The MadAveGroup Blog
The MadAve Blog (313)
I'm not going to pretend to have any idea what Brian Williams was thinking.
Did he mean to embellish the facts of his 2003 experience in Iraq? Or did he honestly remember the situation that way?
At age 51, I can't recall how I got to work most mornings, let alone the details of an event 12 years ago. But on the flip side, I'm absolutely positive I've never been shot at in a helicopter at any point in my life.
Regardless of the who, what, why, when or if, this whole thing should remind us that the truth still matters to people. Stretching it may have cost Brian Williams his career and NBC News serious brand damage.
What does that lesson mean for your marketing?
Especially in the Internet era, customers and prospects can determine pretty quickly when your advertising has misrepresented the truth, or even when the experience you allude to isn't consistent with what they actually encounter.
So, when marketing your business, don't lie. Don't even exaggerate. Instead, use the time you have with your audience to shine honest light on your brand's unique value and differences.
Padding the truth leads to customer disappointment, erodes trust, damages your reputation, and makes it harder for your next message to resonate with your audience.
(Photo credit: NBC News)
What could a contemporary, upscale hotel in a hip downtown district have in common with a pet adoption agency?
Maybe nothing at first glance.
Since August 2014, Charlie's Angels has brought one dog into the hotel about every 7 to 10 days. The dog lives in the lobby until he's adopted by a hotel guest. In the seven months since the program began, hotel guests have adopted 19 dogs. That's great news for the shelter – and the dogs.
And, as you'll see in this NBC News report, the dogs allow the hotel to create a unique experience for guests. The Aloft is seen as supporting a good cause, and may even be responsible for introducing a new best friend to many guests. That's a lifelong memory they're helping to create.
Who can you partner with for mutual benefit? If there's no obvious answer, start by considering organizations that you would like to help even if your company didn't benefit directly from the relationship. Acting on your authentic passion for a cause can pay many other types of dividends.
Do you find yourself in one of these two groups?
1) You think your company's website is just fine the way it is. You don't have time to pay attention to it anyway. And no, it doesn't generate traffic, leads or sales, but it's not on fire or hurting anyone, so you'd rather not talk about it.
2) You know your website is under-performing and that it's a poor representation of your brand identity. Each day that it remains online, the stench of missed opportunity grows ever more pungent in your marketing-centric nostrils. Yet, you don't have the time to commit to a new site either.
Whether you're a member of group one or group two - or an invisible third group that defies description - you should read "The Cost (and Value) of Your Website." You'll learn why a more effective site is well worth the investment and that – hurray! – you don't have to take on the full-time job of running the thing. It's good news all around, really.
On this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I'm reminded of a word that we use a lot around our agency: passion.
It would be impossible to watch Dr. King's 1963 speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial and believe that he was anything less than passionate about his dream.
More than 50 years after he spoke during the March on Washington, his thoughts still inspire and stir. His impactful words, his delivery, his focus and emotional intensity all came together in that moment and left a lasting imprint on humanity.
Passion is contagious. It excites and moves people to action. And when it's the force behind a sincere message, it can be hard to stop.
Are you passionate about what you're doing? Do you believe in your work and your message so strongly that people around you can feel it? And how are you expressing that passion to a larger audience?
It's the beginning of a new year; a time for fresh starts; a chance to get better.
The problem is that, when it comes to making resolutions, many of us bite off more than we can chew. (It's great that you'd like to lose 30 pounds. Just don't expect to do it by Wednesday.)
When working on behavioral change, experts recommend a slow and steady approach with plenty of attainable mini goals along the way to provide motivation
That's one way to improve your marketing in 2015.
First, choose one major marketing goal you'd like to achieve by December 31st.
Next, use the rest of January to identify 10 strategies (and the accompanying tactics) that will help you reach that goal. Then, prioritize those strategies based on how tough they'll be to execute.
On February 1st, implement the most difficult, most time-consuming of the ten strategies.
On March 1st, start on the second-most difficult strategy, while still working on the first.
Continue to add the next strategy on the list at the top of each new month, while working on the others you've already started. In December, make any last-minute adjustments necessary to reach your goal, and evaluate which strategies and tactics worked and which didn't.
That slow and steady approach can help you stay focused. It may give you the time you need to improve certain skills or processes. And it will allow your marketing momentum to build at a manageable pace.
Whether you need to cut costs or you just enjoy getting more for your money, you're going to like this idea.
They still derive the many benefits of On Hold Marketing, but without spending a dime. Sometimes, the company even makes money on what we provide for them.
To learn how they do it, and how you might turn a marketing investment into a profit center, read this valuable post on the BusinessVoice Blog.
Storytelling is an effective way to connect with your customers. It allows you to share your brand's core values with a much softer sell. And, when done well, your stories are more likely to be actively shared. That reduces your need for paid media.
Take a look at the heartwarming story UPS tells in the video above.
It doesn't focus on how many packages they deliver every day or brag about their logistics system. Instead, it tells the story of one little boy and the special day he had because of the company's efforts.
And, as of the date of this post, the video has been watched more than 2.5 million times on YouTube alone.
UPS also invites its audience to become a part of the story by sharing their own wishes. And each time someone uses the hashtag #WishesDelivered, UPS donates $1 to a charity.
You can tell stories about your business, too. With memorable, authentic content, you can encourage an emotional connection between your brand and your customers, all without using a single stat or tag line.
Make 2015 the year you start to tell your story.
RELATED POST: Marketing to Your Future Employees
If you shop online or if your company has an e-commerce website, check out a couple of new posts on the WebArt blog.
"How to Prime Your Website for Retail Success" includes eight suggestions on making your website more attractive to consumers, while maximizing your revenue. Read it here. By the way, our WebArt team can implement all of the improvements for you.
"Protect Your Personal Data When Shopping Online" features a handful of common sense tips that serve as good advice, especially given the number of bad guys who are hacking retail websites these days. See the post here.
The start of the "gift-giving season" reminded me of one of my favorite videos from last Christmas.
Check this out. It delivers strong evidence of how a smell can trigger memory, evoke emotions, and transport us instantly to a different place or time.
While watching the video, think about your company or brand. Could it benefit by making a deeper connection with your customers?
During this hectic, competitive time - and all year long, for that matter - would you like your brand to stand out more in the minds and memories of your customers?
For an increasing number of brands, a signature scent is an important element of that type of differentiation. Learn more about Aroma Marketing.
Many of the tools you use to distribute your marketing messages - email, websites, social media, etc. - are much different than those employed by marketers 60 years ago.
Yet, the purpose of your messages is probably the same as those of past generations. Engage your audience. Address a need. Create an urge. Offer a solution. Communicate your value. Differentiate your brand.
In other words, the delivery methods may change, but the goals really don't.
The same goes for how you and your staff should treat callers.
You might not identify with a rotary-dial, desktop landline telephone from 1952, but the same basic phone skills and etiquette that were important back then are still important today. Maybe even more so.
See a few specific examples of how your grandfather's telephone skills still work today in this BusinessVoice blog post.