The Sweet Escape of Reality

I am addicted to reality TV. Well not all of it.

In my case, the main source of my affliction (and my enjoyment) is NBC’s The Biggest Loser.

I know I am not alone. Millions of people are tuning in each week, making this one of the most popular shows on TV.

But it goes beyond entertainment for me.

I actually feel like I am accomplishing something,  each week as the contestants face difficult challenges and transform their bodies.

What Your Holiday Card Says About Your Brand

‘Ti’s the season to send tidings of comfort and joy.

Many companies engage in the practice of sending holiday greetings (print or increasingly emails) to colleagues, clients, partners and prospects.

But what does your holiday card really say about your brand?

After all, it’s not just a card – it’s a communication vehicle.

And whether you intend it to or not, chances are the greeting you send and even how you send it are communicating more about your brand than you originally intended.

One year, while I was working at Virgin management, we decided to do electronic cards (in line with our desire to do right by the planet when we can) and to re-direct the saved postage as a donation to the Branson School of Economics in South Africa.

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We included a bit of a cheeky message on the front of the card (again on brand) but overall we felt the best way to celebrate the real spirit of the holidays during what was a particularly difficult year for many, was to help others.

I am not saying this is the right solution for everyone.  I’m just illustrating that we spent some time thinking about our messaging and treated the card as a piece of branded communication – which ultimately it is.

Here are two other examples of cards that made a brand impression:

The first was from a friend of mine who runs a PR and Communications company called Fraiche.

Her brand is all about fresh ideas and approaches. Her primary color on her website and marketing materials is a bright and vibrant green – a color which supports her can-do personality and that of her company.

Her holiday card really supported her brand point of view.

Who Says B2B Has to Be Boring?

“It’s easier for Virgin to be innovative, because you’ve got a sexy consumer facing brand.”

I hear this all the time.

Well guess what? That’s not 100% true.

We do a lot of marketing directly to the trade (e.g. travel professionals, financial advisers, HR and benefits executives etc).

And in all this Business to Business communications we don’t check our “Virginity” at the door.

I believe people are people.

Whether they are at home, at work, or at play.

They don’t change their personalities, lose their senses of humor or abandon the brands they admire as soon as they walk into their offices.

Certainly not all of our B2B efforts are successful.  We’ve had our fair share of failures. But usually this is driven by specific market pressures rather than any mistakes we make in communicating to these audiences.

In Business to Business branding, just like consumer branding, you’ve got to go in with a point of differentiation, connect with your audience, and deliver superior value and experiences.

Here’s 5 Quick Tips for Helping B2B Brands Break Through

#1. Say it with Style

I think a lot of brands think they have to speak in a “corporate” tone of voice when communicating to trade targets. I don’t get this. I don’t know anyone who likes to be spoken to like a robot.