Frustration or Challenge?

To many times in our lives we give in to frustration.  Life throws us a curve ball and we back up in the batter’s box or completely give up our entire at bat because we’re frustrated.

Frustration is a funny thing though, it stems out of confusion and misunderstanding, and can grow to be an insurmountable demon.  But the best part is, it doesn’t have to.

Recently working on a project, I could see a growing frustration on faces and the general atmosphere just wasn’t right.  When I spoke with both parties involved I could understand where the frustration came from.  Within one conversation we had agreed that the frustration was due to a lack of communication and could easily be interpreted as a challenge.

Our world would be much better off if instead of getting frustrated with a problem, we look at it as a challenge.  Challenges get you going, they’re the fire under your ass, they’re the reason why sports are so interesting and they could be your solution if you are feeling frustrated.

So what do you do when you’re feeling frustrated?

Photo Credit: Kim Jay Photography

Saskatchewan Pavilion

Saskatchewan is my favorite province, so when I was given the opportunity to help out with the Saskatchewan Pavilion in Vancouver for the 2010 Olympic games, I of course said YES!

It’s been a proud week for the province, our pavilion is located beside the Quebec and Ontario pavilion’s and is across from the Molson Canadian Hockey house, the largest bar at the Olympic games (though it’s only a $99-$450 cover charge).

It’s a surreal moment when you walk around Concord Place and see your own province on the World’s stage beside Ontario and Quebec.  Even more so when you find out that neither pavilion is prepared to hold more than 300 people and the SaskPavilion has a capacity of just over 600.  What not a better role for the Province of Saskatchewan but to host the largest no-cover-charge party in Vancouver.

With the assistance of Riley Moynes from Living Sky Media, we will be putting together video‘s pretty much every day in Vancouver to give Regina a taste of the Olympiad.  While I’m here I apologize for the less then regular posting but I’ll try to keep you up to date with the behind the scene antics of what happens at the Olympics.

I also have a request for you.  We need feedback and ideas for videos, what do you want to see?  Please tell me, comment below or e-mail me jeff(at)fraserstrategy(dot)ca

If any of your ideas are used, of course we will give you credit during the video, just saying!

Semantic Markers

Martin Lindstrom is a fascinating individual, he did a seven million dollar marketing study on the brain and wrote a book about it; Buy-ology: The Truth and Lies About Why We Buy. I encourage you to read it but what got me thinking was a recent podcast put on by Duct Tape Marketing’s John Jantsch.  Talking with Mr. Lindstrom, they simplified it down to semantic markers.  Lindstrom says, “Semantic markers are like a slap on the chin” in a negative or positive way.  Our subconscious makes most of the decisions for us so brands should be trying to create these subtle markers in our minds. Lindstrom goes on to say that small companies should be taking advantage of semantic markers to get a lot of value out of the marketing effort with very little effort.

So how do you create a semantic marker in someone’s mind?  By going to extreme’s and doing something completely unexpected but so memorable it is embedded in our minds.  Remember how good Burger Baron’s billboards were?  They were different and were actually funny that they stuck out in our minds, you’d chuckle to yourself when you thought of Burger Baron.

How about the Roughrider’s Watermelon heads?  Difficult not to talk about those.  It allowed Roughriders fans to show the league how dedicated they really were.  It was different and definitely not for everyone.

Just recently the apparel company 22 Fresh came out with a new outlet store on Facebook.

The only way you can buy anything in the store is if you have “Scrilla”, and you can buy Scrilla or earn it.

This store isn’t for the average person, then again, regular people don’t wear 22 Fresh, it’s cool, it’s new, and you have to have the Scrilla to afford it.

What’s different is memorable.

Lindstrom also discusses why we don’t see more of this ingenious advertising regularly and he attributes it to organizations being too conservative and trying to please the masses.  When you set out to tell everyone a message, no one hears.  Most of the advertising messages we see are targeted at a large number of people and the result isn’t surprising.  The more conservative, politically correct, respectful, polite the message is, the easier it is for us to ignore it.

So the next time you want to tell everyone about your product don’t, come up with a different message, a different medium, cross the line, offend someone, do something that has never been done in your industry, evoke emotion. Otherwise you are just making noise.

A Two Word Strategy for Guaranteed Results

Over deliver.

Seth Godin recently came out with a book titled Linchpin.  If you don’t know the story of how Seth came out with the book it’s worth a read.  To make a long blog short, he offered a free copy of his book in exchange for a minimum donation of $30 towards the Acumen Fund.  Within 48 hours this offer raised $108,000.

There was one slip up, for the people who took advantage of this offer living in Canada, the book wasn’t delivered on time.  Roughly two weeks late, my copy arrived.  I’m sure some people weren’t happy about the late delivery but it was the next event that really took me by surprise and made up for the late delivery. Just last week I receive a similar package in the mail, it’s another copy of the book.  Inside the front cover lies a note from Mr. Godin that offers this second book as a reward for my generosity and that I must now give it away as a present.

I was smiling from ear to ear for the remainder of the day.  Sure it must have cost Seth double the money to send two books, but I think to him having me tell this story is worth it.

If you want guaranteed results from your next marketing strategy, determine what your customer’s expectations of your product or service are, then surpass them.  The proof will be in the story they tell.