What Rudolph can teach us about Differentiation and Image

Image courtesy of Syracuse.com via Rankin/Bass productions


Christmastime is my favorite time of the year.  I love watching the old 1970 Christmas TV specials that come on each year such as one of the Rankin/Bass Productions’ classics: “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer”.  As I watched it the first of December, it deeply resonated with me and with what is going on in society and how we can apply that to our brands.

Rudolph was born with a red nose that can light up.  His family was shocked and his father went to the extreme to cover his nose with dirt to avoid his son being different.  As he made friends and was able to participate in reindeer games, his fake nose was exposed and Rudolph lost his friends.  Even his girlfriend Clarice was forbade by her father not to hang around Rudolph.  His nose was deemed a disability by society which made Rudolph sad enough to run away from home.

From a personal perspective, this hit deep as I’ve seen many instances where the parents of one girl were told not to become too “friendly” to a boy of a different racial background.  Being different isn’t always a bad thing and being around the same type of people can become boring.  I’ve benefitted from diversifying my friends and the colleagues I’ve associate with as they come from different backgrounds and experiences.  Those that are different from you can teach you more about yourself than any classroom.

Now from a professional standpoint, brand managers can brainstorm ideas from watching this television special.  Rudolph left home at a young age and returned when he was older.  Those that were mean to him before apologized to Rudolph.  Even Santa realized he could not delivery toys on Christmas Eve without Rudolph’s special ability.  It is up to the brand managers and their marketing teams to understand how their product or service stands out in a sea of competitors.  Could your company’s niche be attached to a trend that could go viral if pushed on social media?  How can you best message your target audience that they cannot live without your product or service?  These are good questions to ask yourself in preparation for any pushed message or campaign you will prepare for your company.

Personal Crisis Communication

Many use social media for different purposes: to share information, to find out the latest news, to upload pictures of their cats.  A while back I decided to use my Twitter account for both business and personal use.  I knew what to post and how to word it so that I can still be viewed as professional while sharing stories and ideas that are more personal.

For a while it has gone fine.  For the past year however, since the death of Mike Brown, I’ve been sharing more stories and more personal points of views on my Twitter account.  Last night I realized that using a particular hashtag can catch the eye of unwanted attention from people with opposing views.  After going back and forth briefly with these people, I come to the conclusion that one should be prepared for the power of social media.  My unwanted attention led to people liking my opponent’s tweets and retweeting our conversation, calling me names that do not fit the type of person I am.

The more I responded, the more traction it received.  If you put more fuel into a fire, it will take a while to go down.  I see that now as it is the following morning and I’ve still received more feedback.  Many of you have heard the old saying for bullies, ignore them.  While this approach can be debatable, I think it’s the best option on social media.  If you ignore people’s responses to your statements, then eventually they will go away only to nick pick with other people they disagree with on their views.

Celebrities can best benefit from this advice as I’m sure they receive the most criticism because they are in the public eye.  Unfortunately for them the criticism can come non-stop to the boiling point where they feel as if they NEED to respond…but they don’t.  These people will not stop them from making their millions, just like these internet “trolls” cannot judge me by the little bit of personal information I DO decide to share to the world.  While I cannot be silenced, this event has led me to realize that my focus SHOULD be more towards professional content more so for me as a professional transitioning her career.

Final Tip:  Just be aware you can have your own opinions, not your own facts.  This is why I support the people I do on social media and share their stories and struggle as they are called liars and their families are threatened every single day.

Crisis Management: AirportParkingReservations.com

Browsing through Entrepreneur.com and I came across an article. The title made me click on the article of course as I just HAD to find out what company did everything you’re not suppose to do in marketing.

A man was recently found dead in the parking lot of Chicago’s O’Hare International airport.  AirportParkingReservations.com decided to take that bit of news and use that as a marketing tactic to promote their business through email marketing.  The company sent out an email to it’s customers, insensitively referencing the man’s death in their email. The company directed customers to Don’t be late and end up in a crate. Save stress and possibly anything worse by utilizing technology and reserving all your travel needs in advance,” with the subject line of the email as “Can On-Airport Parking Kill?

Needless to say the news of this tactic lit up twitter like a lightening bug!  Of course the company became apologetic after it went viral.  Honestly I don’t know what’s worse: the insensitive marketing ploy or the fact that initially Airportparkingreservations.com initially began responding to all tweets with the same robotic response:
Screenshot 2014-09-24 19.31.06


Guerrilla Marketing Favorites

I came across some amazing guerrilla marketing campaigns as I searched through the Internet recently. Here are a few of my favs:


SIXT Wi-fi Guerrilla Idea


Dirty Water Vending


Fast Lane Slide




What do you like/dislike about each of theses?  Do you have any favorite guerrilla marketing campaigns that you like?  Comment with the link to share!

Vehicle Wraps and Outdoor Advertising

My colleague and fellow fraternity brother, Frank Nichols, brought to my attention the advertising tactic called vehicle wraps.

vehicle wrap
photo credit: blog.imagesmith.com

According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, in 2012 the Out of Home Advertising (OOH a.k.a outdoor advertising) accounted for 4.9% share of total media spending.  In a recent press release from OAAA in December 2013, “Out of home (OOH) advertising revenue rose 3.5 percent in the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012, accounting for more than $1.6 billion, (OAAA, 2013).

To see a list of the Top Spenders in OOH advertising, click here.

Which categories (beer, fast food, retail, etc.) do you feel benefit the most using OOH advertising, specifically vehicle wraps?


I love analyzing commercials and campaigns from different brands.  This form of marketing speaks volumes about a brand if it conveys the correct message.  Every now and then I will post about a commercial or campaign I feel is a #smartmarketing move.

Be on the lookout for a #smartmarketing post.  If you see a commercial you think is a smart marketing move, tag me on twitter @Johnson_Cassie with the hashtag #smartmarketing.