simpleI was making a presentation at a new client’s offices this past week, and we were talking about the importance of delivering key messages consistently, across all communications mediums, whether that’s a humble press release, an ad or a social media post.

This is the lifeblood of not only PR and B2B marketing communications but branding as well. Because if we’re not delivering those messages, and driving the recipients of those messages to DO something – like try your company’s product or service – we’re not getting them to engage with the brand and (hopefully) provide them a terrific experience. That experience then becomes shareable, through any means of communication, including word of mouth.

But as I pointed out in my preso, that shareable aspect should apply to the key messages we deliver as well. We live in a digital world that’s social and shareable, I said, and so if we have simple messages, it’s going to be easier for the recipients to share just as much as they would share a great experience. So if we can couple a simple message with a great experience, how do you think that benefits a B2B brand?

I think you know the answer to that question.

I remember back in the day when I was just a young, cub PR account executive and I would make these elaborate key message documents, with long messages and loads of proof points. I’m not saying there wasn’t validity to that, nor am I saying that there aren’t situations where that would be appropriate today. But I’ve grown into the line of thinking that the simpler the better – a simple message is easier for your client representatives to deliver, and it’s easier for the recipient to pick up on and repeat, perhaps over and over, online and in the real world.

A colleague of mine made a good point that Einstein said to make everything as simple as possible but not simpler. That means you can oversimplify things and make it sound trite and, frankly, silly. That’s why it takes just as much thinking to create a round of good, solid, simple messages than ever before.

Those who can do that will reap the benefits.

Image credit to Library Journal, and I recommend you read its insightful post Keep Your Messages Simple as an addendum to this post.


Book Review: Romancing the Brand

by Gregg on June 7, 2015

My note: I’m always on the lookout for good, strong brand thinking and it looks like my Cameroonian colleague Patrick Mayoh is as well. This is a book I’d not heard of previously, but you can bet that thanks to Patrick’s review, I’m going to add it to my list of must-reads.

UnknownHow to make your customers literally fall in love with your brand … Ah yes, there is a way to do just that for marketers and brand evangelists, according to Tim Halloran in his book Romancing the Brand: How brands create strong, intimate relationships with consumers. It is just so devastating to see how brands go all the way to get us to believe they have better features, offer more value for money, are better than the competition or worse still can match rivals’ prices.

At the end of the day Halloran reminds us that:

“Maybe you feel that a brand says something about you to others when you are consuming, wearing or using it. Or maybe you feel that the brand has a personality that you can relate to. Perhaps a brand occupies not only a specific place in your mind but also a specific place in your heart.”

And that is it really. Thinking about this review, I considered quoting all the interesting parts of the book I loved but then I realized this quote alone summed it up. What would you rather have as a marketer? Customers that can recall your product because your brand has a specific place in their mind, or customers that will actually buy your product because your brand has a specific place in their hearts?

Taking examples ranging from brands like Coca-Cola, Dos Equis, the Atlanta Falcons and smartwater, Halloran, through a mix of fascinating anecdotes, provides a very practical guide and roadmap to creating a romance story between your customers and your brand right from the stage where they meet you first like on an initial date to the point where they end up tattooing your logo on their skin.

But brand romance is not just about being in love; sometimes you need to break up with your customers, especially when you feel you need to move your brand into a different type of market space, for example. The book provides good examples on how to do just that. There are also fascinating stories of successful turnarounds from brands with practical insights into how brand managers can orchestrate their own turnaround branding strategies.

I just wish the book was not so focussed on the U.S. Maybe there should be an international edition with examples from different parts of the world. Nonetheless this still makes for a great read on branding and marketing in general. If you happen to be in search of great ideas on how to make your brand more romantic, this is a good book from which to start.

My note: What brands are you in love with, and why? What is it that appeals to you?


#BMA15: A Whole New Train of Thought: Delivering Customer Outcomes

May 27, 2015

Speak the customer’s language. Tell the stories that matter to them. Find the outcomes and then design a solution. Those were the key takeaways from this afternoon’s #BMA keynote from Russell Stokes, president and CEO of GE Transportation, a $5 billion division of GE, and Kristi Lundgren, a GE Transportation marketing executive, titled A Whole […]

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#BMA15: The Changing Face of B2B Marketing

May 27, 2015

Here’s a freaky stat: The average person spends more time online than TV and all other media (newspapers, magazines, etc.) combined. There is even statistical data to back it up, courtesy of Jim Lecinski, Google VP of U.S. sales and service: Digital time: 5 hours, 38 minutes TV time: 4 hours, 15 minutes Newspapers: 11 […]

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#BMA15: Stand Out and Win More New Business

May 27, 2015

Agencies have it tougher today than ever before to not only win new business, but to even be in the hunt. According to Steve and Robin Boehler from Mercer Island Group in their #BMA15 presentation this morning Stand Out and Win More New Business, there are four growth-limiting problems agencies face today: 1. It’s tougher […]

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An Ability to Connect the Dots Leads to Innovation, Brand Building

May 5, 2015

Just finished a remarkable little book which proved to me that the ability to innovate and thus build a brand – corporate, product, personal, etc. – comes down to processes that connect the dots. That was the point of Madan Birla’s short book (149 pp.) Unleashing Creativity and Innovation. “Groundbreaking new ideas are the results […]

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#BMA15: Listening Is the Zen Needed to Build B2B Brands

April 13, 2015

I just got my media credentials for the Business Marketing Association’s BMA15 B2B conference, slated for May 27-29 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, and I couldn’t be more excited. I guest-blogged at BMA14 and was amazed at how much I got out of the experience by simply by doing one thing: Listening. Sounds […]

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The Moral of Google+: Create Great Expectations

March 9, 2015

Gizmodo reported this week that it looks like Google+ is going to be split into two services, called Photos and Streams. So does that mean G+ is dead? Maybe not yet, the Gizmodo piece said, but “it does suggest that Google is moving away from the pure Plus branding, which suggests an overhaul may be […]

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Book Review: Being Tuned In Focuses Your Brand on the Buyer’s Problem

February 23, 2015

It’s rare these days that a book will stop me cold and challenge me to critically assess what I do every day. But that’s exactly what happened when I read Tuned In by Craig Stull, Phil Myers and David Meerman Scott. Tuned In’s premise is simple: It’s the buyer‘s problem that matters. Are you and […]

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What’s Really Authentic on Social Media?

January 26, 2015

From time to time I wonder if social media is burning out as a communications channel. I thought that again this week when I read a story in WSJ titled, Paid ‘Influencers’ Undercut Ads on Pinterest. The story noted that some brands are investing in Pinterest, not in advertising, but in paying the channel’s influencers […]

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