Presents for Your Presence

What's left after the glitz, sparkle and shine of the holidays is gone? The answer to that is the key to gifting your stakeholders with memorable, engaging marketing experiences year-round. The glitz, sparkle and shine of the holidays has gone, leaving many people surrounded by lackluster after-effects — disposable gifts and other waste.

As we return to our routines, the stories I’ve been hearing are less about material details and more about the noteworthy nature of spending time in unfamiliar places or sharing time with beloved family and friends — novelty + relationships.

These are the memories that cut through the clutter. The idea of gift-giving also is useful when designing marketing solutions to engage your key stakeholders. What’s the most valuable experience you can provide? What will be remembered tomorrow, a month from now, the next time your stakeholder makes a purchasing decision?

Writer Damien G. Walter shared this insight on his website: “Every word you write is asking for the gift of the reader’s time. Make sure it’s worth it.” He also discusses the idea of the attention economy ­— “you are asking for the most valuable commodity your readers have. Time. Each of us gets a finite portion. No sum of money can buy us any more. And the demands on it are ever greater.”

Here are some juicy tips, resources and practices to help you design memorable experiences that engage stakeholders.

Go Offline

Digital tools and networks are essential to strategic communications. But don’t let their importance come at the expense of ‘real life’ or off-line experiences. Think about guerilla marketing, trade shows, meet-ups, flash mobs and special events. These opportunities are avenues for memorable moments and genuine relationship development. Further reading here.

Take Creative Risks

Do your research, have a solid strategy and fully vet the tools of execution. After that, make the leap and take the creative risk. Courage, energy and follow-through are indispensable. The magic lies in action.

Feed Yourself Inspiration

Just as you choose healthy foods to nurture your body, as a brand manager you must feed yourself a steady diet of inspiration. Keep your eyes and mind open as you move through the world and you’ll find seeds of ideas wherever you go. Find your favorite creative thought-leaders and subscribe to their email lists. Make a regular practice of reading that content. Ask friends and family what has captured their attention lately online, on TV and in the news.

Develop and Nurture Stakeholder Relationships

Take advantage of research tools to connect and grow relationships with your stakeholders. Consider focus groups, consumer panels, town hall meetings. Two-way communication opens the door to new insights and allows you to gain feedback and input throughout the creative process from the people your brand relies on.

Make it Personal

A simple, low-cost gift can mean more than expensive dazzlers if it’s thoughtful and attached to a larger story. Keep this truth in mind as you craft content offerings for your stakeholders. What will make them feel seen? Further reading here.