Showtime’s New Series is Built on Deception and Bad for America

Writing about marketing and business is more fun when sharing excellent examples and great creativity.

However, just as important, sometimes we have to learn from what’s not excellent. A new “comedy” series from Showtime is a glaring example.

Authenticity and transparency are important go-to-market levers. Consumers want that in their products and services. Citizens want that in their government. We don’t always get it.

Part of the reason is that we all, even implicitly, allow it to happen.

Credit: Showtime (sho.com)

Take Showtime’s new series with Sacha Baron Cohen, Who Is America? According to the network, the series “features his first new characters in 15 years, which are so believably performed that they can exist in the real world.”

Let me translate: these “believable new characters” are fraudulent impersonations of purportedly real people, designed to trick targets into participating in on-camera interviews.

With all the challenges we face as a society, why does Showtime feel the need to pay for and promote “gotcha” deception? Continue reading

This Is Marketing: We Are in the Holy S*** Business

A new corporate brand campaign for MGM Resorts International has a hidden benefit.

It helps translate and demonstrate what some business leaders consider “mumbo jumbo.” That would be marketing cornerstones such as branding, positioning and customer experience.

These critical building blocks, and others, are like oxygen to marketers and business leaders who believe in the power of smart, disciplined marketing to help build and grow profitable businesses, and keep them relevant.

But, not everyone is a believer, and not all practitioners have instilled confidence.

Credit: MGM Resorts International.

So, particularly for the marketing skeptics, this new MGM marketing is instructive. It’s strong, bold marketing that grabs attention. And seemingly has a chance to be effective.* Continue reading

Unexpected Sources Can Power Content Marketing

It’s an increasing challenge. Where do business teams get the content to fuel their content-driven marketing?

Part of the answer is that great content can come from unexpected places.

To begin, ensure that your content fits your overall marketing and specific content strategies. That requires you to do your homework.

From there, keep these five guide rails in mind. They’ll help you to be meaningful to, and resonate with, customers and key constituents:

  1. Be genuine
  2. Be authentic
  3. Be relatable
  4. Place your content in the right context
  5. Communicate at the appropriate time

Credit: Allen Edmonds. Father’s Day 2017 catalog.

As an example, consider the CEO who wrote about walking his daughter down the marriage aisle, and even posted a picture, in a Father’s Day product catalog. Continue reading

Don’t Retreat Marketers. Ben Franklin to the Rescue.

What the heck is going on in the business world?

Judging by all the negative stories, one would think that a plague of incompetence has afflicted commercial teams across the country.

However, beyond the obvious blunders (e.g., United and airport security personnel), some of the backlash is a bit perplexing.

Are corporations and their marketing teams failing at higher rates or is something else going on?

I suggest the latter. That’s partly because social media has, for better and for worse, totally disrupted the way so many now get and process their information.

Continue reading

Stories Make a Difference – Expert’s 6 Points for Great Storytelling

“Stories create connections that are emotional and inspiring.”

That’s what Kristian Aloma reminded an audience of marketers at a recent MENG (Marketing Executives Networking Group) event in New Jersey.

Kristian Aloma. Credit: Brandtrust.

Kristian Aloma. Credit: Brandtrust.

Mr. Aloma is the Client Partner, Group Director of Client Service at Brandtrust. “He’s been pivotal in building Brandtrust’s storytelling services and training sessions, which are extremely popular among clients looking to more effectively influence their customers and organizations.”

An important reason for business communicators to use stories is that “presenting a story helps everyone understand the same point.”

In his New Jersey presentation, Aloma offered “how to” pointers and demonstration examples for telling effective stories in the business world and beyond. He also challenged the group by stating that the “best storytellers win.”


6 Points for Great Storytelling Continue reading