The giraffe is a pretty striking creature, what with the whole long neck thing, patchwork tailoring and the lollopy run so lovingly impersonated by the boy Izzard. What you might not know though is that the giraffe also has the longest tail of any animal! Not the first thing you think of, granted, but pretty impressive you’ll agree…

Comets too are things with long tails – famous for it in fact – and actually have two of the things, reaching far, far back from that initial bright shiny bit at the front. Comets enjoy this rare place in our consciousness, i.e. that we do actually recognise the long tail, acknowledging that somehow it’s a significant part of the whole and without which it wouldn’t be, well, a comet!

There’s a long tail to everything we do; the people we know, the things we do, our plans and objectives for the days, weeks and months ahead. Everything comes from and as a result of the culmination of different activities, results, effects, inputs, forces etc, each combining to grow that long tail of experience that tells the story from where we’ve been to where we’re going.

So why oh why do we still tend to think that, when we’ve something to say or sell, a quick squirt of the old advertising budget is going to cure all ills and magic something into existence out of thin air? Here is the news guys – it won’t!

Advertising, despite what many ‘digital gurus’ would tell us, is still a hugely important part of the marketing communications mix. It announces things, it grabs our attention, it blows a big trumpet and it helps to maybe start a conversation. But what it cannot do, in those few moments of exposure, is download that whole long tail’s-worth of background, people, heritage, quality, trial & error, development, improvement, loyalty etc – everything that combines to help take your audience on the journey to doing whatever it is that you want them to do.

For example; you’re hoping to attract a great new employee to fill that new difficult and oh so critical position on the team. But that inexpensive text-only internet listing you’re thinking of really can’t possibly convey all of the information, company image, opportunity, security and working conditions that’s important to those better candidates you’re hoping to attract.

It’s the same with business development marketing. Sure the ad tells me there’s a sale on but without the longer tail of all that supporting information, trading history, reputation, experience, personality, customer testimonials etc then you’re only competing on price – and that can only be a one-way race to the bottom of your respective market!

Recognising then the importance of the long tail is your first, easy step towards making all of your marketing communications more successful and effective. Customers are now far too discerning and sophisticated to simply be bamboozled by the sleight of hand of a glitzy ad campaign that attempts to paper over a lack of detail or historical foundation. And if your medium of choice doesn’t provide you with options to add a magical dusting of design-led sparkle to your messaging (there’s your text-only recruitment websites again, Google AdWords listings etc), you’re going to have to grow that pesky old tail of believability some other way.

At Levy McCallum we recognise that your story needs to be properly planned and carefully nurtured over time, layer upon layer of experiences gathered, understood, creatively presented and then effectively shared over a broad range of complimentary media channels, long before your target audiences think they might ever be looking for something from you.  Ours is an advertising agency process that starts long before you ever get close to making an advertisement – building your reputation and image into something that’s subliminally memorable, valuable and desirable to all of your potential customers and employees without them even having to think about it.

If your organisation is based in Scotland or Northern Ireland and this post has been of some interest, give us a call via this website ( and we’ll be delighted to come and talk to you about our unique approach to intelligent marketing…
… and giraffes too if you like…