RIGHT RISK. Should you give Jim Davidson carte blanche on your Social Media channels?

Trump’s success in the U.S is staggering. But is there anything marketing can learn from this? The Blogfather delves and decides, whilst also pondering risk.

Two interesting articles got my attention this week. I’ll share them with you in due course, but read my blog to the end first before navigating away so as not to wreck my Opta dwell time stats, if that’s OK. Thanks.

Anyway, the first article was on Donald Trump’s frightening success in the U.S election race thus far, and whether there is anything we can take from this into marketing. Being politically incorrect and then some has got Trump onto the doorstep of the White House. Whether he proceeds to shit on it remains to be seen, but clearly there is little to be gained from employing an extreme Trump-esque rhetoric to your communications, unless you are a satirical publication. Or Paddy Power.

We’ve blogged on courting controversy to garner more attention before, but one lesson to definitely be learned is that people have had enough of politicians using a lot of words to ultimately say nothing, and sit on the fence. This is something marketers can always have a refresher on; concise, impactful communication will help you create standout from the mass of mediocrity.

The Trump article also makes the point that “Emotion beats Reason”. (It reminds of Drayton Bird’s wisdom “lead with benefits, not features”.) There’s a lot of truth in this, and you only have to look at what the banking sector is currently doing in their advertising. There seems to be a policy of, ‘whatever you do, don’t mention we actually do banking.’ Lloyds have gone for a Black Beauty meets War Horse emotional heart string tug, Halifax have conceded to The Flintstones huge fee and crazy demands, whilst Natwest have given us this in the last few weeks:

It’s actually a good piece, but you could be forgiven for thinking it’s an advert for a newspaper. It’s understandable why banks aren’t talking about their services and going for the human emotion route, as no one trusts them. And rightly so. The Blogfather was appallingly advised by the Halifax in the 2008 crash, as to whether to keep his laundered protection money in a high risk ISA. Morally questionable bastards.

Talking of high risk, the second article was this perfect little nugget by Richard Shotton. It draws a great comparison between the psychology of the decisions a goalkeeper makes when in the firing line of a penalty shootout, and the decision making process of marketers.

In debating the choice to fail conventionally or succeed unconventionally it concludes, “The study blames the misalignment of interests between the goally and the team. The goalkeeper is interested in making a save but also not looking a fool. (Despite being twice as likely to save the penalty by standing still) They know that most of their fellow goalkeepers dive and that if they concede a goal while following a different set of tactics they’ll be culpable in the eyes of the manager. So the keeper, interested in protecting his lucrative career, follows the herd and dives.”

Sadly, we’ve all been in those frustrating New Biz meetings. Whilst risk aversion in the current climate is understandable, the client sometimes openly admits that they know what they do doesn’t work, but it’s dictated more by what can get signed off than what actually delivers value/return.

‘We’ll run a bog standard Direct Mail campaign, if it works, great, but if it doesn’t, well no one really expects DM to work any more anyway, so we won’t look stupid.”

It’s Shotton’s goalkeeper who hopelessly dives left into failure whilst not looking silly. Not quite that oft quoted and overused definition of insanity, but certainly an approach that won’t get you very far.

We take creative risks at Gasp. We have, on rare occasions failed (an outrageously ambitious risotto springs to mind). But we’re not afraid to admit that, nor to fail, and more often than not we succeed, and succeed well. You only have to take a look at our work to see that.

You can go have a peruse now. You’ve dwelt here long enough.

Unto our next meeting.

The Blogfather is the in-house, forthright opinion maker at Gasp; a full service, family-run marketing agency based in Wokingham. If you like his way with words, there is a good chance you will see something to your liking on Gasp’s website, so feel free to pop over for a peruse here.

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