Thursday, January 29, 2015

When the wrong message goes worldwide

If you are even on the planet at all, you know that the Super Bowl is this weekend. Aside from the football hoopla, it’s also the “battle of the ads” – when big companies try to outdo each other for the honor of the Best Super Bowl Ad.
So why do I even bring this up? Well, I’ll tell you. Over the past few days, I've read about the controversy with a few of the ads (Carl’s Jr.) that are (or were) going to air – one of which (the Go Daddy “Journey Home” ad) has already been pulled.

So what goes wrong? Companies are paying thousands and thousands of dollars for air time during the Super Bowl, not to mention the amounts to develop the concept, create the ad and then produce it.

In my opinion things start to go wrong when a company puts its own needs before the customers’ needs; when it sends the wrong message to the audiences they serve or hope to serve in the future.

It’s one thing to push the envelope in the name of being memorable and trendy. It’s another to cross the line with messaging that’s offensive, even if it’s disguised in attempted humor. There’s no doubt your company will be remembered; maybe just not in the way you intended.

The message you send, regardless of the medium you choose to use, should reinforce the image you want your customers to have about your company. It’s part of your brand; it’s who you are.

Make sure it’s memorable – in the right way.

Posted by MJ Thomas

Monday, January 19, 2015

Reaching the Goal Line in Business - A lesson learned from the NFL Playoffs

Diligently watching the last two weekends of NFL Playoff games (as well as the NCAA Football Championship – O-H-I-O!), left me with a renewed fondness for the old adage – “Never give up.” Or as one of my racer friends puts it, “Never take your foot off the gas.”

It got me thinking about the difference between winning and not winning (hate the word losing) and the difference between achieving your goals or “there’s always next year.” (At least that’s what we say in Cleveland.) What do companies that achieve their goals do that companies who fall short don’t? Here’s my take on it.

Believe –
Do you really believe in your company’s product or service? You better because if you don’t it’s likely customers won’t either.  If you are not passionate about what you do, your customers know it. If you believe that your product or service is the best thing that can happen to your customers, they will believe it too. Anything less does a disservice to the customer and the company.

Block –
Block the outside noise. And there is plenty of it. The playoff teams that emerged victorious found a way to block the noise – whether it was the screaming (or booing) fans, the naysayers who said they couldn’t do it; weren’t good enough; talented enough and didn’t stand a chance to win. But win they did.  They were able to block the noise and not let it veer them off course.

Bull’s Eye –
Stay on target. Keep focused.  Once you’ve set your goal keep your target in sight. There are a ton of things along the way that will try to distract you – competitors, changes in the economy, product availability, performance, time, personnel, and on and on. There’s an old saying – “If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.” Know where you are going and keep your eye on the end zone.

Be Tough –
It’s not all going to go according to plan. No kidding, right?  Things go wrong! Persevere. Keep going. Be tough. Even when it looks like it’s over don’t let up; give it your best. In other words, never take your foot off the gas, keep your eyes on the prize and don’t stop short of the goal.

The Seattle Seahawks believed in themselves, blocked out the negative noise, kept their eyes on the goal and stayed tough. Now they’re going to the Super Bowl – again.

Posted by MJ Thomas