July 3, 2018
  Four for the Fourth:
Marketing Communications Lessons from the Founders
Sure, we all enjoy beer, hot dogs, and fireworks. But the Fourth of July is more than a good excuse for a picnic.

When early American leaders adopted the Declaration of Independence in 1776, they set out on a brave, democratic adventure. In celebration of this spirit, our team has a few thoughts on how four key characteristics they embraced can pay off for marketing communications professionals today.

Get creative:

If George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson had done only what had been done before, we’d all be paying taxes to King, or perhaps Queen, Washington today.

In today’s environment, marketing communications messages and collateral that stands out is a must. And if you want to grab attention and reach target audiences, you might consider tossing out your well-worn rulebook and trying something new: interactive content, illustrated video, augmented reality. As Thomas Edison once quipped, “There are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something.” Marketing communications is no longer just about conquering traditional channels. It’s about innovating. It’s about employing creative solutions that drive engagement and achieve goals. It’s about drawing eyeballs, and the same-old same-old won’t get it done.

Be bold:

Establishing a new country isn’t for the faint of heart. Nor, for that matter, is creating and sharing content, or crafting a social media strategy, or executing a truly engaging website.

In today’s environment, a bold approach pays off. Many of the most successful projects we’ve worked on have also been the most surprising, the most unexpected. But being bold is not only about braving new adventures. Being bold is also about standing up for long held convictions. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” Saying what you believe in loudly and clearly can take guts, but as brands become more humanized, and connect more immediately with target audiences, it can also pay off.

Stay true to your brand:

It’s hard to imagine the Fourth without the flag – Betsy did us all a solid there. The value of the stars and stripes is not merely cosmetic. Symbols unite us, unify us, even shape us.

Because you can’t chat up everyone you want to do business with, your social posts, e-newsletters, site voice, image choices, and other brand elements establish the personality, the anthropomorphized version, of your brand. In order to be effective, these assets must be easily recognized. They must also be well designed, because the way a thing looks is a big part of how a thing works. Even Abigail Adams acknowledged that “A little of what you call frippery is very necessary towards looking like the rest of the world.”Consistent, high-quality branding established brand loyalty. 

Flexibility is your friend:

Let’s face it, not everything the forefathers did stood the test of time. (We love you 13th and 19th Amendments!) But the flexibility of our system has allowed subsequent generations to improve on the system they established.

The lesson here is: Staying open-minded pays off. Some of the most successful projects we’ve worked on over the years have course-corrected in the middle of a well thought out plan. Of course, recognizing that you’re going down the wrong path is hard. Or, in the words of Ben Franklin, “How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them.” But a great idea is only truly great if it can be well executed. So don’t get so tied to the original plan that you can’t see the improvements that will come your way as you work through it.

We hope this celebration of the men and women who charted the course we’re on resonates. Holler if we can be useful. Stay safe, and celebrate well!

I try to let my decisions be guided not by what I think will succeed or fail, but what I’m going to learn from that process.

–Lin-Manuel Miranda
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Interactive Content Interactive Content
Why interactive content drives success– a piece of interactive content
Resources Brand Humanization
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