To make better organizational decisions, define your brand

In my last post I talked at a high level about how your brand can be used as a management tool (not just a marketing tool) to create a more effective and successful organization. But that may leave both of my avid readers asking, “how exactly can you do that?”

One of the best ways is by using your brand strategy as a framework for decision making. When defined properly, your brand strategy identifies (among other things) what business you’re in, the needs you’re addressing, and the characteristics and behaviours that make you different and better. Specific elements like your value proposition and positioning statement should already contain the information you need to ensure that everyone’s making decisions that are aligned with each other and have the same shared intent.

For example, let’s say your brand is defined by innovation and the development of leading, next generation products. Operationally, this may translate into a culture that takes calculated risks and follows a “fail fast, fail often” approach in order to find its next winner. It only makes sense, then, that when an employee is considering starting a test project with risk attached, that they use this brand characteristic to guide their decision about whether to proceed with the project or not. In this case, if the project allows for a “fail fast” result in a worst case scenario, then it would make sense to move forward. For another company with a more conservative brand and a longer-cycle/risk averse approach to product development, this decision would not align with the brand, so the employee should not start the project.

Or consider the company defined by its world-class customer service. For an HR department responsible for hiring front-line staff, whether it’s for a call centre or in-person customer contact, it only makes sense to hire people with experience or capabilities that will result in that customer experience. That may seem obvious but one of the less obvious implications is that it could mean hiring people with no experience whatsoever in your industry or functional area but who have that desired world-class customer experience mentality. Without the brand to guide these decisions, potential employees without industry experience but who have the desired customer service experience or capabilities may be passed over in favour of those with advanced industry knowledge but less experience delivering world-class customer experiences.

Since an organization is just a collection of people ultimately working toward the same goal, it’s just good business to make sure that the decisions being made throughout the organization are based on the same criteria or characteristics. To help everyone in your company make better decisions, then, make sure that the brand has been effectively defined and everyone truly understands that definition.

Brand is a Management Tool, Not Just a Marketing Tool

In the past I’ve described the Three Simple Circles approach to content strategy that includes asking and answering the following questions:

  1. What is/are the competitive advantage(s) of my organization?
  2. What are the higher-order needs of my clients and market?
  3. What are the themes/topics that address those higher-order needs that also reinforce the competitive advantage?

The first question about competitive advantage could easily be re-phrased to ask, “what’s my brand?”, and knowing the answer to this question will not just help you develop an effective content strategy but it could also lead to a more effectively run company.

The reason is that once you’ve identified those key characteristics that define your brand/competitive advantage, you have also implicitly defined the guard rails within which your organization should be managed. In other words, you’ve created a plan that you can use to align your entire company, based on those key characteristics. Your brand has become a management tool, not just a marketing tool, which is how most view it.

For example, if your brand stands for premiere customer service, then you know that every aspect of your organization should be focused on creating that experience – you need that alignment throughout the company to be successful. That knowledge has tremendous impact on how every aspect of your organization is led and managed:

  • For HR, it means you need to hire people with core competencies and skills that will result in excellent client service; it also means your rewards and incentives need to be aligned to motivate behaviour leading to that experience
  • For Marketing, Sales, and Client Service it means that every message sent and platform used needs to focus on and reinforce a value proposition and positioning of excellent client service. One specific application could relate to Twitter – if you’re on it, you better have someone closely monitoring it because clients are using it to voice issues that need to be resolved quickly and efficiently in order to be considered a premiere client service brand
  • For IT, it may mean using a top notch CRM system so you can track and anticipate the needs of your best clients
  • For Product Development, it means that any new products developed need to further the experience of premiere client service

The list could go on but I think you get the idea.

By using your brand as a management tool, you’ll be better able to ensure alignment throughout your organization around a shared idea or goal, resulting in a more effective and profitable company.

And you thought brand was just for marketingl…

The new habits you need to succeed

Starbucks. Michael Phelps. Martin Luther King. The guy down the street who lost a ton of weight. These success stories all have one thing in common, and it’s something any business leader can apply to themselves or their company.

Is it a focus on achieving peak performance? A process to uncover unique insights into your business situation? Adopting the latest and greatest technology?

According to Charles Duhigg, the key to success is having the right habits, and he explains why in his book, The Power of Habit.

You can read my full review of the book at PROFIT magazine.

Enjoy!

Know your market well enough to give them the bottle, not the money

I was in an elevator recently, listening to two others talk (there was only three of us there so I couldn’t really help it).

The woman said to the man, referring to her feelings about receiving different birthday gifts, “Don’t give me $25 – give me a $25 bottle of wine. If you give me $25 dollars, I’ll be like ‘what the hell? That’s all I’m worth?’ But if you give me a $25 bottle of wine, I’ll be like ‘wow – a $25 bottle of wine – cool!’”

Relatedly, best-in-class content marketing is about providing valuable content (regardless of the type) to your clients and prospects. To be more specific, it’s about providing valuable content as judged by the audience to be valuable, not as judged by the organization providing the content. From the conversation above, we know that the woman (i.e. the audience) attaches a lot more value to a $25 bottle of wine than she does to the money itself, even though each is monetarily worth the same. To her, there’s added value in the bottle.

For content marketers, the only way to figure out this distinction is to know your audience so well that you can clearly distinguish what they value. That will, in part, be determined by knowing what problems they have and how important they are – the more important the problem, the more valuable the solution will be. For the above-mentioned gift recipient, she may have had the problem of either really liking wine but not knowing what’s good OR not being able to justify buying a good bottle for herself. Either way, and whether the gift giver knew it or not, he was solving an important problem for her with the bottle and thus giving her added value.

As a content marketer, it’s your job to figure out the problems your audience has and provide them content that helps solve those problems. If you’re able to really understand those problems and the value to your audience of solving them, you’ll always be able to give them the bottle, and not just the money.

Clear as mud: content marketing in a nutshell…for my sister

“Hey, I read your blog today,” my sister said to me one day.

Stunned silence. I’ve got to admit, I was a little confused. I didn’t think anyone read my blog. I needed to clarify.

“What do you mean?” I finally asked, my in-depth investigative reporting techniques coming to the fore.

“I mean I read your blog today,” she said.

That definitely clarified things.

“What did you think?” I asked.

“It was good,” she said, as a sort-of cloudy look came across her face – the look that I took to mean, “I don’t get it – this whole content marketing thing. It’s about as clear as mud.”

And I realized that I hadn’t made the case, so to speak, for what content marketing is and why it’s a valuable marketing approach. So here, for my sister, and anyone else reading that’s still unclear about what content marketing is and why it’s valuable, is content marketing in a nutshell.

Let’s start with the environment in which we all live (and buy) in, and consider these facts:

  • some claim that the average person is exposed to more than 5,000 brand messages a day, either through print, digital, audio, or video. At this point, we’ve all become masters of filtering out ads – most of us don’t even see them anymore
  • Google search is quickly becoming the number one tool people use to solve their problems, whether the problem is finding a great restaurant, figuring out how to waste five spare minutes in an entertaining way, or learning about the different options you can have in a new car
  • “consumers” have so many products to choose from, and there’s so much messaging around them by sellers, that they’re getting burned out hearing about your product – they don’t care. What they care about is solving the problem they currently have, whether it’s an eating problem, a boredom problem, or a transportation problem

So, what these stats point to is a consumer tired of “interruption advertising” and being sold to AND who increasingly is using online means to solve their problems. How is a selling organization supposed to behave in order to align with cultural norms yet still sell stuff?

That’s where content marketing comes in to play. Content marketing is a very customer-centric approach to marketing where the customers/prospects and their problems are the centre of everything – not the organization’s products or services – and solving those problems becomes the raison d’etre of the selling organization. As a result, the selling organization doesn’t promote itself or its products, it stays focused on trying to help customers/prospects fix their problems. If done well, this will create a positive feeling in the customer’s/prospect’s mind towards the brand offering the valuable information. As well, by offering this valuable problem-solving information on a regular basis, it also keeps the brand top of mind so that when the customer/prospect is ready to buy a solution to their problem, the positively-associated, top of mind brand is automatically included in the consideration set.

As an example, think about one of the most successful brands using content marketing – Red Bull. Red Bull, for those living in a cave for the past 10 years, is an energy drink and focuses much of its marketing efforts on developing and distributing awesome videos (as in, videos that create a feeling of awe) about extreme sports. None of them mention the drink or the benefits of the drink – the leave that to other forms of marketing (like advertising). Red Bull’s content (in this case videos) is intended to create a strong and positive association between extreme athletics, a feeling of awe, and its brand so that when someone is considering buying an energy drink, they remember Red Bull’s videos and the feelings they inspired, and are inspired themselves to buy the drink over the competitors.

Or consider a small consulting business that’s trying to grow. Using the principles of content marketing, they identify a common problem in their target market that that have the capability to solve, and invite some of their clients, prospects, and subject matter experts to discuss the issue at no cost to the participants – they don’t present their products or services but only act as a normal participant. The group has a productive and engaging half day, during which someone from the consulting firm has been taking notes about what was said. The note taker later reviews the notes and packages up the most valuable points into a whitepaper that is given to the participants for free, as well as to other clients and prospects. In this way, the consulting firm has gathered valuable information that addresses a commonly shared problem and provides it to their target market at no cost. The recipients, having gained valuable knowledge, start to develop a positive association with the consulting firm, and if this process is regularly repeated, the consulting firm stays top of mind as a potential solution for the discussed problem as well as other related problems. When a prospect or existing client organization has a problem that the consulting firm has positioned itself as being able to help fix, the consulting firm gets included in the consideration set for purchase, which represents potential business that may never have presented itself without content marketing.

This same approach can be used by any company regardless of size or market to sell any product or service, regardless of B2B or B2C. There are, of course, nuances to it that vary by all these factors, but as an approach, it works equally well for all organizations.

And that, in a nutshell, is what content marketing is all about and why it’s a valuable approach.

Clear as mud, sis?

Thought leadership vs. content marketing – a difference of value(s)

Many people believe the terms “thought leadership” and “content marketing” are the same, so let me put that misunderstanding to rest right here: they’re not and it’s valuable for you to know why it’s valuable for you to know.

First, some broad definitions. Contenting marketing is a more generalized term that includes within its toolkit content approaches that not only inform, educate, and/or solve problems, but those that entertain or generally engage. Almost any form of content (as long as it’s not self-promotional or focused on the company or its products) fits this definition and it offers a flexibility in authorship that opens the door to curation and aggregation – think Red Bull and its extreme videos that engage/entertain or Amex’s Open Forum  that aggregates content to inform and educate.

Thought leadership, on the other hand, if taken literally, suggests content designed to demonstrate the leading edge thinking, capabilities, or expertise of the publisher. Red Bull’s stunning videos don’t fit that definition since they don’t create a clear connection for the audience about the benefits of buying Red Bull.  Even Amex’s Open Forum may not fit, since the content does not demonstrate Amex’s capabilities but rather the capabilities of its third-party authors. That’s not to say there’s not a positive halo-effect Amex may get from associating itself with these authors, but Amex technically can’t claim expertise in the area of helping businesses grow because the content doesn’t originate with them.

Now here’s why it’s important for you to understand this distinction. As you’re developing your content strategy, you need to think about what your goals are and what type of value you’re trying to create for your market. The answers to those questions will inform the guardrails of your strategy and help define, and manage internal expectations around, what you can and cannot do from a content perspective. A content marketing approach gives you full flexibility to pretty much publish whatever content you want (see proviso above) – it doesn’t have to be educational or solve an explicit problem, it can be purely entertaining. If that’s a better fit for your brand, as it is for Red Bull, then great. At the same time, even if you want to solve an explicit problem, the content you publish doesn’t have to originate within your organization (as with Amex) – at an almost philosophical level, providing value to your audience is the end goal, regardless of who it originates with, and this allows for the additional tools of curation and aggregation to be used.

A pure thought leadership approach, on the other hand, suggests that the content you produce must, in some way shape or form, infer an expertise or capability of your company that is deemed valuable by your audience. HSBC’s Global Connections site is a good example because the nature of its content infers the expertise HSBC has at doing business globally. As such, the content (arguably) must also originate within your company in order for it to reap the full benefits of the content’s value to the audience (this has implications for publishing survey results – without value-added commentary demonstrating your company’s expertise, the resutls wouldn’t technically be considered thought leadership since they don’t originate within your company). Third-party curated or aggregated content doesn’t generally meet that objective either, nor would purely entertaining or engaging content that doesn’t have a clear tie back to the organization’s capabilities.

Ultimately, the difference between content marketing and thought leadership comes down to your choices about how you want to provide value to your audience and about managing internal expectations about your organization’s goals (education, engagement, etc.), and the tools it can use to achieve those goals.

How to Set Up a Content Marketing Practice with a “Lean Enterprise” Mindset

Last night I spoke at a great event put on by Lean Enterprise T.O., a Toronto-based meet-up focused on applying “lean enterprise” approaches to business (or as the related website describes it, “bringing a start-up mindset to larger organizations”). My talk was focused on how to create a “start-up” content marketing practice within a larger organization using a “lean” approach, i.e. without significant budget, resources, buy-in, etc.

Below are my speaking notes outlining my experience in, and advice on, starting up a thought leadership capability within a large financial services enterprise – enjoy!

“So I’ve got 10 minutes to tell you everything I know about being a content marketing “start-up” within one of Canada’s largest asset management organizations  – so we should have five or six minutes left over once I’m done so hopefully there will be some questions. [Note: this was intended to be a joke, i.e. every single thing I know about his topic can be summed up in only 4 minutes - it went over like a lead balloon!]

And as it happens, though, I’m well suited to this topic because since 2010 I’ve been using content marketing to help organizations of all sizes grow, first at a 15 person boutique brand strategy firm, then as a brand and content marketing consultant myself to other organizations, as now as the first VP of Thought Leadership at one of Canada’s largest asset managers, with a total team count of one – me

Before I jump into my experience, I quickly want to review the structure of today’s marketplace that makes content marketing so effective, and it can be boiled down into three characteristics:

  1.  Buyers are so overwhelmed by “interruption marketing” (aka advertising and corporate messaging) that they don’t pay attention to it as much as they used to – i.e. it’s not as effective as it used to be
  2. Buyers want  a solution to their higher order problem, they don’t want your product or service – that just happens to be a by product; the ole quote from Theodore Levitt ‘people don’t buy a quarter inch drill, they buy a quarter inch hole’ definitely applies
  3. Buyers themselves, especially B2B buyers, are doing between 57-90% of their investigation into solutions they need online via Google, before they ever contact an organization

So that’s the way the market is shaping up these days and indicates why content marketing can be so effective.

In terms of my experience at one of Canada’s largest asset managers, and any advice I have for others trying to start-up a content marketing practice in a larger organization to meet the needs of that new market structure, there are three key steps I’m going to highlight.

The three steps are: developing the strategy, developing the content itself, and developing and implementing a distribution and promotion plan for the content.

Within the context of being a start-up, my approach to developing the strategy is pretty straight forward because it has to be – as a team of one, I’ve got very limited resources so I have to nail the fundamentals first

For me, the strategic fundamentals required for success start with defining the organizational goals, and then move on to finding the sweet spot where the answers to three questions intersect:

  • What is the competitive advantage of your organization?
  • What are the key, higher order, problems or needs of your market?
  • What are the topics that address those problems and reinforce your competitive advantage?

As a start-up, you’ll probably be working without much of a budget, which means the initial data gathering that’s needed for any good strategy will be driven by lots of conversations with internal stakeholders – for me, I spoke with over 55 internal people

I also think it’s important to speak with your clients to validate the internal perspective and get directional guidance. This last part is critical because many internal stakeholders don’t really know what their clients are thinking because they’ve never asked. Unfortunately, many internal stakeholders are also worried about sending someone in to ask their clients questions because they think it may send the wrong message. I couldn’t disagree more but happy to talk more about that later.

Before you can even think about setting up interviews with your clients though, you first need to define who your clients are (which may be a new process for some organizations) and choose one client segment – or one set of needs – to focus on.  As I’ve often said to my colleagues, I don’t have a quiver full of arrows to use, I have a quiver full of arrow, and it needs to be aimed squarely at one set of needs

Identifying your competitive advantage and target market will then lead you to a variety of themes and topics that could be developed into thought leadership, and the selection of a topic is where you want to involve your editorial board.  For me, my editorial board is made up of the key decision makers within my organization who see the big picture and have insight into our clients so they can guide my efforts to ensure I’m pointed in the right direction.

The final part of the strategy process is to identify the metrics that define success.  For us, our primary goal is to grow brand awareness outside of Canada so our metrics of success will be compared with benchmarks regarding media mentions via PR, web traffic, email open rates, time on page, downloads, and other digital metrics. Deciding on the right digital metrics is a much more nuanced process than I had realized and requires an expertise all its own since any given metric may seem to measure what’s important, but in reality doesn’t.

With your strategy completed, the next step is to develop the actual content, and again, as a start-up, you probably won’t have the budget to bring on freelance writers so you’d better be able to write competently yourself

As well, you may not be an expert in the theme and topics that are eventually chosen, so you’ll depend on subject matter experts within your company to provide the clay which you can shape into a variety of types of content, including white papers, videos, inforgraphics, slideshares, whatever – my approach is to create content in whatever format the market wants, not in the format we want

What I’ve found is that certain subject matter experts are already pretty busy [Note: being facetious here - they're swamped!], and they may see your efforts as a make-work project, not the beginnings of an organization-wide transformation that you and I know it is [Note: another failed attempt at humour].  In these cases, it’s vital that you develop strong and personal relationships with them to enhance your “soft power” while at the same time having buy-in from their bosses who can, if needed, “encourage” them make the time

An important part of the content development process is creating a workback plan to ensure deadlines are met. In an ideal world where you’re rockin’ on multiple content initiatives at the same time , an editorial calendar should also be developed to track everything and ensure all the content is aligned.  But again, as a start-up, your mandate may be more like dipping your toe in the water with a few executions vs. jumping right in with a full-blown program, so that calendar may not be needed at the start.

Shortly after the strategy is set, and in parallel with developing content, you have to address the third step which is developing and implementing a distribution and promotion plan.

Luckily, since you work within a large organization, you probably have access to fully outfitted creative, PR, and digital departments who you can work closely with to distribute and promote your content.  Since you’ll have very little, if any, budget, your challenge in working with these established departments is to encourage them to make time, and apply their budget and resources, to your endeavours. You’ll probably have support in this from your sponsor, who has encouraged you to become this start-up in the first place, but in addition, once again, it’s vital to develop those relationships that will help this process along.

And that, in a 10 minute nutshell, is how you can develop a start-up content marketing program in a lean enterprise environment.

Any questions?

Focusing Your Content Marketing on Your Competitive Advantage

I’ve talked a lot in past posts about understanding and using your competitive advantage to develop content that helps grow your business.

But, the question that both of my readers are probably asking themselves is: how do you identify what your competitive advantage is? What process can you go through to figure that out?

One of the ways is by answering another related question, which is: what business are you in? To many, it may sound simplistic – “we’re in the accounting business” or “we’re in the restaurant business”. But those answers, more often than not, are not the best ones and they don’t help identify your competitive advantage.

To get a sense of what a strong answer could be, think about Grocery Gateway. They deliver groceries to your home and if the average person was asked what business they’re in, that’s probably the answer they’d give – grocery home delivery.

But if you caught the billboard ads they’ve used in the past, you’d get a glimpse into what business Grocery Gateway thinks they’re in. One ad carries the tagline, “we deliver more ‘do not disturb’ time” with an image suggesting a woman relaxing in a bath (very non-sexual). The business they’re in, then, is the time-saving business, not the grocery delivery business, and this has big implications for the direction their content marketing efforts could take.

As a grocery delivery business, the range of themes and topics they could develop is relatively limited to – you guessed it – groceries and food, speaking to an audience passionate about those topics. Now there’s a lot of topics that could be addressed in that area but far fewer that would help differentiate Grocery Gateway in the minds of consumers from other grocery delivery services that exist.

However, as a business focused on saving consumers time (or enabling them to spend more time on the things they love to do vs. the things they need to do), this opens up a whole range of content topics related to time-saving tricks and hacks for a busy life, or on topics related to living a more passionate life. Either of these ideas has a much broader audience because, arguably, more people are interested in productivity, lifehacking, or “do what you love” content, for example, then food-related content; Grocery Gateway could become a daily read for a market not enamoured with groceries or cooking but with living a more enjoyable life, yet who still need grocery delivery, vastly expanding their reach. Or, at the least, it’s a topics that clearly differentiates them from the competition.

So to develop content that will focus your business on your competitive advantage, take a dip in Grocery Gateway’s tub and ask the simple question of, “what business are you in?”

A Lesson in Content Strategy From Sesame Street

I came across a blog post the other day that sounded promising: ”Top 15 Most Effective Content Marketing Strategies for Businesses” it read.

I bit.

Unfortunately, the hook was the the furthest thing from guidance on developing content marketing strategy.  Here is, in part, what was written:

“According to the report, here are the top 15 most effective content marketing strategies and trends that businesses are implementing for growth and to increase brand awareness (GT’s note: I’m not including the link because a) I don’t want to criticize/embarrass this specific site – I’m sure they’re doing their best, and b) I don’t want to drive traffic there because the information is inaccurate):

  1. Social Media (marketing content via LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter)
  2. Articles (posted on your business website)
  3. eNewsletters
  4. Blogs
  5. In person events and meet-ups
  6. Case Studies
  7. Videos
  8. Articles on other websites
  9. Whitepapers
  10. Online Presentations
  11. Webinars
  12. Infographics
  13. Reports (educational guides)
  14. Microsites
  15. Branded Content Tools

You know that Sesame Street song where it say, “one of these things just doesn’t belong…” Well, these 15 things just don’t belong with the strategy headline because THEY’RE NOT STRATEGIES! These are a list of tools you may include in a tactical plan based on a strategy, but they’re not strategies themselves.

So what is a strategy, you may ask.  A good definition I’ve found comes from an article from Strategy + Business that describes strategy as defining, “where to play and how to win, to maximize long-term value.” In developing a strategy, you’re basically answering the following questions for your business:

  1. Who is my target market and what needs to do they have that I can address?
  2. What are the dominant forces/factors influencing their behaviour?
  3. Who are my competitors, what are their respective competitive advantages, and how do they position themselves in the market/how do they address the market’s needs?
  4. What is are my company’s key strengths and competitive advantage (i.e. our BIG Diffs)?
  5. How can my company create value for its target market and itself?

The answers to these questions are your strategy and in aggregate they act as a map or compass to provide you guidance on how to “…choose a different set of activities to deliver a unique mix of value”, as Harvard’s strategy guru Michael Porter puts it. Or put another way by Joan Magretta, “strategy explains how an organization, faced with competition, will achieve superior performance.”

To develop a content strategy, almost the exact same questions should be asked and answered but with a focus on content, not the entire business. (For an even simpler but arguably no less effective approach to developing a content strategy, check out my earlier post).

With that definition, hopefully you can see why the above list is the furthest thing from a content strategy. Not to say that they don’t have value in providing options/tools for bringing your strategy to life through an action plan (another topic all together), but there’s no strategy there.

And if you make the massive mistake of thinking they are strategies, the “one of these things just doesn’t belong” song will be about your business not making any money.

 

Natrel’s Ad Campaign: Now That Deserves…A Red Team

The milk brand Natrel has recently launched a new advertising campaign highlighting its new packaging and different types of milk (1%, 2%, chocolate, etc.) and intrducing a “now that deserves a…” tagline. The campaign basically suggests that Natrel tastes so good that it deserves a little extra…something. Here’s an example from one of their billboards.

Natrel3

It’s a good idea – in this example, Natrel’s Maple Milk is so good that it deserves a whopping TWO straws so you can drink it faster.  Me likey.

But there’s one billboard execution of this ad that drives me crazy – I can literally feel the craziness build in my brain every time I pass it, which I happen to do a few times a week (I fear for my colleagues). It’s gotten to the point where I actively don’t look at the ads – and yet still feel my blood pressure rise – because of this one execution.  Here it is:

Natrel2

In case you can’t read it, the tagline says, “…now that deserves…” (wait for it) “…a glass.”

A glass?

This milk is so good that it deserves…a glass?  Versus what for normal milk – a dog bowl?

This one ad is soooo weak it brings down the whole campaign.  In fact, it would have been strengthened if it had said, “now that deserves no glass” or “now that deserves the carton” with a picture of someone drinking right from the carton.  At least that would suggest Natrel is so good that you can’t even wait to pour it into the glass.

So what’s the lesson?  Always get a second set of eyes on everything you’re going to make public, preferably from someone not involved in the work thus far.  For any Newsroom junkies out there (of which I am one), that would be the equivalent of a “red team”. That’s a term I learned about in one of the episodes of this brilliant show when the Executive Producer (in the show) puts together a “red team” whose sole purpose is to punch holes in a controversial story that’s being developed by another team.  It’s a way to ensure that the story’s air tight and that the producing news team can address any criticisms that may arise.

That’s what Natrel needed for this campaign, because any semi-smart person (of which I am one), let alone a team of devil’s advocates, would immediately see that this one execution deserved a new tag line.

And that’s what you should use before releasing into the wild any piece of marketing, advertising or messaging – a red team that will ensure that your customers will get the message that your product/service really deserves (at least) two straws, and not just a table-stakes glass.