EXPERIENTIAL

FIRST IMPRESSIONS MATTER

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WHY UNDER PROMISING AND OVER DELIVERING NEVER GETS OLD

First impressions matter. The way you conduct yourself at the beginning of a relationship sets the tone for the rest of it. What may seem like a small action during the initial, starting phases of a new business relationship can have a massive impact on the final result of the project. The first ninety days are critical to secure your success in any job. 

The Key to Success on Any New Project

Have you ever heard the phrase, "underpromise, and overdeliver?" It's a common saying used throughout a variety of different businesses and industries. It's an excellent strategy to employ within the first ninety days when you take on a new project or client as a service provider.

It's tempting to overpromise on a project. Closing a sale or deal is a tough business, and it's easy for someone to make promises they can't necessarily keep. Telling a new client that you can do everything they want and then some takes little effort - just speaking. But letting your new client know that you can't do something they want takes honesty, and it's a brave move.

In an environment where many salespersons overpromise and are "yes-men/women," honesty is refreshing, valuable currency. Working as an agency or service provider is still a relationship business, and people are more likely to trust service providers who are honest with them at the start of the relationship. Plus, overpromising forces you into a situation that can end up either letting your client down or forcing you to expend precious resources and energy to do more than what's possible with the project.

When you underpromise, you're honest. You're setting the client up for realistic expectations, while also protecting your bottom line and your team members from frustration and possible burnout. Under Promising also makes it easier for you and your team to overdeliver, which clients will love.

However, clients are really the key to making this strategy work so that it can benefit everyone involved. Clients can have unrealistic expectations about what service providers and agencies can do. It's essential that they don't allow "yes-men/women" to bamboozle them with unrealistic promises that are impossible to keep and achieve. The agency partner who outlines the project's results in practical terms, and who is honest about their skills, what those skills can achieve, and when they can meet deadlines is someone worth doing business with. Realistic promises also enable the agency to come in under budget, before a critical deadline, or able to achieve slightly better results for clients than initially thought possible.

For the agency, it's critical that at the beginning of any new relationship, they underpromise and overdeliver to set the tone for one built on trust and honesty. We promise you this.

WHAT ARE YOU REALLY SELLING?

Human beings have an attention span that is one second less than your average goldfish’s. In today’s interconnected and digital world, consumers are under a constant barrage of advertisements. Sometimes, they don’t even realize that what they are seeing is an ad, especially if it's carefully disguised as a narrative blog post. So, what can you do to increase your sales, and turn cold or warm leads into paying, loyal customers?
 
First off, you must know what you're selling, and it’s not the features you’re selling, but the benefits of your offering and why your brand exists to add value. For instance...

Starbucks does not sell coffee that comes in any flavor you could want. Starbucks sells a community. And what are the benefits of a community? It fosters connection, camaraderie, and the benefit of being seen and heard as part of a group of like-minded coffee-lovers.
 
Disney does not sell entertainment. They sell magic and unforgettable experiences. Sure, they sell movies and toys to entertain. But so do thousands of other companies. What is it that makes Disney’s toys and movies so special? The brand is positioned to sell magic and enable customers to create new, cherished memories with their loved ones.
 
So, what is it that you’re selling?
Factual statements don’t compel someone to buy. The benefits do. Why does your product exist, and what value does its existence add to the customer’s experience?
 
It’s the customer’s emotions that drive them to make a purchase. While listing factual information is important so the customer knows how the product or service operates, that’s not what gets them to convert.
 
What are some examples of features versus benefits?
You want to communicate to your audience what the more profound, emotional benefits are that you’re selling, and position your brand to connect with them through those benefits, for example:

  • Accessibility vs 24-hour limo service 

  • Convenience vs One-click buy 

  • Trustworthiness vs Doing business since 1950

Once you understand what the benefits are, you can begin to craft content around those benefits that utilize a narrative structure that hits those emotional notes for your target audience. The latest and the most fabulous features don’t mean much to your customer unless those features translate into benefits that bring them a specific value. What you’re selling needs to answer these vital questions for the customer:

  • What’s in it for me?

  • Will this improve my current situation?

  • Will the product or service make me happier, healthier, smarter, or richer?

Understanding your target audience’s demographics can certainly help you figure out what your offering’s most relevant features are that you want to list. However, knowing the psychographics of your customer, as in what motivates them or what gives them value, can help you position your brand’s benefits and the reason why it exists to serve the customer. Doing this will enable you to move whatever product or service it is that you’re selling.
 
For better conversions and increased customer loyalty, know exactly what you’re selling, and communicate how it benefits your target customer on an emotional level.

The end.

3 REASONS WHY BEING REAL HAS NEVER BEEN MORE STYLISH

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In a world where the lines between reality are becoming increasingly blurred, consumers are demanding more authentic and genuine products and marketing strategies from businesses. Entrepreneurs and marketers are becoming savvier when it comes to positioning their products as real and honest, from the way they are manufactured to the ingredients or materials they are made out of, and finally, to the way those products and services are marketed.
 
Information in today’s world is democratized, and it’s now easier than ever before for consumers to thoroughly research a product before they hit the “buy” button. Before, it was all too easy for less ethical businesses to use questionable ingredients, materials, or manufacturing processes to bring their products to market. With consumers demanding more transparency, their tastes are drastically changing.
 
Brands that have tapped into consumers’ need for real and honest products and marketing have managed to position themselves as industry heavyweights, such as Honest Tea and RXBar. In today’s business climate, being real and honest has never been more stylish. And with the rise of social media and user-generated content, honesty in business is here to stay. Here are three compelling reasons why:
 

1. Authenticity Matters

Recent surveys have found that up to 86% of all consumers claim that brand authenticity is an important factor in which companies they choose to support. The findings were even more stark depending on the age of the survey participant.
 
90% of Millennial consumers say brand authenticity is essential. This generational cohort now commands more than 200 billion dollars in annual spending power. But, they're often cited as the demographic least likely to be engaged with brands.
 
As the consumer market ages and younger and younger people start participating in the economy, brands need to stay competitive with real and organic positioning, instead of coming off as polished and packaged.
 

2. Modern consumers consider user-generated content the most authentic.

Everyone with an internet connection has access to social media, where they can express their thoughts, feelings, and share their lives with friends and strangers alike. Surveys show that consumers find written and visual content created by average, everyday people on social networks the most genuine or authentic. 70% of millennials claim that social media content from their friends and family have the most impact on their purchasing decisions, versus only 23% of celebrity influencers.
 

3. Authenticity can’t be faked.

Not only do consumers want more authentic content from brands, but they are also savvier at discerning brand-generated content. 70% of consumers can distinguish between content that is user-generated and content that brands have cultivated strictly for marketing purposes. 20% of all consumers have unfollowed a brand on social media because they thought their content was inauthentic.
 
The drive for real, honest products and marketing in the consumer market is being driven by a need for things that are timeless, and long-lasting. Being real, genuine, and honest with your brand positioning and storytelling will help your business maintain a competitive edge in today’s climate.

So, did you like this blog? Honestly?

Will AI Ever Be Capable of Creativity?

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The robots are coming. They’re coming for your jobs. But fortunately, not all of your jobs. While it’s true that automation is taking over specific tasks at a terrifying pace, there is a glass ceiling for AI, and no, they can’t break it.

So, what jobs are safe from the massive influx of robot workers?  Creative jobs that require empathy. In fact, it’s safe to say that AI will never be capable of creativity. Creativity requires a soul, which a machine will never have.

Can AI corner the creative market?

No. But, and this is the good news; AI will make creative types more productive. How so? Take a look at programs like Grammarly and Scrivener. These programs have helped millions of writers plan, plot, and edit their work.

Recently, Google’s AI division developed a machine that was programmed to learn from its opponent. The machine could run more possible chess board scenarios than there are atoms in the universe. Pretty impressive. The machine played a best-of-five round of chess against world champion Lee Sedol. Sedol won the first round. But, the machine quickly learned and bested him in the remaining four games.

While a robot can measure ingredients for a cake. A robot cannot create a new recipe that tastes good. A robot cannot build something, paint something, or otherwise create art. Art resonates from the soul. Anything that involves memorization or diagnostics is ripe picking for the robot workforce. But if the task requires empathy to do well and right, it’s out of their purview. For example, a robot could take over a surgeon’s job. It can’t take over a nurse’s. A robot can vacuum your carpet. It can’t pick out and design an interior that’s cozy and pleasing to you.

While AI may be faster than people and can retain and cross-reference facts better than a human, it only operates in binary form. The situation for AI is either win or lose. It is either right or wrong. Black or white. AI cannot discern shades of grey. Human beings, as creative creatures, operate in a constant state of shifting perspectives and emotions. Creative pursuits, which most jobs are, require you to see things through multiple, empathic lenses. It comes down to passion and emotion. And humans engage with each other on an emotional level that AI will never be able to duplicate.

So good luck to us (and them). My money is on us! (But if we're gambling then the robots will likely be able to figure out the mathematical chances of that better. ;)