Sync & Swimm

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Archive for the category “Creativity”

Words

  1. wordsmeanthingsWords build or break relationships.
  2. Words can easily be misunderstood—Choose them wisely.
  3. Words can start wars, or make people fall in love.
  4. Words should be transparent, authentic and without hidden agendas.
  5. Words can INCREASE or KILL energy.
  6. Words justify logic.
  7. Words can build value over price.
  8. Words invoke emotions. Emotions play a major role in most purchase decisions. Never lose sight of how potential customers want to feel: Safer, healthier, smarter, more attractive, in control and that they didn’t make the wrong choice.
  9. Words should be chosen based on the audience.
  10. The most important Word is “YOU”.

Creative Clutter

What does it take to be creative? A loose environment where people can walk aCluttered-Mindround barefoot thinking about the next big thing?  Maybe I guess. But I present to you a different way to look at the best creative minds.

They may not look like it on the surface, but creative people have to be the most organized in an organization. In the advertising world, they must deal with deadlines, angry clients, angry sales reps, angry bosses…Lots of things to juggle.

The right brain thinkers of the world must come up with the ideas, AND have their to-do list cleaned up and immaculate.  That’s where the magic happens.  Loose ends pull us in the wrong directions and take our mind off of, well, the next thing big thing.

Creativity doesn’t rise out of clutter. It comes from being so organized your mind can move onto the next great idea.

20 Random Advertising Thoughts

advertising

  1. People only show up to the party when you invite them.
  2. It takes a MINIMUM of 3 impressions (Closer to 6 in 2017) before someone acts on an offer.
  3. ….AND that’s only if they have a need.
  4. All advertising needs 4 Keys.  Reach, Frequency, Consistency and GREAT Creative.
  5. $500 campaigns don’t work.
  6. Crappy creative doesn’t work.
  7. People only care about one radio station…… WII-FM  “What’s in it for me”?
  8. Most people don’t listen……Repeat, Repeat, Repeat!
  9. People really have no idea how they heard about a product.
  10. Most people automatically say…..“I saw you on TV” when asked.
  11. Radio MULTIPLIES the effectiveness of all other media.
  12. Radio also stands on its own as a media.
  13. You really can’t brand with print or social media.
  14. Social media is a conversation vehicle—Not a branding method.
  15. All advertising can work if done correctly.
  16. Cold feet is the #1 reason for a campaign not to work. (Stopped before it caught on.)
  17. Not following the 4 Keys is the #2 reason.
  18. People don’t care about features—Only benefits.
  19. Programmatic digital campaigns will end up embedded in HORRIBLE articles/websites.
  20. All that really matters is if the advertising makes the cash register ring more often.

Perception is Reality…Woody The Internet Pecker

ImageWow…..I haven’t posted anything on WordPress for a long time. So, to get myself back in the saddle, I’ll throw the word “pecker” in the title..that should work.  

Perception problems are marketing problems. Don’t believe this?  Pop quiz…Who developed one of the first touch screen computers?  Well, the perception is that Apple started it all………and if that was your guess, you couldn’t be more wrong…But before you Google the answer,  the original touch screen was the most bizarre marketing blunder of all time and actually involves Panasonic naming it after a penis.

In 1996 Panasonic thought the mouse was too hard to use, and the internet was going to be the biggest development of the 20th century…They were right, but it didn’t  matter…The name of their touch screen computer was the Woody…Pretty bad right?  But  it gets a lot worse……They decided Woody Wood Pecker would be a great mascot to bring in the youth market  (In 1996??!) So before you connect the dots, yes,  the computer was named….Touch Woody……And if  it couldn’t get any worse,  Panasonic introduced  a new internet support feature called….wait for it…The internet pecker.

A touch screen in 1996!  Steve Jobs was just coming back to Apple and the IPad was over ten years away.  A touch screen was WAY ahead of its time.  But alas, you can have the best product in the world, but if people don’t know about it, (or laugh like 12 year old boys when they say the name) you will fail—-Just ask A. Wang, the creator of Wang Computer 

How You Learn Something New

To learn something new you need to hear it, see it, and do it….Right?  What if you just heard it? Over and over again. People learn the most through the ear. It may take longer, but once the message has wrapped itself around your brain, it never leaves…EVER.

Don’t believe me? Take this little quiz and see how you score.  I guarantee you get more than 90% correct.

  • A Diamond is _________
  • A _______ is a terrible thing to waste
  • An ________ a day keeps the doctor away
  • It takes a __________ and keeps on ticking

So, you think these are advertisements that everyone knows and it’s much harder to brand yourself in the modern age? Well, keep going.

  • ______ ______ Yahoo?
  • Got _______?
  • So easy even a _____________ can do it
  • Every kiss begins with _______

So how did you do? I’m not even going to give you the answers because I know most of you scored a perfect 100%. The “Apple a day” slogan was a campaign from the early 1900’s, and here you are in 2012 reciting it without thinking. A catchy phrase, with repetition and little bit of alliteration, can stay with you for a lifetime. Does your business stand out? What are you known for?  Will people remember you in 50 years?

I suspect you could make a lasting imprint with just a bit of thought….You do want to be all that you can be…Right?

It’s A Daisy!—What’s In A Name?

I’ve been fascinated by advertising since I was a kid.  The colorful box of the Happy Meal, and even before that, the original toy that came with your hamburger from Burger Chef….brilliant.  My favorite advertising story came when I was eleven years old in the form of a bb gun….You see, A Christmas Story was about as true to life as it gets for a pre-teen boy.

Around the age of eleven every American boy wants only one thing (no, not that— girls aren’t for a few years), that thing is a bb gun.  If you really had parents that trusted you, or didn’t give a crap about you, that bb gun was the Crossman pump-action.  The Crossman could be pumped to the point of explosion, and actually could piece a soda can. (Or your little bother’s behind).  So the Crossman was completely out of the question for me.  I was neither  trusted or disregarded, so I had to beg for a gun that was designed to fool my mom…The lever action Daisy Pal.

How could a gun named a Daisy Pal ever cause any problems?  Well, it really couldn’t, the lever-action allowed one bb to be loaded in the chamber.  It spit each bb out at a pathetic velocity that you could  see come out of the gun.  If you wanted the bb to go more than 50 feet you had to shoot it with an arc.  Water pistols could probably inflict more injury. This didn’t matter to mothers, because the natural predator to the bb gun is a mom. 

Daisy knew what it was up against.  They knew they had to trick the typical mom.  What better way than to name a rifle after a flower, and add the word pal, as the model number.  Well, this brilliant marketing trick worked, (along with two solid years of crying for a bb gun by me). 

Even at eleven years old I knew it was worth the price to give up on the cool Crossman, and except my fate with my Daisy Pal. I instinctively knew it had a girly name so my mother would allow me to have one.  I also knew that perhaps it could be an entry-level weapon that would eventually lead to the coveted Crossman.  In the end I had to keep mine at my grandmother’s house in Northern Maine, and was made fun of unmercifully because everyone else had pump-action rifles….Heck, they lived in Northern Maine for crying out loud–they had bears!

So I have kept the Daisy secret for all these years–That pact that Daisy made with every boy under the age of twelve.  The unwritten bond, the wink, the knowing that sometimes you have to accept harsh trade offs to experience everything that life has to offer….for an eleven year old boy anyway.

 

 

 

The Sounds Of Brilliance

All great ideas start out as nothing more than a thought of a dreamer.  Sometimes the dream stays trapped in the cerebral confines of the visionary,  never to  flourish.   Other times the dream is mixed in with the one ingredient that makes it all come together…action.  Without action and forward momentum, ideas just shrivel up on the vine, never to produce any fruits of brilliance.

The world is always looking for something different, something better, something out of the ordinary.  Tim Westergren had a better idea.  Tim was a musician who couldn’t get his songs played on the radio. That scenario probably sums up 99.9% of every musician who ever lived.  Did Tim whine,  complain and say how unfair life is?  No, Tim did the one thing that mediocre minds can’t comprehend—He reinvented the very industry that didn’t want him.  Much Like Mark Zuckerberg did with Facebook when no fraternity would pledge him. 

Tim Westergren started Pandora Radio based on an idea to change the music industry…forever.  The real irony is now terrestrial radio is killing itself to have an online presence to rival Pandora.  It would have taken forward thinking  to embrace Pandora when they were still in the idea stage.  That would have required risk, and many times  the fear of loss is much stronger than the hope of gain.

I am  a huge fan of live, local radio.  It is one of my true loves.  However, I’m not so closed minded to think Pandora doesn’t offer another incredible entertainment experience.  Like a big stack of  your  favorite cd’s. ….and that’s the real point.  People embrace  more ways of entertaining themselves.  Radio listenership is actually  up, even in the era of Pandora. When several restaurants open up next to each other, most of the time they all do better because that area has become a destination… If you watch TV, you can still go to the movies. The world wants choices.

So what’s the next great idea that the purveyors of the status quo think is a joke right now?  I’m sure it’s out there, and it’s probably right under our nose.  Never underestimate a dreamer with a plan to take action, and has something to prove.

Selling A Better Mousetrap–(Or Butter Spray)

In the late 1800’s Ralph Waldo Emerson is given credit for the metaphor that has proceeded every great idea…”Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door”.    The first problem is Mr. Emerson didn’t actually say that quote.  The phrase is actually a misquotation of:

If a man has good corn or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

The second, and even more important problem with the mousetrap quote, is that it’s just not true.  It’s not enough to have a great idea.  That great idea has to be sold. There is no greater frustration than having a terrific idea shot down.

  In 1987 I had this idea for spray butter.  I was in the Air force at a base picnic and watched as Airman from every walk of life put butter on their ears of corn.  It was painful to watch. ..And kind of gross when they rolled an already bitten piece of corn back onto a stick of butter.  So pecking away at my 1965 Smith and Corona I fired off a bunch of letters to the leading  manufacturers of margarine and butter….My idea?  “Mista” Butter.  (Yes, a ridiculous play on “Mr. Butter”–but my original thought was the butter would spray in a cool mist–Hence, Mista Butter)  I received one letter back, and it politely  told me that they would  hand my letter off to their marketing department.  No grand rewards, no earth-shaking discovery. My little idea just shriveled up and died without the power of persuasion.

When I arrived back in the states several years later, every margarine company in the world had a spray butter.  Go check your refrigerator–I bet you have one in there right now–well, thank me! 

America  knows how to generate ideas.  What the average creative doesn’t know is how to sell them.  Everything has to be sold.  Apple computer’s first ideas came from Steve Wozniak, a brilliant programmer.  The name Apple would have never been a household name  if  the sales guy, Steve Jobs, didn’t pour in his marketing magic. 

Sales, advertising, and marketing are all skills that need to be honed like any other profession.  It takes years of mastery before a salesperson really knows how to motivate the person with the checkbook.  That is why just about every product or service has the sales side and the research/production side.  It takes both left and right brain thinking to get the public to embrace something new.  The number one thing for a company to realize is decision makers aren’t interested in you..They really aren’t.  All they are interested in is solving their own problems.

Even when you do find a way to solve their problems, they still have to be shown and told.  Trust needs to be established.  If your incredible new product scratches the itch and makes your prospects pain go away, you need to prove it.  Over and over again. 

The world doesn’t have an idea problems.  It has selling problems.  If everyone was put on some type of commission plan, the human race would advance 20 years overnight—-And  have plenty of “spray” options–maybe ketchup and mustard would work!?

 
 
 

You Are Supposed To Move On Moving Walkways!

 Sometimes I think technological advances designed to bring people closer together, and make life easier, actually have the opposite effect.  Have you ever been in an airport and watched people just stand on the moving walkways?  They were designed to make everyone move more quickly through the airport, and make the overall flow more efficient.  That is what they were designed to do, but what really happens?  People just stand on them and actually go slower than if they just walked.   I usually just walk along side at a faster pace because I lose patience with the idleness of my fellow travelers.

Same with texting and social media.  The very term “Social” media is actually an oxymoron.  You sit at home “liking” your friend’s status and you feel like you made a connection with them….  But did you? A deeper, richer relationship requires eyeball to eyeball conversation.  So now you don’t have your weekly coffee with your friend because you’re all up to date with each other through social media.  So, in fact, you have become less social with your friends. You used to pick up the phone and talk to someone…Now a text will suffice. 

I’m not saying technology is bad.  I embrace it wholeheartedly.  I just think occasionally we should stop and think if the convenience we experience is actually taking us further from the original goal. I’m sure someone else had the same arguments when the calculator was invented–“Kids won’t know how to add”, was probably uttered by countless people over fifty.

I just think everyone should know the basics…How to write a real letter and mail it…How to have an intelligent conversation with someone without the use of text…How to walk up the stairs without the use of an escalator.  Maybe someday we will all just be giant heads floating around… But until that time,  for all that is holy, when you are using the moving walkways at the airport bend your knees a little!  Or get out of my way–I have a plane to catch!

Big Game Commercials–Fumble or #Touchdown?

As the Superbow—ooops, “the BIG game” inches closer, the Monday morning quarterbacks will talk of football, and….. commercials.  Will Volkswagen be able to top the young Darth Vader spot?  Maybe, but in the quest to be the most creative, some companies try so hard on the creative, they forget to sell.  The problem with Super bowl advertising is it only allows for two parts of the advertising puzzle–REACH and CREATIVITY.  Great advertising that sells needs all four keys–REACH, FREQUENCY, CONSISTENCY, and CREATIVE. 

Like a Dad who only sees his kids on the weekends, companies try to OVERCOMPENSATE with the Creative–Plenty or reach, plenty of creative.  Surely if you miss the other two elements, just make up for it with more creative, right?  Well, maybe.  If the creative actually sells product. 

Effective advertising does one thing; it motivates a consumer int0 action.   It should contain one or two key messages.  Not a list of things that the customer will forget in five minutes.

FIVE ADVERTISING TIPS:

(1)-If you do not engage the consumer, nothing else really matters.

(2)-The only way to connect is to make the commercial about the customer.

(3)-Failure to immediately appeal to the listener/viewer’s self-interest will leave your ad unheard.

(4)-Pierce the heart.  Logic doesn’t sell, emotions sell.

(5)-Leave behind a mental image that can be shared and talked about at the water cooler.

You would think for 3.5 million dollars for 30 seconds of airtime, the commercial should sell a few units, right?  So enjoy the game, watch the commercials, and try to remember the companies who advertised the next day….If you can…TOUCHDOWN!

 

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