What’s the Big Idea, Anyway?
14/03/17 Uncategorized

What’s the Big Idea, Anyway?

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to hear the marketing legend, Todd Brown, speak. If you don’t know Todd, he’s a highly-revered expert in the subject of direct response advertising. More specifically, he’s a master at driving consumers through “funnels” that ultimately lead to product purchase – using copy that leads and entices.


Todd’s message at the conference? The Single Big Idea:


“In order for your marketing message to COMPEL your prospects to act, it must be driven by a SINGLE idea, and that idea must be a BIG idea.”


In further detail, Todd says: “You have to find an idea to base your marketing message on that is arresting, compelling, and intellectually interesting to prospects. You have to find an idea that cuts through the clutter, screams of being new, and fresh, and sucks prospects in and makes them want to learn more. And in the process, you have to refuse to settle for run of the mill, mediocre ideas to base your marketing on.”


A big idea. It sounds so logical, doesn’t it? So simple? So integral to the success of any brand or business?


But it is so often completely over-looked.


I have this discussion of the “big idea” with almost every client who comes through my branding course. I call it the “juju.” But essentially, I’m on the big idea boat with Todd. The “big idea” doesn’t ONLY apply to advertising copy. It applies to branding, in general.


If you’re going to release your brand to the world, it needs to be based on something the world can quickly and easily understand – and then get behind.


Most often, when I ask clients what’s unique or special about them, what they stand for, or what they’ll bring to the market, I get a generalization of what they DO:


“I’m a health coach specializing in gut health.”

“I’m a photographer, focusing on increasing self-esteem for women.”

“I’m a jewelry designer who uses ceramic and metals.”


These are all cool professions. They are not big ideas.


This concept isn’t easy to wrap your head around, and I love to use Dr. Barry Sears as an example here, because he turned an everyday ordinary concept into a single big idea, and the world responded.


That big idea? The Zone Diet:


“The Zone Diet ™ will help you shed excess pounds, dramatically reduce your risk of chronic disease, and improve your mental and physical performance while living a longer more fulfilling life.”


If you visit the Zone Diet website and dig a little deeper into the explanation of Dr. Sears’s big idea, you’ll find a definition:


“Balance your plate at every meal with one third protein, the size and thickness of your palm, two thirds colorful fruit and vegetable carbs, and a dash of fat.”


Ummmm…. Did he just say, “Eat a balanced diet?”


I’m pretty sure he did. And that’s not a big idea at all, is it? That’s just good “adulting,” as far as I’m concerned.


Except that’s not EXACTLY what Dr. Sears said.


What he said was, that if you eat this balanced diet, you’ll be… “In the Zone.”


What happens “In the Zone?”


According to Dr. Sears: “If you are in the Zone ™, you have optimized your ability to control diet-induced inflammation.”


And here’s the best part: “This is a physiological state that can be MEASURED in clinical tests.”


The Zone. ™ BAM.


This was Dr. Sears big idea. And by any standard measure, his brand was a smashing success. He sold more than 2 million copies of his hardcover book, made the New York Times Best Sellers list, and was featured on TV shows just about everywhere. They called him the “diet guru.” He had an entire line of Zone-based nutritional products and supplements, as well.


I was in my early 30’s when The Zone Diet books were flying off the shelves, and I had a friend who literally PREACHED about Balance Bars (the pre-packaged snack that got you right into The Zone.) He would buy them for me and hide them in my brief case, because he was so convinced that my day would blow up (in a good way) when I hit The Zone.


So, why did this work? Why was Dr. Sears able to convince the world that a balanced diet was a novel concept?


Let’s break it down, according to Todd Brown’s definition of the “single big idea.”

  1. Did it cut through the clutter? Fo sho. The Zone was on everyone’s lips.
  2. Was it arresting, compelling and interesting to consumers? Hell, yeah! You tell me: Would you  rather eat a balanced diet, or get into The Zone?
  3. Did Dr. Sears settle for a mediocre, run-of-the-mill message, like “I’m a doctor, and I know it’s good for you to eat a balanced diet because it reduces inflammation?” Nope. Dr. Sears did nothing of the sort. He wrestled with his concept, until he turned it into a big idea.


I offer this as a challenge, for you and for your brand. What’s your big idea? How will you compel your prospects to act? How will you get folks to sit up, take notice, latch on, march behind you, sing your song, and shove your version of the Balance Bar into your co-worker’s mouth?


It’s a lot to think about. But then again, it’s everything, isn’t it?

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Are You Denying Your Inner Chunky Monkey?
01/03/17 Good Juju and Brands that Have It , How to Brand Your Juju , Personal Juju # , , , , ,

Are You Denying Your Inner Chunky Monkey?

Yesterday I had a wonderful question from a participant in Unforgettable U, my online branding program. In effect, she asked, “Juju, what if I tailor my branding and my message to a specific audience, and in doing so, I push away everyone else?”


In essence, she asked, what if I limit my possibilities with my brand?


I love this question, because it gets straight to the heart of truly powerful branding.


Developing an effective brand is an act of bravery.


It involves looking deeply inside yourself – and your business – to identify what you believe, what you stand for, and what you can bring to the world.

It also involves looking deeply into the specific hopes, dreams, fears and frustrations of potential clients or customers.

And most importantly, it involves making a promise that what you deliver will be designed to address those very hopes, dreams, fears and frustrations.


When you do that, you’ll be a serious turn-on for a very specific group. Others will feel lukewarm about your promise or offers. While still others will be turned off, or entirely repelled.


But there’s an important lesson in this:


You will go further, faster, with a smaller group of raving, loyal fans who are committed to you and your message, than with an enormous group who could take it or leave it.


Great branding is kind of like ice cream…


Nearly everyone likes vanilla and chocolate ice cream. If you bring either of these to a birthday party, just about everyone will eat the cake – with the ice cream – and be fine. They may even be satisfied. But they’re not going to talk about the ice cream. They’re not going to say, “Oh, my God!! Who brought the vanilla?!! I love vanilla! I haven’t had vanilla in ages!”


You feel me here, right? No one ever created a “moment” with vanilla ice cream.


On the other hand, if you bring Chunky Monkey (Ben and Jerry’s banana ice cream with fudge chunks and walnuts), there will be folks in the crowd who RAVE over the ice cream. They will come back for second helpings. They will BOND with you over your ice cream choice. They will tell you stories about the first time they ever had Chunky Monkey and how they sneak away to eat it. They will make the most guttural sounds of delight and satisfaction as they lick their spoons and wink at you.


Other people will look at you as though you are insane. They will say things like, “Banana ice cream with cake? Seriously??!! Whose idea was that? Why not just a simple vanilla or chocolate?”


Now, here’s what you need to understand:


You ARE Chunky Monkey. You were BORN Chunky Monkey. We’re ALL Chunky Monkey. Each of us, and each of our businesses, is chock full of DIFFERENCES. Quirks. Specialties. Back stories. Personality characteristics. Beliefs and values. Crazy combinations of FLAVORS!


And If you search deeply enough, and show yourself completely enough, you will likely become polarizing. Some are gonna love ya. Others are gonna leave ya.


You can pretend that you are not Chunky Monkey. You can pretend to be vanilla. Or chocolate. You can water down all the interesting flavors in the hope (which will undoubtedly go unfulfilled) that you will please everyone and offend no one.


But you know what? No one will talk about you after the party.

And the next time you meet the guests who thoughtlessly gobbled your vanilla… they won’t even remember you.


So I invite you – I IMPLORE you – to get your Chunky Monkey on. To work toward ATTRACTING those who love your particular flavor. And to cater JUST to them. You’ll be narrowing your crowd for sure… but they’ll be telling everyone about your exquisite taste long after you’ve left the room.


And if you want to learn more about attraction – more about how to BRING your Chunky Monkey to the party – meet me at a live webinar tomorrow morning (Thursday, 9:00 a.m. Pacific.) We’re going to talk about how to make your target audience LOVE and CRAVE you. Click here to register.

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