Image ©Adweek 2006.

What I learned from a baby in 2005 applies today. Closing the gap between what customers experience and what marketers intend to convey is important. It starts inside….

Somewhere along the line I started labeling myself the originator of the term “Inside-Out Advertising.” In googling the term now, I see others have labeled themselves similarly. Here’s what I mean when I claim to be an advocate for Inside-Out Marketing Communications.

It goes back to the Quizno’s baby in 2005. That baby accomplished what all advertising should: he brought positive attention to the brand, he compelled me to want to find a Quizno’s (there were none in my region), he made me want to buy the product. So I did. On a trip out-of-state, I put the turn signal on at the sighting of a Quizno’s sign. I couldn’t wait to get in and see the baby in their branding, to choose the sub he recommended, to laugh at his charming jokes which I expected on posters and signage with blurbs over his cute little head.

But guess what? No baby. No buttons or stickers on the employees’ aprons. No posters. No signs. Not one baby anywhere. It was as if the Quizno’s outlets didn’t even know their ambassador was a famous baby. I even asked, “Where’s the baby?” Blank expressions all around. There was no Quizno’s baby. What kind of idiot was I to believe the commercials and expect the baby to be represented somehow at Quizno’s?

I found that at first irksome, then briefly infuriating, then quite disappointing. My colleagues in the advertising world had no idea about the significance of the disconnect between what they were broadcasting about Quizno’s and what the customers were experiencing.

The simple solution is to start every marketing program with the internal audience.

Advertising, the way I practice it, STARTS with the employee at the counter. I would have shared the program with each frontline worker. Made sure they saw the ads (before the public), made sure they got the jokes, made sure they capitalized on all the goodwill the baby brought. Buttons on their aprons at least. Or T-shirts with the full baby on the back with a quote blurb over his cute little head.

In 2023, I remain committed to starting with the insiders who are the true ambassadors of the brand. The people on the frontline with direct customer contact really need to convey the ideals of all the media messaging. The humor, the vocabulary, the visuals—all of those subtle things either support the mass messaging or disprove it. This is key. It is very important that messaging match reality. The alternative, the disconnect, can expose disingenuineness. Is the brand genuine? Does the messaging match the product and service? If there is a disconnect, there is room to doubt truthfulness. Trust is tested. Why would any responsible business do this to themselves?

The simple solution is to start every marketing program with the internal audience. To be sure the frontline people understand the message, the intent and the expected result. It is really great when promotions can be announced with a celebration of some kind with souvenirs for the inside team. The insiders will be bringing the campaign to life, making it real, proving that they represent the authenticity of the brand.

Inside out is going in the right direction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *