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I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Monday, July 10, 2017

"The secret sauce of marketing can help craft your message"/ Jason Siebenga

May 15, 2017 "The secret sauce of marketing can help craft your message":  Today I found this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail:

New Zealand marketing consultant Harry Mills was on a flight from Wellington to Sydney, Australia, a few years ago, pondering how to develop a framework for his ideas on communicating better with customers, when a filmmaker mentioned his company was called Sauce.

Two hours later, walking down Pitt Street, one of Sydney’s main thoroughfares, he started to ruminate about the letters of that word and how they could be applied to marketing.
S would be for simple, A for appealing, U for unexpected, C for credible and E for emotional.

“I realized the acronym was more than useful. It was profound,” he said in an interview. “The S and E are the key. When marketers fail, the weakness is at the S, simplicity, and because of that they can’t get any emotional response.”

SAUCE’s five elements are vital because societal change requires reinvention of our message-making. What worked in the past won’t work today because consumers have more information and more choice – and that adds up to power in their hands. When we used to go into a store, the seller had all the information and choice wasn’t close at hand. Now you pull out your mobile, gather more information, scout alternative sellers or purchases and you can scoot.

Message-making, he believes, is about self-persuasion. If we’re not listening to messages, of course, we are unlikely to persuade ourselves to purchase the marketer’s wares. But if we are listening, it is critical that the seller helps us to find our own reasons to purchase – to choose that product or service.

So think of Secret Sauce, as his recent book is titled.
  • Simple messages have one central truth and are easy to grasp and picture. “Coming up with a simple truth is the hardest thing. How do you boil down what you want to communicate to one thing? Most marketers have several things they want to advertise and aren’t good at sacrifice,” Mr. Mills says in the interview.
    Proverbs are the example: simple and profound. Microsoft’s tagline – “Your potential. Our passion.” – doesn’t ring true, sounding like a corporation trying too hard. On the other hand, Las Vegas scores with “What happens here stays here.” Metaphors can be powerful, such as Shakespeare’s “Juliet is the sun.” – what more can be said? As for pictures, he notes Facebook posts with photos have 53 per cent more likes. 
  • Appealing messages are different, valuable and personalized. Steve Jobs introduced his iPhone with these words: “What we want to do is make a leapfrog product that is way smarter than any mobile device has been, and super-easy to use.” That super-appealing pitch was matched by his concise description of the iPod: “1000 songs in your pocket.”

    Mr. Mills warns that research says you need to keep to no more than three positive claims for your product – after that, appeal declines, as skepticism rises. He adds that “product benefits, which are the sizzle that sell the steak, work better when personalized.”
  • Unexpected messages are surprising, intriguing and seductive. Unless there’s an element of surprise or intrigue, you limit your chance of capturing attention since our brain ignores the expected and familiar. Hathaway had been making shirts for 116 years and was little noticed until David Ogilvy put an intriguing eye patch on the actor in an ad; within a week, the company’s stock sold out and it became the best-selling dress shirt. Seductive involves lowering defences through encouraging self-persuasion.
  • Credible messages are trusted, transparent and verifiable. We live in a skeptical age, so it’s critical you heed those three dictums. Candour can be very disarming. Having fun with yourself can be effective, as with Volkswagen’s “think small” pitch in the 1960s. But when the company lied about its diesel engines amid an appeal to those interested in sustainability, it lost credibility – and sales.
  • Emotional messages are warm, arousing and plot-driven. Mr. Mills quotes Canadian neurologist Donald Calne: “The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusion.” You want action, so arouse emotions, display warmth and try to present a narrative that allows people to connect to your product or service as the hero in a story.

    Flip through a newspaper and magazine. Look at the stories and advertisements that catch your attention. He is confident they will all have the secret sauce that came to him on Pitt Street.

The Ladder: Jason Siebenga: Today I found this article in the Globe and Mail:

Jason Siebenga, 34, is president of Kelowna, B.C.-based BigSteelBox, a national container sales, rental and storage company with 27 locations across Canada and more than 100 employees.

I always believed growing up that I would be in some kind of business. I was raised in Salmon Arm, B.C. as the second oldest of four kids. My dad was a serial entrepreneur and businessman. I grew up working at a young age for him and his various businesses.

My dad grew up on a dairy farm. Hard work was paramount to him. He never shied away from making us work 10-to-12 hour days when we were 10 or 12 years old. That didn’t feel like a lot of fun when we were in school and working every summer, but I think work ethic was a big thing I learned from him.

In 1999, my dad got into the business of renting out shipping containers as a side business to his landscaping company. In the summer of 2002, after spending a year and a half in Alberta, I moved back home and started working as a contractor in my dad’s landscaping business. That winter, I went through a community futures program. They support you with mentorship, education and finances.

In 2003, I moved to Kelowna and started my own portable storage business, in partnership with my dad. In 2004, my older brother moved to Abbotsford, B.C., and started a location there. In 2005, my younger brother moved to Kamloops, B.C., and started a similar business there. We had separate companies but decided to start trading under the same brand name, BigSteelBox, in 2005, to leverage the scale we had. In 2011, we consolidated our five companies.

It was a great start, looking back, and a unique opportunity.

I didn’t get a formal education. I went as far as Grade 12. I’m planning on doing an executive MBA. To me, the experience I’ve had to date has been invaluable. I wouldn’t trade it, but there are concepts out there I would be well served to know and not have to learn by trial and error.

Early on, I recognized the importance and value of mentorship. I would look for people with holistic success in their life, not just in business, but also in their personal lives. I’ve modelled my life after four or five other people I believe fit those criteria.

My dad has influenced me a huge amount in how he always puts people first. I believe we see that in our culture at BigSteelBox today. It’s a heritage of seeing and treating everybody as equals and wanting to build a community, not just a business. We didn’t realize it was different, at the beginning.

Business and culture are about 10,000 little decisions you make every day and the consistency of those decisions in a certain direction.

People desire community. Our company’s culture came from within, from the staff and community. Our position is that we need to protect that. Among our values at the company, the first value is ‘we love our family.’ That really resonates with people. Another is ‘we have fun.’ We laugh a lot. Our staff loves to serve people and look to be the bright spot in someone’s day. I think it’s extremely unique that we have more than 100 people working for us and that they’re excited about renting boxes. I believe strongly that, since we spend most of our time at work, we’d better enjoy it.

It’s cliché, but you have to do something that you love. I love what I do. I see my job as helping people find their passion, obviously first and foremost in the business, but if not in the business anywhere else in life.

Nobody has an excuse to not be passionate about what they do. In a lot of companies, I think people are allowed to be in positions and not really care. I think that’s a shame for them because they never get to live out their passion.

We’re so much more effective when we’re passionate about what we do. It doesn’t always happen immediately, but I always try to find opportunities to move people toward what they’re passionate about. It’s best for them and for the company.

As told to Brenda Bouw
This interview has been edited and condensed.

Gord Lewis
May 14
PLEASE, if I see 'job' and 'passion’ in the same sentence one more time my head might explode. This is LinkedIn/dreamworld talk.
2 Reactions

May 14
Was thinking the same thing, colour of my parachute world, privileged life talk. Sometimes, reality bites and one has to take a job, any job to survive...and find their passion in hobbies, volunteer work, etc.

Paul Alofs
May 14
"I see my job as helping people find their passion...". Right on Jason. The essence of "Passion Capital" and helping staff "put their passion to work". Great story!


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