I’ve been lucky enough to work in the casino industry for a good number of years now, and I’m proud to say that I’ve worked my way through the marketing ranks to a recent corporate Vice President position. It’s been a great experience and I hope that it will continue for a few more years. But as many of us know, sometimes there are periods of time when the ride stops and we have to wait for it to start again. I have found myself in such a period. I guess it’s time to polish up those marketing materials. Only this time, they’re mine. Yikes!
For years I have revitalize and created brands, but (truly) understanding my personal brand has been quite a new experience. Darn you Dan Shawbel! I’ve found myself at a loss for a positioning statement, a brand promise…all of the things that I’ve created for others for so long. Until I realized, I needed to look to the pillars of brand marketing (or as Mr. Talamo calls them: The Jules Rules). I needed to go through the same steps that I’ve taken when developing relevant casino brands that create great customer connections.
Know Your Target/Market
Just like you can’t be everything to all customers, you can’t say “I’ll take whatever I can get”. You have to understand your strengths and weaknesses and the best target for those strengths. A good recruiter not only builds relationships with their clients, they should know where your skills will play the best.
Brands are Built from the Bottom Up
Your experience and the relationships you build will be what supports that great resume. Even if you’re not on a job hunt, you should understand that the wealth of your experiences will come to play in one way or another.
Operationalize Your Brand
Social Media has become so important in the employment arena. What you put out into the world can deeply impact your options. I’ve always been careful about what I say and post in social media. If I’m not comfortable with something I want to say living on forever, I just don’t say it. But more than anything else, I realized that a focus on the content I am curating is really important. What do I want people to think I can add to their enterprise when they read my tweets or articles I share?
True Brand Programs Share DNA
This is going to take some of you back. For some, this may be new. Remember when Tony Bennett did his VH1 Unplugged gig? It was the perfect program for him because it brought him back to his roots as the consummate crooner. Tony Bennett had always been “unplugged”. So, this wasn’t new for him, but it allowed him to stand before a new audience and propel is latest album to platinum status and to win two Grammy Awards. Standing out through a distinct, discernible difference is crucial. You can’t be everything to everyone. So find your focus. If you’re not honest to your DNA, your brand may get tested in the short-term, but not bought in the long. Tony Bennett showed us how long that run could be if you’re honest to your DNA.
Make Your Brand Iconic
Find something that is “your thing”: A visual hook, a saying, an interesting piece of technology or anything that makes somebody remember an encounter with you. Think about your background…your story, and always attempt to attach your POV to life experiences. What is your Absolut bottle?
Brand development is not a DIY project and neither should your job hunt. I finally did get expert, trained help. I was stunned at what they saw in me that I couldn’t put on paper. I guess it’s true that the cobbler’s children have no shoes.
As marketers, we employ all manner of tools to drive people to our locations – whether they be stores, restaurants, casinos or hotels. We tell them we love them and want them to stop by, but when they do, we show no love.
…Virtually nothing else is as important as how one is made to feel in any business transaction. Hospitality exists when you believe the other person is on your side. The converse is just as true. Hospitality is present when something happens for you. It is absent when something happens to you. Those two simple prepositions – for and to – express it all.
– Danny Meyer, “Setting the Table”
I had a great teacher in my career who once told me I had to walk in a guest’s shoes to understand what I needed to put in place to make their experience the best. Let’s go through some of those marketing tools to see how we can start showing some love.
ADVERTISING – Through most of my career, I have been tasked with the marketing communications of a variety of individuals and organizations. That could be ads in print or in broadcast, the website, and now social. In many ways, it is the first love note our guest receives. A good design captures someone’s attention. Accurate and useful information will help make their visit a pleasant one.
OFFERS AND REWARDS – The science of giving the right offers and rewards to the right people is key to our success, and while we are using those offers to fill capacity or drive sales, keep in mind that restrictions should balance our needs with the guest’s enjoyment. Getting complimentaries and using earned points shouldn’t require contortionist training.
EVENTS AND GIVEAWAYS – More winners, smaller prizes? Less winners, bigger prizes? The fact is guests tell us they want both. In the end, they want a chance to win. Give them one.
While you’re thinking of ways to show how much you love your guests, don’t forget to love your employees first. Giving them great information and proper tools allows them to enhance the guest experience. Having had the opportunity to work the floor I’ve learned that what I do in the office impacts everyone and that a bad experience for an employee is a bad experience for a guest.
Finally, you may have noticed my use of the word “guest” instead of “customer”. This was a gift from a gentleman named Andy Olson who explained to me that customers are transactional but that we build relationships with guests. One of the best lessons I ever received. He also taught me and my co-workers to walk backwards while giving a charming tour, but that’s another story for another day. The point is it’s easy to show love to someone you’re building a relationship with. Don’t forget to show them some love while you’re tackling tasks on your to-do list.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
As I mentioned in my post from yesterday, Debbie Laskey has once again partnered with me to review the ads of this most recent Super Bowl. I gave you my take. Below are Debbie’s thoughts, but first let me tell you a little about her.
Debbie is a 15-year marketing practitioner. She honed her skills while working in the high-tech industry and in the Consumer Marketing Department at Disneyland Paris in France. Her expertise is varied but includes strategic planning, brand development, corporate communications, customer experiences, and social media marketing (which I think she excels at). She has been recognized as a “Woman Making a Difference” by the Los Angeles Business Journal . Since 2002, Debbie has served as a judge for the Web Marketing Association’s annual web award competition and has also been recognized as one of the “Top 100 Branding Experts” to follow on Twitter. Currently, Debbie is the director of marketing and communications for the Exceptional Children’s Foundation in Los Angeles, but also manages to provide strategic marketing direction for B2B/B2C/non-profit clients.
Ladies and gentlemen, Debbie Laskey…
Every winter, on one Sunday, every TV around the world tunes in for one super football game. But for those of us who live and breathe all things marketing, the final football showdown each season provides a different focus. That focus costs a pretty penny – or several million to be exact. The incredibly high-priced ads that grace the TV screen during the Super Bowl have become known as the Brand Bowl, and I’m thrilled to share a three-peat review of these ads with Julia Carcamo.
As a brand marketing professional, I recall many of the ads despite this year’s one-sided Game. What about you?
Here were my faves:
 MetLife featured the entire Peanuts gang with a preamble to the Game, and since the game took place at MetLife Stadium, this was a good intro to the Game.
 Budweiser’s puppy and Clydesdale with the hashtag #BestBuds: this ad was memorable and tugged at the heartstrings.
 Budweiser’s thanks for military service: this ad was memorable and reminiscent of Budweiser’s timeless post-911 ad.
 Doritos time machine ad was funny but would have been funnier if it had run after Radio Shack’s Back to the Eighties spot.
 TurboTax’s ad was amusing except for the fact that no one wants to think about filing tax returns the first week of February.
I appreciated the presence of more cause-related marketing ads, especially Microsoft’s #empowerment ad and Chevrolet’s cancer awareness ad.
However, one element was different for me this year. While watching the Game, instead of simply Tweeting once I saw the hashtags after each ad, I participated in a TweetChat with the hashtag #SBexp for “Super Bowl experience” hosted by Jim Joseph of Cohn and Wolfe. Jim will host similar TweetChats during the upcoming Olympics with the hashtag #OlympicsExp.
The Super Bowl has been played and once again Debbie Laskey has asked me to partner with her in her review of this year’s Super Bowl ads. We’ll be chatting later today to find out if we had the same thoughts, and I’ll share her review with you. In the meantime, here’s my take on yesterday.
I must say this year was a little disappointing. Gone are the days when massive production budgets and huge theatrical events were the commercials that we saw. Sure advertisers are still spending a lot of money to produce these ads, but for now, it looks like they’re a little less theatrical and I daresay a little less creative.
I heard a lot before the game about Ford shelling out the least amount they could to be a part of the game. That would be the spot right before the kickoff. Sorry Ford but your Fusion ad was not among my favorites.
Kudos to Cheerios for remaining true to its brand and its respect for families of all kinds in spite of those with that would challenge them. Gracie is as charming as ever. Maybe she should have asked for a Clydesdale, too!
RadioShack came out of nowhere for me. I love this ad and so did a number of my friends. I love the way they called themselves out with a sense of humor. I knew exactly what they were talking about, and from what I read on Twitter, half of America did too. I can’t wait to see what they do with their brand, with their stores and with their business.
Another big surprise for me was Tim Tebow in the T-Mobile commercials. Having never been a big fan of his (actually not one at all), I have to say I’m kind of one now. He took a situation that has to be probably one of the most embarrassing in his career, and he really turned it to his advantage. Who knew not having a contract to be so liberating?
I like Volkswagen’s Wings ad. Sure, sales are slipping, but VW has a way of using comedy chops to illustrate the enthusiasm and longevity of its brand. It was funny.
Did Coca-Cola partner with Cheerios to make people realize America is still a melting pot of people? Two different products. Both a part of magical moments in our lives.
Although the boys of the Seahawks were pounding the football field and all around them, the girls of GoldieBlox showed everyone that girl power is pretty inspirational. Hey boys, are you jealous?
And while everyone was zigging with American pride Jaguar zagged with a bit of English pride. These British villains sure make being bad look SO good.
Pepsi did I nice job of hyping halftime. Their “Souncheck” was a creative use of the New York City skyline.
I tried to not make it my favorite, but I just couldn’t help it! My winner was Budweiser’s “Puppy Love”. The spot had over 35 million views on YouTube before it even aired and ended the evening at the top of USA Today’s Ad Meter.
Finally, I have to give points to those advertisers that spent money to shine a light on a good cause: Bank of America for (red) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and Chevy for World Cancer Day. I don’t think the commercials were the blockbusters we expect during Super Bowl, but did you expect to want to show your support for something other than a football team yesterday? I was among the many to download the US song “Invisible” and I’ll be making my profile purple tomorrow.
ADBOWL is a registered trademark of McKee Wallwork + Company. This post is not endorsed by McKee Wallwork + Company.
Great way to approach the new year.
Originally posted on Player Development (GPS) Goal Positioning Solution:
Yes, it’s that time of year. The holidays have arrived, bringing with them introspection and thoughts of the year past, inevitably leading to well-intentioned resolutions for things people wish to improve upon in the year that is about to begin.
Really, there is never a need to wait until the ball (or the guitar, or the potato, or the Moon Pie) drops to resolve to do something better than you did before. Here are some things that would benefit us all to do better, starting whenever you decide to give it a whirl. Cheers!
- Be nicer to the people you see every day. It’s easy to take them for granted: the people in your home or workplace who make your life more entertaining or infuriating, in turns. Take a moment to invest some of your emotional capital in them and it will pay dividends. …
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I just came across an article about Netflix saving The Killing. As a brand marketer who has had the opportunity to work on a few brand reinventions, I’m very impressed with how Netflix has re-energized the brand (after the short- lived Qwikster disaster – killing the project before it even had time to launch) and how it has set its path to the future.
In the 1990s we raced to get the newest releases at our nearest Blockbuster only to leave with our second choices (sometimes third) because THE movie we wanted to see was already taken. On top of that, we had to rush to finish watching the movie before we started accruing late fees. (Just for fun, what was your highest late fee?) It was a rite that will live in our memories.
They say that video killed the radio star. Now that DISH has announced it will be closing the last 300 Blockbuster stores, we can say Netflix and the Internet have joined forces to kill the corner video rental store.
Netflix, established in 1997 quickly grew its library and its subscriber base and changed the playing field. Like Tower Records, Blockbuster was slow to respond to a model that seemed too “different” to last. Netflix started with a simple idea (no late fees) and a radical delivery system (no stores) and evolved by listening to its customers, nay “fans”. They were right to think streaming content was the next step. The problem was they didn’t execute well when they thought Qwikster to be their next step. So, they cut their losses and regrouped. Took the kernel of the good strategy and looked at it from a different perspective – the customer. Now they’re reviving loved content and creating new content. Content has solidly placed them in a new arena and created fans for the brand rather than just customers, as well as creating shareholder value. What more could you ask for?
My takeaway (as always): Listen to your customers. They will let you know what they want…and don’t want.
Recently I had the honor to sit on a panel discussion about the current state of casino advertising. I was amazed how well everyone’s messages linked together to a bigger topic even though we worked independently on our own advertising specialties.
As casino operators, we want gamblers who have the discretionary dollars available and who have a pre-set budget for themselves that is within their ability to spend. Repeatedly, customers tell us a source of satisfaction is how long they can play with their budget. They want to say “in play” for the allotted amount of time they have and within the allotted budget.
If you’ve been a longtime reader, you’ll recall my casino glossary for Agency Post. I defined “hold” as the amount the casino keeps as net gaming revenue. It is calculated by “Total in – amount paid out = hold.” Typically, this is referred to in percentages.
“Hold”. This is a notion we casino marketers have historically loved. Loosest Slots … More Winners … The Most Winners .. Best Slots … Best Payouts. But often these were merely advertising headlines without any relationship to the overall experience. I’m not calling anyone less than truthful. The fact is any of us have used one or more of these lines because there was some bank of slots somewhere on our casino floors that made these headlines true.
Over the years, I’ve been part of way too many heated arguments about slot hold. In general, there are two camps. Camp A feels that customers can’t possibly tell when we raise hold because mathematically, it takes millions of spins to hit the target hold. Camp B (the one I’m in) agrees that a customer can’t calculate the hold (because of those million spins), but they can FEEL how fast their gambling budget takes them today versus how far it went yesterday.
To me, this (hold) experience is part of what the brand delivers which in turn should drive the message you communicate. This is why customers don’t believe the loose slots messages no matter how great your ad is. Nothing kills a bad experience like a great ad.
I’m sure the hold controversy will never be resolved if you think purely in terms of math. However, I think you can find a resolution if you think in terms of the guest experience you want to deliver. Put yourself in your guest’s shoes. Do you really want to take her $20, $50 or $100 in a matter of minutes or do you want her to have a great time and return with another $20, $50 or $100.
At the end of the day, if we’re in the business of entertainment, shouldn’t we entertain?
Vacation is over and it’s time for the Friday Five. These are the five articles, posts and readings that got me thinking.
It really is in the design. So often the guest experience, marketing, operations and architecture & design are developed and implemented in their own little silos. However, I think the design of the guest experience has to be central to anything. Think like the guest. Walk like the guest. The smart people at Forrester seem to think so too in this Loyalty 360 post.
Hello. Remember me? Your actual customer. One of my pet peeves is when I get an offer from a company I’m already buying from and it’s better than what I’m getting as a loyal customer. I guess that’s why I’m not necessarily a fan of theirs. Mack Collier explains the difference between businesses and rock stars in his latest post. Oh, and if you haven’t read his book yet, I recommend you do.
My latest adventure. A friend has asked me to help market a new book. This is absolutely new territory for me, but I think it will be very eye-opening to see how all my casino marketing tools apply. This thought leadership post by Peter Winick outlines a great roadmap.
Stay tuned for more on the book I’ll be marketing.
It’s all about soul. There are a handful of classic brands I love because they’ve got a soul that is undeniable. Harley Davidson is one of them. In this article, CMO Mark-Hans Richer tells the story of why it’s not about getting from A to B.
Clicks to bricks. I read this article about how online retailers want to move into physical spaces. It made me wonder about online gaming. We’ve been wondering if the advent of legalized online gaming is going to translate to revenue generated at our bricks and mortar facilities. Perhaps we should be thinking about increased bricks and mortar competition from online gaming companies.