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Action, Interaction and Reaction from the Ritz team

“Gorilla” marketing

Posted: March 31, 2011 - 9:34 AM ET - by Elisabeth

A gorilla walks into a bar …

Okay, not really.

Actually, the gorilla walks through a crowd of basketball players.

In a study, people were asked to watch a one-minute video of two basketball teams – one team in white shirts, the other in black shirts. The subjects were supposed to count the number of passes made by the players in white. About halfway through the video, a gorilla walked across the room, turned to the camera, thumped his chest and left.

Remarkably, only 50% of the viewers reported seeing the gorilla.

The study is supposed to demonstrate “inattentional blindness,” the concept that when we focus on a piece of information, a task or an object, we don’t notice the details around us. Plenty of real world examples validate the findings – texting while driving, for example. The study has been written about before, most often as part of instructive parables on how to look for opportunities in our lives that may be right there in front us – untapped prospects, overlooked opportunities, even lucky breaks – whatever we want to label them.

It’s a good life lesson … and perhaps a good marketing pointer as well. You may be right in front of a potential customer, but how do you get him or her to focus in the midst of a barrage of traditional and digital advertisements, marketing emails, web feeds, facebook updates and tweets from businesses, colleagues and friends.

Focus is critical to the relationship between what is in our field of vision, literally or figuratively, and our perception of it. Yet that flies in the face of so many marketing tactics today. “Like” a business on facebook or research a vacation destination on the internet and you will be inundated with ads.

How do we get stakeholders to pay attention to our message?

We reach the right people at the right time. If we understand who our audience is, we can gain insight into when they are most receptive to our product, service or message. A banner ad while they’re busily researching information for a deadline won’t make someone stop to buy a blood pressure monitor, schedule a check-up, or even book that flight to St. Lucia.

Engagement is a process not a promotional activity. In order to maintain a relationship with key stakeholders, we need two-way communications and relevant reasons to stay in touch with them. It’s not a one-shot deal. We need to sustain the interaction with regular communication. If we ask someone to take the time to answer a question, give an opinion or participate in some way, we need to take the time to respond to them. A simple “thank you” works. Some feedback is even better. More personal information about how we have used the information is outstanding!

Keeping our promise
Sometimes we get so busy trying to please our customers that we forget to stop and ask if they are, in fact, pleased. Did the product or service we provided meet their needs — or even exceed their expectations? What If we made a mistake? Did we proactively fix it? How can we do better next time?

Relevance, engagement and keeping our promise give stakeholders reason to focus on us and context for understanding why we’re in the picture … or we could always try thumping our chests!


What’s new?

Posted: March 17, 2011 - 11:32 PM ET - by Elisabeth

With the speed and pervasiveness of social media, it often feels like the answer is “everything!”

A more interesting question is actually “what’s news?”

While there are those who continue to debate whether Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms are actually media, I think it’s more interesting to consider what information is really relevant and informative.  Whether you’re listening online to victims of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami describing what they are enduring or following Charlie Sheen on USTREAM, you are witness to a revolution not just in news media, but in news.

How and what we communicate with each other continues to change drastically with great impact on everything from interpersonal relationships to mass marketing. If you’re still getting newsprint on your fingers reading your daily newspaper or connecting on your iPad – or if you’re updating your status on facebook, posting video on YouTube, or tweeting, YOU are part of this revolution.

Learn more about what you’re a part of in this very cool Socialnomics video:


Attitude is everything

Posted: March 3, 2011 - 2:26 PM ET - by Elisabeth

Thank you to everyone who contributed to last week’s blog. We were thrilled to read sentences from lots of great men and women. As promised, I’ve picked a winner … those who know me well know that this “hard-core executive exterior” covers a “hopeless romantic interior,” so I chose “Love conquers all … and matters most” submitted by Mary Beth Googasian.  Mary Beth’s prize is a spa gift certificate … because massages are good for your health!  See how nicely I brought that back to health and wellness?


They say “attitude is everything,” and in a business where client service is our biggest priority, that’s especially true. We love our work, but we’d be lying if we didn’t admit that we face challenging moments – whether we’re working hard to meet and exceed client expectations, facing the near constant deadline pressure of a 24/7 news cycle, or just trying to “keep all the plates spinning” in our own lives. This week’s blog is by our colleague, Patty Keiler. Not only does she keep spinning plates – and generating headlines – for her clients, she’s given us all some good professional – and motherly – advice.

Riding in the car a couple years ago with my twins – who had just turned three – I decided I’d had enough of their whining. I rolled down their windows and politely asked them to throw their bad attitudes out. Their whining quickly turned to laughter as they physically flung their negativity into the sky. I hurried to roll them back up, lest the winds shift.

The next day (ok, probably later that day), more whining commenced. As most parents know, the same trick often doesn’t work twice. But to my surprise and elation, moments later they were flushing it down the commode.

Bad attitudes have since been buried in the snow, left on rides at Disney World and passed around like a hot potato. I don’t know if it’s the humor that accompanies it, the feeling of control, or the complete randomness of it all. But I do know it works. Not all of the time, but certainly enough to keep it going.

So, last week I was complaining (whining?) yet again to my mom that the long winter was making me short-fused and grumpy. I said I couldn’t wait to be uplifted by chirping birds, budding tulips and trips to the park. Her reply: “Then don’t. Just throw your bad attitude out the window right now.”

I’ll be darned, the moment truly was accompanied by a feeling of catharsis. I did feel better — and motivated to take control of my attitude. Now every time I start to feel grumpy, I remember I threw that out – or should I say I’m reminded so by my mom, my kids, or my husband.