How Finding the Right Corporate Message is Like Carving a Pumpkin

What does carving a jack o’ lantern and finding a new corporate message have in common?

Change.

For some people, change is the scariest word in the English language. To Americans in this election year, or businesses facing a marketing challenge, change can be as frightening as those movies they always seem to air on TV this time of year. But before a pumpkin can become a jack o’ lantern, it must undergo a true transformation, losing pieces of itself to become something even more fantastical and magnetic to everyone around it. This is not unlike a business finding the right corporate message.

One of the joys of being in marketing is ushering companies through exciting changes. Whether it’s a new website, launching a blog program or a complete re-branding effort, revamping the existing (or creating something new out of nothing) is always an exhilarating challenge that interestingly, has a lot in common with carving that pumpkin. For example…

You remove the top from where it sits. You have to shake up things a little to produce change, right? How else can you get an objective viewpoint unless you get the cooperative leader, CEO or founder of the company to take a different perspective on what’s happening with the company? Only then can we objectively assess the company from the outside looking in. It’s just a temporary move…we always put the top back on, don’t we? It’s important, though, to remove the top to welcome the change that’s yet to come.

You take a good look inside. Scooping and scraping away the sinewy, slimy threads of “pumpkin guts” is important to get to the smooth, fleshy, peach-colored innards that reflect any new light we put inside our Halloween creation. This reminds me of the research phase when I’m working with a company to find out what makes it tick. Inside a pumpkin we find the seeds. Inside a business, we find the people who can help the company grow and prosper.

You check out the competition.  Do you peek at Pinterest for jack o’ lantern designs before you put knife to pumpkin? Every company needs to be aware of what their competitor is doing before they can properly position themselves in the marketplace. They also need to know themselves. Not every face looks great on a tall oblong pumpkin. Some look better on a short, round one.

You carve the face.  After careful deliberation, a splash of creative planning and a deep breath, you begin the transformation of the pumpkin into the jack o’lantern. There is no cry of pain from a pumpkin, and it doesn’t have to be painful for a company either to launch a new brand, marketing message or positioning statement. Nothing too easy is ever worthwhile. Stick to the plan, implement it in a slow, steady manner and the change will happen painlessly, before you know it!

You set the light inside.  As you set a light inside, the pumpkin has completed its transformation into a jack o’ lantern for all to see! The business can get a new “face” too. It can give its target audience a glimpse into its center, and reveal itself in a new way with a fresh, compelling corporate message. While a jack o’ lantern attracts trick or treaters with its newfound light, the business can expect good things too, like new markets, more leads, perhaps a business award or just putting a good scare into competitors!

This fall will be a time of transformation for the country, just as it is for so many pumpkins out there. If it is time for a change in your company’s marketing strategy, remember that change doesn’t have to be scary. Feel free to contact me and find out how.