Friday, March 29, 2013

Good, Bad, & Ugly Of Marketing Marriage

Personal opinion aside, the marriage debate has been fascinating from a marketing perspective. No matter what the Supreme Court rules most agree marriage equality will eventual be the law of the land. How did opinion turn so quickly when even 10 years ago it seemed the US was decades away from even being this far?

Let's look at some keys to great messaging on the Equality side:

  • Powerful Wording
    • Human Rights Campaign: Gays-United wouldn't have worked but humanizing the otherness of LGBTs did.
    • Equality: Gay-marriage can be off-putting to some, but who can be against Equality?
  • Great Logo: [ = ] Could it get any simpler, yet clear?
  • Viralizing: In addition to the great logo, their social media strategy made it easy and cool to take a stand with over 2.7M on Facebook users alone switching their avatar over.
  • Rights Angle:
    • Celebrities: The helpfulness of making this an equality campaign is that people who are not LGBT still feel they are fighting for a civil rights issue. And where there is attention, warm-fuzzies, and cool t-shirts to be had you'll find celebrities. 
    • Politics: If there is a vote to be had, you'll find politicians. The changing demographics explains why many who were hesitant to take a stand prior are now ok coming out (so to speak). Young people see sexuality as a non-issue-- they all have friends, family, and coworkers who they like and are out. 
  • Will and Grace-ifying: Before the TV show Will and Grace there were gay characters but they were the secondary characters or the silly ones. Will and Grace was a good, quality, entertaining show that made everyone feel they had a gay friend.

Where Traditionalists failed:

  • Weak Wording: Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. That's the best they can come up with?  Plus no cute logo? Now-a-days you need a visual people!
  • Outdated Sourcing: The Bible does have some references that might allow someone to use it as justification to deny marriage equality but this same source also condemns: shellfish, touching pigskins, mixing fabrics, planting restrictions; not to mention awfully pro-slavery. When someones' source of justification is a couple of thousand years old it losses some of its punch.
  • Bad spokespeople: There are few sane, non-hostile, well-respected people that can really speak credibly on denying others the same rights as they have. And more are evolving on the topic every day.
  • Over-reaching: Few deny that all couple deserve basic legal protections for their partners and families. This could have been accomplished pre-DOMA had the opponents bent on Civil-Unions. But when they would not even consider this as an option, they forced gay rights advocates into a corner and they had no choice but to go full on. Most who opposed would gladly give Civil Unions a chance now but today it's too little too late. 
The ship is pulling away from port on marriage equality so I think the most Traditionalists can hope for is a distinction that makes them feel they have been heard and respected. I suggest they claim Holy Matrimony as their new definition of marriage. This keep God and churchiness in while still upholding the separateness they are so attached to. I even bet if the Holy Marriage advocates ask nicely the HRC would give them the name of their awesome PR and marketing firms. The gays are nice that way :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What Is Your Freak Ratio?

It is amusing to me that companies are hungry for innovation and a stand out new product or service but instead of bringing in someone more likely to offer that up they pick from within the box.

Tom Peters years ago talked about how we need fewer MBAs and to spend more time hanging out with and hiring freaks. Did anyone listen? Not many, or at least few get freaky enough. How do I know? Look at most products, marketing, or even hiring practices. Not just corporate hiring, but startups state they are looking for X number of years of "agency experience". How many rebels, freaks have stayed at an agency for 5-10 years? They've gone off and tried their own thing, changed from one industry to another, failed at something because they dared... 

Sure no one wants a freak-for-all! Heck, nothing would get polished up, packaged properly, or shipped on time. Besides there needs to be an agency type to harness the end product to fit within some guidelines. From my observation I would say 2 for every 3 normals is a good mixAnd heads-up: they'll most likely expect some freedom around their schedule, pay, working environment, etc. 

Ask yourself, do you really want someone who sits at a desk from 9-5 coming up with the next generation of your product? You'll get cubicle, responsible thinking... boring!  

Now freak is not a substitute for diversity. There are plenty of shades and sorts that are just different versions of corporate types. It's important to have a good mix of those too; but to avoid a trip to Abilene (the road to groupthink) these should be freaks who would make you uncomfortable enough to know you're out of your comfort zone. 

What's your ratio? If your not ready to go full-on-freak, consider contracting a few freaks. Or, at the very least, encourage your current group to get their freak-flag on and create an open environment to allow them space to come play.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hip To Be Square

Enjoyed this 60 Minutes segment on Twitter and Square Founder Jack Dorsey. The short version:

Geeks Are Taking Over The World: It used to be the engineer/programmer types were behind the scenes not on magazine covers or flattering profile pieces. Not any more.

Art + Engineering = The Killer App: Jack uses the Golden Gate Bridge as a metaphor for how building in simplicity and beauty allows the mechanics of something as complex as a commuter bridge to fade away. Good design makes for pleasant and seamless ease of use-- e.g.: Twitter & Square. Steve lives on.

Hands Free Money: We are on the verge of hands free purchasing. When transactions are just taken care of it makes us feel like our life is just working. I don't think we're at the point of seamless lifestyles yet, but we're getting a taste of it- and it is nice.

We're All Merchants: The days of needing a real register and store are over. Got a phone, you're in business!

Jack might be a square but he's already contributed a huge amount to changing the way we communicate with each other and deal with money. I, myself, love Twitter and just started accepting payments with Square. Not sure NYC should rule this guy out.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

New TH!NK Spot

Needed a separate space to post business thoughts and since they are also big businesses there will be post about politics and religion here too. If instead you're looking for my workshop, book, or other blog please look to the right side and check out the listed links.

If you are interested in hiring me for a project you can find me through LinkedIn or contact me by email.