Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Firehose at a Teacup

Each day messages are being spewed your way.

Look up.

Look down.

Look up again.

Thousands of messages.

This morning, you may have glanced at a highway billboard inviting you to the Golden Arches as you daydreamed about a man selling deodorant on a horse while a radio ad exhorts you to visit a locally owned and operated value centre where "quality, service and selection" awaits from a "friendly and knowledgeable staff".

Look back up.

One market research firm estimates the average person living in a city 30 years ago saw up to 2,000 ad messages a day. Today, that same person is being exposed to upwards of 5,500 messages each day. Absolute sensory overload in an overly saturated media landscape. Information is being hurled at humans like a firehose at a teacup.

Or is it a tirehose at a peecup?

Look back up.

More men have discovered that standing at a urinal to do their business, some other business will be staring right back in the form of a logo or an ad. Women are noticing as well, there are few places one can go to escape these types of messages.

Getting your business noticed, however, is a growing challenge for anyone who is serious about attracting more customers. "You can't imagine the pressure," declares the GEICO Gecko in a recent interview. "You only have a few seconds to grab people's attention while trying to sell them some car insurance. Most blokes don't realize its a lot 'arder than it looks". Reflecting on what he has learned as a TV pitchman, the GEICO Gecko admitted, "I don't care 'ow many times you run the ad or 'ow many people hear it or see it, there is no denying this fact. The bloke with the most powerful message wins. That's why we've been able to get people to buy into that "15 minutes will save you 15%" idea. I am just glad our message has been getting through. It saves customers money, grows the business, keeps me working and gives other people a TV job like me old mate R. Lee Ermey".

Whether they use cavemen, retired drill sergeants or an animated gecko, GEICO understands the value of crafting a message that cuts through ad clutter and lands with a thud in your brain. These ads work. In fact, Warren Buffett, owner of GEICO parent Berkshire Hathaway, has indicated he would spend $2 billion on GEICO ads if he could, far exceeding the $751 million spent on advertising in 2007.

If you are sitting on an endless supply of cash, you can run mediocre "fast, friendly reliable service" ads all year long, but I'm betting at some point you might start to question the return on your marketing investment. You also might start to ask if it makes more sense to craft a sharp, diamond-tipped nail of a message before splurging on media buys that see your ads get lost among the 5,449 others your potential customer is hearing or seeing today.

What are you doing to stand out in the ever growing crowd?

Do your messages engage a reader, viewer or listener?

Are you asking the deeper questions that people care about such as:

"Is Ed 'Too Tall' Jones really too tall?"
"Does Charlie Daniels play a mean fiddle?"
"Did The Waltons take way too long to say good night?"
"Did the little piggy cry 'wee wee wee' all the way home?"
"Do woodchucks chuck wood?"

Do people care about was you're saying and the value your brand is offering?

Look down.

Is it time you started giving this subject some serious thought?

If so, we know people who can help.

"You now have to decide what 'image' you want for your brand. Image means personality. Products, like people, have personalities, and they can make or break them in the market place"

P.S... In case you were wondering ( I know I would be), former US Marine drill sergeant R. Lee Ermey was initially intended to serve as a technical advisor only, on 1987's "Full Metal Jacket". However, director Stanley Kubrick changed his mind after Ermey put together a tape that included an extended hair-raising tirade towards several Royal Marines cast as extras. Seeking absolute authenticity, Kubrick allowed Ermey to write and edit his own dialogue and improvise on the set. Kubrick found Ermey to be an excellent performer, who usually needed only two or three takes per scene. His role as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman won critical acclaim and resulted in a Golden Globe nomination as Best Supporting Actor.

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For more info on The Seamless Brand and how this program can benefit your company or organization, explore http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

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