Purim is one of our most festive and memorable holidays. Who can’t rattle off, at the top of their heads, some of their most freilichen Purim’s, or the best costumes they ever wore, or saw? Why do these memories stick with us and how can we apply this lesson to our marketing campaigns?
Purim is a chag of contrasts, and there is no greater clash than the one between our hero, the blessed Mordechai, and the villain, the cursed Haman. (Stomp your feet!)
As the megillah unfolds, King Achashverosh executes Queen Vashti, for disobeying him. The King makes a blunder when he accepts Haman’s advice and sends out a missive to his kingdom’s 127 lands that all men should be the rulers in their homes. The Gemara in Megillah (12B) tells us that if it weren’t for this letter, which established the king to be a fool in the eyes of his people (because everyone knows that even a lowly man is king in his own home) the people might have chas v’shalom, taken the next letters – calling for the destruction of the Jews – seriously. By the time those letters were circulated, the king already had a serious credibility problem.
Mordechai, on the other hand, (toward the end of the Megillah) sends out letters of Shalom and Emes to his subjects. Our Sages say the letter of Emes explained the importance of observing Purim throughout all subsequent generations.
Haman, if you will, failed miserably in his “marketing” campaign, Baruch Hashem, while Mordechai’s message of truth has been celebrated joyously each year for more than 2,500 years. Why did he succeed where Haman failed? Obviously, his success, and Haman’s failure was all part of G-d’s plan, but we can learn an important marketing lesson from their hishtadlus.
What goes into conceiving a memorable campaign; one that makes your product or service into a household name, for years to come? We know that you have to be creative, but creative is a very broad term. Why is it that some advertising slogans stick with us long after the advertiser has moved on to his next campaign?
The answer is that the advertiser has succeeded in defining his product or service so that it touches the people he is trying to reach. Everyone wants to have a long life, correct? That’s why you remember: “Coke Adds Life.”
True, everyone’s heard of Coca-Cola anyway, but what about Buckley’s Cough Syrup? Unlike Coke, which tastes great, Buckley’s slogan is: “It tastes awful… and it works.”
Buckley’s started making cough syrup in 1920 in Canada. In 2002, they sold their company for an undisclosed fortune to Novartis, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical firms. How did Buckley’s succeed with something that tastes so foul? They told the truth about themselves. They admitted they taste awful, but when you have a hacking cough that’s keeping you awake at night and disturbing all the neighbors too, you’ll try almost anything…as long as it works.
Isabelle Albanese, a leading marketing consultant for Fortune 500 companies, and author of “The 4Cs of Truth in Communication,” says that moving people is not magic — it’s all about effective communication. Her 4C model is roshei taivos for Comprehension, Connection, Credibility, and Contagiousness.
Comprehension means to hone your message to a main point, make sure it instantly communicates that point and most importantly, ensure that the audience can “play the message back.” If they can, this confirms they “got it.”
Connection with a communicated idea or message means not only that the audience “gets it,” but that it resonates with them, has meaning and significance, and triggers a response to spark new behaviors and actions.
Credibility is where the truth comes into play. Your audience needs to believe who is saying it, what is being said, and how it is being said. Otherwise, any connection begins to break down–immediately. Credibility is the critical C, says Isabelle. This is where Achashverosh and Haman messed up. They lost their credibility.
Contagiousness To be contagious, says Isabelle, a message has to be energetic, new, different, and memorable. It should also evoke a vivid emotional response, have “talk” potential, motivate the target to do something, and elicit a demonstrable reaction.
This Week’s Bottom Line Action Step: Think about what really holds true for your product and service. Develop and hone your message around that truth, and then, like Charvona in the megillah, you too will be remembered for the good.
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