If Shel Silverstein Was Your CMO
By Mary Aviles
If Shel Silverstein was your CMO everyone would hug instead of tug and everyone would giggle and roll on the rug. In his 1974 poem Hug O’ War, it’s only by embracing the positive that “Everyone wins.”
Psychologist Ed Diener found that people who have positive experiences most often tend to be the happiest (paraphrasing, Harvard Business Review). So, following that logic, the brands that make people happiest the most often should be those brands that people are more likely to love.
Yet, frequently brands reach for the negative in their campaigns. Think about the barrage of “you’ll-be-eating-tuna-if-you-don’t-get-serious-about-saving-for-your-retirement” messaging that is common practice in the financial services industry. Or, consider the recent Cheat Death campaign that ultimately cost the Caromont Health CEO his job. While the sentiment was right and the approach was attention-getting, the verbiage was anything but and the attention received was the worst kind.
The thing is, there’s nothing differentiating about disaster marketing. Anyone can do it. Perhaps that’s why so many do.
On the other hand, the truly remarkable brands are the ones that inspire, the helpers, the time savers. Those that motivate are the brands that more often focus on the positive, are action-oriented and consistently deliver positive experiences, either emotionally or functionally (but preferably both).
I love what these brands are doing:
– Coca-cola is buying the city of Chicago 50,000 recycling containers
– Panera Bread donates leftover bread at the end of the day and actively markets several other anti-hunger activities
– Freshii is making it easier to eat healthy fast food, even for business travelers, by opening up locations in airports and in large hotel lobbies
– Disney is reminding us about life in the now, embracing what’s right in front of us, while we can
– MD Andersen is Making Cancer History (another way to Cheat Death, no?)
HBR has also suggests that the happiest people pursue the most difficult problems. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the happiest brands did that as well?
How often are you making your customers happy? If the answer’s not “all the time” do you know what you should be doing differently?