What Are Your ‘ADS’ Saying?

There is a proverb that states “Life and death are in the power of the tongue”...
What Are Your ‘ADS’ Saying?

I am concerned that business today needs a character fix. The missing elements of corporate character are the cause of the obvious and not so obvious problems we see today. I am less concerned with the visible accounting scandals, fraud, kickbacks & insider trading issues. They are only the symptoms. I am more concerned about the ones with the deep-seated attitudes of “we’re too right to be wrong” or covering up by giving away some money. This column is designed to be just like a good sermon, in that, if you are squirming in your seat or getting angry, this preacher is doing his job.

Formidable Power of the Tongue !
There is a proverb that states “Life and death are in the power of the tongue”. Given that wisdom, what your corporate tongue ( Your ads or other marketing communications material) is saying causes life or death in every area of your company. By the way, you can say a lot by saying nothing at all ! Now, if what you are saying produces life or death, it only makes sense that you had better be very careful about what you say. Yes, you should have listened more carefully to what your communications people (inside and outside) have been trying to tell you. You thought they just wanted to spend money. Well, not listening has cost you far more. The truth is, if your people, your consultants and your suppliers don’t stand for the truth and a best practices mentality, fire them. Then, fire yourself for going along with them !

Let me ask you some questions. Do you properly train your people to deliver what you promise through your marketing communications material? Do you do what you say you are going to do? How effective are you at knowing what your customer or prospect wants? What are you more concerned about, the bottom line or customers? Do your people make decisions based on what is best for them, the company or the customer? Does your advertising state who you are or who you want to be?

To say or not to say…
One element missing in corporate character is TRUTH. People today are afraid of the truth. You cannot tell the truth because you will hurt someone’s feelings. You cannot tell the truth because you will get fired. You cannot tell the truth because we’ll lose readers, listeners, viewers or voters. We go out of our way not to upset people but succeed anyway. Here is an example of a small but very damaging element to corporate character. You call and get the voice mail. That pleasant voice says they will call you right back. Still waiting aren’t you. The truth is, it is rude. Does this behavior give you the image of a professional person or organization? Image is everything! But remember, EVERYTHING is image!

Trust – has to be Earned :
TRUST is next element that is missing. Trust is earned, not given. Why is customer loyalty so valuable? It is earned. Why is satisfaction so fleeting? It is usually bought.

No loyalty program has its roots in pricing. Loyalty is a service driven value.

People do not trust advertising because of years of over- promise and under- delivery. People have entertained, joked or been foolish in their campaigns and it shows. The jewellery industry amazes me because of what it doesn’t say. If the only thing you have to say about your product is a large photo of 2 rings and a logo, you are in trouble. You want people to spend thousands on your product but you are unwilling to spend a thousand for a model or the right location. What does that say ?

Failing to inspire, it is no surprise that people cannot remember the advertiser. Outrageous ads that seek to break through the clutter will be met with a determined response. That response will be rejection. The day is coming where the purchase decision on what you are selling will be based on your proven corporate character. In fact, it is already here and most people involved in the communications business don’t know it.

Reaping What you have Sown :
We operate in information overload and we place such high expectations on a small amount of communication. If I see a 30-second commercial 10 times in three days, that only amounts to five minutes. Can you tell me all I need to know to make an informed decision about anything in five minutes? Or better yet, open a jewellery book and to the trade all the ads look alike. The net conclusion is there is no difference in suppliers. There is an old saying, “I know half of my communications program is working but my problem is I don’t know what half”. We are reaping what we have sown.

The last element missing is RESPECT. We are both, fearful of and numb to our responsibility to each other. If you respected me, why would you create a message that talks down to me? Why won’t you tell me all that I need to know? Why do we try to reduce everything to its lowest common denominator? Why do you say one thing and do another? Why?

What Attracts Women ?
When we look to reach out to women to influence the purchase or buy jewellery, we need to remember that women buy benefits and men but features. Women will always be more attracted to the destination than how they get there. So, showing a product on a person will always draw more women. And the person that it is on does not have to be a supermodel or an actress. Current research shows more women are attracted to attractive “real” people.

The answer lies in our motives. If the last 20 years are marked by clawing your way to the top, watching out for number one, winning is the only thing and winning at all costs, then your corporate attitudes are purely selfish. They promote no interaction or recognition of relationship, with your retailers or the consumer. You can claw, watch and win all you want but you do not make it alone. A wise man once told me that the biggest lie ever told is the one you tell yourself. What big lie have you told yourself? A person of character will find out and change.

Take a Look Inside Yourself :
Companies are the reflections of their people. Take a look inside you before you start looking outside. Most sales problems are internal, not external. In other words, it isn’t they aren’t buying, it is that you aren’t giving them reason to buy. Subject each of your personal and corporate objectives to scrutiny. Here is the best advice. Don’t be afraid to be wrong. Being wrong is the best reason to change. It will make you more transparent and when you become transparent, you have nothing to hide. That is where corporate character is found. It is found in you.

Jerry Moore, the author is Director of Client Services at Duvenjian in Los Angeles, CA. Duvenjian is the leading marketing communications agency focused exclusively on the jewellery industry. He can be reached at jerry@duvenjian.com or 323-850-3449.

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