Blog

July 2013 - PS Insights

SENSORY SELL

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Paul passed a sandwich shop in Chicago recently called Jimmy Johns. The sign outside promoted “free smells.” In smaller type, the shop is in the business of “Gourmet Sandwiches.” Paul was amused by the sales pitch and remembered the shop. What existing attributes do you have that you can leverage to capture your audience in relevant ways?

DOLLARS, NOT SENSE

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The big marketing news this week is the merger of ad giants Publicis and Omnicon. It was front-page news in the NYTimes (and just about everywhere else), but the Times got the story wrong. “[Madison Avenue has been driven by the] mythology of small, independent shops coming up with the snappy catchphrase…that becomes part of everyday culture.” The article then went on the recognize the merger as a reflection of the age of Big Data. Well, Big Data can tell marketers a huge amount about their customers…but it’s always going to be the big insight, creative catch phrase and cultural meme that capture the hearts, minds and wallets of consumers. Knowing what percentage of customers might be interested in your product isn’t enough to get them to buy. Are you joining the rush to confuse Big Data with Big Insight?

HYPERBOLE PROGRAMMING

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There’s a new Bear Grylls-hosted TV show entitled “Get Out Alive.” Are we to believe that some people won’t? In an effort to build ratings, we think it’s somewhere between dumb and irresponsible to suggest that contestants will die completing tasks in the wild. What do you do to build audiences in responsible ways?

WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE

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The words mouseover and crowdsourcing have just been added to the dictionary. Digital developments are creating new words and usage all the time. But we were also taken by a news story the other day referring to a flightmare. It was a coined word, but instantly communicated. What new words do you think will be next up for dictionary fare…or what new language are you coming up with that communicates something new?

H.E.L.P.

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State Farm Insurance displays a dimension of their brand with H.E.L.P. trucks all over the highways. Neither of us has State Farm as our insurance company. But both of us are continually impressed by the “insurance” State Farm extends every day on the roadways of America. Talk about delivering on the brand promise! What brand extensions do you provide to enhance the perception of your offering?

BUILD A BURGER

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We recently went to one of the many build-a-burger joints that are popping up all over. We think it’s a win-win idea. The customer manages the order. The kitchen customizes the burger. A tasty model. Wait staff simply bring the food and the check. What do you do to involve your customers in ways they not only don’t mind, but enjoy?

WEBBY 5

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We love the Webby Awards acceptance speech requirement that winners’ addresses must be limited to 5 words. It inspires creativity for the creative accomplishments. Two of our favorites were PBS Kids’ recent acceptance, “Now go outside and play” and Zach Galifianakis’ pseudo serious gaffe “how am I on time?” It’s a perfect form for a medium that demands an economy of words. How are you adapting to the new language rules of the new media?

SELLING IN SIX SECONDS

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When Twitter’s Video service Vine came online, lots of people questioned what you could possibly do in a 6 second video. We were impressed when Lowes broke their Vine video campaign for DIY tips. How do you find ways to effectively break through in new communications platforms?

DISAPPOINT OR DELIGHT

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Paul recently had two experiences where clients disappointed. One was for-profit, one was pro-social. It really doesn’t matter. Both agreed to do something and didn’t meet the promised timetable or provide the promised work. Paul’s instinct was to have done it himself. In our personal lives, we tend to associate with people who delight us. In business, the disappointment factor often comes with the territory. How do you maximize delight in business without taking on the vast amount of added work yourself?

MUSCLE MEMORY

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Great athletes spend huge amounts of time practicing. What they’re doing is building “muscle memory” so their moves become automatic during competition. We also believe the same is true for mental skills. If you want to become a good writer, start emulating a writer you admire-by copying them (just like young painters go to museums and copy the masters). Even just an hour a day and you’ll start to unconsciously incorporate those rhythms into your own style. What memory/learning techniques have you developed and put into practice to make you better?