What's your story?


by Val Jereb, VP/Marketing Director, Scott Valley Bank 

Usually, I love finding multiple streams of information in one place; information comes at a stupendous pace. Attributed to the shift in information delivery, it is said that average attention spans are getting shorter (ergo the trend toward 10 and 15 second television commercials) . . . Like me, do you ever want to close your eyes and take a break from the constant barrage of information? 

Recently, I have seen two television ads that have caught my attention in a significant way. They are both of what I’ll call the ‘less-is-more’ variety, meaning they minimize the impact on at least one sense and they both provide a welcome respite from information overload. The retailer, Target is running an ad with a musical background and no voiceover.  Acrobats tumble wildly through rooms, and as they move, the rooms become vibrant with colorful accents, all available for purchase at Target. The ad is fun and interesting.  The sell is that the viewer can easily improve their surroundings. Target is well enough branded that they really don’t need to provide information about their price point. Target is equated with affordability. The high-end jeweler, Cartier, similarly, has a visually beautiful ad with music and no voiceover until the very end. Neither does Cartier need to extoll its products. Both ads caught my attention as a welcome quiet spot in the sea of constant overload.

Reflecting over several decades on commercials with real staying power for me, two come to mind. The first is a Mazda 626 commercial from the early 80’s with a catchy tune, ‘Just one look, that’s all it took.’ I confess that we bought the car and that may be the real reason that ad sticks with me. The car, a reliable friend for over 20 years, was an excellent value. My hands down favorite television commercial of all time was for Rainier Beer. The commerical showed a lone motorcycle rider on a country road.  There was no voiceover, just the sound of the motorcycle shifting through its gears – or wait, were the gears saying, “Raaaaaiiiinnnnnnneeeerrr . . . . bbbbeeeeeeerrrr”? Can you hear it?  I still can! Both these ads resonated with me. 

Marketing expenditures are often a significant portion of a business budget. How do you decide how to position yourself, well represent your brand, capture attention, turn it into sales - - and not get lost in the noise?

I’ll opine that first you should be true to yourself. Reflect on your unique charactisteric within your field.  You are either the most attentive, the most aggressive, the most thoughtful, the most well-rounded, the fairest, the most knowledgeable, the most well-stocked, the best at sharing your knowledge, the most versatile, the most upscale, the greatest community servant, and so on. What really, truly, distinctly sets you apart and distances you from your competition? Very often the true difference is what is intangible. Don’t be shy about playing this up, as it can be the truly meaningful part of the value proposition that speaks to your clientele. Essentially, I suggest you think a little less about just what you are selling and quite a bit more about how your client feels when doing business with you.

Your advertising can tell a story, it can paint a picture, but what you need it to do is to get a response. My suggestion is, to set yourself apart from the crowd in this environment of constant information, consider a less-is-more approach. Consider letting your advertising paint the picture of who you are and what intangibles you provide. Focus on what is key in your value proposition and show the heart of your story.

View Scott Valley Bank - The Vault - April 2012