Hear local advertising mogul Paul Wilson of WILSONMedia as Paul talks about the creative process and the business of communications along with his Memorial Day benefit concert with his brothers. Paul joined us live at the Rhino on Air studios for our radio show “Write At Five” where we interview local (and sometimes national) guests for a weekly radio show all about writing. Listen in here: PODCAST http://rhinoonair.com/?p=1920
Posts tagged ‘advertising’
On-line games and advertising, it’s a natural combination. Ads want to collect the attention of eyeballs. Period. Collecting the attention of targeted eyeballs is even better–eyeballs generally attracted to a certain lifestyle, recreational activity or demographic. While this has always been true of every sort of ad, on-line ads have an advantage–they can be interactive.
Let’s face it, traditional on-line ads have a bad rep. In fact, if traditional on-line advertising had a personality, it would be my gaudy, drunken uncle wearing his circa 1970s polyester leisure suit, making an obnoxious toast, insulting every guest sitting around the Thanksgiving Day table. Banner ads, pop-up ads, customized ads–flashing, blinking, blurring, distracting and obstructing your view from the content or game or other on-line experience you intended to consume–have become an unfortunate part of the commercial web-based landscape.
Games, however, have found ways to integrate ads into the user-experience, often triggering urges in gamers to go get the product, now. They borrowed the concept of product placement from TV and movies and put the impact of these things on steroids, having gamers interact with the products in the games they are playing. Pogo.com is notorious for this, advertizing such products as ice cream and orange juice. They insert name brand items into the games as an integrated part of the game that gamers must interact with to participate in the game.
Seeing the enticing graphic of a tub of strawberry ice cream over and over again, that you must concentrate on to complete your game, gets your sense memory going about what that ice cream tastes like, feels like and where you can go get some. Same goes for the frosty carton of orange juice. Yes, I admit to falling victim to this manipulative device, and have stopped playing a game craving and even going out to get the product I was playing with.
This reminds me of an older ad campaign by the now obscure Blimpie sandwich and sub shop. They played this TV ad late at night in college towns, knowing the nocturnal habits of college students who are often up late studying or partying or both and who are always on the prowl for easy, tasty, cheap food. Blimpie, which was often open late at night and even 24 hours in some cases, played a TV ad that just showed a giant sub sandwich and the Blimpie logo, saying over and over again in a strange tone, “Blimpie,” “Blimpie…” Sales for Blimpie skyrocketed as a result.
There are other games, however, that are wildly popular, such as app games like Angry Birds. App games are still using the banner and pop-up ads as their primary source of revenue, allowing for the free download of the app. While I appreciate the free games, I feel compelled to report that I have never, not once, clicked through to an ad. Not ony will I not click-through, I don’t know what the ads are–I just see them as distractions as I’m trying to concentrate on a game, much like buzzers and flashing lights in a casino.
Now, make me play with the products in the game–you’ll have my attention. If Angry Birds were made to knock down piles of Campbell’s Tomato Soup cans and Ritz Crackers, I’ll notice. I’ll likely even have these products on my lunch menu in the very near future after playing with them often enough. I wouldn’t want to see this on every level of the game, but maybe the first game of each set would be enough to reinforce the message.
And because I can’t help myself, if this is true of products, what about other types of messaging such as social marketing–spreading prevention messages for health and behavioral health issues or other social problems such as bullying and violence prevention. What great things we could communicate through games!
If you want to stay ahead of the game, let your public know that your eye is on innovation and change. What is your vision? No, I am not speaking of a vision statement here–what you or your company would like the world to look like in some utopia. I’m talking about what you or your company is doing today to create change by being innovative. What do you and your public want? Make them understand that you not only both want the same things, but that you and your company are 100% committed to getting what you want, together. Here are some strategies to make that happen:
- Ask your public what they want. No, really. Ask them. Conduct focus groups, send out surveys, conduct social networking polls and discussions, get a buzz started and engage in conversations. Know your public well, develop relationships with them and find out exactly what they want. Hint: It may not be exactly what they say they want, but by knowing them you’ll learn things about them that will reveal a lot about their true vision to you. The purpose here is not just to get people to say what’s on their mind but to get them to say the things they don’t want to say, to tell you things they don’t know they know and to help you and your business reveal trends and needs that isn’t the most obvious. This can help you change a product or service in just the right way that you’re called genius, an innovator and intuitive. In fact, you will be,
- Listen. Yes, do listen to your public and also listen to your competitors, partners, colleagues, employees/staff, etc. Listen with a critical ear. Weed out the insults and compliments and hear solutions and opportunities for change. If you’ve always done things a certain way, don’t hesitate to examine if “that way” is really the best effective way now, today, responsive to current needs and goals. Listen to the people around you and welcome suggestions and resolutions. Discourage negativity that isn’t overwhelmingly overshadowed with solutions and forward-thinking.
- Roll up your sleeves and get to work. Make those changes happen. Begin aligning your products and services to be responsive to what your public wants and needs. Make your vision and their vision not only a shared vision but a shared reality. Develop strategic plans, product plans and service delivery plans that answer the new vision you’ve discovered. Document how each change is responsive to the new vision and determine how you will measure this effectiveness.
- Pilot. If possible, try a pilot release, and measure its effectiveness against a control group of the old way of doing things. Use diverse demographics or contain it among a specific target market, but keep it manageable so that you can examine the modifications and determine if they truly are effective or if aspects can still be tweaked to increase effectiveness. If changes are needed, make them and measure again. The quicker you roll through this process, the stronger your business will be. Learning to be flexible is key here and will benefit any business in the long-run.
- Wide release. Let it go. Send your vision out to your public, and let them know that it is of them and for them. That while these changes are based on their feedback and ideas, you are still open to continued innovation and want to know more about their wants, needs and vision. That you are committed to being responsive to them for as long as you are in business.
- Communicate. Not market. Use platforms that will allow you to engage in two-way conversations. You can buy ads and organize publicity, but most important is customer service and interaction. Make certain that every human representing your company is on the same page, communicating the same messages and collecting information towards progressive change. Bring your clients and customers into your communications strategy, demonstrating that your method of communication is one-on-one. No matter how small or large your business is, you not only make time for your customers and clients, you are in business for your customers and clients and they know it.
- Do it. Communicate by doing. Make sure your messages and actions are mirror images of one another. Your public will pay more attention to what you do than what you say, but if you can avoid contradictions between the two, ultimately you will arrive at trust. Trust that your business and your public share the same vision. Trust is priceless.
The Digital Divide: Not everyone who matters is plugged in & many messages are best relayed eyeball-to-eyeball
I respect the digital divide.
Not everyone has or wants to access the web for content, networking, research, etc. And honestly, that’s okay.
Some of these unplugged people are part of your most critical audience–they may be powerful community leaders, grassroots activists and wildly popular small business owners. While I’ll admit that getting plugged-in would only expand their reach and influence, they are very effective where they are and how they operate. You must be committed to meeting them where they are to make sure you are as inclusive in your communications strategies as possible. Be certain to provide no-tech recourses and communication tools, and not just as an after-thought. Make it meaningful and tied directly to your no-tech audience.
Additionally, some content isn’t best suited for the web. Some presentations and communications strategies are best suited to kinesthetic, tactile, manipulative, in-person, eyeball-to-eyeball hands-on connections. Get creative, and make these options available. Remember that people are physical not electronic entities. They sometimes like to hold things and have person-to-person conversations and connections.
Best practices: know & meet the needs of all your public where they are. Remember that a person-to-person conversation, sharing a laugh, or catching someone’s eye as they tell a story is critical in communications.
Never substitute technology for in-person. Technology is an enhancement not a replacement.
I’ve read many, many blogs, websites, brochures, fliers, posters, ads… you name it. Let’s get real. People might like to be pampered and entertained, witness exotic customs or seek adventure and excitement. All of this is true.
I have a better question for people in the tourism industry–all you copywriters, marketers and ad guys out there whose job it is to lure the almighty American dollar into the hands of tourist destination A or B…
Question: What do people really need?
Answer: They need to feel connected.
Give people an opportunity to “Be a local” and be a part of a community when they travel–to reconnect with themselves and connect to the community they’re visiting.
Marketers and copywriters, sell THAT. I dare you.
Daphne’s List of Seven–VALUES-CENTERED BRANDING STRATEGY For Visionary professionals
E.G. Nike doesn’t market shoes. The company markets values. Oh, and by the way, you can buy a really expensive pair of athletic shoes that show the world that you are all about those same values: “Just do it,” “Pledge your heart to the game,” all about endurance, character, commitment, perseverance, etc. McDonald’s doesn’t market hamburgers. Coca-Cola doesn’t market soda. The list goes on… These companies market experiences, emotions and VALUES.
(hint: they should be the same)
2. Who is your public–your customers/clients? What do they value? If you’re not sure, ask them. I promise, they will tell you.
3. Values match: Do your values match theirs? If not, work on this so that they do match.
(hint: sometimes a very progressive visionary company is in a position to attempt to amplify the existing values of its public, usually by increasing the visioning capacity of its public. Imagine a more compassionate, resourceful, sustainable and collaborative culture. Imagine homes, food and clothing for all. Imagine art and creativity is as valued in education as math and reading. Imagine teachers are paid their worth.)
4. Create the image: Imagine the future is already here–what does this picture look like? If the values your business represents become a large part of the culture, what will change? Define the image of that change.
(hint: This is not your logo. This is an image that can speak louder than words–can be a video, a photograph or something more creative. It is at least visual or at most multi-sensory)
5. Tie this into your communications strategies: key messages, elevator speeches, ad campaigns, media relations, blog and Twitter posts, etc.
6. Get feedback/research: Ask your public if they feel your brand is representing the targeted values well? Ask if these values are representative of the public’s values?
(hint: your overall business operations and practices must also mirror the values you promote. Your communications strategy must be woven into your business culture. In other words, you can’t claim to be a champion for valuing diverse voices and devalue the voices of some staff members. hypocrisy will be revealed sooner or later.)
7. Communicate: Respond to the individuals who took their time to give you feedback. Thank them for participating in surveys or answering questionnaires, etc. Most importantly, let them know you’re listening by taking action based on their responses. Be authentic, responsive, transparent and accountable. Think of creative ways to make sure this happens.