Personal Branding: Leaving a Contact Number

January 29th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

I recently had several voicemails from vendors looking to provide their services & products. They were very clear on their name, company, and service/product offered. But when it came time to leave their contact number; it was mumbled, unclear, and quick.

It’s not that difficult to put a little extra effort into a piece of information that is more critical than who you are and what you do. If you’re unreachable, all of the bells and whistles on your product and service are irrelevant.

When leaving a recorder message, slow down on the phone number, take a pause between the area code and the other two sets, speak clearly, and repeat.

A Layoff Disception?

January 27th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

A colleague of mine made an interesting point regarding the current state of the market, particularly the tens of thousands of layoffs we are seeing. The point is this – there is no real evidence that the companies cutting the jobs are in a critical financial position to need to layoff the people, they are merely using current conditions as an excuse to get rid of people they’ve been trying to eliminate, but could not find a good reason to do so.

Where's the Great Automotive Marketing?

January 26th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

I recently viewed a 30 minute spot for a local (Central/Upstate NY) automotive dealership FX Caprara – a 30 minute, not seconds. I could not help but wonder what marketing/advertising agency had given this dealership the creative & marketing direction on this spot.  In general, the automotive industry has had the weakest marketing strategies in history. There are a few that have broken out of the mundane marketing approach. As a result, their stories have made a lasting impact on their audience.

What you say, and how you say it – whether verbal, in print, or digital – speaks volumes about your brand, your personality, your values, the owners and the stakeholders. You have but one opportunity to make a positive lasting impression. Afterward, you’re either reinforcing your brand image, or fixing it.

The below observations were noted on the FX Caprara spot, but these issues are just as real for much of the automotive industry:

  • A big banner with the dealership website address was suspended in the background. Great move, but unfortunately the web address was blocked by a colorful bouquet of balloons. TAKE ACTION: When composing the shot, note every element you are using, particularly the elements that call for action from the viewers (like visiting a website). You need to be considerate at all times of the Conversion factor – getting the greatest response from your audience (call, visit website, visit location, etc.)
  • The spokesperson, Charlie Caprara (owner) was very engaging, exciting to listen to, had a great personality – but, I do not remember him pausing, allowing the viewer to process the information. I understand that time is money and we all do our best to get the most for our investments, but Charlie just went on and on. It is counter-production to provide so much information. The audience would have remembered more information had he said less. Less is more!
  • As the camera changed locations, the environment  greatly effected the audio quality. Be considerate of how the audio behaves as you change locations. If the environment is negatively impacting the audio quality, just pick a better location – don’t ruin the entire spot.
  • One of the shots paned across a parking log of their vehicles. Smart move, but the vehicles were all covered with snow – I couldn’t tell one from the other. It’s these small things that add to the overall experience the audience has.
  • From beginning to end, the lower third of the screen was flooder with too much copy, set in a small type – an issue of legibility (and my television screen is not small). Besides the FX Caprara logo, I could not read the other information.
  • I did not see any exciting footage of the vehicles they were selling; not to mention any interior, close-ups, 3/4 views, etc. Buying a vehicle is as much an emotional decision as it is logical. Images speak volumes.

What happened with doing things with quality?!

There has never been a time in history when the consumer had so much purchasing power as today. Screaming, yelling, and flashing no longer works. The consumer has become extremely intelligent, having valuable information and resources a click-away. Automotive Industry – it’s time to take a new approach to your marketing strategies!

A Simple Marketing Strategy

January 26th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

1. Define the Goal – The things are you trying to accomplish; set up measurable and realistic goals; also setup several audacious goals – honor and respect them as well. Throughout the campaign, never lose sight of the goal(s). Write the goals down and keep them in front of you.

Measure Success – Also, you must establish means by which you will know when your actions are yielding desirable results. Ask this questions, “When do I know our actions are yielding successful results?”

2. Develop a Strategy – Design an action plan and a timeline; think short-term and long-term.

3.  Develop a Team – Build the team very early on. Cast the vision and make sure the team believes in the vision; make sure they are all on board. Empower them to fully execute the vision. Do not micromanage them. Allow honest and open feedback from each person.  Trust your team. And always thank your team.

Suspend your ego and hire the best talent you can afford. Do not be intimidated by an individual that has more experience than you in a particular area. You are only as successful as the average of the people you spend time with.

Reach for the Stars!

January 25th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

When you reach for the stars you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either.
Leo Burnett

What happened to setting audacious goals; outrageous goals that are followed by mockery and laughter by others, including your friends. Think about it. Who and what is standing in the way of you achieving the impossible? Every highly successful person has this mindset. You will only be as successful as you see yourself.

Bargain Like There's No Tomorrow!

January 24th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Interesting points made in the bnet article regarding the shift of marketing methods. But here’s something we need to realize; those in traditional media are just as concerned about maintaining business as any other industry, and therefore are willing to offer great deals, discounts and incentives to keep their clients. There are deals being made that were previously unheard of. But you need to ask big and not budge.

Responsibility of a Creative Professional

January 13th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Design is solving problems. When a problem is solved, progress is made. As creative leaders, we are in positions to contribute solutions to our society; whether we are freelancers, working in corporate or non-profit organizations, or manage our own creative groups. From the moment we make the decision to take up the role of a designer, either in leadership or entry-level, graphic or furniture, advertising or consulting, we are marked with a social responsibility to better our society locally, nationally, and globally. It becomes our responsibility to question existing solutions and provide better, clearer, and more effective answers to the every-day problems. It is creating a more successful approach for an organization to communicate to its employees. It is designing a more intelligent method of conserving energy in a thirty-story office building. It is designing a brochure that communicates a product’s benefits more clearly. Every undertaking that a creative professional pursues, or is entrusted with, is an opportunity for him or her to take the ordinary and make is extraordinary.

I challenge all creative professionals to question every decision that is made in your line of work. Please understand, there are always elements of accident, surprise, and play during the creative process that yield valuable and interesting results. But, there should be a strict discipline to make every choice, every decision, and every step count. Why are you choosing a particular typeface? Why are you choosing to use a particular fabric for the upcoming fall collection? Why are you choosing a specific window size for the new building project?

During the creative process, if your decisions are based on the merit of ‘what looks cool’, and ‘what you like’, I strongly suggest you reconsider your decision-making method very quickly, or reassess your career path.

Your are responsible for making things better, more interesting, easier to use – not the other way around. You are responsible for contributing to the progress of the organization or individual you create work for.