maximum potential

these are the thought starters, insights, and inspiration to get you, and the brands you manage, to reach your maximum potential

that’s great, but are you moving forward

today we will do a million things.  we will talk to a million people, sit in a million meetings, and move a million things through some ‘system.’  we will present one million ideas to clients, bosses, and employees.  we will send out a million resumes or use a million words to convince an employer of how great we are and why we are the right person for the job.

but what are you doing to move your brand forward?  is what you’re doing taking your brand to the next level?  a brilliant new campaign is not brilliant if it doesn’t progress the brand forward.  a brilliant interview response is not brilliant if it does not move the perception of who you are forward.  it doesn’t matter how smart you sound or how great your thoughts are, if they are not moving your brand to a better place they are worthless.  all action is not good action.  next time you do something, make sure your moving forward.

Filed under: lifemark, , , , ,

monday spot(light): tree trunk, coffee sleeves, and bus shelters that snow

some of the best creative gets people to reThink the brand, the category, the problem, and/or the consumer. on monday spot(light) we discuss some of the creative in the marketplace that accomplishes that, for better or for worse. if you have recommendations, please email them to me at detavio@gmail.com

this week i decided to highlight three creative executions i discovered in the advertising world over the last week that i think are doing a good job of getting people to (re)Think something.  

what a great way to make people (re)Think there paper use…

…and another great way to get people to think about the global warming issue and let them know what you do (when otherwise they probably wouldn’t listen or care). 

“Hot cups & companion protective sleeves were distributed as a pair to illustrate the global issue. The NRDC (protective sleeve) protects you from global warming (hot cup).”

and lastly, another great way to let people know it’s time to go skiing and demonstrate an excellent new use of an old medium…

Tryvann – The Snowing Billboard from Martin on Vimeo.

 

source: all creative was found at i believe in adv

Filed under: business branding, lifemark, ,

marketing and advertising that works

this post is one of a series as i write my book to help marketers and advertisers (re)Think how we approach communicating with our audiences. in order to sharpen my thoughts and ensure that i am building rather than adding to the clutter, i decided to write the book (at least the headlines of it) through weekly wednesday posts on my blog so that we could discuss together. you can check out the entire series here. for those who read for more of the (re)Think life slant, don’t worry, i will include life applications as much as possible.

over the last few weeks we have discussed some of the perceptions that we hold as marketers and advertisers (and people) that just may be incorrect.  namely, we assume that people should listen to us because (1) we believe we are the only person in the room and have their full attention (2) we think that if we shout the loudest people will pay attention.  the reality is that we are in the attention game to communicate and bring value to people’s lives.  over the next few weeks we will walk through this truth and the few approaches that i believe really work when it comes to marketing and advertising.  Here’s a sneak peak:

  1. approach people as people, not consumers
  2. take the chance to do marketing w/ meaning (i am using the name developed by bob gilbreath/bridge worldwide because it is much cooler than my benefit or utilitarian marketing nomenclature)
  3. be different…i mean really different
  4. leverage the power of word of mouth

Filed under: business branding, lifemark, my book, , , , ,

it’s time to grow up, shouting doesn’t work: truth #2

this post is one of a series as i write my book to help marketers and advertisers (re)Think how we approach communicating with our audiences. in order to sharpen my thoughts and ensure that i am building rather than adding to the clutter, i decided to write the book (at least the headlines of it) through weekly wednesday posts on my blog so that we could discuss together. you can check out the entire series here. for those who read for more of the (re)Think life slant, don’t worry, i will include life applications as much as possible.

truth #2: it’s time to grow up, shouting doesn’t work

as humans, we want attention.  when we speak, we want others to listen.  we want to be heard.  after all, we are important aren’t we?

in reality, brands are no different.  and like little kids who have yet to fully mature, when brands don”t get the attention they so desperately want (think they deserve) they yell.  and if that doesn’t work, they yell louder by launching a new campaign, increasing their tv buy, or dialing up their print ad executions.  after all, who doesn’t pay attention when someone is yelling.  the problem with yelling is that it doesn’t work.  besides the fact that people get annoyed, they also get used to it.  pretty soon it all becomes part of environment and we block it out.

the reality: shouting may have worked a few decades ago when there were only two of you competing for attention, the cost of publishing was not zero, and information could not travel as fast because there was no internet or social media. but those days are a thing of the past.  you can shout all you want, but your listeners are not listening because they are immune to those who talk at them instead of with them.

consequently, it’s time to grow up.  it’s time to stop yelling and shouting and learn to use your grown up words.  it’s time to join the adult conversation.  if you don’t, you will miss opportunities to join the dialogue that all of the other adults are already having about you…without you.

Filed under: business branding, lifemark, my book, , , , , ,

monday spot(light): coca cola, future history makers

some of the best creative gets people to reThink the brand, the category, the problem, and/or the consumer.  on monday spot(light) we discuss some of the creative in the marketplace that accomplishes that, for better or for worse.  if you have recommendations, please email them to me at detavio@gmail.com

a few weeks ago i showcased coca cola’s new “open happiness” campaign on my blog.  since most of you said that campaign was less than average, i wanted to give them another shot by bringing forth their black history month campaign.  the only thing they could have done better was make it more than just a print campaign.  here are a few reasons why i like it:

  • the message, although not necessarily unexpected, is powerful and strong.  coke has latched on to something larger than themselves (as all great brands do) in a way that is appreciated by (and specific to) the africanic community as they encourage future generations to: be giving, be heard, be legendary, and be driven.
  • unlike most ads, i think that this one was designed to stand out amongst the black history month clutter.  it would get my attention if i was flipping through vibe, essence, newsweek, etc.
  • everything from the artistic syle of the campaign, to the messaging and the insights behind it are specific to the africanic community and ensure that it resonates with the target
  • coke is not afraid to play the background and celebrate black history month in a way that puts the target first and not the company’s sales goals.  

there are probably a million more reasons why i like it better than paying labron big bucks to be in a worthless commercial that ads to the clutter in the system, but with no further adieu here is “future history makers”:

labron james

labron james

 

(thanks craig for making me aware of the campaign, keep doing what you do)

 

Filed under: business branding, lifemark, , , , ,

we see the world incorrectly: truth #1

this post is one of a series as i write my book to help marketers and advertisers (re)Think how we approach communicating with our audiences.  in order to sharpen my thoughts and ensure that i am building rather than adding to the clutter, i decided to write the book (at least the headlines of it) through weekly wednesday posts on my blog so that we could discuss together.  you can check out the entire series here.  for those who read for more of the (re)Think life slant, don’t worry, i will include life applications as much as possible.  

truth #1: we’re not the only ones in the room

in advertising, often the creative executions we develop to speak to our audiences are done with the assumption that we will be talking to them in a vacuum.  we imagine, or subconsciously assume, that we will be the only ones in the room and that, like good little boys and girls, when it is our time to talk our consumers will give us their full attention and listen to everything we have to say (what else would one expect when they have a captive audience).  simply put, we speak to our audiences as if our tv spot, print ad, web application, event, product, or idea is the only one on the market.  

the reality is: we are not the only ones in the room.  in fact, the room is quite crowded.  advertising executions not only compete within medium (commercials compete with other commercials and television programming) but across time and other mediums (thanks youtube).  advertising competes with everything fighting for your audiences’ attention, which means the laptop, the screaming kids, the school assignment due first thing in the morning, the cell phone, the dvr, the twenty other restaurants on the street, and the list goes on and on.

are your marketing communications developed with an acknowledgement that they will have to compete once they are in the market?  or, do you just fool yourself by thinking everything you do is great because it looks cool or because someone internally thinks it is clever?  or perhaps you think it’s great because the client finally said they love it or the research results that were tested behind closed doors in a quiet room (that’s how you usually experience advertising isn’t it?) said it will move the needle.  the reality is, getting it through the internal review is the easy part, competing in the real marketplace is a completely different story.

life: this truth holds for our personal lives as well.  we aren’t the only ones trying to get the job at google in a down economy, asking our boss for a promotion, seeking the attention of that certain young lady or applying to business school in the fall.  in a vacuum, that grad school application looks great because you spent four years doing consulting; however, if you forget that the application right after yours may come from a serial entrepreneur with a story that proves they will be the best alumni the school has ever graduated than your current approach may not set you up to win.  if you knew your competition had 5 years experience leading teams in iraq how would you alter your story to convince admissions that you were a necessity to the incoming class?  how would you ensure that after a long day of reading 50 applications yours would stand out and demand their attention?  after all, it’s 7pm and your app is probably competing with the screaming kids…

Filed under: business branding, lifemark, my book, personal branding, , , , ,

one reason to read reThink every wednesday

my first goal for the year was to learn how to swim.  so far so good.  the next goal for this year is to write a book and i will post pieces of it every wednesday.  like most writers i am not reinventing the wheel but rather leveraging the work of many brilliant people before me in a way to help marketers reThink how we communicate to people.  in my book i will touch on the following:

  • why we marketers have it all wrong (our perception is not reality) and what our conversation with the people we try to reach really looks like (reality)
  • how the marketing communications game can be boiled down into one word
  • the most effective ways of reaching our target audience (right now i am up to three)

the first two points are where i think i can add the most value to the marketing & advertising  conversation that is already taking place.  

committing to do this is a somewhat scary proposition; however, i am going to do as i always do: (1) set the goal, (2) ask someone to hold me accountable-that someone is you! (3) create markers so that i can evaluate my progress (4) make it happen (5) win.  

i look forward to taking this journey with you.  please feel free to comment and respond.  your thoughts will make us both better.

Filed under: lifemark, my book, , ,

are you any closer?

i can swim…

one of my 2009 goals is to learn how to swim.  it is mostly  inspired by my desire to avoid running in the zero degree weather that is  frequent in detroit.  and today it happened.  i swam 20 lengths (10x back & forth) with ease.  after weeks of watching videos, reading articles, and listening to experts, i can now swim.  and while my form and breathing technique still probably leave more to be desired, i am excited by the progress i have made in such a short period of time.  

you have to set goals…

at the beginning of the year,  most of us set goals.  and if you didn’t set goals for yourself or for your business, you should have.  however you decide to do it (jullien is picking one thing to focus on during the year, while alex is going to set one goal every 3 months) doesn’t matter;  what matters is that you set them.

you have to make progress…

but setting a goal just to set a goal is a worthless endeavor.  once set, you have to make progress.  we are now three weeks into the year, are you any closer?  what actions have you taken to ensure that your goals are not just another missed opportunity or a nice “to do?”  have you developed a plan to get there?  what actions have you taken?  setting goals is one thing, making progress is another.

Filed under: lifemark, personal branding, , , , ,

obama: build or destroy

“your people will judge you on what you build, not what you destroy”  

— Barack Obama, President, ’09 Presidential Inauguration

we are so used to destruction.  the reality of it is, destroying is easier.  it’s easier to tear down your employee or coworker rather than lift him up, or to criticize google rather than build your own, or to tell someone they can’t instead of telling them that they can.  as a marketer, it’s easier to develop ideas that destroy value by adding clutter to the system rather than developing breakthrough creative and ideas that add value to our consumers’ lives.  my biggest criticism of business school and the case study method was that so often we learned how to rip apart a company and critique what they were doing wrong; much less often did we learn how to really do it right.  too often we go the easy route.  

we should determine that every day we will build customer value into the system rather than destroy it, and that we will build upon the hopes and dreams of one another, and that we will build and leave a legacy in both our business and professional lives that we can be proud of.  building takes work; but the reward is much greater.  after all, according to barack, that’s how you’ll be judged.

Filed under: inspiration, lifemark, personal branding, quotes, , , , , , , , , , ,

are you relevant?

relevant is a commonly misused word amongst marketers and advertisers.  although we espouse to be relevant, do our behaviors truly reflect that desire?  do we even know what it means?  here are a few definitions to consider:

  1. connected with or saying something important about what is being spoken about or discussed (password english learner’s dictionary)
  2. having significant and demonstrable bearing (relevant relation or interconnection) on the matter at hand  (merriam-webster online)
  3. “to be relevant is to be in the conversation that pop culture is having about any particular topic” (alex bogusky, partner at crispin, porter + bogusky)

are you or your brand saying anything important?  is there demonstrable proof of your connection with a certain subject?  is anyone talking about you?  if the answers are no,  you’re probably not as relevant as you think.

Filed under: lifemark, personal branding, , , , , ,

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