What You Can Learn from Dante’s Inferno

The Fourth Circle of Hell was composed of the greedy and those who spent money like it was going out of style. The infamous lines (depending upon the translation) shouted for all eternity “Why do you squander?!” and “Why do you hoard?!”

 There is a modern day parallel to this. I ask you, how well does your business integrate? How does Accounting and Finance get along with Marketing and Sales and vice versa?

 If you answered “Not well,” perhaps it’s time to take a moment to figure out what sets these two against each other. On the one hand, those who oversee the budgetary constraints recognize that expenses are to be controlled. On the other, those who attract new business will readily say, “It takes money to make money.”

 As with many aspects of life, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I have seen people complain about everyone and everything. Yet, no matter what, rarely will they take a moment to discuss that problem with the individual(s) that bother them so greatly. This behavior induces the Fourth Circle of Hell.

 Bring them together at a table to discuss in detail the why and the why-not. Do not interrupt and listen carefully to each party. Perhaps the Marketing department has ambitious plans for next year to bring in a multi-million dollar account. The Accounting team foresees an economic crisis on the horizon and wants to tighten up the cash flow to prepare for difficult times.

 Yes, you can spend and save – just do so wisely.

Brands, You Only Live Once

We've all heard "YOLO" (way too many times). Yet, there is wisdom in those four simple words. Rarely does a simple quote apply to so many situations.

We hear it when we are unsure of pursuing something exciting and possibly "dangerous." Perhaps taking that job across the country will pay off with great experience down the road. Or, maybe, you have some concerns about that exotic trip to a country you've never seen before. I know I did when I first went abroad - to Southeast Asia! Never before has this been so accurate.

The one consistent phrase I heard when I was debating on studying abroad for the first time was, "You only live once..." followed by "go do it." After a great deal of research, I set aside my fears and took the plunge. The experience was transformational. 

So how does studying abroad relate to advertising? It was the only chance I had to visit Southeast Asia in undergrad. In the world of advertising, your ad only has one chance to make an impact on someone's life.

We decide to buy (or not) faster than the time it takes the human eye to blink. If your brand does not effectively communicate its value proposition then the ad is dead. Months of work is wasted. That failure can be recovered, at great expense, but that often isn’t the case.

There are countless examples of brands missing their mark. The best one can hope for is the ad dies off and is forgotten. The worst is being remembered as a warning to others.

Never deviate from knowing your consumer better than the competition. Research brings out both the good and bad aspects of your product or service. Identify the right information to communicate to the right audience.

When it does pay off, it’s a good day for everyone. The consumer wins, the client wins, and the agency wins.