’ USA, about 52 percent of respondents described themselves as “creative.” So about half of all people would label themselves in this way. Ok, I can buy that, especially if you think of creativity ONLY in this way. nike kwazi soldes nike air max 1 I’ll submit to you that any time someone is zigging when everyone else in their space is zagging, that is creativity. In the 1990s, Amazon had a different vision for the future of buying things based on the Web and much improved supply chain logistics. asics gel lyte 5 Not super sexy, but I’ll tell you that today, you can open your mobile device, buy just about anything on there and have it at your door the next day or even the same day. adidas pas cher It’s like The Jetsons! All from a different creative path. asics nimbus And I think it’s not just the spark of a creative idea, but the guts to implement it and the discipline to see it through. It takes all of that for true creativity to manifest itself in the marketplace. Creating something from nothing is really cool, but it’s nothing without those more “common” elements. nike air max 90 femme Adidas soldes And that’s why I think you are probably pretty creative.
We’re very excited to be working with Taylor Guitars to provide public relations services. adidas x Taylor is one of the top brands in the music products industry with a rich history and fantastic track record of creating unique, Nike Roshe Run soldes great sounding instruments that highlight any player’s abilities. nike air max 1 pas cher Watch for more exciting news from Taylor coming soon from RobertsonComm! Right now,
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.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. nike air huarache September 5, 2013 — NTI Corp, the Irvine-based digital media and data storage management software developer, has engaged Robertson Communications to launch the company’s new file sharing service later this month. adidas zx 500 NTI, best known for its popular “NTI CD Maker” application, is now venturing into subscription based software models for some of its new services. Robertson Communications will handle strategic public relations work to build the new service’s brand and attract new users. timberland earthkeepers bottes “NTI is a proven innovator and its new service will certainly add to that reputation,” said Scott Robertson, president, Robertson Communications Corp. asics kinsei “In a crowded and sometimes confusing category such as this, our brand of public relations will prove to be a useful educator for all audiences.” About Robertson Communications Robertson Communications Corp. is a strategic public relations/branding and marketing agency based in Orange County, Calif. louboutin paris with the goal of helping the best music/sound, technology as well as B2B and consumer companies in the world get their unfair share of attention and win in the marketplace through superior communications.