Commit to your marketing strategy

Whenever you set out to do something important, one of the first things you need to do is to decide what and how much you are willing to commit to it. Marketing is no different. Once you have a marketing strategy set, you need to decide exactly how much time and money you are willing to commit to it and you need to stick with those commitments. I have witnessed companies set strategies in place and then decide to jump ship in reaction to a competitor’s strategy, or they are not impressed with the sales a couple of weeks into the strategy and so they bail. The result? A rushed and ill-planned alternative route that likely everyone is not onboard with or aware of. The result of that? Inconsistencies in the way that the company speaks to consumers.

While some marketing strategies yield immediate sales, some efforts are most effective with leaving an impression with the consumer and nurturing relationships that may result in brand ambassadors (super-loyal consumers who spread the word about your brand just because). So don’t get so caught up in whether or not your numbers are shooting through the roof after you initiate a strategy. You have to give it time to run its course, especially if you haven’t even gotten any metrics on your efforts. That’s why you should set a minimum time commitment and stick to it. Don’t bombard your audience with messages because you change your strategy on a whim. Trying to keep up with the Jones’ and lacking dedication to your strategy can hurt you tremendously in the long run.

If you work at a larger company, jumping ship from strategy to strategy can be really discouraging, frustrating and confusing for your team and the company. When people spend so much time and energy to produce work for a given strategy, only to see aborted, the damage to their morale can be huge, especially if it happens often. You can’t expect your team members to get excited about working and ready to give their all if they have been shown that their work won’t live long or be given the shine they thought that it would receive.

I realize that sometimes things happen and you have no choice but to change up your strategy. Situations that involve legal issues or situations that unknowingly alienate or insult a significant group of your consumers are examples of times where changing your strategy may be necessary. However, reactions to the competitive environment or lackluster sales are not reasons to abort strategies that you and your team have worked hard to develop and implement. Plain and simple, commit to your strategy.

Six reasons Nike is golden

The 2012 Olympics have come to an end and I’m sure sponsors are hoping that they have left lasting impressions in the minds of millions of viewers worldwide. Besides P&G’s “Thank You, Mom” campaign, when I think back over the past couple of weeks, the campaign that resonates most with me was not even from an Olympic sponsor.

Nike, who was not an official Olympic sponsor, launched its “Find Your Greatness” campaign on July 25th – just two days before the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games. There are certain adjectives that should describe marketing efforts – which include simple, interesting and consumer-friendly – and I think that Nike definitely achieved all of these descriptions and more in this go ’round. The focus of the campaign was finding and celebrating the greatness that is within everyone, and operated off the premise that true greatness is not limited to a select few.

Image via Nike.com

The first video (see below) of the campaign features everyday people exhibiting ‘greatness’  in their lives, in their respective locations, which just happen to include places like a “London field,” “London gym,” and cities/towns called London in the US (Ohio, to be exact), Jamaica and Nigeria – “because greatness is not in one special place” – alluding to the soon-to-come show of athletic greatness at the Olympic Games which took place in London of the UK. Below I’m going to highlight the 6 reasons that I think Nike hit a homerun with this campaign.

1. Relevancy. Not only was the campaign relevant for the greatness that was obviously occurring at the Olympics, but it was relevant for and appealed very strongly to the everyday person looking at the Olympics with admiration and awe, and it helped them feel just as proud about their morning runs and marathons as would-be Olympians felt about their record-breaking, above-average abilities.

2. Timing. Not only did the campaign start just two days before the Opening Ceremonies, but its culmination was on the last day of the Olympics and sought out to make that day the most active day in history of Nike+, the name of Nike devices that measure a person’s activity and converts it into fuel which is able to be measured. The anticipated ‘most active day’ was given dramatic effect and Nike even displayed a countdown on its website.

Image via Nike.com

3. Social presence. From YouTube, to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the campaign was hugely present and marked with the #findgreatness hashtag, which was also featured on the website and on advertisements. A cover photo and numerous posts on Facebook, a YouTube profile background and spot playlist, a Twitter profile background and numerous tweets, and images on Instagram with the inspiring words from the commercial all helped tie the campaign perfectly together. The brand was able to get people involved and the #findgreatness hashtag was popping up everywhere.

via Nike’s Facebook Page

Image via Nike’s Facebook Profile

via Nike

Image via Nike’s YouTube profile

4. The message was so simple, yet so inspiring. I was a goner when I heard the monologue on the commerical.

5. Staying up-to-date. Although Nike wasn’t an official sponsor of the Olympics, they made it known that they were watching and cheering on Team USA. And while the “Find Your Greatness” campaign focused largely on everyday people, it also highlighted the accomplishments of the elite athletes participating in the Olympics.

Image via Nike’s Facebook

6. Tastefully tip-toeing. I think that Nike did a very tasteful job of tip-toeing around the Olympic rules that ban non-official sponsors from certain activity related to the Games. To me, it’s as if the campaign said, “Hey we’re watching the Olympics with you and we’re rooting on Team USA, but we’re also rooting you on and encouraging you to find your greatness, too.”

Nike is golden because the brand was able to take what was going on in the world and tell its story in a way that was appealing and relevant – because at the end of the day, although it’s not explicitly stated, the campaign demonstrates that Nike helps you find your greatness, after all, it is the company’s innovative Nike+ capabilities that allowing followers of the movement to measure their greatness (not to mention the shoes and athletic wear).

What’s your cause?

Whatever you’re trying to do in life, professionally or personally, I think that one thing that you should always consider is how you’re going to make a difference and what you’re going to do to make the lives of other people better. It can be related to your profession or maybe it can be related to something that’s affected you personally. Whatever the case, you need to have a cause.

This is especially true for companies and brands (and don’t forget celebrities are brands, too). In fact, legend Harry Belafonte just publicly criticized power couple, Jay Z and Beyonce’ for a lack of social responsibility. Whether or not I agree with him is neither here, nor there. The point is that people pay attention to what companies are doing to give back. Sometimes companies start out with their own initiatives, and sometimes, something in society will happen that will spark a movement and a company can choose whether or not to take part.

A great example of a such societal happenings happened very recently, when 16-year old Matthew Walzer, who suffers from cerebral palsy, wrote an open letter to Mark Parker, CEO of Nike. The letter asked for Nike to consider making a shoe that would be easier to wear for those who are unable to lace their own shoe laces, which is a problem for many people with cerebral palsy.

After reading the letter, Matt Halfhill of blog Nice Kicks thought of a social media campaign that would make some noise and draw attention to the letter to ensure that not only would Mark Parker be made aware of the letter, but that he would be reminded of it over and over again. For every like, share and retweet of the blog’s post or video, Nice Kicks will send a a bright, Nike-orange post card to Parker and it will be signed with the name of the person who shared it.

Nice Kicks is likely to receive a great big round of applause for doing something to get this issue some shine. The fact that the cause is relevant to their brand is great as well and puts them in a position benefit from this campaign.

Check out the #NikeLetter below and share! Kudos to Halfhill and Nice Kicks for taking this opportunity to stand up for a cause.

Nike shows greatness in all forms

Many times, Nike ads show the intensity and dedication required to “Just Do It” by showing individuals who appear to have athleticism flowing through their veins. In this ad, Nike shows that greatness comes in all forms. This is another example of how a brand stays true to its core story, but shows it in a different light.

While Nike is not a sponsor of the Olympics this year, they managed to make themselves relevant, as Nathan Sorrell, the young man in the video, is running down a street in his hometown of London, Ohio. This adds even more meaning behind the ad, and shows how greatness can be in any form and can be found anywhere – not necessarily in the form of a teenaged or twenty-something year old Gold Medalist in London at the 2012 Olympic games, but just as well in the form of a twelve year-old, heavy-set kid running down a lone road in London, Ohio.

I think it’s absolutely amazing. This video is but a part of Nike’s #findgreatness campaign. Kudos to Wieden + Kennedy, the agency-in-charge for Nike.

Enjoy.

Storytelling, done right

I love it when a company takes a completely different, and a lot of times, unexpected, approach to telling their brand’s story. I think once people realize that they can simultaneously stay true to their brand’s roots and take a spin on how its story is told, something magical can happen. Case in point, Louis Vuitton.

Image via Louis Vuitton

Last month, Louis Vuitton ran a campaign that took the idea of travel and transformed it into an emotional, recognizable experience. Rather than focusing on going to a specific destination, the campaign focused on one’s journey through life and did so by highlighting world-known and celebrated Muhammad Ali. The campaign, which features original audio and newly-recorded renditions of speeches from some of Ali’s most famous moments, tells an emotional story to the consumer and sets the tone for a real connection, rather than a business-to-consumer transaction. The campaign is creative, it’s relevant and it’s tastefully done.

Louis Vuitton has kept its trend-setting, luxury appeal and introduced an emotional story that ties in popular culture references and focuses on an idea that everyone can relate to – the journey through life. This look at what Louis Vuitton has promoted for years through a different looking glass is a great example of how a brand can stay true to its roots and take a different approach to telling its story. Rapper Mos Def, agency Ogilvy Paris, and director Stuart McIntyre of Steam Films helped bring this inspiring project to life, which just so happens to be Louis Vuitton’s first film campaign.

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