With authentic marketing we can make a change, we can inspire a movement, help a potential client make the right decision. I believe that to sell one pair of shoes we have two options; 1) manipulate 2) story tell authentically. Unfortunately, a lot of brands prefer to manipulate people because it brings short term ‘success’. Brands are all about hitting their sales goals, selling more, cutting budgets and asking people to do more with less. It’s not only in Cyprus, it’s in the UK, Spain, Italy, the US and other countries.
Have a look around you, the majority of brands do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. Creating more noise in the advertising world and with the social media available to them, they create more ego-boosting content (posts). The biggest problem is that the people who create all this noise don’t understand that it’s noise. I understand that George doesn’t really care about the long term goal, he wants his job and he wants to feel comfortable in the comfort zone, so that’s why he should try something different. So he stays in that comfort zone and continues doing what he always did, and when it doesn’t work he just blames the agency or blames people for not understanding.
It’s easy to blame others, I understand. When we blame others we don’t take responsibilities. It’s easier to create meaningless campaigns that drive noise and delude ourselves that we are doing something. Look at all those likes and shares, look at those video views, look at all the messages… and it goes on and on. Let’s create a meaningless like and share competition to show our boss that we did something.
To be honest I got tired with marketing, I lost my fire and my passion with creating more meaningless campaigns and more meaningless likes. The reason why is because I listen to our clients and to potential clients, 95% of them don’t really want to change, they don’t really want to make an impact. Let’s face it, the majority want a new Range Rover and a bigger house to impress their friends and families. I’m a very passionate person – since I was 13 years old, every job that I had I did it with passion. Why did I lose my passion in my own agency? The reason why is because I started chasing more clients, more accounts, more money.
One day I woke up and asked myself; Am I doing the right thing or the easy thing? The answer is obvious; the easy thing. I always tell my opinion but different people are on different journeys and I chose the easy path to agree, close my mouth and eyes and move on.
There was one project that we started working on this year and we created, in my humble opinion, an amazing story for the brand. Of course, it was different, of course it had emotion and of course the tagline didn’t communicate directly with what the client was selling. The client didn’t like it because it was different. They didn’t accept it. I was devastated because we put so much energy and effort into their story and they didn’t accept it. I cried because I thought the story wasn’t good enough, I thought that I wasn’t good enough. Later I understood that it wasn’t the story that was the problem; the problem is that people don’t want to change, it’s uncomfortable being different from others. The problem might be that I didn’t persist enough and explain in every detail why authentic storytelling matters. I imagine they went and asked for ‘approval’ (opinions) of other people and of course other people didn’t agree. People who are not in the industry can’t understand the concept of storytelling, hey people who have been in the advertising world for ages now, don’t understand the concept of storytelling because 30 years ago advertising was supposed to be about YOUR product and service.
Today the world doesn’t care about OUR products and services, the world cares about what value you can provide to them. The world wants more stories not another ego-boosting advertising campaign. I used to tell people, do your research, see what storytelling is, see what content marketing means. They didn’t, because people don’t change their beliefs very easily. The reason why, is because changing beliefs means that you have to admit that you were wrong and the ego says NO!
I asked myself how come some clients of ours believe in authentic storytelling, believe in content marketing, believe in a better tomorrow and want to be different. The answer is simple; some clients. We can’t appeal to everybody, I tried to appeal to everybody and forgot the number one rule in marketing; find a small percentage of people who believe in what you believe. Which means that 95% of people/brands are not our target audience. Only 5% are people who want to change, build a sustainable brands and create authentic stories.
Our biggest problem in this world is that we care what others think of us. We care what our family, clients and parents will tell us. People are uncomfortable being different because they have a feeling that they will be left out, they have a feeling of being judged.
I did a conference in Cyprus recently, Think Beyond. Our campaign tagline was The Worst Conference You Will Ever Attend. Do you know how many people told me it’s a huge mistake? Unbelievable. People would say you should name it The Best, The Greatest and other ordinary names. I know that in marketing, to get attention and to make an impact you need to be extraordinary. The result? It got attention, people spoke about the conference, people advertised the conference because it was different. With content marketing we promoted the conference and our core belief; we can all become better human beings by thinking and going beyond. The result of the conference (product) was phenomenal, the energy levels, the feedback we received was overwhelming. The latest message I received said: A few months ago I was almost gone put an end to my life. Now I see a purpose. I have my old fire back. You don’t even know how life changing the seminar was.
This type of feedback is priceless. People messaging me that they are finally living in the moment, that they want to follow their passion and look for purpose.
There is a huge opportunity for very few of you to make an impact by being different because companies don’t want to change; they will continue advertising special offers, we started in 1980, we are the cheapest, we are the best quality brand and other messages that are just noise that people don’t pay attention to and don’t really believe.
I decided not to take any more projects/clients that don’t have an amazing product or service and brands that want to make meaningless noise. We have enough noise and there are plenty of advertising agencies that will be happy to take on any project. What we want here at IQD is to make an impact and help those who really want to go beyond and be different. This decision cost me two accounts but I genuinely don’t mind because I don’t want to lie to people and be a part of a marketing propaganda. We turned down two projects this month because they wanted to make more noise, it’s the first time in my life that I didn’t feel bad for turning down work, it actually felt amazing.
We say that marketing is the problem, the truth is that marketing is not a problem, marketing is just a tool. People are the problem. People with short-term pressures and greedy selfish goals. But it’s not just marketing people that are the problem, it’s consumers as well. Consumers that refuse to spend a few minutes understanding side effects and buy a story instead.
The good news is that authentic marketing, from one human to another, is extremely powerful. Telling a story authentically, creating a product or service that actually does what you say it will leads to a different sort of endgame. The marketer wins and so does the client.
Authentic storytelling is not about what we say or promote, it’s what we do, how we act and how we live. It’s like posting quotes on Instagram; we can just post them to look nice or we can live them and believe in them and post them.
We want to be a part of something that makes a small difference in people’s lives, that inspires people, that makes a difference, we want to be part of something different. There are plenty of average companies that promote average products. This world needs more passionate people promoting something that has value, something that will make a difference in people’s lives.