No.002 – Hooked On Hopium

Are you hooked on hopium?

“Hopium” is when you HOPE the marketing materials you invest in will actually “work” without a strong rationale or understanding of why they should. When they do work, you feel great, look good in front of your Boss and peers… and you want more of it.

But when things don’t work, the comedown is hard. Symptoms include feeling horrible, looking lousy and a big hurt on your bottom line. And then there’s the shame. Now you have to spend again to get the result you were “hoping” for the first time.



  • Produced an ad campaign and then wondered why customers aren’t buying?
  • Or asked for a new logo without knowing exactly what that logo was meant to achieve?
  • Or commissioned a website reskin only to see your metrics stay the same?
You might be hooked on Hopium.

Don’t feel bad. You’re not alone. In our experience many Clients struggle with the effects of Hopium, but the ones who survive are smart enough to ask for help, because the first step to kicking the Hopium habit is admitting you have a problem.

When things aren’t working one of first reactions is to blame the existing marketing tools (logo, ads, website, packaging etc.) and try to alter their look. It’s a natural starting point and sometimes they do need to change, but this alone will not necessarily get results.

Here’s why: Most business problems don’t exist solely at the public facing surface level.

The good news is Monogram can help. Our patented 12-Step program* will help you kick the Hopium habit in no time. Soon you’ll be on your way to achieving your business goals with wise, strategic investments that will do more than just make you look and feel good.
Knowing what to change, and why, is the key. Some business problems can be solved simply, with small shifts to existing materials instead of spending huge.

Two examples:
  1. Hoping that a $60-80k re-skin of your website will get you more brand awareness. Suggestion: Putting $20K towards a dynamic and relevant blog that communicates on a regular basis with your audience might achieve better results.
  2. Hoping that a $100k new brand look will increase sales.
    Suggestion: Maybe all you need is to change the messaging and tone of voice using your current look.

The point is, you don’t necessarily need to spend big. You need to spend smart.


Just remember, Hopium is sneaky. If you take your eye off the ball, it will creep into your marketing plan and start wreaking havoc. Don’t let this happen to you.

Keep Hopium at bay by asking yourself these questions before you start your next project:
  1. Define the business problem and the benchmark:
    • what do we need to achieve in our business right now?
    • and how is this a problem for us?
    • what will we get from having more of this in our business?
    • what’s the ideal outcome or result?
  2. Once you have identified the true business problem and clarified the benchmark with which to measure success, it’s time to think about your audience:
    • who are our clients, customers, or prospects?
    • what are their needs, wants and desires?
    • what will our offer get for them (i.e.- solve their problems better, cheaper, faster than anyone else?)
    • when does our audience need this offer?
  3. Remember to:
    • Limit one major business problem per communication or risk confusing your audience and diluting your message.
    • Arrive at a hierarchy of information, what you want the consumer to see first, second, third.

At Monogram we hate Hopium.

We’ve seen its devastating effects all too often, and we’re here to help. We pride ourselves on delivering successful results for well defined and researched problems. We’re experts at figuring out which medium, which message and what budget is the correct one for the job. And we provide advice on whether the time is right for a complete overhaul or a small and powerful fix.

*    We don’t really have 12-Steps exactly, but we do have a process that’s painless and proven.
Let us get you on the road to recovery today.