So, here’s Thought Experiment #10

 

Time for a Thought Experiment

There’s always time for lateral thinking.

Philly’s favorite son John Wanamaker is one of the fathers of modern advertising. He was the first to buy a half-page newspaper ad, the first to buy a full-page newspaper ad, and — more near and dear to my heart as someone who thinks writing is an art, dammit — the first to hire a full time copywriter.

But maybe most famously, he’s the cat that said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is, I don’t know which half.”

So here’s your task, my little tater tot. Let’s say your marketing budget gets slashed in half. Boom! 50% gone like Gone Girl. Pop quiz, hot shot. What do you do? What do you do?

Do you pull a stunt and try to go viral? Skywriting? Maybe a street campaign with clever flyers optimized for Instagram and reaching out to influencers on social media? Or do you whittle down and dig into data and try to figure out where each of your dollars really does the most good? Maybe both?

Why would I ask this?

Because you, buddy, should be considering how to blow past setbacks.

Wrap your brain around it. See what you get.

So, what are your competitors doing right?

 

SFSlogo

I know, pumpkin. I know. You don’t want to think about those big meanies. Or hey, maybe you work in one of those cool market segments where friendly competition is the norm, and you don’t need to dwell on those folks. But on the off chance you have competitors, and you want to make sure you’re meeting or exceeding their efforts, how do you do that voodoo you need to do so well?

I think it is time, padawan. I think you are ready. This is an elegant weapon for a more civilized age. This…is close reading.   Continue reading

So you wanna set the mood, baby? Part 3

SFSlogo

Have you done something different with your hair? It looks nice. Touchable. And that color really brings out your eyes. Here, let me top off your drink, darlin’. Time to talk about mood again.

Mood happens. Whether you are conscious of it or not. So it makes sense to be aware of it, mm? So you don’t, say, write a really chipper blog post about cremation, or melancholy web copy for a party planner. And we establish mood with setting, diction, and now tone.

Setting was pretty straightforward, diction a little less so, and tone is the most elusive. We’ve sort of been building up to the biggie.

“But Steph,” you say, because you are a smart little tomato, “Isn’t tone the same thing as mood?” Kinda. But no. But yeah. But not really.   Continue reading

So you wanna set the mood, baby?

Storytelling for Success Logo

Working at home = distractions. ‘S just a fact. Laundry or housekeeping if you’re feeling virtuous. Junk food and daytime TV if you’re not. And if you don’t live alone? Someone else’s robot sweeper or reality show gets added to the mix.

Enter RainyMood. With over 800 thousand shares and likes and pins, this site clearly fills a need. For me, it blocks out Matlock. But folks use it while reading, for sleeping, and for discovering new music with the swanky “add cool tunes to your rain-drenched experience” option.

There’s Coffitivity, too. For when you want to be in a coffee shop but don’t want to wear pants.   Continue reading

So, I’m nowhere near done with lateral thinking

Storytelling for Success Logo

Now, I don’t want to brag? But I bargain hunt, y’all. Double coupons, discount codes, extensive online searches — I can squeeze a dime so hard Eleanor Roosevelt returns from the dead to smack me for roughing up her husband.

So when I decided to investigate shooting some lo-fi guerilla video for marketing and branding tastiness, I was not going to splash out for a shiny camera that did much more than I needed for much more than I wanted. Especially since I’d have to do tons in post to get the effect I was after.

Enter the fine folks at White Rabbit Japan, and the single most adorable video camera ever created.   Continue reading

So, what’s all this about character types?

Storytelling for Success Logo

There are a lot of different ways to talk about the characters that make storytelling work. You can get your Jung on and talk about archetypes. You can go theatrical and delve into the masked roles from commedia dell’arte, which involves amazing masks and will make you hungry (No? Just me? I can’t be the only person who gets hungry just reading Italian). But today I’d like to look at characters through the lens of change: Do they or don’t they?

Continue reading

So, should my biz blog?

Storytelling for Success Logo

Oh, you fabulous little crumpet. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! A blog is wholly yours, a place where your branding can be polished as shiny as a new dime.

Blogging is a brilliant way to improve your SEO. Blogging is a brilliant way to establish your expertise. Blogging is an extra-crunchy brilliant way of connecting with your customers. Don’t believe me? Check out this infographic from the fine folks over at Social Media Today. Starting with this statistic:

61% of US consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post.  Continue reading

So, here’s Thought Experiment #8

Time for a Thought Experiment

There’s always time for lateral thinking.

“Hey, Stephanie — what’s with the Thought Experiments, anyway?” you didn’t ask. But I’m going to answer anyway. I’m nice like that.

There’s this clever gent named Dr. Edward de Bono who wrote “The Use of Lateral Thinking” in 1967. And it is. Useful, I mean. It’s become sort of trendy and buzzword-y since then, and the original meaning has sometimes been lost in a haze of vague approximation, but in essence, lateral thinking is using creative, indirect approaches to solving problems.

That is what each of these little experiments is designed to do. Make you think about your branding in a different way. Shake up your assumptions. Walk up to your preconceptions, poke ’em in the chest, and say, “What’re you gonna do about it, punk?”

In other words, there’s a method to my madness. And here’s today’s experiment.

What coffee drink is your brand?

Maybe you want to be a sleek and high-tech coffee, like a Chemex pour over, to reflect your modern sensibility. Or maybe you’re youthful, playful, something frothy and blended? Maybe you take no guff and no prisoners, and you’re a straight up cup of joe, black, no sugar.

Why would I ask this?

Because you, buddy, should start thinking about how you want to present your company to consumers used to seventy gazillion options.

G’head. Give it a ponder. See what’s in your cup.