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Articles filed in: Marketing

The Best McDonalds Adverts McDonalds Never Made

The golden arches might be ubiquitous, but now we can and do, choose to ignore advertising campaigns created by even the biggest global companies. We skip commercials and we switch off, while marketing departments spend plenty best guessing what might capture us for a few more seconds.

What fascinates us, what holds our attention in the moment is not the product itself, but how it in some way makes meaning in our lives. Marketing is the tough job of working out what makes meaning on seven billion different levels.

As consumers we are no longer waiting for manufacturers and marketing departments to create context for us, we are doing it for ourselves. The 50,000 best McDonalds adverts ever made, (and counting—hit refresh), were created by you and me.

The opportunity for marketers is that consumers are now creating content about that context and they are sharing it with their friends.

Image by hustle roses.

You Need A Story Not Just An Introduction

If you’ve ever been to any kind of round table meeting where each participant introduces themselves, you’ll know that after the first few introductions most people switch off. In a world of shrinking attention spans you’ve got seconds to grab them. If you feel uncomfortable about bigging yourself up, or standing out from the crowd think of it like this. What you’re actually doing is helping your audience cut through the clutter and they’ll appreciate you for it.

One of the best introductions I know of took place at a story seminar and it goes like this.

I remember my first day on the ward. There I was all decked out in my pristine white coat, complete with my newly minted name badge and Parker pen at the ready.
“Good morning doctor,” the ward sister said as I swept onto the ward stethoscope flying.
“Good morning sister, what can I do for you today?” I replied.
“We’ve got a post operative patient with nausea who needs something, could you write that up for her please?”
“No problem,” I said, as I whipped out my prescription pad and Parker pen. “What do we usually prescribe?”
“Ah yes….. and what dose?”
“12.5 mg.”
“Of course….how often do you think she’ll require it?” I said thoughtfully chewing the end of my pen.
“Three times a day,” replied sister Moriarity, “and the rest of the information you need is written on your name badge.”

You’re no going to forget this guy in a hurry, (me neither, I married him). If he’d said hello I’m so and so and I’m a doctor, I’m a specialist in… and I work…blah blah…., you see you’re falling asleep already. But you won’t forget the story where he showed you that despite all of his training and everything he thought he knew, he was still learning and not too humble to admit it.

Think of your introduction as more than a few stiff lines that you skim through under your breath in a big heap hurry. Spend some time working out what will make someone want to know more, and practice telling them that in 60 seconds.

The introduction is what gives you the opportunity to tell the rest of the story later.

Image by Clydeorama.

The Purpose Of Branding

If a brand is more than just a logo, a tagline and the colour of the packaging, then what is branding?

Branding is simply turning up the volume on your mission

Branding is not something that’s arranged on the surface, like a stiffly coiffed hairstyle on a fashion model. It takes place from the inside out, so successful brands and ideas that fly are founded on a great mission, a story that we want to believe in.

Everything you do to tell that story from your brand name, to your social media interactions must amplify what you stand for, and communicate to the world why they should care that you brought this thing to life in the first place.

Branding is shorthand, not a shortcut.

Image by Stathis Stavrianos.

The First Question Every Marketer Must Ask

It doesn’t matter if you are solopreneur hacking code in your bedroom, or a challenger brand trying to launch the next big thing. In fact this rule of thumb applies as much to high school kids begging for an extension on their end of semester essay assignment, as it does to Apple pitching us the latest iPad.

If you are out to convince anyone of anything, but especially if you’re working out how to make your idea matter this is the most important question to ask.

Why will people care about this?

When you’ve worked out why you have given someone a reason to care, then you’re onto something.

Image by el patojo.

Why You Need A Mission More Than A Website

Nine times out of ten when I consult with clients they are impatient to get to work on the tactical side of spreading their idea. They wonder about what website and social media platforms to use. They worry about design elements and website functionality. Maybe you do too?

Of course you want to get your idea out there into the world. But while tactics are necessary to spread your idea, in the long run it’s more important to have an idea that matters first.

Many of the answers to the tactical stuff can be found with a quick sixty second search. You can’t Google your unique mission and vision, that’s why it is the foundation of your business or cause. The same rules apply to global corporations, solitary artists or tiny cafes.

Tactics help to promote your idea, a clear strategy is what really sells it. The first question you need to ask is ‘why will people care about this?’ and not, ‘how will we get them to buy this?’

People don’t buy into your platform, they buy into the difference you make.

Image by Retinafunk.

Why Instagram Changes The Face Of Marketing

It’s no secret that I’ve been a huge advocate of Instagram as a customer engagement and brand storytelling tool since Pintrest was knee high to a grasshopper. I’m amazed that more brands are not taking advantage of what I believe is one of the most rich marketing and brand storytelling opportunities of the decade.

So imagine the thrill I got when I saw Jamie Oliver post this photo and a message that shows why Instagram changes everything.

“Free chilli freak Artisan pizza today show this picture as proof its on me only for instagram posse!!” —Jamie Oliver

How many pizzas do you reckon Jamie gave away that day….. a handful maybe? Who cares?!
There he is being himself, marketing in the moment, without the aid of a billboard or printed coupons. Speaking directly to the people who want to hear from him (over 200,000). Creating a bucket load of good will and telling a brand story that people can believe in.

Goodness knows why Instagram is probably the most overlooked social media platform for business and brands. Your idea can spread there in an instant. You can engage with customers on a deeper level and see how they are engaging with your brand in the moment, as they share their moments. Instagram goes beyond the Like, the Pin and the Tweet, because it shows you what people care enough about to capture, save and share. It’s the ultimate truth telling focus group, in real time.

It’s now possible for Orla Kiely to see how her products fit into her customer’s lives.. She can witness their reality from the comfort of her studio and engage with them if she chooses to.

And it’s not just the big guys who can leverage this platform. I’ve watched designers grow followings and artists create a fan base that led to real world demand for their work.

This is big. It changes everything…. don’t say I didn’t tell you so.

UPDATE: Just a day after I published this post I heard about newly launched Hashpix and how power Instagram users can sell (and are), limited edition photo prints online. This changes everything…. again.

Image by Kevin Harber.

Jimmy Choo Doesn’t Sell Shoes

Jimmy Choo has spent the past fifteen years successfully selling exactly the same thing over and over again and that thing isn’t leather or heels.

When a woman holds or covets a pair of Jimmy Choos, she isn’t imagining how the shoes will feel on her feet, she’s fantasizing about how she will feel in those shoes. Jimmy Choo packages that feeling and the story she tells herself, then sells it back to her.

If you’re in any doubt about that, just read these Choo Stories.

Then work out how to get your customers to tell those kinds of stories too.

Image by Kekkoz.

Why Fascinate?— An Interview With Sally Hogshead

If you haven’t read Fascinate by Sally Hogshead go out and grab yourself a copy. In the book Sally explains how fascination plays a role in every type of decision making, from the brands you choose to the songs you remember, from the person you marry to the employees you hire. And by activating the right triggers (there are seven), you can make anything become fascinating, including you.

You can take Sally’s {F}SCORE test to discover your triggers and learn more about how to fascinate.

I had the huge pleasure of speaking to Sally last week, no mean feat, she’s one of the most in demand keynote speakers on the planet). Sally answered some of the questions I’ve been dying to ask her for six months and talked about how we can use our own metrics to differentiate.

So why do we need to fascinate?
Have we forgotten how to be fascinating?
And is being fascinating really a choice?

Image by Sharon Sperry Bloom.

What If You’re Not Selling To Joe?

In a Googleised world it’s now possible to get a logo designed within a few short days for just $40. I know because my friends at the design agency Mat Dolphin wrote a post about it for Creative Review, The £25 Logo.

What’s a designer, a freelancer or a creative entrepreneur to do?

You’re not creating average designs for average Joe. You don’t need to preach to the unconverted. Tell the story that needs to be told to the people who want to hear it. If those people aren’t looking on Elance don’t tell it there.

Remember that the iPhone doesn’t matter to everyone and you don’t need to either.

Image by Michael Dornbierer.

Why ‘How To’ Is The Wrong Place To Start

I hardly ever write ‘how to’ posts, even though they are a great way to drive ‘traffic’ to your blog. If you want to do that, go write a great list post.

Focusing on the ‘how to’ stops you thinking about the why and the what first.

Most companies question, how they will get their product noticed, before thinking about why on earth it will matter to customers? In a world where we’re bombarded with messages that we can choose to ignore, more of the same in a brighter package or more colourful box isn’t what we’re searching for. It isn’t what we tell our friends about either.

If you haven’t seen The Greatest Movie Ever Sold watch this trailer, the toe curling moment comes at 1.00. You don’t ever want to be in the position of the poor Ban deodorant marketing executives.

When customers and investors (or maybe even you), don’t understand your story or how to communicate it, your ideas and your products blend in. Your brand fails to connect with your audience and they don’t have a reason to buy into what you do and why you do it.

When people really ‘get it’ your brand has the potential to attract investors, dominate a niche and reinvent a market. Communicating the essence of a big vision is what has always, and will continue to power successful brands.

When your brand story makes an emotional connection with your customers they’re more likely to spread the word about who you are and what you do. Your customers have a bond with your brand. They buy in.

Starbucks didn’t set out just to sell coffee at premium prices, their mission was to be ‘the third place’ and the Apple brand is built on so much more than the utility and specifications of their products. Your potential customer’s relationship with your brand will likely begin before they actually purchase your product. Just as the cover of the book frames the content before the first page is turned. Doesn’t matter whether you sell coffee, computers, a writing workshop, design services or even deodorant.

Brand leaders always ask ‘why this’ before they work on ‘how to’.

That’s why we believe in them.

Image by Walt Jabsco.