Something happened and the post did not feed into my LinkedIn page. And I am not paying for the app to allow me to link a past post (I am frugal). So, I will copy and paste last week’s post after the current post.
Predatory and Powerful Messaging
Using the right words is essential for great advertising to work. Forget the medium (and I haven’t seen any great digital ads, by the way), and allow me to share some recent examples I have seen and heard.
Driving through North Dakota is a nice drive, especially along the interstate – I29 and I94. We know the great classic rock stations (The rock Farm, The Raven, and The Fox) and there are a lot of interesting billboards to view.
Newman Outdoor is a successful outdoor and printing company and appears to own all the boards we see. They have addressed the direct claims of other mediums and worked a counter message into their self promotion. Here are a couple of examples, beginning with Newman itself:
- NEWMAN – the fastest way to reach mass audience. I love how they used the Google colours in their name and had a crisp message about the reach of outdoor.
- NEWMAN – Use your outside voice. Another terrific and powerful reinforcement to use outdoor.
- NEWMAN.Real.Effective.Messaging. Real. Clear. Point – I love it.
- A soup can, resembling the Campbell Soup colours had NEWMAN on the label, and the text for the ad was “ABC’s for memorable marketing.“
And in Bismarck, an ad for a computer service company:
- In orange letters to mimic the “other guys”…Why Hire a Geek…when you can call a professional. And this company is good. They got our oldest out of a tech jam a few years back.
And there were two for Foster Parents that were powerful:
- Foster Hope. Be a Foster Parent
- Foster Love. Be a Foster Parent
The Girl Guides had a series of three inspirational boards that ran sequentially along the highway:
- Be Amazing. Be a Girl Scout.
- Be a Leader. Be a Girl Scout.
- Be Yourself. Be a Girl Scout.
And Econolodge had a simple message just outside Jamestown “Easy. Stop on the Road.”
The new hospital in Jamestown also had a terrific message on their sign:
Motel 6 has moved away from their fantastic campaign, “we’ll leave the light on for you.”, and in an effort to show their new rooms features a picture of two nice comfy looking beds with the caption “Far better. Close by.” I certainly feel like I could get a great night’s rest there.
And there is an excellent public service announcement:
- DNT TXT & DRV.
A wonderful TV ad features a local mattress store with the owner speaking in a civil tone and wondering why anyone would order a mattress in a box? And he proceeds to show some very comfortable sleep sets. A wonderful approach to targeting your competition without belittling or being overly caustic and negative.
Duluth Trading Company has some of the best ads and product descriptions that i have ever seen. They clearly have a fun brand, yet deal with the practical aspects of what people want out of the clothes and items sold at DTC.
The outdoor board just outside of Fargo features the mid-torso of a male wearing underwear and the caption is “Get BUCK NAKED in west Fargo” I 94 and Veterans”.
Their underwear is the most comfortable I have ever worn. And they have created product for a specific situation:
- Buck Naked – feels like you are wearing nothing at all. No pinch. No sweat. no stink. The next best thing to working in your birthday suit. This is the core message.
- Bullpen – swagger without the swing. And then a detailed description…
- Armachillo – put ’em on ice. These are for the days when you are working hard and building up a sweat.
And they have men’s shaving and grooming supplies. The bars of soup are “Duke Cannon” brand. Each scent has a unique message that will just make you laugh. If you want to check out their ads: https://bit.ly/2N2Yv4H and here are some of the videos https://bit.ly/2PkSf61
The key to the success of these ads and product descriptions is that the product or service claim is backed up be real performance and consistently great delivery.
This is the message that I want to leave you with today. If you say something, it better be true and it better be something your entire company understands and supports. You can have fun with something without being derogatory. And in some cases, your brand will allow you to have some fun with it as well.
As we near the end of summer, I mean construction season, there were several signs, mostly in Canada, that do not live up to my assertion.
Here is last week’s post.
I despise the flippant attitude and approach of many people in a customer service role.
Or am I being too harsh?
If you run a business, how do you know what the customer service approach is for your employees? Do you:
- watch them in action?
- listen on their calls while sitting beside them?
- read customer comments?
- travel with a sales rep to observe a client visit?
- use a mystery shopper?
- conduct research on your customers to improve your understanding of them?
- talk to all departments that interact with a customer?
You need to answer a very important question:
Would you buy from you?
If you want an honest opinion, you must answer honestly with a combination of your own assessment (subjective) and a view from the customer (objective) to create a holistic answer. If you do not take this approach, you may be missing important factors that might be contributing to not achieving your results.
I suggest that your “rock star” results are best achieved with a consistent approach over a long period of time. And there may be adjustments required. Darwin noted that it is those that adapt that will survive. As much as you want to be consistent, even boring, you must also look for ways to improve.
You should ask this question on a regular basis and ask your employees to ask this question. Do you have an environment, a customer culture, that encourages your employees to provide honest input to this question? Do you consider their ideas and suggestions and mine them for the gold that probably exists?
When was the last time you asked a current customer why they bought from you? If there is great trust they might tell you the truth. And they might not because they don’t want to hurt your feelings.
Using an outside researcher to collect this information typically achieves better results because customers are more at ease telling this independent person the truth.
The truth is what you must seek.
There is an old adage about poor reporting, which is, “never let the facts get in the way of a good story.” In business, you want to uncover the facts and reality and then craft this into the story that is your company and the relationship you have with your customers.
But, isn’t this hard work?
You bet. And it is work that is required.
If you only conduct some of these activities once a year, this is not likely a true reflection of the actual service delivery of your organization.
While social media can also provide inputs and data points, you should carefully consider the source and context of the comments – good and bad – and not rely solely on a single source.
The more holistic you can make your knowledge and awareness, the better served you will be with information that can assist with your improvement as an organization.
We each see from our own perspectives. And we can often be blind, or have blinders on, with respect to the things we see and hear. This human truth is why we need other perspectives and data points.
When was the last time you seriously looked at direct and indirect competitors to your business? Would you buy from a competitor instead of you?
Remember, you are asking this objectively, so be prepared to accept the results. Don’t fight it or try to justify. Try to learn from what you uncover so that you can add that in to your planning.
To be clear, I am not suggesting that you try to duplicate or mimic what your competitors are doing. This “me too” approach is not a strong long-term strategy.
Hold up that mirror and take a close look. Do you like what you see? Or is there room for improvement? You must analyze big and small data to find those differences and advantages that you have, or that you have to create, to make sure you are “the apple of your customer’s eye.”
We all want to experience “service with a smile” and the only way this can happen is if you are honest with yourself and your company.