Marketing is about values Steve Jobs said it

In 2013, Steve Jobs gave a talk introducing and explaining the memorable “Think Different” campaign, one of Apple’s great landmarks. In his presentation, Jobs explained two things very clearly: Marketing is about values, and therefore brands do not sell products. They sell values.

This is the case with Nike, which Jobs cites as an example. Nike does not sell shoes (and sportswear). Not even comfort (although that is part of its characteristics), what Nike sells is a passion for sport. It is lifestyle.

Jobs extrapolates this understanding of Nike’s marketing to that of Apple. Apple does not sell technology. No. What Apple sells are the tools needed by those who want to change the world. In fact, in the “Think Different” campaign, it featured relevant figures from the 20th century, from Einstein to Picasso. And, making a joke, he remarked: “They didn’t have a computer, if they had, it would have been a Mac”. (How great!).

The interesting thing about this vision is that the values of a brand, “the core”, are unchangeable. A brand can (and should) change its products because market demands evolve; it can change its distribution and is even likely to change the people who work for it. But its values are immutable.

Now, if you have a company, are you clear about your brand values and how to sell them?

If you think you need help, it is essential to put yourself in the hands of professionals. Because, as the great master said: Marketing is about values.

Dear Brands: Congruence, please Do what you communicate

Although it seems that many companies and brands are currently sinking, in fact, as always, the “right reading of the situation” and resilience can allow us to turn the negative into positive. It is a question of seizing the enormous opportunity in the face of the fact that consumers are becoming increasingly sensitive to the social commitment of brands.

Today, even in this crisis, people are not just satisfied with a certain price or quality, they want to know everything: where the raw material comes from, or even how the brands have behaved with their employees during the Pandemic.

Some brands, in their advertising and in the “values” section of their websites, tell us how wonderful they are. For example, they talk about “equal opportunities” for men and women, but there are only men at the management level; others tell us about diversity, painting rainbows on their social network logos during May, but the employees know that it is better not to talk about certain topics; Some say they love their family, but that no new father ever uses his right to paternity leave or that no female employee runs out 20 minutes early because her child has a fever; those from beyond say that they ” verify ” with a magnifying glass that only renewable resources are used, but they do not analyse what their suppliers’ suppliers do or we see that they use single-use bottles in their employee canteens…

Brands that say but do not do are opportunistic and do not consider consumers to be responsible and consistent, and in the end, “everything is known”. Consumers are human and that is why consistent and humanistic, ethical and courageous brands are needed

In fact, at Stanford University they are beginning to merge two concepts “fuzzy” and “techie”, humanistic and technological, to better understand the analysis of Big Data, and to work not only on the quantitative but also on the qualitative. Because both concepts are not opposites but necessary.

Thus, the congruence between what I say and what I do is decisive for the brand and cannot have any clear-cut differences. It is an ethical choice that needs to be courageous and never forget that we are human and that ultimately, whether it be an industrial or B2B sector, we work for humans.

A simple blah, blah, blah… Change of appearance and not of essence

It is not lost on anyone that words are powerful and that they can profoundly transform the concept we all have of something or someone. It is not only what we say but how and when we say it. It is not only what we are said but also how we are said.

An already classic example of this process has been the (failed) attempt to create an inclusive language in Spanish in which men and women are equal, through grammatical usage: first by splitting the genders (which is contrary to the basic principle of the economy of language) and then by replacing the gender-indicative (a/o) vowels with neutral vowels or even by using only the feminine gender. This proposal is so artificial that it would make any normal speaker squeak and give most philologists a rash. As the linguist from Madrid, a member of the Mexican Academy of Language, Concepción Company, says: “When societies are egalitarian I am very sure that grammatical habits will change. Equality is not about being called “arquitecta” [feminine of architect, in Spanish] but about being paid the same.

But this does not only happen in Spanish, nor does it only happen in political marketing or with respect to social issues. Sometimes instead of adapting to new times, analysing market trends and consumer needs, companies find “solutions” that are apparently only superficial.

This is the case with the BBC. The English channel is excluding the words television and radio from its vocabulary in order to attract a younger audience, between 18 and 34 years old, who prefer Netflix to its content. In an attempt to adapt to the new realities, it is working on a branding project to change the term BBC Television to BBC Screen and BBC Radio to BBC Audio. This proposal could cost him over £1 million

But is it changing at the concept level? Is it transforming? Apparently not.

So what would be the result? Surely, if the change is only in words and not in message; if it is a transformation of brand and concept, if it is only appearance and not essence; nothing will happen. Or it will. Maybe it will continue to decline and one day it will stop connecting with its audience. And its change will be a simple blah, blah, blah…

I miss you! Motivating Public Relations teams in time of pandemic

One of Henry Ford’s memorable phrases says: «Coming together is a beginning. Continuing together is progress. Working together is success.» There is no doubt that Ford knew a lot about adding up and making a team. And luckily for him, he never had to confine himself and watch his colleagues through a screen, without being able to give them a big handshake, a hug or a few of those tension-releasing laughs.

Today, many sectors are learning and reinventing themselves from the teleworking that the pandemic and this new phase in which we live have brought (although some call it a “new normality” we should not let it be the norm). However, communication and PR workers are living this moment in a perhaps more complicated way, as it is a sector in which people are always interacting: we solve together, we negotiate together and, of course, we take advantage of synergies and reach consensus. This is how it works.

Doing our work through a screen in a videoconference is not completely natural, in a sector where professionals are almost always available (an event in the evening or a congress in another city, for example). We feel unsettled and this is evident in…

  1. The feeling of isolation. In our work everything goes very fast and sometimes problems are solved with the incredible skill of improvisation (with common sense, of course).
  2. The training of young people. Ours is a profession that is transmitted not only by university studies, but also by experience. Many young professionals are not living this situation, which helps to develop their own talent. This reality may in the future create professionals with less experience and less quality and responsiveness
  3. Personal balance. Those of us in this sector know about overtime and the challenge involved in balancing and reconciling our personal and professional lives. Many times, at work peaks, we rely on our colleagues and not having formal and informal meetings, in the corridors is almost unthinkable. We miss the sense of humour and, of course, the fraternity, and the good ideas that are born in front of the coffee machine.

Now, the challenge for leaders is how to manage their teams, motivate and drive them. How to communicate in a healthy way. How to replace the warm (and so human!) details of the day to day life and not let them get cold when passing through a computer screen, a telephone…

Do you contribute or withdraw? 5 keys to working your Public Relations (and making it work)

Are you freelance? An SME? If you think that you have nothing to contribute in terms of PR and that they do not contribute anything to you; if you literally “walk away” because you think that they are not for you and you think that they are an exclusive preserve of large companies, you may not be well informed. Thanks to them you can get visibility and notoriety. In other words, let your “public”, your “audience”, your “target” get hooked on your brand.

5 keys to knowing if you are deviating from PR

  1. You don’t have “clear ideas”. So-called forceful ideas, clear, direct, unambiguous and memorable messages.
  2. You ignore the press. You lack “the” list of journalists and media. You do not make press releases nor create newsworthy content.
  3.  You are at home. You are not aware of the communication actions carried out by your competitors and you only look at the prices they charge. You do not belong to any group or guild in your sector and you have no idea if there are events in which you could participate.
  4. You only keep accounts. If someone mentions you, if you have more followers or more likes… But you don’t have a clear digital strategy and you don’t analyse how to improve your presence. If someone speaks badly of you and you don’t know it. And if you find out and it’s on social media, you simply delete the comment.
  5. You don’t make relationships… You just go along with it, “by leaps and bounds”. You forget to say thank you… You’re too busy selling!

If any of these realities are happening in your company, it is clear that you need PR.

Here are 5 keys to make your PR work:

  1. Knowledge is power. It’s not only about knowing the customers you already sell to, but also the ones you want to reach. In addition, it is essential that you seduce and win over your interest groups (those who are now called stakeholders), who will not buy from you, such as the media, bloggers, NGOs, employees… but who can speak well of you.
  2. Find out about yourself. Analyse where you are in your relationship with each of these stakeholders and with your clients. Research, review, get to know them.
  3. Plan what you are going to do. Think of personalised actions for each group. Obviously you cannot and should not do the same action for a supplier (who might recommend you), as with an NGO, as with a client. Be creative.
  4. Be clear… and personalised. Linked to the previous point, find ways of communicating with each of them. Work from excellence and be detailed. Personalise. Make those who see you feel incredible. Monitor what they talk about you. If someone criticizes you on your social networks, dialogue, show the most exquisite education, find a solution in a transparent and open way. Be honest.
  5. Evaluate and start again. Measure the impact of your actions. Don’t expect an immediate impact on the economy. If what you’ve done doesn’t work, try other ways. A professional can help you.  

 With these 5 keys, you will no longer have to leave PR behind and you will be able to contribute more to your business than you can imagine: recognition and profitability. You decide: Do you contribute or withdraw?

No time for strategy?

Maybe this story is familiar to you: wake up at 6:30, gym/pool, arrive at the office at 8: 30 (half an hour before the others), answering emails, calls, working on day-to-day projects, explaining to your team/collaborators the next steps, negotiating with a customer, coffee, calls, meeting, eating fast – at your desk many days – more emails, another meeting, more projects, a meeting that extends to infinity, staying late and/or taking your work home (here you can move forward because you are silent and if you have children, they have gone to sleep)…

If you recognize yourself in this “work routine” you may be one of those senior leaders who works more than 45 hours a week, who receives – according to some American studies – 6% more salary and who is socially recognized. But perhaps you are also part of the 97% who say that strategic thinking is the most important thing for the success of their company and of the 96% who do not have time for it… Do you recognise yourself here too?

Working more than 35 hours a week decreases productivity and creative thinking. That is why it is important to follow three simple guidelines that help “find the time” but also the space for strategy:

    1. Create your space. This is not a physical space but a “mental” one. You don’t need hours and hours to plan a strategy or make a decision. What is needed is to have a “blank” time, dedicated to it, after a disconnection within working hours. Think about how many companies include specific rest areas to encourage creative thinking among their employees.
    1. To do list. There are those who are for and those who are against to-do lists. What is true is that they help to structure, to know what you have to do and not only can, but must, include strategic thinking here. Consciously make space for it in your daily tasks.
    1. Where do you spend your time? It’s good, for a couple of weeks, to follow up on how you spend your time, to assess which jobs you can outsource, delegate or work on in parallel. Knowing this will help you to organize yourself better. Update on the tools that allow you to automate processes.

Remember: disconnecting does not mean wasting time. Instead, it is usually the key to success.

Twitter… like good coffee

Short, full-bodied, strong, hot and also sometimes bitter… Twitter is like good coffee, which is not the most consumed drink in the world, but at the same time it has a great demand and unconditional fans. But there is something else: Twitter continues to be a powerful social network, with more than 330 million active monthly users (MAUs), 500 million tweets posted every day. In fact, almost a quarter of the world’s Internet users use it. There may be a reason why…

For those who believe that Twitter “isn’t what it used to be,” it’s interesting to read the article published in The Thoracic Surgery Social Media Network (TSSMN). The mission of this network is to spread and highlight their news on social networks and, to assess how Twitter works, they did a prospective, randomized study to determine the effect of tweets on the quotes from their trials, following publication on this network.

The result was extremely positive: the tweeted articles achieved a significantly higher increase in article citations over time, compared to those that did not go through the social network of the bird and the hashtag par excellence. The conclusion is that the academic impact of social media activity is broad and long-lasting, specifically when it comes to Twitter.

Likewise, Twitter is a good digital marketing tool: almost 70% of B2B companies use it, it shows 164 million ads a day and 40% of users claim to purchase goods or services after seeing them on this network.

With all these benefits… Twitter is still like coffee: maybe it is not the most consumed drink in the world, but just like it, it still has for communication and brands, countless benefits for their health.

From storytelling to storydoing

“No one bathes twice in the same river,” said Heraclitus. Today reality is constantly changing. New circumstances generate new consumption habits, new ways of thinking and being. We are all transforming and we all begin to interact with brands in different ways: we are more demanding and we ask them to be coherent, consistent and transparent.

Brands that want to survive need not only communicate, but connect with their audience. They need to become their crush (that of engagement, that of being in love that we read and hear so much), so that the consumer becomes an ambassador and promoter (prescriber).

Brands are called to become brands with purpose, brands that by their values “catch” their audience and consumers. Companies / brands that become the “perfect” place to work. Who does not want to be proud of their company and presume that it donates a part of its profits to children with cancer, to the environment or to Alzheimer’s research, to give an example?

So far, everything is correct, but what do you have to do to make your brand fall in love? To make it a brand with purpose?

The 5 commandments of purposeful brands:

  1. You will be transparent about all things. This means that it also has to be consistent and that it will transmit its values clearly, without hiding anything. Fooling your audience or clients is prohibited.
  2. You will constantly innovate. As a brand, you have to know your market, always give new solutions and be reliable and authentic. You cannot “rest on your laurels”.
  3. You will hit the target. This means that your brand has to be precise in the message and in the channels it uses.
  4. You will take action. Storytelling is fine, but storydoing is better. Design a CSR strategy, work it out, make it happen and involve your clients and your audience. Make them participate and don’t forget to thank them and make them feel “part of your brand”. Go one step further, they can be your brand.
  5. You will digitize your messages. Digitization is not everything, but it is essential. Transmit your messages digitally, update your website (it is the “dresser” of your brand), use social networks (with common sense … a no-brainer if you are a B2B you don’t paint anything on Tik Tok). Interact, share, fall in love.

In short, with your brand, create links and build loyalty with transparent, positive, reliable and credible messages. As in any relationship, that will be the way to reach the heart, in this case, of your audience.

The brand in times of COVID-19: transparency, trust and sustainability

The much-haunted concept of crisis = opportunity (although those who know Chinese say that it is not true that the same spelling is used to express these concepts) is recurrent. Today taking the opportunities provided by the pandemic crisis is an almost tangible reality. We cannot forget that the Covid-19 has affected us all and that it has altered the habits of consumers, who are starting from the new normal, to act in a more rational way, although without forgetting that successful brands connect emotional with your consumers.

Consumers expected and expect trust, responsibility, safety and added value from their brands. They asked them and they ask that they not only be a business, but that they contribute something more to the community. If a brand has been “at the height of the circumstances” in these months it will surely come out stronger. But how do you get it?

Being next to the consumer: Some brands have already transmitted this message. They have accompanied and accompany the consumer in difficult times. Accompanying messages, hope for the future, etc. have been recurring. Creativity here has been the key to not achieving the opposite effect.

Overcome resistance with transparency. The consumer, although emotionally affected, knows very well what he wants and, above all, what he does not want. Therefore, it has been essential to communicate appropriately. Transparency and coherence have been key.

Analyze new habits: After 70 days of confinement, consumers have developed new consumption habits. Will these be maintained over time? With which will there be no going back? The pandemic has brought an acceleration towards digital processes. Here nothing will be the same again.

Be present. Maintaining notoriety is essential. It is essential to continue being present in the channels where we have habitually moved. Let’s not forget that consumers easily forget. For example, consumers do not remember brands that do not appear in the media. Not being -and even more so, with all the channels and possibilities to get closer to the consumer, thanks to the Internet- can be extremely expensive.

Respect and sensitivity: Misunderstanding the opportunity can also be a disaster. Failure to demonstrate adequate respect and sensitivity to people’s pain and suffering will undoubtedly backfire. A new concept is imposed, social sustainability.

A new reality: the hybrid event or congress

Most of us realized that the Covid-19 pandemic was serious when the big brands began to withdraw from the Mobile World Congress… and even more so when it was canceled. In these months we have learned to integrate into our daily lives new realities, such as teleworking, zoom conferencing, masks, hydroalcoholic gel… but what about events? Should they all be done virtually? Are there other formulas?

The trend, today, points to a new model of event, the so-called hybrid event, in which one part of the audience attends in person, while the other is connected virtually. This possibility changes the way we understood the sector and involves new associated challenges, such as how to manage the relational part and networking; how to maintain audience engagement; if new experts are needed and, something basic, if the return on investment is measurable or if they are profitable.

The paradigm is new and needs to be adapted. A face-to-face event has a limited number of attendees, but virtually, many more are willing to connect and participate, something we have become accustomed to the experience of these months. So, it is clear that we will need specialists, facilitators able to fall in love with that audience, to capture it and keep it among us. Because it is not a question of virtual assistants being mere spectators, but participants, in a bidirectional and omniprofile process.

In addition, to relate, we will have to create new ways of doing things. Some have already experienced digital platforms that bring interested participants in contact, through artificial intelligence, before and after an event. Although networking seems more complex, it will be necessary to work to achieve an efficient result.

And on what is the profitability of a hybrid event, surely, this is greater than that of a traditional event, since in addition to being able to reach more people, the costs of travel, accommodation and diets are reduced. The hybrid event will also affect other sectors, who in turn will have their own challenge to be more creative and competitive

However, and if we think about it, in the end, a hybrid event can involve the same basis as any other event: having quality content and presenting it in an attractive way so that the objectives are met will be the key to success. Meeting goals is always the key to success.