I can’t abide airy-fairy marketing nonsense, but I do love a rhyming ditty. Hence I have come up with this:
“A brand should take a stand.”
I’m not giving advice about buying tradeshow booths here. Nor am I pumping any more molten excrement into the already steaming and heavily laden bandwagon of brand philosophy.
No. What I’m talking about is resistance; resistance against the pace that marketing is played at. I’m advocating thoughtfulness and purpose, but also unhurriedness and inevitability. Don’t mistake this as a charter for just chugging along or a manifesto for the festering. Damn it people, we need a strategy for slowness.
Slow food, slow travel, slow parenting – the whole slow movement is a fascinating concept, founded on the simple calculation that rushing around trying to get it done fast makes the end product markedly crapper than if you took your time. So why not slow marketing?
I interviewed an experienced PR Account Manager for a job once, and can still remember being completely taken aback when he introduced the notion of a three-year PR plan.
Having worked in an agency environment for so long, working exclusively in the very fast-moving technology sector, I scoffed at the idea and probably pontificated at him about ‘the quick and the dead’ and the realities of needing immediate results for extremely demanding clients.
Since then, things have only gotten faster and busier. New social media platforms, 24-hour TV news cycles, computers in everyone’s pockets, an explosion in rich media content… everything points to instant gratification both for the fee-paying corporate client of PR and communications services, and for their buyer audiences.
I thought that interviewee was talking garbage, but in fact it was me with his head in a bin. How far can you genuinely succeed with a six-month strategy, a two-month plan or a three-week campaign? You can measure progress and you can evaluate results, but if it’s the brand we’re talking about then you’re not giving yourself enough time to convince real human beings to impart trust and display curiosity. You can barely get them to click a link, and when they do we tell ourselves it really matters.
If you Google ‘Slow Marketing’, you could soon end up encountering the kind of (very nice) people who may or may not have done far too much acid in the 90s, have never had venture capitalists breathing down their necks, and whose idea of ‘putting food on the table’ is a split decision between having blueberry or cranberry jus to accompany the venison course. Some cool ideas though…
But, to my mind, slow marketing doesn’t have to be a socks-and-sandals revolution. You can add the following slow principles into your marketing and communications thinking and benefit… er… pretty much immediately…
- Remove the imperative from calls to action. Instead of ‘Buy Now’ and ‘Register Today’, treat your audience like sentient beings by encouraging them to think about the proposition. Go the whole hog and create a button labelled ‘Sleep On It’ and make sure nothing but zzzzzzzz happens when anyone clicks. Seriously!
- Stop changing straplines. If you spent enough time getting it right, stick with it. For ages…
- Broadcast less, engage more. Use social feeds to ask what’s going on, what people want. Talk with your community, not to it…
- Put your experts in the front line. No one gets to speak to anyone integral to the product in a dirt cheap supermarket or fast-food joint, but they do at a premium priced farmer’s market stall or upmarket restaurant.
- Plan longer. Build for the long term and your structure will last.