Thursday, April 7, 2011

FREE, A Celebrity Endorsement

I have been working for several weeks on the repositioning of Ricky Farmer’s business, Precious Memories, Private Pet Cremations. He is the winner of the America’s Marketing Makeover contest on the Big Biz Show. I am the giver of the now somewhat well known makeover. You can follow it on the CBS Radio network as well as syndicated TV stations across America.

The reason I selected this business is simply because I thought it is unusual and sensitive enough to create viewer interest. I was right. I’m told ratings are up.

One positioning element I introduced to Ricky’s selling proposition is the endorsement. I did so with good reason. It’s based on an insight we discovered a little over a year ago. One of the exercises we do when working on creating new selling propositions is to take the strongest of each communication element and force consumers to choose between them based on how important each is to them. You may want to check this out with your sales message because chances are you are not taking advantage. If your competition is doing so, you are likely suffering. The good news is that the reverse is also true.

While doing the exercise, we typically include brand names, sub-brand names, generic descriptors, benefits, attribute drivers, key graphics, endorsements and so on. What we discovered is that consistently among the strongest elements are the benefit and the endorsement. This is contrary to the popular belief. If you were able to poll 100 brand, marketers most would say the brand name, sub-brand name or a key attributes are the most important. My experience is that I have not seen that in well over fifty projects where we have conducted the exercise.

My initial thought was to ask Ricky to solicit testimonials from ten of his clients. He did so and they were great. After thinning them out we selected three that we have included in his selling proposition. During the process, I remember thinking several times that it would be great if Ricky had worked with a celebrity who would write a testimonial but never perused it given his business resides in Cleveland, Georgia. Cleveland is approximately seventy miles outside of Atlanta. Here comes the breakthrough.

On another project, one of my sons was working with a famous quote from Buddha. He was considering using it as an inspirational element. It suddenly occurred to me, that if properly used, a famous quote might be a great way to convey a meaningful and relevant thought by a famous source. A quick call to our attorneys and we realized that all those well-known quotes are considered “public domain”. Moving forward, we found these three that seemed appropriate for the business of “Private Pet Cremations.” Which one would you use?

1) The value of a society is based upon its kindness to animals. -Albert Schweitzer

2) The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated. –Gandhi

3) The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man. –Charles Darwin

I thought number three was far and away the best but we chose number one. Number three was eliminated because the majority of our team were concerned that Darwin would be viewed negatively in that part of the world. Chalk it up to a fear of religious intolerance. I guess it is possible but I loved what he said. I guess what is most important here is that the cover of Ricky’s brochure will contain the Schweitzer quote so he has what can be considered a celebrity third party endorsement and it will cost him nothing.

Now, go Google “famous quotes your category” and see if you can put a celebrity to work for you. Good luck!

Keith Chambers

Keynote Marketing Speaker
Creative Marketing Consultant
(310) 473-0010

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