How Far Outside the Box Is Too Far?

When you hire a creative ad agency to produce a marketing campaign, you expect to get a healthy dose of cutting-edge, out-of-the-box creative. The question is, how far outside the box is too far? At John Manlove Marketing & Communications, we believe the creative execution should indeed be outside the box – but just around the outside edge of the box. That’s because, if the creative moves too far away from the familiar center (or, in some cases, the acceptable center), you’ll find yourself all alone. And alone is no place to be if you’re trying to sell products or services.

The best campaigns take you just a little farther out than expected. They catch you off guard and give you a sense of movement toward the unexpected, all while maintaining the primary objective of putting the product center stage. For example, who would have expected a couple of spelling-challenged cows to be such successful purveyors of Chick-fil-A chicken? For an idea that’s a bit “out there,” it’s been so successful for so long that it’s become a well-accepted part of the marketing landscape.

Don’t Stray Too Far Off Center

If the creative moves too far outside the box, on the other hand, you risk losing your audience. While they may be amazed and dazzled, it’s pointless if the creative execution abandons familiarity with the people you’re trying to target – or if it loses relevance to your product or service. In the end, prospective customers will probably end up confused about what the product is, and they certainly won’t have the sense that they’ll be missing out if they don’t buy what you’re selling.

Commercials that venture “too far out there” seldom last long, because it doesn’t take long for the marketer to realize the cash register is not ringing. (Think of the ill-fated, ill-conceived Quizno’s commercials featuring strange, furry “spokes-rodents.” Can’t remember them? That’s probably a good thing – and it also proves my point!)

Living on the Edge – and Profiting From It

A good illustration of the concept of staying on the outer edge of the box, but not moving too far outside, is the music business. For a song to be a mainstream commercial success, it has to fall within general parameters: Run about three minutes long, have a strong and memorable hook, and follow a pleasing harmonic progression. (A not-so-little song by Aerosmith, called “Living on the Edge,” provides a nice example of this.) Within this “formula,” there’s plenty of room to be creative, but if you move too far out, you’ll lose the audience. Stay too close to center, and the song will be boring. Jazz music, on the other hand, with its complex structures and dissonance, has its merits, but it draws its sustenance from a much smaller audience. If you’re in the business of advertising, mainstream will probably yield the bigger payoff. And payoff is the ultimate goal, right?

Great creative is about understanding where the audience is, understanding the rules of the game, and then pulling that audience with you by grabbing their attention and piquing their curiosity about your product or service. Or, as we like to say around here, it’s all part of creating Spheres of Influence. We’re experts at delivering marketing that is outside the box, yet familiar on a personal level.

John Manlove Marketing & Communications has been in the Houston advertising business for 50 years, and we assist clients by helping them successfully market and sell their products and services. We’re a branding company that creates successful marketing campaigns based on proven advertising principles that are driven by award-winning creative. For more information, contact our ad agency in Houston via email at info@johnmanlove.com, call 281.487.6767, or visit www.JohnManlove.com.


John Manlove, CEO/President, John Manlove Marketing & Communications

© 2012 John Manlove Marketing & Communications

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Campaign Logos Are Serious Business

We all understand the value of the “first impression” and with political campaigns the candidate logo, in many cases, is just that – the first impression. A large portion of the electorate are very sensitive to whether the candidate’s logo is professional looking – and may be the only criteria used in making their selection.

So what is the objective of the campaign logo? First and foremost is “name identification.” Legibility is one of the most important aspects, if you can’t read the name, you certainly can’t recall the name in the voting booth.

Another consideration of an effective campaign logo is a clear understanding of the number of ways the logo will actually be used: push cards, direct mail, in the newspaper, on stationery, bumper stickers, lapel tags, billboards, yard-signs, on the internet and in some cases television. What may look good on the stationery could we unreadable on a yard sign.

Another objective of a well-designed logo is the initial message it sends. Does the logo look careless or sloppy as if not much concern was placed in the design or does the logo send a message of someone who is concerned about details, quality, and professionalism?

What about color? Most political logos should stick with the Red, White and Blue format. Why? Because these colors are immediately identified as political – remember you are not trying to sneak-up on anybody. Make it clear from the beginning “ I’m running for political office.” Some exceptions can be made, of course, when the candidate’s name is a color, for example, Green, Brown etc. But even in these cases you should be careful.

Besides name identification and color, some design elements can change the nature of a political logo. A swoosh can indicate movement, change, forward thinking. A star can indicate patriotism. The type style used can be lighter indicating more sophistication and education. A bold face projects, authority boldness etc.

Thought, experience and strategy go into creating a well-designed political logo and should not be taken lightly; it is usually the first step of numerous steps in winning a political race…take it seriously.

John Manlove Marketing & Communications has been in the Houston Advertising business for 50 years and we assist clients by helping them successfully market and sell their products and services by using proven principles to produce measurable results. It has always been our philosophy that what we do should take our clients to the next level they are trying to achieve. In short, we provide the fuel that propels our clients forward.

John Manlove Marketing & Communications creates influential marketing campaigns that incorporate award winning creative ideas.

 

John Manlove

President/CEO

John Manlove Marketing & Communications

JohnManlove.com

 

Copyright © 2012 John G Manlove

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What’s in a Name?

A good name is a powerful thing, and in the marketing and communications business, the right name and tagline can lend a powerful competitive advantage. On the same note, you can imagine the effect the wrong name and tagline can have. At John Manlove Marketing & Communications, we put a considerable amount of energy into the process of naming a company, product or service. And, frankly, there’s a lot to consider.

Have you ever watched parents with their children and noticed how much energy they put into teaching them to use the correct names for things? The reason for this attention to detail is simple; instinctively, we know it’s important to associate the right name with the right person, place or thing. It’s hot, it’s sharp, it’s soft, it’s nice, it’s good or bad. Without even thinking about it, the associations we build around names have huge impact on our perceptions of things – as well as our perceptions of people, companies and brands.

There are different ways to play the name game.

Some names, for example, are deliberately descriptive, such as those of two of our development corporation clients, The Woodlands and Bridgeland. Without the support of any additional descriptors, or any visual aids, each of these names creates a subtle image in your mind and an expectation of what you will receive.

Other product names utilize associations, as a way of borrowing the attributes of an entirely different entity and ascribing them to the product. For example, Ford has been fond of naming its cars after animals, such as Mustang and Thunderbird. In both cases, these names – to me, at least – suggest power, freedom, grace and a sense of Americana. As proven by the longevity of the Mustang and Thunderbird models, that kind of positive imagery has worked quite well for Ford.

And then, there are the names that take a more literal route, making it expressly clear what the product or service is, such as Jiffy Lube or Toys“R”Us. Brand names like these get right to the point, serving more to provide information – or a “label,” if you will – as opposed to relying on emotional imagery.

The point is, both naming approaches are valid – but it all depends on the application. For a product like a car, which is closely tied to a consumer’s lifestyle and personality, the “association” approach makes the most sense. And for brands that deal in simpler, repetitive, day-to-day transactions, the descriptive “label” gets the job done quickly and without unnecessary clutter.

Even a great name has to get out there and make a name for itself.

As you can see, it pays to give some serious thought to what you name your company, product or service. But a great name is only the beginning. After that, the rest depends on supporting that name, through creative, consistent and effective advertising. Because unless you get the word out, a name is nothing more than just that – a word. Getting your name in front of the right people is a necessity, and that’s not going to change.

In an ever-evolving media landscape, however, you may need to change how you get that name in front of people. For example, what if you come up with the perfect name for your product or service, but all the relevant Web addresses are already taken? In situations like these, professional experience and expertise are essential. But not just any experience and expertise. You need a name you can trust: John Manlove Marketing & Communications.

Ready to build name recognition? We’re here to help.

If you’d like to learn more about how we develop memorable, effective names and taglines, or how we create influential marketing campaigns to help turn those names into household names, give us a call.

John Manlove Marketing & Communications has been in the Houston advertising business for 50 years, and we assist clients by helping them successfully market and sell their products and services. We’re a branding company that creates successful marketing campaigns based on proven advertising principles that are driven by award-winning creative. For more information, contact our ad agency in Houston via email at info@johnmanlove.com, call 281.487.6767, or visit www.JohnManlove.com.


John Manlove, CEO/President, John Manlove Marketing & Communications

© 2012 John Manlove Marketing & Communications

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Use Storytelling, Boost Selling Power

The powerful effect of storytelling in advertising is a proven marketing principle. Its ability to persuade and influence has been known for centuries; for example, the message of Jesus was made understandable and memorable through the effective use of symbolic storytelling. For the advertising agency and marketer, storytelling is significant because it breaks down barriers, engages consumers and utilizes their imaginations. Tell someone a fact, and he or she will likely forget it in two days – or less. Tell someone a story, and that person will remember it for years.

 

Paint the Picture with Words

The radio commercial is a great medium for catching the imagination of your listener, and the best radio commercials capitalize on engaging the senses. A story allows the listener to become a co-creator, and that is a powerful relationship to have with your audience.  This “co-creator” phenomenon is witnessed frequently when people who enjoy a novel are disappointed in the movie, because it didn’t fit their perception of the characters and the imagined reality that they created for themselves while reading the book.

At our Houston Advertising Agency, we understand the powerful marketing effect of a compelling story. The real talent is to first choose the correct image. Then, through skillful copywriting and brilliant creative, “paint an aural picture” that brings the image to life. Of course, not just any story will do; ideally, while it should resonate with the target and solve an important need, it must also stand out from the ordinary. The goal is to engage the consumer’s imagination in a positive way; identify a need, and then satisfy that need with your product or service in a memorable manner.

 

Step One: Break down barriers and reel them in with a familiar scenario. Step Two: Catch them off guard with an intriguing creative hook. Step Three: Tie your offering to their needs – whether real or perceived. Step Four: State a clear call to action, and set up the sale! Of course, this is a bit of a simplification, but it’s a tried-and-true formula that utilizes storytelling at its best.

 

The Art of Imagery

Understanding that consumers “fill in the blanks” of all advertising messages means great care should be taken in constructing an advertising campaign and its creative message. Consider the different story line we create when we think of a high-end retailer like Tiffany & Co., as compared to Walmart. Consider the difference the choice of words makes when describing products or services: cheap versus expensive, comfortable versus luxurious, built versus engineered, sporty versus safe, and small versus cozy. It is important to understand that influential marketing and advertising is an art, as well as a science.

 

Understanding the powerful effects of word choice and imagery will help join all the elements together to create a persuasive campaign. An influential marketing campaign will activate the consumer to become a co-creator of your advertising campaign, and that’s what separates good branding and advertising campaigns from sensational campaigns.

 

Let’s Get Started on Your Story

If you’d like to learn more about creating an influential marketing campaign, or how to pull all you marketing touch points together into a cohesive message, we’re ready and waiting – and just a phone call away.

 

John Manlove Marketing & Communications has been in the Houston Advertising business for 50 years, and we assist clients by helping them successfully market and sell their products and services. We are a branding company that creates successful marketing campaigns based on proven advertising principles that are driven by award-winning creative. For more information, contact our ad agency in Houston via email at info@johnmanlove.com, call 281.487.6767, or visit www.JohnManlove.com.

John Manlove, CEO/President, John Manlove Marketing & Communications

© 2012 John Manlove Marketing & Communications

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Making Quick Reponse Codes Relevant

So what is a QRC (quick response code)? You’ve seen them. They are everywhere. They are the curious looking mosaic squares seen on everything from potted plants, packages, magazine ads, clothing even on the back taxi cabs.

Here are some of the more creative ways at John Manlove Marketing & Communications we have adapted the QRC to give them a creative edge.

Interestingly enough in a recent survey by CMB Consumer Pulse 81% of people surveyed say they have seen QRC’s.


And 50% of smartphone owners have scanned a QRC.

One of the more important results of the survey, I believe, was that only 41% who scanned a QRC found the information useful. This represents a lot of missed opportunity. This indicates an incomplete marketing campaign.

Marketers are using QRC’s as a way to integrate their marketing campaigns. The QRC has the ability to drive traffic to your online website presence. If you download the QRC App on your smartphone you can then “quickly” scan the QRC and it will take you to a website, or preferably a landing page, relevant to the QRC scanned. There efficacy is increased because they are instant, can be forwarded and no memory is required – as opposed to entering a website address.

Some products are ideal for this new technology especially products that require additional information and content to complete the sale. Big-ticket items are a particularly good application, such as automobiles, homes, apartments, and vacation destinations. They are also very useful for promotions and coupons.

The QRC also has great application and potential in the business-to-business marketing world. For example many oil and gas products require extensive product information that a QRC could easily provide.

“The real key to an effective QRC campaign is to make the destination worth the trip. The information that someone receives after scanning a QRC must be relevant and worthwhile.”

Like the old saying, you shouldn’t open a restaurant before you are ready. It is the same with a QRC marketing program. You do not have a second chance to make a first impression so do not use the technology until you are well prepared and “smartphone ready”. It makes no sense to dump them onto a website that will not navigate or even open on a smartphone.

Marketing has become more complex as the media channels multiply and the QRC is a fine example. An effective marketing campaign today has multiple moving parts and they require professional skill and human energy to maintain. Which is why it becomes increasingly important to trust your entire campaign to marketing professionals well versed in new technologies and their best practices.  At John Manlove Marketing & Communications we have been coordinating complex marketing campaigns for 50 years and we know how to navigate and manage the new marketing universe.

If you would like to learn more about a QRC campaign, web development, website design, internet marketing, search engine optimization, internet marketing campaigns and what they will do to increase your Brand Influence, contact us johnmanlove.com or call 281-487-6767.

John Manlove Marketing & Communications has been in the Houston Advertising business for 50 years and we assist clients by helping them successfully market and sell their products and services. We are a branding company that creates successful marketing campaigns based on proven advertising principles that are driven by award winning advertising. For more information contact our ad agency in Houston via email at info@johnmanlove.com, call 281.487.6767, or visit http://www.johnmanlove.com/index.html


John Manlove, CEO/President John Manlove Marketing & Communications

© 2012 John Manlove Marketing & Communications

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Advertising Campaigns: A Rational Approach to an Emotional Issue

When defining the parameters of a marketing campaign it is important to first consider two key variables: Impulse Buy versus Evaluated Buy. These two variables should define the overall strategy and direction of the marketing campaign but many times are addressed at the end of the process – as a marketing firm we believe at John Manlove Marketing & Communications that is a mistake.

Let’s take a closer look at these two variables. Not all purchases are the same. The amount of evaluation and time taken before a buyer makes a purchase can be placed somewhere between these two extremes, a totally impulsive buying decision and a well evaluated extended buying decision. It is important to understand where your product or service falls within these extremes. Why, because the marketing and advertising approach changes from one extreme to the other in dramatic ways.

Factors that affect and push the buying type from one side to the other are generally cost. The evaluation process between buying a pack of gum and purchasing an expensive piece of machinery is vast. Most consumer products fall on the impulse side of the chart while many of the business products toward the evaluated purchase.

The marketing and branding of an Impulse Buy is based more on emotion, instant gratification, low cost and no risk. The Impulse Buy requires no approval by someone else and requires little if any evaluation or money. Therefore the campaign and the brand focuses not only on creating attention with bold graphics and strong colors it targets the emotions, instant gratification, low cost and no risk.  The objective of the marketing campaign is to close the sale immediately.

The Evaluated Buy, like the Emotional Buy, must gain attention but that is where the similarities end. The Evaluated Buy is based on the emotional and rational reasons to purchase, long-term benefits, return on investment and  “justification for the purchase”. In addition, the Evaluated Buy many times requires approval from other parties.  Therefore the campaign and the brand focuses on creating attention like the Emotional Buy, but the approach is different. The Evaluated Buy requires a more sophisticated progressive-approach and must focus on creating a dialog and brand image that reassures the buyer. The Evaluated Buy campaign moves the interested consumer forward through multiple levels with more complete and detailed information and moves seamlessly between the emotional and functional benefits of the offering.

For the reasons listed above it is easy to see why it is important to determine at the beginning of the planning process where your product or service lies between these two variables, because it will determine the direction and the focus of the entire campaign.

In general Business to Consumer products/services move to the left of the chart below and Business to Business products/services move toward the right of the chart.

In a campaign it is important to understand the customer from this perspective, because it will determine the overall strategy on how TV, Radio, Magazine Ad Placement and Outdoor fit into the overall campaign, it will influence the website design and content, internet marketing, the mobile application, social marketing push, direct mail and brochures. While all advertising should engage the emotions it is important to have a clear understanding of what the campaign has to do to create a customer – you need a rational approach to an emotional issue. And that is what we do extremely well at John Manlove Marketing & Communications.

John Manlove Marketing & Communications has been in the Houston Advertising business for 50 years and we assist clients by helping them successfully market and sell their products and services by using proven principles to produce measurable results. We are a branding company that creates successful marketing campaigns based on proven advertising principles that are driven by award winning advertising. For more information contact our ad agency in Houston via email at info@johnmanlove.com, call 281.487.6767, or visit http://www.johnmanlove.com/index.html


John Manlove, CEO/President John Manlove Marketing & Communications

© 2011 John Manlove Marketing & Communications

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Proven Principals of Advertising

Marketing Strategy

After being in the advertising business for many years I have seen a lot of creative ways to market products and services for clients. Our agency has been a part of creating successful marketing campaigns for companies all the way from Funeral Homes to Health Clubs; from Petrochemical giants to High Tech start-ups, from church organizations to political campaigns, from very small family owned businesses to companies well on their way to becoming a major player in their industries. I have also had the pleasure of building my own Houston Advertising Agency and have seen first hand what works and what will not work. All companies share a common goal, “reach their prospects with a message that motivates them to participate in their product or service.”  Being in the agency business, I see the same proven advertising principles emerge – “media may change, but human nature does not” human nature is the same now as it was when Adam was strolling through the Garden of Eden. Because of that, I am a believer in using proven advertising principles no matter what the product or service and no matter what advertising medium you may use – even more so with websites and internet marketing campaigns.

Advertising without a sound strategy and clear goal is a colossal waste of money. The TV and radio commercials, billboards, mobile applications and the website may be entertaining, even memorable, but the product or service will never win the loyalty of the prospect if they have not been given a reason to buy over other products in the same category. Your marketing, above all things, must be influential. At John Manlove Marketing & Communications we focus on creating influence for our clients with award winning creative. We clarify the goals, brand the product or service and reach the market with the most compelling message.

Great advertising is not just the domain of the marketing giants like Proctor and Gamble, great advertising works just as well for any size company, whether that be a mid-sized oil field company, a development company, the medical industry or a candidate for political office. The important thing is that all parts of a campaign are in alignment, the brand, the message and the medium all this coupled with a clear understanding that it is a campaign not a promotion. A campaign is not over until it has accomplished what it was designed to do, which means a lot of different activities working together to achieve the end result at a predetermined time.

For a campaign to be effective it must, have a purpose, build awareness, create a compelling image and influence the target market to action. I have found that companies are much more comfortable launching and sticking to a campaign if they know there is a plan and how each step in that plan contributes to the bigger picture. Many companies have been frustrated by being sold on one short-term-promotion after another, which in the long-term can be damaging to the brand image and reputation of their organization. That is why we believe that, the image and reputation of a company, person or organization, should be a common theme throughout a campaign. By keeping the purpose of the campaign before you it will prevent you from getting involved in activities that might be counter productive.

John Manlove Marketing & Communications has been in the Houston Advertising business for 50 years and we assist clients by helping them successfully market and sell their products and services by using proven principles to produce measurable results. It has always been our philosophy that what we do should take our clients to the next level they are trying to achieve. In short, we provide the fuel that propels our clients forward.

John Manlove, CEO/President John Manlove Marketing & Communications

 

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Are you driving your customers to act?

At John Manlove Marketing & Communications, we help our clients create influence within their target markets. One of the ways they can do that is by inserting a call to action into their promotional materials. A call to action is a common marketing technique that involves motivating your audience to do something, whether it means calling your office number, purchasing one of your products or giving feedback in a survey. It is a vital step in the process of converting your reader from an interested party into a customer, yet far too many businesses make the mistake of leaving it out of their content.

Don’t let that happen to you. Omitting a call to action can cause you to lose out on many loyal customers, simply because they don’t know what you want from them. A call to action can be a link to your company’s Twitter profile, or it can be a simple phrase such as, “For more information…” Either way, it’s a little detail that can make a big difference in the life of your business.

Need more detailed marketing advice from one of the best advertising agencies in Houston? Call John Manlove Marketing & Communications and ask about our consulting services today.

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3 Reasons why you need a JMMC campaign

We know what you’re thinking. Your business isn’t doing as well as you’d like, but you’re staying afloat and making ends meet, which is more than you can say for many of your competitors in this market. Still, you could use some creative marketing materials to give your company that extra “oomph” you’ve been needing lately. Nothing fancy, just a few fliers, a nicer website and maybe a brochure or two. You just want something to get you through until the economy improves.

Can we make a suggestion? You probably need a marketing campaign now more than ever before, and our Houston advertising agency can create the perfect one to take your business where you really want to go. Here’s why:

  1. It’s detailed. We offer a comprehensive method for creating influence for our clients, which includes a variety of digital and print media to reach your target market in as many different ways as possible.
  2. It’s specific. Using our three-step strategic marketing process of clarify, brand and reach, we’ll create a unique plan that channels your company vision and fits your goals exactly.
  3. It’s effective. Many of our clients report record profits after partnering with us, and often go on to win some of the top honors in their industries.

To find out more about the different marketing campaigns we offer, visit the “Campaigns” section of our website.

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Social media marketing: It’s not as easy as you think

A decade ago, social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube hadn’t been invented yet, and now they are some of the most widely-used platforms used by advertising firms in Houston and around the world. As a result, businesses with even the most modest marketing budgets are clamoring to jump on the social media bandwagon, convinced a new Twitter account or Facebook Fan Page will rescue their sales in a post-recession economy. The problem is, a new Facebook page alone won’t save your business. Like any marketing tool, it only works if it is put in the right hands.

Fortunately, the experts at John Manlove Marketing & Communications have the perfect solution for you. We are an influencial creative agency that knows how to combine the latest social media trends with our unique three-step strategic process—clarify, brand and reach—to get the best results for your business. We’ve been creating influence for our clients for 40 years, and we didn’t build that history by following the crowd. We stand apart from it, and we want to help you do the same thing.

Visit our “SocialMarketing” page to find out how our techniques can work for you.

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