by mkedave on April 28, 2013
I’ve spent the better part of the past week writing a response to an RFP. Yes, in most new business and pitch opportunities, there is a lot of writing involved. Much of that writing is about how we’re proposing a solution, or demonstrating our expertise, or maybe we’re extolling the virtues of our excellent work environment, or maybe we’re just saying too much altogether.
Without ignoring the ask in the RFP, there’s probably a better way to respond than adding detail after detail inside of endless descriptions that do nothing more than support a single bulleted idea.
I get it: By nature, we’re storytelling creatures. We’d prefer to create a beautiful metaphor and surround that with magnificent rationale for why that proposed solution is such a perfect fit for that particular brand. In the end, the best ideas win. And most often, the winning idea is the one that doesn’t need a fluffy narrative and graphic explanation.
Over the past ten days, I’ve learned two things:
1) Persuasion is an art form.
2) Talking too much is a sin.
Actually, I don’t think either of those two statements are always true, but I will go one further and summarize what I think is the crux of good RFP response:
Think in terms of provocative headlines.
A headline doesn’t have to do all the selling, but it does have to stop the reader from skipping over otherwise important information. Just focus on getting their attention.
If you want people to listen, then say what you mean.
Here, I’ll just quote John Doe, from Se7ven: “Wanting people to listen, you can’t just tap them on the shoulder anymore. You have to hit them with a sledgehammer, and then you’ll notice you’ve got their strict attention.”
Be creative with the response itself.
As a freelancer, I once responded to an RFP with nothing more than a receipt from the local electronics store. In one shopping trip, I bought one item from the company that issued the RFP and one item from their competitor. I wrote: I went shopping and now I know how to get people to buy this (circled their product) and not this (underlined their competitor’s product). I didn’t win that particular project, but that did help me earn a long-time client relationship.
Don’t be afraid to tell them they can do better.
If it’s the truth, tell them. We’ll never earn new work if the previous work was better than what we can provide. Everything is always an upgrade. Prove why. The truth is easily told.
by mkedave on April 8, 2013
Facebook Home is Facebook’s own version of Android, or a nicely integrated custom version, whereby the social network integrates into your Android operating system.
This might just render your old Facebook app itself useless.
At first glance, it looks like this will be very cool for heavy Facebook users. For the mobile single-tasking mindset, this is a bit of a game changer. Now, by overlaying chat in drop-down interfaces as you’re using other apps like Google, Words with Friends, or Foursquare – you might finally reach peak productivity on the small screen.
by mkedave on April 6, 2013
The first volume of 2013′s Society of Digital Agencies report includes what you might expect: Insights, perspectives, ideas and concepts about organizations balancing the art and science of perception in order to succeed in this fast-paced digital age.
I can’t make much of this report because it feels a little disparate and chaotic. But, like all good reports, there’s a lot of thinking left to be done… by you. So, read on:
by mkedave on March 14, 2013
Recently, I attended a session at SXSWi by Whole Foods co-founder and CEO John Mackey.
He says: “We are a species who create things and share those things with other people.”
That’s simple. I get it. We make things and sell those things to people who need or want them.
John also made us feel damn good about the idea of capitalism. He says, and I paraphrase, that “capitalism is a relatively new thing. We’ve decreased abject poverty, illiteracy, and we’ve increased life expectancy by way of capitalism.”
Yet still, the idea of big business and capitalism is hated. Why?
Because capitalism has routinely failed to capture the mind of the consumer in a positive way.
And thus, capitalism is under attack. No other profession is as judged by its worst practitioners as is big business. To make matters worse, in terms of economic freedom, the US is declining. So, yes, the success of big business and capitalism as an ideal is very closely linked to the health of the global economy. The fact is: corporations are behaving badly and big business approval ratings are low, but “conscious capitalism” is on the rise.
As John puts it, the “conscious capitalism” business model has potential. It doesn’t have to be an idea that’s non-profit, it just has to be a creator of value. Plain and simple: The idea of “business” is fundamentally good because it creates value for people. We must ALWAYS be the creators of value, and real people must ALWAYS be the recipients of that value.
We need to change the narrative across all brand communications. We can show the brand purpose isn’t to “make profit,” but to generate value in this world. Value is, of course, more than money.
Brands need to discover their higher purpose and articulate that to the world. Business is the great value creator for everyone who trades with it. And, as John pointed out: “This is not a zero sum game, this is a win-win-win game. All participants should stand to benefit.”
So, what’s the value you can create?
by mkedave on March 6, 2013
The Universe will do what it does.
You cannot change it. You cannot control it. You can try to avoid it, but the Universe will ultimately have its way.
It has been like this forever. It will be like this long after we’ve gone.
We might leave traces of our own existence. Digital memories once captured, shared, remembered, and recounted some months later. Such a short amount of time when compared with the Universe.
Yet, we tell ourselves that once-in-a-lifetime moments can be more than just once in a lifetime. We strive to relive those magical moments, and perhaps, when our lucky stars align, we will achieve more than once-in-a-lifetime.
But, alas, we are subject to the whims of the Universe. Despite our best effort to change its course, we fall humble, and we obey.
We may never fully understand the complexities of the Universe, but we can explore the mysteries within it. Perhaps, in its own way, the Universe speaks to us.
Yes, it’s speaking to us now.
Instagram by @mfalkner
by mkedave on February 21, 2013
We’ve heard it all before: Don’t make assumptions.
So, what is the cross-platform consumer like and what are they REALLY doing in the mobile environment? Chances are, they’re not actually on-the-go and moving around.
We do know this: Consumers are spending more of their media time on mobile devices. And, 68% of all mobile minutes (according to the study you should download here) are used in home.
So, it’s not about knowing “mobile” – but, how well do we know the consumer?
This study by AOL Advertising is worth investing your time.