In this month's issue, we look at a rather wonderful example of gamification by WHSmith, consider whether crowbarring lofty ideals into products is always such a good idea, and highlight the importance of having an innovation strategy.
The value of generosity
The man who launched the NHS was a Labour minister, Aneurin Bevan. He said the only way he got the doctors to agree to his scheme was indeed to stuff their mouths with gold.
That approach doesn’t only work with doctors. If you want to sell anything the key is usually generosity to likely buyers. Generosity so liberal it borders on insanity.
A perfect demonstration is a magazine described as the best in the world by Graydon Carter, the eminent American journalist and publisher.
Don’t be vague. It kills.
You probably won’t die.
But the response to your copy will.
Imagine someone tells you, “I’m going to make you rich someday”.
I bet the first thing you’ll want to know is “how rich?”
Followed by, “when?”
If you’re like most people you won’t bother asking.
Because you’ll assume their claim is a load of twaddle.
Don’t make the same mistake.
Tell people exactly what they’re getting.
Read in full: Make this mistake and you’ll be dead in 75 seconds
Price it right
God alone knows how many hundreds of thousands of pounds it’s cost me.
“Price is a creative factor”.
What he meant was that your price says something about you.
Think about these three facts.
1. If it’s expensive people assume it must be good.
2. They will boast about how much they paid. It’s a way of convincing others – and themselves – that they’re successful.
3. Even if it isn’t that great they convince themselves it must be. They daren’t admit, especially to themselves, that they made a mistake.
I have sometimes charged the right price, thank God, but often failed to.
Bill Jayne’s top tips
Here’s what Bill Jayne had to say:
1) When something is free, say it six ways to Sunday (for example, “Free gift comes to you with our compliments gratis – on the house” or “It’s yours to keep as an outright present without cost or charge – not a penny!”
2) Get your copywriter together with your art director at the outset. The era is over when an art director is handed a ream of finished copy with the instructions, “Here – do something with this.
3) These concepts should be part of every mailing package: new, free, save guaranteed, hurry. This concept should be part of every sentence: you.
4) Always talk up to your prospects, not down. When flattered, people almost always rise to the occasion. When insulted, they rise to walk over to the wastebasket.
5) Always read your copy aloud to someone who enjoys finding fault with everything you do.
Discover 15 more tips from Bill Jayne: Priceless (and quirky) advice from the copywriter who changed my life
How to build a strong brand (no bullshit edition)
The wisest expert about them was the late Prof. Andrew Ehrenberg of the London and South Bank Business Schools.
A whole business school in Australia is named after him.
He told me this when I interviewed him for an article I wrote.
A strong brand is neither more nor less than one with more customers than its competitors.
How do they get those customers? They do a good job. They offer something better.
Don’t imagine you have to be a big business
You can be a strong brand in a tiny market.
Read in full: Brand bullshit
The makings of a terrible guide
Einstein once stated “Example is not only a way to teach; it is the only way to teach”.
So I am astonished whenever I see something which gives you lots of instructions but not a single clear example showing what makes it good or bad.
Such was the case with a guide I got from some people who specialise in digital marketing.
There are no case histories at all, nothing to study, nothing practical or detailed to learn from – and no numbers.
Read in full: Introducing The Idiot’s Guide to Email Marketing
Why brands fail
34 years ago Ogilvy sent me to Chicago to see if I could help, as they were a hugely important client.
I immediately spotted one thing they were doing wrong.
They were spending huge amounts on newspaper inserts.
These had worked in the past, but they had not noticed you could target far more accurately with direct mail. Don’t talk to everybody if you only need to talk to somebody.
People like to do what they’ve always done, it makes them feel comfortable: so they rejected this idea.
That didn’t destroy Sears.
Eddie Lampert – a predatory investor – did that.
He knew everything about making money, and nothing about retail.
He made out like a bandit, extracting $1.4 billion – at the expense of a great business and its loyal staff.
One of the great brands in America is now bankrupt.
They forgot the saying of the man who built Sears up, Julius Rosenwald.
“My ambition is to stand on both sides of the counter at once.”
Read in full: Why great brands fail
Lesson from the real Mad Man
Drayton recalls an inspiring presentation given by the real life Don Draper.
“One example is worth a ton of bullshit” I like to say.
Their example was a pitch they had done to get a big bank in Chicago.
The idea they were selling was that the bank should be represented by a Lion.
I cannot remember the name of the bank, or the lion – this was over 50 years ago. Yet I still remember how they sold the idea.
They used a weapon which David Ogilvy once told me about over dinner in Claridges in 1986.
That weapon is charm.
He said it was the key to success in advertising.
Those two made you smile with the way they presented the idea.
They knocked down your objections – but with charm.
They asked and answered questions in a folksy sort of way – “Why would a crazy lion make sense for a bank? Well, lions are courageous, lions are bold, lions are trustworthy.”
I can’t remember much about the presentation beyond that, and it was only recently that I discovered who exactly had been teaching me.
More from Drayton
Finally, thanks for reading – the GMA team wishes you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year!
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