We’re sure all of you spent last Sunday night watching the season premiere of "Mad Men"—and you’ll spend this Sunday evening watching the next episode.
If you haven’t, you’ll need to go watch it immediately. [Editor’s note: Consider that a spoiler alert.]
For the rest of you, let’s skip straight to the scene where Peggy is presenting an ad campaign for Heinz beans.
This is something that happens to us every day. A whopping 50 years later, working in the world of social media and websites, and it all comes back to this
: Peggy tries to convince her client to use a new technology and imbue a little bit of humor into the advertising, and the client just doesn’t get it.
When she said, “It’s good to show your customers that you don’t take yourself too seriously,” (we’re paraphrasing) our jaws dropped to the floor.
On one hand, it’s good to know that we’re not alone (in the historical sense). On the other hand, it kind of makes us want to shake something (and not in the Zou Bisou Bisou sense). To the clients of the world, we implore you to do the following:
Be an early adopter.
Whether it’s within your industry or just in general, new technologies and models are rarely dangerous. It sets you up to be appreciated by other forward-thinking people, a great audience to attract. It also gives you an opportunity to talk about yourselves talking about yourselves (so meta
). At times, the fact that your business is a leader in the way it advertises or conducts business through technology is newsworthy in and of itself, so jump at those opportunities.
Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Nobody likes a person who can’t field a harmless joke. It comes across as defensive, and that sends a message of inferiority and weakness. The same goes for your brand. Get down off your high horse and take a second to recognize that the beans aren’t always that interesting.
Showing that level of self-awareness will do wonders for your marketing outreach (and your personal life). Think about it: What’s cooler: Dancing beans jumping into a can or an actor being paid to enjoy them on television? Exactly.
Don’t say “no” because you are uncomfortable.
Good marketing is like good art. It makes you gasp. It makes you think. Unless it is hurtful or offensive (or wrong), it’s probably something you should do. Think about marketing decisions like you’re asking the most popular girl or boy to the prom. If it doesn’t work, you’ll know your limits, but if it does, you’ll have the time of your life.
Get what you pay for.
If you have hired any kind of marketing firm (or vendor outside of your specialty), let them do their job. You don’t have to—after all, you are paying them—but it’s the only way to get your money’s worth. These people spend countless hours reading, researching, brainstorming, and testing ideas. It stands to reason that they know what they’re talking about. We know your company is near and dear to your heart, but trust your team of hired professionals.
Lindsay Bosslet works for The Black Sheep Agency, a Houston-based creative agency specializing in non-traditional public relations, social media and experiential marketing to build brands that change minds. Follow them on Twitter or on their blog, where a version of this story first appeared.