The market for framing

If you’ve ever brought a picture or photograph to a good framing shop, you know that the process of choosing a frame can be time-consuming — because a good frame provides a context for the subject without distracting from it or becoming the focus of attention.  The appropriate frame is about the image it surrounds.  A talented framer selects a product that serves the message of the image, if you will.

Framing has a whole new meaning this summer.  Political managers are working overtime to frame the image of their parties and figures, bound and determined to find exactly the right words to appeal to the populace and secure its support in coming elections, especially the far-off 2008 race.  For those of us who live and breathe in the target market, forewarned is forearmed.  But are we ready for the inevitable marketing of the framing concept in business circles?

Those of us who advise business leaders on the presentation of products and services — agencies, consultants, advisors, marketing officers — have performed for decades as the dictionaries and thesauri for our bosses, finding the words and phrases that best capture the ideas and yes, vision, these leaders must share in order to reach customers, build sales and achieve long-term profitability.  I’m waiting for the day I first hear someone ask me how to frame a product or service to the target market.  So, I’m hoping that there will be something to frame.  That’s where it must begin:  with the product, service, idea, competitive differentiation, benefit.  If these elements are clear and vivid and true, the framing will follow.  And the framing will serve them and the target audience, not the other way around.

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