What goes next in the following sequence? Skywriting, Calendar, Pen, T-Shirt, Super Bowl, Side Of A Barn, ____________ . Give up? Don’t be too hard on yourself; even that smart kid in high school (you know the one I’m talking about) doesn’t know the answer.
Let’s review our fundamental understanding of advertising and branding and see if we can’t come up with an insight that will not only fill in the blank but also give you an idea about what your next incredibly powerful step will be to identify and promote your brand. This is a million dollar idea because as soon as you implement the strategy, you’ll be on your way to transforming your brand into an industry leader.
A lot of advertising is about exposing your clients to your brand time after time after time. Those who sell ad space and time (newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, online, etc.) are often more impressed with its value and validity then those who are tasked with deciding how to allocate their scarce advertising dollars in the first place. Most ad sales reps will agree that if one line of skywriting is good, then two airplanes spreading your message across the heavens is better.
Even a $4.3 million Super Bowl commercial might be talked about at the water cooler for a few days after the big game and then forgotten.
Let’s say my realtor friend sent me a calendar for the New Year. There’s a slim chance I would put it on my desk but 12 months later it’ll be outdated and wind up in the trash. A pen with her company’s logo on it is a useful gift and will remind me of her services but sooner or later I’ll lose it or it’ll run out of ink. And I might wear her T-shirt several times until it frays and I pick something newer to wear.
What’s the one item that I’ll happily accept from you that will remind me of your company? What’s the one item that will stay in my office for as long as I work there? What’s the one item that I’ll never throw away?
No one ever throws away a book. Especially one that’s been personally autographed by the author (that’s you!).
So now all you have to do is write one.
Before you say, “but I could never write a book,” think about that for a solid minute. Who knows more about your industry than you? Who knows more about what goes on at your company than you? Who knows more about what you do than you? The answer to all three questions is “no one!” it’s all you, all the time.
Remember that the purpose of your book is not to sell any specific product but to share information, demonstrate competence, and maybe even get a few laughs from your readers. Your purpose in writing your book is to set yourself up as a leader in your industry, the person who “wrote the book” on your area of expertise as it were.
Sure, writing a book will take some time. It took two years of hard work to produce our first book, Brain Darts. But it did get easier each time after that. Because writing, like most any other worthwhile activity, becomes easier the more you do it. And whether you get better at it or not, consistency rules. After all, a page a day equals a book a year.
Better yet, today you don’t even have to concern yourself with writing a proposal or selling a book agent on your idea. In 2014’s brave new world of self-publishing there doesn’t have to be a publisher to convince nor a publishing house to share royalties with. Because whether they like your book or not, Amazon’s Create Space will sell you as many copies of your book as you request for about five bucks apiece, postage included. And when you think of your book as an expensive business card, one that your potential clients and returning clients will be impressed by for years to come, five dollars buys you an awful lot of attention.
What about painting a billboard on the side of a barn instead? Sure that ad medium might allow your message to be viewed for a generation, even longer then the life of a book. But unless your potential buyers spend a lot of time driving country roads in farming communities, I’m pretty sure that getting a book in the hands of your customers is a better bet.
Of course, writing, designing, editing, and publishing your own book will take some time. But regardless of how long it will take, I’ll bet you can get the job done for less then the $4.3 million a 30-second Super Bowl ad will cost.