Tag Archives: marketing

Are you making deposits into your brand bank account?

2 Jan

Which have more value: ads packed with an emotional punch, or ads packed with special offers and discounts? Here’s a short video to help you decide.

From the book The Hero and the Outlaw by Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson




Marketing – providing beacons for life’s journey.

13 Jul

Wow. There’s a heady statement.

In the book The Hero and the Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes, authors Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson, state that since we no longer have tribal elders to guide us, and fewer of us read the Bible, cultural guideposts that once helped our ancestors are now in some cases gone or dismissed.

However we still seek fulfilment at home and at work. So where do we find the beacons to guide us? Parents, siblings, friends and neighbors: sure. But how many of us look more to musicians and movie stars? Bruce Springsteen represents the archetype of the Explorer so well, that I resist playing the CD Born to Run for fear that I might just pack my bags, drive off into the sunset and not return home. I learned my sense of humor from Bill Murray in his role as Carl the Groundskeeper in Caddyshack. What self-respecting dude between the ages of 40 and 55 can’t quote most of his lines from that movie?

For better or worse, marketing can provide those beacons too. Nike’s Just Do It campaign resonated because we envisioned ourselves as the Hero archetype. How did the Marlboro man get millions of people to choose that brand of cigarette? Because many of us long to be Outlaws.

Imagine if all products that can help us achieve our best were marketed in ways that found wandering souls like beacons in the night.

Wow. A heady goal. But I’m going to try. And if I fail? Well as Judge Smails reminded us in Caddyshack, “The world needs ditch diggers, too!”

Judge Smails from Caddyshack

Judge Smails from Caddyshack


The saga of sliced bread

26 Apr

Otto Rohwedder

A friend of mine sent me a video of my favorite author, Seth Godin, giving a presentation at a tech conference in 2008. In his speech entitled: “Why marketing is too important to leave to the marketing department” Godin explains the importance of integrating marketable features into the products. However, the news about the great feature needs to be spread: that’s where marketing comes in.

One of the examples he used in his speech was about Otto Rohwedder (pictured above): the man who invented sliced bread. Otto held the patents for the automatic breadslicer and had the factories all ready to receive the orders. However from 1913 until his patent ran out in 1930, sliced bread was a complete failure. No one cared.

It wasn’t until 1931, when Wonder Bread came along and packaged and marketed that it built strong bodies 12 ways, that sliced bread became The Greatest Thing.

I wonder what product is out there now just needs to be marketed for it to take off?

Any ideas? Let’s hear ’em.



A great speech started with these two laws

20 Apr

Wow. They actually worked.

Two of Jeffrey Gitomer’s 21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling helped me nail my presentation this past week: Law #4 Employ Humor and Law #19 Perform Dynamically.

I present every other month to a group of 150 sales and marketing colleagues. The audience always includes my boss and the CEO: two incredibly dynamic presenters.

I usually rely on an interesting (at least to me) marketing story as the anchor of my speech, but this time I took a leap: I tried humor.

Here are a few of the guidelines I followed from Gitomer’s book that helped me succeed:
* Make sure the laugh is at your expense
* Study humor (thank you Stephen Colbert)
* Test your humor on a friend or family (Thank you Linda Kay O’Reilly)
* Know your material
* Speak from the heart, not a script
* Have a compelling, transferable message

I’ll add one more: gauge the energy in the room. This group is very upbeat and was ready to laugh.

Gitomer issued a challenge that gave me the courage to take the leap: If you’re a leader in front of your people, ask yourself this: Do they WANT to listen to me, or do they HAVE to listen to me?

I think next time they’ll WANT to listen to me.

The first step to excellence

30 Mar

Sitting at the mall waiting for my daughters and wife to shop…no, this is not the step.

This is:

List the qualities you perceive in yourself as excellent. Then list the qualities your customer expects from you. Compare lists. Your plan to achieve excellence is now self-evident.

Thank you Jeffrey Gitomer for another bit of inspiration from 21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling, and for giving me something constructive to do at the mall!

Do you abide by the laws of selling?

30 Mar


Hello Blogosphere! I’m back! Did you miss me?

I’m reading a book by Jeffrey Gitomer titled “21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling.”

Technically, I’m not in “Sales,” so I wondered if I would find any value. After 58 pages, the answer is a definitive yes.

Short chapters, lots of bullet lists, actionable suggestions that apply to anyone who wants to sell his or herself.

One suggestion: brand yourself by blogging at least once a week! (The inspiration for this post.)

Here’s another nugget:
Your voice starts with the inner voice you hear before you speak a word.

For more, check out http://www.gitomer.com, or come on back to my blog!

Creative discovery begins with Scrambled Eggs

25 Dec


The song that MTV and Rolling Stone magazine deemed the number 1 pop song of all time was originally titled “Scrambled Eggs.”

It was months after Sir Paul McCartney wrote the melody, that he replaced the working title “Scrambled Eggs” for the name of the song we all know so well. After landing on the name, McCartney said, the lyrics fell quickly into place.

The creative path rarely follows a straight line. Whether you’re writing a song, creating a new work flow system or designing an advertisement, sometimes you need to start with “Scrambled eggs/Oh my baby how I love your legs.” before you get to “Yesterday/All my troubles seemed so far away.”

Am I supposed to like this?

25 Dec

Seth Godin has come up with another keen marketing insight. Or at least it seems so since I’m reading a blog which is inherently the source of all modern-day keen insights. Isn’t it?

Check out this post and see if you agree.


I can think of a few more examples where my surroundings have influenced my thinking as Seth describes.

1. The indie record store: Back in the day when these existed in just about every mid-sized city or college town, I loved to hang out among the musty warrens of crates and shelves. Specifically, The funky, creative vibe made me want to buy old blues albums.


2. Starbucks: Why else would you spend $4 on a cup of coffee if it weren’t for the cool decor and elegantly hip music?

3.  Creative office spaces: We recently re-organized the marketing department at the Tampa Bay Times where I work and redesigned our surroundings at the same time. We broke from the color (or lack of) scheme found throughout the building and painted posts orange, purple and green. It added energy and freshness to the floor that made us all feel more creative, and other departments believe we were.

Any one else been seduced by his or her surroundings?

Does social media cause branding problems?

23 Jul

Part 2 of 2 blog post

In the previous post on my blog, www.kerryoreilly.com, I referenced a thought-provoking article in the recent edition of Marketing Management, the magazine published by the American Marketing Association.

The article was written by Laura Ries, president of the Atlanta-based marketing consulting firm Ries&Ries (yes, she’s the daughter of legendary marketer Al Ries). In it, she makes a very good case for the importance of visuals in marketing and advertising. Without a single, consistent visual that conveys your brand promise (or as she calls it a “visual hammer”) you can’t nail your message into the emotional section of a consumer’s mind.

Examples of visual hammers include:Coors Light’s Silver Bullet, the Budweiser Clydesdales and the Aflac duck. When you see these images, words are not necessary to convey the brand message.

The reason Ries believes social media causes branding problems is that it’s a verbal rather than visual form of communication. Unfortunately, Ries does not go on to expand on why social media causes branding problems.

I agree that social media, if not done right, may cloud the message in the mind of the consumer which may not advance a company’s branding.

However, here are three examples where social media is helping to build the brand.

* McDonald’s – all I need to see are the golden arches in their Twitter feed and I either start thinking about one of their new fruit smoothies, or fries…usually fries

* USA Today – when they post breaking news using social media it reinforces that their brand is a source you can count on for important news

* Oprah – her Twitter feed reminds me to Live My Best Life, her Facebook page shows her in casual settings that makes me feel like a trusted friend

Social media is not the exclusive culprit for branding problems. We marketers have managed to dilute our message using all forms of media over the years.

Let me know your thoughts.

Follow me on Twitter @KDOreilly

The single question that can ensure marketing success

17 Jul
You've just said it all...

You’ve just said it all…

Part 1 of 2 part blog post

I’m not a big fan of trade magazines. I force myself to peruse one or two a week because I don’t want to miss the holy grail of marketing knowledge. So far, no grail. However, in the summer issue of Marketing Management, the magazine published by the American Marketing Association, I found a gem.

In the article “Why do you have 2 brains?” by Laura Ries, president of Ries & Ries, I realized something that subconsciously my brain knew since birth: Visuals dominate words.

A strong visual is effortless to digest mentally. In an ad, it will connect with the more powerful right side of the brain which is ruled by emotions. However, if the visual does not convey meaning or is not linked with a verbal concept it will fall flat.

Ries uses the analogy of the hammer and nail, I prefer the bat and the ball. The bat is the visual, the ball is the verbal. To hit a home run, both must work in tandem.

So here’s the big question that Ries poses that can ensure marketing success: “What single, memorable visual defines the essential nature of (your) brand?”

For Tropicana, the image of the straw stuck in an orange conveys fresh squeezed without saying a word. For Budweiser, it’s the Clydesdales. For Coors Light, it’s the silver train.

Because of the reliance on verbal rather than visual, Ries states that social media causes branding problems, rather than solves them.

Follow me on Twitter @KDOReilly or check back in a few days to find out why.