Franco Santini was my professor of Marketing when I studied for my second MA. I learned so much from him that one day, when I was already a manager and had my own team to lead, I could even disagree with some of his managerial ideas. That day I realized how much I evolved and his contribution to such beautiful event.
During one of his lessons (yes, after so many years, I still remember his charming lessons) he told us the story of Giovanni Rana. Mr Rana didn’t trust the marketing research that said his products didn’t have any possibility to succeed. On the opposite, he cared so much about his pasta to take part into his own advertising. His personal presence in the spot guaranteed the quality and taste of its products. “Ci ha messo la faccia” we would say in Italian.
This is a fantastic idea, very innovative at that time. Its concept can be developed further and be applied to build motivation and attachment to your brand, internally hence involving all the people working with you.
This was what inspired us, at GUNA Inc., to create the campaign “Real People, Real Products”. My colleague Beth Kern from marketing took this concept to a higher level and we created videos and adv where we only used us as main characters. Each of us could tell their experience with the products we actually used and loved.
For instance, this is the corporate video Beth created using an iphone and whatever she had available at our facility: colleagues, products, warehouse… She even involved our UPS guy who came in everyday to collect the shipment outgoing. LOL!
Take a look at this visual to promote Omeosport. Inside are our pictures, our stories, our passion:
For mother’s day, our colleague Megan came in with her entire matriarchal family so we could shoot this beautiful picture.
And when we needed to hire new people? Here is the job post: features our real team, our real conference room and our real culture.
As for me, I wanted to do something for my team, to show them they could trust me and the products we were promoting. Deep inside I am a cyclist trapped in the body and stamina of a runner so I set up my challenging goal in conquering 230 miles on bike while traveling from Bethlehem, PA to New York and back to Bethlehem: a bike extravaganza as my team labelled it.
At the very beginning it was not clear the reason why I wanted to challenge myself. You don’t always sit down and rationally decide what to do to benefit the bond between you and your team. Often it is instinctual and you follow your inner self.
In my case, the desire of getting to NY by bike kept on tormenting me, this I knew already. When I shared the idea with my team, they honestly believed that: 1) I was being serious and 2) could do it. At that point, I had to go ahead, it was a matter of trust: I say what I think, I do what I say; it is the paradigm of trust.
The extravaganza was another opportunity to use, test and talk about the products, right?
I did get to NY and I did get back to Bethlehem, where I started. The emptiness I felt once I finished was unbearable, I didn’t expect such reaction from my part. Riding the bike for so many miles and hours was like starting a journey inside me. It was being in a different dimension, no worries except for the basic ones: eating, drinking and sleeping. When I started, after the first mile, I suddenly realized I was doing it. There was no way back until NY and it felt incredible. Yes, I was proud of myself and very happy to do it for my team. When I finished, I did feel lost but then I knew I had another terrific moment ahead, sharing the experience with my team who was there, waiting for me to get back and happy to listen to me.
If you are a normal person like me, if you want to do another extravaganza like mine, just do it. You only have two outcomes: you win or you learn. You learn your limits and cherish the moment you learn one more thing about yourself.