Why Business Owners Should Watch the #XMass Jammies Video

By now you have probably heard of the Holderness family and if not we suggest you Google them after reading this post. They are the creators (and stars) of the now famous #Xmass Jammies video and founders of The Green Room, a digital marketing company located in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The #Xmass Jammies  video is a holiday sensation, putting a new spin on an old idea. Much like Shutterfly did for (or to) the traditional photo album (read this article on Shutterfly’s innovative approach), the Holderness family has done to the traditional holiday card, holiday family photo card and the even more detailed ‘year-in-review’ letter.

In 3:38 minutes of time, they sing and dance their way through an engaging review of their accomplishments as a family in 2013. They also manage to promote their digital marketing services in a tasteful and engaging manner while creating an unforgettable product. But above all else here are five reasons why our team loved the #Xmass Jammies video and why we believe other companies should adopt a similar approach to their marketing.

They Tell a Story

The rise of social media provides the best opportunity for companies to take a fresh look at how they market their brands. New platforms emerge each and every day while the big ones (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) still provide ample opportunities for companies to get their messages out and logos in front of millions.  These platforms also provide an opportunity for individuals and companies alike to become storytellers and according to a recent Forbes article, this is the here and now of marketing.

Demonstrate Their Expertise

Team Holderness did a wonderful job telling their story through video which, oh by the way, just-so-happens to be what they do for a living. While not everyone will be able to tell their story through their product offering, demonstrating an expertise in a creative way (hosting a seminar at an unusual event and recording it) not only demonstrates an ability to think outside-the-box, it also demonstrates a willingness to be different and to reach people through different methods.

Get Rid of the Fear

Just how many husband and wife duos would actually rap their way through a video in their jammies for the entire world to see?  We’ll bet that not too many would be that comfortable. However, there’s an authenticity to the Holderness video that pulls the viewer in, as if they can totally relate with what they’re saying. This has more to do with their ability to overcome the fear of being authentic in the eyes of their peers, than it does in their ability to create a video. Any company can hire a marketing firm to record a video but it is up to the company and their employees to figure out how to promote the business and its culture through an authentic story.

As today’s marketplace continues to evolve so must our efforts to reach our consumers. Experimentation, getting personal, shedding fear and being bold in our efforts are fast becoming today’s norms so if your run a business don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.

 

Utilizing New Channels to Create Unforgettable Experiences

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Dinner’s on Joe.
Illustrated by H.P.Riggs, JR.

In today’s ever changing environment it is important for companies to separate themselves from their competition by creating unforgettable experiences for members of their community (customers, vendors, friends, etc.).  The Disney empire was built on creating “wow” moments and every company strives to do the same. Wow’s are what keeps them coming back and are the cornerstone of customer loyalty. This month, while working with a local insurance agency, we came up with a unique “wow” moment for his company that we believe we should share.

The agent, we’ll call him Joe, works for a large and reputable insurance company. His agency, franchise of sorts, is located in the suburbs of Philadelphia on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River and his target market are the more than 20,000 residents residing in the three towns close to his office.

His agency is relatively new so Joe and his three employees continually seek unique ways to separate his firm from his competitors. We meet monthly to discuss his approach and to brainstorm on how he can improve his business without breaking the bank. Among the many ideas we discussed the following stood out as the most creative.

During our conversation Joe mentioned that he wanted to figure out how to work more closely with a local and very popular cheesesteak / pizza shop in order to gain exposure. The shop is located within walking distance of his agency and the owners recently gave Joe their business. Up until this point he has considered trying the traditional tactics including the ever so  popular “place your card in the bowl and win a lunch” contest. But today, a new idea emerged.

From now through the end of summer Joe will sponsor two pizzas per weekend to be delivered to anonymous customers within his target area. He will pre-pay the pizza shop and allow them to randomly select which customers (delivery only) will receive the surprise pie. Here’s how it will work and why it is a great idea.

Customer A calls on a friday night for a pizza to be delivered to his/her home. When the food arrives the driver simply tells the customer that the pizza is complementary of Joe, a local local insurance agent, who wants to build his reputation throughout the community. A pre-printed “thank you” card will be placed on the top of the box inviting the recipient to “thank Joe” on his company’s Facebook page and telling them to enjoy their meal. A simple yet powerful gesture.

Here’s why it will work.

  •  People love surprises, especially ones that save them money.
  • Eating is intimate and so is insurance. A natural yet subtle connection.
  • It screams community. Isn’t that what it’s all about.
  • The pizza shop also looks good so they will begin to sing his praises.
  • If he can successfully encourage people to talk about it online and thank him on his Facebook page then he will begin to reach people in those places every company wants to be.
  • It’s out-of-the-box, inexpensive, emotional, an experience, and fun. In other words, a homerun.
  • It’s nice.
  • It employees a new channel in the B2C relationship. Engaging the pizza shop to creates a new and unexpected carrier (literally) of his message.

There are few details to be worked out, including debriefing the staff at the pizza shop so they are clear in their message and making sure we get the responses we need, but nothing too challenging. The best part about it is the cost – we estimate an annual investment of $1,200 – $1,500.

It will be interesting to see how this unfolds and we will certainly keep you posted.

Culture and the Importance of “Wow” Withinin Your Company

Many companies are beginning to realize the power and benefit of developing a “wow” campaign within the culture of the organization. These campaigns are designed to inspire teams, develop a positive culture within (and outside of) the organization, and create an unforgettable experience for team members, clients (customers) and partners (vendors).

Lately, our executive team read The Value in Wowing Your Customers , in the Harvard Business Review. As a result of discussions around this article we decided it was time to elevate our commitment to developing our “wow” culture. I was asked to develop a brief overview of this phenomenon and here are two things I discovered.

Developing a “wow” moment for a customer can create a community of committed customers and ambassadors of your brand.

While putting together my research for our team I stumbled across a thread on Facebook (very timely) by a friend who’s husband was recently deployed to Iraq. He’s in the Navy and will serve a one-year term. Here’s what she posted:

A local company heard from one of my neighbors that [my husband] was deployed this year. Within a few hours, I had offers from them to do all of the lawn fertilization for the year, spring clean-up, mulching, and they also plan to mow the lawn until [he] gets back. They’ve done great work for us in the past, but this just goes above and beyond my wildest dreams.

Within a few hours she had several “likes” and then the comments began to emerge including:

– Their e-mails seriously brought tears to my eyes…what a relief to have those things off my master “to do” list during the upcoming months. They will have our support & business for years to come.

Walt got the chills when I just told him. He thinks that is so cool. He is gonna pass along their name to guys he plays hockey with that lives down that way.

The story was eventually covered by the local news, which happens to be a major market, and her post received a total of 77 “likes” and 16 comments. Not bad exposure for a local landscaping company that thought about their customer and inserted themselves as a solution to her challenge. My guess is that she will be a customer for life.

“Wow” moments also happen within the workplace and can transform the way staff feels about the company and its brand.

At the Holcomb Bus Company, one of the owners became concerned f his foreman when left a meeting to take a call from his mother. Upon returning to the meeting the team learned that the foreman’s mother needed to replace a portion of her sidewalk or face citation by the municipality. She received a quote from a local company but it exceeded her budget and she didn’t know what to do.

Immediately following the meeting the owner, who is also involved in the construction business, called his “concrete guy” and sent him to the house to fix the sidewalk. Needless to say the foreman and his mother were forever grateful for this act and I got the sense that the owner also felt pretty good about being able to help.

In both examples there was a financial investment on the part of each company. However, one can easily surmise that the investments have paid huge dividends for each company, and not necessarily to the bottom line.

The following presentation was delivered for the presentation noted above and touches on some of the topics discussed here.

Wow

View more PowerPoint from brianjohnriggs

The hope is that more and more companies will develop “wow” campaigns and that this movement becomes contagious because in the end everyone is happy and everyone wins. If consumers are talking about your brand over breakfast (or on Facebook) then your company will succeed, your staff will be happy and the world will be a better place.

Additional Resources:

From How to Wow – http://www.successwithcrm.com/blog/bid/53427/From-How-to-WOW-Create-a-Culture-of-Buzz

Creating a Wow Culture at Work – http://www.thehumanracehorses.com/2009/07/15/creating-a-wow-culture-at-work/

Run Your Own Race

Image Courtesy of Time.com

Last week I wrote  Creative (and other) Problems, a look at the point at which we become paralyzed in our  own work, often unable to move forward due to a lack of inspiration, vision, creativity or whatever other distraction comes up. In many ways it’s like “writers block” for the everyday professional. Over the past several days I couldn’t help but think of a comment on that post by left by Mike Dwyer who said “don’t stress about it and your natural creativity won’t fail you!”

Fast forward one week. In the midst of the high winds and driving rain brought on by Hurricane Irene, I  watched Secretariat, the Disney movie about Kentucky’s Triple Crown winner of the early 1970’s. In the movie the phrase “run your own race” pops up  frequently and is used as a connector throughout the film. At one point Penny Tweedy, the owner of the horse, used it to try to convince her husband and brother that her decision to leverage everything they had on the future of the horse (described here in “drew’s marketing minute); and again, perhaps most dramatically, when she’s talking one-on-one with  Secretariat (the horse) shortly before an important race.  It didn’t take long before I “got it” and when I did it resonated loudly with me.  This is why.

Rules and Distraction
In our professional and personal lives  rules and distractions play prominent roles in defining how we spend our hours.  At times we are forced to address projects directly in front of us, you know,  the everyday tasks and responsibilities that we need to accomplish just to stay afloat.  Then enter the rules which govern our behavior, those set about by home, work, culture, routine, our laziness to…well,  run our own race.

Too often we forget that what got us where we are today is a belief in our own abilities but perhaps more importantly how those abilities can carry us forward. When we’re empowered to follow our “natural instincts,”  then we quickly realize we have enough drive to execute our goals, to embrace own success, and to run our own race.

Creative (and other) Problems

Yesterday I noticed this painting while attending my daughter’s art show. It’s an open house for the art school as well as an opportunity for the students to showcase their work. It was done by a 15 year old which, in my opinion, was one of the best works on display.

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What I like most about this painting is the message (intended or not) contained within the work. We’ve all heard of writer’s block, a condition among writers that prevents them from producing new work. It may also be safe to assume that artists also suffer a similar condition as evidenced by this painting. It’s also safe to say that we have all suffered from a similar condition. Artist or not, we have encountered a professional or personal moment of paralysis whereby we feel as if we cannot move forward.

This “problem” is not limited to the creative community but as we can see here perhaps there’s an opportunity to learn from the citizens of that community. As this artist has done so perfectly it may be time to turn these moments of defeat into moments of opportunity. You can almost envision this artist painting her way through the her “creative problem.”

The next time you hit the proverbial wall in whatever you do think about this artist and think about how to change that moment in time into a moment of opportunity. Write, post, capture, or develop your way through your problem, have faith in your abilities and maybe the product you produce will turn into a work of art.

*The painting was created by a student at the Kaizar School of Art. For more information on this image or the artist that created it please content them directly. http://www.kaizarartschool.com/