Archive for the ‘marketing’ Category

Via B.L. Ochman’s Whats Next blog, here is Hugh McLeod‘s branding manifesto exercise for Stormhoek wines. I know some of you may still think that Mission Statements are the shiz, but… you know… wake up. Not to downplay the simplicity of a single-verse affirmation of your brand (a short and succinct mantra beats out a mission statement any day), but what Hugh has done with Stormhoek is tell the story of the brand and its reason for being: Who are we? What do we believe in? How are we different? How are we changing things? Why should we change things? Where is our place in the world?

What I like most about Hugh’s exercise is that the result is simple, clear, engaging, and most of all, it doesn’t start with “We shall strive to provide our customers with the highest possible level of customer service in the industry while maximizing shareholder profits and positioning ourselves for rapid growth in blablablablabla…*

This isn’t the sort of thing that’s likely to show up in an ad or on a bottle, but it doesn’t hurt to have it show up in one way or another on a website, blog, brochure… or just on the wall by your desk if you work at Stormhoek. Here it is:

1. We’re a small South African vineyard. We make the best South African wine for the money, end of story.

2. We believe in punching above our weight. In this regard, we’ve been pretty fortunate. We’re known for trying out relatively “out there” marketing ideas. We do that for a reason. When you are a small company in a relatively isolated part of the word, thousands of miles away from your main customer base, you frankly have no other choice.

3. We believe that even a small company like ours can change the world, even in a small way. Why shouldn’t a small wine company in South Africa see large international companies like Google and Microsoft as their competition? Why should the battle only be confined to other small South African vineyards? It makes no sense.

4. “It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it.” There’s more to life than wine. Sure, we love wine, we love making it, but it’s a big world out there. We try to make allies not just with other wine geeks, but with other interesting people trying to do amazing things. This is why we’re so drawn to the internet. That’s where passionate people invariably head for.

5. On one level, we take ourselves very seriously. On another level, we try to keep a sense of humor about it all. We try to “keep it real”, which is another way of saying, we try to keep it interesting, as much for ourselves as anyone else.

6. We believe the wine business can use a good kick in the pants. We certainly try to do our part. Burying oneself in the usual blanket of wine clichés to us is not a viable marketing strategy. With hundreds of thousands of vineyards out there, and only so many distribution channels available, you face two stark choices: Either rise above the clutter, or face a lifetime of misery and woe.

7. We live in extremely interesting times. The internet has changed everything. Our story is proof of that. Get with the program or reconcile yourself to entrepreneurial oblivion.

8. It’s just wine, People. Sure, we make excellent product. But let’s not get too carried away. At the end of the day, even the best Bordeaux is just fermented grape juice. What’s more interesting to us is the conversations people have over a bottle of wine. There’s a human element to all this we find utterly mysterious and fascinating.

9. You only live once, and not for very long. Try to make a difference while you’re here. It isn’t just about the money, and it sure as heck isn’t about making “a good product at a good price”. It’s about doing something that matters. It’s about doing something that resonates with both yourself and the people you care about.

10. We humans are incredible beings. Doing something that continually reminds us of this simple, basic truth is where the real fun is.

You can easily see how something like this could be beneficial to your company when it comes to understanding where it stands in the marketplace, how to explain it to people without boring them to death or overpromising on what you have to offer. And it helps you define what your company actually stands for – aside from profits and sales and the maximization of shareholder whatever. The details of your business’ financial goals are inconsequential. Burger King makes great burgers. Yves St. Laurent designs the classiest fashion. Specialized makes the best bicycles. Apple makes the coolest mp3 players, computers and smart phones. Stormhoek makes” the best South African wines for the money, end of story.” What’s your company about?

It’s a great exercise. Try it.

* Spied on my flight to Philadelphia last week. This mission statement was part of a 76-page powerpoint presentation from Dilbert hell that the suit in the aisle ahead of me worked and reworked incessantly the entire time we were in the air. Scary.

And yeah, I’m nosy. Sue me.

Have a great Thursday everyone. 🙂

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I just recently discovered Conversation Agent Valeria Maltoni’s blog, but it is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. Check out this post about AT&T… ooops… at&t’s decision to nix the Cingular brand and take over its wireless biz. (I am actually shaking my head right now.) I could sit here and write a ten-page essay on why that isn’t a good idea at all, but Valeria beat me to it,complete with bits of commentary from Brandweek, Fast Company, Note To CMO, Steven Colbert (via Techno//Marketer), and The Viral Garden. Check it out here.

David Armano’s Logic+Emotion continues to amaze by posting gold almost daily. Just this week, check out these posts about blogsourcing’s effect on planning and innovation, Agile Creativity, Brand Affinity through stories and experience, and Macro Design. That blog is like candy for my brain.

Also check out Simple+Loveable‘s Support Ideas First – Critique Second, which elaborates on Seth Godin’s observation earlier this week that “The devil doesn’t need an advocate. The brave need supporters, not critics”. Ah so. Good stuff if you work in a team environment.

The Jason’s Recliner‘s Do Agencies Give A Shit? post outlining Jason’s experience with brand planning as a freelance consultant.

And finally,Jaffe Juice‘s An ad Capable of destroying any loyalty or patronage in just one viewing, which spells out what everyone who recently endured the oddly creepy Orville Redenbacher clone meatpuppet cgi zombie-on-Red Bull creature featured in the pop corn giant’s latest ad. The most amazing thing isn’t that it was pitched in the first place… but that it got as far as to get aired. Also from Jaffe, this post which shares Max Kalehoff’s 10 critical attributes and capabilities of what an agency of the year might look like:

  1. Foremost, agency staffers must be passionate about acting in the interest of consumers as much as they are in the interest of paying clients.
  2. The agency must drop tactical communications from its core positioning and instead embody the value of creating great experiences, with tactics following.
  3. The agency must embrace a world where paid media placements lose overall traction, and instead master the new currency of word-of-mouth, where reputation and propensity to recommend are earned.
  4. The firm must strive for everlasting client partnerships, not because of insatiable desire for ongoing revenues, but because it understands that programs which achieve deep, ongoing customer experiences and loyalty are incompatible with a start-peak-end model.
  5. An agency of the year should be one that first evaluates the client’s internal processes and culture, to ensure those dimensions optimize opportunities for greatness, not hamper potential.
  6. The agency must gain expertise in areas of innovation, product and customer service–versus solely on marketing communications.
  7. The firm will value institutional customer-listening as a core competency far more than institutional speaking.
  8. Enterprise creativity will stem not from a creative department, but collectively from a group of staffers with diverse disciplines, each with the ability to think creatively, abstractly and from different vantage points.
  9. The agency may get out of the advertising business, for the most part, and perhaps outsource the more tactical aspects.
  10. The agency increasingly will recognize and organize around you, the individual.

Cool stuff. Have a great Friday, everyone. 🙂

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