Tag Archives: branding and marketing

Marketing Tip #2 – Not all media is created equal

What makes a great campaign stand out from a good campaign is that the creative team needs to fully understand the power and value of different medias. They should understand that each medium presents the message in a unique way. When it comes time to make your media buys, you better be able to decide which medium is the correct choice for your campaign. In other words, let the message dictate the medium.

There’s no official rules to using different media but here’s a breakdown of a few and how I see their good and bad points.

The Good: Visual, tells a story, quick to grab attention and create an emotional connection. Production is the key to success in video. Because you are relying on so many elements in video, your team has to be able to deliver on every element for it to be impactful and most importantly, create an instant emotion in the viewer. Dodge did this during the Superbowl two years ago with  God Made a Farmer.

The Bad: The biggest misconception is that length dictates quality of a commercial. Not true. Anything over 30 seconds and you’re pushing your viewers attention span so you better be able to do something magical and by magical I mean something along the “God Made a Farmer” type of magic. If you can’t afford to have it done professionally and keep it at 30 seconds or less, then skip it and go a different direction.

The Good: Print is not dead. Print is a highly visual medium and quick to grab attention. It gives you a chance to present your message and brand in a way that is unexpected as well as tell your story through well written copy.

The Bad: Too much copy or copy that is poorly written will kill your message. Using “expected” stock photography or imagery will not grab people’s attention. Print is 100% about the visual aspect. If they aren’t connecting to the image the rest of the print message will not matter. Creating a visual that delivers instant emotion is where it’s at in print.

The Good: This is purely a visibility medium. It’s about maintaining and making your brand/message “sticky.” It’s the daily reminder  to the audience that your brand/message is relevant, in action and here to party.

The Bad: Trying to convey too much information and cluttered visuals will kill a billboard faster than anything. When’s the last time you memorized a phone number off a billboard? If some C-suite suit says they want a phone number on the billboard, ask them when was the last time they wrote a phone number down while driving 80mph. You should probably compliment them on their tie after you say that of course.

Social Media
The Good: If conversation and content is king, then social media is a  playground for building your castle. It’s real time engagement, it’s giving you an opportunity to have open and honest conversations with your targeted demographic and audience. Facebook ad campaigns are cheap and you can drill down your target demographic insanely well.

The Bad: If you can’t stand open, honest and candid feedback about your brand then don’t even bother. If all you have to say or present on social media is some form of chest thumping about how awesome you are then step aside. If you think all social media is used for is to sell stuff, move along. You get the picture? If you can’t be real then this isn’t your place to be.

The Good: Radio is awesome for presenting a solution for someone with an immediate need. If I have three hot-dogs left to sell, radio is how I’m gonna get that done. It’s down and dirty, in your face and all about the message. And in radio that message is “if you need it now, we’ve got it.”

The Bad: There is literally nothing worse than bad radio spots. Well, there is and that would be bad local television spots that use kids and sports mascots to sell auto body work or tractors (that’s another story). Production is critical and so is time. When done correctly, give me 15 seconds and I can sell you the world, or at least my last three hot-dogs.

What’s the takeaway here? You can’t stuff one message into every medium and be successful. It’s takes strategy, planning, commitment to good production, budget and most of all, the ability to utilize different mediums to their potential while still maintaining a consistent message and brand. Good luck camper…now get out there and get some.


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Marketing Tip #6 – Let Whitespace Tell the Story

A few months ago I was asked to be a guest blogger for Imageworks. I’ve known and worked closely with this team of talented individuals for five years now. They asked to me to discuss any topic that folks might find interesting about marketing, so I decided to write about the concept of “less is more.” A concept that is missed by many, but for those who realize ad space isn’t a dumping ground for bad copy and cheap sales pitches, can be an emotional and powerful brand builder.

Here’s the link to my original post: Let Whitespace Tell the Story.

Or…read it here:

Geoff Peddicord works for Missoula’s Community Medical Center, a favorite client of ours. Officially, he’s the Director of Marketing & Public Relations. Unofficially, he’s just really great at what he does and what he does is connect people with brand. Here, Geoff shares the moment of inspiration behind a very successful marketing campaign.

Letting go and letting the whitespace tell the story

We all have those defining moments in our professional world when we read or see something that puts everything we do into perspective. It may be a quote by the original madman David Ogilvy. Perhaps it’s re-reading Theodore Levitt’s flash of genius in his groundbreaking whitepaper, “Marketing Myopia.

Oddly enough, I found a fresh perspective by reaching deep into the past. Antoine de Saint Exupery was a French aviator alive in the early 1900’s. He flew airplanes and was a poet and literary master. He understood the most basic principles of aeronautic design, what makes something fly. It is his paragraph about shaping the wing of an airplane that rattled my foundation and forever changed the way I go about building a marketing campaign and driving a brand.

“Have you ever thought, not only about the airplane but about whatever man builds, that all of man’s industrial efforts, all his computations and calculations, all the nights spent over working draughts and blueprints, invariably culminate in the production of a thing whose sole and guiding principle is the ultimate principle of simplicity? A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” – Antoine de Saint Exupery (1939).

So many times we get caught up in thinking we have to hand deliver our story to the audience with a silver spoon. We find ourselves speaking to the lowest common denominator, slaving away on copy trying to convey every possible aspect of our service, product or offering. It’s almost as if we have some strange drive, that if we are purchasing 9.89 columns X 7.00 inches of print space, then by God, we are going fill that entire area with words, pictures and design elements.

Personally, I’ve grown tired of marketing to the lowest common denominator. I refuse to fill whitespace with useless graphics and unnecessary words. I’ve started trusting that our audience is intelligent and can think for themselves. Know that they have the ability to look at the work, find their own story in the whitespace, and take themselves to this space I’m asking them to go. I don’t need overdesigned pieces, tons of copy and huge logos. It’s all unnecessary. The imagination of the audience is a powerful tool when effectively prompted.

Is this an easy task? Is embracing the whitespace something that the C-Suite corporate suits will stand behind? Probably not right away. But I promise you that fighting for that whitespace will pay dividends.

Audi doesn’t tell us how they make steering wheels or what kind of gas pedals they use. All they want to do is convey the way we will feel when driving their cars. Patagonia became a brand leviathan because they showed their garments being used by real people, in the real world. They added nothing else to the photos. No fancy copy, no quirky headers or tag lines. Patagonia sells a lifestyle and produces the best quality outdoor clothing in the industry. They don’t need to tell people that. Customers figured it out for themselves and today they are still the brand to beat in the outdoor industry.

And what about that C-suit executive who fancy themselves as marketing experts? How do you respond to the inevitable “I want to see the logo bigger” discussion? This is likely your best retort.

You have to be able to explain to them that subtlety goes much further in the mind of the consumer. Big logos in marketing are the equivalent of shouting and we never shout. Confident organizations that trust themselves understand that you don’t need a huge logo on a marketing piece to make a point and we all know that people relate to people, not logos. If your brand is consistent across the board the audience will ultimately recognize the campaign as yours regardless of the size of your logo.

Taking Exupery’s advice, we strip away the unnecessary elements, build power with fewer words and ultimately have faith that in that whitespace, in those areas of the undefined, that is where the audience finds their own story and creates that pure connection to your brand.


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Marketing Tip #1 – Brands develop in an epicenter

What do brands like, Patagonia, Ruff Wear, PBR, Airstream and Carhartt all have in common? At some point in their existence, either from the beginning days of their brand, or later as the brand struggled to maintain market share, there was a movement within a sub-culture of individuals that gravitated towards the product, embraced it, utilized it and shared it with others, consciously or subconsciously.

I like to call this the “brand epicenter experience.” This is defined when a shift happens at the center of a sub-culture, individuals gravitate towards a product for various reasons but typically they are tied to strong beliefs/ideals held within their sub-culture. These brands become “identifiers,” coveted within the group because they work to further define and separate them from the everyday norm. This group is considered the epicenter of brand consumption.

People outside the sub-culture that want to fit in and emulate the actions of those in the epicenter, embrace and utilize the same brands/products as the sub-culture, the movement starts to spread out from the epicenter and expand. Just as an earthquake happens, so does the organic spreading of a brand. You can’t make it happen, however, by being highly specific in defining your demographic and staying only within their marketing channels you will increase your odds of an epicenter event.

For brands like Patagonia, Ruff Wear and Airstream, they knew from day one who they were, they understood the needs of their customers and they knew where and how to find them. These markets however were very small and considered outside the norm compared to more commercialized markets at the time. That didn’t matter to these brands. They weren’t worried with mass consumption of their products. They focused on manufacturing the best possible products for their specific demographic and use. They didn’t go out with the purpose of creating brand converts but what they unconsciously did was create brand apostles who worked tirelessly, spreading the message of the brand through their sub-culture and beyond.

If you wanna shake things up you gotta start at the epicenter. It’s where shift happens.






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Marketing Tip #7 – The power of a free hot-dog.

I heard this story a long time ago and it’s always stuck with me. You see, there was once this guy that owned a hot-dog stand that wasn’t doing much business. He was approached by a radio ad sales rep about doing some radio advertising. The hot-dog stand owner scoffed and said, “Radio is expense and it doesn’t work.” The sales rep said, I’ll tell you what…I’ll run the first week of radio ads at no charge to you but what you have to do in return is advertise that you’re giving away free hot-dogs.” The guy thought about it for a minute and then said, “No way would I ever do that.” The sales rep asked why and the guy said, “Because I’d be overrun with people wanting free hot-dogs.” The sales represponded, “I thought you said radio didn’t work?

What’s the lesson here? It’s about the message, not the medium. If you’ve got a compelling story people will listen. And respond.

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