ALTI's Apprentice Boardroom Report For 2/25/05 (Episode #6)

Allan's 2
Why Tara Failed
running time 2:21

Game Analysis
Strategies for Episode Seven
running time 3:48
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Practical Lessons From The Apprentice
Target Marketing & Brand Reinforcement

The sixth episode of Donald Trump's Apprentice, required target marketing and brand reinforcement skills as each team was asked to create a "billboard" or wall-mural advertisement. The ad was for for the release of a new video game release, "Gran Turismo 4" for the Sony PlayStation video game system. The billboard was to be located on a wall in the Harlem borough of New York City.  

In watching tonight's show, here are some practical lessons that you should can use to apply to your business:

Target Marketing
PlayStation executives indicated that the games target audience is hip urban males. Based on the "E" rating of the game, (which is a parental advisory rating similar to those used in movies) which stands for "everyone" the age demographic could reach as low as 9 or 10 years old. The action of the game is sophisticated enough to hold the attention of gamers well into their 30's. It seemed that Sony had also added that the style of the ad be made to imitate graffiti.  

When creating an ad for a specific target market as above, its critical to understand your target audience, the product and how that audience specifically relates to the product. The advertisement must then resonate with the audience who can identify with the graphical style, the words and imagery presented to convey the message. Lastly, the essence of the message is critical as all ads must either call the reader to action or build a brand impression that at a later time will convert to product loyalty / demand.

The project manager for Magna Corp. was Alex who could have easily failed this task since he was struggling to create a concept and a message that would resonate with the target audience. However, perhaps out of fear and desperation, Alex recruited some locals, who bore a close affinity to the intended target market, to serve as "creative advisors". The entire message and concept was born from his advisors. 

If you are unfamiliar with your target market, or to insure greater potential of a successful campaign, it is always wise to enlist the help of those that resemble your target audience as creative advisors, members of focus groups or even just survey respondents to help steer and validate your conceptual efforts.

--- SIDEBAR ---
Listen to my audio analysis of why Tara failed along with additional tips to keep your business on track and on target.

Brand Reinforcement
There have been three previous generations of the Gran Turismo game that enjoys tremendous popularity, and an avid fan base. In the specific case of creating a wall mural graffiti ad for a multi-billion dollar company that is already a household name, the message of the ad is better served to reinforce the brand equity of the product and can lack distinct "call-to-action" elements that would be required for smaller businesses. 

In recent years I have seen small companies place a disproportionate emphasis on branding over messages that are geared to evoke the response of a sale. Small business survive on sales and most small business that I see through my consulting practice miss-allocate resources away from growing sales to build, develop and reinforce their brand because some marketing "gurus" have been pitching its importance.

Practically speaking, emphasize sales growth in your marketing efforts, sell with passion, deliver exemplary customer service, and then build your client relationships...  in the end, how well you execute these things IS your brand.  I call this "Organic Branding" which comes from doing all the important things first, and doing them better than anyone else.

Shameless Plug: 
Who is your target market?  What do they think of your product / service?

ALTI Consulting and our team of specialists can identify and engage your target market to provide you with valuable insight and direction about your company's products / services. To find out how to get started, give us a call, or shoot us an e-mail, (206) 984-9560 or

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