Marketing and the Competition

Marketing and the Competition

Marketing professionals look in the mirror and have reflections filled with angst over their competition. They watch with great anticipation to see what they will do next, how they respond to market changes and they get obsessed about how they price their products. Of course, a deep understanding of competition matters, but it rarely solves the most critical challenge marketers face. How can we be true to who we are? Worrying about competition means that you are always in comparison mode with others. They add a new SKU, so you add one. They sell through a new channel, so you feel compelled to do the same. And while you are copying and pasting what they do, brands that are followers often lose their way. Family Vacation as Metaphor A simple metaphor is the family vacation. You would never look at the holidays your neighbors take and say, I want to do what they are doing. Your kids may hate Disney World and prefer to go camping. Just because a family down the block took their kids to Europe, it may not be the adventure you want for your children. As a family, you want to give your children an experience that you and your spouse feel will give them a chance to get away and to open their eyes to a new experience. You want the vacation to resonate with everyone and be authentic to your family, not the neighbors.  If you are copying your neighbors, you aren’t in tune with what matters to you and your family. The same is true for brands and businesses.  Competition and Marketing...
Owner’s Care

Owner’s Care

For more than twenty years, I have been getting my haircut at the same place not far from my home. Lindsay, who cuts my hair today is both talented and a pleasure to connect with every six weeks. She knows how I like my haircut and we always talk about food, cooking, and family. As I was leaving to pay, I asked the receptionist if I could schedule my appointments online. It would be so convenient to do, and I can avoid the typical 5-minute wait that happens every time I call. She, along with her co-worker told me that you can schedule online, but you have to pay upfront, and sometimes it doesn’t work right, and you can’t schedule an appointment for a men’s haircut versus a women’s cut. Wait, what? So I went online and found a confusing, complicated form that didn’t work. Ridiculous. In today’s world, this should be simple and second nature. I emailed the owner through his online form, and 10 minutes later he reached out to apologize. Wow, we screwed up, I’ll get this fixed. Thanks for letting me know it didn’t work. Owners Care As an owner, you always care more than your staff. It is your business. You will always care more than most employees.  The receptionist who I spoke to probably figured — NMJ. (not my job). She didn’t say, let me get your phone number or email and I’ll speak to the owner, we will figure it out and I’ll let you know when it is fixed. The two receptionist acted like – gee, it is kind of screwed...
Marketing Genius

Marketing Genius

Marketing requires a thoughtful approach that is rooted in clear thinking. The exceptional marketers recognize a fantastic opportunity that is filled with wit and whimsy. The brilliant marketing genius is open to wild and crazy ideas because they are so difficult to do, and their competition would quickly reject them. Elon Musk didn’t need to put his cherry red Tesla into space to orbit the globe. He could have focused on the publicity that his Space-X rocket would receive from a successful launch. But someone, probably Musk had a “what if” moment. What if, while the world is watching, we could do a little stunt that connects emotionally to all of the hopes and aspirations of exploration into the universe. Either Musk or his team allowed themselves to imagine something absurdly crazy that could break the Internet and harness the emotional connection of the blast off and reentry of their space rocket. Stunts, Gimmicks and Strategic Imagination Every marketer needs a little P.T.Barnum. They need to see beyond the practical and look for ways to capture the imagination of those they want to reach. Putting Musk’s personal Tesla in space with Starman, a dummy dressed in a space suit, with a sign saying “don’t panic” is genius. He even put a copy of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” in the glovebox. And the cherry on the top is blasting Bowie’s “Space Oddity” song. Creating Brand Equity Promotional activities can feed a brand’s equity with consumers. Brand equity is the sum of awareness, quality, loyalty, and association. By leveraging a media event like the launching of his rocket ship...
The Power of a Trailer for Brands

The Power of a Trailer for Brands

Marketing requires energy, excitement, and teasing. The movie industry understands this better than most and has used trailers to help gain awareness and anticipation. Marketers don’t often think like Hollywood, and they are missing an important tactic. Almost a third of all consumers who see a trailer say they are likely to watch a movie. Imagine brands getting that much interest. Trailers can easily be shared and are an apt format for putting fuel into the tank of many marketing campaigns. They can evoke and provoke intense emotion and can bring heightened engagement and awareness. Trailers turn brands into experiences. Two Branded Trailers Web of Fries Taco Bell recently launched a trailer campaign that felt like a movie but was all about Taco Bell’s nacho fries and cheese dipping sauce. With Josh Duhamel starring in the trailer, he investigates why there haven’t been French fries at Taco Bell. His “trailer” daughter asks why they are no fries and it leads him to examine coverups, clowns, and food-based espionage. The ads will run on TV but also in theatres and on social media channels. Watch the trailer here.   Robert Graham and the Fake Car Movie Trailer In March 2016, a four-minute trailer was created for fashion brand Robert Graham to help raise awareness and to develop the brands. Using real actors like Juliette Lewis and Vincent Kartheiser, the fake trailer promoted the idea of breaking the second sound barrier which is a speed beyond the limits of the sound barrier. Grahams brand wanted an association with an exhilarating and exciting lifestyle and pure happiness and whimsy. Watch this trailer here....
What is your Word?

What is your Word?

Over coffee, a colleague was sharing a story of a recent marketing experience. A recent campaign failed, and everyone was licking their wounds wondering what went wrong. I asked for their word. Jonathan didn’t know what I meant. What word is the center of the core of your brand essence? Authentic. We are an authentic company, with a passion for being real, not something we aren’t. As we looked at his marketing campaign that consisted of a series of ads, he realized that his ads were almost the opposite of his word. In fact, when he considered his “word,” the problem became clear. Their new campaign was fashionable and on trend with what others were doing in their industry. The problem, however, it wasn’t who they aspire to become.  Brand Essence Most brands have one word that defines the core of what you stand for, who you are and what you promise. It is a word that should be used to filter every activity. A relaxed brand acts a very specific way and every touchpoint with customers should be chill, easy going and flexible in action. The brand is jeans not a suit. It is an untucked shirt, not a formal look. Every touch needs the look, feel and smell of relaxed. If you are a rebellious brand filled with irreverence, you better live that in everything you do from your t-shirts to your website to your events. Every touch is imbued with an anti-establishment tone. Your word is the playing field where you can take your brand out to exercise her muscles. In my corporate days working on...