Why I resolve to ask for help more

Writing can feel like a very solitary task – and it often doesn’t provide much opportunity to ask for help. But at both cylindr BBN, the Copenhagen content creation agency where I work, and in our larger community of BBN, people are always open to lending a hand – and there are tremendous resources to draw on.

My New Year’s resolution is to draw on those resources more often. To both ask people for help and to turn to the wealth of case studies, best practices and other guidance available through BBN. 

Getting lost in translation

Content creation is somewhat a solo activity, but it doesn’t need to be a lonely one.

For example, I’ve worked on several dozen Danish-to-English translations for a company with a stable of lifestyle brands. Sometimes I’m not quite sure what the Danish text means or if a turn of phrase is universally understood. (Local context can be everything!)

I could turn to Google and dive down the rabbit-hole of publicly-available opinions. Or I could simply ask for help from a real person.

I’m thankful to work with native-English speakers who can field the ‘Does this make sense?’ kind of requests for help – and even more grateful that a couple of them are Danish citizens and long-term residents. Getting their feedback saves me time, dramatically reduces confusion and delivers content that reflects the original Danish text – and makes sense to non-Danes around the globe.  

Check what tools are available

Seth Godin recently pointed out that rather than finding a ladder (or asking for help) we waste time and energy throwing ourselves at the wall, trying to find a solution on our own. Is re-inventing the wheel the best use of time and energy? Why not ask for help from others who have the tools you need?

For a recent pitch, one of my colleagues asked our BBN compatriots if any of them had experience with the same kind of branding quandary our potential client was experiencing. The quality of responses was impressive. Some of our partner agencies had worked with clients with almost precisely the same needs and they were happy to share their insights.

Rather than reinventing the wheel, we used our colleagues’s methodologies as inspiration – and put together a robust pitch that was filled with real-world examples.

The perks of not knowing it all

Asking for help might be a challenge. After all, who likes admitting that they don’t know something? But tapping into collective knowledge can speed up the process, provide an opportunity to incorporate varied perspectives – and create content that builds deeper connections with your customers.


This post was originally published on Integrated B2B.

Five ways clear ‘opt-outs’ encourage subscribers to opt-in

Many companies are still reeling from the tightened requirements for subscriber consent in marketing. The turbulence that accompanied the full implementation of GDPR has prompted some less-than-ethical marketers to devise creative ways to prevent users from opting out or unsubscribing. The assumption being that un-willing subscribers are better than reduced list sizes.

But making it simple to leave is part of the equation for convincing people to stay.

Why bother?

Maybe your re-permissioning emails as part of GDPR compliance are still a work in progress. Perhaps you’re ready to re-build your email lists and attract interested subscribers. Or maybe you’re part of a new breed of marketers who are proactively asking customers who haven’t been active for a while if they actually want to hear from you.

Whatever the rationale for asking people to opt-in to your communications, you want to make sure that you’re getting the right message to the right audience – and ensure that only customers who want to stay in touch get your marketing messages.

Here’s why it’s advantageous to include a clear way to opt out or unsubscribe:

1.    Make your customer-focus clear

Companies that make it easy to unsubscribe or opt out of their mailings demonstrate transparency and respect for users. By indicating that you don’t want to make it difficult to stop receiving communications, you show that you value your customers’ desires – and customer centricity is key to better business performance.

2.    Show you’re worthy

Including an easy way to opt out or unsubscribe builds credibility with users. It reassures them that your company uses personal data appropriately – and is worthy of being entrusted with their own personal information.

3.    Keep the good vibes going

Any reader who opens a message from you has already demonstrated that they’re not hostile to your communications – otherwise that message would have been deleted, ignored or, even worse, marked as spam. Keep that likeability intact by behaving nicely.

4.    Avoid the spam sandwich

Having an easy unsubscribe or opt-out makes it less likely that recipients will mark your messages as spam. Garner enough clicks on ‘This message is spam’ and your email domain will be blocked by spam filters, lowering the likelihood that interested parties will actually receive your emails.

5.    Use opt-out to say ‘hello’

The landing page you send people to when they opt out is a great way to engage. Provide ways to re-join the conversation, perhaps pointing them to another of your other lists that may be more relevant or offering to deliver more targeting messaging. Giving users the option to change the frequency of messages is another common retention method. At the very least, give departing subscribers a fond farewell and direct them to your social media channels.

Opting out doesn’t have to mean saying good-bye

Instead of seeing an opt-out or unsubscribe as the end of a customer relationship, consider it a way to get to know your audience better and ensure you have clean subscription lists populated by people who are really interested in hearing from you.

There’s some evidence that companies who clearly offer opt-out and/or unsubscribe links actually retain more subscribers – now that’s a strong case for giving opt-out options right alongside any opt-in messaging!


This post was originally published on Integrated B2B.

What is We the North? Why local matters in marketing

I doubt that anyone outside of Canada recognizes the slogan ‘We the North’ or thinks that it has any particular marketing magic. But for millions of Canadians it resonates deeply and spurs them to open their hearts and wallets – proof that local know-how matters in marketing.

We the North in LEGO block - the perfect combo of Canadian and Danish
We the North in LEGO blocks – a perfect combination of Danish & Canadian influences

The phrase isn’t particularly evocative, and its grammatical accuracy is questionable, but for most of the 36 million inhabitants of the Great White North (aka Canada), ‘We the North’ is instantly recognizable as the slogan for the Toronto Raptors – and a patriotic rallying cry. Their minute-long hype video delivers a hard-hitting message that the Raptors are not like the others, clearly defining what differentiates them. The Raptors are the only NBA team not based in the USA and the ‘We the North’ campaign started in 2015 to bring excitement to Canada’s single top-tier professional basketball team.

It’s been hugely successful within Canada, even among non-sports fans. The slogan adorns sweatshirts and ball caps throughout the country and draws masses of fans to the NBA underdogs, but it holds no meaning beyond Canadian borders. Swedes, Norwegians, Danes and Finns are all equally from the north, but Nordic dwellers wouldn’t see this as a point of pride or distinction, nor would they brag about it.

Laura and Chloe and tag
Me with Chloe Lackman, BBN coordinator at tag agencies.

The success of ‘We the North’ is only possible within Canada – and it took an agency with deep local understanding to get that. As part of BBN, the world’s B2B agency, we have marketing specialists on five continents who really get their local cultures and understand the messaging that appeals within their markets. It’s true that B2B marketing is growing globally and keeps expanding through technology – but it’s still important to have a local touch.

Branding and marketing strategies are useless if they don’t resonate with buyers you want to reach. And there’s no more sure-fire way to ensure that connection than working with experienced, trusted advisers on the ground in your desired markets.

Where do you want to go today? Go North.


I recently visited tag agencies, our BBN partners in Toronto and the photo accompanying this post is proof of how prevalent the slogan is – it’s proudly displayed in their offices.


This post was originally published on Integrated B2B.