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Archive for the ‘Les Cahiers de l’Advertising’ Category

From the International Herald Tribune:

PARIS: Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, caught wearing something ugly?

Lagerfeld sports a fluorescent yellow reflective safety vest — along with his signature dark suit and sunglasses — in a new French road safety campaign. The caption reads, “It’s yellow, it’s ugly, it doesn’t go with anything, but it could save your life.”

The campaign was launched Wednesday. French drivers will soon be required to keep security vests and flashing red warning triangles in every car. Drivers will have to use the vest and triangle every time they pull over with an emergency, according to France’s road security division.

Fines of up to €135 ($209) will go into effect Oct. 1 as incentive for drivers to take Lagerfeld’s fashion advice.

This is the kind of advertising that rocks my world. Why? Because it’s clever, funny, impossible to ignore, and memorable.  Ergo: 100% effective. US agencies take note. This is how print advertising is done.

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“Getting a product known isn’t the answer. Getting it wanted is the answer. …be sure your advertising is saying something, something that will inform and serve the consumer, and be sure you’re saying it like it’s never been said before.”

– Bill Bernbach

Hello Monday!

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Time for your weekly brandbuilder reality check.
There are only two types of businesses: The ones you know are the best in their category, and… everyone else.
Advertising and marketing are nice, but too many “also in” businesses waste money on marketing and advertising when they should instead revamp one or two elements of their business that would help them actually gain market share. (The most pleasant and efficient customer service experience in your industry, a perfectly designed user interface, a 100% uptime guarantee, stunning design, impeccable ergonomics, remarkable flavor, etc.)

Advertising is basically a load of bullshit unless you have something worth advertising to begin with. (Otherwise, what are you advertising: Hey, come buy from us! We’re the thirteenth best shoe store in the 90210!) You’re either the best at something, or you’re just another voice in the crowd getting fleeced by just another run-of-the-mill ad agency or “marketing firm.”

Before you start wasting money on advertising, ask yourself what your super-special value to your users/customers/clients truly is. Maybe you have the best prices. Maybe you have the most comfortable meeting rooms. Maybe you have the most square footage of any gym in your area, or the freshest produce, or the most knowledgeable staff, or the fastest check-out. It doesn’t matter what that something is as long as it is something concrete (as opposed to another lame marketing spinfest).

Whatever your value differentiator is, whatever your brand’s value advantage is (or should be), this is what you need to invest in FIRST. Once you have that aspect of your business nailed down, THEN and only then should you even bother with advertising.

A few days ago, Seth Godin posted some great advice to college grads on his blog: Only borrow money to pay for things that increase in value. A pair of shoes or cool clothes never increase in value. An education or professional experience, however do. Great advice, especially in the crux of our current economic/credit crunch. The same applies to businesses, which is why Seth’s advice is so damn relevant to the discussion today.

Perhaps more relevant to today’s topic is a slightly tweaked version of Seth’s advice: “only invest in things that increase in value.”

Like shoes and clothes, advertising never increases in value. With advertising, you are at best buying a small percentage of the public’s attention across a very narrow sliver of space and time (and paying a premium price for it.) Before you know it, your advertising budget is gone, and so is that very expensive bubble of attention.

Investing in better products/services, better people and better processes, however, makes a whole lot more sense as these things never lose value. Great employees, great products, great customer experiences and fostering a unique relationship with your fan base are the types of things worth investing in. These are the true foundations of a great brand. These are the types of things that will help strengthen your brand equity.

Advertising never translates into brand equity unless these foundations exist to support it. Even so, the more solid the brand’s foundation, the less relevant advertising becomes.

Starbucks doesn’t advertise and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a Whole Foods ad anywhere, yet millions of people drop solid stacks of greenbacks there every year. I don’t shop at Target, wear Rudy Project sunglasses, drive a VW or crave a BMW because of advertising. Other than creating awareness for a product that hasn’t managed to capture anyone’s attention yet (red flag), advertising does nothing to impact most companies’ growth.

Building a strong reputation by developing great products, buzz-worthy experiences and generally delighting customers/users is a much stronger strategy than paying loads of cash for advertising.

Have a great Wednesday, everyone. 😉

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In a nutshell.

Hat tip to Francois Gossieaux, who grabbed the baton from Digital Demystified.


Update: Spike over at Brains on Fire just pointed out that the original source is Marty Neumeier’s ZAG.

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A post dear to my heart from Go Big:

Reminds me of this one.

Every time I hear someone use the term “viral marketing,” I cringe. I know it seems like just a word, but I think it’s a concept that misses the mark and perpetuates some half-baked thinking.

I hated the word “viral” the very first time I heard it in the mid 1990s, probably because it made Marketing sound like we were spreading a disease other people had no choice but to spread, too. At the time, the whole “viral marketing” thing got people excited because it used the Internet to cheaply spread crap like Burger King videos or Hotmail invitations. Dance monkeys, dance.

Now that we’ve all been bombarded on the internet, the notion of something being viral is no more special than any other idea or phrase that catches on. That’s just part of Marketing’s job. For over a decade now, Advertising Agencies all over the country have some sort of “Viral Marketing” as part of their plan to try to get us to ask their version of the Subservient Chicken to do something obscene and then laugh about it. We all get a bajillion invitations to try products and there’s an asston of bite-sized digital entertainment gimmicks you can sneeze all over your friends. No question, you can get the word out quickly but spreading your message is a small part of the picture.

I remember sitting in a Jive meeting when someone mentioned viral marketing and then in the very next meeting engineers were talking about the importance of product adoption. The word “adoption” struck me. Why is spreading Marketing a disease but spreading product usage like bringing in a stray dog? Shouldn’t we be pushing for Adoptive Marketing? Marketing that people want, that leads to products people want? Viral Marketing is merely the quick transaction of ideas. But if no connection is made to the product, the Marketing can (at best) only make an ephemeral nick in brand perception. Adoptive Marketing can be just as “viral” but is so closely connected to the product that if the idea catches on, so does the product. In fact, the product is built to be remarkable and to be the primary Marketing engine. For people to spread Adoptive Marketing it means that within the product and the Marketing they:

– Discover recurring personal significance
– Control their own participation
– Believe it improves their situation

People adopt things they have an emotional connection to. They like it and/or it helps them. Adoptive Marketing is dependent on the product. Ask any Marketer who has the best Marketing and the first company they think of is Apple. But Apple’s ads only work because their product and retail experience backs up the Marketing. Apple practices Adoptive Marketing. The Marketing is the product. The product is the Marketing. You want to talk about the iPhone. You want to use the iPhone. You want to watch the Ads. It’s a social object. You care. You choose. It improves your situation. It’s feels unique, even if it’s not. When you’re successful with Adoptive Marketing you’ve earned the right to be an Organic Meme. Screw being viral.

The problem is most products suck. If your baby’s ugly, go market something you believe in. Or it’s time to sit down with the product and service group and have a heart-to-heart. Yes, I’m sure it’s not that easy but we can’t fix it for you. Perhaps you can think around your product to create a social-cause initiative that makes people love your ice cream, batteries or dryer sheets. No amount of dancing babies or viral videos will cover up the fact your product is boring.

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From Jaffe Juice, caught via Joseph’s copious Twittering:

We’re all too familiar with the ultimate contradiction in the 30-second spot game – as every year goes by, we seem to be paying more for less. It makes no sense that as viewers continue to fragment to cable, favor video production over consumption or just switch to alternatives from DVD viewing to gaming, somehow marketers are conned into continuing to invest in the cluttered swill of wastage that is continually suffocating the last bit of life in the dying field of creativity.

According to Mediaweek, viewers aged 18-49 for network syndicated spots, viewership has gone DOWN by an average of 12% and some as much as 21% over last year. That equates to about 3 million viewers on average. But Media Agencies are still trying to use scare tactics on advertisers, boasting the fact that ad spots that are not locked in already will cost 30-40% more over last year.

Hat tip: Lori-Laurent Smith

…but wait, there’s less!

I opened up my USA Today in my hotel room and looked at the latest Prime Time Nielsen ratings. Last week American Idol, the network’s top rated program pulled in 24.7 and 23.2 million viewers for its Tuesday and Wednesday showings respectively.

And here’s the kicker: there’s another box which breaks down viewers 18-49 (didn’t it used to be 24-39? I’m sure these numbers would be worse) and has the same AI numbers at 11.9 and 11.3 million respectively.

In other words, 52% of American Idol viewers are 50 and older??? I’m obviously assuming that a significant chunk of this viewership is 17 and younger…but I’m curious, to what extent do Nielsen numbers cover 17 and under? Irrespective, is it even possible that such a large percentage of viewers of the most watched program are outside of the (inflated) “coveted” demographic?

Read the whole post here.

Media agencies: You might want to rethink your gameplan. That singing you’re hearing off in the distance, that’s the fat lady singing your lullaby.

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Whether or not you like this candidate,you have to admit this ad is friggin’ brilliant.

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From AdPulp’s David Burn:

Want To Put Agencies Out of Business? Make Better Products.

ClickZ had a party on Wednesday night to celebrate 10 years of innovation and excellence in online marketing and advertising.

They invited author and academic Douglas Rushkoff to speak.

Rushkoff exhorted marketers to convince their clients to come up with compelling products. “Teach them how to get back into the business they are in,” he said. “Then you don’t have to make up a story about them.”

I’m attracted to this kind of lofty message. Yet, I can’t help but chuckle. Most agency pros are unable to help their clients grasp the intricacies of marketing communications. Trying to help them reinvent their product or service offerings seems, at least on the surface, an esoteric idea that could only be cooked up in a school.

Not really. While it’s true that most agency pros couldn’t wrap their minds around that concept if a hundred diamond-encrusted Addys were at stake, those of us who have done it know how simple it actually is. Sure, you have to manage a lot of moving parts and you have to live in a lot of different worlds (design, engineering, finance, manufacturing, quality control, marketing, advertising, PR, sales) but it can be done, and done well – at least by certain types of people. Sadly, the business world’s tendency to compartimentalize skills into finite job descriptions (yes, even in ad agency org charts) makes it nigh impossible for anyone with the proper skills to a) market themselves properly, b) capitalize on their talents, and perhaps worst of all c) help their firm and their clients capitalize on those talents.

A firm capable of grasping David’s concept, and putting in place a team of people who know how to do this could make some serious waves over the next few decades – and beyond. Easier said than done? Nope. With a little bit of digging, you could be ready to roll inside of six months at the most.

I tried to explain this to an upper-level honcho at a local creative firm several years ago, and his answer to me was: “We are not – and will never be – in the business of helping our clients develop better products.”

That was probably the most depressing thing I’ve ever heard come out of a creative professional’s mouth – especially since they were in a position to do something really special. But no. The potential I see wasted every day to the lure of the media-buying profit model is astounding. It really is.

You would think that the most creative people in the world would be a bit more imaginative when it comes to monetizing their talents – and maybe a bit more ambitious when it comes to applying their creativity to problems organizations are so desperate to find smart solutions for.

In the end, the product comes first: The message, the creative, the channel and the choice of media don’t mean jack diddles if your product isn’t all that great to begin with.

Paint me blue.

Have a great Friday, everyone.

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From the daily ad biz blog:

Traditional advertising is not the place to be these days. Not only is it losing relevance, it is also not the best tool to accomplish a myriad of business goals. Generate engagement with core consumers, build loyalty, drive interaction rates, these are just a few of the things that traditional advertising, especially TV, just doesn’t do well in comparison to other marketing disciplines. It’s not dead by any means, but it’s not the universal answer either.

AdPulp posted this article about Nike that gives further support to my argument, in case you don’t a take a no-name blogger at his word.

Advertising has ceased to be the go-to answer when it comes to marketing questions. With that in mind, how much longer until other agencies begin to drive the brand, be they online, promotions or PR?

And you know that PR is just itching to do it and get us back for years of condescention.

Well, yeah.

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Judging by the quality of most of the account execs I have had the misfortune to work with over the years, something fishy is going on in the ad world.

Here’s a tip for ad agency principals everywhere: Your creatives rock. Your media buyers are the bomb. You’re doing everything super well, for the most part… but most of your new account execs suck. They don’t get the client’s business. They don’t take the time to understand the cultures of the markets they are assigned to work with. They have no worldly experience. They’re ill-equipped to do their jobs, period. Most don’t last a year.

So I have to ask: What’s going on? What seems to be the problem?

Are you not paying well enough anymore?

Is it that difficult to find good people these days?

Or is it just that you’ve opted to just hire fresh batches of kids every few months so you can pay them as little as possible, work them to death, and then send them off to their next agency jobs with a few more fancy account names to paste to their resumes?

Is the HR revolving door your new MO?

What’s the tenure of an account exec these days anyway? Ten months?

Is this really what’s best for the client?

Check out this piece from Toad Stool.

Back in the Mad Men days, advertising agencies generally recruited out of the Ivy Leagues. Not a boon for diversity, but they did get the best people, smart, creative people who were attracted to a frequently glamorous industry that offered the possibility of serious cash. Ask any (very) senior account guy- back in the day, b-school grads all wanted to work for the agency, not client-side. These days the situation is reversed.

We are never going to be taken seriously if we don’t change this perception. If clients regard agency employees as a bunch of second-rate talents who couldn’t land a job elsewhere, they’re not going to take our opinions very seriously. Or even entertain the idea of treating us as equals, let alone experts. And while I realize that much of this is a result of most agencies being owned by publicly traded holding companies whose business models are based on getting more value from fewer people, I’m afraid the net result is just going to be fewer people, as the value of retaining an ad agency becomes less and less apparent.

Come on, ad agencies everywhere (except maybe in NYC): Why is it that you are ready to invest heavily in your creatives, planners and buyers, but not on your account execs? Am I missing something?

I invite your comments on this one.

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This month on BrandingWire, the team is focusing on auto dealerships – a topic likely to produce some funny posts and hopefully identify certain specific areas in dire need of attention (or rather improvement) in that industry.

Let’s face it: Of all the “for profit” companies across every conceivable industry, independently-owned auto dealers arguably have the worst marketing in the world, and a significant image problem. If you don’t agree, you obviously never listen to FM radio in your car, you probably have TiVo, and your European-made cars either cost upward of $45K, or if they’re pre-owned, came from a nationally-owned car dealership chain like CarMax.

For the rest of us, dealing with car dealerships in any way shape or form is neither a pleasant nor a relaxing experience: What could be a fun shopping endeavor is usually ruined by slimy and overly aggressive salespeople. The slightest lapse of focus during the hours-long haggling dance will cost you thousands of dollars you could have shaved off the final price. The marketing is as annoying and uninviting as it gets: Loud, cheap, poorly produced, dumb, and often even deceptive.

Simply put, everything about dealing with an auto dealer – especially when it comes to used cars – is about as fun and relaxing as bobbing for pennies in snake-infested swampwater.

In light of this, and in order to maybe inspire some auto dealers to make some positive changes in the way they do business, here is The Brandbuilder’s list of the seven deadly marketing sins of automobile dealers. Some of the commentary on each one will provide some helpful advice to help dealerships avoid these pitfalls, and others are so self-explanatory that simply doing the exact opposite will have beneficial effects on both their business and their own personal reputation.

Maybe.

In no particular order, the seven deadly sins of auto dealers are:

1. Deception:

Have you ever spotted a killer deal on a car in a Saturday paper ad from a local auto dealer, only to find out when you get there that the car they were advertising has already been sold or has mysteriously gone out of stock? Yeah. Nice. How about those “We’ll give you $5,000 cash back on any car trade! Bring us your old beater, and we’ll give you $5,000 cash!” And when you put that offer to the test, it isn’t exactly that easy?

Maybe it’s just me, but tricking potential customers into coming to your retail location by lying to them isn’t the best way to get things started on the right foot. Making contracts and fine-print too complicated for even experienced lawyers to understand every detail clearly is not all that kosher either.

Sleazy Salesmen didn’t get that reputation by accident. I’m just not sure why so few of them (sales managers included) aren’t doing more to make that negative image history.

2. Screaming in Ads:

Maybe my brain is wired differently from everyone else’s, but here’s how it works: If I am listening to the radio while in my car, and an ad comes on in which some annoying guy is screaming some sales pitch at the top of his lungs, I’m going to jump to the next preselected station faster than you can yell “NO MONEY DOWN!”

Listen… I understand the whole “screaming to be heard” thing. I get it. I’ve been to open air markets. I know it’s a competitive world out there… but when you’re recording a radio ad, you don’t have to compete for anyone’s attention. You have a captive audience. Literally. They’re inside their cars. They’re probably strapped-in, even. They’re already listening, and as far as I can tell, they can only listen to one station (and one ad) at a time. Is it really necessary to scream at them? Perhaps more importantly, is screaming really the best way to communicate with potential customers?

Nope.

If Volkswagen, BMW, Ford, and just about every auto manufacturer’s national ads can manage to be cool, effective, and even sometimes inspiring without being loud, why is it that local dealers have to act like overcaffeinated lunatics on a cocaine high? Do they know something about a link between high decibel levels and the decision-making areas of the human brain that major national advertisers don’t?

Nope. I didn’t think so either.

3. Awful Creative:

There is a huge divide between the types of ads being produced by auto makers and the ads being produced by independently-owned auto dealerships. The first category is usually pretty effective, while the latter is absolutely horrendous in every way. Before some of you start proposing that major companies like Volkswagen, Volvo and Jaguar have huge Marketing budgets that allow for great creative, let me counter with this:

If “creativity is not device-dependent” (Bruce Mau), then creativity is not budget-dependent either: Anyone with a video camera, a laptop and $50 editing software can produce a clever, effective, and creative 30-second spot.

Likewise, anyone with a half way decent consumer-level 35mm or digital still camera and cheap photo/graphic design software (like JASC’s sub $100 Paintshop Pro if Photoshop or other pro level software is out of reach) can produce fantastic print ads and website designs.

I routinely encounter terrific work being done on nickel-and-dime budgets, and horrendous work that I know cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If high school kids with absolutely no work experience or formal training can produce world-class home-made “ads” for Apple, KFC and other brands to post on You Tube just for fun, surely, auto dealerships (no matter how back-woods) can come up with a) better ideas for their ads, and b) half-way decent ways to turn these ideas into effective productions. If they aren’t accomplishing either task, they simply aren’t really trying.

4. Circus-Act Mojo:

This could fall under #3, but it deserves its own category: Some auto dealerships like to use circus animals like elephants and chimps in their ads. Others like to dress up their staff in ridiculous outfits and act out lame little “skits.”

*sigh*

The two latest local dealership ads to pollute the 864 airwaves with their horrendous skits involve a) a scuba-diving sales manager being eaten by a plastic toy shark in what may possibly be the worst blue-screen special effect sequence ever devised, and b) a not-so-sexy schoolteacher trying to create a parallel between a sex-ed filmstrip and… used cars at dealership XYZ. (The smirking greasy-haired tool sitting behind her in the empty classroom is either the sales manager, the dealership’s owner, her boyfriend, or possibly all three.) The ad would just be dumb and poorly produced, but Greasball Fred putting himself in the picture with his paramour is downright creepy.

Please make it stop.

Really.

Sure, people will remember your ad (grinning chimps in diapers are memorable, as are toy sharks eating fat white guys in mumu swimsuits, as are two guys in tuxedos throwing buckets of water at each other – I’ll give you that), but chances are that they won’t remember the name of your dealership or what your latest promotion was. What do circus acts and bad costumes have to do with buying or selling cars? Nothing.

This isn’t comedy. It isn’t even entertainment. It’s just dumb.

5. Poor Production Value:

Perhaps because most auto dealerships buy their advertising directly from media outlets (or through self-appointed middle-men) the creative and the production values tend to be pretty poor. Very few dealerships take the time to hire a creative (ad) agency to produce ads that don’t look like the family videos Uncle Ralph edits on his Windows 98 PC.

And beware the lure of the “agency” that specializes in dealership/automotive marketing and advertising. Unless they also develop ads for one of the area’s office of tourism, sporting events, cultural festivals and a plethora of other clients in a gaggle of industries, forget it. They’re probably going to suck too.

Because many car dealerships may not know where to go to get help with their production needs, here are several tips anyone can use to make a cheaply produced ad look a tad bit more professional:

– If you can’t find or afford a real stylist for the shoot, at least hire an experienced hair & makeup person. They aren’t that expensive, and trust me, you need one. (Shiny, sweaty foreheads look horrible, and bad hair doesn’t help sell anyone’s image.) Maybe they can help with wardrobe a bit too while they’re at it.

– Don’t shoot people in bright sun. I know that the default ad concept is to have folks be outside, walking the lot to show off the cars and whatnot, but there are ways to shoot outdoor ads in such a way that the sun doesn’t make them squint, blow out their skin, or make bright colors give viewers a headache. When in doubt, take a lighting guy on the shoot with you. And maybe an assistant or an intern to carry some reflector panels or diffusers or something. I might be a stickler for good lighting, but it makes an enormous difference in the way your ad looks.

– Don’t use cheap transition effects. They were cool in 1980’s Flock of Seagulls videos, but not anymore.

Correction: They weren’t cool back then either.

– Get a sound guy to come along on the shoot. Especially if it’s windy. Believe it or not, in the editing room, the big board with all of the knobs that looks like a giant equalizer can actually be used to clean up the sound quality and make the ad sound like it wasn’t made in your neighbor’s garage. Use it!

– Blue screens are banned from all auto dealership ads. Period. You aren’t 20th Century Fox or Imagine Entertainment. What you’re doing with blue screen technology isn’t CGI. It’s just crap. Don’t even think about going there ever again.

I mean it.

– If your people can’t look or sound natural on camera, hire actors. If you can’t hire actors, hire the Quiznos thingamajingies.

– Likewise, anyone with a strong regional accent, a mullet, more than three gold rings on the fingers of any one hand, or whose wardrobe is inspired by Joe Pesci’s character in Goodfellas is forbidden from ever being featured in any auto dealership ads,or my name ain’t Nathan Arizona.

– Before you shoot a commercial, develop a storyboard. (Sketch out a comic-book like concept for the ad.) Actually go through the visual narrative you are trying to achieve and put it to paper. Think about silly stuff like camera angles and flow and context. Figure out how to best shoot and edit a 30-second spot that will have the visual and emotional impact you want it to have. There’s a reason why the big boys of advertising do this. Copy their process. Learn how to produce professional work. Don’t settle for the A/B/C method of A) Shooting somebody verbally delivering the copy by talking at the camera, B) inserting panning footage of the product and location, and C) inserting crappy graphics at the end of the ad. Bleh. Come on. You can do better than that.

Most locally produced TV ads are horrible because they are produced directly by the TV station’s sales & marketing department – which isn’t all that creative to begin with. That makes the ads cheaper and easy to produce, sure, but it ensures that they will be average at best. (Somewhere between cheap and terrible is usually the norm.) Do yourselves a favor and hire someone with talent and the know-how to write, produce, and possibly even direct your spots.

Again, it isn’t that much more expensive, and you will more than get your money’s worth.

The radio and print stuff is usually less bad, but when your control group rests squarely at the very bottom of the production quality bucket, it’s hard to do worse, frankly.

6. Not Actually Building Value:

Q: Can every dealership really have the best deals and the cheapest prices?

A: Technically, no. Only one dealership can have the best deals and prices at any given time.

It’s just science.

And since every sale comes down to a tedious haggling process anyway, is a dealership’s main appeal really cheap prices? Is this what a dealership’s marketing should mainly focus on?

How about shifting the conversation to things like the quality of their cars, the excellence of their service department, their steadfast honesty, or even the unusually pleasant experience of shopping for a car at their dealership?

(I don’t care that it’s locally or family-owned, or that everyone who works there goes to Church on Sunday like good little boys and girls. Give me something genuine and relevant to hook my hopes to.)

Speaking of trying to project a positive image, nothing screams “classy” like a bunch of bored car salesmen huddled outside the front door, smoking cigarettes while they wait for their next victim to drive in.

Automatic turnoff.

Overly aggressive salesmen don’t work for most car shoppers either. All we really need from a car salesman is a friendly hello, and space. A good salesman is like a good waiter: Be there when I need you, but be out of sight when I don’t. I don’t need a chaperon, a buddy, or a stalker. I certainly don’t need to be bombarded by pitch after pitch. I’m a grown-up. Your cheap cracker-jack box Jedi mind tricks don’t work on me or anyone else with an IQ above 40.

(And at least, I can hang up on telemarketers, which makes them significantly less annoying than car salesmen. And that’s saying something.)

But back to the point: When you sell cheap, you sell desperate. What you should be selling instead is reliability, performance, honesty, and peace of mind. You should be selling the brand behind every car in your lot. You should be selling class and professionalism. You should be selling value, and not discounted promises. This isn’t just about the message you incorporate in your ads, but also (perhaps more so) about all of the actual shopping and aftermarket experiences your customers will get to enjoy.

7. Acting like a typical car dealership:

Let’s play a quick game of word association. I’ll write a word, and you tell me the first word that comes to your mind. (Try to make it an adjective that best describes that word.)

Here we go:

Lawyer.

Telemarketer.

Soapbox preacher.

Used car salesman.

See where we’re going with this?

As I’ve mentioned before, car salesmen (especially when they’re selling used cars) already have pretty poor reputations. They’re usually seen as a being sleezy, not particularly trustworthy, etc. So car dealerships have some trust issues to overcome. A forward-thinking car dealership owner/operator would be well served by an effort to distance himself/herself from this type of image and negative expectation.

What’s the smartest thing a car salesman can do? Casually but enthusiastically greet the customer with a smile, but without walking to them. Tell them you’ll be with them in a couple of minutes. Ask them if they need anything before you come back. Then disappear, and come back to ask them if they need help, and take it from there.

Why? Because the reflex of any and all shoppers is to say “I’m just looking, thanks.” Even if they have a question, they will automatically push away a salesperson who walks up to them. Better to give the customer their space, make them feel comfortable and appreciated, and let them dictate the way in which the conversation will take place.

Give them their space. Respect their space. Meet them half way and sell yourself as being helpful, friendly and honest instead if just trying to make a sale.

Aside from the specific sales tips, what we’re talking about here is differentiation: Making your dealership stand out from other dealerships – not just by producing better creative, but by truly being different – perhaps starting with the appearance, attitude, friendliness, charisma and mindset of your sales force. This is a good first step in effectively building a great reputation and developing a strong referral business.

Here are the five basic steps to get you started:

1) Decide that you need to be different.
2) Understand why you need to be different.
3) Decide how to be different.
4) Decide to commit to 1-3.
5) Create means by which this can be communicated to both employees and potential customers. (Advertising, word-of-mouth, customer experience design, revamping internal processes, hiring the right people, extensive training of employees, attention to detail, etc.)

The answer to #1 and #2 could be simply to be better than the competition for the sake of having a more successful business. It could also be about having moral reasons for not cutting corners where others have (deceptive advertising, sleazy sales tricks, etc.) It could also simply be about wanting to be better. (Pride in one’s work and fostering a good reputation are more important than maximizing profits at all costs to many people, and I can certainly relate to that.)

The answer to #3 is simply about observation: Find out what you and your potential customers hate about your competitors, and do the exact opposite. If you find that most people hate being followed by salesmen, teach your staff to be more subtle with their stalking. If the haggling process is a drag, get rid of it, or make it more customer-friendly. Find out if cheap ugly ties and dirty shoes on your sales staff are a turnoff. Look at everything, from the way cars are organized on your lot to how you choose to design your lobby and offices. Details like the type of coffee you brew and how it alters the way your offices smell can make a huge difference. Do you offer your potential customers a cup of delicious coffee or some home-made cookies when they walk in? Are you using cheap paper cups, or actual china? Are your people friendly and happy? Is your lot a place where customers will feel comfortable, or uncomfortable? Will they be impressed with it, or turned off? Will they want to actually hang out there, or get away as fast as they can? Are you giving them any reason to talk to their friends and co-workers about you? (This could be positive or negative.) Do your research.

Get past the lure element of your business. The object of the game isn’t just about getting as many people as possible to come to your lot, or throwing an ever changing team of salesmen at them. I know it’s a numbers’ game but if you are turning off 94% of your visitors, you are giving away 94% of your business to your competitors. Why spend all of your budget and energy on bringing so many people to your business if all you manage to do is chase them away when they get there? That makes absolutely no sense.

The decision to be different, to actually stand out, to create a positive reputation for yourself in your industry, and to actually create a brand for yourself could be all the momentum and sense of direction you need to turn that 6% closing rate into 12%. Or 20%. Or more.

* * *

Car dealerships are retail businesses, just like restaurants, night clubs, record stores, hotels and coffee shops, to name just a few. As such, there is no reason why their marketing, ethics, or focus on customer happiness should be any worse than businesses in other industries.

Bad ads are worthless and send the wrong message.

Deceptive marketing tactics will destroy a business faster than you can say “lawsuit.”

Dreadful customer experiences are the kiss of death for any repeat business or word-of-mouth referrals.

What would happen to your bottom-line if 90% of people who come to your restaurant took a look at your menu and walked out? What would happen to your business if your reputation was so horrendous that 90% of your customers told all of their friends, family members and co-workers never to do business with you? Why should car dealerships be any different?

Wowing the customer, creating a bond of trust with them, making them feel happy and excited about their purchase before they even get to test drive a car, during the signing, and even long after they’ve driven off the lot (making them want to come back or share their positive experience with others) are all crucial things to focus on.

Call me crazy, but a car dealership isn’t just a sales organization. It has to be much more than that.

On the flip side, being just like everybody else, focusing on pushing the sale instead of helping it along, not taking care of a customer as well after the sale as you did before, being deceptive, selling discounts instead of value, spending money on annoying and ineffective ads… these are all ways to earn get absolutely nowhere fast, and in this case, perpetuate a negative image that does nothing to help anyone in the auto dealership world grow, prosper, or even feel unabashed pride in a good day’s work.

Why more car dealerships don’t get this is still beyond me. Hopefully, this and the rest of the posts from this month’s BrandingWire project will help change things for the better.

One can hope.

Have a great week, everyone. 😉

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This, from AdPulp‘s David Burn:

“Scott Donaton, Publisher of Advertising Age, wanted sparks to fly from the panel he moderated in Cannes last week. Instead, he could barely muster enough smoke to smudge an industry wallowing in denial.

‘Here’s what we learned at the high-powered Cannes Debate panel on agency reinvention, which I moderated during last week’s International Advertising Festival: next to nothing.

‘Here’s what that means: The ad business has a bigger problem than it realizes. Because its leaders refuse to share real learnings and best practices, or to discuss the frustrations they face in reinventing their legacy businesses, there’s little chance of harnessing their collective wisdom to benefit the industry. Which means each player within it has to keep trying to figure it out on their own. That’s a shame.’

I can’t help but smile at this scenario. We work in an industry dedicated to passing off utter bullshit as something wholesome and worthy of the customer’s time. Then we go to fancy gatherings in France to celebrate our best bullshit from the preceeding year. Meanwhile the emperor stands alone and naked. Personlly, I’m glad. The brave and the few will move forward from this low point and create better work. As it should be. As for the rest, who really cares?”
Pow. Which raises a pretty serious question I find myself asking on a quasi-daily basis: How do you change a culture (within a company or an entire industry) that a) doesn’t want to change, or b) knows it should change but isn’t willing to actually do what it takes to make it happen?
I am reminded of the old saying: “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”
*sigh*

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Before you start shaking an accusing finger at me, let it be known that I still believe in advertising and traditional marketing – as part of a balanced diet for any brand.

Yet, way too many companies still think of traditional advertising and marketing as the cake, when it really is the pretty, sexy, colorful, enticing and delicious icing.

This brilliant mini-movie is for them.

Courtesy of www.bringtheloveback.com, via brandexperiencelab.

Have a great weekend, everyone. 😉

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Question: Is there a reason why commercials shown during the Academy Awards are better than those shown during the (overhyped) Superbowl?

And I am talking about better by a fairly large margin here.

Even the McDonald’s ad was good.

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I was going to wait until next week to post this, but in light of last night’s lackluster lineup of multi-million dollar ads during the Superbowl (most of which were utter wastes of money), here is perhaps the most biting commentary on the relationship between many traditional ad agencies and the role they think they play in building brands… or in some cases, the role they play in hurting the brands they get paid good money to elevate. (I just had a vision of an elephant stumbling through a china store.)

Mike Myatt, Chief strategy officer at N2 Growth posted this gem last week about ad agencies and their typically failed brand building endeavors.

Note: Mike doesn’t say all advertising agencies are this way. He says that many are. And as much as it pains me to say it… he’s right. Here’s a little something to gently eeeeeeease you into his ever so subtle point:

“I would go so far as to say that many advertising agencies are almost obsolete in their approach such that they add very little value to their client’s brands. In today’s post I’ll share my insights on why most advertising agencies just don’t get it…”

Ahhhh… You know this is going to be good. Now… In case you’re already so incensed that you’re seeing red and preparing an epic response, remember that Mike is talking about building brands. He isn’t suggesting that these certain ad agencies don’t get advertising, but rather that in these cases, advertising is really all these agencies actually get. (Though after having seen some of the crap that tried to pass for advertising last night, I have to take my own comment with a big fat grain of salt. Read my previous post to see what I am talking about.) I’ll just shut up now and let Mike clarify his point:

“It is the CEOs responsibility to set the brand vision and then to evangelize and champion that vision. I have observed far too many CEOs and entrepreneurs who abdicate their responsibility by just turning over their brand to advertising agencies and hoping for great creative output. The problem lies in that the concept of “branding” has moved far beyond communicating product differences and building “image.” In order to improve brand performance, marketing experts need to consider product re-design, reengineering the supply chain, refining distribution, reducing costs, introducing loyalty rewards for customers and many other variables. While advertising will certainly retain an important role as a component of branding, it is clearly not the driver of branded businesses that it once was.

“Put simply, ad agencies create brand advertising. They don’t create brands…Put even more simply ad agencies create, buy and place media they don’t develop brand architecture and modeling which are used as a blueprint for all activities and communications for the brand. It is rare that you’ll find ad agencies that will even have the diversification of competencies that will allow them to provide strategic brand direction across mediums. While I have rarely observed a lack of willingness by agencies to dive into a project, I have often observed a complete inability to execute.

“Even within their purported areas of domain expertise (media and mediums) the marketplace is littered with agencies who have huge gaps in competencies in PR, direct marketing, blogging and other forms of social media, interactive media, search marketing, word of mouth marketing and any number of other areas. However it is their lack of experience and ability to deliver on brand strategy, business intelligence, knowledge management, innovation, corporate venturing, competitive analysis (and by this I don’t mean whose TV ad is better), intellectual property and other items that make ad agencies the worst possible choice to take brand direction from.

“Okay, let’s call a spade a spade and bring the ad agency agenda out into the light of day. Ad agencies get paid to sell advertising not to build brands…Reflect back upon your last agency pitch and you may have been wowed by creative talent, and yes even a bit of brand-speak, but at the end of the day you were pitched on buying advertising. Ad agencies speak to your advertising budget, not your brand equity.”

Read the entire post here.

Many ad agencies think, wish, and in some cases truly believe that they are in the business of building brands… yet few of them actually invest in the development of true brand planning teams (and among those who do, even fewer staff these teams with folks who have actually worked outside of the agency world). Big mistake. Huge, in fact. Most of these agencies don’t work with their clients’ designers to actually create the products. They don’t work with customer service or sales teams to design fantastic customer experience. And worst of all, they never have. They simply aren’t equipped to work at that level – nor do they care to be. It just isn’t part of the account service/creative team/media buying formula they know and understand.

Sure, go ahead and feel outraged by Mike’s post, but… you know, if the truth hurts, I’m sorry. Sometimes, the truth is just a hard, unforgiving kick to the huevos, but that’s why it’s so powerful. Unless none of this applies to you, you can either take it at face value and change, or bury your head in the sand and pretend that he doesn’t know what he is talking about.

Your call.

As far as I am concerned… Mike, your website needs a major facelift, but you’ve kind of hit the nail on the head with this one.

Agencies and firms that are making the transition to full service PSFs or have T-shaped brand planning groups get it. Traditional agencies who stick to their half-century-old model will probably continue to thrive… but will soon find themselves pigeon-holed in a shallow creative service no-man’s-land.

Sad but true. Deal with it.

PS: Don’t worry, my next post will be much, much…. nicer. Stay tuned. 😉

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Pre-Game: Ah, it’s Super Sunday in the US again. Football, hot wings, beer, and yeah, the TV ads.

Since I’ll be skipping most of the game tonight, I’ll have to catch the ads on YouTube later. I hope they will be better than last year… and the year before that… and the year before that too.

And I hope they will be a little more adventurous than the half-time show’s lineup. (Don’t get me wrong, Billy Joel and Prince are great performers, especially live… but whatever. It’s 2007. Nuff said.)

Fortunately for people like me, the folks at AdFreak have set up a website specifically to review the ads. Guest reviewers include Seth Godin, Chris Wall, and Joseph Jaffe, so I expect the reviews to be pretty dead-on. The site is called superadfreak and you can get to it by clicking here. I will definitely be checking on it throughout the evening.

Adrants also put together a fine listing of the TV ads with reviews. Click here to go check them all out.

Enjoy the game everyone, and have a great Super Sunday evening. 🙂

Post Game: Congrats, Colts. No congratulations for most of the agencies who took their clients’ money and threw it down the proverbial drain, however. The best Superbowl ads this year were average at best, while the rest languished somewhere between lame and horrendous. But hey, that’s just my opinion. What’s everyone else saying?

Joseph Jaffe:

“Almost nothing has stood out…not even the return of eTrade from the grave (a duet with Orville Deadenbacher perhaps?) Perhaps the line of the Bowl is from Go Daddy: ‘Everybody wants to work in Marketing’ (Maybe) at your company, but for every other marketing Veep at this year’s Bowl, you’re going to be trolling Careerbuilder come Monday morning… If you’ve got nothing newsworthy to say … don’t say anything.

Marc Berman:

“I just overheard my older daughter (she’s 15) say to my 12 year-old son, ‘the ads on The Super Bowl really suck.’ And, sadly, that pretty much expresses my sentiments. The careerbuilder.com spot was clever, and Coke was…well…unusual, but nothing stands out as creative or worth remembering. “

Mark Wnek:

“Overall, a sense of disappointment. The Coke animation was gorgeous, the Bud Light stuff a good group, the Emerald Nuts stuff with Robert Goulet …nutty in a good way, Fedex consistently funny. Where was the genius of the Apple “1984” spot? Feels like the genius is going into different media nowadays.”

Jim Ferguson:

“So far, I think the game is more entertaining than than the spots.”


Tim Arnold:

“Note to anybody considering an advertising career: talking animals have no automatic, built in relevance to anything resembling a real idea. (And it’s still ideas we’re supposed to be about). You’ve seen half the world’s living species so far in this game, and God knows what’s to come. But do not let the industry’s brilliant ability to re-create these speaking creatures on camera confuse you: you still need an idea, despite the evidence to date. And somebody still has to clean up after them, one way or the other.”

Seth Godin:

“I quit.

After watching GM run a 2 million dollar commercial that consists of a robot getting fired, walking the streets and then committing suicide, I’m so confused, so clueless and yes, so ashamed to be even peripherally involved in this line of work, I have no choice but to quit.

If your company was breaking records (in losing money) and was so adversely affecting the lives of thousands, why on earth would you run this ad?

I give up.”


All quotations courtesy of SuperAdFreak.

Personally, I was mildly amused by the Coke Grand Theft Auto, Bud Light Crabs, the Sierra Mist beard combover and the Career Builder spots. Guilty pleasure: The Bud Light monkeys. Nothing imaginative, but the French in me is a sucker for talking monkeys. (Hey, I grew up watching Jerry Lewis flicks. Eh.) The rest was so insipid that I really don’t need to waste any more time writing about it.

Oh, okay. Twist my arm. I can’t resist. In my humble and completely personal opinion, the absolute worst ads of the night (in no particular order):

_ Snickers’ kiss: a) for being creepy, gross AND dumb all at the same time, and b) for ruining Snickers bars for me for at least two weeks. WTF?!

Note: A Snickers bar actually saved me from passing out last week at the end of a very cold and very long bike ride. I was utterly spent and out of power gels, so I stopped at a convenience store, bought a Snickers bar, and devoured it right there. No, really. It was intense. People were staring. And let me tell you something, that was THE BEST Snickers bar I have ever had. Hell, it was the best candy bar I’ve ever had. Since that afternoon, I have been jonesing for another one and was looking forward to grabbing one for my next long ride. It would take a lot to ruin Snickers bars for me right now… but that ad did it. That’s all I have to say about that. It sucked that badly.

_ Sales Genie: At least, the Menthos commecials were cheesy on purpose. That ad was crap. Pure crap. Most of the other ads were obviously trying way too hard – but this one could have tried a little harder. Boring, unimaginative, lame, outdated and smug to the point of being almost creepy.

_ GM’s suicidal robot: Don’t get me wrong – I liked the robot. I liked the way it started. I even liked the way the ad was shot. But it ended in suicide. Hello! Besides, the editing was so horrendous that the finished product made no sense. Yeah, okay, I get it, the bot offed himself because he was sad and all… But taking us through that cheerful little journey of self destruction deserved a little more time, don’t ya think? I’d like to see the full length version someday. I’m sure the director’s cut was better. This one was hacked down to nothing, and that’s a shame.

While we’re on the subject of the suicidal robot, here are a few little pointers for GM… and advertisers in general:

Rule #1: If you can’t tell your story in 30 seconds, find a different medium than the 30 second spot for your concept.

Rule #2: If you’re going to go through the trouble of creating a cute, likeable character, don’t kill it off aimlessly.

Rule #3: Try to avoid suicide as a theme for a 30 second spot. Maybe it’s just me, but it’s generally kind of a mood killer. Unless it ends well… Like… where the suicide attempt fails and something good or cute happens.

One last thing, GM: How many people did you lay off this past year? And your ad was about… what again? Doh. A bit insensitive maybe? Ruh-roh.

Okay, I’m done. I expected this, so I’m not too bummed about this year’s lackluster lineup, but… I kind of wish someone had come up with something cool this time around.

Anyone.

Oh well.

Happy Monday, everyone. It’s a whole new workweek. Let’s try to make it count.

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Yep, life comes at you fast.

Photo courtesy of the Greenville News.

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Posted by David Burn on AdPulp (via the Yeti):

Author, educator and art director/brand strategist, Robin Landa, spoke with some of the industry’s top creative directors and compiled their best advise in a downloadable document available from Amazon.com for $0.49.

Here’s a small slice:

Robin Landa: “What’s your philosophy about advertising?”

John Butler: “It has to be likeable. It has to inform and inspire. It has to have some emotional hook to it that makes consumers interact with it. It can’t talk down to the consumer. There’s a great quote—although I can’t remember who said it—but it’s hanging on my door: “He who writes the stories defines the culture.” I think that pretty much sums it up. We are given a voice, and we have to be responsible in how we use that voice.”

Butler, a partner in Sausalito’s best agency, nails it in his succinct dissertation.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

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It isn’t every day that you run into a blog post like this one. It isn’t for everyone, but gosh darn it, that mad angry bearded George Parker guy from Adscam does tell it like it is.

I don’t know for sure… But I may have at long last found my daily five minutes of Zen in George’s blog. Peace and love, everyone. Peace and love.

And for the record, if CP+B’s creepy Orville crank zombie sells any popcorn at all, my name ain’t Nathan Arizona.

PS: Shame on you CP+B. Shaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame.

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A little over a year ago Ernie Mosteller wrote this, over on Tangelo Ideas‘ blog. (I never grow tired of Purple Cow thinking.) Here’s the skinny:

Family resemblances are a good thing. For families. But for agencies, it can get you into trouble. When the stuff you create for your boat manufacturer client starts to look or sound or feel just like the stuff you’re making for that software startup, oh, and the athletic-shoe retailer, and maybe the fast-food restaurant, too; you have to ask: Are you doing what speaks best to the audience? What’s best for the client? Or are you doing what you personally think is cool? Worse yet, are you doing what the competition is doing, too?”


Absolutely.

I was flipping through some old issues of Fast Company this morning, when I found this very cool little article by Christine Canabou entitled Fast Ideas For Slow Times (May 2003). In it, Christine makes the argument for the fact that offering something different/unique is now a crucial part of any company’s success.

Creativity is no longer exclusive to the ad agency world. Likewise, innovation is no longer exclusive to the design world. In order for businesses to thrive, creativity has to become part of their product operational DNA. In order for agencies to keep doing exceptional work for an ever-growing list of quality clients, they have to breed curiosity, exploration and innovation into their DNA.

It isn’t change. It’s evolution.

Here’s the thing: If you keep doing the same thing you’ve been doing, nothing new is going to happen to you. Your sales aren’t suddenly going to double. Your market share isn’t going to enjoy a sudden increase. Nobody is going to really notice you. If you’ve been growing at 6% per year for the past ten years, it’s probably safe to say that you’ll keep seeing 6% growth for a while longer.

A little while.

As Christine puts it: “Do nothing new, and you won’t make a mistake. But do nothing new for too long, and you risk making the biggest mistake of all.”

Yep. It’s easy to let your successes pigeon-hole you into Sisyphean repetition. Before you know it, companies come to you with requests to do for them what you did for your other client(s): “That thing you did for Spalookaboo, Inc… the thing with the talking cow and the karate-chopping mongoose… can you do something like that for us?”

Look. The last thing the world needs is another subservient chicken. More to the point, the last thing Crispin Porter + Bogusky needs is another subservient chicken project.

Something is only original once. Something is only creative once. After that, everything becomes derivative and stale. Copies of copies of copies are just what Seth Godin would call brown cows. (No matter how good and cool they are, once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.)

It’s completely natural to see a competitor’s latest product or ad and think “Doh! Why didn’t we think of that?” It’s also natural to want to jump on the bandwaggon by doing something similar. (The reasoning being that if it works for your competitor, it’ll work for you too.)

*sigh*

Copying for the sake of not being left behind is an expensive and terribly ineffective business strategy. (And it’s lame.) 1) You’ll come across as an “also in”. 2) You’ll back yourself into a price comparison corner (kiss your revenue goodbye). 3) You’ll be turning your back on your biggest competitive advantage – the practical application of your creative power: Innovation.

At best, being a brown cow guarantees stagnation.

At best.

It also guarantees that you will have to spend huge amounts of resources to promote yourself over and over and over again. That’s time, money, people… all of which could be better spent actually doing something rewarding and relevant that will help your business grow.

You could be creating WOM-worthy work for smaller clients, for example. For non-profits. For NGO’s. For niche markets.

You could be broadening your horizons… meeting new people, immersing yourself in cool new subcultures. You could be making every day a learning experience. An exercise in curiosity. A creative harvest. (By the way, the cross-polination of ideas and disciplines is the lifeblood of innovation. Ask IDEO and FROG Design, how it’s worked for them.)

Yeah, Hybrid Thinking. That’s where it starts.

By default, you would also be broadening your reach across a wider range of industries than any other agency in your sphere of influence (not just because it makes great business sense, but because it’s fun.)

Fun feeds creativity at least as much as new experiences.

Think about it. What if instead of chasing big clients, you focused on helping great little companies grow into extraordinary ones? What if you only worked with clients that you want to work with? What if you turned away work that didn’t interest you? What if you did what every innovator has done since the beginning of time: What if you changed the rules, one client at a time, one project at a time?

Would you rub a few people the wrong way? You bet. But they’d get over it.

There are also other options beyond simply increasing the breadth of your playing field. The very nature of the way you approach your work, your services and the way that you market them doesn’t have to be set in stone. Don’t sell yourself short.

Tom Peters, for example, makes a good argument for agencies to evolve into more deep-reaching Professional Services Firms (see his downloadable ‘PSF Manifesto’). After all, if creatives can come up with great advertising ideas, they can surely come up with insightful ways to improve a company’s customer service call center, design unforgetable retail spaces and help create groundbreaking new products, for starters.

This kind of transition won’t happen on its own. Client companies certainly won’t be the first to suggest it. (“Hey um… you guys make great ads, but… do you also do product design?”) It’s one of those build it and they will come things. Create the service. Create the market. Become a purple cow all over again.

More importantly, help your clients become purple cows in their own fields. (Ultimately, that will be the key to your success.)

Trust me on this, many of them wish they had access to this kind of insightful innovation for hire. Not everyone can afford to keep top-notch designers on staff. Or brand strategists. Or marketing communications specialists. Or graphic artists. As for consultants… well, they can be terribly expensive and often too narrow in their approach.

Similarly, not everyone can afford a PR firm and an ad agency and a product design studio and a retail design consultant. (Assuming that, even if you could, all of the pieces would fit together properly… which is pretty unlikely.)

Enter the fully-integrated PSF/Agency: Cost-effective, versatile, nimble, responsive, insightful, completely immersed in their client’s culture. One-stop shopping for all of your innovative needs. Beyond its core team, imagine a network composed of the most brilliant minds and creative talent in the world, just a mouse-click away. A phone-call away.

Imagine if a PSF/Agency like the one I just described suddenly opened shop in your town. What if it were courting your clients? What if it had more talent than you could hire in a lifetime? What if they were a lot cheaper than you are?

What if, although advertising were only one of their revenue streams, their work still blew yours away?

What would you do?

What if they cut your revenue in half inside of two years? What would you do to stay alive?

Advertise more? Lower your prices? Work for free?

Purple cows don’t have to shake their baby rattles to be noticed. They don’t have to put up billboards all over town. They don’t have to engage in price wars. All they have to do is be purple cows.

Pistachio cows.

Tangelo cows.

Here’s a fresh little bit of Set Godin insight:


“Ad agencies have been backed into a corner and mostly do rattling. It’s the
high-cost, high-profile, high-risk part of marketing, and the kind that
rarely works. What a shame that some of the smartest people in our field
aren’t allowed (by their clients and by their industry’s structure) to get
behind the scenes and change the product, the strategy and the approach
instead of just annoying more people with ever louder junk.”

Yesterday’s purple cows are today’s brown cows.

Tomorrow’s purple cows won’t look or feel or sound anything like you.

The question is, what are you doing about it?

Have a great weekend, everyone. 🙂

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