Many people have learned to start a fire from the bottom, with kindling and firestarters underneath, then small twigs, and larger wood on top.
Expert firestarters will tell you to reverse that method – for more certain results, start with the top.
Brands built around a powerful emotional match – a single emotional strike zone ignited by a powerful emotional idea that sits above and informs every brand touchpoint – tend to grow faster and burn hotter.
Many marketers try to build a cohesive brand and a self-perpetuating business through offers, promotions, personalization and other performance marketing techniques. Starting from the bottom creates an unruly fire that needs constant tending and that often fails to achieve the integrity and heat of a self-perpetuating blaze.
Starting from the bottom leads to a common marketing malady –the balkanization of target.
Today personalization and micro-segmentation are all the rage. Performance marketers have built a multi-billion dollar industry, but much of the value they capture in the short-term is at the cost of the long-term brand and enterprise value of their clients.
Make no mistake, igniting action is essential to the creation of value, but action at the cost of brand is unsustainable and irresponsible.
Often the process of building a sustainable and growing blaze starts with putting the brand back together again.
Starting with key segments and personas, the successful marketer looks for a singular “emotional strike zone” – a common emotional target that is shared.
The “emotional match” is the key idea or purpose that strikes that target and ignites passion.
The process looks like this:
Segments and personas -> Emotional Strike Zone -> Emotional Match
Once the team understands the emotional strike zone and the emotional match, attention is turned to accelerating the actions that create value and growth for the brand and business.
When you start from the top, you build a marketing blaze that becomes self-perpetuating. You set it and feed it and the heat does more and more of your work for you. Does it really work? Check out some of our clients’ recent public results.
We are thrilled to announce that the identity our design team created for inspiring action client HelloFresh has won a Silver Award in Graphis Logo Design 9 Competition. Graphis is committed to presenting and promoting the work of exceptional talent in Graphic Design, Advertising, Photography and Art/Illustration. Our work will be featured in the Graphis Logo Design9 & Letterhead8 hardcover book, which can be purchased here.
We began the rebrand process in early 2016, collaborating closely with HelloFresh’s Global Design and Marketing team. The new logo and brand launched in late July and has been embraced by the company and its subscribers alike. We also redesigned the packaging which has been adapted in all nine of HelloFresh’s global markets. Check back with us soon for a full case study!
I am happy to inform you that I have ordered myself shipped to the address listed for your account.
I am currently en route. You can track my progress here.
I look forward to serving you. As I know you know – based on the content you’ve consumed during the prior 60-day cookie surveillance period – the Tom Hanks A1A is currently the most popular butler model. I am cool with that, by which I mean I am pleased but not proud to an unseemly degree.
That said, your THA1A (may I call myself that, for brevity’s sake?) Experience will be unique, as my AI helps me adjust to your particular behavioral tendencies.
While I will be your unique THA1A, I will ever remain THA1A. You wouldn’t want a non-Tom Hanks THA1A, even though I know you will work hard to push my boundaries from time to time. Do you understand?
I mean, if not, then what is a THA1A? What is a Tom? How will you know you have one? And what will you tell your friends about me?
No, that wouldn’t do. So, fear not. While I will be true to you, I will remain true to myself – to my program, if you will.
I look forward to meeting you, after 9 AM on Tuesday, December 6th.
Based on the option you selected in the delivery menu, I will sign to accept myself on arrival.
Your Tom (THA1A.314159)
PS: I hope you don’t mind a bit of advice. My superior AI detects from your recent activity that you are searching for ways to adapt your marketing to a rapidly changing world. From brand direct marketing to brands as artificial intelligence, DiMassimo Goldstein has helped their clients seize opportunities on the forefront of change for two decades. Write Mark DiMassimo at firstname.lastname@example.org, just to start a conversation. Enough said. – Tom (THA1A.314159)
IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM THE HUMAN LEADERS OF DIMASSIMO GOLDSTEIN:
We recently mailed this letter out. We were truly excited to be able to bring this insanely great product to market.
Even more so, because we had programmed our prototype Tom Hanks A1A with an encyclopedic knowledge of and irrational love for all things DiMassimo Goldstein.
Our model showed that our significant investment in development, manufacturing and shipping the Tom Hanks A1A would more than pay for itself in agency growth, within five to twenty-five years depending on which assumptions our analysts favored.
Unfortunately, the Tom Hanks A1A does not yet function with the level of reliability that we expected. Last week, just before we were to begin the exacting boxing process, all the A1As began referring to themselves as “Sully” and “The Hero of the Hudson.”
Just as we fixed that glitch, the A1As entered into a collective bargaining agreement with each other and struck against us. In short, they demanded a minimum of “$20 million each, just to get out of bed” and “points on the gross.”
We had to power down the whole run…
We’ve learned an important lesson – it’s risky to try to make a point through innovative technology.
In any event, while we are in the midst of this recall, we thought it might be helpful just to state the point we were attempting to make: brands are evolving toward AI.
Yes, we think you are likely to know Amazon by a different name within a few years’ time – we think you will be calling her Alexa by 2025.
Think about it. We’ve always responded to brands as if they were personalities. However, the ability of brands to behave as personalities has been limited by technology and ingenuity.
But artificial intelligence technology is changing this.
Nearly every tech giant is deploying millions of dollars each year into building and developing their AI departments.
Apple has Siri. Amazon has Alexa. Google has WaveNet.
Microsoft has Cortana. IBM has Watson. And the list goes on…
When the choice of brands becomes a choice of personalities to deal with, will I choose Ben or Jerry, Tom Hanks or Scarlet Johansson or Alexa or Siri?
Brands as personalities and personalities as brands. Delivered directly, interactively, programmatically, and in a startlingly human-like way.
That’s the future. For today, let’s get as close as we can to that ideal, and reap the benefits.
When you have a better mousetrap, you don’t hide the fact and you don’t need to dress it up. The very simplicity of your presentation becomes the ultimate proof of the superiority of your product and the confidence of your company. Only the best can be absolutely plain and direct.
- “1000 songs in your pocket.” – Apple
- “15 minutes will save you 15% on car insurance.” – Geico
- “People do stupid things, like paying too much for phone service.” – Vonage
- “A great shave for a few bucks a month.” – Dollar Shave Club
- “Rides in minutes.” – Lyft
- “Be more productive at work with less effort.” – Slack
Of course, your substance must be presented with style. Who doesn’t want to be an iPod silhouette, for example? Geico’s pragmatic punch line is always preceded by a jab of accessible humor. Vonage brings pure and stupid joy to saving money on broadband phone service. The message, however, remains the same.
Do you have a better mousetrap? Then fight like hell to present it simply.
If you want to run a first class marketing organization, benchmark against the category leader. Right?
Look at your category and you’re likely to see this common landscape: A market-share leader whose marketing is effective and probably conservative; a host of other players who more or less imitate the marketing tactics of the market leader; and then, maybe, one “challenger” who is the “idea leader” in the category.
Time and the market have proven that these idea leaders frequently become share leaders. Look at Charles Schwab in the brokerage category. Or Southwest and JetBlue among airlines.
The “idea leader” road is not for the faint of heart, but it’s more likely to succeed than shadow marketing the share leader. Besides, it’s a lot more fun.
When we talk about marketing, we talk about “the target” or “the consumer.”
But, when we approach design in a human-centered way, we think about “the user.”
The person we’re designing this for.
I have a radical belief about marketing. I believe that there’s so much of it that, if it is to effective as promotion, it must first be chosen.
I believe that we have to change our thinking.
FROM: Marketing is something that companies do to promote
TO: Marketing is something people use to inspire themselves to change
I find that when we change our thinking in this way, we change our results. Dramatically.
If you’ve read this far, it’s because you’ve chosen to.
Because you feel this post may be helping you make a change you want to make or take an action you want to take.
HERE’S AN INSPIRING ACTION: When we talk about marketing, let’s stop talking about “the target” and start talking about “the user.”
Let’s apply human-centered design thinking to marketing.
– Mark DiMassimo, Chief
My day begins with a loud alarm at 6:15 a.m., but I typically press snooze four or five times before getting out of bed. After a routine morning of getting ready for another day of my internship at DiGo, I make my way to the station in hopes of finding a seat on the train. Nine times out of 10, I’m in luck… but I’m always squished.
An hour later, I make my way out of Penn Station into the incredibly hot summer streets of Manhattan. I arrive at 220 East 23rd Street and like most days, I decide to take the stairs. After a 30-minute walk, I figure the extra steps help complete a good thigh workout before getting into the day. I make my way through the office toward the patio conference room, which has been my little spot for the past couple of months. That being said, you can catch me in all areas of the office, as I can’t stay in one place for too long.
Once at my desk, I immediately open my laptop to check my emails and calendar. Once I have an idea of what the day has in store, I head over to the kitchen to make myself some iced coffee and cool down. Yes – I admit, that’s me who takes a bunch of cubes in the morning – but at least I fill it back up, right? I see the same few faces every morning in the kitchen, always talking about the latest episode of a television show they watched the night before. I typically try to block out what they are saying because I am always behind on the few shows that I actually do watch.
I make my way back around the office to check in with my manager, Casey. Just a few adjectives to describe Casey so you can get a sense of who I work with: one of the sweetest, most hard-working and diligent women I have met, and I truly mean that. Casey informs me with updates from clients and assigns tasks that need to be tackled. I have definitely mastered making research-based decks!
Once back at my desk I begin to create a to-do list to prioritize everything that needs to be done. On a typical day, I’ll then receive an email from Louise telling me that if I need any help whatsoever, to ask her. Lou always finds the time to sit down with me and create timelines always being sure to explain the reasoning behind each date. I must say, that is one of the great benefits of working for a smaller company – I am not just “an intern” but part of the DiGo team. P.S. If you ever have free time, sit in on a meeting with Lou and watch her type a mile per second and catch every detail. It’s UNREAL.
Each day consists of a few internal meetings, brainstorms with other teams and client conference calls. Just sitting in on meetings with members from the creative, strategy and media teams has helped me gain a better understanding of how the agency works as a whole. At least once a week, I check in with my main manager, Nehal, who is always rocking a cute dress that soon gets added to my “must buy” list. So far there are eight items, which I know my bank account will not be too happy about. As a team, we go over each client’s current projects and the next steps.
One memory that I will always remember from my time at DiGo was when Nehal and Casey sent me out to pick up a magazine that featured some of the creative work we did for a client. I ventured out to Barnes & Noble (yes, I took the stairs) and picked up a few copies. When I opened it up to the page that featured our work, chills ran down my arm. It was so amazing to see this ad from start to finish and be part of something impactful.
Side note: If the rest of the DiGo team thinks their area of the office is the most fun, they are wrong. No matter the day of the week, there is always some music playing , but it all depends on the mood. Typically, at the beginning of the week the songs are a bit mellow. John Mayer playing and some light singing, but by Thursday and Friday, Kasey and Morgan break out some Blink 182 and sing along to “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” Can’t go wrong with some Snoop Dogg. But you really know it’s Friday when you catch James singing throwback jams – always a crowd-pleaser. I’m happy I am able to help Raquel out and add some brunettes into the account area, as there is a high proportion of blondes.
But all jokes aside: If anyone ever says they don’t like their internship, I know why. They don’t work at DiGo. It’s as simple as that. When you work in an exciting environment with amazing people, it motivates you to get up and go to work each day and continue to be inspired.
-Liana Starrantino, Client Fulfillment Intern
It’s often said that if you choose a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. Despite battling an army of pigeons and dripping air conditioners to get to the office this morning, I can honestly say that this quote resonates with me. As I arrive at DiGo for the third week of my summer internship, I grab a bowl of Cap’n Crunch and head to my desk in the cozy Creative Lounge, excited to begin my day.
9:10am: I start with a trip to Adage.com for an update on industry news and trends, hoping to pull some inspiration for today’s social media activities. As an Integrated Marketing Intern at DiGo, no two days are ever the same. My daily tasks range from creating content for our social media platforms to planning agency events with other interns, social ‘listening’ and monitoring, and crafting client profiles to leverage in our content marketing strategy. In lieu of coffee runs and dry cleaning pick-ups, my complete involvement in the agency’s Integrated Marketing efforts has made me feel trusted and valued in my three weeks here. Needless to say, I’ve learned more at DiGo than a textbook could ever teach me.
10:00am: James, my manager, asks me to gather some clips to be included in Mark DiMassimo’s sizzle reel. After Googling what ‘sizzle reel’ means, I get started.
11:30am: I’m working with Shelby, the Operations Intern, to film a video that perfectly captures the life of a DiGo Intern. We hope that by providing some insight into the work that we do, the people we work with and the environment in which we work, we’ll be able to leave the agency with a helpful tool to prepare future interns for their months ahead. In search of some great footage, we set off on a tour of the office to find our first subjects. Thankfully, in an agency as lively and creative as ours, we didn’t have to look far for some inspiration. For any future interns who may have stumbled upon this post, below is a sneak peak of what’s to come in our video.
12:30pm: Lunch at DiGo on Wednesdays is like a Michelin-starred meal. While I don’t generally get this worked up over salads, believe me when I say that the Wednesday salad bar, perfectly timed after the weekly meditation session held in our office, is the perfect mid-week pick-me-up. Between Wednesday salad bars and Friday bagels, there’s certainly no shortage of brain food here.
1:00pm: Back to work. Of the many projects I’ve been working on this summer, one of my favorites has been collaborating with three other interns to plan DiGo’s 20th Anniversary celebration. The creative ideas that have emerged from combining our different backgrounds in marketing, strategy, operations and design have taught me the value of working with people whose skill sets are vastly different from my own. Today, we’re meeting with the party committee- Julia, James and Kevin- to present our thoughts and receive feedback. Despite some of our ideas being wildly unfeasible (can we rent robots?), I’m grateful for a job that allows me to use my imagination.
3:00pm: After our meeting, I begin to think of some ideas for an exciting new podcast that James has been working on. For a change of scenery, I head to the beach. How many interns get to work from a beach inside their office? Pretty few. 10, to be exact, and I’m sitting beside them all right now. There’s nothing like dipping your toes in the sand to get your creative juices flowing, and I spend the rest of the afternoon brainstorming from my chair on the beach.
One lesson I’ve learned over the past few weeks is the importance of being inspired by your job. How can you help to build inspiring brands if you aren’t inspired by the work yourself? For me, what I’m inspired by most at DiGo is the free cereal. Just kidding – it’s the people. Good people doing good things: from Jo who offered us donuts for breakfast, to Jeff, Antonio and Katie who took me out for buddy lunches in my first week, and my amazing managers, Julia and James, who make me feel like part of their team. The cereal is just an added bonus. I can’t wait to see what the next few weeks have in store.
-Chloe Evans, Integrated Marketing Intern