Day 2, Empower MSP Scottsdale, General Session—Scott Stratten, president, UnMarketing. Empower MSP Scottsdale took place at JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona, on September 18 and 19, 2018.
Stratten set the tone of his presentation with a powerful opening statement: “This is my world—unmarketing, unselling, and unbranding. What I mean by that is that we are branding, selling, and marketing in ways people don't think is marketing. I don't talk about marketing classically. I don't talk about putting an ad out somewhere. I talk about when people see your brand, your face, your name, what do they think? Because whatever your customer thinks, that's the correct assumption. I don't care what you think of your company. I care about what your customer thinks about your company.”
He then went on to explain psychologists believe we do two things when we see a brand: “We think of our most recent experience with that brand, and we think of the most extreme experience with the brand we've had or heard—and that can change. No brand is immune to shifting opinion.”
Using the Ritz Carlton as an example, he showed how a story can change the perception of a brand for the better: The story of Joshie, the stuffed giraffe. Joshie was left by a child at the Ritz Carlton Amelia Island Resort in Florida when the family flew home to Phoenix. “The father did what any good father would do in this scenario and he lied to his son and he said that Joshie was on an extended vacation,” explained Stratten. “He then called the Ritz Carlton to discover they had found Joshie rolled up in the sheets and somebody working in the hotel laundry had taken him to the front desk. The front desk person took it from there and not only did they find him and overnight him back to the waiting child at no charge—they also took photos of his extended vacation.”
He continued: “So now when you see the Ritz Carlton logo, give me a word that comes to mind. Awesome. Compassion. Right? So you see that your view of a brand can change from a story, a story that didn't happen to you. My favorite part about the story is that the authors aren't the VP of marketing or the CEO. It's a front desk clerk and a laundry worker.”
Stratten explained that it’s your people that create your brand. “In the Ritz Carlton example, what do you think the father did when he got the package with Joshie? He told everybody he possibly could. He couldn't wait to tell people,” he said. “I want you providing service that people cannot wait to talk about. Branding is not an exercise we look at quarterly or yearly. It has to be every phone call, every email, every site visit, every lack of a site visit—whatever it is, that's branding. Not let's figure out what we're going to do with our logo right now. Not let's figure out if we should change this article on our website. Branding is what people think you are.”
The next stop in Stratten’s presentation was Millennials. “Okay, I'm going to translate for you what us older people are actually saying when we say the term Millennials. What we mean is ‘people younger than us…and we don't like you.’” However, he went on: “One of the things that Millennials have done, which I'll give them credit for, is they've combined two groups together that I never thought would be hand-in-hand, Xers and Boomers. We all didn't get along for a very long time.”
He then recounted an article from Newsweek:
“I'm fed up with the ceaseless carping on of a handful of self-indulgent, spoiled, overgrown adolescents. This is a generation that was raised with the highest standard of living in the history of the world. We have a generation whose every need has been catered to since birth. Now, when they finally face adulthood, they expect the gift giving to continue, but the whiners want everything. Now, a generation raised on the principle of instant satisfaction simply can't understand the concept of long-term planning and deferred gratification. What's their reaction when they don't get what they want? That's right. They throw a tantrum. Most people live ordinary lives of quiet desperation, stuck in under distinct jobs. They're afraid to lose. If you want more than that, move out of your parents' house. Just start working and for Heaven’s sake, stop whining.”
According to Stratten, this article was actually first published on October 30, 1993. “So Millennials,” he said. “I got your back. Why do I have your back? Because 25 years ago, we were the Millennials.”
As Stratten went on to explain, the pace of change has increased over the past two generations and the next generation will have grown up with disruption and just see it as life. “This means we need fresh minds,” he said. “We need people who think, ‘You know what—why do we do it this way?’ and if your answer is that's because we've always done it, then we're the problem. It's no longer good enough because somebody else will just do it better, which is why innovation usually happens outside of a company to it. Uber was not invented by people from the taxi industry. Airbnb was not invented by people in the hotel industry.”
Finally, Stratten set out the three types of clients everyone has: ecstatic, static, and vulnerable. “Ecstatic clients are the ones you've been giving your wonderful services to for years,” he said. “Static ones are the ones in the middle, they're fine. If you ever hear the word fine, you're in trouble. Fine is the great conversation ender. Fine is I don't want to talk about this. You know what I want to ask them? Stop, start, continue.” Stratten highlighted three questions you should ask your customers: What should we stop doing, what should we start doing, and what should we continue doing to ensure that we are your provider?
“The problem is we don't want to hear it. We don't want to hear what we should stop doing or start doing, but to continue is a good part. The worst type of client feedback in your business is one you do not hear, then things fester and what happens is that's when static goes down to vulnerable. The worst segment to be in is Static. That's means they are apathetic to your brand and vulnerable to moving to a competitor. They may even already be out the door, and it's really hard to win them over. So focus on that middle third, which is actually usually about 80% of most business, and move them up into ecstatic.”
To find out more about Scott Stratten and listen to his enlightening and entertaining podcasts, go to Unmarketing.com
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