The LGBT equality movement has entered the mainstream. Now that we are here, I think there is a new type of work to do. As a long-time brand strategist for some of the world's leading companies, I believe our next steps are in the consumer marketplace. We must unlock the full power of influential marketers, going beyond sponsorships alone.
Marketing strategy is particularly difficult because the rules have changed. A generation ago, brands mostly strove to create buzz and “drive awareness,” now they need to build compelling experiences that keep consumers engaged.
Discount voucher sites are all the rage. Groupon, Living Social and a host of other players are entering the mushrooming markdown market. This begs the question if discount sites are good news for brand value? In summary we don’t think so. It may be good for short term revenue spikes and potentially contribution margin boosts but not long term brand value. This is based on our experience with hotels, spas and restaurants to name a few. Let us share how we arrived at this position.
It appears Gap is rolling out a new logo and critics aren't being too kind about the shift. The new logo has replaced the retailer's iconic blue box, which had "Gap" emblazoned across it in capital letters, on the brand's home page. Now, a gradiated blue box is perched at the top right side of the "p" in Gap. The original logo can still be found on the retailer's Facebook and Twitter page, however. The logo is pervasive in American culture, appearing on some 1,200 stores in North America. Gap also operates nearly 300 stores in Europe and Asia. Gap is the 84th most-valuable brand in the world, according to Interbrand's 2010 study. The group values the brand at nearly $4 billion.
"Everybody lives by selling something," wrote Robert Louis Stevenson, author of "Treasure Island." Agents, CMOs and deal makers will always get starry-eyed by the big names of "celebrity" because brands love endorsements, and consumers buy into "celebrity." Questions remain, however, as to whether the international obloquy related to the Tiger Woods crisis dealt a devastating blow to celebrity endorsement. In light of the risks, is the celebrity endorsement deal still worth it?
Packaging creates awareness. Companies can offer a variety or great services, but if marketers don't know how to use them or can't see the benefits, those tools might as well not exist. Search marketers especially know this. So, when Google decided it wanted to bring some awareness to a variety of its tools, expert marketers for the tech company created the "zero moment of truth" and the five Ps of digital marketing. Brilliant.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s publication of its “The Popularity Issue: America’s most popular products and how they got that way” makes some fascinating statements about today’s business culture — but not because of the items it named (although those do make for an interesting read.) The fact that a business publication would devote an issue to things which are “popular” and that it plans to do this every year (as this issue was named its “1st Annual”) suggests that popularity is a concept businesspeople care about – which is an interesting, and not necessarily good, development. Further, the methods by which BusinessWeek measures so-called popularity reveal the vagary in any undertaking to understand popularity – which leads to some important implications about business success.
A marketing platform is a mass communication tool that allows you convert subscribers (readers/fans) into leads. Marketing, by definition, uses a mix of place, product, promotion and price to create a transaction between a buyer and a seller. It’s not about brand awareness or customer support. The focus of a marketing platform is to drive revenue for a company. You, as a personal brand, may sell products (books, magazines, whitepapers) and services (consulting, workshops, speaking) on your website. A marketing platform, therefore, would help you drive people to your website and then convert them into leads and then to buyers. Twitter is no longer a viable marketing platform.
What's a brand? You realize that no two people, let alone two marketers, agree on the answer. It's a word, a metaphor, an analogy, a concept or some sort of thing with an existence and personality dependent on whomever is doing the defining, where they're doing it, and what they hope to accomplish.
Foursquare has scored itself another partnership, this time with NBC’s The Today Show. Foursquare users who head to 30 Rock this summer for the Toyota Concert Series on Today will be able to check in, earn badges and compete for mayorships. The Today Show has its own branded Foursquare partner page that you can also visit to get music tips and other assorted information.
Every industry has its own lingo. There are accepted words that everyone in the industry understands and that have become so pervasive that they become hard not to use in normal conversation. Librarians and bookstores call magazines periodicals. Politicians call people constituents and doctors or nurses call additional diseases or conditions you might have in addition to your main condition comorbidities. In each case, the industry has created words that make sense to those within it, but sound strange, complicated and even scary to those outside.
While non-profits may not allocate extra funds to stakeholders, charitable organizations still have a bottom line — to spread their message and accomplish their mission. To do this, strategic planning, which includes digital outreach, is involved. That’s why a growing number of non-profits are using social media to draw attention to their goals.
If any company seems well-positioned to both influence and profit from a generation of environmentally aware youth, it's Walt Disney Co. And Robert Iger, president and chief executive of Disney, insists the company is doing just that. Mr. Iger sat down with The Wall Street Journal's Alan Murray to talk about the new green strategies the company applies to everything from its theme parks to its movie studios, as well as changes Disney has seen in consumer attitudes. They began the conversation by talking about the company's conservation campaign—Friends for Change—which so far has reached more than a million children, he says.
$560 million and counting in 17 days — that's how much donors have given to 40 U.S. charities surveyed by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Why the outpouring of cash? It's not just because people are dying. Innocent people are dying by the hundreds of thousands every day under the most horrific circumstances, but we don't see $560 million pouring into any of their causes in two and a half weeks. It's not because people are buried alive. People are buried alive every day by the scourge of AIDS and malaria, and literally in diamond and precious metals mines, but we don't see half a billion dollars materializing overnight for these causes.
Have you heard this statement before? In 2010, who believes that organizations can succeed without marketing? Well, let me share who says this statement a lot – nonprofit professionals. And do you know why? If you have ever made a donation to a charity or volunteered for a nonprofit, you’ll want to hear what author and Harvard Business Review blogger Dan Pallotta has to say. I heard him speak recently and he turns this sector on its heels.
Monday, I reported my recent culturematic experiment, the tweeting of my train ride from Chicago and Detroit. Today, I thought I'd look at the marketing implications. Specifically, can a culturematic help a marketer help a client? Can it help build the brand? Can it help the brand participate in culture? I think the reply is emphatically "yes."
Last year, Alice Newstead, an employee of the cosmetics company Lush, took part in a rather unusual and macabre window display. Covering herself in body paint so that she resembled a shark, a pair of meat hooks were then inserted into the skin of her back near her shoulder blades. Next, she was hung in Lush's shop window by her skin, blood trickling out of the wounds. For shoppers on London's Regent Street, it was undoubtedly the most attention-grabbing window display going. Needless to say, there is unlikely to be a strong correlation between a meat-hooked, bleeding young woman and increased sales of moisturiser.
It's bad creative that makes online advertising ineffective, so stop obsessing over targeting and placements, according to a study from online-ad-research group Dynamic Logic. After analyzing the highest and lowest performers from its database of more than 170,000 online ads, the Millward Brown company determined that creative factors such as persistent branding, strong calls to action and even human faces -- and not super-targeted or high-profile ad placements -- make for better ad recall, brand awareness and purchase intent.
Exposure to online media, including a brand's Web site and online ads, had a significant positive lift on a treatment's awareness and favorability, according to comScore's third annual study, "Online Marketing Effectiveness Benchmarks for the Pharmaceutical Industry." The results also showed that visitation to a brand's website generated significant levels of incremental new patient "starts" and refills. The study, performed in conjunction with pharmaceutical marketing consultancy Evolution Road, evaluated the impact of various online marketing activities including banner ads, rich media, search marketing and visits to a brand website on a pharmaceutical brand's awareness, favorability and sales results among both patients and prospects.
I want to share my take on how human business works, and what the social web is all about. When I talk about these things, they might not line up with what you’ve thought about, but that’s okay. We see things differently. To me, this is a large tapestry and we’re weaving the fabric of new stories together a little at a time. It’s okay if you don’t see it this way yet. I just want to share my perspective, if only to give you a fuzzy squint into what I believe is here, and what I think is coming with all this.
In the past, it was somewhat difficult to have true customer conversations. We were able to solicit customer feedback, but we weren’t always good at responding. The fact is, we didn’t have a good way to easily get back to customers with resolutions to problems or closure to suggestions. Customers would feel they were sending their comments and concerns into a “corporate black hole”, never to be seen or heard about again. Nowhere was this truer than with customer comments about areas for improvement or solutions to previously unknown problems. Fast forward to the present. Much is being said about the need for customer conversation. Books have been written about the importance of going beyond just listening to customer feedback and the need to move to a two-way interaction with customers. Conferences are being convened which promote the importance of talking with our customers to build awareness and advocacy. There is a lot of discussion about joining the conversation (which, as we all now realize, is happening with or without brand participation). Social media tools are now being used more and more frequently to “converse” with customers, thanking them for their Tweets about us and running quick contests to get more fans or followers.
Disney will give free admission to its parks to 1 million people who complete a day of volunteer work. It's an amazingly smart marketing tactic, and it has strategic implications for every business should consider. In many ways, Disney is a unique case. Babies are born with the brand identity pre-programmed in their brains, which means that every human being walking the planet is likely to be aware of the brand and, unless they're active evildoers or otherwise twisted, associate it with at least the appearance of wholesome goodness. Disney has branding problems like the Earth has issues with rotation. The challenge is to get people to do something with all that awareness.
Niels Bohr once noted that "prediction is very difficult, especially about the future," but then he didn't have access to predictive loyalty metrics. Happily, we do. And, as they measure the direction and velocity of consumer values 12 to 18 months in advance of the marketplace and consumer articulations of category needs and expectations, they identify future trends with uncanny accuracy. Having examined these measures, we offer 10 trends for marketers for 2010 that will have direct consequences to the success - or failure – of next year's branding and marketing efforts.
How do you compete as an upstart in the cutthroat domestic airline industry when your marketing budget is a fraction of your rivals'? For Porter Gale, VP-marketing at domestic value carrier Virgin America, you make every dollar stretch and use social media and buzz to amplify every marketing event, all the while trying to show that Virgin is the antidote to marginal domestic air travel. In some respects Ms. Gale is a fitting candidate to run a lean, startup airline. With a master's degree in documentary film from Stanford University, she's a filmmaker who has had to figure out how to produce high-quality content on shoestring budgets.
This is a no-brainer, right? Because we all know you create the strategy first, then find the tactics that help you best execute that strategy. Right? But. So many companies are jumping on Twitter and Facebook (for example) because they are the 'hot' sites of the moment, and/or because they think they need to be there. They use these sites for a couple of weeks, then realize they have absolutely no idea what's going on. That's when I get the 'we started using Twitter/Facebook but really have no idea what we are supposed to be doing with it' email.
Some of the major causes of death in the 18th Century were consumption, dropsy, and ague. Thanks to stronger and more precise diagnostic technology, we can see that TB, heart diseases, and assorted bacterial infections were the detailed causes underlying these conditions. Scientists developed the theories to model the reams of new data revealed to them, which enabled doctors to focus on treating the diseases, not the symptoms (as their predecessors had done). I'm playing with how this might parallel today’s social media experience. I really don't know where, or how far it goes.
As our various electronic devices gain more and more sensory awareness, we open up the potential for entirely new forms of interaction. Not just new interfaces--tapping and shaking and whatnot--but a shift in presence. With few exceptions, we use these new technologies in rather familiar ways. We might speak instead of type, or tap instead of click, or wave a control wand instead of mash a control pad, but these are essentially the same kinds of direct input processes we've done for years, just dressed up in a new look. The real shift comes when we move away from direct interaction and input, towards a world of ambient interaction and awareness.
The buzz for the arrival of the 2010 Ford Fiesta subcompact car in the United States is building. That's no small task, given that Ford hasn't sold a car called the Fiesta in the United States since the period from 1978 to 1980.
Spend and you will get buzz. That seems to be one takeaway from YouGov's BrandIndex, which compiled daily feedback from thousands of consumers for the first half of the year in order to find out which brands consumers are buzzing about and which brands they're not.
Starbucks Coffee Co. appears to be coming out of freefall -- thanks, in part, to marketing by McDonald's. In a third-quarter-earnings call this afternoon, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz credited margin improvements, cost savings and attention brought to the category by its rival's big-budget McCafe launch with helping to improve Starbucks' same-store sales. The chain's same-store sales fell 6% during its fiscal third quarter in the U.S., but that still bests the prior quarter, when same-store sales were down 8%.
Companies are hosting intimate gatherings to woo high-end customers.
As Simon Clift of Unilever made clear at the Ad Age Digital Conference recently, brands no longer have total control of the communications surrounding their products or even the positioning of them. That power is now in the hands of the digital consumer. Ford agrees. It's just asked 100 bloggers to launch the Fiesta in the U.S.
The JKR blog is well worth a look, as it has lots of really good mini case studies on design. One that caught my eye was one about the online search engine, Ask.com. Another interesting example of the care you need to take with visual equities, hot on my earlier post about the Tropicana re-design disaster.
So I've got it: Twitter isn't a technology, or a service, so tracking the numbers really won’t add up correctly. After reading all of the commentary, I understand that numbers will never capture the meaning of the phenomenon. Twitter is more like love: you either feel it, or you don't. Here are six reasons why they're one in the same:
These tools we have like blogging and podcasting and video and the use of social platforms are interesting, but to be useful to a sales marketing process, we have to look at where they make the most possible leverage and value.
One of the best ways to grow your blog, is to leave it. What I mean by this is leaving comments on other blogs is a great way to create value for others, and ultimately grow awareness for your own blogging efforts. But not all blog comments are created equal, and here's some of the tips I've learned over the years for writing great blog comments:
We’re all fighting against attention clutter. Our email inboxes are creaking. Our media consumption habits (from newspaper to magazines to TV to radio) are all sporadic and random and very hard to track. It takes more and more for someone to capture our attention and convince us to change our course of action. Let’s consider this to be the continuum: awareness, attention, engagement, execution, extension. I’ll explain all five, and thread into them how social tools can help.
Audi has signed on as official luxury vehicle of the New York Yankees. The promotional relationship puts the Audi name in various areas of the new Yankee Stadium, such as the Audi Yankees Club, an exclusive viewing location and membership restaurant located on the H&R Block Suite Level in left field. The sponsorship begins with the opening of the new field--and, per the company, will extend through the 2011 season.
Watch out, Starbucks, Pepsi and Microsoft: Your brand power is waning.
Ford Motor Co.'s campaign for its redone 2010 Ford Fusion new hybrid model is aimed at people who aren't in the market to buy a car -- at least not today.
A current example of using a giveaway and online chatter to drive restaurant traffic: International House of Pancakes just completed its third annual National Pancake Day on Tuesday, in which it gives away a small stack of pancakes and in return asks customers to consider donating to the Children's Miracle Network or a local charity. IHOP, which has raised nearly $2 million for charities since starting the day in 2006, relied on a dedicated Web site with a "tell a friend" pass-along application, its normal presence on key social networks and some PR to drive awareness and traffic.