Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tweet Your Heart Out

At Black Sheep, we’re strong believers in the power of the Tweet. Some of our clients have told us they have been advised otherwise – that they don’t belong on Twitter and should stay away. And we couldn’t disagree more.

You’ve got something to say, right?

You provide a service or product to people, right?

You’re a badass at what you do, right?

The thing is, Twitter isn’t just for 12-year-olds and movie stars. It’s for everyone! It’s an equal-opportunity outlet for you to get your message to lots and lots of people. Why turn that down? It’s free! AND it gives you the chance to position yourself as an interesting, experienced and informed representative for your business. And who knows – you may learn something in return!

The social media gurus at Black Sheep have put together a few tips for effective Tweeting so you can get the most out of you 140-character message.

Be a know-it-all. You know a lot about stuff, so let everyone know. Offer tips and advice, links to articles you've found helpful and references to new and exciting innovations in your field. Be sure to answer questions and open a dialogue. In no time, you’ll be the go-to resource for hamsters, dryer lint, 1983 television shows… or whatever it is you know so much about.

Deal or no deal? Deal. Offer your followers an incentive for paying attention. Give them discounts, special promotional opportunities or insider information that will give them a reason to keep their looking balls peeled and their attention on you. Just don’t over-do it… you don’t want to give it all away at once (thanks, mom) and you don’t want to become a spammer.

Tickle their funny bone. You don’t want to be a robot behind a computer. Nobody likes a robot. Have a little personality and showcase it in your Tweets. It’ll keep things interesting and allow you to connect to your followers.

It takes one to know one. You can’t just start Tweeting and expect the masses to come running. Find other people who interest you – people talking about your favorite topics, your friends and people who might be in need of your help – and start following them. Odds are they’ll return the favor.

See? It’s so easy a 12-year-old can do it. So get started today. Got more questions? Still not sure what to do? Contact us or attend our Twitter training session next month, and we’d be happy to answer any questions.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall Forward

Everyone’s always saying that the spring season is a time for new beginnings and a fresh green perspective. You know… the whole butterfly into a cocoon, baby animal thing. No offense to spring, but that idea seems a little played out. To me, fall was always the more inspiring time of year. Maybe it was the start of a new school year and the opportunity to by tons of new pens (who doesn’t love school supplies?). Maybe because my birthday is in October (FACT: Black Sheep are typically born in October). And this year at Black Sheep is no exception. We have a whole line-up of new clients coming on board! If you think about it, lots of new beginnings happen in the fall. The most important week in fashion happens in the fall. The financial calendar begins in the fall. 30 Rock premieres in the fall. So maybe now is the time for YOU to give your marketing efforts a spring fall cleaning and a chance to start anew. Ask yourself the following questions… Is your marketing plan the same as it was last year? And the year before? When was the last time you took a calculated risk? Have you been playing it safe for too long? Where do you want your business to be this time next year? What will it take to get there? And… DO YOU KNOW WHAT TODAY IS? The first day of fall! The day YOU should revamp your brand. Starting a new ad or branding campaign is like buying a new suit or a snazzy pair of Louboutins. It will give your company the confidence it needs to be bold and step up your game. You know how they tell you to dress for success… for the job you want, not the one you have? Well, the same philosophy applies to marketing. The bigger your statement, the greater the impression and the more credible you’ll become in your market. Ever notice how the strongest businesses have the best, most memorable marketing and advertising approaches? It’s no coincidence. It’s understanding the need to be different, stand out and make a statement. And now it’s your turn. At Black Sheep, we firmly believe in the power of a creative campaign. So let that first cool breeze of the year energize you, and let us know where you want to go. This fall, we’re moving forward.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Competition Beware

We will stomp you to the ground. Make you wish you’d never been born. Completely obliterate you.
We don’t play by the rules, and we’re not afraid to get dirty. So bring. It. On.
Fellow marketing agencies, we’re not talking to you. We ARE talking to the noise. To cell phones and commercials. To barking dogs and junk mail. To iPods, billboards, crazy people on the bus and traffic jams. To all the little things that clutter the minds and blur the focus of our clients’ target audience.
Because they’re the real competition, aren’t they? They’re what’s keeping your message from being heard. That’s why at Black Sheep we don’t take these distractions lightly, and we don’t just sit back and wait for things to happen. We set major ideas into motion. Here are some thoughts on advertising…
1. Literally, don’t be so obvious. If your business places ads in trade magazines, this is especially important. If you have a computer company, don’t use a bunch of monitor images. If you sell tractors, lose the tractors. All your competitors are doing that, and the only way you’ll get someone to pay attention to your ad will be to create a diversion. Think about the ads you read and the ones you skip… you probably flip past the boring ones.
2. Flower isn’t power. When using the written word to catch attention, don’t be flowery and dramatic. Using SAT words incorrectly only makes you look stupid. Be bold and funny. Select powerful terms and clever phrases to get your message across.
3. Be a rabble rouser. True, you shouldn’t be offensive with your marketing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a sense of humor. Pick something innocuous yet slightly edgy to make your point, and you’ll be remembered not only for what you say, but for how you say it.
4. Stupid is as stupid does. It doesn’t do any good to say something that goes over your customers’ heads, but you don’t have to be condescending. Think about how happy you are when you “get” a clever joke. It’s an immediate connection, and your audience will appreciate your acknowledgment of their intellect.
So take a look at the ads you have. Are you breaking the rules? Are you getting the most out of your money? Does anyone even notice what you’re saying? Give Black Sheep a call, and we’ll tell you how you can take your advertising… and your business… to the next level. Contact us today.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

This $*%# is Bananas

Since the inception of Black Sheep, we’ve taken our no-holds-barred, rebellious message to the streets. While the response has been “right on!” for the most part, when we explain how we engage in outrageous, unexpected tactics and guerilla marketing, there is still a lingering “huh?” in the air. And, that’s to be expected. Guerilla marketing has been a buzzword in the industry for a while now, and it’s often thrown around without full understanding… and if you’re not experienced in marketing, well, it sounds like a bunch of monkey business.

And that’s the inherent problem with this homophonic enigma. It’s not about being a gorilla. It’s guerilla… you know… as in warfare? Guerilla marketing is marketing which uses the element of surprise, allowing you (the business) to interact with your consumer in a way that’s unexpected. To catch them off-guard and make them say “Whaaaaaaaat?!?” To force them to yield to your message and not just stand in line for the next line of advertising ammunition from your competitors. Get it? The advantage to this is that while you probably see a million ads and commercials every day, you probably ignore most of it, and a successful guerilla campaign doesn’t give you that passive opportunity.

You don’t have to be stupid and crazy. You don’t have to be an idiot in a costume passing out flyers. That is the opposite of what we’re talking about. And it doesn’t mean you should forget advertising. What you should do is focus on how to take these traditional marketing mediums and turn them into something that grabs attention. Like this. Silly only works when it’s strategic. And then it really works.

And it works in layers. When you show your consumers that you know how to reach them in a new and interesting way, they not only get the message, they recognize your business as one that thinks creatively and possibly has a sense of humor… an understanding and connection to its supporters. It gives your company image… an identifiable personality… and helps you appeal to PEOPLE – not mass audiences.

Wanna learn how you can use guerilla marketing to boost your business? We’re full of ideas and advice. Email us at

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Flock About Town

Black Sheep. It’s the name of the newest agency in town… but why? What does it mean? And do we really need another marketing firm in Houston?

You’ve heard of black sheep before. It’s the metaphor for those of us who don’t comply with social norms… who stick out… who make the neighbors nervous. And that’s why it’s the perfect name for our company. The thing is, we have a little bit different approach to marketing than the other guys. We don’t have a four-step process. We don’t do the same thing for everyone.

Nope. We think about YOU – the client – and your clients. And then we think some more. We take a moment to digest everything that might be important to the success of your business and we put together a plan specifically designed to make it happen. Maybe it’s an event… and so then we’ll contact the media and Twitter and place ads all over town and hire piano-playing monkeys to put on a recital in the lobby of your building. Maybe we’ll send packages to your #1 target person containing ransom notes for his pen you borrowed last May at a conference in exchange for his attendance at your birthday party. Whatever. It might not make sense for the next person, but the point is, it makes sense for you.

And sometimes there’s a risk involved. Monkeys are unpredictable. But you know what? Monkeys get noticed. And isn’t that what it’s all about? So many marketing campaigns these days are centered around looking “corporate” and “clean.” I mean, we can do that – but if you want to blow away your competition – we don’t recommend it.

Is it starting to make sense? Yeah, we make people nervous (cause we’re awesome and a little outrageous). Yeah, we stick out (see previous paragraph). And we don’t follow these old-timey, antiquated rules for marketing that other companies live and breathe by. We just don’t believe in it.

But we do believe we can help you. Whatever your business, whatever your goals, we bring a fresh perspective to your approach. So be rebellious. Meet us for lunch. We’d be happy to brainstorm and get some ideas flowing. The neighbors never even have to know.