Monday, March 27, 2023

How to Craft a Message That Resonates

As a member of the Twitterverse for 14 years, I always enjoy meeting new people and learning from them. However, due to the chaos resulting from Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, I joined the Twitter exodus for a short time and joined Mastodon. One of my new connections on Mastodon is Martijn Baarda from the Netherlands, and I invited him to appear here on my Blog in a Q&A about marketing, branding, and social networks. Highlights of our conversation follow a brief introduction.

Martijn Baarda’s first job was as a marketer at Apple Computer. There, he started to realize that almost all marketing insights and books were biased fairy tales – mostly based on share of voice and reach. After working at BBDO, he changed course and became an entrepreneur with one vision: The marketing and sales efforts are inversely proportional to a brand's relevance, and therefore, making brands more relevant became his goal.

QUESTION: We met on Mastodon, as a result of the Twitter migration. How will you use Mastodon differently than Twitter?

MARTIJN BAARDA: I hope to create a more positive and productive online experience, free from the distractions and noise of a global commercial social network (which is Twitter). Additionally, Mastodon's decentralized architecture means that users have more control over their data and privacy, which aligns with my personal values.

QUESTION: What first attracted you to marketing and branding?

MARTIJN BAARDA: The thought of being able to craft a message that resonates with an audience and evokes an emotional response is truly fascinating.

I was drawn to the creative and strategic aspects of marketing and branding, the ability to analyze data and use that information to develop campaigns that are not only effective, but also visually stunning and memorable. The ability to tell a story through a brand and create a lasting impression on people is something that I find truly captivating.

Marketing and branding are a specialty that allows me to use my analytical and creative skills, and to make a real impact in the world by helping businesses, organizations, and people to reach their full potential.

QUESTION: On LinkedIn, you provide the following description of your professional expertise:
"Bridging the gap between business strategy and marketing strategy. Love to validate ideas by testing. The stronger your brand, the smaller your sales effort. Strong advice: Don't play in the middle. Be relevant." Please explain.

MARTIJN BAARDA: To me, the creative industry is too focused on winning creative prizes instead of being effective and growing a client's business. So, we are always using testing models and techniques to overcome biases. And we are participating in the results by getting paid based on performance. So, we need to be sure we have eliminated all thinkable pitfalls.

Our motto 'Strong brands talk less but say more' is based on the relevancy of a brand. Make choices so that people either hate or love your brand. But don't get stuck in the middle.

QUESTION: Many businesses have added to their C-Suite with a Chief Talent Officer, Chief Digital Officer, and even a Chief Customer Officer. When will businesses create Chief Branding Officers?

MARTIJN BAARDA: We work for private equity and family businesses. Especially the last group is very committed to the long-term success of their business and understand the impact of a strong brand. So, I would say in these cases, the CEO is also the CBO.

For the rest, it's hard to say. I experience a correlation between business success and having a brand officer in charge at the highest level. Smart organizations will have this CBO in place soon.

QUESTION: You're based in the Netherlands, and I'm based in the United States. However, some branding is universal, so what's your favorite brand, and why?

MARTIJN BAARDA: One of my favorite brands is Volkswagen. They are into smart advertising. They don't just buy share of voice, but they commit to a clear and outspoken strategy. They walk the way they talk. And the language they use is implicit.

Remember this one? They had a recall campaign for 1972 Volkswagens in 2002 (!) because the glove box could spontaneously pop open after 30 years.

My gratitude and appreciation to Martijn for sharing his brand marketing and messaging insights.

Image Credit: Debbie Laskey.

Connect with Martijn at these links:

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