Thoughts on Business
I am making some of my longer more professional ramblings available for downloading. Sometimes I care enough to be taken seriously and do some background research and source some of my thinking so that it could be useful for teaching, speeches or general educating purposes. The downloadable documents mostly represent those types of topics. Some places call them white papers. I just call them my more professional writings (hopefully just as smart as my non professional writings but that is an entirely different topic). So feel free and use. And ask any questions. I also love presenting this stuff if you have any desire. Thanks. Bruce.
To Download: Right click on any of the links below and select “Save link as…”
Business to business advertising often has a mysteriousness associated with it different than consumer advertising. There sometimes seems to be this belief that business people and organizations don’t read or watch anything for their own pleasure. Or that every B2B decision is solely a rational decision. This white paper outlines how to insure the proper thinking takes place to develop effective Business-to-Business marketing and advertising. Successful B2B advertising has to be an extension of who the company is and what they have to sell – communicating both in a way that makes the brand relevant to the audience.
As agencies work at making great advertising, it’s sometimes easy to get distracted; an agency can begin focusing on simply trying to make the client happy or, at the other end of the spectrum, winning creative awards. And somewhere in the middle of both of these paths, the consumer is neglected. This white paper explains my thoughts on creative development and the use of consumer research at the beginning of the whole advertising process to find out what to say, not how to say it.
Good research, in my opinion, should inform creative decisions – not make them.
Advertising the issues, or creating awareness with regard to a cause or a specific issue, is a tricky challenge for a brand (corporation). The rewards are huge – a brand or company can truly change people’s behavior for the better. It is best to understand that you are not simply advertising to create awareness of an issue but rather to change people’s behavior. And people, in general, do not like change.
In the October 2004 issue of WIRED Chris Anderson introduced the concept of “Long Tail Economics” with this essential thinking: “Forget squeezing millions from a few mega-hits at the top of the charts. The future of entertainment is in the millions of niche markets at the shallow end of the bitstream.” In the new world of branding, the task of the advertising agency is to generate all the myriad communication messages with which people could relate to a brand and create communication for them all.
In a Long Tail world, the real opportunity is not in pre-filtering what’s available but in making everything available to everybody. And providing the aggregated audience the tools to sort out what’s good from what’s not.
One of the most surprising and desirable side effects of this communications strategy is that your consumer is assembling the complexity you sought to communicate.
Social media is not a fad, and as online access and usage has exploded over the past 10 years, a large majority of the public is now accessing some form of social media, be it through a social networking site like Facebook, or simply by researching product purchases online by reading user-generated reviews. But while millions of consumers use these new tools every day, their use by businesses seeking to connect with customers should be tempered with a solid understanding of the fundamentals of marketing and communications.
Here is the thought: Collaboration and Consensus often generate a generalist idea. In the end the consensus ideas may be appealing to the masses (and therefore the group in general) but lack the distinctness and “edges” that could differentiate it. I believe in my heart of hearts the greatest ideas arise from individuals. And it takes a unique “individual” who is willing to share this idea and truly accept the grinding it takes to take a diamond in the rough to the Hope diamond. If you can get the collaborators collaborating and not trying to come up with a consensus idea you have a fighting chance of getting “the diamond.”
Running a Business Part 1 is about organizational attitude. I have always believed people in business are at their best when they are fearless. And I believe looking back I have always tried to manage my staff and businesses by encouraging fearlessness. Part 2 is about organizational alignment. Organizational alignment means getting people believing and doing the same things. This doesn’t mean you are seeking clones. The best organizations are decentralized autonomous centralized focused organizations.
Brands need some substance. Similar to how well-liked people are rarely shallow or one dimensional, an effective brand needs to have some depth to its personality and character. Finding this personality takes some thought as you seek a combination of energy, substance and a sense of values (not value but values).
Client/Agency/Service Supplier relationships are a balancing act. The best relationships represent a combination of two experts constantly challenging each other, finding times when each is, respectfully, right
and wrong and throw in a good dose of actually liking each other.
The role of an account person is unique in an agency. You have to know as much about your clients business as an employee of that company does (maybe a little more). You also have to know more about your own agency than the client does (a lot more in fact). You are paid by the agency, but you won’t ever get paid unless your client is successful. You are a business consultant – internally and externally. You are an expert in ‘objection management’ (or at least you better become one if you want to be able to get ideas implemented) and you are a decision maker.
This is my definition of several terms related to branding including Brand Value, Brand Alignment, Positioning, Brand Personality, and The Value Proposition.
Emails are tricky in business. Mostly because those of us already in business learned writing rules of the road in written correspondence and the generation most comfortable using email learned it as a social tool. With that in mind I am providing some thoughts for email protocol to help avoid some of the issues we often see pop up.
This white paper outlines my thoughts on some of the “rules of the road” for business when it comes to marketing in a recession, with regard to messaging relevance, value and spending.
A concept describes a product, service or brand and how it will improve a consumer’s life. A concept statement answers:
- Who is it for?
- How does it fit into their life?
- What will it do for them?
- Why should they believe you?
The concept is developed because through it, we can learn the best way to communicate an idea to the consumer, understand the idea’s importance to consumers, and determine the commercial viability of the idea.