Suddenly Marketing

Brand Messaging | Content Strategy | Writing

Category: Inspiration (Page 1 of 8)

Tell me again why I should care.

brick wallTell me again why I should listen to you.

Tell me again why I should care.


You told me once before, but I’ve forgotten what you said. It was just too much to remember.


I’m busy and overwhelmed and late for something. (I’m always late for something.) I have forty-seven yet-to-be-done things on my To Do list and I still don’t know what we’re having for dinner.


What was it you wanted again?



I know you said you did something with somebody and I should really check it out because, because …

That’s the part I can’t recall.

Tell me again why I should care.



It’s not that I think you’re doing a lousy job. I actually think you’re pretty cool. It’s just that I have so much on my plate and there’s so little time in the day and I only have the energy to address the really important things.

Is your thing really important?

Tell me again why it’s important.

Tell me again why I should care.


I don’t mean to be rude and what you’re saying is fascinating, but do you think maybe we could just cut to the chase?

Are you trying to change the world?

Are you trying to change my world?


Really? My world?

Hang on.

Can you tell me more? What is it exactly that you do again?




Background Image: Wikimedia Commons 

The Only Way Your Business Can Compete in 2014

2014 sparklersIt’s a New Year, all bright and shiny and full of potential. You’re setting goals for your business – sales goals, marketing goals, social media goals. You’re gonna hit that next revenue milestone, boost lead generation, increase conversion, and knock it out of the park with engagement. You’re practically chomping at the bit to get started. You have the vision, the resources, and the plan. You have tactics and technical know-how. This will be a sure thing.

Until it isn’t.


currier and ivesI don’t want to be a Debbie Downer. Not at all. I love the New Year. January is one of my favorite months. Here in New England, we get all Currier & Ives in the snow. It’s pretty. It fills us full of optimism and good intentions. We are sure that this will be the year we (finally!) stick to our resolutions: more sleep and exercise, fewer sweets and cocktails, etc., etc., etc.

We do the same with our businesses. This will be the year we sort out all our systems, cut the dead weight, and get strategic. This will be the year we really make our mark. We can feel it – we’re so close to the tipping point. Everything we’ve been working for is just around the corner, if only we can … if only we can …


simon cowellAnd there, whether you’re a solopreneur or a global enterprise, is where it often falls apart.  Because although you may think you have everything beautifully planned out, all you really have is a bunch of moving parts. It’s a shot in the dark which (if any) of them will turn out to be the X Factor that puts your business on the map.

You do not need a new tactic, the latest technology, or a celebrity endorsement. You need a BRAND. 


mark w schaefer rndMark Schaeffer posted earlier this week about why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy.  Mark’s a super smart guy and he’s not making this up. I’m a writer. I love content. I love content marketing. But (and it’s a BIG but), to stay competitive in content marketing is becoming more and more challenging.

fish school rndWhen content marketing was a new pond and there weren’t many fish, it was easy to stand out just by being there. Today, we’re packed in gill-to-gill, making it almost impossible for any one fish to stand out from the school.  Companies are trying to be seen by publishing more content more frequently, but (as Mark points out) that’s a losing battle in which only the business with the biggest budget wins. 


If you’re not that lucky business, how can you hope to compete?

swakThere’s only one way. You have to have one hell of a strong brand – the kind of brand that customers LOVE. 

That’s right. I said LOVE. 


I’m not making this up either. Lots of really smart people are constantly talking about the importance of creating emotional connections through branding:

amy b taylor rndJust yesterday, Amy Taylor over at Brains on Fire wrote about how Simple bank is inspiring love with the not-so-important things that matter most.


peter singline rndPeter Singline at the fabulous Truly Deeply agency in South Melbourne recently shared his thoughts on Jim Stengel’s idea that the most successful brands are built on “fundamental human values,” things like “eliciting joy” and “inspiring exploration.”


bernadette jiwa rndBernadette Jiwa (The Story of Telling) uses salt as an excellent example to demonstrate how the belief in a brand’s story creates value.



That’s what a brand is – belief. A brand is a reason to believe. It’s something to believe in. It makes people believe in themselves. If you have that you don’t need to have the most content or even the best content. You just have to know what stories to tell and why you’re telling them. You have to know not only who you are, but why you’re here and how you’re making a connection with and a difference for your customers.

Once you’ve done the work to figure out your brand, you’ll know exactly which marketing tactics will hit their mark. You won’t have to waste time (or money) on experiments because you’ll know which types of content and communities are the right fit for your brand. You’ll have a much better sense of not only what to say, but how to say it. You will be able to stop worrying about “capturing eyeballs” or “going viral” and instead start focusing on delivering delight and creating enthusiasm.

THIS should be what your 2014 is about. 

THIS is how you will be able to blow past those New Year’s resolutions like they were yesterday’s news. 



For more from the Branding Soapbox, check out this series starting with Branding is Not Optional – a Cautionary Tale.


Photo Credits:
2014 Sparklers: dordirk via Compfight cc
Currier & Ives: Wikimedia Commons
Fish SChool: wwarby via Compfight cc
SWAK Lips: Enokson via Compfight cc

The (magical) power of delight

An unexpected gift from Mother Nature – a heart in the mud. Delightful.

Yesterday was a gift of a day.

Despite being only a week away from Thanksgiving, the temperature soared to sixty-five degrees under nearly cloudless, bright blue skies. The unseasonably beautiful weather lifted spirits, dissolved the Monday Blues, and incited several spontaneous acts of truancy.

The day was truly delightful.


Delightful (n): great pleasure; joy … [Middle English delit, from Old French, a pleasure, from delitier, to please, charm …]1


Delightful is not a word we use very often. It seems, perhaps, slightly antiquated for our times – a little too naive, a little too simple.

Such a shame.

To me, delight is more than just pleasure or even joy. Delight embodies a more complex feeling that is layered with the sense of having been given a gift (as in when we say, “Delighted to meet you”) and a sense of surprise – of happily coming upon some unexpected goodness, beauty, or kindness.


So, to be delighted is to be gently jolted out of your everyday existence by someone or something presenting you with an unexpected gift.


As I strolled down the sunny side of the street on my way to the deli, I thought about things that bring delight: receiving a smile from a stranger, watching a dog’s exuberant play, or hearing a favorite song. I remembered the way an unexpected note from a friend (written by hand and sent via old-fashioned snail mail) warmed my heart with its unanticipated arrival and generosity of time and emotion.

The things that bring delight are usually small and simple. They are unasked for treasures that brighten our day and restore our faith in the virtue of humanity. They are the unassuming tokens, words, and experiences that pull us, for a moment, outside the daily grind and into a new, more positive perspective.


Delight opens us up.


Without requiring vulnerability or confession, delight invites us to be in a space where good things happen. It invites us to see the best in people and situations. It reminds us that, as savvy and cynical as we might be sometimes, we never really lost our capacity for joy and wonder.

Delight can come from many quarters, but it rarely turns up in a business context. When it does, it is so unexpected and feels so much like a gift that its presence creates a dramatic shift in how customers perceive your brand and your brand’s value. It can transform your relationship and open up new opportunities to interact on an entirely different level.

So, I’m wondering, is delight a part of your brand? 




1 The American Heritage Dictionary of The English Language, Fourth Edition, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000


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