The saying “Content is King” in marketing is more true than most would like to admit. But have we considered that the content we write actually makes us better. Pausing to conceptualize and effectively communicate a thought in two or three paragraphs pushes our intellect and our depth of understanding concerning ourselves and our brand. And for the most part…it’s free!
I was reading Seth Godin’s blog post this morning and it profoundly hit the nail on the head. Here’s what he said,
It seems arrogant to say, “perhaps this isn’t for you.”
When the critic pans your work, or the prospect hears your offer but doesn’t buy, the artist responds, “that’s okay, it’s not for you.” She doesn’t wheedle or flip-flop or go into high pressure mode. She treats different people differently, understands that she is working to delight the weird, not please the masses, and walks away.
Isn’t that arrogant?
No. It’s arrogant to assume that you’ve made something so extraordinary that everyone everywhere should embrace it. Our best work can’t possibly appeal to the average masses, only our average work can.
Finding the humility to happily walk away from those that don’t get it unlocks our ability to do great work.
Knowing who you are and where you are going is branding. That is the brand, whether the brand is you, a product or service. Being confident in allowing your brand to be itself is not arrogant…it is strategic. We must be artists, creators, innovators; we are all original.
I asked a client (singer/songwriter) the other day in a session, “Who was Michael Jackson like?” “What about Prince? Or Miles Davis?” The answer, obviously was no one. They were confident in being themselves and they created forms of music that no one before them had created. We don’t really consider musicians who followed in their footsteps to be legends. Being legendary requires being unique, different. It required these artists to be themselves, not attempting to please everyone, but pushing to have personal integrity and originality in their work.
No one can be you. There is no competition to you. When you choose to be yourself and stay focused on a clear path, you don’t really compete with anyone. You now have something unique. Now all you have to do is market, effectively tell your story to a specific demographic. Branding and marketing…defining who you are, where you are going, and sharing that story effectively.
I was perusing the interweb doing some reading on storytelling and came across this fantastic article by Jonah Sachs, CEO of branding agency Free Range Studios, and author of Winning the Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell (and Live) the Best Stories Will Rule the Future. Jonah clearly explains to basic fundamentals of the importance and (possibly more important) process of good storytelling. Once brands (individuals, products or organizations) recognize the importance of telling a story to their audience, they can begin to develop the skills to do so effectively. Enjoy.
As the media landscape continues to evolve, audiences are gaining more and more control over the information they view and share. To remain relevant, brands need to know how to tell compelling stories to reach them.
Traditional messages in the old broadcast style — exalt your product and tell your audiences why they need it now — are at best overlooked and forgotten; at worst, ridiculed. But successful stories, such as Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches, can garner 150m YouTube views in a couple of months and supercharge brand awareness and loyalty — without talking about the product at all. This is what success looks like for brands that shift from broadcast messaging to storytelling.
The transformation begins by realizing that your brand is nothing more than an ongoing story–a set of meaningful emotional experiences unfolding between itself and your audiences. Just like stories, brands can be inspiring, clear and actionable, or self-important, bland and confusing. The inspiring ones light up social networks, passing virally from storyteller to storyteller. The others instantly disappear.
Here are four simple steps that will help your brand become effective at storytelling.
The viral music video of the moment is right here.
The question for the marketer, music or otherwise, isn’t, “what are the hooks and tricks I use to go viral?” No, the question is, “is it worth it?”
What does the fox say has the hooks and tricks in abundance. It has Archie McPhee animal costumes, nonsense words, just the right sort of production values, superfluous subtitles, appropriate silliness. It would probably help the cause to add spurious nudity, but give them points for getting the rest of it right.
To what end?
If your work goes viral, if it gets seen by tens of millions of people, sure you can profit from that. But most of the time, it won’t. Most of the time, you’ll aim to delight the masses and you’ll fail.
I’m glad that some people are busy trying to entertain us in a silly way now and then. But it doesn’t have to be you doing the entertaining–the odds are stacked against you.
So much easier to aim for the smallest possible audience, not the largest, to build long-term value among a trusted, delighted tribe, to create work that matters and stands the test of time.
“Baby bump bump bay dum.”
Twice a year I have the privilege to speak to a group of students pursuing the art of Wedding Coordination. My wife teaches the certification course at Cal Poly Pomona and invites me to speak to them about branding, marketing and design.
It’s always an engaging conversation which usually lends itself to an extended time of Q&A. Here’s a bit of what I share…
1. Your Brand is You…knowing who you are is the foundation of building your brand
2. What is Your Art?…being clear about what it is you make; what you provide
3. Setting Your Destination…knowing where you are going defines your vision and mission
4. Telling Your Story…effectively communicating who you are, where you’re going and what you do to those who you wish to partner with
5. The Icing on the Cake…implementing design to support your story and create a positive first impression
6. Time to Knock on Doors…thinking through strategic marketing via social media, tradition collateral and beyond
My hope is that, though this is fairly brief, it would give some direction to Wedding Planners or anyone else with an idea and a willingness to connect that idea to society.
I spent some time on Pinterest lately digging through branding & marketing quotes. Quotes like, “Your brand is what people say when you’re not in the room.” Rethinking our understanding of branding is imperative. When we think of branding as merely a cool design or great presentation, we miss the point and so will our customers.
Frustrated by stupid client criticism, Irish graphic designers Mark Shanley and Paddy Treacy decided to turn their “favorite worst feedback” into posters. The guys worked together on so-called “Sharp Suits” series with a team of other ad creatives, designers, animators, directors, illustrators and more, who must’ve all appreciated a chance to let out some of their exasperation in a creative way.
The series was exhibited at The Little Green Café, Bar and Gallery in November, giving a chance to purchase an A3 poster of your choice. The guys, however, received so many orders during a 5 day exhibition, that they’ve already stopped accepting them. All the thousands of euros they claim to have raised were donated to the Temple Street Children Hospital.
To see the rest, visit SharpSuits.net
Sure, you know about content marketing—but do you really know about content marketing? I found this great list at Zemanta this morning. Clients always think creating content is a no-brainer, but you need to be strategic and consider a few things.
Do you think content marketing is the same as blogging, for example? (It’s not.) Does launching a content marketing strategy seem either too easy or too hard? (It shouldn’t.) The truth is, most companies today are still a little fuzzy on what exactly content marketing means.
So to help you clarify your understanding, here’s a look at four of the most common content marketing misunderstandings!
1. Content Marketing = Blogging
2. Creating Content Is Easy—We’ll Just Throw Something Together
3. Creating Content Is Hard—We Have Nothing to Say
4. Content Marketing Means Losing Money
Seth Godin, one of my favorite modern thinkers, released his newest book today. “The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?” is nothing short of brilliant. Two things might hold someone back from sharing the art they’ve got inside: The fear of telling the truth or the lame strategy of hiding the truth behind a sales pitch. If you can find the voice, stand up and tell people what you care about.
Your art is vitally important, and what makes it art is that it is personal, important and fraught with the whiff of failure. This is precisely why it’s scarce and thus valuable—it’s difficult to stand up and own it and say, “here, I made this.” – Seth Godin
Watch this video…go ahead and do it. Now.
At some point, art must involve a human. A human with intent. Your hand can be your heart or your words or your effort or a hug, but, yes, the work of a human. If you de-industrialize the process and return it to humanity, to connection, then yes, it’s art and yes, it will connect to other humans more effectively.
This is my art:
I’m good at helping tell your story to people who don’t really know it, yet need to know it. I create pictures that don’t speak a thousand words, but instead speak a few strategic words that provoke an inevitable response. I’m gifted at the art of ignoring boxes and rethinking possibilities. In essence, my art is helping give your art wings.
CALL ME 626.467.5335
ALSO, check out our LOFT and how it may support you.
For as long as I could remember, I have been an artist. I saw my first Picasso exhibit at 6; art was my favorite subject throughout school. About 11 years ago, a friend needed my help making some flyers. I was a bit lost, so he hooked me up with a copy of Photoshop 5. I learned the heck out of it. I began creating flyers and business cards for more friends, until I eventually tried my hand at turning it into a business.
I would get so frustrated with my friends & clients, because I wanted them to have the coolest, hottest designs around, yet they were just looking for something that helped sell their business. I started digging through as many marketing books as I could stand…learning everything I could about branding, strategy and human behavior.
After fighting with clients for years, I finally began listening to them and their potential customers. Asking questions like, “what makes your customer happy? What is your story? What do want your customers to do?” I quickly began to realize that it was not about the pretty pictures I could create, but more importantly about the reaction they provoked.
As I started referring to myself as a “Strategic Designer”, it provided a simple way to start the right conversations with my clients. It provided a simple way to let clients know that I wasn’t just about making pretty pictures, but about making them successful in their marketing journey.