Tag Archives for " differentiation "

Sailing into a big, blue ocean of opportunity.

Kevin Plank, CEO of Under Armour, likes to tell the story of his origin as an entrepreneur. And it always revolves around focus…

“For the first five years we only had one product. Stretchy tee shirts,” Plank said. “Great entrepreneurs take one product and become great at one thing. I would say, the number one key to Under Armour’s success – to any company’s success – plain and simple, is focus.”

v5-1201166-400_htfUnder Armour’s focus on stretchy tees for football players enabled Plank to create a whole new pie in the sporting goods industry. He wasn’t fighting with Nike for market share, he was competing on a playing field that no one was on. It was a classic “blue ocean” strategy… instead of competing in the bloody waters of an existing market with well-established competitors, he sailed off on his own. And he kept his ship on course until the company was firmly established. Only then did they begin to expand their product offerings.

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How to avoid the most glaring error in advertising.

Sometimes I just cringe when I see local TV commercials. Not because of the horrific script writing or the production quality. Not because of the poorly conceived value proposition, the ill-advised choice of “talent,” or the mind-numbing jingle.

No. I cringe because many of those companies don’t belong on television at all.

I’m talking about those cases where the medium – TV – does not match the demographic and psychographic profile of the prospects. In other words, the mistake of “reaching” a lot of people, but not the right kind of people.

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Enough, already, with the exclamation punctuation.

I’m an Advertising guy. And ad guys are not nit-pickers when it comes to grammatical details like sentence structure and punctuation. We write how normal people talk, not how english teachers write.

So it’s pretty unusual for me to take issue with anything grammar related. But someone has to speak out about all the exclamation points popping up in marketing circles. If I see one more boring marketing cliche punctuated with three of these !!! I’m going to scream.

exclamation_mark1Exclamation points are everywhere these days… in social media posts, on home pages, in emails, ad copy, and even in straight-forward product descriptions.

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Clarity. Clarity. Clarity.

Clarity is the key to many things… Relationships, international relations, politics and parenting would all benefit from more clarity. But let’s stick to the subject at hand; Clarity in branding, advertising and marketing communications in general. Doesn’t matter what form… from a quick tweet or a simple email to an in-depth webinar or long-term TV campaign, you need to be clear about what you’re trying to say.

It’s a war of clarity vs. confusion. Simplification vs. Complication. Cool persuasion vs. a lot of hot air. Straight talk vs. bullshit. And it starts with your internal communications.

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Working together for more effective advertising.

Planning, creating, producing and managing a great ad campaign is not easy. There are details galore, many moving pieces, and an interesting array of individuals who all need to come together to make it happen.

When it does, it’s really quite magical. It’s a rare marriage of art and salesmanship that produces spectacular results.

So here is some insight on the process that will help you succeed in advertising, no matter what side of the table you’re on. This is how we can all work together to create more effective advertising. More memorable design. Better client-agency relationships. And ultimately, stronger brands…

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2 How to create a website that works for your brand.

For some reason, many people think that “branded” websites won’t sell product or produce a steady stream of leads. And on the other hand, they don’t think “Ecommerce sites” will help their branding efforts. As if the two are mutually exclusive.

Well, here’s the good news: You really can have a website that performs well AND presents a strong brand message. But you’re going to have to go beyond the template-driven who, what, when and where approach that’s so common these days.

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Information is killing your advertising.

Contrary to popular belief, information is is the enemy of persuasion. Not the friend.

Most people think they can convince, sell or persuade by piling on facts and stats. Well, it might make you feel smart, but it’s not going to produce results. In fact, the more info you stuff into an ad, the less you’ll get out of it.

Information is what web sites are for. You can cover all the nitty gritty details in the content of your site. That’s where you go deep. Don’t try doing that in your advertising.

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2 Making websites work — on many levels.

It’s been very interesting to witness the progression of web design over the last 20 years. Trends come and go at a fashion-runway pace. Technology changes even faster than that, and the graphic style is continually evolving.

Regardless of the latest trends or technological bells and whistles, there are some timeless facts about this communication tool that will always apply. First and foremost: The most effective websites are multi-dimensional. That is, they communicate on many different levels…

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1 Is the term “inspiring bank” an oxymoron?

It’s interesting, where people find inspiration. For some business owners, it’s the pages of Forbes or biographies of big-name entrepreneurs. For Monet, it was the garden. For me it’s the bookstore, the ski slopes, or the trails.

old-bankThe bank is definitely not on my list.

Banks are not known for their inspiring environments or groundbreaking business practices. In fact, the entire banking industry has a huge cloud hanging over its head, every since the mortgage banking debacle of 2009.

The most exciting thing to ever happen at my bank was the emancipation of the counter pens… They were released from their chains and replaced with crappy logo pens that are now free to take home with just a purchase of a $10,000 15-year Certificate of Deposit.

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1 Five things every marketer should be thankful for.

Once a year we all sit down at the dinner table and express our gratitude and appreciation… for the food, the friends, the family, the abundance. You might want to do the same thing at work once in a while.

As business people, it’s easy to forget the stuff we should be thankful for in the workaday world. We get so wrapped up delivering the next deliverable, doing the next deal, and appeasing people who may be unappeasable, we just forget to be appreciative. Or worse yet, we don’t see the good stuff at all.

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