Brian Creath

Archive for the ‘Sales Messaging’ Category

Convert Outdated Communications Efforts To Video.

In Advertising, Brand, Business strategy, Communications, Corporate Marketing, Internal communications, Sales, Sales Messaging, Video on October 1, 2012 at 5:36 pm

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Let’s face it: If yours is like most larger organizations, there’s a good chance you’ve put a number of communications tools on auto pilot during the last few years. From newsletters to case studies, from sales materials to recruiting efforts, we continue to watch companies waste precious resources on communications tools that are not only outdated — they’re expensive, boring and frankly, customers and employees aren’t using (or reading) them.

Enter Big Shot Agency: a firm dedicated to the development and management of short-format (2-3 minute) videos for businesses large and small. Read more here: Big Shot Develops Video Stories Platform.

Starting with a simple audit of your current management, marketing and communications objectives and tools, Big Shot (in conjunction with our sister brand & marketing consultancy, Cohesion) can develop a plan and approach to migrate and evolve outdated communications efforts and tools to online video, over time. Tools that people will enjoy…and better yet, understand and use.

Ready to modernize your communications approach? Contact Brian Creath at Big Shot at 314-276-5383, today.

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Would Short-Format Video Be A Better Way To Explain That?

In Communications, Internal communications, Marketing, Messaging, Positioning, Sales Messaging, Social Media, Strategy, Video on September 13, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Look around your company. If yours is like most large and mid-sized organizations, the people inside (and possibly you) are still using a number of outdated and inefficient ways to communicate key points and issues. In critical areas such as HR, customer service, training, operations, manufacturing, sales, marketing and management and more, the problem is rampant.

Boring presentation materials. Still photography on websites and intranets. Printed sales pieces that no one reads. Tools, which often require tremendous skill on the part of the person delivering the information, or unlimited patience on the part of the person receiving it. Tools that are not only inefficient, but expensive.

They’re also at odds with a growing demand for quick, bite-sized information. Let’s face it: your employees and customers aren’t clamoring for the next PowerPoint presentation. Nor are they giddy about the flow of static images you’re currently spending money on to house on your website or intranet.

Today, the average American (employee and customer alike) watches 23 hours of online video every month. A number that is growing at a tremendous pace. Savvy companies are not only recognizing this fact, they’re building plans and developing video assets that capitalize on it. The reason is simple: Production costs have dropped, production quality has increased, and the cost of distribution is nominal.

“Today, there simply is no better way for an organization to communicate on a consistent, volume basis than with quality, short-format videos.”

But one problem remains: the landscape of current video development and management resources. Certainly, we don’t lack for traditional video production companies. Vendors that will gladly take your money based on the expensive premise of, “sure, we can do that for you.” At the other end of the spectrum, we all know friends, relatives and peers who can operate a video camera and cobble together something that passes for a video.

What has been lacking is a resource focused solely on developing and managing the right video format for today’s online viewing audiences. Lacking, until now.

Enter Big Shot. A firm born of the combined expertise of a nationally recognized brand and marketing consultancy (Cohesion) and a 25-year-old production entity, squarely dedicated to the development of engaging, 2-3 minute videos built for online viewing that tell a distinct and unique story. The video stories we most often develop are best told by the people who know them best: sales people, customers, executives, and more. We intentionally strive for a ‘look and feel’ that is more similar to a national cable TV show than it is a stilted (and obviously scripted) traditional video or broadcast spot.

Big Shot’s short video format takes into account a story’s relevance to customers, and balances the length of time needed to tell a complete story and the attention span of the viewer. It is a format perfect for the myriad of business stories that can be found (and need to be told) in HR, customer service, training, operations, manufacturing, sales, marketing and management.

Most companies we work with see video as more than a single project (though Big Shot’s relationship with a client often begins that way). Most of our corporate clients see video as a tool that can be managed as an asset over time. For these clients, the process becomes one of building initial brand and general foundation video(s) and then developing and managing specific messages and issues into individual video properties, over time.

The most efficient communications effort delivers “the right message, to the right person, at the right moment in time.” Short-format video–one that articulates a quality story and is developed in a familiar, quality production–is the only tool that allows you to do this in an engaging and affordable manner.

For more information, please contact Brian Creath at Big Shot Agency at 314-276-5383, or at bcreath@bigshotagency.com.

A Novel Idea: Say Something Worth Saying

In Brand, Brand Relevance, Brand Strategy, Communications, Corporate Marketing, Marketing, Sales, Sales Messaging, Strategy on March 14, 2012 at 9:46 pm

In ways even he could not have imagined, Marshall McLuan‘s 1960’s theory has come to pass: The Medium is the Message.

Proof is all around: People mindlessly flip through hundreds of cable channels, watching, well…nothing really…simply because they have the technology. Others, adorned with head and ear attachments, oblivious to fellow shoppers and commuters, converse about trivial matters, simply because, yes…they can. Smart phones at the ready, people of all ages text millions of introspective messages such as: where u at? (Hopefully, swerving to miss the car in front of them.)

Because we can, we do. We have been empowered by the technology afforded us, and dammit, we’re going to use it. Whether we need to or not.

Of course, the appetite for new technology will only increase. But while the explosion of communication mediums has certainly democratized control of ‘the message’ (more people have the ability to say more things to more people than ever before), it’s had a severely negative impact on the quality of the message itself.

Is it really necessary to ‘Tweet‘ about what one has had for breakfast?

Here’s the point: The biggest, real opportunity for marketers today is not about embracing the next technology, but about better using the ones we have. And to do this properly, we have to look beyond the medium, and look to the intrinsic power of the message. The age-old, technology-agnostic craft of saying something worth saying. Something of value. Something of meaning.

God knows, you’ll stand out.

Woody Allen once said, ‘80% of success is just showing up.’ From a communications standpoint, we’ve certainly embraced this, haven’t we? We’re connected. We’ve got gadgets and toys that would frighten Alexander Graham Bell and Mr. Watson. In the time it took to read this post, you’ve already received 10 emails, three texts and 25 Tweets.

Problem is, how many of them are really worth reading? For the astute marketer, the answer is clear: Say something really worth saying. Relevance, my fellow marketer, will get you everywhere.

While I’m working on my next post, I hope you’ll read about how Cohesion helps organizations build stronger brands and marketing efforts, here.

The World Has Changed. (Are you telling the right story?)

In Brand, Brand Relevance, Brand Strategy, Business strategy, Communications, Marketing, Sales, Sales Messaging on October 29, 2009 at 12:47 pm

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“We need to rethink our message. What we’re saying doesn’t make sense anymore.”

–Fortune 1000 CMO, September, 2009.

This chief marketing officer isn’t alone. In the past 60 days, our firm has interviewed dozens of C-level executives and other marketing/sales professionals who agree. As they plan now for 2010, they’re including a (new) line item in their marketing strategies and budgets: messaging. Because for them, what worked in the past has little if any relevance today (much less tomorrow). According to McKinsey, “For the immediate future, business leaders will have to master the disciplines of uncertainty. (Managers) must drop the pretense that they can predict the future.”

An article in the October 19, 2009 issue of Entrepreneur, asks the question: “Is your brand story doing justice to your business?” Author Mary van de Wiel (Van), spells out a number of points, including: “Think about how you want your audience to react to your story. What’s the outcome–the object lesson here? What kind of conclusion do you want them to reach?”

Building the right story means developing a foundation of messaging that is flexible, adaptable and nimble to take best advantage of emerging opportunities, while mitigating unforeseen obstacles. As the business world continues to shift beneath your feet, a message platform (and the story that guides it) can be the roadmap for remaining relevant to every stakeholder in every situation.

As we all look to a more positive 2010, every company needs to question its relevance, its value — and yes, its story. So, do you have the right one? (If not, I know a firm that can help.)

While I’m working on my next post, I hope you’ll browse the archives. I also hope you’ll visit Cohesion to find out how we help organizations build stronger messaging to increase consistency, lower cost and drive growth.

“A Messaging Plan? (Do we even have a message?)”

In Brand, Brand Strategy, Business strategy, Communications, Marketing, Messaging, Sales, Sales Messaging on August 18, 2009 at 2:27 pm

tin.cansAs businesses emerge from their long, dark marketing sleep, it’s important to recognize that things really have changed. From environment to attitude, the marketing factors impacting business have shifted. And whether you believe these are short-term changes, or changes that will last forever, one thing is certain: Your business message cannot be the same as it was before.

Recently, we were called into an organization to develop a messaging plan. Sitting with the company’s marketing staff, it became obvious that they wanted us to concentrate on the mechanics of distributing the message, and not the message itself. “Our message is still right,” said one of the marketing folks, after we questioned whether the economic events of the last year had shifted the relevance of their message.

As our conversation continued, the head of sales was called in to our meeting. Told that marketing was interested in developing a new messaging plan, his only response was, “A messaging plan? Do we even have a message?”

Sales, arguably the most critical messaging audience, didn’t believe the company had a consistent message.

As you plan for our new economy, strategic and tactical marketing planning are critical. But as you plan, don’t forget to evolve your message. (By the way, if your organization is ready to develop stronger and more relevant messaging, I know a firm that can help.)

While I’m working on my next post, I hope you’ll read about how Cohesion helps organizations build stronger messaging to increase consistency, lower cost and drive growth, here.