Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Who? Who are you? Tell me...NOW!

I’ve worked with more than one organization to help them develop advertising, promotion, communications, and PR efforts. In every situation, their burning desire was to “just get something out there.”

The feeling was that if they could just get an ad in the local paper, an article in the local business magazine, a commercial on the local radio station, or a nice story on TV, everything would be okay.

When I asked them what they wanted their ad or article to say, their response was, “Just get the name of the organization out there! You know, and our URL! And phone number! We just need to get our name out! Now!”

Talk about your Jack Bauer style of advertising!

But since they don't have a gun pointed at my knees, I always push back and do a little CSI-type of discovery. This is where I become a source of annoyance asking them questions such as these:
  • What differentiates you from all of your competitors?
  • What makes you special and unique?
  • What is your story; the story that repeatedly drew their most loyal customers back?
  • Who are your typical customers? The leading users of your products or services?
  • Who are your customer cheerleaders?
Jack Bauer would have shot me and moved on by now.

But we needed to go through a CSI-like process of self-discovery that would yield the unique story that would drive the key messages that would set them apart and above everyone else.

So do you.

So does anyone who wants to promote themselves, their business, their school, their charity, their whatever!
  • For example, is your organization a college or university in an area where there are dozens of colleges and universities? Why should someone choose you over all the others?
  • Or, if you are a church wanting to engage your community where there’s a church on every corner? What does you church offer that the others don’t?
  • Or, if you’re a… [fill in the blank]. You get the idea.
Doing the basic detective work and engaging in a process of self-discovery will give you the tools to create a story from which you can build compelling communications that will yield profitable outcomes.

Not engaging in this process will only lead to useless ads and news releases no one will look at or read. Not even Jack Bauer.

Unless you’re a Nike or a Coca-Cola, you’re going to need more than your company name and contact information to generate interest and attract customers.

Take a good look at who you are, your origins, who you’re best customers are now, and clarify what you want to accomplish in the marketplace. Then, build your story and start telling it to the world.

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When was the last time you really took a close look at who you are as a business or organization? Have you ever asked your customers how they think of you? How do effectively get your name out?

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