Positioning, Reframing + Repositioning

I offer these advanced Neuro-Linguistic-Programming (NLP) communication services. They are part of the art of change developed and taught by Dr. Richard Bandler + John Grinder. These transformational grammar tools can be used to engage staff, improve productivity, heighten customer satisfaction, boost customer loyalty and ramp up repeat sales when they are employed correctly to lay a transformational foundation for long lasting, positive change.

  • Positioning supports your USP. 
  • Re-framing changes how you look at customers. 
  • Repositioning changes how they look at you.

This little piece by Microsoft is a nice personal example of Positioning (“What makes you unique”) and Repositioning ("makes you uniquely qualified") in action.




Illustration versus Photography

At a time when online communications are becoming more and more visual, a good illustration is often much better than a great picture because you can really zoom in on what’s most important. Here are two illustrations that (no pun intended) help me make my point.







Leadership versus Happiness




Google uses Direct Mail. Why don’t you?

Here’s the headline + rationale from a Google direct mail piece that I received last week.

Right now, people

Are looking for

Businesses just

Like yours.

66% of mobile searchers made a purchase (either online or in-store) after doing a related search on their smartphone in the past 3 months. (Based on a US May 2015 survey. n=1243)

82% of smartphone users say they use search to find a local business. (2014/15 survey. n=1,000)

27.5M smartphone users in Canada expected in 2020. (statista.com survey)

To make it even easier for me to buy an Adwords campaign right now, Google’s offering me up to $150.00 when I spend $150.00  

This misleading piece of direct mail got me going for a few reasons.

The rational is a rationalization that attempts to cover up Google's most fundamental online search challenge with a false assumption: that when you’re searching for something (on your mobile device) you want paid ads popping up ahead of your organic search results.    

While Google wants me to run an Adword campaign to capitalize on the latent potential floating around in all those search results, their seemingly generous offer masks the real cost of a successful online advertising campaign. Google will help you along with sophisticated tracking tools that enable you to measure your own campaign's progress. But although their tools eclipse the metrics offered by traditional media, Google provides absolutely no comparative data that gives you a sense of how other companies in your category, demographic of geographic segment are doing. The longer Google keeps you in the dark, the more you’ll spend. This competitive isolation strategy is unique to Google + I hate it.

Since the dawn of adverting high quality, personalized direct mail has been tried, tested and selected as the medium of choice when it comes to increased target group reach, message frequency, detail message comprehension and increased response rates (from both existing and lapsed customers). Some of my Adword accounts have been dormant for over five years and I am still on Google’s direct mail list because they know, as you also should, that it is much cheaper to reactivate a lapsed customer than to activate a new one.

Google has tried to reactivate me in the most affordable manner possible; using their own channels including YouTube, their search engine and e-mail banner offers. But Google knows, as you also should that when the law of diminishing return kicks in, it is best to drill down into your data base and skim off a layer of high potential non-responders and test response rates with a completely different medium – like direct mail.

If Google, perhaps the biggest and most savvy media vendor on the planet, is using a combination of 1. Google media channels, 2. e-mail, 3. Adwords and 4. addressed direct mail to improve their market share, shouldn’t your marketing and advertising teams be doing the same?

Shouldn’t you be running ongoing media and message tests as well?

Shouldn’t you be thinking that maybe, just maybe, online advertising isn't the be-all and end-all? That maybe it's just a small part of a comprehensive, well constructed advertising plan rather than the foundation.

This by the way, is not a Google best practices thing, it's a media 101 common sense thing for any experienced Media Director (like me) who has been around long enough to observe that while media selection and media mixes change over time, people really don’t.



Another (new) case for “relevance” in advertising

I just stumbled upon this “insight” in the 2014-2015 CMDC Media Digest (page 7). It’s part of the Trends + Issues commentary article by Karen Nayler, CEO, Mindshare.

“CONTRASTING CONSUMER CULTURES: OPT-OUT VS. OPT-IN?  In 2014, Mindshare Canada fielded a study regarding mobile usage in Canada. Amongst other insights gained, the study found that 25% of 18-to-34 year-olds (the much sought after “Millen­nial”) did not mind their mobile devices being tracked as long as this was used to serve relevant ads. In a world where consumers prefer to choose who, where, when and what messaging they interact with, this suggests the next generation of consumers is beginning to embrace opting in to a value exchange as long as advertisers deliver truly timely and relevant advertising.”

I found this insight very disturbing for two reasons:

1. The optimistic spin

While “25% did not mind their mobiles being tracked as long as this was used to serve relevant ads”, by statistical inference 75% did not want their mobile devices tracked (or at best were “undecided”).

2.  Applying new terminology to an old insight does not make it a new insight

“this suggests the next generation of consumers is beginning to embrace opting in to a value exchange as long as advertisers deliver truly timely and relevant advertising.”

Bullshit. In 1935 David Ogilvy wrote one of the best sales manuals ever written for Aga Cookers. Among its suggestions: "never mistake quantity of calls for quality of salesmanship."

Given it is now 2018, the idea of consumers embracing (or opting in to) a value exchange as long as advertisers deliver truly timely and relevant advertising is now at least 83 years old. Sadly, most of the relevant insights gained by the women + men who conceived of and built the post-war advertising industry are lost on the Millennial generation, now in charge, because the data is not available online for free. 

Relevance in terms of product, place, price and promotion has ALWAYS been fundamental to advertising success and is summed up elegantly in this “historic” Ogilvy selling proposition that I still use very effectively on a regular basis:

“A logical argument, emotionally delivered by a voice respected + admired by the audience.”



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