Posts Tagged ‘Face Value’
Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
Generally speaking, there are three types of communication. The first two are:
1. That which contains important content
2. That which is presented in an engaging way
Most of the time, we seem to be on the receiving end of 1 or 2 – which means either worthy-but-dull or entertaining-but-empty.
Occasionally, these two circles overlap in a Venn diagram of communication, and bingo! Number 3 – something worthwhile meets time enjoyably spent.
Like supporters of a struggling football club, we attend conferences and meetings expecting #1 or #2, and hoping for the rare chance of #3. It’s like an away win for Lincoln City – to be savoured and remembered for a long time to come.
That’s just what Morgan Spurlock has achieved with his newly-posted TED talk.
TO PLUG OR NOT TO PLUG?
For those who don’t know, Spurlock is the Supersize Me campaigner / documentary maker who tried living on McDonald’s for 30 days. At face value, this TED video is just an indy film maker plugging his new project – and duping people like me into helping him.
I sit, gullible as charged.
Alternatively, it’s 20 minutes of inspired brilliance,that works on so many levels, with lessons for anyone who’s in marketing, in business, needs to communicate, needs to take a risk, has a left-field idea or, indeed, has a pulse:
HOW TO ENGAGE
- it’s a MASTER CLASS in presenting. Talk, text, graphics, video, humour, audience participation – an orchestra of techniques all working together, with Spurlock as soloist and conductor.
- it’s BEAUTIFULLY STRUCTURED. After a brief credentials intro, he sets up a question, then only resolves it in the final minute. And while he plays out the other subplots in between, it’s the opening teaser that holds us in. And the pay-off… well, that would be telling.
HOW TO GIVE VALUE
- it’s CONTENT-RICH. Look – I don’t care if his ultimate motive is to plug his film. He does it by giving me lots to think about. He doesn’t insult the viewer’s intelligence; he flatters it.
- it’s SELF-CONTAINED and valuable in-and-of-itself. We don’t have to watch his film when it’s released; he’s giving us the gist of the work in a short seminar. For free
HOW TO CHALLENGE
- it’s a CREATIVE DEMONSTRATION of his central premise: like the Masked Magician showing us how tricks are done, Spurlock also shows us how he prepared to show us. “This is how my movie got made – with or without the help of the corporate sorcerer’s and their apprentices.”
- it’s PARTICIPATIVE: unlike the Masked Magician, he eventually enlists the help of some fellow illusionists (his sponsors) to help him pull the curtain back – and in doing so, they come out with full credit. It might not win them many friends in the rest of the Magic Circle – especially their marketing agencies – but I bet it generates huge credibility with their customers (Might this be a Corporate Social Responsibility project in disguise?).
- it’s a CASE STUDY on the difficulty of genuinely thinking ‘outside of the box’. Creative agencies can be as hamstrung by their existing mental models as the rest of us. Spurlock offers them an opportunity to be involved in something different – and they hide! After you’ve finished laughing, consider what client-and– self-imposed boundaries kept them from taking the risk
SAVVY IS, AS SAVVY DOES
And that’s the most important point – we might talk about barriers coming down, social media blurring the dividing lines, new media presenting new ways to engage… but much of what’s practiced is still old wine in new bottles.
Here, I think Spurlock – by accident or design – is rewriting the rules. While there’s no doubt that some of his targets are there for ridicule ( 21st-century Wizards of Oz), there is a challenge in here which needs a business/marketing response:
As consumers grow increasingly savvy, is it better to be more transparent or more controlling? To show how the trick is done, or to find more sophisticated sleights of hand?
Or is the greatest play of all – to do both at the same time?
About Paul Rutherford
For over 25 years, Paul Rutherford has pursued two passions; working with colleagues and Clients to solve business problems, and helping others to develop themselves, both professionally and personally.
Discovering solutions to people problems
He served his apprenticeship in communication agencies, creating campaigns for Technology and Business Service blue-chip corporations.
He moved Client-side in 1992, as Director of Communications EMEA then General Manager, Corporate Sales UK for Xerox, followed by VP Systems Marketing at IBM.
Paul was subsequently Chief Marketing Officer for VC-backed Clearswift, the global leader in email security, then GM and Coach to several technology start-ups and turn-arounds.
Throughout his career, Paul has built and led teams – from two people in one office to 150 staff across 16 countries.
After five years as a main board director of EMEA Executive Search firm Beaumont Karlson, Paul now runs Optimentum, a boutique Coaching and Executive Search practice.
Married to the most patient woman on the planet, Paul is father to three children who regularly remind him that there’s more to life than business and blogging.
That being said, Paul is always open to new conversations; you can reach him via LinkedIn or directly at email@example.com
Tags: Audience Participation, Campaigner, Comms, Documentary Maker, Face Value, Film Maker, Football Club, Indy Film, Lincoln City, Morgan Spurlock, Number 3, Rare Chance, Soloist, Subplots, Supersize, Text Graphics, Two Circles, Types Of Communication, Venn Diagram, Video Humour
Posted in My Practice | Comments Off
Wednesday, September 21st, 2011
In response to my recent posts on client communication, I’ve had several advisors ask what to do when large clients are approached about sitting down but won’t take the time to meet.Research identifies three reasons that clients turn down invitations to meet — concern that they’ll be pressured to buy something, a perception that the meeting will not be of significant value and in some cases the time and hassle to travel to their advisor’s office.
Let’s start with the issue of clients feeling pressured to buy. Some advisors inadvertently send the wrong signal by making recommendations to which clients have said no in the past or perhaps responded with “I’ll think about it”, “not right now” or “let me ask my accountant” — which the advisor took at face value when they really meant no.
When clients are reluctant to follow your advice, take the time to probe for their concerns — and be extremely cautious about bringing up a similar recommendation again. If you do make the same recommendation, start by acknowledging the last discussion that you had and explain why you’re bringing this up again, highlighting why your recommendation will improve their overall strategy.
The second barrier relates to clients feeling that they’ll get marginal value from meeting– this is especially true for busy successful people. I recently talked to one client who said “I met my advisor for our annual review and it was almost exactly the same as the year before — so what’s the point?”
In these cases, you have to “sell” the benefit of meeting to the client. One of the best ways to increase the value clients think they’ll get from a meeting is by setting an agenda beforehand. By discussing what you’ll be covering when you call to set the meeting up (remembering to start by asking clients what they’d like to talk about), investors are more likely to see the benefit of sitting down. In setting that agenda, incorporate at least one new element where the client will see a clear benefit, whether it be changes on RESP rules or tax treatment of charitable giving.
And by using that agenda when you get together, meetings are more likely to be focused and productive and there’s a better chance that clients will walk away feeling that their time was well spent. (That’s especially true if you follow up with an email summarizing your discussion and next steps).
The final issue relates to the hassle of meeting. This is primarily an issue in bigger cities where a combination of traffic and extortionate parking costs make many clients reluctant to drive downtown. (This is especially pronounced in Toronto, where many people HATE to drive into the core).
Some advisors offer “evening hours” one night a week to accommodate clients who have trouble getting away during the day. Others schedule breakfast or lunch hour reviews at their office, over coffee and bagels in the morning or a sandwich at lunch. Still others validate parking for their most important clients. One advisor in Toronto schedules a day every two weeks at a suburban office of his firm — where he meets in the boardroom with clients who live or work in the area.
As a final recourse and if the client is important enough, if they won’t come to you, you can always go to them — offering to meet at their office or home. In recent interviews with investors who had selected new advisors, one busy Toronto dentist said that the winning advisor sealed the deal by offering to jump on the subway and meet at his office for twice yearly half hour updates.
Meeting with your top clients is by far the single best use of your time. Even if clients are reluctant initially, sell the value of sitting down, ensure clients perceive real value from the time spent and reduce obstacles — and you too can make those meetings happen.
Tags: Accountant, Advice, Benefit, Client Communication, Face Value, Hassle, Investors, Invitations, Marginal Value, New Element, Overall Strategy, Perception, Value Clients
Posted in Dan Richards | Comments Off