A Human Approach

Jae Rang Headshot


Do old habits have you locked out of new ways of getting results?

When people ask what industry I’m in and I usually say “communications”. They typically ask what kind and I say, “We use promotional products as communication vehicles to inspire results on purpose.” Often confused and trying to connect the dots, they usually offer up something like, “Oh, you put logos on stuff like pens and mugs”.

A typical case of “functional fixedness”

Functional fixedness the inability to realize that something we use for one thing might also have another purpose. (Remember the wire coat hanger that, reshaped, opened many a car door?)

While promotional merchandise contributed to Justin Bieber’s $103.7m earnings last year, and Disney’s record-breaking media investment in their latest “Cars” movie, it is way more than just putting logos on stuff. It’s about creating emotional connections and using these tangible vehicles to communicate and engage.

Consider this; nothing moves without humans.

Behind every email address, every decision, every purchase, every idea, every initiative, every game, every system, every product, every delivery, (well, you get the picture), is an individual, a human being. And human beings are not only multi-sensory, they also possess intellectual factors like reason and will.

The $3.9 billion industry of putting logos on stuff in Canada is also one of the best kept “communication” secrets. In fact, citing reasons of economic down-turn, some companies and government agencies have totally nixed promotional items from their budgets. Really??? I attribute it to functional fixedness. Fact is, a challenging economic climate is the best time to do new things with what’s old and there’s no more human approach to results-oriented communications than “one to one”.

Need more of a reason?

Here are seven.

IMPACT Last year’s singing Christmas card, an investment of just over $1500, increased banquet business at the golf course by 40%. A Mulligan water bottle increased donations to Alzheimer’s Society by 70%. Flip flops helped generate 15% sales increase in tools. Why? This tangible media grabs attention one person at a time and scientists say our most engrained memories are those that had impact.

NURTURING The Mayo Clinic is just beginning to publish reports on the value of Wellness Programs but their current numbers are $3-4 return for every $1 invested. “Lifestyle” communication tools integrated in our #1 insurance client’s wellness initiative is enabling them to significantly reduce claims by helping their staff and clients take control of their health. What a multi-win scenario.

SUBLIMINAL What other media or recognition continues to share a message even when you’re not there? Whether it’s on-line or off-line, the only impression traditional media has is when you’re in front of it. Strategic gifts designed to align with the buyer (a.k.a. “human”) in mind are a thoughtful approach to getting your message seen many times over. So, the next time you do a run of calendars with your logo on them, think again. Not about the calendar – great choice – but about the person receiving it. Does the design resonate? Is the style functional? Most importantly, does the calendar have their name on it? In this digital age, personalization is easy and a most effective way to share your message 365 days a year.

PERSONAL What’s more personal than your name? Do you have a generic novel or one that’s addressed to you and signed by the author? And would you be more inclined to use a general notebook or a personalized one with a note of inspiration from the President? Bob Proctor ensures his Matrixx participants have both keeping their success message top of mind.

INSPIRING You can bet your assets that the biggest driver in your business is your people. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to communication which is why the personalized, interactive approach is so effective to boosting both markets and morale. We have been thinking that people resist change when it fact, they resist being changed. Thrive by inspiring intrinsic motivators like mastery and purpose with lifestyle tools with empowering messages. And perhaps the next time you have a sales meeting, invite more staff (a.k.a. humans) than just the sales force.

RECOGNITION One of our Hospital Board clients decreased their staff sick days by 50% the first year after implementing their recognition program. It was relevant, personal and clearly communicated how important each individual was to the bigger picture; like fulfilling a purpose within a purpose. We all want to know we make a difference. In an article entitled, “Outshine your competition with internal cooperation” by Ann Elliot, Leadership strategist, Ann says, “The synergy of individual efforts makes things happen in companies…the real competition is on the outside.” One of the greatest gifts you can give to anyone is the gift of being heard (remember communication is a two-way street) and how wonderful is the reward when we win together.

EXPERIENTIAL Experiential is engaging. It’s more than telling, providing, or even sharing. It’s exchanging at an emotional level and can have a life-long effect. Did you know that cells of recognition – memory – are stimulated simply by touching a familiar item? It’s like seeing a picture. It takes you back to the experience. When each communication piece has a purpose, you can move people through a process a series of individual messages to create one, powerful movement.

So why “seven” reasons, you ask?

Besides, the fact that we humans like learning in chunks of (three or) seven, I like the acronym this created. INSPIRE.

It’s time to replace functional fixedness with creativity and start INSPIRING Results on Purpose.

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