Does it make a difference?

It does. And we know because from the vantage point of view our work gives us, we see it all the time.

It makes a huge difference to find out from your own people what they think about a campaign, a launch or a promotion that you’re planning. They know. They know whether the adjectives you’re piling up match the new product or are just trendy. They know whether production and assembly can meet the deadlines you’re announcing. They know whether the distribution schedule is realistic. And if you ask them, they will know that they count. How about that?

Is Your “Why” My “Why”?

As we were updating information for the Milton CAT technician recruitment website, we were reminded of the strategy we followed when we first created it – we had decided to make it very pertinent to the young tech who’s considering a job, and that meant making it not so much about the company in general but about the location.

Our client Milton CAT has facilities in 12 different locations, ranging from rural Vermont to the coast of Maine and suburban Milford; some of them deal with gentlemen farmers and artisan cheese makers, others with loggers and lobstermen and still others, with giant contractors and multistate paving conglomerates. It makes sense that a young tech who’s considering a move needs to know about the personality and the vibe of each place. They want to learn a bit about the service manager at the location they are interested in, listen to the other technicians’ opinions and last but not least, find out about the area itself.

When we interviewed technicians, we were surprised at how many of them were married or had a live-in partner, even though they were very young, and how often they had kids of their own or their partners had kids. Schools, sports and clubs were important factors in their decision to choose a job, and of course, so were leisure time activities in the area, whether snowboarding, mountain bike riding or hunting.

The five reasons not to do it. (They are all bad reasons.)

Who hasn’t been there? Campaign is ready to hit the streets; press release about the new partnership is one click away from BusinessWire; invitations to the open house have been approved… the last thing you want to do at this stage is take any extra time to tell employees what’s happening. They are all nice guys who work really hard but…

  • 1) They’ll find out soon enough.
  • 2) Anyway, their #1 concern is getting their paycheck on time.
  • 3) What can a floor person or a receptionist add that’s of any value?
  • 4) They’re really busy.
  • 5) They won’t get it.

Say It So It Sells.

Euh. Sounds like manipulation 101. But, isn’t that really what we’re trying to do when we say something? We want to sell what we’re saying – whether it’s a plan or a change of plans; an opinion or a project for which we need our listener’s buy-in.

Wait. Maybe answering our listener’s WIIFM would help us say it so it sells. Most people want to know “What’s in it for me?” before buying it.

It happens.

Once in a while, you have a client who reminds you why advertising is so exciting; why you feel that your job allows you to touch a company in ways you never thought were part of your job; why you finally feel that your job has redeeming values.

For us at Inside Out, David Reece was that client. He just died, and the sorrow in our hearts goes deep. We’ve lost a friend, a fan, a teacher. David trusted us; he allowed us to do things that were the craziest we have ever done for a client – and that worked really well. He believed in us; when we presented creative to him, he knew that we had done our homework; we weren’t just being funky, we were strategic. He challenged us – he made us go beyond and above the traditional confines of advertising, and relied on us to support not just his ambitious sales efforts, but his outside-the-box management initiatives. We will miss him, we pray for his eternal rest, and we’re grateful for the opportunities he gave us, and the fun we had with him.

An insider’s look

About to finish drafting copy for a client’s pretty massive new website, it occurred to me – working on this project gives us at the agency a deep and complete look at our client’s entire company. But it works both ways. We couldn’t really do the project well and in a (very) timely manner, unless we already had a deep and complete understanding of our client’s business.

So what’s the point of this blog? Advice, of course. Clients, share with your agencies. Keep them in the loop. Let them know what’s happening. If they are a trusted partner, the more they know about you, the better for you. They’ll find many ways to put that knowledge to use to your advantage. And if they are not a trusted partner, why are they your agency anyway?

Happy end of 2016!

 

You’ve signed up for a trade show. Now, what?

You’ve signed up for a trade show.  Now, what? Now we have some Inside Out trade show tips to share:

DO:

Announce to the entire company that you’re attending the show, and tell them why. Tell manufacturing, front desk, human resources… you get it. Everyone counts. Everyone talks. Everyone should feel part of it.

Research the list of companies that have signed to attend, including competitors, customers and prospects. Circulate the findings.

Let your customers and prospects know that you are attending.

Have your social media team circulate the news, and post the announcement on your website. While you are at it, clear the old news.

DON’T:

Underestimate the importance of incorporating your staff’s opinion as you develop the official list of goals and objectives for the show.

Forget to check out how you did the last time your company attended that same show.

Neglect having a professionally written press release ready to hand out to any press member, stating who you are, why are you at the show, whether you’re introducing a new product or service.

Take for granted that the show people will have everything you need; bring extra supplies of scotch-tape, staplers, electrical cords, lightbulbs, spot remover, static-free, magic markers, magic glue, magic drinks.

Not A Business Blog – An Old Superstition And A Wise Saying.

I spent most of my childhood in a ranch, in Uruguay; proverbs, sayings and superstitions were part of the daily diet. How about this one?

If by mistake you wore any garment inside out, your shirt or your sweater maybe, somebody would quickly tell you that for sure, you were going to receive a surprise gift.

I had totally forgotten that old superstition until today, when I sat down to draft a new blog and it suddenly came back to me. And immediately I thought of another saying, this one in English:

“Success is failure turned inside out.”

So between the two of them I got my dose of inspiration and mystery for the weekend, and I am passing it along. And no, you are not supposed to cheat and wear something inside out to force a surprise; it has to happen on its own, by mistake.

Five Reasons For Doing It.

These are the top five; you can probably come up with a few more reasons of your own for why it’s a good idea to operate inside-out. Meaning, to let your own people know about your new product, before you tell the outside world. To tell the reception and phone staff the details about the upcoming promotion, ahead of its launch.

1) THEY ARE NOT BLINDED BY LOVE.

2) THEY COULD BE CLOSER TO THE END USER.

3) IT’S A GOOD DRESS REHEARSAL OF THE REAL LAUNCH.

4) THEY MAY HAVE SEEN SOMETHING SIMILAR IN A PREVIOUS LIFE.

5) THEY’LL FEEL OWNERSHIP.

 

All the roads lead back to it.

“Inside out” is a concept that defies trends and works under different circumstances. I’m reading “Presence, ” the book by Amy Cuddy, exhorting us to watch our body language. She has an impressive amount of scientific evidence showing that how we move, how we sit and how we stand can positively or negatively affect our feelings and our attitude, and therefore, influence how others perceive us and how they relate to us. (An updated take on behaviorism, right?)

The good news is, we are not stuck with our current “inside,” neither as people nor as companies. If it’s not working for us, we can start to change it. And when we’re ready, we’ll show the outside world the new, real us.