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If you head over to Costco around noon this weekend, you’ll be able to make a lunch out of all the free samples being distributed. Why does Costco do this? Because of the positive Frame it creates for your shopping experience. The sampling creates a “fun” atmosphere (not an easy task at a vast warehouse store), establishes a great Frame for the products being sampled (“this is great, I think I’ll buy some”), and gives people an incentive to walk through the door.

How is your product or service framed?


When you look at a piece of art in a museum the underlying assumption is that the art must be “good” in some way, since it’s in a museum. What if you saw the same piece of art being peddled on a street corner? How would this change of context change your perception of the artwork’s value?

The Impact of The Frame

When implementing your marketing program, an important concept to keep in mind is the Frame. Why? Because an otherwise perfectly targeted and executed marketing message can be completely undermined by the wrong Frame.

What is a Frame? A Frame is the message that precedes your message, or the context in which your message is viewed or received. The “set-up,” if you will. The Frame shapes your prospect’s assumptions and preconceived notions. A positive Frame increases the chances that your marketing efforts will succeed; a negative Frame can derail an otherwise great program.

Some Common Frames

Let’s take a look at some of the Frames that may be impacting your marketing program:

  • Word of Mouth – Why is word-of-mouth advertising so successful? Because it’s an incredibly powerful Frame. Your prospect is already “sold” before he picks up the phone.

  • Graphic Design – Your graphic design frames the context of your company’s message. Does your design announce that you are you highly professional? Family-oriented? Hip and trendy? Guard against undermining your message with poor or inappropriate graphic design.

  • Print Ads – Print ads are framed by the editorial and advertising contexts of the advertising vehicle. Would you frame an ad for Prime Rib with an article about the benefits of vegetarianism – or in a publication targeting Hindus? Would you want that ad next to an ad for PETA?

How is your message framed? To reach your goals, pay close attention to this important element of your marketing program.


Another Perfect Pool provides superior maintenance and equipment repair services for swimming pools, spas and fountains throughout South Orange County, California. They’re reliable, professional and know what they’re doing.

Historically Another Perfect Pool has grown primarily through word of mouth, the best possible Frame for their business. Take a look at the website I wrote to learn about the benefits of hiring this pool service company.

What Others Are Saying

"Each time I work with Linda, I am reminded just how well she understands marketing. Linda understands the principles of marketing on a psychological level. She sees the bigger picture. She is pragmatic, insightful and incredibly fast."

Kristine Putt,
Owner and Brand Identity Designer, Paragon Moon