The Objective Blog

Keep up with what we're thinking, reading, and doing.

The Big Idea Is.

October 27th, 2014 - by Dallas - Salt Lake City, Utah

This is an inspirational post. It is directed to those marketing directors and business owners that believe their advertising should do more. It is directed to those of you who felt something the first time you walked into your advertising class. Or when you saw Don Draper command a room with his cleverly creative concept.

But this post isn’t about advertising. It’s about the big idea behind effective advertising. It’s about how constructive creativity can change the game for your company.

Here are a few examples to illustrate my point:

Jiffy Lube

jiffy_lube_logoIn 1982, Jiffy Lube—then an unknown quick-oil-change company with a handful of locations in various states—approached ad man George Lois. George saw a future for Jiffy Lube that the current owners didn’t yet believe. He wanted to run a national TV campaign. He told them to change the logo and showed them what he had in mind. He gave them a new slogan, “Jiffy Lube Changes The Way America Changes its Oil.” He was convinced enough in this new direction and plan that he boldly stated that by doing these things, Jiffy Lube would grow its business to 1,000 locations in 3 short years.
Jiffy Lube agreed to the proposal. They changed their logo and launched the TV campaign.
But George had been wrong–at the 3 year mark, Jiffy Lube could not boast of having 1000 locations.
Rather, in 3 years, Jiffy Lube had doubled that estimate with over 2,000 locations across the United States.

Perdue Chicken

perdue_chicken_logoIn 1971, Frank Perdue, owner of Perdue Chickens, decided to take 10 weeks to learn everything he could about advertising. As part of his quest, he interviewed 66 different ad agencies. He eventually selected Scali, McCabe, Sloves, an agency that had been in business five years. McCabe, the copywriter for the project, quickly realized that whatever selling point he came up with, a competitor could quickly copy. Except one: the persistent, driven, quality-focused Frank Perdue himself. Once he was able to convince Frank of this, the campaign based on “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken” was born. Or hatched.
Some headlines that supported this concept were:
‘Freeze my chickens? I’d sooner eat beef!’
‘My fresh young chicken is cheaper than hamburger. Good for you, bad for me.’
‘Everybody’s chickens are approved by the government, but only my chickens are approved by me.’”

In 1967, yearly sales had been $35 million. By 1972, with a budget of $200,000 and a year of the big idea, “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken,” sales leapt to $80 million.


jauntaroo_logoSalt Lake-based Jauntaroo takes a new twist on a familiar industry. Their vacation travel match product is a little bit Travelocity and a little bit Jauntaroo recommends lines travelers up with destinations tailored to their interests and budgets. But as clever as their product is, it wasn’t getting noticed as quickly as they would have liked. And, being largely self-funded, there wasn’t much room for large advertising campaigns.
So they mined a big idea. Something that resonated with their audience. Something anybody would want, and something they were uniquely positioned to offer: a chance to win a job traveling the world for a year. So they launched the Best Job Around The World competition and gave participants a chance to become the Chief World Explorer for the company. Not only would the winner get to travel the world and write about it, but they’d get a sweet salary of $100k.
The story was picked up by morning news shows, travel sites, job sites, and soon this little-known company received more than 3,000 entries and 4.3 million unique site visits.

The moral of the story is this: If you’re fighting against commoditization; If you have a small budget, but a great product; If you are committed to growth without a guarantee of how to get it; Discover a big idea and give it everything you’ve got.

Constructive creativity is a currency forever rare and always in demand.

Swipe Right If You Think My Brand Is Sexy

September 29th, 2014 - by Dallas - Salt Lake City, Utah

Chances are, you’ve heard about Tinder, the not-so-new dating app that all the kids are using. If you haven’t, this article may not mean as much to you, but you’re welcome to read on.

Tinder is a mobile app that helps you find the love of your life by showing pictures of other users within a certain age range and geographical distance from you.

If you see a face you like, you swipe right. If not, you swipe left.  If you swipe right on the picture of someone that swiped right on your picture, you’re matched. At that point, you are allowed to start talking to each other and decide if you’d like to go on a date, knit holiday sweaters together, or just become friends. Or so the news articles read.

“But, Dallas,” you say, “business development is complex; you can’t compare it to online dating.”

And to that, I reply, “Bologna.”

Sure, your pretty little corporate logo isn’t displayed in an app where prospective customers swipe through a collection of companies and brands. Unless you’re an ad agency in Amsterdam, in which case you have

But for the rest of us, we must realize that the business of getting business is about acquiring quality attention and not simply screen time. Perhaps your one “slide” of attention is on the grocery-store shelf. Maybe it is an intro you make at a networking event. It could be a quarter page ad in an industry publication or a sentence on a search results page.

And so, without further ado, I present my list for Businessing like You Were Tindering.

  1. Be Uncommonly Attractive.
    It doesn’t matter yet how many talents you have, how smart you are, or just how much you have to offer. Those discoveries are to happen during courtship. All that matters at the very beginning is to get a swipe to the right. And in order for that to happen, people [customers] need to find themselves attracted to you. So, look good. No, seriously, just because your mom [aka, the CEO’s wife] thinks you’re super attractive, it doesn’t mean your beauty is that easy for everybody to see. Have your brand in order. Use only the best photography; Incorporate excellent design; craft compelling messaging and promotions; offer killer products. Of course, some of this comes with time. If you discover you’re just not getting any quality matches, it may be time for a makeover.
  2. A Match is not a Guaranteed Date.
    Not everybody on Tinder understands this. Newbies on Tinder often think, “I matched with someone, they must want to go out with me.” But that’s not always the case. A match is nothing more than acknowledgement that someone finds you attractive, and an opportunity to strike up conversation. In the business world, a match could be a visit to your web page. It could be someone walking into your storefront. It could be asking an employee about your services. It’s an invitation to take the next step in securing their interest. If you bombard them, or assume too much, you’re likely to scare them away, and end up getting blocked. Behavior like that often smells like desperation. It’s better to take this time as an opportunity to get to know them; qualify them and see if they possess the qualities that might make a good customer/client/partner, or if they are just a pretty face.
  3. The First Date is for Filtering.
    Congratulations, you matched! AND you got a first date scheduled! You’re on a roll. This is very validating. It feels good to know that someone you’re interested in is also interested in you.
    But the work isn’t done yet. This is the hard part. It doesn’t matter what was said via text, email, the phone or your website—when you meet in person, the whole game changes.
    Dates offer a chance to determine if you are a good fit. In business, this can be an intro meeting, a minor purchase, or even working together on a small project. Try to resist the urge to simply be what you think the other person wants you to be. Instead, see how you communicate. See if you share a similar vision and the same values. If your values are different, you’re not likely to be a great match. But that’s ok. Perhaps you can be friends. Perhaps things will change down the road. And, maybe, you can introduce each other to someone that might be a better fit.
  4. Build a Reputation for Positive Relationships.
    If your date(s) goes well and you eventually decide to have a relationship, you then start down the road of expectations and execution. Most relationships alter over time, and many relationships won’t last forever. That’s no reason to look at the time together as a negative. So things changed;  but, did you have a good time while you were together? Did you help each other meet your needs? Did you share some positive experiences? Then make sure you say nice things about each other. Hopefully, they’ll do the same for you. You never know—you may cross paths again, or they may have someone new to introduce to you.

The competitive landscape is constantly changing. Many brands that are super hot today won’t be as attractive tomorrow. Tastes change and so do customers. But there will always be people and businesses with needs to be met. And they will look to other people and businesses to help meet them. So get out there. Be the brand that people want to talk to. That others trust. This may require promotions, advertising, brand collaborations, contests; it may be networking, consulting or pro-bono work. The point is: be good for something, represent yourself well, and share yourself with others. Before you know it, you’ll have more matches than you can handle—you may even fall in love.

I Spent $130 on a Pen

September 12th, 2014 - by Dallas - Salt Lake City, Utah

This is a post about brand identity. And it’s a story about how and why I spent too much money for a pen, without any regrets.

Agency fusion has a tradition that happens on the anniversary of your hire date. For every privileged year of employment, you get $50. The catch is that you have to spend that money within 1 hour.

So, when I hit my 2-year AF anniversary, I got $100. Up to that point, I hadn’t decided what I was going to buy; but then it hit me—something I’d long wanted, but never enough to buy with my own money : a fancy fountain pen.

Since entering the professional world, I’d been quite happy with the pens that my various employers made available to me.  The first pen I recall liking was the Pilot G2 .05  gel pen. But a handful of years ago, my life changed when I discovered the Pilot Precise V5 rollerball. I could write an entire article on the perfection of the Pilot Precise V5. But I won’t. The point is that even though I’ve been happy with the fine disposable pens on the market—it was time to graduate to a new level of penmanship.

From that moment of decision, I knew exactly where to go: Tabula Rasa. This store, located in the Trolley Square mall, is a haven for wealthy people who suffer from a penchant for fancy stationary, high-end personal care, the finest knick-knacks, and the world’s most celebrated writing instruments. Over the years, I would stumble into the store, feeling out of place as I admired the beautiful collections of Mont Blanc, Faber-Castell, Parker, Cross, Waterman and more – all behind glass; all with subtle price tags sitting next to them of prices anywhere from $70 – $1200. I knew those pens weren’t for me. But I had a hope that someday I would find a reason to need the kind of pen that important people use every time they sign an important document.

Today, I strutted confidently into the store and browsed the wide selection of expensive quality pens. What I didn’t know was that you should reserve at least a couple hours if you’re going to test-drive pens.

After many pangs of choosing between what provided the best form and what offered the best function—all within my price range—I finally decided on a Parker Sonnet. It’s beautiful. I am certain Don Draper from Mad Men would use this pen. It has modern styling and a fine point that releases just enough ink to make my notebooks happy. I genuinely look for opportunities to use it, just to experience the feeling of the tip of the nib whispering to me as it glides along my notebook paper. My journaling frequency is at an all-time high. It makes me wish I was using it right now to write this post.

Some day the worlds between paper and digital will be merged and I will be able to write this entire post with my Parker Pen and all will be well with the world.

In the meantime, let’s talk about brand identity.

Parker’s logo and packaging wasn’t what led me to make my purchase. The brand had never reached out to me. We didn’t have a relationship on Facebook. I didn’t even know they made a fountain pen. Nor did I care.

I didn’t care until I decided to buy a pen. And then I wanted to make sure the brand I was buying was one that stood for quality. I wanted to know that it was respected. I wanted to believe that the finest craftsmanship was put into my pen. That among people that spend a ridiculous amount of money for pens ($130 is fairly inexpensive in this world, btw), that my pen wouldn’t be looked-down upon.

I became a brand believer after I made the investment. After I committed. I now look for reasons to love my pen. And, as time goes on, I find more and more of them.

This happens with cars.

It happens with shoes.

It happens with purchases big and small.

If a purchase is personal—and so many of them are—and a brand preference isn’t already established, the decision process will follow something like this:

1- Suzy needs [insert commodity here – desk, television, notebook, etc].

2- Suzy visits retail channels (sometimes google is one of these channels) with intent to purchase said commodity.

3- Suzy is introduced to brands. Each brand offers a different version of what Suzy thought was a simple commodity.

4- Suzy selects and buys a product – the higher the price, the more important the decision.

5- If, after using the product, Suzy’s expectations are met, she becomes a brand believer.

Here’s my point: my purchase happened because of Parker’s brand identity. And when I say brand identity, I’m not talking about top-of-mind awareness—I didn’t have any. I wasn’t drawn in by Parker’s beautiful logo or persuasive advertising—I wasn’t familiar with the former and I’ve never seen the latter, if it even exists. No, the reason I bought the Parker pen is that Parker is the type of brand that is carried at the type of store that carries fancy pens. It is that Parker is the type of brand that makes a pen styled in the fashion that I was drawn to. It’s that everything Parker has done over the many, many years of its history have come to build a reputation based on their products, their operations, their values, and their users that rave or complain about them. I bought the pen because I got a sense for all of that when I was ready to buy a product in the fancy fountain pen category. That is why I say I bought the Parker pen because of Parker’s brand identity.

Brand identity is more than Facebook likes and Instagram posts. It is the company history.  It is the products. And the way those products fit into customers’ own stories. It is all of this and more. That is what you buy when you buy a brand. That is why brand identity is a never-ending process. And that is why the next time you see me, you’ll probably see me with a notebook and a fancy pen, because a fountain pen is now part of my identity.

How Google Works

July 7th, 2010 - by Objective - Salt Lake City, Utah

If you don’t know how search engines actually work, check out this Google-produced video: How Google Works.

How Google Works - Video

Excellent Mobile Marketing

November 18th, 2009 - by Brett Derricott - Salt Lake City, Utah

I love this mobile marketing campaign from Editoras, an online bookstore in Brazil! QR codes spread around the city allowed users to take a snapshot with their camera phones and view random messages about love or hate from Twitter.

A hard-copy book featuring the same QR codes on each page, sold-out in a short time. Viewers can flip through the book, take photos of the QR codes, and view new messages about love or hate.


Watch the video to learn more:

via Mobile Marketing Watch