2014: The year to be different

There’s been much hullabaloo over the “Misunderstood” holiday ad Apple is running. Many say it’s wonderful and potentially the best ad of the year. I like it, but it doesn’t feel like Apple to me. Take a look:

I’ve been a fan and customer of Apple for close to 15 years. I was an Apple user before it was cool to be an Apple user. And I always enjoyed their marketing. Under Jobs, Apple’s marketing was always about the product, its simplicity, and clean lines / look (white everywhere!). As soon as the ad came on or I flipped to the magazine ad, I instantly knew it was Apple. There was no mistaking it. It was different.

Before the above campaign it was the “Mac vs. PC” campaign. Again, unmistakable as to what it was and what Apple was selling. And the campaign keyed on points of differentiation. One of the tests you can use to see how effective your marketing campaign is / was is to use the ‘Swap Technique’. Cover up your logo on a print ad or watch / listen to your TV or radio ad without a mention of your brand’s name. If it’s unmistakable as to what brand the message is conveying, you win. If your ad could easily be used as an ad for a competitor, you lose.

For example, take a look at the Google India ad which caused quite a stir earlier this year:

This very well could have been an ad for an iPhone. Vice versa the “Misunderstood” Apple ad could very well have been an ad for an Android device. Don’t get me wrong, the Google India ad and Apple “Misunderstood” ad are great and will probably win a creative award or two, unfortunately they miss the mark on selling the product. When it comes to advertising, your marketing shouldn’t be about winning awards, it should be about making sales. One way to do this is to show how your product is different than everyone else’s. Don’t worry about being ‘creative’ focus on being different.

I wonder whether or not the Apple “Misunderstood” ad would have flown with Steve Jobs. For me, it misses the Apple feel, the simplicity, the sleek, clean look and for the most part the product.

Your mission for 2014…stop being creative and start being different.

Look at what your competitors are doing and do the opposite. Being different should scare the shit out of you and that’s a great thing.

Good things come to those who wait. Great things come to those who don’t. Don’t wait, be different and lead in 2014.

If you need some help being different in 2014, shoot me an email at effumarketing@gmail.com and put “I’ll be different in 2014” in the subject line. I respond to every email.

– Jordan

Ron Burgundy & the Dodge Durango

No doubt, Ron Burgundy and the Dodge Durango have benefitted from their mutual partnership. SUV sales have gone up and Anchorman 2 is probably going to have an amazing first week at the box office. After all, Will Farrell has been everywhere as Ron Burgundy including curling trials in Canada and even getting a Ben & Jerry’s Ron Burgundy-themed ice cream.

If you haven’t seen the Ron Burgundy / Dodge Durango ads yet, here’s a taste:

No wonder SUV sales have gone up and awareness of the SUV has been higher than ever. But, what happens when Ron Burgundy goes away? What happens when Anchorman 2 drops off the face of the Earth after a large opening weekend? After all, Will Farrell is notorious for his box office blunders. Don’t get me wrong, the array of Anchorman 2 co-branded marketing campaigns have been brilliant. However, there is so much hype built around the movie that it’s almost impossible to meet that hype. That’s why I think Anchorman 2 will have a strong opening, but die a quick death. And then what happens to the Dodge Durango? What happens when your brand is associated with a flop?

Dodge better have a strong follow up to this campaign because it has built the hype. It has built personality into the struggling and bland Durango name. Ron Burgundy has given Dodge a huge shot in the arm, but what happens when that high goes away? What happens when you come down and you want another hit?

You can go back to the same well with another movie character or do a similar humourous campaign, but after awhile your audience will begin to loose interest, your sales will drop and you’ll be left scratching your head as to what happened.

Then again, Anchorman 2 may end up being a great success and sales of the Durango may surge and that’s cool. Either way, it’s imperative Dodge follows up their recent successes with another blockbuster of a campaign.

What does this mean for your business?

Have a plan. You should always be looking around the corner as to what to do next based off what has happened and is currently happening.

Would you rather win the battle or win the war? Dodge is winning the battle right now, but what about the war? The next few weeks are going to be crucial to the success of the Durango.

Defying expectations: The Jamie Lynn Spears brand

Remember her? A child star, a teen mom and of course the little sister to Britney Spears. Well, she took some time off to be a mom and now she’s back in a different way.

Alright, she’s a singer, but instead of going into the pop-princess world, she took a different lane and went country. Instead of going where she would undoubtedly get compared to her big sister time and time again, she defied expectations and did something a little different. Heck, I thought she would have called it quits to live a life as a mother, but you can tell she still has the burning passion to be an entertainer.

Alright, what can your brand learn from this?

1) If you don’t have a passion for something, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.

2) Instead of taking the simple route, challenge yourself to do something different. Jamie Lynn easily could’ve used the Spears brand name to get decent traction in the pop world, but she would always play second fiddle to her sister. It would be like trying to start up a dark soda business going directly at Coca-Cola. YOU WILL NOT WIN! Even if your product is better, Coke was there first and it will crush you.

3) It’s okay to be vulnerable, if it’s real. Jamie Lynn has lived an interesting life from child-star, to kid sister to a giant star, to a teen mom and now this. However, I have never felt more connected to her until now. The song and video above is so simple, so stripped down, it makes her feel vulnerable and real. She’s someone I can see enjoying a cup of tea with while having a real conversation. I can’t see doing that with her big sister or with say, Miley Cyrus.

Do you have a passion for what you are doing? If not, can you fake it? Are you challenging yourself and your business to be different or are you a sheep always following someone else’s lead? Is your business vulnerable or real? Would anyone want to sit down with you and have a cup of tea?

Take 5 minutes and answer the questions above. It may save you a ton of time and money in the future.