The Long Game

If you’ve ever competed against me in a sport or a game, you know that while I hate to lose, I am also a huge fan of outstanding plays – even if my competition is responsible for them. I chirp a lot during a game (refs eventually get used to being called “stripes”), but rarely does it cause friction because I also spend a lot of time congratulating both teams. The first time a player I am guarding in a basketball game hears me say “nice shot” usually takes them by surprise. Then they get really freaked out when I give them a high five.

It may seem like psychological warfare, but it’s (usually) not. I guess I just believe that excellent effort should be recognized. Something similar happens when I notice an especially nice commercial or ad or website that was created by a company other than Anchor. I appreciate all of the hard work that went into the creative execution because I’ve been part of similar projects. I’ve been known to show off a particularly impactful piece of branding to my team and say “they did a great job here – we can learn from this.”

Consequently, I keep an eye on those folks for months or years afterward. It’s not easy to follow up a big hit, and I’m always curious about how they will top themselves. Too often I see those businesses follow up their awesome creative splash with. . . nothing.

Marketing Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

Unfortunately, it’s a fairly common phenomenon: the company goes “all in” on a huge campaign or video or website, but expends all of its time and resources to do so. As a result, they make a big splash when they first jump into the water, then sink out of sight – and it’s a shame. The best part of unveiling an eye-catching new branding effort isn’t that initial “wow” factor; it’s the momentum it creates for your brand.

But you need to plan ahead to keep that momentum going.

I get excited when I see someone roll out an incredible new idea, but I get frustrated when I see that idea slowly fade away because it was not properly utilized for long-term brand equity. Once you cannonball into the pool, you don’t get anywhere unless you start swimming. It isn’t as flashy, but it’s the only way to create momentum.

I suggest that you accomplish this by creating related materials that extend the life of your awesome idea. For example, if we make a great new TV commercial, we immediately use it on the website, share it on YouTube social media and then leverage it for pay-per-click advertising over the course of many months. Oftentimes our other marketing efforts share the same graphics, theme and text. If you don’t get your money’s worth out of your big splash, your customers will forget about it.

When my nephew beats me in video games, I tell him “great job,” and then I challenge him to do it again. Your competition isn’t going to give up, either. Are you ready to turn your short-term wins into long-term success? Great creative benefits from great planning every time.