Op-Ed: Think ‘Frozen’ this summer for your marketing efforts

“Let it go! Let it go! Can’t hold it back anymore…”
And in 11 words I have every reader doing one of two things—cringing that they will now have that song in their heads the rest of the day, or thinking of their child/grandchild singing this song with pure joy over and over and over again!

How did Disney’s “Frozen” do it? In addition to shattering box office records exceeding $1 billion in revenue worldwide, holding sixth place for highest-grossing movie of all time, this movie seems to be magical. In my household, an animated girl who shoots frozen fractals out of her hands can make a 5-year-old clean her room, not fuss during teeth brushing and prompt her into the best behavior in order to get yet another chance to watch this movie. In fact, we never even bought a sweater for her this winter because she runs around declaring, “the cold never bothered me anyway!”… Braids are back in style… And the soundtrack, seemingly singing largely about ice, is a billboard chart topper at 2.1 million copies.

Amazing. Or is it? It does not take much examination to see that there are very basic marketing fundamentals at work in this movie that we could apply to our businesses this summer to replicate this contagious attraction.

Here are a few observations I have gathered:

It’s simple: The story is really just about two girls and ice but they create much impact.
Often firms spend a lot of time (and money) attempting to make their marketing such that has never been seen before and in doing so it is not authentic and can even be confusing. Explore the practices you take for granted every day, the stories that live inside your 4 walls that make your firm what it is, and begin with that. What makes your business successful is probably quite simple—the key to successful marketing is taking that simple concept and playing it out creatively, consistently and continuously so it “sticks” in the minds of your clients and prospects.

It’s sentimental: Who doesn’t have a childhood memory of playing with a sibling/friend and then that relationship changes?

Every firm has a history and a position in the marketplace to which they can credit their success. As you change and grow, your marketing efforts need to communicate what has changed—do not assume prospects, or even your clients, know. Also, take an emotional approach to your marketing—play on the sentimental appeal of your audience. Some things to consider are photos that vividly depict what life looks like when your form has been involved (the end result) or a campaign that reckons back to a simple time.

Unexplainable Enthusiasm: Even in the midst of tragedy, a snowman who loves heat can be counted on for levity.
Marketing goes well beyond the website you produce and the collateral you distribute. Marketing is a behavior at its core and that behavior must be clear and consistent to build a “brand” around that. Do you/your colleagues bring energy and enthusiasm to the project/deal/client even when there are issues or conflicts? After the project is completed, true marketing strategy asks, “Was it an enjoyable experience?” and if not, how can we change that to make it better?

Self-empowerment: …Have you heard the song? Clearly, this is the key theme.

Your marketing needs to capture the true talent, possibility, power and strength of your organization. Often, we mistake marketing for sending out an eblast on your latest transaction, getting an up-to-date website and sponsoring an event where our client base is likely to be, while missing the real story that you should be marketing. What makes you an admired company? How are you different? What do you solve for a client? Market that with passion.

Honesty: This movie was filled with honest feedback from friends, family and strangers.

We could use more honest conversations from our internal team, our clients, competitors and trusted advisors. This feedback is great material to build our marketing efforts because we can capitalize on what makes us unique, appreciated and valued. In the absence of these conversations or structured feedback, we are making it up and that never results in authentic marketing.

Lasting things do not happen over night: There is bewilderment that Anna wants to marry a man she just met—it is just not realistic.

And often our expectations for marketing results are not either. After a marketing campaign has been redefined and restructured, let the results unfold as the momentum grows. If you take an approach of analysis of every marketing action and the direct result to sales, it is discouraging and defeating to the entire program. Make a commitment to a timeframe to evaluate the success as a whole, including strengthening your brand, clarity of your firm’s offerings and building your prospecting opportunities.

While I have no expectation of building a snowman in June in Phoenix, I do believe we can take a refreshed approach to our marketing to make it highly memorable and effective. The beauty is that sticking to fundamentals of marketing and being creative with your approach does not cost more.

Danielle Feroleto is the president of Small Giants LLC, specializing in marketing and business development services for the commercial real estate, architectural and construction industries. For additional information please contact her at 602-314-5549 or Danielle@smallgiantsonline.com.