How to Talk Someone into Submission

September 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Once in a while, I find myself in an audience or a conversation unable to focus on what the speaker is trying to say.  I try to be polite and attentive but become mesmerized by the movement of his mouth, wondering how it can produce so many words and say virtually nothing.

It’s an art form, really, this ability to lull your listener into a stupor.  Powerful, too.  Why bother conveying the value of your product when you can simply talk a potential client into submission instead?

To add this tactic to your arsenal, try these tools to communicate as ineffectively as possible:

• Given two word forms, always choose the more pompous-sounding one.  Opt for “utilize” instead of “use,” “analyzation” instead of “analysis,” or “orientate” instead of “orient.”

• Eliminate simple verbs from your vocabulary.  To “render inoperative” sounds much more impressive than to “break.”

• Pad your sentences with unnecessary phrases like “in order to,” “on the level of,” or “in terms of.”  For example: “She teaches on the third grade level.” vs. “She teaches third grade.”

• Clichés are your friend.  Make sure listeners know you think outside the box in every way, shape and form before you put your two cents in, which at the end of the day will result in a real wow factor.

• Never use 2 words when 10 will do.  You could speak in a very brief manner, only using a limited number of words to share a thought or idea, but if you choose to utilize a much larger quantity of words instead, you can say the same thing.

In terms of the future, if you orientate yourself to work hard at these simple steps, one day you’ll be able to talk and talk and never say a thing.  After all, practice makes perfect.

– Kirsten Shaw

Continuity and Consistency in Marketing and Advertising…

September 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

What does this mean, to have continuity and be consistent with your company’s marketing materials and advertising plan?

Continuity is defined in the Collins English Dictionary as a logical sequence, cohesion or connection.

This is one of the most important concepts in marketing and often gets ignored because of the time and commitment required to put a plan of action together.

Marketing materials and advertising form your company’s brand, and this is how your potential customers recognize who you are and what products or services you offer.

You should always provide coherent imagery and deliver a consistent message in all marketing materials and advertising to create continuity.  When a potential customer encounters your business card, brochure, catalog, billboard, newspaper ad, television ad, website or any other materials, it should be apparent that there is a connection with the same brand or company.

A great example is Nike.  Whether they are marketing exercise clothes to women or running shoes to men, you recognize that it’s Nike because of their logo, better known as the “Swoosh.”  Nike has made a strong impact on their customers with a powerful symbol that ties together every aspect of their marketing.  It’s quite hard to find an individual who does not recognize their logo whether their name is included with the “Swoosh” or not.

Also, you should have a specific monthly marketing and advertising plan. Companies that see the largest return on investment from their campaigns do not necessarily have a large budget.  They have an allocated budget and schedule, and they deliver a clear, consistent message to potential customers, which in turn creates “top of mind awareness” for their business or brand.

So, how do you create continuity and recognition for your brand or company?  It’s actually relatively simple if you utilize a few basic concepts when creating your marketing materials and advertising campaigns:

  • Have an identifying logo for your company or brand.
  • Utilize the same type of graphics and elements in all marketing materials and advertising.
  • Keep your color scheme consistent, even the shading you use.
  • Use the same style of fonts in all materials, and limit your use to only 2 or 3 different font typefaces.
  • Deliver a consistent, unified message with similar verbiage in all campaigns.
  • Have a plan and a dedicated marketing and advertising budget, and stick to them.

By keeping your imagery unified and delivering a consistent message, you will ensure that whomever encounters multiple pieces of your material or advertising “gets” the continuity of your message.

A lot of companies are tempted to change up their message and imagery frequently, but this can actually destroy cohesion and create a sense of chaos and instability.

Remember that while you may see every piece of marketing your company produces, individual consumers are only exposed to a portion.  So if you start to tire of your message, that’s when the message is beginning to resonate with your potential customer and your plan of action is actually starting to work!

– Jennifer Noel
Regional Account Executive
Quest Group

A Recipe for Success

September 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

eggsIf you’ve spent any time in the kitchen, you know the importance of having the proper ingredients before you begin preparing that perfect meal or spectacular dessert. Most recipes start with the supplies and ingredients you’ll need listed first so you’ll have those on hand before you start cooking. My favorite dish that I prepare myself requires only four things – cereal, milk, bowl, spoon – but if even one of those items is missing my dining experience suffers greatly.

And while we all have made mad dashes to the grocery store for oregano or substituted one ingredient for another, most chefs wouldn’t start working on a dish without having the materials they needed.

The same approach should be taken when beginning design projects. It’s important to get a clear understanding of what the project will involve and to have as many of the necessary pieces gathered before beginning. Even if the copy or photos haven’t been finalized, a designer should have a good idea of which of these “ingredients” will be needed. The more the artist knows before beginning the process, the more likely the design will be pleasing to the client’s “taste.”

Art Shirley, Creative Director

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