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Tag : steve jobs

The Founder CEO, A Marketer’s Orientation.

I love working for and with Founder/CEOs.

No doubt, this makes me an eccentric marketer and an odder ad guy, and casts extreme suspicion on my membership in the creative community.

Marketers are supposed to want to run their own empires – otherwise why spend all that money on a Harvard MBA and all that energy climbing the corporate ladder? Creative directors think the ideal client listens to their presentations, and then applauds. Ad agencies think their job is to please the target audience no matter what the client might think.

I’ve always hated that stuff.

You don’t let your target audience tell you what to be any more than you let your friends tell you who to be. There’s no integrity, surprise or life in that at all. Yet, in many places, it’s the norm.

And you don’t go to a dynamic, growing company – or a turnaround – to run a department like a fiefdom. You go there to be a key member of the CEO’s leadership team. You need that CEO to help you succeed even more than the CEO needs you.

I’ve always sought out clients with vision. Not rude or insulting, but laser focused, blunt, and as domineering about the brand as possible. Sometimes they are articulate. Sometimes they just know it when they see it. Either way, as long as there is really an “it” that will ultimately differentiate the brand in a world of bland, I’m in.

There will be twists and turns. I’ll hang in. I’m in it for the ride and because I believe in the destination.

As a marketing director or CMO, you are going to get the ride of your life working for a Founder CEO, and the twists and turns are no small part of it.

That inertia you feel is the marketing strategy hugging the road of a changing growth strategy. That’s a feeling you’ll rarely get in a big, lazy company.

But if you care about getting to the destination, you’ve got to care about making all the right turns along the way.

It’s exhilarating. But it’s not for everyone. If you can deliver on the business results, if you can be resilient through the twists and turns, and if you can bring on partners who share your passion and resilience, you will become irreplaceable to your visionary leader.

You’ll play your best game along side stunning colleagues. These will be the days and years you’ll never forget.

If you want to make a mark in the world, this is the way. And I’ll see you at the weekly meeting with the Founder/CEO.

7 Things Challenger Brands Do Differently

The following post is an excerpt from Digital@Speed, authored by digital marketing guru Mark DiMassimo. Visit the official website here to download your free copy today.

Apple. Virgin. Southwest. JetBlue. Crunch. Snapple. Groupon. BlueFly. Zappos. The Motley Fool. What do these brands have in common? They’re challengers, and successful ones at that.

They’ve mastered the art of zagging where others have tended to zig. They’ve taken on the goliaths of their industries and come out on top. The truth is, it’s a challenging world out there, and every marketer these days needs to be a successful challenger or go down.

Market leadership doesn’t create an exception. Look at Citibank and IBM, for example. By becoming their own best competition, they’ve looked like ready challengers, reinvented their businesses and continued to grow.

Here’s what challengers do differently:

1) The top dog is INVOLVED. Intimately.

Some folks think the reason they got degrees and big titles was so that they could independently run their own empire. Some of these people are actually pretty smart. But nine times out of ten, this attitude will do them in.

A boss is not a meddler to be avoided. If you were playing chess, you wouldn’t leave your Queen in the background and try to fight it out endlessly with your lesser pieces. Or would you?

Forget the org chart. Every player on the board is on your team. Use them!

If you want to make things happen @speed, you want the least distance between you and your boss. And you want to access the power your boss has to smooth situations and to make good tactical decisions into great strategic initiatives. Plus, you want the power to change things that you’re not personally responsible for, because changing those things will make all the difference in your ability to create success. So, you bring your boss in as a collaborator and ally. As much as possible, you lead hand in hand. It’s the challenger’s way to use every last person.

2) The advertising conversation and the business conversation are THE SAME CONVERSATION.

Don’t separate what you’re doing from why you’re doing it, even for a moment. You never want to be the one saying, “But we failed with work that was on the strategy we were given!” That is a level of responsibility, but it’s the wrong level.

You want to be responsible for the success of the enterprise. You want the brand and business to reach its full potential. You want to use not just your authority but your influence. Because nothing beats being a part of something great and you don’t want to leave that to chance.

In this context, great advertising is advertising that works for the business and brand. It brings the business strategy to life. It creates the connection that reflects the intentions of the business while both suggesting and fulfilling its promise.

This is where experience meets selling meets branding.

3) The work is seen as the ultimate weapon for conquering the competition.

Where is the unfair advantage to be found? You are not in a position to outspend. You’re not going to break the law. Or trying to change it to favor you. But you can pack more power into the product, the packaging, the service, the story, the propaganda. You can be smarter about the technology, the testing strategy, more ingenious and industrious about the optimizations.

You can win it in the marketplace of ideas. So, do that.

4) The brand is seen as a precious asset and the ultimate defensive fortification against copycats and commoditisers.

Challengers build unique brands and they value them above all else. Customers are intensely loved, but they come and go. Employees are highly valued, but the sort who are attracted to a challenger business can only be held by a great brand. A unique culture and point of view is often the only thing to hold onto in the perfect storm of growth.

A brand is armor and a full tank of gas. A brand is everything. And you only need a business to build one!

5) The VISION of the top dog drives the advertising.

Steve Jobs met every other week for intensive sessions with Lee Clow, the creative chairman of his advertising agency. In the most successful challenger businesses, the vision for the brand and advertising comes from the top. No question about it.

That kind of courage and purity of vision can’t be bought. It can’t be outsourced. No committee could sustain it. For a business that has its founder to get the full advantage of that fact, the vision must be owned and driven from the top.

6) The vision of the agency and the vision of the client are complimentary and synergistic.

The mutual inspiration society should include client and agency, vigorous discussions, sharing inspiration, lots of choices, and plenty of going back to the well.

The most sophisticated team wins.

7) Decisions get made in meetings, not just in between.

In big, bloated bureaucracies, meetings only ratify decisions that are made elsewhere. Which is why most people in those places feel that there time is wasted in meetings. Because it is.

But you don’t have time to waste. So you’re not going to protect your own ego or anyone else’s by pretending for a second to agree with what you don’t. You’re going to have real conversations. In front of whoever is there. And when some people complain about that and they try to negotiate with you to stop the open, inclusive, challenging, passionate dialogue, you are going to say, “I understand how you feel. And, no. Absolutely not. Because that would be replacing occasional discomfort with the endless pain of mediocrity and failure. Which you wouldn’t tolerate for long… you’d be gone. So, no! Let’s just agree to be respectful to each other, to put the good of the work first, and to say exactly what is on our minds.”

 

The Founder CEO, A Marketer’s Orientation.

I love working for and with Founder/CEOs.

No doubt, this makes me an eccentric marketer and an odder ad guy, and casts extreme suspicion on my membership in the creative community.

Marketers are supposed to want to run their own empires – otherwise why spend all that money on a Harvard MBA and all that energy climbing the corporate ladder? Creative directors think the ideal client listens to their presentations, and then applauds. Ad agencies think their job is to please the target audience no matter what the client might think.
(more…)

Typos r Good

People in a hurry have to choose.

Choose a veneer of blamelessness. Or choose optimal progress.

It’s really that simple, and that difficult. Because people like to be blameless. They like to manage risk by trying to eliminate it. They want to appear all buttoned up, all the time. They don’t want be seen to fail, even in small ways on less important things.

But what if your choice is to risk failing on the small things versus a certainty of falling behind on the essential things? (more…)

Steve Jobs, and the one that got away

Marty Staff, our client at Joseph Abboud, told us about a call he’d received from Steven Jobs, the CEO of Apple. Marty’s company had their flagship store in a prime location in New York City, and Steve was looking for the perfect spot for the first New York City Apple Store. And here’s the first interesting thing: (more…)

Friday Reads – 10/6/2011

A weekly post on some of our favorites from around the Web.

This week’s topic: Steve Jobs

We wouldn’t be us if there were no Steve Jobs. The machines, the experiences, the example… more than anybody, Steve demonstrated what we value, sell and strive to create. The product is 360 degree sensurround inspiration. Every day is an art project (more…)

LOVE YOUR BRAND

People want to commit to things that give their lives meaning, but of course people fear committing to things that will fail to return the love. Many institutions have done just that, leaving people with a lack of faith in any organization. So today, the dream seems to be of “passive income,” “the 4-hour Work Week”, the billion-dollar exit, (more…)