Hot Shots - Firey Little Rants On Marketing

Big brands and marketing experts make mistakes constantly. Millions are spent on lousy advertising ideas. Experts tell you branding isn’t for you. Hot Shots is here to have a few laughs at their expense, and reveal profitable marketing secrets in the process.
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Now displaying: 2017
Dec 25, 2017

Ready to learn something interesting about small business in the middle of somewhere? On this Boxing Day, it seemed like a good idea to wish a Happy Boxing Day to any folks who celebrate it. But we have scant few readers and listeners who do celebrate it. However, in figuring out all this info, we learned something really interesting, small-business-wise, about a spot that might be considered the middle of nowhere...

Dec 18, 2017

Once again, a brilliant example of big-business brand advertising demonstrates the power of artful storytelling in a way that's useful and informative for the owner of a small-business brand. 

Dec 12, 2017

It's that time of the year when Best Of lists are being compiled, and advertising is no exception. And one of the year's "best" advertisements is a striking example for the small business owner. But...of what?

Dec 5, 2017

Yes, we're talking about beer branding this week, and a likely publicity stunt by a craft brewer that ostensibly drew the ire of a big mega brewery--and provides a few laughs and a couple of good lessons for the small business owner...

Nov 27, 2017

As we continued our Napa tour as part of the CoupleCo interviews, The Fabulous Honey Parker and I came across an interesting and dynamic couple who operate a brewery. And they produce extraordinary brews that you may never get to taste. And that's OK. It's your loss, yes. But their scarcity is one of the keys to their success as a brand...

Nov 14, 2017

Visiting the largely unscathed Napa Valley in the wake of the fires (and finding that it really is open for business), we had a chance to sit down with a couple who makes fabulous wine, whose business is a product of love and balance, and who demonstrates how the love for a business and the power of a cult brand can really make big things happen. 

Nov 7, 2017

Napa after the fires has provided none of the apocalyptic strife predicted by so many in the wake of the Bad News about big fires. But what it did offer us was an interesting and cautionary tale of two brands and now you can get everything else right--but if you get Thing One wrong, you're basically circling the drain.

Oct 30, 2017

The news media may not have as its goal the undermining of an entire region's brand and livelihood--but the 24-hour all-devastation news cycle can do it--and has done it again. We almost became victims of it ourselves until someone told us we needed to get there ASAP and bring our tourist dollars. 

Oct 24, 2017

Yes, it might sound crazy. but it's worth considering: What is your personal brand as a customer. And there may be no better place to examine the benefits of that than in the milieu of contemporary air travel. 

Oct 9, 2017

"Social media advertising doesn't work!" That's a ridiculous statement when you consider how many people DO make it work. What doesn't work is the same thing that doesn't work across all media platforms--including traditional advertising platforms. And the fixing it is very, very simple. Want to know how? 

Oct 3, 2017

Velcro has created a hilarious and valuable lesson not only in trademark law, but in the value of creating a movement--even a fake one--to build a brand and the tribe. 

Sep 25, 2017

We here at Slow Burn Marketing love a breakthrough brand. We didn't expect to find one providing relief for victims of hurricane Irma. But it's there, and it's doing "super good..."

Sep 18, 2017

Brand focus is a brilliant thing. We argue that it is essential. And, we are huge fans on intense, laser focus--especially when it comes to the restaurant business. Single-item restaurants are fascinating. But there's a Chinese fast-casual chain with 6,000 stores that has just opened their first store in the United States. It sounds like they're having a challenge. What can the small-business brand learn from seemingly simple mistakes being made by an enormous Chinese brand opening up the Southern California market?

Sep 11, 2017

The alleged creator of a hugely successful national promotional campaign died this week--or did he? He died--but was he the creator? Maybe he was ultimately in charge of it. But it doesn't really matter--because his tenure at a top broadcasting network is reflective of successes and failures at every level--and provides a cautionary tale you can take with you into profitable small-business branding.

Sep 5, 2017

The Jewish bacon cure, insecurity, fear, megalomania--it's amazing what you can find behind a personal brand when you dig deep enough. The problem is, plenty of other potentially capable brands are derailed by fear and insecurity--when this brand proves that fear and insecurity can be worth millions. 

Aug 28, 2017

Yes, everyone loves to say that "Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds." But that is flat-out wrong. First of all, the quote is "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds." And a purposeful, focused consistency is how runners win marathons, and how a brand can be profitable. BUT--what happens when your purposeful and focused consistency becomes split? What happens when you do two things really well?

Aug 23, 2017

When bean counters run the show, they often believe they know everything because they know all about the beans. The problem lies in the fact that a business is more than mere beans. And one bean counter know-it-all we recently encountered was a perfect example--but despite his flaws, he still has something going for him that many small-business entrepreneurs lack. 

Aug 15, 2017

Without an open and coherent line of communication between the people running a business, and between them and the employees, much is lost--and it can end up making people look silly. It can also cost money. 

Aug 7, 2017

When your brand is authentic and you're committed, you will win--despite occasionally being confronted by other, disagreeable, personal brands. Stick to your guns--and to your beverages--and you will win. 

Jul 31, 2017

All across the heartland of this great nation are hilarious examples of bad advertising--and one in particular has not only hit us on the funny bone, but serves as an object lesson in how to write better, more profitable (one hopes) ad copy. 

Jul 25, 2017

There are plenty of folks who will argue that to be competitive requires having merely a better product and an intellectual justification for the benefits. They are wrong, and this particular business category illustrates the power of emotional branding run amok--and making money. 

Jul 17, 2017

A recent solicitation by an internet radio provider was supposed to tell me four essential truths about advertising with internet audio. What it actually revealed was partial truth combined with possible ignorance. Technology changes. People remain the same. And to ignore the truths of history that continue to rule, you are making it harder to reach your customer and easier to waste money.

Jul 10, 2017

Can you really become big enough as a small brand to inspire an attack from the big brands in your category? This object lesson in how a small brand looks and feels answers the question definitively: yes you can. 

Jul 3, 2017

Rebellion, dissension and non-conformity. Is it hard to imagine these qualities coming to the US from a British invader in a three-piece suit? On this Independence Day, we celebrate an independent-thinking British iconoclast who changed American advertising for the better--and influenced the way we all do business and make money. 

Jun 26, 2017

The advertising awards handed out at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity do not represent what small businesses can do with their miniscule advertising budgets--or do they? Can you really learn something from a big advertising case study for a small country that generated millions of dollars in free advertising with zero media budget?

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