Super Bowl Sunday: one game generating one hundred million viewers. For avid sports watchers, it’s a huge championship filled with intense rivalry. For others, it’s a time to sing and dance along with Justin Timberlake during his halftime show. But for us advertisers, Super Bowl Sunday is all about the commercials. It’s probably the biggest night in advertising. It is estimated that for a 30-second commercial spot, companies are paying an outstanding $5 million!
There are trends and there are fads. In your business you have to hedge your bets that your popular product or service will turn out to be a mere fad, like $4.50 gourmet cupcakes, and not a trend like nonfat milk.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL reports that the bubble has burst on cupcakes, with Crumbs Bake Shop stock sinking from $13 per share to about $1.70. Not only is the Crumbs chain but also bakeries across the nation are experiencing significantly depressed demand.
That’s why Image Marketing Consultants warns about the risks involved in niche marketing. Sure, specializing in a one product or service has been profitable and a tactic to establish a strong brand identity. However, given the rapid changes in the marketplace, especially consumer preferences, businesses shouldn’t bet the ranch. They can introduce complimentary products and services, as has PepsiCo. They can also, under another brand, diversify, keeping the brands separate, as has News Corp.
Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to a complimentary consultation for your marketing, public relations, partnership, special events, and social media needs firstname.lastname@example.org, 203-404-4868.
Organizations are being hammered with the mandate that they have to “tell stories.” That means that instead of describing the benefits clients/customers can get from doing business with them, they frame all that in a narrative. The reasons are obvious.
From the get-go, human beings need both reality and fantasy packaged with a plot, compelling characters, and a theme or message. As every parent knows, children beg, “Tell me a story.” As we get older, we crave the satisfaction of cause and effect relationships being played out. X did this and Y happened.
When it comes to business, the most successful presentations and promotions capture those same aspects and pacing of a narrative. For example, the community college provides a timeline of a 20-something in a dead-end job, her enrollment in a nursing program, and the great money and career mobility she has today. That’s done all in a 60-minute commercial on television.
Is it okay to “make up” stories? Yes. In fact they can be the most appealing and memorable. That’s behind the branding success of GEICO. Its Cavemen stories embedded the company in the national consciousness. You can also make up characters and imaginary plot lines which package your message in a compelling manner.
How about graphics? We are a visual society. The more graphic elements you can introduce the more time will likely be spent with your promotions.
Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to a complimentary consultation for your marketing, public relations, partnerships, special events, and social media needs email@example.com, 203-404-4868.
For years on “Mad Men” we have watched the character Peggy Olson suffer, grow, and finally succeed. Unlike most of the rest of those on this series Olson not only has made it professionally. She also has found inner centering and maybe even happiness.
Image Marketing Consultants sees plenty of lessons business can learn from Olson’s difficult journey from a blue-collar background, insecurity, and a tendency to idolize those who seem to have all the answers to establishing her own creative space, on her own terms, without bitterness. Here are three.
Break away. From the get-go as infants, we human beings learn by imitation. The challenge is to finally stop that and find our own identity. There are those organizations and individuals who can’t let go of the model of the late Steve Jobs. Yet they should be focused on developing their own type of genius. Despite the emotional odds against her for carving out her own territory, Olson did break away.
Forgive. Carrying resentments from the past provides distractions from the present. That’s why the wise in every field, be it business or religion, hammer the importance of forgiveness. That process of letting go of ancient grudges frees up energy to achieve right now. Olson not only isn’t obsessed with the possible wrongs done her. She also isn’t trapped in castigating herself for her own mistakes when learning the ropes of the ad business.
Stay open. Olson is the one character on “Mad Men” whose future is open, both professionally and socially. We can’t predict what she will put together for herself this sixth season. We only expect more suffering for Don, Megan, Roger, Joan, and Pete. They close themselves to most opportunities.
Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to a complimentary consultation on your marketing, partnership, public relations, special events, and social media needs firstname.lastname@example.org, 203-404-4868.
BigData is the powerful tool businesses are leveraging to gain insight about the customers and clients, develop new products and services, identify new segments to enter, and figure out fresh competitive advantages. Small businesses often assume this is out of their reach. How could they aggregate all that data, filter it through gigantic computers, analyze the patterns, and then apply that to their enterprises? They don’t have the expertise or the budget.
However, Image Marketing Consultants has 3 tips for how small businesses can also gain access to the information they need.
Mine Search Engines and Social Media. One way of collecting data is to plow through what comes in to you from what’s posted on search engines about your enterprise and on your social media. Just like the experts, you will be able to discern patterns. For example, the keyword “affordable” occurs more and more often in relation to your products. That could provide the feedback you need to move ahead and position your branding as the affordable choice among the competition.
Read What Large Companies Are Doing. The media are filled with coverage of how a large company like American Express is applying what it is discovering from its data analysis to improve its revenues and profits. For example, American Express saw that those without bank accounts could be a whole new market for a digital wallet. Today, American Express has among its partners Wal-Mart for this growing line of business. Small businesses can gain ideas about what they might be able to create through partnership, both in terms of product/service offerings and where to market them.
Gather Data. Before the era of supercomputers businesses established informal ways to find out what they needed to know and, if they are smart, they are still doing that. That could simply be asking customers or prospects what they wanted and then really listen. It could be conducting a free survey through Survey Monkey. Or it could be walking through competitors’ stores or restaurants and figuring out what they’re doing that they aren’t and could be.
There is that old adage that information is power. That’s even more true in this fast-changing environment.
Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, welcomes you to a complimentary consultation for your marketing, partnership, public relations, special events, and social media needs email@example.com, 203-404-4868.
A few weeks ago a successful upscale restaurant leveraged a push selling tactic which probably was counterproductive to its branding and long-term business. For a week it promoted a special of two meals for $25, including any choice of its award-winning made-on-the-premise designer desserts. Although in the depth of the economic downturn this restaurant had struggled, for the past 18 months it had been thriving.
From marketing experience, Image Marketing Consultants knows that such steep discounting will bring in business but those who try the restaurant out are unlikely to return as regulars. They can’t afford the standard premium prices. In addition, the regulars get to thinking if they want to be associated with a bargain basement. Some might not return if their dining experience had been marred by crowds who didn’t know how to comport themselves in an elegant setting.
Admittedly, many enterprises had to discount during hard times. But as the economy shifts from recessionary to growth, they have to be mapping out strategies and tactics to transition from push selling to those based on a differentiated product or service. The risk is losing the bottom feeders, which might not be a bad thing. To keep the doors open during The Great Recession, all business might have been welcome. Now, it’s wise to remember the 80/20 rule. That is, that 80 percent of profits usually come from 20 percent of the business and 80 percent of the headaches come from customers and clients who are probably contributing least to the bottom line.
Pricing sends a powerful signal. Make sure it’s sending the right one about your brand.
Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, welcomes you to a complimentary consultation about your marketing, partnership, public relations, special events, and social media needs firstname.lastname@example.org, 203-404-4868,