You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2014.
There was a great piece in Contagious about how ad agencies are still overly concerned with the money maker that is outbound messaging. The article supports my boiled down thesis that “Branding is about claim and proof. Proof and deeds. Deeds and experiences. Strategically organized and soundly managed.”
The article’s writer Laurence Green, founding partner of 101 London, believes that outbound alone is old school and slowly being replaced by a more complete, informed, productized and bidirectional selling rigor; one where technology, media, product and creative come together to make people buy more, for more, more times.
One point in the article with which I might take issue is that the strategist and the coders should play together for the optimal output. I need to think about this one. Digital strategist perhaps, but I’m not so sure about brand strategist. I’m not sure coders need more than the brand plan to mash up their digits. But hey, this is pioneer stuff and smart shops, whose buildables are steeped in full duplex marketing are still learning. Exciting stuff. Peace.
Tags: Brand Strategy, coders, contagious, contagious magazine, Digital Strategy, Full duplex marketing, whats the idea, whatstheidea
The secret sauce of the brand planner is their ability to take all the information at hand and boil it down into a compelling argument that leads to a sale…or predisition to a sale. (We are not always buying, you see.)
I was with a bunch of IT guys yesterday and the technical fur was flying. Back in the day it would have been enough to make me feel light-header and inadequate. Yesterday it reminded me of times at Bell Labs and AT&T’s Microelectronics listening to English-as-a-second-language engineers talk technical gibberish (to me) about their digital signaling processors. My job at the time was to be polite and make a good ad. Actually, be polite and come home with a strategy to give to creative people to make a good ad. These trips, it turns out, are where I cut my planning teeth.
Information gathering is an art, but taking that “stock pot” of information and boiling it down to insights, then a single selling argument is da monies. Packaging that argument with a little evocative poetry is the Richard Sherman monies. Thank you AT&T Microelectronics. Peace.
Tags: AT&T Microelectronics, bell labs, boil down, brand planners, Brand Planning, brand planning tips, insights, IT, richard sherman, whats the idea, whatstheidea
Salman Khan, founder of the Khan Academy an online educational video tutoring site, began his business by uploading math instruction videos to YouTube. Part of his secret sauce was making math instruction interesting. If instruction lacks vocal intonation (drone, drone) it didn’t connect. Been there. If it was overly flourished, same thing. His approach, like that of other good teachers, was to be in the middle. Connect. Watch what students tuned in to and package that using good pedagogy.
As a brand planner, I sometimes go into situations where the topic is less than exciting. Healthcare and banking come to mind. When interviewing SMEs (subject matter experts) or consumers using Salman’s approach is important. The interviewer needs to show interest; not academic interest but true category interest. The interviewer needs to find ways to bring the subject to life. To be engaged and earn trust. Personal stories are a good way to prime the pump. Hearing them. Telling them. Some will say interrupting people when they talk is not polite, however in this case it shows energy and interest. (Do it carefully however.)
Be a good listener, a careful watcher of body language, and most of all be human. React, respond, find emotional attachments. Joy and happy endings are also nice, though may not in all cases be appropriate.
Once again, good teaching and learning practices come into play in brand planning. Peace.
Tags: Brand Planning, brand planning technoiques, khan academy, pedagogy, salman kahn, SMEs
Do you know your product’s top 5 twitch points? You should. Customer journey is a new age marketing tool used by comms planners to find better ways to intersect with and influence customers. The journey maps out awareness, activities, research, purchase and out-of-box experience. (Chart courtesy of Frog Design.) Some use the old school taxon AIDA (awareness, interest, desire and action), a dumbed down version. It’s truly good stuff and a lot more valuable than a simple DILO (day in the life of) media planning approach, but if you follow the Frog Design rigor (chart) you may also end up a little dizzy.
Twitch Points are moments when a person twitches way from one media or device in favor of another in search of clarification. Kindle to Google Earth. Newspaper to Wikipedia. Car dealership to JD Power. Best Buy to Amazon. Car radio to Shazam.
Twitch Point Planning is simpler than the above Frog Design learning scheme. Less complex. Understanding, mapping and manipulating customers closer to a sale is its goal. It needn’t be overthought. Don’t get me wrong, it needs to be thought, just not overthought. If you find your top 5 twitch points, your five most commerce producing twitches, you don’t need a road map, journey, or KPIs. You need a good accountant…to count da monies.
Peace be upon you.
Tags: "understand map and manipulate", AIDA, best buy, customer journey, customer journey template, DILO, frog design, JD Power, kindle, marketing kpis, shazam, whats the idea, whatstheidea, Wikipedia
A start-up prospect of mine accidently sent me an email, the topic of which was an internship program at a local university. (I did not open it, good boy that I am.) But it got me thinking. The top interns gravitate toward startup companies who do the best job of ‘splaining what the company is and what the company does –startups that can articulate their Is-Does in other word. And that doesn’t just apply to startups. Many small and mid-size companies lack the Is-Does ability. The smartest interns go to the companies who can easily and clearly define their product and its value. In 140 characters. Not a breathy 6 minute meander.
How does one create a tight Is-Does? Yep, from a brand strategy.
A brand strategy is not a tagline. It is an organizing principle anchored to an idea. It is the result of lots of work, insights, customer care-abouts and product strengths boiled down into a tight easy to articulate, easy to remember explanation.
If you are a company fishing in the intern pond, you know there will be lots of resumes coming your way. A tight Is-Does will makes sure the right resumes are coming your way. The resumes of then next generation of leaders. Peace.
Tags: an organizing principle anchored to an idea, Brand Strategy, brand strategy definition, brand strategy explained., hwo to get the best interns, Internship programs, Is-Does, what a brand is and what a brand does, whats is a brand strategy, whats the idea, whatstheidea
If you were to take all the apps in the world and put them in room then analyze their reasons for being, what would be the commonalities? Access to information. Connectedness among people. Geolocation. And shopping assistance. With the first two of these alone you have enough firepower to change a country’s political future, so we’re not talking trivial functionality here. When combined, these four abilities, are creating unbound wealth and an industry the size of which the planet has never seen. BUT. But most apps, by themselves, are quite shallow, trivial, narcissistic and a waste of good spectrum. And so an opportunity.
That opportunity is for mankind to create web and mobile applications concerned with improving harmonious life on the planet. Less bullying, more cultural understanding. Less bias more plurality. The internet of things that lets us take note of and turn off energy-consuming appliances is a start. Saving money is one motivator for turning out the lights, saving the planet quite another.
Apps that aid the environment, apps that improve health, apps that allow us to contribute positively a sustainable future are going to be the new black. This is what Kleiner Perkins was thinking about a few years ago. Slow and steady goes the race. As Millennials turn into greyheads, thus will turn the trail of apps. Peace.
Tags: apps, internet of things, Kleiner Perkins, millennials, trail of apps, whats the idea, whatstheidea
Ask any Chief Marketing Office or Marketing Director what their annual sales are and you’ll get an answer. Ask about the annual marketing budget. Quick answer. Cost of goods, manufactures suggested retail price, market share? These are questions for which marketing leads all have answers.
Two questions likely to baffle CMOs and marketing directors, however, are: What is your brand strategy (claim)? And what are your brand planks (proofs of claim)? Most marketers know their business KPIs, but don’t have them translated into brand-benefit language. The language that give them life and memorability. CMOs use business school phrases like “low cost provider,” “more for more,” “innovation leader”, “customer at center of flah flah flah…”, but that’s not how consumers speak.
The key to brand planning is knowing what consumers want and what the brand is good at. (“Good ats” and “care-abouts”.) Combining these things into a poetic claim and three discrete support planks is the organizing principle that focuses marketing and makes it more accountable. Across every expense line on the Excel chart.
Stuart Elliott, advertising columnist of The New York Times should make this a requisite question in all his interviews. “What is your brand strategy?” If he gets any semblance of a claim and proof array, I’ll be surprised. Peace!
Tags: brand claim, brand idea, Brand Strategy, care-abouts, cmos, good ats, kpis, return on marketing expense, stuart Elliott, the new york times, whats the idea, whatstheidea