August 2017

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What’s The Idea? is the name of this branding consultancy. The idea referred to in the inquiry is the idea that drives positive commerce and profitability. “What’s the idea that drives revenue?” One might ask how an idea can translate into measurable revenue.  A fine question. Few brand strategists will go on record with an answer. Every brand idea served up by WTI can pass the revenue test.

The long standing brand idea for Coke, and management might argue this with me today, is “refreshment.” Were someone to field a quantitative research study measuring the degree to which soda drinkers agree Coke is the most refreshing choice — and track that number over time to revenue, you would have a proper test. Coke wouldn’t do it, I suspect.

I wrote a brand strategy for elder care and acute rehab facility not long ago, the idea for which was “average is the enemy.” Were a research study to be fielded among patients gauging their agreement as to how the healthcare company measured everything and outperformed others, that too, could be tied to revenue growth. 

Every brand idea should be able to pass the revenue test. That’s why it’s called strategy. Return On Strategy (ROS).

If you have a brand idea see if you have a mechanism in pace to measure it.

Peace.

 

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A number of years ago, while with McCann-Erickson, I was on the new business team that pitched and won the worldwide Motorola account – at the time one of the world’s premier technology corporations. Someone smart upstairs decided it would be a good idea to put a global research project in play to tout the scale and utility of McCann’s global network. I wasn’t the developer of the research questionnaire, fielded by 10 plus offices around the globe, but the data was given to me to interpret. A tactic in search of an insight.

My insight, which we embedded into the presentation in an uneven way, was that the world was made up of 3 different segments of wireless adoption. All based on teledensity – the quantification of communications devices per person.
The creative was great, (we used a Rolling Stones song as an idea bed), there was no time left for the media portion of the presentation (common in new business at the time) and the chemistry was lovely. No one ever came out and said the segmentation insight was the deal-breaker, but all creative being equal-ish (and it never is), I’m pretty sure the Moto team from Atlanta felt a marketing depth to our pitch others lacked.

A tactic in search of an insight can work. Can be worth millions.

Peace.

 

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I love Christopher Walken. I’m beginning to appreciate Justin Timberlake. And I’m a huge fan of healthier-for-you foods. Brands are my thing and as an ad rat, my senses are heightened during the Super Bowl. All of these things converged during the Super Bowl of 2017 with the fruit drink spot featuring Messrs. Walken and Timberlake. Granted, at the Super Bowl party it’s not always easy to hear, but I did get the Bai-Bai-Bai joke. “Oh, that’s the Justin Timberlake song.” Nice ad craft, if you are trying to seed a name.

In an article in the NYT two days ago, Bai brand stewards were crowing about an increase in TV ad awareness of 50% since the spot first aired. Not a metric that launched a thousand marketing directorships. Ad awareness doesn’t always equal sales — though it’s a good first step. It wasn’t until I finished the article that I realized Bai, Bai, Bai was a phonetic representation of bye, bye, bye to sugar. That was lost on me.
So this was a case where the main brand idea (no sugar) was lost in the creative translation. And that’s poor ad craft.
When you build a brand, your claim or idea must blast through. That’s brand stewardship. Sometimes ad craft gets in the way. Ad awareness should never trump message.

Peace.

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It has been a while since I watched my technology hero Robert Scoble on a video. He disappeared for a while, doing some Augmented Reality work, writing a book and living his “real world” life. Also he somewhat replaced Scobleizer.com with posts to Facebook. Anyway, I received an email from him today promoting a newsletter that will aggregate his last 5 Facebook posts and he is back on the radar. And it couldn’t be a minute too soon. I’ve felt out of tech touch. When you have more Snap stock than Snaps, something is wrong.

Pixie (getpixie.com) is a new AR tool one can load onto an iPhone to scan a room for your shit. Shit to which you’ve affixed a physical tag. If you put an electronic sticker on your keys and fire up the app, you can locate them. Near field I believe.  For peeps of a certain age (me), this will be a fun app, especially when the stickers get smaller.

I just moved to Asheville, NC, having downsized. In other words I got rid of a lot of shit. But I still have a lot of shit. Trend-wise, I think we Americans are reducing our domicile footprints but accumulating more shit. The Pixie is a neat app to help. It’s probably not the killer AR app we will ultimately cultivate but it’s a start. The killer app will likely be in the marketing realm me thinks.

Stay tuned to AR and what it portends.

Peace.

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I’m not sure when it happened, but at some time during brand planning career I began looking at assignments with the glass half full. Prior, there were a number of categories I walked into and start to twitch. “How am I going to learn this stuff? It’s too complicated.  It’s dense and unappealing.  Healthcare was one such category. Financial another. Digital Signal Processors and end-of-life also come to mind.

Maybe I just thought I wasn’t smart enough to learn a new technical language. Or I would be bored to death. I don’t have that problem anymore. I’ve chilled. And I’ve been able to find light in every product or service.

When you read decks and white papers on engineering projects in Africa or river blindness in Asia, it can be daunting. But when you interview the subject matter experts – the owners of the info and insights — it’s a different ballgame. You are in control. You make it interesting. People are people. People innately want to help.  So then it’s all about the questions.

As they teach you they get excited. As they see you gain category insight they start to perk up. Then they put some of the marketing pieces together. They become marketers. There is no more exciting human pursuit than learning. Plan to learn, plan to let your SME learn, and the activity rewards.

Love this job. Peace.

 

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