Being Memorable

by Trudy on June 22, 2012

It is most unfortunate when a client learns that their communications effort and investment is not sticking. But I am sad to say, that many hours and dollars are poured into communications of all kinds every day that just do not work hard enough. This is frustrating for all involved.

My personal opinion is that not enough effort is spent upfront to figure out what needs to be memorable by whom, and how best to do that. More people than not are more comfortable spending on creative and media than the insight that will make a lesser investment work better, but I digress. That is for another day.

The fact of the matter is that every day business and work goes on, and in reality gathering insight every time is just not realistic. So, what CAN we rely upon to create communication that is memorable?

There exists a good body of brain theory around encoding, and how it is the first step to creating a memory. We find this very valuable to clients that are trying to break through with messages (which they all are!!).

The concept centres on the idea that the most vivid memories we hold and recall, are memories of emotional events. Think about what stands out and endures in terms of your own memories. For me they are moments of great joy and loss, events that cut to my core and that I feel deeply.

The intensity of an experience aids in encoding, or laying down a memory. This is important to remember when you have the choice between the safe road and a more bold approach. Bold will always be more memorable. But of course, this is the time to say, bold still means being responsible, truthful and authentic. We are not talking about sensationalizing here.

Know what emotion you are trying to evoke, and make that happen. Emotion is what intensifies an experience. Proof being; remember that last stats filled meeting you were in recently? Yah, I thought not. If we are not creating a feeling, we have not done enough.

Connect your information to something that is already known. The pathways are already set and this makes it easier for your brain to know how to process this information, and for you to retrieve it.

And take a page from the pros in advertising and utilize tools like storytelling, visuals and personalization. This increases meaning and relevance.

As we prepare to present some data, this is a good reminder to us to tell the story as much as the numbers. I hope this helps you expend your effort more effectively today too.


But I Know it is a Great Idea

by Karen on October 14, 2011

Have you ever had a great idea, and maybe even had the opportunity to implement, but it didn’t take off like you expected or promised?  It has happened to me and I kept trying to explain myself to the audiences.  Why it was a great solution for the customer.  How it was good for profits.  How and why operations, sales and customer service teams should support it.  And, needless to say, always defending it to the executive team.

For years (yes years!) it just didn’t take off.  Was the idea ahead of its time?  Perhaps, but that still means it was not the right idea to implement and should have been pulled sooner.  Was the support team fighting it because it was new?  Perhaps, but that means the benefits weren’t compelling or the processes required to operate and manage it were too complex.  If it was truly a good idea, customers and employees would have pulled it through.

I kept pushing and promoting the service because the idea was grounded in sound customer research and I could see the long-term competitive advantage it would create.  However, the problem (it turns out) was that the service was just too complex for both internal and external stakeholders to grab on to.

In the end, we paired back the offering to its bare bones, stakeholders took to it, and then the users and buyers began pulling for the next level options. (I never said “I told you so.”)

The learning boils down to respecting and understanding the rational and emotional needs of your audiences. Make sure your audience is ready for your “great” idea, you just cannot push it and expect results.  And if it is too big to explain from the start, break it down into smaller bites.  If it truly is a winner, the stakeholders will move it forward.  Finally, move ego out of the way and admit you weren’t listening carefully enough and went too far in the beginning.  Ouch!


Customer Experiences

by Vicki on May 27, 2011

Over the past nine months, my husband and I have bought, gutted and renovated a house. Believe me when I say this scale of renovation is not for the weak of heart! Through this experience, we were exposed to a whole spectrum of service and product providers. Many of these providers have met and exceeded expectations. A few have truly disappointed.

The biggest disappointers (by far!!) have been stair and railing companies. We have worked with two and our experiences with both companies have been awful – terrible communication, failure to deliver on-time, mistakes in terms of the product (i.e., mis-measures), failure to show up when promised, deliveries left in snow banks…I could go on forever but I’m sure you get the point.

Whenever I encounter a less than stellar consumer experience, I always think about how the service provider could improve his/her offering. The improvements are often quick and easy to implement and relatively painless. For example:

  • Only promise what you can deliver
  • Deliver what you promise – always
  • Take the comments of your customers seriously
  • Communicate
  • Show appreciation for your customer – they are the reason you are in business

This experience has also deepened my respect for those organizations who have sought out PROVOKE’s expertise to gain insight into their customers/stakeholders. There is much to be gained but it takes guts and a commitment to openness to truly listen to and act upon what your customers/stakeholders have to say*.

So, hats off to those organizations who truly respect, appreciate and listen to their customers. To the others, please come and finish my railings!

*For those of you who do not know, one of PROVOKE’s main methods of gathering insight is to conduct one on one, confidential qualitative interviews with customers/stakeholders. How do we do it? We pre-book telephone interviews with customers/stakeholders, call them at a given time, and talk with them to understand what their experience has been with a given organization. This method allows us to collect deeply relevant insights for our clients in a non-obtrusive way, allows the client to hear the unedited experience of their customers/stakeholders AND the customers/stakeholders truly feel (and actually are) heard. Empowering stuff.


Bring your Team in Early

April 1, 2011

I attended a MRIA (Marketing Research and Intelligence Association) luncheon last week on how insight, research and judgment work together to support branding initiatives.   The presenter shared her experience and perspective and challenged the audience on numerous approaches.  The presenter is a big fan of getting everyone involved in research and in particular, group insight […]

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Risky Business

February 18, 2011

I’ve been on the buying side and the “we’re for sale” side of corporate purchases.  Through the extensive due diligence efforts witnessed when on the “for sale” side, I was shocked at how little all but one of the 10+ organizations that put us through the due diligence ringer looked at customer, employee and supplier […]

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