Category Archives: Uncategorized

Happy Holidays from Eidson & Partners!

It's time! The millions of bright, flashy lights and the crazed shoppers dashing through store aisles only mean one thing: It’s the holiday season. And as the year draws to an end, we here at Eidson & Partners want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have made our year (and this blog) a big success.

As the year winds down, it’s easy to get lost in all the haste and hustle the holiday season brings. However, I really strive to take the opportunity to step back, examine where we've come over the last 12 months and, along the way, remember those who have helped us grow into what we are today.

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Live Where You Want

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ING Bank is creating its own mortgage customers with its new service called "Live Where You Want." The program is based on the assumption that many homeowners are currently not interested in selling but would do so for the right offer. It works like this — you tell ING and their real estate firm partner what house you want to buy. They work with you to create a reasonable offer and get your financing lined up. Then, they go to the homeowner and make the offer. As a homeowner, you get a price based on the real estate firm’s due diligence and a buyer with a pre-approved loan.

What a great way to create a market! Don’t wait for the customer to need a loan — create a need for a loan.

Are there ways you can proactively create a buying situation without waiting for it to come to you?

Cause Washing

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I’ve been hearing more and more about "green washing" — the concept of touting your product/service/company as being environmentally friendly without really putting resources toward the effort. I think the same applies to much of the cause marketing we see today.

Tom Fishburne hits the nail on the head with his post "The Cause Marketing Bandwagon" that has a wonderful formula in the cartoon regarding why the company loves causes. He makes the point with the example of a smoothie company that quietly and effectively supported a cause that was a perfect fit with their brand.

We get into trouble when we base philanthropic decisions on marketing instead of core company beliefs.

What is the worst (or shall we say best?) example of insincere cause marketing you have seen?

Less is More

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I went to a seminar this week on getting new business. The speaker made several interesting points regarding presentation slides. Here’s a short recap…

– Most presentation slides have too much stuff on them. He called the typical tiers of bullets “son of bullet” and “grandson of bullet.” His advice is to never have bullet grandchildren.

– If everything you say in your presentation is on the slides, then the listeners may assume that you’re not so smart. Anyone can read a slide. But, if you just have a few words on a slide and then you can expound on the topic, then you look smart. And, the beauty of it is that if your presentation time gets cut short, you can easily shorten the amount of time per slide just by providing less detail in your voiceover per slide. You can’t do this as easily if every slide has a long slew of copy on it.

– There should be just one key takeaway per slide. Get in, make your point, and get out. Next slide.

I thought this was good advice. It reminded me of a Business Week article earlier this year called “Deliver a Presentation Like Steve Jobs.” The article recommends creating visual slides. It said, ” Inspiring presenters are short on bullet points and big on graphics.”

Behind the Curtain

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I really liked Tom Fishburne’s cartoon he posted last week titled Wizard of Ad with the balloon copy "Pay no attention to the company behind the curtain, just watch our ad." Tom writes "Someone in the group was talking about company transparency, and how reluctant many companies are to reveal their inner workings.  The traditional approach is to concoct a persona via advertising and point to that instead.Yet, more and more consumers seem to be looking for the company behind the curtain.  They’re no longer as swayed by the concocted brand image of advertising.  Instead, they want to know who’s behind the products they buy."

This really rings true. So often company’s use their advertising to express their desired persona instead of what they are. Consumers aren’t fooled by this. An ad sets up expectations and if those expectations aren’t met when the consumer interacts with your company, then I think it is worse than if you hadn’t advertised at all. The reason it’s called a  "brand promise" is because you are making a  promise to your customers. I think my Mom was right, "Don’t make promises you can’t keep."

Fill the Void

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A couple of months ago, there were two fascinating stories on NPR by science correspondent Robert Krulwich. The stories described how the brain
creates hallucinations in order to fill a void. One story
described how people who have gone deaf, or are put in a situation where they
hear no sounds for a long period of time, will start hearing music.

The other story was about a man who went blind but now “sees” very vivid images. An
ophthalmologist explained it by saying, “When visual cells in the brain stop
getting information the
cells compensate. If there’s no data coming in, they make up images. They
hallucinate.”

The same holds true for your company’s communications. If
people are expecting a product launch to happen and it doesn’t – or if rumors
of a product issue or glitch remain unchallenged – don’t think those things
will just go away. Your customers and prospects will fill the void with their own information if
you don’t.

A great article in Public
Relations Strategist
last summer by John Doorley referenced work done by sociologist Tomatsu Shibutani that “When activity is interrupted for want of adequate information,
frustrated [people] must piece together some kind of definition, and rumor is
the collective transaction through which they try to fill this gap.”

Don’t let the market fill the void. Respond quickly whenever
damaging, or even just incorrect information, about your company or products hits
the streets.

This Scoop’s for You

Ampersand1A Wall Street Journal story on 4/24 reported that a Miller Brewing sponsored blog, Brew Blog, broke the news that Anheuser-Busch was getting ready to launch a new beer called Budweiser American Ale. The trade publications and St. Louis’ major newspaper had been scooped.

The blog was started at the behest of Miller’s communications consultants “who wanted the brewer to have more influence over what’s covered in the industry.” They recruited a former reporter to do the writing. This is essentially a good ol’ public relations strategy. The blog reportedly reached 12,000 individual visitors in the month ending April 10 – most of them beer-industry professionals.

A couple of lines in the story really intrigued me – “They [Brew Blog] are trying to aggressively go around the gatekeepers in newsrooms and the trade press…It’s something you couldn’t do five years ago before the proliferation of blogs.”

Instead of influencing media using traditional PR tactics, the Brew Blog influences media by “out-reporting” them. Then, the traditional media plays catch up to chase the scoop.

Makes me wonder what other traditional marketing strategies could be turned on their heads. Your thoughts?