Friday, December 30, 2005

What will they think of next?

First it was tattoos. Then some dude sold his forehead. Since then, people have been selling adspace on their various body parts in search of a quick buck. Here, (thanks Adrants) a couple of women display corporate colours on their fingernails. First pixel ads, now this.

Do I think this is clever marketing? No, not particularly. But, let's not lose sight of the fact that although only a few people will shake hands with these gals, I wrote about it here, and I'm not the only one.

branding v. results...who wins?

I got into a discussion about this the other day, and it's been nagging me ever since.

It was a debate about the importance of branding, as it pertains to results in your business. In fact, I squared off on this issue with two different gentlemen, both of whom were trying to justify their belief that branding isn't important. Results are what's important, they said. Execution is important.

Well, I would have to agree, results are king. But how do you make massive sales and grow your company like a virus? By being remembered. One begats the other. Establish a great brand, and people will fall in love with your story. Only by telling a great story will your business get the results you've dreamed of. Your brand is the headline of that story, and it goes beyond the look of your business card, the colour on your sign or the cleanliness of your uniforms.

Branding is about positioning. Being unique, and memorable. Execution (great service, a clean shop, a commitment to excellence) plays a huge part in your branding, and the whole package is what determines great results.

I'm starting my own company, specializing in building brands for small business. By small, I mean the independantly (and expertly) owned operations who know their craft, but find themselves lost when it comes to marketing. They've got some cash to get the word out, but not the kind of BIG AGENCY budgets that are necessary to squander all of one's profits on mass media. (ouch, was that a dig? Tv's dying kids, at least as far as ROI for your ad dollar is concerned)

In planning my endeavor, I have been stewing over trying to create a great brand, one that is exempliary of the kind of image, story and success that I wish to project onto my customers. Can you believe that I actually had a marketing student tell me that the name of my business, logo etc. weren't important? I'd like to meet the crusty old professor that taught him that phooey.

If I'm going to be selling branding, I have to be able to prove that I know what I'm doing when it comes to my own story. Half-way might keep you in business, and likely it will get the student in question at least a B on his exam, but this is the real world. In order to run an exceptional business, you have to be exceptional in every way.

But then again, I'm just ranting. And I, too am just believing what I've been taught. I guess this is a good time to thank Mom for getting me the books I asked for Christmas.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

"finish your homework before you sneak away to the warzone, son!"

Crazy. And not just a little bit. I know this has little to do with marketing or advertising, but this struck me as being odd.

I point you first to the good people at Boing Boing, who will redirect you to a story about a kid from Florida who's taking the idea of extra-curricular activities to a whole new level.

He's 16. He's in Iraq. He didn't tell his parents he was going. Oh, and it looks like he forgot to buy one of those "immersion reporter" vests on his way to the airport.

at long last...

I’ve been talking about doing this for so long. Now, I'm pre-empting my commitment to myself to have a new blog created by the New Year, and I’m getting it live today, Dec 29, 2005.

I want to share my opinion, and not just in the comments section of Seth’s, Tom Peters, Jeff Jarvis or the copyranter’s blogs anymore. I will be heard damn it! I’ve got plenty to say…but for right now I have to get back to work at my day job. The ranting will have to wait.

Please don't make me explain why it's simply easier to post this photo of myself here. Why Blogger will let you upload photos in the posts and then they require a url for your profile pic is BEYOND me.