Tag Archives: branding

You Have 9 Seconds To Fascinate A Client – Spend 1 Hour With Sally Hogshead First

Sally Hogshead had to unlearn how to be boring.

Thanks to web browsing, the average attention span is now approximately nine seconds, according to a BBC report. That happens to be the same attention span as a goldfish.

Why is this important for marketers and advertisers? It means you’d better make a good first impression, and fast.

Look: a squirrel!

Still with me?

Whether you’re a brand, or a bachelor trying to find your soul mate on Match.com, you have only nine seconds to make an introduction, to make a connection. If you fail, you may never get another chance.

So how do you make the most of micro-attention spans? Sally Hogshead has the answer: Fascinate.

As the author of “Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation,” Sally has to be at her most fascinating every time she speaks. And she certainly didn’t disappoint during her keynote presentation at a recent Linked Orange County gathering. Continue reading

Advertising Tributes to 9-11

American Airlines ran this ad following the attacks of September 11, 2001.

In the wake of September 11, 2001, advertisers struggled to find the right tone in their communications. It didn’t seem appropriate to try to be funny following the devastating terrorist attacks that took nearly 3,000 lives. But it was also difficult to appear serious and sincere while promoting a commercial venture.

Sympathy Ads

The vast majority of print advertising that ran in the immediate aftermath offered sympathy and condolences. Businesses that had been located in the World Trade Center expressed remorse over the loss of their employees and vowed to continue.

I was amazed to see the variety of condolence ads that came from countries all over the world, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where the majority of hijackers were originally from. For a while I saved a file with many of these ads, but it got to be overwhelming. I now wish I had some of them to post a few images for you.

Life—and even advertising—had to go on. Continue reading

Pop Culture Snack

Sometimes a good headline is all it takes. Loved this one for Pop Chips.

Nice headline on the car. I’d never heard of Pop Chips before but the line on the side of this passing car was enough to make me want to try the chips. (Don’t worry, my passenger shot the photo.)

According to the website description, Pop Chips (excuse me: popchips™) are not fried or baked, because that would be unhealthy or un-tasty. They’re popped. Heated up like popcorn apparently. (Nuked?) S’posed to be healthy or at least organic.

popchips™ are also uncapitalized. So what is it with art directors or brand managers and the aversion to capitalization? Just a style thing, I guess.

Have you tried them yet? Pop on over to popchips.com to find out where to find them. Now I’m getting hungry.

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The Truth About Santa Claus, Coke Pusher

Did Coke create the modern Santa Claus? If so, artist Haddon Sundblom was the man behind the beard. Here he models for himself as Santa Claus.

Instead of complaining about the commercialization of Christmas, let’s celebrate one of the finest and longest-running advertising campaigns centered around the season.

Did Coca-Cola Really Create the Modern Image of Santa Claus?

Technically, no. If you check Snopes, that claim is marked “false.” The myth-busting site does give Coke partial credit, however. And according to the soft-drink maker’s own website, “Coca-Cola® advertising actually helped shape this modern-day image of Santa.” Not much argument there.

Did Coke Choose the Color of Santa’s Suit?

In 1862, Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper’s Weekly as a small elf-like Union supporter. Nast continued to draw Santa for 30 years, along the way changing the coat from tan to red. So Santa’s red suit came from Nast’s vision of St. Nick, not Coke’s corporate color.

Thomas Nast's Santa Claus for Harper's.

Winter Wasn’t Always Coke Weather

Back in the day (the Roaring ‘20s), people thought of Coca-Cola as a drink for warm weather only. To rectify that perception, the company began running ads in 1922 with the slogan “Thirst Knows No Season,” then followed up with a campaign connecting the beverage with Santa Claus to lend it some cold-weather cred.

Sundblom’s Santa

The most famous version of the man with all the toys is the one created by illustrator Haddon Sundblom. Coke credits its advertising agency for the vision: “Archie Lee, the D’Arcy Advertising Agency executive working with The Coca-Cola Company, wanted the next campaign to show a wholesome Santa as both realistic and symbolic.” So in 1931, Sundblom got the gig to develop advertising art using Santa Claus, with a twist: the images would depict the actual Santa, not a man dressed as Santa.  Continue reading

Tweet This: Top 5 UnMarketing Twitter Tips

Scott Stratten spreads UnMarketing awesomeness at LinkedOC.

When you go to an UnMarketing event, there’s no need to turn off or even silence your cell phone. (As long as your ringtone is not by Ke$ha.) That’s because Scott Stratten, author of UnMarketing, wants you to tweet about it. You see, Scott is not ashamed to admit he loves Twitter.

“I Speak In Tweets”

That’s how Scott Stratten started off his keynote at the most recent LinkedOC event organized by Bryan Elliott. True to his word, Scott’s talk was filled with pithy UnNuggets that could be sent out in 140 characters or less. (Only problem was the cell phone reception—or rather, unreception—was spotty at best.) Just in case there was any doubt about when to tweet, Scott would pause just a little too long and give a big exaggerated wink. He’s subtle like that.

Scott Stratten on social media ROI: "Every time you ask for ROI on Twitter, a kitten dies." And Scott makes a face.

Engagement 2.0

Hosted by Gothic Moon Studios in Orange, the theme of the evening was engagement, which also happens to be part of the subtitle of his book: “Stop Marketing. Start Engaging.” While engagement is not exactly a new idea, the way Scott packages and delivers it is refreshingly humorous and direct. And his book reads a lot like the way he speaks. (Probably because he dictated much of it with voice-to-text software. See page 108.)

By the way, be sure to read the footnotes in UnMarketing, because they’re mostly snarky asides. In fact, Scott is so genuine, he even looks like his avatar picture in person. Always a good thing.

Scott Stratten is always branding, always UnMarketing. Yes, even this can be considered branding.

The 30-Day Twitter Challenge

A couple years ago, Scott was about to give up on Twitter as a networking tool (see Chapter 17: How Twitter Changed My Business). But before he bailed completely, he was willing to give it one last push. A 30-Day Twitter Challenge. So with about 2,000 followers at that point, he virtually lived on Twitter for the next month. That’s when he saw the light and became a true Twitter believer.

After his 30-day challenge, he had 10,000 followers and was “hooked.” Stratten writes, “I had made better and stronger relationships in that time span than all the other social networking sites combined. I had built a loyal following, booked speaking engagements, and gained consulting clients, without ever pitching a thing.”

One of the main reasons he believes in the power of Twitter is the absence of any barrier to engagement. Unlike Facebook and LinkedIn, Twitter doesn’t require permission or approval for you to follow and engage anyone you like.

Here are Scott Stratten’s Top 5 Twitter Tips from UnMarketingContinue reading

Puritan Gets Fresh

Puritan Bakery hauls buns.

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Green Day Sells Politics Via Punk, and Vice-Versa

Green Day performs in front of a collage of fliers advertising gigs from the early days.

Branding for Punkers

It’s fascinating how significant brand image is, even to punks who act as though they care little for such commercial/corporate concerns. But even rebels have to admit how “important” they feel it is to be considered “punk”.

Is Green Day Classic Rock?

Green Day just played a sold-out show at our local corporate-branded amphitheater in Irvine (which I’ll always remember as Irvine Meadows). From modest Bay Area beginnings as a three-piece punk band, Green Day has morphed into a six-piece (for the tour) arena rock powerhouse, complete with corporate marketing, sponsorship, and lots of merchandising in support of last year’s “21st Century Breakdown” album.

A Green Day fan dives back into the crowd after being invited up on stage. Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register

As the the OC Register noted in it’s review, the band now gets played on KROQ radio’s “Flashback Weekend” shows, which practically puts it in the “classic rock” category for the Gen-X/Y demo.

A wall of TVs form the backdrop for Green Day's performance of American Idiot.

Punk Meets Broadway Musical

What may be most interesting about Green Day is how the band has managed to hold onto its punk roots while basically “selling out” via its political pop opus “American Idiot,” now a Broadway musical. What’s up with that? Continue reading

Why Choose a Nondescript Company Name?

Vague sign of the times.

Some signs say almost nothing.

In a previous post I discussed the juxtaposition of a name that conjures an image opposite to what the business actually does.

This time the name is so faceless it conjures virtually no image at all:

“Elite Global Solutions”

I’m not making it up. I don’t think I could’ve invented a more generic-sounding company name—and I do this stuff for a living. (Normally I try to avoid hackneyed clichés, unless that’s the desired effect.)

It’s like the trifecta of business jargon. Or a game of corporate bingo (which is now an iPhone mobile app). The name includes three of the most overused words in all of Corporatedom. (I thought I made that last word up, but evidently I’m not the first. It’s a neologism!)

Considering the highfalutin name, they don’t look very “global” or “elite” based on their modest exterior. Until I did an online search, I had no clue about their line of business—and I’ve driven or walked by this company hundreds of times. Continue reading

What's In A Business Name?

Take just a little off the top, please.

Your brand name is usually the first impression customers will have.

Names carry a lot of connotations for various reasons, mostly because of the actions of previous people who had those same names. Notice how not many people name their kids Judas, Ahab or Adolph anymore.

When you hear the name Medusa, what comes to mind first?

Chances are, if you’re familiar with the Medusa of Greek mythology, you don’t think of beautiful hair. More likely, you think of snakes for hair. That’s why it was odd to see a hair salon named Medusa while driving around the other day. Continue reading