Opportunity is Knocking… Will You Open the Door?

The perceptions are not only off target, but way far off target.

The Internet dropped nearly 2 full percentage points from 15.3% of all U.S. retail sales in 2020 to 12.1% of all U.S. retail sales this past 4th quarter of 2021 according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Nearly 3/4th of Americans still access their television viewership on the TV with the programming provided by a cable or satellite access provider… 74.4% to be exact according to Nielsen.

Not only does the vast majority of Americans still use the TV set… during the Pandemic, the time of average viewership has increased by more than a full hour.

I am one of those adults that still watches prime time television made possible by a cable provider.

In doing so, I get exposed to the television ads that air during the commercial breaks.

Last year, I posted a blog about the three best ads I caught that featured Jeep, Publix and Apple.

All three of those brands continue to run great ads that move the needle on viewer engagement and enhanced brand perceptions.

That said, there are a lot of brands that run junk — and that is the least offensive term I can use.

Not only is the format junk, but the format is no different than the competitive ads also running right now.

We hear the term “herd immunity” used in the COVID-19 talk… this is “herd stupidity.”

The mobile phone provider category along with the insurance and banking categories seem to be grabbing for the worst-of-show ad awards.

In terms of mobile phone provider ads… they all are driven by the same high tech Viagra … 5G.

All the ads promote 5G as the answer to all the problems faced with mobile connections. All the ads paint their brand as the pioneer who developed 5G. All the ads promote the geographic scope of 5G.

And, of course, all the ads post claims that their brand is the best, fastest and geographically comprehensive mobile phone provider out there.

As I write this post, all the mobile phone providers are running a $29 per month price promotion and each one of them touts the uniqueness of their promotional deal.

Ask the next person you are standing with in the check-out line what’s that thing the mobile phone providers talk about called 5G and what it translates to as a mobile phone user.

I know that many corporations are still operating in a Pandemic work-remote context, but those marketing teams cannot be all working in a vacuum.

I think AT&T gets the Worst in the Category Award for their ads that feature juvenile store staff that appear to be communicating to kindergarten students in the audience.

And then you have the insurance ads.

The insurance companies and their ad agencies are in hot competition for the dumbest ads running.

They all seem to feature a side-kick spokesperson — or animal spokesperson — caught up in some on-going storyline that has nothing to do with the audience groups nor the insurance they are marketing.

I know… I know… the agencies producing those ads are all aiming to get the insurance brand name planted in the audience headset so that when the audience sees their next premium bill the brand the agency is advertising is the first brand to come-to-mind.

The problem with that thinking set is that those seeing the ads not only remember the insurance company brand name, but also just how stupid was the ad they also recall.

Nearly all the banks run similar content in their ads about the digital tools and apps the bank customers use and the notifications customers get when they run out of money in their accounts.

The ads tout those digital tools but fail to mention the size of the overdraft fees.

EXPERIENCE has worked with SunTrust in the past. I mention that brand name specifically because SunTrust was bought out by BB&T.

Not here to bad-mouth the Carolinas but I can say that BB&T has not been the recipient of any awards for its marketing and advertising in the past.

The merger can easily be illustrated as a marriage of two obese individuals that sit down and consume a gallon of ice cream for dessert each evening. Neither is well-known for innovation or customer care.

The new merged brand is Truist.

The first commercial that just started to air for Truist features a giant rolling ball of junk chasing after a guy attempting to walk down the street. It’s a giant rolling ball of papers, bags, furniture, old clothes and remnants of food.

It concludes with the copy line, “Care is coming back to banking” and the Truist logo with “Truist Cares” positioned below it.

I am not making this up.

An article ran in the Wall Street Journal just after the New Year that a lot of funding was channeling over to small startups.

The article went on to say that only a small share of those startups are high tech or digital firms.

Folks are leaving their jobs to be entrepreneurs and start up new companies and launch new brands.

As this blog post is titled… “Opportunity is knocking.”

If those new entrepreneurs have the courage to leave their past careers and take the risk to venture beyond the comfort of those past corporate, high-salary jobs, I would encourage those of you reading this blogpost still in those corporate jobs to have the courage to challenge the conventionality of your brand.

If you are in one of these categories — mobile telecom, insurance or banking and we can add into the mix healthcare, hospitality, HBA, pharmaceuticals — you can catapult your brand by simply being brave enough to break free from the conventionality of your competition.

If you are in a C-level position reading this blogpost, you need to take a moment and Google your brand and your competition and print out the home pages.

Lay what you print out across your desk along with your own brand’s home page. And ask yourself the simple question, “what is unique about our brand?”

Daily I hear the media report on some new gloom and doom ahead. How the marketplace will slow down and not recover for years to come. How small businesses are closing their doors.

The news media today is not known for their expertise in reporting fact and truth anymore.

The trends driving 2022 represent opportunity.

Yes… you have to be brave to open the door. You have to be brave to stand before your brand management and say it’s time to break out of the competitive closet of rational and conventional brand claims.

It involves taking the risk and shutting down the self-declaring copy flow of talking all about you and instead connecting your brand with the experiential emotions of those using it.

The bottom line is simple.

If you don’t open that door, one of those new entrepreneurs will.

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Mark Kooyman

Mark Kooyman

CEO & Discovery Chief at EXPERIENCE Insight Group, Inc. In the business to discover and craft brand experiences that humans seek out and engage in.