By KEN GASQUE
Over generations Labrador Retrievers (or insert the dog of your choice because it is universal) have honed their skills at an art form that we humans call marketing and advertising. You can observe month old puppies already applying branding tactics that will serve them all of their life. They know instinctively the basics:
• Show up
• Pay attention
• Don’t Quit
Labs show up. Labs recognize the first principal of marketing and advertising is to show up. Nothing can be had if you are not in the game. Labs are experts at showing up. They show up exuding enthusiasm and an outrageously positive attitude. They are ready for the game and willingly take on the challenge of converting their target audience to a loyal customer.
Labs are well designed (as are all dogs) – sleek and athletic (the young ones). Labs know “we buy with our eyes.” This is why they master cute tricks and clever bumbling maneuvers. They know that with their sleek coats, quizzical looks and intense brown eyes they can charm the most hesitant consumer.
They are also masters at using their eyes. Labs will make eye contact and stay focused for what seems like hours until they get what they want, which is usually part of my steak dinner. Labs know that the way to our heart and our steak is through their eyes. They know the power of staying focused. In all fairness I must say that this power of focus is not unique to Labs. We have cats that can communicate just as well but with a different message. Their message is more “I’m hungry and it is your function to feed me, now!”
Labs differentiate. Labs understand that they must differentiate themselves and this is difficult if you are a black Lab. You’re handsome, sleek and shiny but you look just like every other black Lab. They have to develop creative strategies to distinguish themselves. Sometimes it is a unique feature or unusual talent. They may stand on their hind legs to greet you or raise a paw to indicate a thank you for dinner or to remind you that dinner has not yet been served. They might even bring their bowl to you and remind you that it is past dinnertime. Or if it is early in the morning they know when a heavy bowl is dropped from the top of the stairs it will create enough noise to wake everyone in the house. Once a Lab finds a way to differentiate themselves they perfect it. They claim it as their own. This is where they plant their flag and they never quit demonstrating this differentiation because they know this is part of their brand.
Labs pay attention. They listen to every word that their target audience has to say. They listen to understand. They don’t understand many words but they have a keen understanding of tone of voice and body language. They have developed the patience to listen for the real meaning and insights to their target audience.
Labs focus on the insights they have learned. It gives them a better understanding of how to help their target audience. A Lab will sense a change in moods and nudge the target audience with a cold wet nose to get a pat on the head or a stroke on the neck. They know that this helps the target audience to relieve stress and change moods. They know that their focus helps to build a bond between them and their target audience. They call it ‘staying in touch.’
Labs don’t quit. They are consistent with their message. They greet the target audience with all the enthusiasm they can muster even if the target audience has only been absent for a few hours. They wag their tails and their whole bodies to communicate their message – “I love you man and I’m here to serve.” Their message is simple, easy to understand and consistent.
They have a plan (even if it is as simple as “I’m going to show him I care” – they have a plan). They show up. They differentiate. They develop a unique way to deliver a consistent message. But most of all they know a brand is a promise and they always deliver on their promise. They don’t quit.
Effective marketing, advertising, social media and word of mouth have several fundamental rules. 1. Show up, be seen and participate (know what your brand is before you show up). 2. Differentiate yourself in a way that is meaningful to your audience. 3. Pay attention to your audience, talk to them, ask them questions and LISTEN. 4. Don’t quit. Sometimes it is the forth or seventh touch that makes the connection. It’s all about ‘staying in touch.’
Labs advertise…it pays.
Ken Gasque is president of Gasque Marketing and Advertising a brand development and marketing planning company in West Columbia. He can be reached at email@example.com follow Ken on Twitter @Gasque and on LinkedIn.