Advertising Tag

Brand has become the marketing religion of our time and takes on outsized importance in every decision. And that leads to a bunch of lists – each claiming to reveal “the” absolutes of brand building. The following makes no claim about summarizing absolutes. But the more lists I see, the more I love the far more humble and practical sense of brands found among this bakers dozen. And, the more I think they reveal important things that enthusiastic brand enthusiasts seem to have forgotten:
1. Brands build through YEARS of consistent efforts.
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="184" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Pepsi logo (2003-2008). Pepsi Wild Cherry and ...[/caption]
2. No, really. Brands build far slower than anyone wants to think. 3. Building a brand requires not only years, but consistent execution throughout that time. 4. Convincing consumers of a product’s unique value creates brand far more quickly than does lifestyle communication. 5. There are many ways your business can leverage advertising to drive profitability other than “Brand Building”. 6. There are many flavors and types of advertising – all will build brand. That means so-called “brand advertising” may be exactly the wrong way to build your brand. 7. Most brand theorists seem to love exotic and abstract

A great guest piece from Dan Schock, Google Retail Team Director

Search as a means of driving sales has evolved in the past few years. As recently as three years ago, most retailers and brands still viewed their “Internet” plan as a means of driving e-commerce. The Internet was a distribution and sales channel measured by its ability to drive online revenues.

Then, as the Internet evolved into a broader media platform where consumers researched, watched videos and compared products/prices, and then often made their purchases in a physical store, many advanced companies began to include offline sales as an additional factor in measuring their overall Search ROI. In 2011, the most forward-thinking retailers and brands have started looking at a new measurement to calculate the success of their online campaigns: new customer acquisition and the lifetime value of those new customers. Think about your own search strategy: most likely you bid on as many of your brand terms as possible. And you should: here are customers that know you, who are raising their hands (via “queries”) and asking for information, then converting at a high ROI. But what about “non-brand” terms: queries higher up the purchase funnel like “makeup”, “detergent” or "paper towels”? These shoppers are still browsing and researching but they’re not converting at the same rate as those searching for your brand terms, so you may either not be buying non-brand terms them or buying very few. Why? – Most likely because you’re hooked on those brand ROIs. Why pay a higher CPC for a lower conversion rate?  
I’ll tell you why: because those non-brand terms drive a higher percentage of new customers to your site – and when you consider the lifetime value of those customers they will pay off! Here are people looking for products and services you offer, but did not think to type your brand into the search box. You are not (yet) part of their top consideration set. And look at the advertisers

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="160" caption="Image via CrunchBase"]Image representing Steve Jobs as depicted in C...[/caption]
Have you heard the “Jobs Excuse”? When someone introduces a bad idea with “well Steve Jobs says” or “…just like Apple…”. It’s an old name dropping game that hopes to make even horrid ideas sound good. In the world of market research, we hear it most often through one popular quote from Mr. Jobs: “It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” (BusinessWeek, May 1998) The Good. You have to read this quote carefully because what it says is:
- Focus groups aren’t good places to design products. - Only you know what’s possible thru technology - People can’t project ahead to tell you what to build.
He is absolutely right. Far too often, focus groups are asked to answer things consumer participants don’t know and can’t imagine. It’s an exceptionally poor use of research. In advertising, this type or research often asks consumers to decide the colors used in ads or to project what a finished ad might look like based on storyboards or sketches (it’s hard enough for experts to do that – much less consumers). In the extreme, it can even lead to

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="239" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Different customer loyality cards (airlines, c...[/caption]
When considering customer experience, the best model is that of an hourglass, not a funnel.  In a webinar hosted by Crowd Factory, Altimeter Group’s Jeremiah Owyang cited Joseph Jaffe’s book “Flip the Funnel,” which posits that many companies spend all their time and energy on trying to lure customers to the point of purchase — and then stop investing in those customers once the transaction has been made. Owyang said an hourglass model, which places value on customers both before and after the purchase, can help grow a company’s customer base by gaining customer loyalty and promoting customer advocacy. “Individual efforts result in an incomplete customer experience,” Owyang said, referring to a diagram that shows a seven-level customer life cycle. Some of his key points for each phase:
  • Use paid media to fuel awareness. If a pre-existing online community or social site can suit your needs, don’t waste time coming up with a new one.
  • Foster an environment for customer consideration. Many consumers swear

In early May, Genevieve Mazzeo, manager of public relations and social media at ConAgra Foods, spoke with SmartBrief’s Jesse Stanchak at BlogWell D.C. presented by SocialMedia.org. Mazzeo spoke about how ConAgra, the maker of brands such as Orville Redenbacher, Healthy Choice and Slim Jim, uses social media to build relationships with its various consumers.
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="177" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Healthy Choice Logo[/caption]
  (Full disclosure: SocialMedia.org CEO Andy Sernovitz regularly contributes to this blog and serves as the editor at large for SmartBrief on Social Media.) With more than 50 consumer-facing brands, ConAgra’s social media strategy has to be approached in a specific, purposeful way that meets the needs of each individual consumer. What works to attract a base of Slim Jim fans may not necessarily translate to Healthy Choice buyers, Mazzeo said. Some aspects of ConAgra’s strategy include:
  • Shape content that’s specific to the audience in question. Mazzeo said ConAgra looks to the community to see what’s important to them. By understanding what exactly

Failure used to be easier to swallow. Back before “fail” was an interjection, before failure had  blogs and whales and other memes attached to it, before you had to worry about schadenfreude propelling your misstep through all of social media — there was a time when a person could screw up fiercely and still take comfort in the fact that most people weren’t going to notice. Even marketers and media types could rest a little easier. If you put out something terrible, most people would ignore it. And even if people did notice, at least your mistake wouldn’t be remembered for long. Now it seems your sins can live on forever, amplified by the echo chamber of the Internet. Ask Rebecca Black if you don’t believe me. Failure in the age of social media is polarizing. Should we become bland and timid, paralyzed by worry and wearing white flannel trousers? Or should we be bold, knowing that if we put a toe out of line, a cry will go up from some dark corner of the Web, the fail hashtag hoisted like a pirate flag, and we’ll be eaten alive by trolls. “ ’Fail’ is the scarlet letter of social media,” David Griner told an audience at a recent BlogWorld & New Media Expo panel. Griner, director of digital content for Luckie & Co., along with Meshin Community Director Dave Peck, explored a variety of recent social media public relations disasters during their presentation. But rather than being frightened by these mishaps, Griner and Peck said, the

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="243"]Lady Gaga performing on the Fame Ball tour in ... Image via Wikipedia[/caption]
For some time, marketing has been dominated by the theory that the way to success is getting your most loyal consumers to buy more. As a result, it’s become popular for marketing “guru”s to declare the end of mass marketing. There’s just one problem: it’s not true. The best discussion of this reality that I’ve seen recently is found in Byron Sharp’s book “How Brands Grow” (2010, Oxford). Let me share a few of the realities I found in this excellent, and challenging, read. Remember the “80/20″ Rule? It’s Wrong. In the 1930′s an Italian economist named Pareto suggested that 80% of a country’s wealth come from 20% of its citizens. Since then, this suggestion has been applied where it shouldn’t and been turned into a “rule”. (One such rule might be that “80% of manufacturing errors come from 20% of the process” – something that is sometimes true.) In marketing, the 80/20 rule has come to claim that 80% of a company’s sales come from 20% of its consumers. Marketers use this to claim that the fastest way to increase profit is to convince the 20% to buy more – an idea that glorifies niche marketing and loyalty programs.

In Marketing...there Are Fundamental Problems With the 80/20 Rule.

Sharp analyzed this rule with hard marketing numbers from a large number of client campaigns. Let me note three findings:
The most loyal 20% of consumers drive only 50% of purchases – not 80. The top 20% are the most expensive (in marketing dollars) way to increase sales. I’ve found they are often fully satisfied and don’t want/need more from your brand. Today’s loyal are tomorrow’s disloyal. Sharp documents the human animal’s polygamous brand tendencies – making purchases from a wide range of brands. One result of brand polygamy is that a very large number of today’s loyal customers will be less loyal in the future.
Net out: Loyalists may just be the worst place to invest a large portion of your communication dollars. So How Do Big Brands Succeed? Sharp suggests part of the answer is in the Double Jeopardy Law:
“Small brands have far fewer customers and those customers buy slightly less often.”
So brands that grow big do so by reaching out and expanding their base of consumers. For a taste of what Sharp has to say, see his presentation in this Ted video. Sharp points to Apple as an example. Tech competitors blame Apple success on fanboys. But Apple has become big because my neighbors have iPods, iPhones and now iMacs. (Just look at the vast amount of Apple hardware on airplanes owned by people you’d never expect to buy Apple.) This is true of brands like Nike and even, I suspect a brand who makes loyalty the centerpiece of their marketing like Nordstrom. In a category close to my heart, it’s true for DeWalt drills. Yes, a lot of contractors buy them. But contractor sales don’t make DeWalt huge. DeWalt is huge because suburban garages are filled with DeWalt drills. Doesn’t Social Media Show Niche Marketing is More Powerful? Not when you analyze the total communication picture around social media. “New media success stories” are mostly mass media success stories given additional legs in social media. How so? In most cases, new media’s role is to create enough awareness to get mass media outlets to deliver coverage in TV, print, newspaper, radio, etc… Then, and only then, does the big impact start. It's amazing what a little print can do for a business. If done well, it can drastically change the outcome of any campaign. For two examples look at Susan Boyle’s record sales or Lady Gaga’s massive YouTube numbers – both are the result of traditional media exposure. (Just notice how much print space Gaga gets.) And the recent Old Spice campaign generated

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I suppose you might read the title of this post and expect an altruistic discussion. Or expect to find ramblings about how account planners should dig into sociological meanings to develop connections with consumers (have you noticed how esoteric account planning has become?). But I want to discuss something very different — something the ad business seems to forget — effective advertising’s truly human value and the society-wide value this builds. I turn to this topic today because advertising in 2011 is a pretty cynical business where many agency execs bring in large salaries while resenting anything so low brow as connecting “advertising” with sales. The idea of ever asking a consumer to purchase a product seems crass. In fact, read carefully what agencies say about themselves and you’ll find a serious dis-like of “advertising” in general (usually detected by what’s omitted from their discussion – like any understanding of business). It’s too bad. Because good advertising is quite fundamentally human and is quite valuable to society.
Consumerism is as old as mankind itself. In fact, consumerism started when the first hunters found they could shop for rock types and find rocks that were more effective. Or when one animal skin was preferred over another for any number of reasons. I think brand also shows up quite early – like when weapon makers repetitively selected specific types of rock (e.g. flint) because they knew it made better weapons. In other words: exercising choice
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