I usually go to sleep between 4 AM and 6 AM each morning and wake up around 10 AM. All those news and corporate emails that we all read every morning, I see as they ping my inbox. Over the past two weeks I have unsubscribed from a lot of them. But, apparently @Zazzle has not unsubscribed from me. I ordered business cards a while back and was auto signed up for their newsletter, which I unsubscribe from EVERY SINGLE TIME. They keep sending me emails. This is worse than the do not call list. To be honest, I love their products, they did a great job, I would order again. Except, I hate them now. I don’t like you Zazzle, I will find someone else to order from, and if you are reading this, UNSUBSCRIBE ME FROM YOUR EMAIL.
Too many brands are focused on B-R-A-N-D-I-N-G i.e. THEMSELVES; pushing products and trying to drive sales. Sorry to all my marketing and branding friends out there, but its true. Everything that is flooding our commercials, our feeds, our inboxes and our magazines is all about Look at Me Economics. Let me tell you something, I’m tired, I know you are tired, and the formula is tired. Why aren’t you focusing on what’s true. The truth is people do like you, they love you, they want to be associated with you, they want to care about you, and they want you to care about them.
Like many of you, I am glued to the TV watching delayed tape; oh how I love delayed tape, on NBC. Companies are spending billions; yes billions of dollars on advertising hoping that I am paying attention when it goes to commercial. Uncross your fingers; I’m not. I have my twitter feed up, Google ready, Facebook, and YouTube open, so that I can do other things when it goes to commercial. I’m not watching. Except, I am paying attention – enough so that you can get me to do things with you online in real time, not just watch your commercial. Don’t get me wrong, here, your commercial still matters, let me show you what I mean.
I am paying attention to Procter & Gamble because of this commercial:
Ok so here is what is interesting. P&G is not the only one to tell the story of “support” from parents, stories of Olympians, and package it in a moving way. Coca-Cola and Visa are doing the exact same thing. So why is P&G model better? P&G is telling my story. They are telling me what I remember about being woken up for swim practice, for school, for taekwondo when I was younger. They remind me of what that support meant from my parents. They also make me think about how I am going to support my future kids in the same way. P&G makes me love my parents more, and because the strengthened that relationship, I love them more.
Here is what Coke is doing:
Coca-Cola tells me a quick story of support – and its predictable, I see the strategically red uniforms and coke bottles in a pool – I know how it ends at the beginning. Then they say to do something (buy me) + go to our website and sign up to win prizes. Gets lots of impressions – people will sign up and will become part of a mailing list that Coke will use to push more products and eventually get me to unsubscribe, just like Zazzle. Coke has deeper stories also. Shawn Johnson’s is below – but look how staged it looks, how strategic the colors are, how who all is holding coke bottles:
Same formula – sign up – let us sell you stuff.
Now look at Visa:
Better. A bring the world together message. Lets all cheer for each other – then they tell (not show) me “Hey, we’ve been supporting the Olympics for a long time” Which is supposed to make me feel as though they have loyalty – which is great. But somehow, it makes me feel as though they are trying to one-up other brands. They direct me to their overall brand page on Facebook and show me the hashtag to join the conversation. They also are uploading submitted videos of fans cheering on their country, their athletes, and their world. Excellent. I love that. Visa ALSO told deeper stories of athletes like the one with Team Liukin below, which in my opinion, their best video.
Amazing. No promoting, not nothing, just story, a great story about an athlete I cheer for. They capture the essence of their message in her own words and then enable and show me how to engage, instead of telling me.
And yet, P&G takes the cake still. Compare the deeper stories above to the Shawn Johnson spot P&G did below:
So Authentic. P&G took the same approach and executed better; they enabled me by saying like our page, not our company page, but the page that represents this ideal around Mom’s. First of all, I don’t know about you but I am slow to like pages, but once I do, I don’t usually unlike them. I will still pay attention to what they have to say in the stream of my feed. The page builds community and they can engage me around the ideals of Mom’s – which to be honest is their core demographic. Mom’s are the ones buying the Tide to wash out the grass stains from the soccer uniform, they are the ones making those decisions for the most part. This is just like how radio ads would target mothers who were on their way to the grocery store.
I absolutely want to go buy Tide right now. Do I need Tide, no I have plenty in the laundry room, but I want to buy Tide. P&G executed really well – just like the athletes that are taking home the medals – it’s the ones that put in the work, stay true to the sport and to themselves that are going to win it. But, P&G has to execute the rest of the strategy, they have to engage with people tapping into that same emotion with their service not only with products but on Twitter and on Facebook. Don’t just ReTweet people hyping you, please engage and say thank you, then take an interest in their story - it will come back 10x as they make you part of the story they begin to tell. For the record, this is the first time P&G has ever sponsored the Olympics globally, talk about coming out in full force.
Big business, even small business doesn’t scale CARING because it’s hard. It isn’t easy to care about every single one of your customers and show them all how you feel about them, and not with free shipping or a discount code. These days most brands are trying to supplement Look at Me with ReTweets, discount codes, and a few opportunities to engage online or in person around the person. The reality is, the formula should be flipped. You should be 100% about your customer, not when they ask you for something but take the initiative to give them some real engagement. Its important to brand yourself, its important to use traditional advertising and marketing fundamentals you do need eyeballs, you do need people to pay attention. But most people make emotional buying decisions, because of how they feel about a brand, their products, and more importantly HOW THE BRAND MAKES THEM FEEL ABOUT THEMSELVES. Build your reputation around how you feel about them. Do you make them feel needed? Do you thank them? I mean genuinely thank them, personally taking the time to just say thank you without trying to up-sell them on their next order.
For all those brands out there – focus on your reputation which is built by the work you put in with your clients – don’t focus on your branding, stop worrying about your competitor, focus on your pushups – the sweat equity you put in with others. We notice when you are faking it, when you are just like everyone else.
P.S. Zazzle, seriously, UNSUBSCRIBE.