I was recently interviewed by Doresa Banning for the Nevada Business Journal about Social Media and business. It was an enjoyable experience. Some of it was just thoughts on some of the major players: Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter. We talked a little about best practices, including social media policies for HR. And even a little about the future of social media.
Archive for Nevada
A slight departure tonight from my typical marketing chatter, social media blabber and senseless rants. The past couple of days in Reno (Nevada), our community was devastated by fires that damaged dozens of homes (many now unlivable), threatened dozens more and evacuated approximately 2,000 residents from their homes. Fierce winds caused the fire to spread quickly and made it challenging to fight.
Firstly, my heart truly goes out to the victims of this fire. The community has been affected by a number of disasters as of late (train crashes, plane crashes, shootings, senseless deaths, etc). And, as we’ve seen a lot of lately, the community has pulled together and truly behaved as a “community” in terms of support for one another.
But, that’s not necessarily what this article is about, either. It’s about the value of peace of mind. Many people were evacuated from their homes and spent most of those first 24 hours with no idea whether or not their home was still standing or decimated by fire. The uncertainty is almost as painful as the reality. I received notice in the afternoon (while I was at work, in the office) that there was a small fire near my house. I wasn’t immediately concerned, as my house was not near the massive fires that were burning south Reno. But strong winds were blowing embers all over the city and starting small fires. I thought to myself, “there’s no way my house is in danger.” But, as only a few minutes passed, my imagination flared up. I pictured my neighborhood in the same condition as the images I was seeing of the massive fires in south Reno. I pictured my dogs trapped and surrounded in flames. I pictured the collection of memories burning to the ground and my life changing entirely. I couldn’t stand it any more. What if I had just sat there in the office while my neighborhood burned? I jumped in my car and headed home to check on things. Before I get any further, I need to tell you that firefighters responded very quickly to the fire, which was about two blocks from my house, and were able to extinguish it. Crisis averted.
My point in all of this is that the power of peace of mind really sunk in with me. One of the things that make mankind so progressive, beautiful and inventive is our imaginations. They’re extremely powerful. We can see and experience things that may never be. The “dark side” of this is that when we’re unsure of something, our imaginations can paint a hundred scenarios and some of those scenarios cause us to worry. And some of that worry can become so intense that it consumes us and distracts us. My mind raced when I thought there was a chance my house was on fire. I cannot express the level of relief I had when I pulled up and spoke to the firefighter that told me everything would be fine. I cannot express the level of relief I had when I found out my friends were safe and their homes were OK.
There is so much power in peace of mind.
I understand why people spend the money they do to have peace of mind – whether that’s with safety, investments, insurance, justice or otherwise. When we know for sure, we’re relieved. We remove the torture that our beautiful minds are capable of creating. We all fret about something at some point. We have all imagined a scenario or several scenarios to stand in for knowing for sure. Those companies and people that deal in the industry of peace of mind are in a fortunate position. I’ve found myself understanding why we seek the solace of peace of mind, at most any cost.
Hey all. Just a quick link to an article from the Reno Gazette Journal that talks about the RSCVA tagline that I wrote about last month. It shares some decent quotes/perspectives about the challenges of coming up with a good tagline, and a reminder that the tagline is only a small part of the branding. I also couldn’t agree more with the idea presented in the RGJ article that approval by a committee often leads to a watered-down, lame tagline, logo, brochure, TV ad, brand, whatever. Try to avoid making eye contact with the comments on the article – they’re not overly impressive.
For the past year, the RSCVA has been conducting research to best understand their target drive and fly markets (mostly Bay Area/Sacramento/etc for the drive markets, and southern California for the fly markets). They identified a couple of segments of those markets that made the most sense to target with a campaign – those who hadn’t been to the Reno/Sparks/Tahoe area before, and those who had been here before, but not for a while. Through their research, they discovered what we all pretty much already knew – these markets view the area as offering gambling exclusively. Astutely, the RSCVA recognizes that people will gamble once they’re here, but gambling alone is no longer enough to get them here.
For the past seven years (or so), the RSCVA has worked to position the Reno/Sparks/Tahoe area as “America’s Adventure Place.” While the area does offer a remarkable number of outdoor and indoor adventures, it was apparently too much of a disconnect for people to rip them away from visions of blackjack and divorce. Ultimately, it didn’t help the decline in visitors to the area for the past 11 years now.
The new brand positioning was described as “refreshingly offbeat.” It’s referring to the idea that the Reno/Sparks/Tahoe area is a little quirky, fun, unique and proudly unapologetic for being so. I think this brand positioning can work. When a small group of us were given a sneak peak at the positioning last week, I told Michael Thomas (Executive Director of Marketing) and Ellie Oppenheim (President/CEO) that I thought the positioning would resonate – it would just come down to execution. The positioning of being “refreshingly offbeat” is not untrue. I think we can all accept that this position accurately describes Reno/Sparks/Tahoe. And that’s what a brand needs to give it a fighting chance. It can’t be overly ambitious. It can’t be such a wide disconnect from what exists in people’s minds currently. A brand only exists in people’s hearts and minds. A brand is not a logo. A brand is not a tag line. A brand is composed of the images/thoughts/feelings that are conjured up in the hearts and minds of people when they interact with you/your brand. So, I applaud the RSCVA for understanding and really embracing the reality of one of the brand positions this area can really own. There are certainly others, but this is an absolutely attainable brand position that our region can own. But, again, it comes down to execution.
That being said, the RSCVA and their marketing partner (Mortar) presented some of the creative execution to the Board today to help them position Reno/Sparks/Tahoe as “refreshingly offbeat. Among the creative was a new logo for the area. Noticeably different than the previous logo, in that it graphically separates Reno and Tahoe. This was borne from research that the drive markets don’t buy in to the idea that Reno and Tahoe are one area. They view them as distinctly different. One of the people interviewed in RSCVA’s research said, “It’s not Reno-Tahoe any more than it’s SanFrancisco-Monterey.” Interestingly, the further you get away from Reno and Tahoe, the more people were apt to accept it as one region. In other words, folks in LosAngeles are cool with thinking of the area as Reno-Tahoe. So, the RSCVA didn’t want to abandon reference to Tahoe altogether, but needed to separate the two for the drive markets.
The new logo feels a bit retro for me, but I think it can grow on me. I don’t really love the “USA” part of the logo, though. I’m not sure why they felt that needed to be a part of the logo, but I’m hoping they had a good reason based in research.
Among the other creative execution revealed, was a few sample ads, and then the tag line of, “A Little West of Center.” Again, the tag line is not the brand, but it’s meant to serve as a memorable phrase that encompasses the brand positioning. I don’t adore the tag line, and the Board was pretty split on it, as well. In fact, the brand positioning was accepted by the Board, but they rejected the tag line, asking Mortar and the RSCVA to try again. Bummer. I’ve been in that position, where we excitedly present creative work to a Board, and some love it and others hate it. I’ll be interested to see what they come up with and how well the next round is received.
As I mentioned earlier, the success of this campaign will not be attributed to the logo and the tag line (the two things people put the most focus on), but rather the full execution of the brand campaign, which includes a number of integrated marketing communications components such as public relations, communication channel selection, engagement of locals (we ARE the brand in many ways), copywriting, using social media and word-of-mouth, and of course the infrastructure to come through on our brand promises of offering quirkiness and unique events. Stay tuned, folks. Oh, and visit Reno, Tahoe, USA : )
Here’s the link to my presentation from the Nevada Interactive Media Summit today. Thanks for all of you who attended – please let me know how you liked it. I hope you learned a lot.
I came across this outstanding blog called This is Why You’re Fat, which asks people to submit photos of food they find that is just blatantly unhealthy. I’ll admit, some of the food on this blog made me really hungry (like the 60-pound Rice Krispy Treat, or the Corndog Pizza). Most of the foods included bacon (Wolfy, there’s a lot of new recipes for you to try).
But, after getting through six pages of fat-laden foods, it really made me think about the people eating these foods. Now, I’ve never counted calories in my entire life, but it can be pretty obvious which foods are healthy, and which aren’t. Americans are among the most obese people in the world. Part of the reason for this is sedentary lifestyle, part of it is diet. It’s kind of scary. I tapped into some research – some of the visual results are below. One is a chart of the U.S. that breaks out the percentage of obese adults in each state. The other is an animated gif that shows the progression of obesity in the U.S. since 1985 (you may have to click the image to get it to the animated version).
I’ll keep checking the blog to marvel at the kinds of things that people are eating. But, jeez – something’s gotta change if we’re ever going to reverse this obesity epidemic in the United States.