Your Marketing and Design Reading for The Weekend

It's Labor Day Weekend. I should be outside grilling something and concocting a signature cocktail for my guests. Or I should be poolside, reading a novel I will forget the moment I finish it. Or I should at a giant mall, snatching up bargains so big the cashiers are awed and want autographs. Nope, I'm catching up on work because we are in one of our most intense periods of the year. But that is okay, as there will be other barbecues and I have some good material to share!

Here's your recap of the articles I found this week. I hope you read this post while some attractive server brings you a cocktail in a coconut (or at least pretend)!

Don't Stop A-Meme-In'--Using Memes for Lead Generation and Buzz Reading in Airplane SeatsBuilding

This was a fun post and a very timely one for Affinity Express. It advised using a meme tied to a specific offer because this tactic works well in B2B social media. Funny, nostalgic or other content hooks prospects and generates leads and buzz.  But there must also be a strong offer or piece of content. If done right, you can improve the likability of your business.

Let's hope Marketo is right. We took a slightly different tack and created a series meme postcards we mailed to CMOs, creative directors and directors of digital marketing at major retailers. Our offer is an assessment and free month of service. It's still early but we've already connected with one CMO and are exploring possibilities. So we couldn't agree more with this post. Memes can show you understand someone's perspective and are willing to show some personality.

A Tongue-in-Cheek Guide to Branding Terms

DesignTaxi pointed out this guide to branding terms that has some pretty amusing made-up terms.

  • Brandiose: a glaringly obvious overestimation of a brand's importance in the world. Also referred to as Delusions of Brandeur.
  • Brandicapped: a brand that has the courage to soldier on for decades despite its crippling issues. Relevant cases: MySpace, America OnLine.
  • Raisin Brand: a flaky, corn-based brand, promoted principally via a single distinguishing feature of dubious uniqueness or value.
  • Brandellabra: an archaic brand with a multi-pronged strategic approach and tendency to fizzle out over time.

Check out this post and you'll wish you thought up several of these terms.

Slightly rewarded (slightly punished)

It's nice to start each day with a post from Seth Godin because you have an opportunity to incorporate something he says--whether it be simple, profound or effective--before you get too buried to even read what he has to say.

This morning, I liked his perspective: it is typically not the big traps that mess us up, it is the little ones or really the cumulative effect of small traps. Indulging in a bad habit once or making a single mistake is not usually disastrous. But when you so this repeatedly, it can be hard to recover. He uses the example of drinking one Coke versus 100 and getting fat. I think of others such as obsessing over the details of a single project (and ignoring all others) so very little gets done or cutting corners and not checking facts leading to a loss of professional credibility.

Seth certainly gives you something to think about. What little traps are you falling into on a daily basis?

This Post Isn't Worth Your Time

This post goes back a few days but I like the way Chris Brogan taps into the insecurity many of us in marketing share and encourages us to overcome it. Rather than bragging, it is about working toward and believing we are worthy.

  • Our Inner Critic Shouldn't Ever Be Given the Mic: you shouldn't talk to others the way you talk to yourself. If you air all your doubts and fears, there's a good possibility others will come to agree with you!
  • It's 90% Language, 10% Physical Posture, 100% Confidence: we often make language choices and comparisons to others that cast a negative light on us. The same is true of the way we carry ourselves physically. Talk and walk tall!
  • Do NOT Swing the Pendulum: arrogance is not the answer. Instead, this post is about striving to provide value and not undermining all the good you do.
  • Set Your Measures Internally: improve what you do compared to what you did before and what you hope to achieve, not compared anyone else's results or aspirations.

If you tend to pick apart your work and find yourself standing still as a result, read this post . . . every week!

10 Companies that Totally Nailed their Taglines

This post resonated because we just went through a discussion and process to come up with a positioning statement for our new website (which should go live at the end of the month!). Hubspot covers ten consumer brands and I kept saying to our internal team, "We are a B2B services company in a niche. We're not coming up with the next "Just do it." Guess what the first tagline is in the list? Yup, this classic from Nike.

There were a couple of points I really wish I could shout. The first is that it is insanely difficult to be succinct. Sometimes I feel like my job is to cross out modifiers and adjectives! But it has to be done.

It is also hard to evoke emotion, even more so in B2B marketing.  I like the L'Oreal tagline "Because you're worth it" from a personal standpoint but struggle to develop something as powerful for our business.

Lastly, these amazing taglines weren't introduced when the companies were first started. Rather, it took time to understand what companies stand for, why customers buy and how customers connect with the brands. McDonald's "I'm lovin' it" was launched in 2003 and is still in use today, but the company was founded in 1940.

In a crowded field, the tagline can be all about what differentiates the brand in the category. For example, Lay's is "Betcha can't just eat one." They don't talk about being the best potato chip, but understand their customers. M&M candy "Melts in your mouth, not in your hands," which sets it apart from other chocolates.

Ultimately, this reinforced what I said in our conversations: it takes time, it's not easy and taglines evolve based on the market segments served. This is what we came up with:

Affinity Express: Your brand. Multiple channels. Maximum results.

Let me know what you think. In the meantime, have a great Labor Day weekend and like this post if it helped you get out of the office or the house to enjoy the holiday!


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