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.




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! 



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.



Are You Free?

Years ago, when we started the advertising agency, I did lots of things for FREEfree.  I still love to meet with people for coffee so they can pitch an idea or a concept but (other than helping out some local chamber types with my public speaking) I quit delivering my work for...free.

If your business is a real business and it counts on you to do what you do...why would you offer your services for free?  Here is what that says about your brand:

  • We are not valuable;
  • What we offer isn't worth it;
  • We're desperate!

Go ahead and help out your local non-profit (once or twice) but other than that being "free" tends to cheapen your brand.

So, what do you think?  Am I right or...just mean?


Big Getting Little

Grocery store chains across the country are consolidating or simply calling HyVee Local Produce Two it quits. Last week legendary A&P filed for bankruptcy protection...for the second time. Kroger announced they are buying Harris Teeter and one of the oldest chains, Albertson's was swallowed up. Locally, family owned Dahls threw in the towel.

Today there are only a handful of regional grocery store chains in the nation. 

The grocery industry is vastly different today than just 10 years ago because there is more competition and the changing habits of consumers. Natural, local and fresh rate high on the expectation list of consumers. So, how does a regional chain compete against the likes of Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and others?

Bring on the LOCAL feel and flavor of a time gone by.

HyVee LocalA couple of years ago HyVee, a Midwest regional chain, had a pretty successful run at calling attention to locally sourced produce. (Photo at left and you can click to enlarge.) While it all worked the effort was small compared to what they've recently rolled out.

Here (above and to the right) is the new roll-out of how big can go little all in an effort to boost a little nostalgia while calling attention to the fact that they sell what comes from your neighbor. 

The entire "feel" of the brand says, "Hey, we remember what it was HyVee Local Produce Onelike...shop here for local produce!" And then they go to great lengths to tell you how "local".

We love the graphics, the look and the feel of the campaign.  Good stuff HyVee! 

Thanks for reading!


Working Together

Every so often we run up on a promotion that we really like, appreciate and Passport USE 2015 hope others pick up make it their own. As many of you know, July can be a slow month in the restaurant business. To boost awareness and business three independently owned fine, European Themed eateries joined together to promote their cuisine through the Gourmet Passport.

Here is how it works: Consumers go to one of the three restaurants, Baru 66 of Windsor Heights, Bistro Montage of Des Moines or The Strudl Haus of Des Moines and order the specialty priced meal designed for the Gourmet Passport. Upon leaving the restaurant your "passport" is stamped. You then make reservations at the next eatery and repeat the process until you have visited all three.

David Enosh MichaelWhen the Gourmet Passport is stamped by each restaurant the diners put
their contact information inside the front cover and leave them with the restaurant owner.  All of the completed "passports" are collected and a drawing is held with the winner receiving a free full course meal for six prepared by Chef David Baruthio, Chef Enosh Kelly and Chef Michael Leo.

Because the promotion runs the entire month of July there is plenty of time to make reservations at each establishment.

Brilliant!  And, yes...we're going!