When I look back at TV commercials that have aired throughout my career that were among my favorites, I realize that most of them were funny. They stuck in my head and I didn’t mind seeing them repeatedly because they put a smile on my face. Colleagues who know me well know there’s nothing I love more than writing some fun, punchy copy. Often, the cornier the better, because as I’ve blogged before, if advertising is entertaining, and therefore likely memorable, it should create increased brand awareness and likeability.
Maybe they drive some of you nuts, but I really enjoy a lot of the Geico ads in the “It’s What You Do” series, such as this one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7D0FVpfU1g. It’s fun and effective.
I also like Geico’s “Did You Know” series of ads, including this favorite. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCysb4_-4jU.
Of course, depending on the nature of the product you are promoting and your brand promise, humorous advertising may not be appropriate. But, when and where humor can be used, why not tickle your customers’ and prospective customers’ funny bones at the same time you provide information about your brand, product or service? Your customers and prospective customers are sure to appreciate and love you for it.
It’s so hard to believe that Results Communications and Research is about to celebrate its one-year anniversary. One of my favorite and common responses to challenges has always been “onwards and upwards.” And upwards it truly has been the past year, and for that, I’m both extremely grateful and thrilled. As I look back at all the posts I’ve drafted and published during Results Communications and Research’s first year of business — we’ll have officially been in business a full year around mid-April — I realize that I’ve followed a lot of the marketing and outreach advice I’ve shared in past blog posts, particularly the ones below. They’ve proven to be quite effective!
I want to thank the many friends, acquaintances, prospective clients, and clients who provided an opportunity for a great marketing strategy discussion and/or the chance to submit a proposal for ongoing or project work, or who engaged me and my firm to oversee and execute ongoing or project marketing or research work. I’ve truly enjoyed our conversations regarding marketing challenges and opportunities, as well as primary and secondary research, and the actual work I’ve done for some of you in these areas.
I also feel so fortunate and honored to have been able to work with such a diverse group of clients on such diverse work. To-date, Results has been engaged by two large non-profit organizations for both marketing and development work. We’ve also worked with many service-industry organizations, including ones in financial services and insurance/benefits, private investigation, and commercial real estate, as well as consumer goods and entertainment industry clients. In addition, we’ve served as a sub-contractor to a fellow marketing agency on public health marketing and communications work. And, I feel blessed to have had the privilege of holding discussions with prospective clients with a variety of organizational missions.
We’ve enjoyed serving as outsourced marketing department or outsourced marketing professional for a couple of terrific organizations — helping with both traditional and online marketing needs, including web site, online advertising, and social media oversight. We’ve also appreciated overseeing important project work for clients including competitor/marketplace research and analysis, online advertising (Google AdWords Display and Search/Pay-per-click), web site development and launch, and creation of strategic marketing and media plans that included traditional media such as broadcast (T.V. and radio), transit, and print advertising, as well as digital media.
I can’t close this post without thanking my wonderful husband and friends who let me brainstorm with them on a variety of topics, and without thanking sub-contractors who have helped me with a variety of work — particularly research-related — when my plate was very full. You know who you are, I couldn’t have done it without you, and I look forward to continuing to work with you as we begin our second year. You are a critical part of the Results team.
We can’t wait to see what this next year holds for us, but we have a feeling with all the interesting opportunities and challenges that the world of marketing holds for organizations of all sizes, industries, and profit status, it’s going to be another exciting year for Results.
Long before I knew I was going to devote my career to being a marketing and communications strategist, I was regularly exposed to a marketing campaign so impactful that I remember it and the product it promoted all these years later. This was the ad for Faberge Organics hair products that used the tagline shown in my header.
I believe this tagline was effective in selling hair products because it was memorable (I talked about the importance of memorability in marketing campaigns in this 2014 post). Also, what woman, regardless of her age, wouldn’t want to make the very small investment in a hair product that women find so effective, they are all talking about it!
But, the memorability and effectiveness of this campaign’s slogan is not the true purpose of my post. The purpose of my post is to reinforce, as we all begin a new year, the importance of testimonials and word of mouth, in growing your business. There’s no stronger and more cost-effective of a marketing tool than a job well done in the eye’s of a client or customer. A happy and satisfied customer is more likely to proactively make referrals or agree, when asked, to make referrals to other potential clients on your behalf.
After almost nine months in business, I’ve found the best source of client work is former colleagues and co-workers who witnessed first-hand the quality of my work and work ethic, and referrals by these individuals to other individuals. So, make sure that, regardless of the size or profitability associated with a particular customer project or service, you always put your best foot forward and bring your best work to any situation. And, don’t hesitate to ask your clients who express great satisfaction with your work to make referrals on your behalf. I think you’ll find, as I have, that a customer who is pleased with your work will always be glad to help you make connections.
Since many of my clients have currently gone into what I call “holiday hibernation” mode (really, it’s a combination of year-end and holiday demands, and I totally understand both of these), I have the wonderful “gift of time” — a phrase we used a lot at my last job — that allows me to write two consecutive posts.
While part I of this two-post series focused on gifts, this one focuses on gratitude. As the calendar year comes to a close, and a new year is just around the bend, I think it’s important for me, and for all of us, to look back at 2014, and find blessings wherever we can. I can easily identify mine. One is a positive resolution to a handful of health issues that continue to plague me from past cancer treatment. While, from a health perspective, 2014 was almost as equally challenging for me as 2013 (the year in which I endured two major emergency surgeries), I am ever so grateful to be closing the year feeling significantly better.
Other blessings include: the continued love and support of a large and diverse group of friends and family members related to both my health and to launching my marketing consulting/agency business, the fact that most of my family members and friends continue to enjoy decent health, and the willingness for various friends, former colleagues, and connections to engage me and my firm, Results Communications, to oversee a variety of marketing and marketing research activities on their behalf.
I feel so fortunate on so many fronts. As I shared recently with family members, and I want to share with you, “The Boston Globe” has recently published two great pieces that remind all of us of the importance of gratitude — that no matter how dire our circumstances seem, how we can all find and count blessings, if we choose to do so. I hope you’ll enjoy the two pieces below.
I’d love to hear what you are most grateful for this year. I know I’m also grateful for all of my readers — a group that includes many family members, friends, clients and prospective clients. I wish you peaceful, safe holidays filled with gratitude.
As you might expect from any blogger, I feel compelled to share some thoughts from the heart and soul during this holiday season. From my title, you’ll see it’s important to me to share my thoughts about both gifts and gratitude. In fact, after another year of both great blessings on various fronts and more health trials and tribulations, there’s so much I’ve learned and want to share, this is going to be a two-parter.
Let’s start with gifts. And, I’m not talking about the tangible ones you give friends and family, like baseball cards, the new Taylor Swift CD, or Godiva chocolates. I’m talking about the two gifts that I think are the greatest gifts of all — love and good health. I thought about it a bit, and while I think good health is one of the most important gifts that is both bestowed upon us — and that we can cause in ourselves and others through the right actions — I believe the most important gift is love.
You can live many years, even a lifetime, with certain types of poor health. It may not be easy, but it’s doable depending on the health challenge, but I don’t think any living creature can survive without love. I’ve always loved this line from “Nature Boy”, “the greatestgiftyou’lleverlearnis justto love andbe lovedin return“. Not just during the holiday season, but all year long, I hope you’ll remember, as I try my hardest to do, to share a smile and reach out to those who are most in need of it. It only takes a second of your time to speak to a stranger who appears down-on-their-luck or to reach out to a close or distant acquaintance who you know may be lonely and/or hurting in some way.
Now, on to good health. Some of us, like me, were fortunate to be born with good health. When I see children struggling with any kind of mental or physical health challenge, it breaks my heart that they have to be so courageous and fight so much at an early age. Also like me, some of us have known major health issues in adulthood, such as cancer, MS, diabetes, COPD, and heart disease. While in certain cases, we can’t prevent the arrival of our illness, there are certain steps we can take to manage or minimize our symptoms or disease progression. In addition, we can give the gift of good health to others by making sure we aren’t encouraging unhealthy behaviors through our actions.
I’ve shared information with family and friends about this great book I bought at the beginning of 2014. Reading it was a wonderful way to start the year committed to taking actions that support good health. This book, https://www.amazon.com/Eat-Move-Sleep-Choices-Changes/dp/1939714001, by Tom Rath, was a good reminder that in addition to guarding your own health, you can help others guard theirs. By taking the lead by ordering first at a restaurant and making healthy selections, or by refusing to bring unhealthy food into the office or to get-togethers with family and friends, you can be a help instead of a hindrance to supporting good health in your family and friends.
I hope during this holiday season you will be both the giver and recipient of both love and behaviors that encourage good health.
It’s been a few weeks since I last blogged, but when you are a fairly new one-and-one-half woman company and have the opportunity to do new client work or meet with new clients, that has to be your number one priority. Regardless of how busy “Results Communications and Research” gets in coming months, I hope to always find some time each month to post something new here. I find both work and personal life provide new lessons every day if you just keep your mind open to what is being revealed to you. There’s always some new insight I want to share with colleagues, clients, friends, and family. A couple of weeks ago, I promised a reader who commented about the great education and training that volunteering can offer someone who is looking to grow their skill set and/or make a career transition, that she would like my next post. I had already planned at some point to provide support and make a plea for internships for more seasoned, senior (both age and experience) workers, and her comment just prompted me to make my case regarding this topic sooner rather than later.
While some of the antics and activities that go on in the 2013 movie “The Internship” are a bit outlandish and unrealistic, I actually found it both very funny and truly inspirational. For those who don’t know the storyline, two salesmen, very seasoned in developing and maintaining client relationships, who also have the ability to think outside the box because of the broad spectrum of work situations they’ve dealt with in their careers, obtain mid-career internships at Google. The salesmen, played by Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, demonstrate to their colleagues who are less-seasoned and who have significantly fewer workforce/workplace battle wounds, that while they aren’t up-to-speed on the latest and greatest technology, they’ve learned a lot throughout their long and diverse careers that can be applied very effectively to workplace challenges and opportunities.
Most online or print notices announcing paid or non-paid internships seek college or graduate school students, or recent college or graduate school grads, and without a doubt, there are benefits to hiring less-seasoned individuals. But, the purpose of this post is not to provide negative or positive reinforcement of the aforementioned practice, but rather ask that, in addition to internships for less-seasoned individuals, employers consider implementing some “seasoned internships”. To me, “seasoned internships” are a no-brainer and create a win-win situation. Not only will an employer benefit from having a seasoned employee who is likely to bring, at a very minimum, the ability to form and lead teams as well as just participate as a strong team player related to any team project or event, the seasoned intern — so thrilled to have a rare internship opportunity in a desired field made available to him/her — will probably absorb more helpful information, have a bigger impact, and participate more fully than any employer would have ever anticipated.
So, if you are ever in a position of posting an internship or even a volunteer opportunity, give some extra thought to who you’ll make eligible for and who you really want to assume the position. Today’s “seasoned” workers are likely to want and need to work for many more years. Why not give both them and your organization the opportunity to benefit from an internship or volunteer position?
I’ll close with the fact that while “Results” is still in its infancy, I regularly mentor and share information about marketing and communications with those who are looking to grow in that area. While it may be some months before I can offer a “paid” internship, I’d be more than glad to consider in the immediate future non-paid intern candidates future with all levels of experience to grow along with me and “Results”.
P.S. Please continue to share your insights with me as well. I love hearing and learning from them!
While I’ve done contract marketing and market research work in the past — during times when I was looking for a permanent position in my field — it’s been about six months now that I’ve devoted my energies full-time to making consulting work my permanent employment.
Trying to get a consulting practice started is not for the weak of heart, particularly a marketing consulting practice. Part of the reason for this is many organizations I approach about the expertise I can offer already have a marketing agency or consultant in place. If they are an organization that’s been around for any length of time, marketing is essential to their well-being and it’s likely they’ve already solicited outside help to optimize marketing efforts. In fact, many have long-term contracts in place with marketing agencies that can’t be easily severed. And, I’m also finding the newer, start-up businesses are difficult to identify and many use family members or friends to help them out on a pro bono or low-rate basis while in start-up mode.
Bottom line of all the above is that, in order for me, or any business offering consulting or other services to make a successful go at it, we have to be skilled at networking. It’s imperative that we use our connections or the connections of our connections to get our feet in the door. Being more of a strategic behind-the-scenes person, that’s a challenge for me, but I’m rising to the occasion and I’m glad my business is causing me to grow this skill for a couple of reasons.
First, as a marketeer, even if I didn’t need to be out there trying to make sales and there was a sales team in place whose work I supported with marketing materials and activities, it’s very beneficial to understand the challenges, roadblocks, questions, concerns, etc. that a sales team faces on a daily basis. Secondly, the need to network is causing me to reconnect with individuals with whom I worked closely and had strong friendships with at different points in my career.
I’ve been working in the Boston area now for about thirty years. Thirty years. After studying in France my senior year and graduating from UCONN with a French degree, I attended the Katherine Gibbs’ three-month entree program. I always refer to it as a program that gave liberal arts majors the office skills they needed to get jobs. I will say attending the program served me well. After completing the program, I was able to obtain temporary office work at great organizations like Stone & Webster and Dana Farber, and soon landed permanent jobs at BayBank Harvard Trust and Fidelity Investments. After obtaining my M.B.A., mostly at night, I’ve been employed at Market Facts, Berklee College of Music, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of MA, Bay State Federal Bank, Best Doctors, Network Health, and BMC HealthNet Plan.
I list all of the above because it’s a good reminder that I’ve worked a lot of great places and made a lot of strong friendships and working relationships throughout my career — of which I should never lose sight. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people (since I’m a transplant from CT to MA, many of my closest friends are former co-workers). The need to network has caused me to reconnect with some of the many individuals with whom I haven’t stayed as closely in touch, but with whom I really enjoyed working. It’s been so much fun learning what former colleagues are up to, both professionally and personally. So, I’m grateful that networking has prompted me to “catch up” with these people. There’s nothing like tight schedules, heavy workloads, and what seem like impossible challenges for forming strong bonds. I’m really enjoying revisiting those bonds. If you aren’t already doing so, I encourage you to reach out to former co-workers. I know you’ll benefit in a variety of ways from the experience.
I’m not yet ready to break out all my fall sweaters on this Friday before the long weekend — one that signals that summer will soon be on its way and we’ll need to dress for crisper, cooler air. In keeping with my post headline and being a New Englander, I plan to savor the warm days and nights of summer and all the season brings for as long as I can.
However, this post and the motto that I live by warranted my modeling a favorite sweater of mine. Thank you Banana Republic!
I’m such a big fan of both the phrase (and the color orange :)) that I eagerly scoffed up sweaters for me and my twin, Audrey, with this phrase, and wore it to work on some casual Fridays to inspire my former marcom team.
Audrey and I love to say that we are “carpe dieming” and regularly encourage friends and family to do so, being two of six siblings who have known our share of health-related hardship — three of us have battled cancer and now deal with the long lasting impact of treatment, and two live with the day-to-day challenges of multiple sclerosis (MS). Through all the great energy they bring to both their personal and work lives, I witness all the time the great awareness the Snow family siblings have of the importance of seizing every day and living each day to its fullest. And, I see this sentiment repeated over and over in a sarcoma discussion group that I participate in — whether it be voiced by current cancer patients, cancer survivors, or their caregivers and loved ones.
Given the fact that Americans, and perhaps, individuals throughout a lot of the world, think of September as a time of new beginnings and opportunities, I thought this was the perfect time to update and publish this post that I had drafted, but then put aside, several weeks ago.
To me, carpe dieming means:
1) Not putting off until tomorrow, what you can, should, or want to do today — whether it’s fun- or work-related.
2) Taking action towards your goals TODAY — whether they be to eat right, exercise, have more fun, visit more with friends or relatives, start your own business, or launch a new project.
3) Finding good in, appreciating, and enjoying every day.
4) Participating in life’s simple pleasures and acknowledging that the best things in life are, indeed, free.
5) Not over-focusing on “saving for a rainy day” to the detriment of doing enjoyable things today.
I’d love to hear what Carpe Dieming means to you. Regardless, I hope you’ll seize this long weekend and make it the best ever, and if you haven’t seen it, check out this tribute to Robin Williams related to the important message he shared with his students in “Dead Poets Society”.
Note: Since I wrote the piece below the video referenced has been removed from YouTube.
I loved it the first time I saw it and I don’t get tired of it. Despite all the confrontation in Haagen Dazs’ commercial for its Stracciatella gelato, I doubt there’s a woman out there who doesn’t find herself entranced by the extreme passion and romance played out in this commercial. It makes you think of the intense love of Romeo and Juliet, in Dr. Zhivago, or a Bryan Adams’ song, and that combined with the opportunity to be transported to Italy for a few minutes via the language and physical appearance of the actors, is the stuff of women’s dreams. Yes, you could argue that men yearn for great romance too, and some will be moved and prompted to take action after seeing this commercial too, but I feel comfortable in stating, firstly, that this commercial is primarily targeting women, and secondly, its emotional appeal WILL cause a rise in Stracciatella gelato sales. I know one target audience member who was prompted to buy and try some and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed in my purchase. The gelato was as delicious as I expected to be, and I felt so luxurious just eating it. It’s just plain creamy good. So, I’m giving Haagen Dazs double kudos — one for great target advertising and another for making sure that the product promoted in its advertising delivers!
While you’ve all heard my blog post heading said and written numerous times in numerous ways, I think it’s a message that bears regular repeating. It’s a timeless message relevant to everyone in every situation and in every century — your attitude can and will make or break you.
I was reminded of this late last week when a friend told me that as part of consideration for a newly created position — one that would initially require a lot of mundane, repetitive work, but that was expected to grow to a much more diverse, and challenging one — she had to submit her favorite quote. She submitted the following: “You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind” – Author Unknown. A perfect quote for my “Keep Up the Fight” page.
I do believe if you go into any situation — whether it be business-, social-, family-, or health-related focusing on the good — and if the good is not easily identifiable, hunting for it, you are more likely to be both successful and happy. I speak from experience as someone who has dealt with serious illness that if you look and give thanks for whatever silver lining you can related to the situation, such as the ability to help others dealing with the same illness, a greater appreciation of the simple things in life, the forcing of one to have more life balance, etc., you will fare better mentally and physically.
The same holds true for any business situation. Thirty years of work experience has taught me that a positive attitude is infectious. If you are proposing or beginning a project with a strong belief that it will have positive outcomes, others will believe and approach the project with the same belief. This is one of the many things I love about being a consultant (and a leader, in general), and where I think consultants, regardless of their field of expertise, can really help. We aren’t battle-weary from internal and external politics and other challenges impacting a particular department or organization.
Consultants are like fresh troops who come into a situation with brand new ideas and eyes that bring renewed enthusiasm and energy to a situation because we believe that we can be effective and help lead individuals and teams of individuals to the best possible outcomes. If we didn’t believe that we wouldn’t do what we do for a living.
Belief that great results can be achieved and no challenge is insurmountable is a powerful thing. I’d love to hear how you’ve seen it work in your lives.