Hope is no way to do business

What is your customer really looking for?

What is your customer really looking for?

We have a tiny farmers market in Redlands every Saturday morning. Each week these small local farmers show up and hope. They hope that someone might come by and buy something. And then hope even more that they will fall in love with their produce and become their customer for life. The sellers show items that any passer-by might want, usually the same produce that they could get somewhere else if they weren’t going to buy it on impulse between 9am and 1pm on this Saturday.

The girl selling honey has a different strategy. She understands the worldview of the hipsters and grandmas who come to buy her honey. They don’t really want honey; they want to feel more connected to the world. They want a story. And honey from the daughter of a World War II veteran who returned from the war and only wanted to raise bees and produce organic, unrefined, unfiltered, single crop honey has a cool factor. And that she is helping him live his dream even now is a great, feel good story.

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The honey maker knows her customers and what makes them tick before she sets up her stall, and she creates special offerings just for them. And people line up to pay for her stories she tells.

It shows me that understanding your customers is a better strategy than hope.

Ideas come in many forms

What inspires you? Make the emotional connection be authentic.

What inspires you? Make the emotional connection be authentic.

A movie. A label on a can.

A directional sign at the beach.

Recognizing and harnessing the spark is the hard part. Seek more inspiration.

The Riches Are In The Niches

Have 23 target markets?

My advice to you is simple: pick one. Focus all of your energy on one market, and then once you’ve made this market notice you, and then love you, branch out. Branching out happens after you have achieved millions in annual revenue.

Of course, every industry and every niche is its own unique situation, but this is for sure: You must dominate your niche before you expand your reach.

One niche - 45 holes. And this is just one restaurant. What's your niche and how do you plan to fill it?

One niche – 45 holes. And this is just one restaurant. What’s your niche and how do you plan to fill it?

The Most Dangerous Thing About Competitors

Stop struggling to be better than the competition. Be better than what you were yesterday.

Stop struggling to be better than the competition.

…is your obsession with them.

We live in a giant community park called the internet. This makes everyone obsess over and get stuck watching and worrying about what the competition is doing. We follow them on Twitter, lurk on their blogs and Facebook, and wonder about every pin and re-pin they make. It seems like every move they make, every victory, acquisition and award is there for the world to see.

But, take your eyes off your phone, mobile, and screen and take a look in the mirror. There’s your real competition. What did you do yesterday to be more remarkable? It’s way more productive and more profitable to obsess over your business and what your customers are doing, then figure out how you can make yourself the thing they can’t live without, or how to help them to do it with more ease.

Becoming your competition means using the same rules to beat yourself at your own game. Focusing on your customers’ desires might be the strategy to beat the competition.

Ideas start as words

And most businesses think in words. Open anybody’s notebook and you’ll see that. It’s true.

Photography by Andrew Phipps

Carlos Mencia – March 2010

Communication = words + visuals.

Ideas are the only reason to communicate.

They are integral to the process. Without a message, the conversation is incomplete.

Everything has it’s own story

… every time you communicate you should tell a story …

Everything in nature and life has so many stories to tell.

Everything in nature and life has so many stories to tell.

My clients are not just companies they are people who also believe in the importance of remarkable stories. And every company has story after story. Just waiting to be told in an interesting and compelling way.

Leaders put passion into what they do. It’s about more than money. They have something unique and compelling — different than what anyone else has done — and they need to recognize that to compete through the future they need to tell their story. My strength lies in creating memorable connections through photography, story and design.

You want people to love you

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Not the way they love food or music. You want people, after the first time they deal with your business, to run immediately to their closest friends and tell them how amazing you are and why they should go buy what you sell. Today. Not now, yesterday! You are now their hero and they can’t figure out how they ever lived without you.

This shouldn’t be mission impossible. It’s your mission statement. Your business is fantastic. You regularly amaze your customers. They’re thrilled they found you.

So, what’s the problem? Are new customers finding you? Does your marketing show how brilliant and unique you really are, making those people – your would-be raving fans – think you’re just like all the other guys.

You know you’re not. You know your business is so much better. And you need someone to tell your story the right way, to the right audience.

That’s where I come in. I’m here to banish bad ads, sound-alike ads, buzzword-speak marketing, that stuff that seems to stand in the way of your brand advocates seeing who you really are. You need a unique selling position that is believable and convinces that person to come on in or call and discover what they’ve been missing all this time.

They’ve been missing out on one spectacular good business. But not anymore.

There are so many things I can’t live without. Some of them I have no idea how I found them. Some of them didn’t have a voice at all. But the do have a bad website, no cohesive marketing materials, nothing that lets me know that this one-of-a-kind product was right there waiting for me. Some of these “friends” have copy that reads right from the pages of War and Peace, so boring or full of buzzwords and corporate speak that when I read it I couldn’t tell this business was secretly the one that would save me.

I know there are many businesses out there. You have the best products in the world, and you’re missing that one spark…that voice, and sometimes it’s worse, you have the wrong voice. Your business would be thriving if it was’t slowly suffocating under mounds of bad marketing.

So I’m on a mission to give your businesses its voice.

If you love your company and want it to prosper, I can create for you. If you’re just a cool person, I want to hang out with you even if you don’t need me. But if you’d willingly sell snake oil because it can make you rich, find someone else. Someone without those pesky ethics. Sorry.

I have experience from working with some of the best companies around, clients from Florida to California, and a very traumatic story from a weekend in Morro Bay, California that I will happily retell to anyone who cares to buy me a beer.

There is no limit on what I will do for a client. If you’re one of those people who needs your ad yesterday (and we have all been that person), take a deep breath, look around, and see what can do…if you don’t see what you’re looking for, DON’T PANIC! Just pick up the phone and call me and ask, and I’ll be happy to promptly to say yes, I do that too.

I can usually return phone calls and email with a swiftness that can put a peregrine falcon to shame. Please do not be alarmed. I’m here to create solutions that solve problems, not sell you something.

 

Creative is power

Creative works hard, and looks good while doing it. It is what is remembered, shared, and talked about. Photography by Andrew Phipps

Creative works hard, and looks good while doing it. It is what is remembered, shared, and talked about. Photography by Andrew Phipps

Great creative is attractive and clever, but great creative is also smart because it has substance. Creative is the medium that delivers a message without making people feel like they are being sold. Creative talks to individuals like it knows and understands them and makes them more receptive to the message. Creative works hard, and looks good while doing it. It is what is remembered, shared, and talked about.
In today’s market, guess what gets noticed? The creative.