Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Know Your Stuff: The Value of Legal Counsel in Brand Marketing

There's nothing more frustrating & embarrassing than creating a drop dead promo or campaign only to have it shot down by corporate counsel for the simple reason that it is in violation of state, local, or federal regulations.

Or worse ...
Except, of course, if your corporate counsel is more familiar with patent law than FCC regs and the campaign launches without thorough and comprehensive review. When the regulators and various legal entities descend on your company, you can rest assured Counsel will pass the buck right to your office. And sleep very well that night too, thank you.

Integrate Creative with Practical -- You'll be Glad You did
Creativity is only part of campaign development. If you're not up on the legalities and liabilities that come with the job you're a prosecution waiting to happen.

Just like knowing your budget boundaries, you need to know your legal boundaries before planning a campaign. As such, you not only save time and $$, but you position yourself and your team as genuine, credible resources for your organization. Enhance your value and the value of your group and you will find it a lot easier to do your job without the second guessers, and dime-a-dozen arm chair marketeers.

If you haven't gotten around to drafting a Policies & Procedures manual for Marketing at your organization, this is an excellent way to educate yourself, educate your team and educate your organization at large.  In addition it consolidates your brand requirements, style guide and procedures for material requests.

Last but not least, it helps your company educate employees (and management) about way they can promote the brand most effectively, as well as avoid inadvertent brand damage (think Chrysler employee tweeting profanities about Detroit drivers last year ... make me wince just recalling it!)

What triggered this dire warning?
Oh, I was just getting caught up on some blog reading and came across the following post. I urge you to read it -- and anything else you find on PR, IR and marketing-centric laws. Social Media Promotions and the Law: What You Need to Know | Social Media Examiner

More Resources
Here are a few additional online resources for just this purpose:
Got a Professional Organization?
Several are good sources for information about the laws and regulations that pertain to many facets of Marketing, including:
  • AMA (American Marketing Assoc.) http://www.marketingpower.com
  • DMA (Direct Marketing Assoc.) http://www.the-dma.org
  • PMA (Promotion Marketing Assoc.) http://www.pmalink.org
Nobody Said This Was Going to be Easy
In fact, I've been known to remark that Marketing positions should be posted with a Surgeon General's Warning all their own.  But, for those of us who have found a real niche in Marketing, constantly learning and staying abreast of news and developments is one of the aspects of the function that make it dynamic and interesting.

These are the details that differentiate the professionals from the wannabes.  A Marketing professional thinks outside the box while also knowing the contents of the box like the back of his/her hand.

Can you recommend other resources?
We'd like to hear from you.  Please post a comment and refer us to your colleagues.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday's Fill-in-the-Blank

If I could only use one communications channel for my brand it would be _________________ .

[HINT:  Think Customer Back.]

OP ED: Goldman Sachs' "Progress" Campaign -- Necessary but not sufficient

Two things came across the transom this morning:  The news about another Goldman Sachs exec convicted of fraud, and Goldman Sach's "Progress" campaign.

A friend lobbed the campaign link at me knowing darn well I'd have something to say about it. You know the one:  "Progress is Everyone's Business."  Tons of video all over the web -- especially for one of their clients, the YES Network.

[SIDE BAR:  Somebody in the B2B Beenut Gallery just wondered aloud, "Who the hell is this YES Network?  And why don't we know more about them?"  To which the first rapid-fire reply was, "Obviously Goldman's funding didn't extend to a promotional budget."  I wonder... Actually, it's the Yankees Entertainment and Sports network.  We're Bostonians.  Do the math.]

I love the production values, the messaging, the testimonial tactics, the art direction -- the whole freaking campaign is beautifully executed and clearly represents a BIG investment on Goldman's part.  It will probably win an award or two based on this, but will it fix Goldman's brand?

1. It's built on a brand foundation that resembles earthquake rubble.  Goldman has never dealt credibly with the "F" word:  FRAUD.  In fact (metaphorically) they've never really even acknowledged that there was an earthquake, let alone cleaned up and fortified what they had left.

2.  Perhaps "Progress" is their new foundation.  Okay, not good.  It's not strong enough and it won't hold.  Like replacing steel beams with plastic.  Is this a case of denial on a corporate scale?

To which I can only say, Snap out of it!  Goldman's brand is so negative that, by associating itself with the notion of Progress, it's very possible they're giving Progress a bad name.

When your brand is reduced to rubble, you have two choices:  Clean up the mess and go away, or clean up the mess and rebuild.

Goldman isn't doing either of these things based on this campaign.

On the "Plus Side," they absolutely had to do something.  Metaphorically hiding under one's desk,
leaving by the back door, etc., is no way to project credibility, transparency, or strength.  We're glad they're out from under their desks, but wish they weren't in denial.

So, I think this is where we're coming down on this topic, here at B2B:

  • Is Goldman's campaign well done?  Absolutely.
  • Is it about time they did something?  Without a doubt.
  • Is it going to help their brand?  Almost anything with a positive spin would help at this point.
  • Is this what they actually needed?  Not even close.  But, baby steps ...
  • What do we think they'll do?  Who the hell knows?!  But, hopefully they're already doing in-depth, ongoing perception analyses, and will continue to do so f-o-r-e-v-e-r.  Perhaps they will take the results to heart; and perhaps they will continue to communicate with the public at large in ways that have more meaningful impact.
And while branding is my sweet spot, vs. corporate culture, perhaps they'll take a look at the corporate culture that spawned the kind of business practices that put them in their current position in the first place.  (I know, I gotta lose the rose-colored glasses).

Your brand is a reflection of your corporate culture -- your personality, your character, your reputation, what people say about you when you're not in the room.

And, in financial terms, it is critical to your valuation.  It is that 35-55% so-called "intangible" factor that determines whether people will do business with you.  And, like it or not, everyone in your organization is an ambassador of your brand.

Just like sound business practices, if these branding factors played any part in the development of this campaign, I daresay "Progress" would not have been its theme.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Call It Viral, Social, Guerilla, PR ... whatever you want!

This is a little off the beaten b2b path, but nonetheless important.  Whether you call it Social, Viral, Guerilla, CRM, or simply PR, it all boils down to the fact that every interaction with your customers and clients is a Marketing Moment.  And most of these moments carry no fees, retainers, or royalties.

So, you know what they say:  Don't waste a moment.  Do something nice for a customer today.  You can't beat the price and in the age of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn the dividends can be spectacular.

Here's a little inspiration from AdWeek:  How Red Robin Bought Priceless PR for $11.50 | Adweek

Have a great weekend!