Tag Archives: script

What Marketing Pros Can Learn From Ben Affleck

Roll out the red carpet. It’s time for Hollywood’s biggest night. Shiny Oscars will be awarded to films and almost every imaginable element of their production. Folks at home will watch and many, like me, will find the live tweets in their Twitter stream more entertaining than the broadcast itself. (The snarkier the better, Tweeps.)

In thinking about the upcoming Academy Awards, I see a few parallels to how modern marketing is changing the role of creative professionals. Ben Affleck, for example, has redeemed his career directing, producing and acting in Argo, the favorite to win Best Picture by many accounts. Although his work on the film did not garner (no pun intended) individual nominations from the Academy, he’s received numerous other awards. Back in 1997, it was his writing that won him an Oscar for Good Will Hunting. I think Ben’s versatility is what they’d call wicked good in Boston.

Like Ben Affleck, those of us who write or create marketing content have to become more flexible, wearing many different hats to execute the great creative work that engages our clients’ target audiences. Good writing will always be essential to communication, but now writers are also expected to think beyond the text on the page or screen. Video especially has exploded as a medium for businesses and organizations to tell their story and reach potential customers. So yesterday’s press release and article writers must be today’s script writers, directors, and in some cases on-screen talent. Photography, social media skills, and an understanding of search engine optimization (SEO) are a must, too.

With mobile technology continually changing, the types of content and digital assets that we’ll be called on to produce in the future will keep changing, as well. (Hello, Google Glass)

I’m ready for the challenge. Now if I could only sing like Adele.

Conventional Wisdom

Miss a speech or want to re-watch one? You can find it on YouTube.

Many people are turned off by political rhetoric. I am too, at times, and really, who isn’t? It can become exhausting and frustrating, but — some of the more petty, personal attacks aside — it is an important part of our political process. Voters and constituents have to know what a candidate stands for, what they have accomplished, and what plans and solutions they will bring to the table. Communicating these points is essential for success, as I talked about in a previous post, and this concept applies to politics, business, charitable organizations, you name it.

With that in mind, I have watched a good portion of the Republican National Convention from Tampa this week, and I will tune in for the Democratic National Convention being held in Charlotte next week. I try to objectively evaluate the messages that the candidates and their parties advance at these events and during the course of a campaign. Do they state clearly what they will offer if elected? Do they answer the questions that are on voters’ minds? Is it apparent that they have a defined strategy for each speech or appearance and do they effectively deliver?

It’s a good exercise for anyone who works in communications, but also for anyone who represents an organization.
It is selling, pure and simple. Could you stand up before thousands and eloquently describe your business, your products, your cause, your (fill in the blank)? Could you persuade buyers, investors, donors, subscribers or whomever your target audience happens to be? Although it would be easy for me to simply say, work with a good communications pro or writer and he or she will help you out, that is not my intent. My point is to encourage you to watch the people who must make their case on the world’s biggest stages and consider what you can take away and apply in your own business or career.

I think what has struck me most this week watching the RNC convention is that speakers have to be believable, to be sincere in telling their story, and they have to show empathy for others and inspire them. It isn’t as much about what they are saying, as how they say it. Some use humor, which can be incredibly effective and memorable — not to mention tweet-able. Like it or not, we have a sound byte culture. And now, it is also a 140-character culture.

Some share something personal like former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice did last night, saying:

“A little girl grows up in Jim Crowe Birmingham, the segregated city of the South where her parents can’t take her to a movie theater or to a restaurant but they have her absolutely convinced that, even if she can’t have a hamburger at the Woolworth’s lunch counter, she could be President of the United States if she wanted to and she becomes the Secretary of State.”

This says a great deal about what she overcame in life, her character and her determination, which automatically gives her credibility whether you agree with her views or not. Of course not everyone has this type of exceptional personal story of overcoming odds, but whatever your story is it is uniquely yours and people want to know who you are. They also want to hear it in your own words. They want transparency. Following a script can work, but the words and the delivery have to be believable.

I am looking forward to what Mitt Romney will say tonight and what President Obama and other Democrats will say next week. Each has his own communication opportunity. I hope you will tune in. There is always something to learn when we listen.