BECOMING FOCUSED

September 2nd, 2015

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If you are like most professionals, then you are always busy. It seems that there are never enough hours in the day to get it all done. Regardless of your role or title, the stresses of your responsibilities can threaten to overwhelm, if you let them.

That is precisely why staying focused is essential to your success. Instead of diving into your day like a striking cobra, take a moment and pause. Chill. Observe. Reflect. If you do that, then you create time for certain crucial questions to arise:

  • Have I truly prepared myself for my day? (Everyone is different; respect your routines and values.)
  • What are my highest priorities today?
  • What specific actions require my attention today?
  • With whom do I need to speak today?
  • How can I contribute value to my colleagues and my team?
  • What do I need to do today to prepare best for tomorrow?

This might sound simple, but in reality it is very powerful. Get yourself focused each day and do it at the beginning of your day. If you do that, then you will not only be more efficient and effective throughout the day, you will also be more at peace.





WHEN LOSING CUSTOMERS IS GOOD NEWS

September 1st, 2015

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I could not but help chuckle when I read a news report recently about a major company that has been trying to execute a business turnaround. The piece affirmed some so-called very good news just released. It essentially stated that progress is occurring because this year the company has only lost X number of customers and that is the smallest number ever reported compared to previous years. I don’t mean to throw stones, but I hear that as:

Hey, we are doing great! We have only lost 582,277 customers this year. But remember that in our three previous years that number was 1.23 million, 889,832, and 912,443. So, we’re still losing scads of customers, just not quite so badly!

Of course my immediate response to that kind of a press release is: Maybe it’s because you are running out of customers to lose.

Well, I suppose that is a topic for another press release.





TV ADVERTISING—AS THE CROWD THINS

August 31st, 2015

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People are watching less regular TV these days. That does not necessarily mean that they are seeking any less visual content. Online services and recording technologies have simply given consumers more choice in what they watch and how they watch.

Part of the trend relates to regular ad-supported TV programming. With diminishing viewers come diminishing returns on investment. Therefore, fewer sponsors are interested.

Simultaneously, big data is enabling advertisers to focus their ads with greater precision toward expected regular TV audiences. While this might seem the perfect solution to the problem, I don’t think it is sustainable. I like the way Ian Schafer (founder of digital marketing agency, Deep Focus) summarizes the situation (Felix Gillette and Lucas Shaw, “Why No One Wants Their MTV” Bloomberg Businessweek, 7/6/15–7/12/15, pp. 47–51):

‘No matter how well you match up advertising to programming, there are going to be more and more people trying to avoid it.’” (p. 51)

I don’t think that the crowd is just thinning. It might just disappear.





VISUAL RESONANCE—PART 10

August 28th, 2015

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As a member of the Social Media Club of Kansas City, I was privileged last month to attend a very exciting meeting at which Stefan Mumaw (Director of Creative Strategy at Hint) was the presenter. Drawing from his rich experience, Mumaw did an excellent job sharing an amazing array of ideas, tips, and observations that would be helpful to anyone involved in social media strategy, advertising, and marketing. His presentation was entitled “Visual Resonance.” It focused on the characteristics of images and videos that help to evoke a passionate audience connection and result in increased shares. For the past two weeks, I have made one of Mumaw’s major points the subject of each day’s blog post and offered my analysis and reflection. Today, I will wrap up this series.

Mumaw defines visual resonance as:

The ability to evoke or suggest personal images, memories, and emotions.

He identifies the salient characteristics that trigger visual resonance:

  • Emotional.
  • Experiential.
  • Entertaining.
  • Novel.
  • Authentic.
  • Story.

His concluding point is that brands are not people. Therefore, the question becomes what is it about your brand or product that helps people?

I love this concluding thought. It makes perfect sense to me. The key contributors to visual resonance all roll up to the idea of helping people. I see several reasons for this phenomenon.

People Still Care For Other People. In spite of all the world’s problems and pain, most people genuinely care for other people. That quality is intrinsic to our very being. Therefore, any brand that touches on that element will immediately resonate with people.

People Remember The Heroes And The Zeros. People may be very busy, but people tend never to forget. This is especially true when it comes to the heroes and the zeros. Do a mental inventory right now; you can remember the organizations and brands that you have stamped as heroes as well as the ones you have stamped as zeroes. Moreover, you know exactly why in each case.

People Love To Affiliate With People Lovers. Like attracts like. Human nature draws people to other people and organizations that love people. We find ways to spend time with them. We all like to be affiliated with that which is noble, pure, and good. This is why people love to affiliate with people lovers wherever they may be found.

So, the final question then is what is it about your brand or product that helps people? The organization or creative that wants to connect with its audience must know how to answer that question convincingly. When it does that, you have an explosively winning combination—it is simultaneously good for business and people.





VISUAL RESONANCE—PART 9

August 27th, 2015

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As a member of the Social Media Club of Kansas City, I was privileged last month to attend a very exciting meeting at which Stefan Mumaw (Director of Creative Strategy at Hint) was the presenter. Drawing from his rich experience, Mumaw did an excellent job sharing an amazing array of ideas, tips, and observations that would be helpful to anyone involved in social media strategy, advertising, and marketing. His presentation was entitled “Visual Resonance.” It focused on the characteristics of images and videos that help to evoke a passionate audience connection and result in increased shares. Mumaw defines visual resonance as:

The ability to evoke or suggest personal images, memories, and emotions.

Mumaw emphasizes the power of story in our images. I absolutely agree with him. Everyone loves a good story and we all have them—we’ve all lived them. Therefore, images that evoke story will connect. People will remember those images. Because a picture is worth a thousand words (and then some), an organization’s brand is strengthened when those kinds of images are wisely used.

This is where the creative element becomes very important to your strategy. Every picture tells a story, but not every picture tells the story that you want it to tell. Pictures must be chosen carefully. Some of the tests by which your picture should be evaluated include:

  • A focus group.
  • Perceptions derived from the culture.
  • Correlation with current events.
  • Conventional and societal etiquette.
  • Your gut. (Never forget the gut check.)

The organization or creative that wants to connect with its audience must always remember the power of story. That is why finding the right image is so very important. Pick the right one and your story will be told for a very long time.





VISUAL RESONANCE—PART 8

August 26th, 2015

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As a member of the Social Media Club of Kansas City, I was privileged last month to attend a very exciting meeting at which Stefan Mumaw (Director of Creative Strategy at Hint) was the presenter. Drawing from his rich experience, Mumaw did an excellent job sharing an amazing array of ideas, tips, and observations that would be helpful to anyone involved in social media strategy, advertising, and marketing. His presentation was entitled “Visual Resonance.” It focused on the characteristics of images and videos that help to evoke a passionate audience connection and result in increased shares. Mumaw defines visual resonance as:

The ability to evoke or suggest personal images, memories, and emotions.

Mumaw emphasizes that the power of the picture’s composition captures our attention. I agree heartily. Certain images simply draw you into them because they instantly tell a story or imply matters that are off screen. Our imagination takes over and perpetuates the work started by the photo’s initial presentation. That ongoing imagination reserves space in our brains. It connects us to the brand and the brand to us, and therein lies its power.

The organization or creative that wants to connect with its audience must always remember that the composition of the picture can write more than mere words on the recipient’s brain—even beyond its viewing. And isn’t that exactly what you want your brand to do?





VISUAL RESONANCE—PART 7

August 25th, 2015

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As a member of the Social Media Club of Kansas City, I was privileged last month to attend a very exciting meeting at which Stefan Mumaw (Director of Creative Strategy at Hint) was the presenter. Drawing from his rich experience, Mumaw did an excellent job sharing an amazing array of ideas, tips, and observations that would be helpful to anyone involved in social media strategy, advertising, and marketing. His presentation was entitled “Visual Resonance.” It focused on the characteristics of images and videos that help to evoke a passionate audience connection and result in increased shares. Mumaw defines visual resonance as:

The ability to evoke or suggest personal images, memories, and emotions.

To facilitate visual resonance, Mumaw highlights authenticity. I agree with him in that our images must capture real moments of real people. Audiences are jaded by the unreal continuously replacing the real. People are smart enough to see through that. To that point, Mumaw articulates what should be an immutable law of the creative:

Just because we have the power of Photoshop does not mean we should wield the power of Photoshop.

In a world in which the unreal has replaced the real for far too long, people are hungry for authenticity. When they see that which is real connected to an organization, its brand elicits increased respect and power. No organization can afford to lose that opportunity.

The organization or creative that wants to connect with its audience must always remember authenticity. In a world that has too often been robbed of authenticity, people will beat a path to the door where they find it.





VISUAL RESONANCE—PART 6

August 24th, 2015

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As a member of the Social Media Club of Kansas City, I was privileged last month to attend a very exciting meeting at which Stefan Mumaw (Director of Creative Strategy at Hint) was the presenter. Drawing from his rich experience, Mumaw did an excellent job sharing an amazing array of ideas, tips, and observations that would be helpful to anyone involved in social media strategy, advertising, and marketing. His presentation was entitled “Visual Resonance.” It focused on the characteristics of images and videos that help to evoke a passionate audience connection and result in increased shares. Mumaw defines visual resonance as:

The ability to evoke or suggest personal images, memories, and emotions.

One of the contributors to visual resonance is novelty. Mumaw emphasizes that difference is noticed. Oreo did this effectively by sculpting various shapes and images out of their traditional cookies.

I believe that difference can be simple or complex. It all depends on your preferences and your creativity. What is important for the organization is that it is willing to try. A great way to start is by asking two important questions:

  • What have we done in the past?
  • What can we do in the future that we have never done in the past or that we can do differently?

By analyzing the answers to the first question, you will lay the groundwork for creative answers to the second question. You have to understand the inventory of your past to unleash the potential of your future.

The organization or creative that wants to connect with its audience must be willing to capitalize on novelty. You never know how that might play into personal images, memories, and emotions.





VISUAL RESONANCE—PART 5

August 21st, 2015

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As a member of the Social Media Club of Kansas City, I was privileged last month to attend a very exciting meeting at which Stefan Mumaw (Director of Creative Strategy at Hint) was the presenter. Drawing from his rich experience, Mumaw did an excellent job sharing an amazing array of ideas, tips, and observations that would be helpful to anyone involved in social media strategy, advertising, and marketing.

His presentation was entitled “Visual Resonance.” It focused on the characteristics of images and videos that help to evoke a passionate audience connection and result in increased shares. I love the way that Mumaw defines visual resonance:

The ability to evoke or suggest personal images, memories, and emotions.

When personal images, memories, and emotions conflate with the organization, a connection is naturally made and the brand is strengthened. To the extent this occurs in an entertaining manner, the connection will be even stronger. Therefore, the organization should never discount the entertainment element in building its brand.

All those personal images, memories, and emotions, combined with the entertainment element enable people to remember the brand. Connections are made in so many potential ways. If you remember a brand, that is good for that organization. However, if you remember a brand connected with something entertaining, that is more potent. The brand memory becomes more durable.

Certainly, some brands will be able to do this more easily than others will. Some of this is industry specific. However, the organization that excludes the entertainment element is limiting its reach. Nevertheless, my guess is that too many organizations are choosing to limit their reach by limiting the entertainment element. Fortunately, and especially with the advent of social media, that is slowly changing.

The organization or creative that wants to connect with its audience must continuously capitalize on personal images, memories, and emotions. Add in the entertainment element and you have a surefire combination.





VISUAL RESONANCE—PART 4

August 20th, 2015

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As a member of the Social Media Club of Kansas City, I was privileged last month to attend a very exciting meeting at which Stefan Mumaw (Director of Creative Strategy at Hint) was the presenter. Drawing from his rich experience, Mumaw did an excellent job sharing an amazing array of ideas, tips, and observations that would be helpful to anyone involved in social media strategy, advertising, and marketing. His presentation was entitled “Visual Resonance.” It focused on the characteristics of images and videos that help to evoke a passionate audience connection and result in increased shares.

Mumaw talked much about the experiential element; put people in a place. A picture that displays action, atmosphere, movement, emotion, and striking content compels the viewer into that experience. We’ve all been there and shall continue to be there. The truth is as old as time. We can talk all day long about the intellectual efficacy of your particular idea, but when a person experiences that idea, everything changes.

The organization or creative that wants to connect with its audience must continuously capitalize on the element of the experiential. Ultimately, you cannot argue with someone’s experience.