“Watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.”
I’m not sure this is true. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if you watch the dollars, you don’t have to worry so much about pennies.
Big brands don’t sweat the small expenses. They don’t hassle about a return, or a little coupon fraud or the last penny per square foot on the rent in a prime location. In fact, they understand that there’s a powerful honest signal sent when you don’t worry about the tiny expenses. It shows confidence.
So many small businesspeople are crippled by their relationship with money. The thing is, if you run out of money you lose the game. That’s a given. But what’s the best strategy for not running out of money?
I don’t think the answer is to worry insanely about little expenses (saving $20 on your blogging expenses in exchange for distracting ads, for example.)
The thing to do is invest in scary innovations, large leaps, significant savings. Instead of renting a skimpy booth at the big trade show and scrimping on all the extras, why not rent a limo and drive the key buyers around town, or sponsor the awards luncheon? When you skimp all the time, you signal that you’re struggling.
A lot of what sells in business and in brands is the perception of confidence. You are trying to get people to trust you. And people tend to trust the brave and successful instead of the fearful and frugal.
On a side note, I’ve found the best meetings always have food. Snacks make people happy. And happy people buy ideas.
It’s crazy how in the same category, Coke can get it so right and Pepsi got it so wrong (Pepsi). Coke’s strategy is rooted in an insight and an idea – Canadians are living to see their teams win gold in Olympic hockey. Pepsi got swept up in the craze of “consumer generated content” and executing around an idea that attempted to get people involved with their brand. They held a contest to try and come up with a new cheer for Team Canada hockey.
There were two problems with this strategy. The first is that we didn’t need a new cheer. Especially one sponsored by a brand. The second is that the cheer sucked. “Eh, Oh Canada Go”.
Pepsi spent too much time on trying to execute a campaign with lots of consumer involvement. But they forgot a key component … does it make sense? I’m sure there was at least one meeting when someone was thinking “This is a stupid idea. Do we really need a new cheer? Why would they choose our cheer over the one that already exists?”
Coke kept it simple. Put something on TV that inspires people and get your brand associated with that feeling.
Sometimes we get so excited about executing the latest marketing trends that we forget to ask if we have a good idea. Sometimes it’s okay to do what’s been done before. Just do it well.
But enough ranting. I’m going to watch the Coke ad again and dream of gold.
One of the first posts on Idea Drunk was about the importance of stupid ideas. A new campaign from Diesel has reignited my love for stupidity. (Thanks Dan for the tip.) I love it when a brand is willing to plant a stake in the ground and decide to stand for something. When they develop and manifesto and preach to the people.
People will get offended. Who gives a fuck? Now the brand stands for something. Now they have an identity. Now they can inspire. Inspire fans. Inspire loyalty. Inspire change.