03 May Granny Branding: Does Your Grandma Understand What You Do?
The great thing about inventors, creators and entrepreneurs is that they tend to be Subject Matter Experts in their respective subject matters. In other words, if someone’s a PHP developer they tend to be an expert in PHP programming and coding.
Unfortunately, subject matter expertise does not typically transfer to other areas. In fact, my experience is that the more someone is an expert in a technical area the greater the likelihood they will struggle in the basics of marketing, branding, positioning, messaging and the like.
The lovely lady shown to the left is Betty Mann, my now departed mother-in-law.
Betty was the classic young lady of the Great Depression, a woman who in spite of a stint as a dental technician was primarily a wife, homemaker and mother … not that this is bad. It’s just the pathway she chose in life.
It was about 10 years after she entered my life that she inadvertently taught me an enormous lesson.
Betty and her husband didn’t get their first personal computer until she was 65-years-old. And the experiences she endured in trying to learn how to use such a machine still reverberate with me today.
One example occurred on the day she learned about the screensaver function embedded into the programming of virtually every electronic device in use today: you know, the little bit of code that automatically turns off your screen after a set period without use in order to prevent images from being permanently “burned into” the screen. Except Betty didn’t know about screensaver software when she bought and started using her first PC.
So when she returned to her machine 20 minutes after visiting with a neighbor who had unexpectedly dropped by, Betty discovered that her monitor was black. And in her mind that meant that the work she had put into writing a letter was lost, i.e., she had no idea that all she had to do to override the screensaver function was
- Move her mouse, or
- Touch one of the keys on her keyboard.
And that was the point.
Betty wasn’t stupid. She just didn’t know.
This event not only served as a learning experience for Betty, but it also became a seminal moment for me in how I would approach Public Relations, Investor Relations, Advertising, Messaging and all aspects of Marketing on a go-forward basis. And for over 20 years I immortalized this moment by calling it The Betty Factor.
As described in my earlier post, the essence of The Betty Factor is this:
If you can’t explain something so Betty will understand, you have failed. In which case you need to go back to the drawing board until Betty does understand.
Unfortunately, in and of itself, the term The Betty Factor means nothing. In fact, it actually takes some effort to explain to others the backstory behind The Betty Factor and how it can be applied in marketing endeavors. And in reality, that’s a problem.
Thankfully, a wise friend helped me understand this a few months ago, whether or not he knows it. As a result, I have begun using the term Granny Branding instead. In essence, I have rebranded The Betty Factor as Granny Branding.
Granny Branding has replaced The Betty Factor.
To repurpose something I wrote several years ago about The Betty Factor, I now propose that …
“Granny Branding means striving to produce and deliver the simplest marketing message(s) possible.”
Granny Branding also means making sure I ALWAYS know who my target customers are and that every aspect of marketing is directed at them. Not at me. Not at a company’s executives. At the targeted customers, whomever they may be.
That is the foundational concept of Granny Branding. And that’s what I’m focused on today.
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What do you think? Am I off-base or en pointe here? Please share your thoughts / comments below.
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A marketing and communications expert, David L. Politis recently published his first book — 66 RULES for Publicity Success: Boost Your Company’s Value for Pennies on the Dollar. David currently helps clients address their crises, publicity and marketing challenges through The David Politis Company.