Want A Brand Warrior? Give a Great Experience!

A "Brand Warrior" is a person who isn't afraid to tell others how fantastic, rewarding and VonMaurwonderful your product/service/store is.  They will use opportunities to "name drop" your brand, they will share photos of your brand, they will use social media to promote your brand and...you don't pay them a dime.

How does that happen?

It's not price. It is not convenience. It's not the paid advertising. It's all about the experience.

I've been a "Brand Warrior" for Von Maur for years. Why? It's all about the experience.

Here's a quick example:

Three weeks ago I purchased a bottle of cologne. The choice was made by a sample I'd been given by the Von Maur staff a few months earlier. It was OK...but for some reason the scent "left" just an hour after application.

Von Maur InteriorSo, I took it back. I was a little concerned that they might say, "Hey, you've used this for three weeks and NOW you want to bring it back?"

Nope...no problem, no pressure just a genuine concern that I got what I wanted. So, I picked out a different scent. However, my Bride didn't like it...so... within a day back to Von Maur.

Once again...no issue.  No "customer service hell" just lots of help and, yet, another great experience.

You want to create a "Brand Warrior" for your business?  Excite. Over Deliver. Empathize.  All while charging a price that is worth the..experience.

Thanks for reading!






So What Does This Tell Us?

This morning I made two telephone calls to well known businesses in the Des Moines Metro. I Too Busy was not selling anything I was, actually, seeking to buy.

The first call was answered by a human (within three rings) who not only sounded pleased that the phone rang but also gave me her name.  I asked for the CEO, whom I know well, and Stephanie said, "I'm sorry but she is not in. Would you like me to send you to her voice mail or may I take a personal message?"

What?  A PERSONAL MESSAGE from a person...like written down maybe even on PAPER and HANDED to my friend?  Think I'll get a call back? (I will...)

The other call was to a business, that I also know well. The connection took over thirty-five seconds to complete.  I know because I called back just to time it. When the call was answered I was told that "everybody was busy" and that I should leave a message.  No directory, no option...just "General Voice Mail Hell".

My only other option was to fill out the very generic online form (which I've done before) and have my message go to "General E-Mail Hell". I know that because the last time I did this I received no call back.

So...what does these two brands say to you?

No, I ain't calling back number two.




The Secret of Earned Media

Let's chat about earned media. Wouldn't it be great if the print or electronic media outlets in Kid Mediayour town asked you to come by the studio or the newsroom so they could write or broadcast something...good...about your business?  

Ain't gonna happen. 

I've been in the media world for (gulp) over 40 years and during that time I have pitched business stories to the media and I've received business stories for broadcast. Few ever make it to print or on radio or on television. Why? There is an old saying in media, "If it bleeds, it leads!" Meaning the stories that have to do with...death, destruction, and sacrifice usually get covered. The good stuff about...business. Not so much.

It's not that the newspaper or broadcast facility doesn't want to cover your business story it's just that they don't have the time or the space.  And, they get pitched all the time.

However, and here is the secret to getting earned media: Don't talk about your...business. Instead go beyond the obvious and look for trends that are happening in your town and then match those trends to your business.  

Here is an example: Over the past month there's been lots of news interest in rehabbing old buildings, tearing down old buildings (Think Downtown YMCA), re-purposing empty spaces (Think former Younkers Building) Those stories have made it in print and in broadcast.  When we were pitched a business story about an investment firm that had rehabbed an old restaurant into office space and then given several "proofs" about how many buildings that once housed restaurants are now being converted because "restaurant row" has moved elsewhere...it got our attention and we ran with the story.

That didn't just happen. It was the work of one of our associates, Brooke Benschoter, a highly competent public relations expert who did the extra work to notice what was making news and then create a story line that was unique.  We did the story about Compass Financial, said some nice things about them and...talked about the rehabbing effort.  

BAM...earned media.

That is the lesson...look at the news buzz and then create the story that matches what is being talked about.  If you need help call us...we just happen to know some great people that have that ability.

Thanks for reading... 


Let's Start A Media Company!

Thought I'd share something I head recently about advertising, marketing and the media. If Media Signyou've ever wondered if you could compete with "media giants" now is the time to act. And you have the power. Ready?

So you are in business and I come to you and say, "Hey, let's you and I start a media company!" No doubt you would wonder what I was drinking and might come back with, "A media company? Are you crazy?  That would cost a fortune!"

Maybe...and maybe not. If you've got seven minutes have a listen. I think you'll get it!


Thanks for reading and listening!


Social Media Marketing in Northern Iowa

I'm honored to have been asked to be part of this amazing group of  NIACC Oct 2015 Two Use
professional marketers who will do a full day event about Social Media Marketing for Business.  I'll post a link to the registration page toward the end of this post.

Here's the deal: As a business person you've been told "Social media is free and everybody should use it." That, my friends is a lie. Social Media Marketing is not free it takes time and talent. That being the case why not attend a session where some of the best professionals in marketing will share their tips, suggestions and demonstrate what works...and what needs work. Here's more:


If you are in business you want to add more to the bottom line...while engaging consumers with your story.  Spend some time with us on 24 October at NIACC during the Midwest Social Media Summit! Here is that registration link.


Thanks for reading, watching coming by!



Turning a Blind Eye...

Have you ever been so enamored with one or two forms of media Woman Blind Eyeadvertising that you turn a "blind eye" to everything else? Hey, you're not alone. That's why, years ago, we made the decision to listen to all the pitches we got from advertising folks. You never know when you might hit on the "silver bullet".

So, let's talk about an ancient advertising vehicle that you may dismiss because, heck, that "social media stuff" is new, flashy and..."free"! (Well, not really but you know what I mean.)

So, let's talk radio.

What? "Boring old radio?", "Nobody actually listens to radio anymore." "I only listen to satellite radio!" I've heard them all and never mind that, according to the Pew Research Center on Journalism and Media"Traditional AM/FM radio, meanwhile, continues to reach the overwhelming majority of the American public – 91% of Americans ages 12 and older had listened in the week before they were surveyed in 2014."

Yeah, never mind.

Chuck Meford MPL Talking Two 3 march 2015The issue isn't that "nobody listens" to AM/FM radio the issue is that you don't know how to advertise on radio and you won't listen to people who know the business. So, rather than seek the answers, rather than ask the question, rather than do the work...you turn a blind eye toward radio.

So, let me make this really easy for you. And if it seems like I'm shilling...well fine...but it's because I believe this might help your business.

On the 3rd of November, here in Des Moines, a fellow by the name of Chuck Mefford is presenting a FREE seminar on branding and radio. Chuck isn't some "fly-by-night" huckster he's got years and years of success in Chuck Mefford Book helping big and small corporations focus on their brand and their brand message with a focus on increasing sales. (Because that's the real measurement.)

Here is a link to the Des Moines Radio Group Registration Page and NOPE they are not paying me, they did not ask me, they don't even know I wrote this (until now). If you need more proof here is a link to Brands Formation the Chuck Mefford company. (Don't let the BIG NAMES scare you..radio is still affordable!)

Your cost to attend?  A little time.  And, if you tell me, "Michael, I've been to these free radio seminars before and they don't work!" I'll tell you that the reason they don't work is that you didn't work the system.

Does that mean "print is dead"? Nope but that comes later.

Thanks for reading! 



Timing Is Everything...Almost

For those of you who follow our work you know that our advertising agency is the fuel that powers the only hour-long business news broadcast in the region, Insight on Business the News Hour.  To that end we do a IOB Newsletter Sept 2015
weekly email newsletter using My Emma.  That newsletter takes a peek our business interviews of the prior week and then lists our our studio guests for the upcoming week.  

The open rate for the newsletter runs about 30% and the click-through rate (people clicking on various linked podcasts, urls, etc.) runs about 8%.  As the industry goes we're pretty much ahead of the curve.

When we send it out on time.

The newsletter goes out each Monday morning just prior to 9AM. This past week we had some "issues" and did not get it out until the afternoon. The result was dramatic

  • The Open Rate dropped to 25%
  • The Click-Through Rate dropped to 4.6%

Some other interesting aspects of newsletter metrics:

  • Engagement - Those individuals whom we interview that have a strong social media presence receive the most clicks;
  • Sharing - Social Media Natives will also share the content more quickly;
  • Gender - Women tend to open more of the podcasts than men;
  • Images Matter - When we post an image of a sponsor vs. their logo the image receives many more clicks. 

We've been at this for over two years and the numbers are pretty consistent.  We thought we'd share with you just in case you are considering some newsletter marketing.

Thanks for reading!





The Eyes Have It

We're asked all the time about what makes the most effective Content Marketing Effectiveadvertising/marketing content. In other words...what works best.  The simple answer is "it depends on your target demographic" but that takes time and talent to figure out so let's cut to the most recent study.

We realize this is for B to B however, we think it holds well for B to C marketing as well.

According to the North American Content Marketing Institute the most effective tool is person-to-person contact. It figures, "People like to do business with people they know and trust" right?  But directly equal to that is content in video form.


And the very cool thing about video is that it crosses nearly all the other platforms and can be used in each:

  • Video for Social Media Content
  • Video for Case Studies, White Papers
  • Video for your Website
  • Video for your Nearly Everything...

Of course it has to be done well and connect with the audience and you can't drone on and on...

Get Video and Get Noticed!



The Restaurant Industry - Needs a New Brand

There's some major trouble brewing in the restaurant industry and it's Servergoing to take some time to get it fixed. Let me set this up for you...here in the Des Moines Metro there isn't a week that goes by where we don't learn of yet another restaurant opening its doors.  While that may seem like progress there is something else going on: No workers.

I know of two owners who have put restaurant openings on hold because they cannot find help.  There is a lack of servers, cooks, chefs, dishwashers...and those two owners know the market.

Meanwhile corporations are draining the market dry.  After all...Hy-Vee might pay a lower salary for cooks...but they offer benefits.

If it is true that consumers control the brand then the restaurant industry needs to up their game and share with consumers what a great career food service can be. But it is going to take time and money.

In Europe a server is more highly treasured than a banker or attorney. Why? Because the industry there has built a brand on high quality, low turnover and knowledge.  Servers in Europe are...professional. Here they are often looked down on.

I've been told that the Iowa Restaurant Association has a plan to move this forward...they can't start soon enough...we're hungry.



I'm Trying To Help But...

The small business owner sat across the table and said, "You know, we Woman Yawnhave all of this collateral to give to our retail clients to help them sell more; but they don't use it. Why?"

The answer hinges on time and talent.

We flipped through the various print pieces and while they were colorful and printed on great stock there was simply...too much. Too much detail, too many offerings, too many pages...too much.

Here's something for you to remember. The average human has an attention span that is below a goldfish. It's true.  If you don't capture somebody's attention in under eight seconds...forget about it.  And, while this business has had a great run, much of what they were producing and sending out seemed old...and a bit tired.

Time & Talent

If you need to capture time...you need to have some amazing talent at creating the brochure/print ad/television commercial/radio ad/video that connects with the right audience. That means you better KNOW who your audience and HOW they want to be reached. 

Be bold and get noticed!

So, what do you think?