Marketing

You are currently browsing the archive for the Marketing category.

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.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

My friend, Roy Elvove is EVP Worldwide Communications at arguably the best ad agency in the world, BBDO.  But to meet “Doc,” as his wife and friends call him, you’d never know he holds such a lofty job.  He has worked at BBDO since 1999 and never, ever taken the spotlight off of BBDO, it’s executives, achievements or clients. The thousands and thousands of comms and news items he’s facilitated are never about him. I’ve followed the careers of many agency communications officers — their names (as spokespeople) are almost always in the pieces.  Not Roy. You can barely find his name in the company directory.

Google him. All you’ll get is a LinkedIn profile, maybe some alma mater or special cause stuff.

Like a good baseball umpire (sorry about the tired metaphor, Doc wouldn’t stand for it), his presence is most felt by not being present. Focus the news on the news. No byline needed. That’s Roy.

I hope he writes a book someday and finally shares half of what he’s seen. But it will never happen. He doesn’t think that way. Brand first. Brand only.

Peace.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

In 1974 JWT London’s Stephen King wrote a Planning Guide. Thanks to Julian Cole of Bee Bee Do (BBDO) for sharing it today. The JPEG below summarizes nicely how a brand works, based upon Mr. King’s constellation of “appeals.”

This is a smart boil-down of what a brand is, why it works, and what it needs to do to connect with consumers.

I’m a simple man. One of the reason for my success in brand planning is my simpler view of branding. It is easier to articulate than that of many others. Verbose planners get you nodding. Then nodding. And more nodding until you can’t actually play back what they said. My meme-able word bites on branding stick.

In Mr. King’s case, I take into consideration all of his brand appeals but boil them down further. Into two variables in fact. I call it the Is-Does. What brand IS and what a brand DOES. The Does prioritizes the appeals and picks one. Ish. But don’t underestimate the Is.  The iPhone, for instance, was introduced as a phone, not a hybrid device. Smart.

Selling with simple language works. Consumers respond well. Even when those consumers are marketers.

Peace.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

If you read the previous What’s The Idea? post you’ll know I’m thinking about building an implementation phase into my brand planning engagement process. The idea is to become a brand supervisor at the client company for a couple of months to manage adherence. This, I know, is likely to go poorly unless handled with care.

Some people see strategy as constricting. Others see it as freeing.  I sit in the middle.  I certainly don’t want marketers to spend effort and money on “off message” activity. Bad for the brand and not great at building muscle. But I do want them to be as creative and exhilarated as possible when it comes to ideation. Not looking at a blank sheet of paper saves time. Having a jump start on marketing efforts is also an energy saver. And it creates focused, fertile ground for the work.

In the middle is where the on-prem brand supervisor will sit. Coaxing and charming good ideas and work that toes the strategy line. But also creating a new lens through which to see marketing that adds value to the brand, company and one’s carrer.

Ima need a syllabus.

Peace.

 

 

Tags: , , ,

One the fallacies of the brand planning business is that everything will change when the engagement is over. I’ve presented and sold brand strategy (an organizing principle for product, experience and messaging) to numerous clients, only to see it used to launch a tagline, logo, new website or ad campaign. And then little else.

In those cases it simply became stim for a top drawer tactic, not a strategy to work by. Not a strategy to build a brand.  

I’m beginning to rethink my offering. I’m beginning to see the value of packaging a 3-month on-prem implementation phase. One whereby I supervise the marketing department and help to fit any and all marketing activities and outputs to the newly purchased brand strategy. It’s only when marketing stuff is made that the strategy takes hold.  Brand strategy is not some ephemeral, cultural construct of the marketing department. It’s an activity guide.        

When you have a brand claim and three proof planks to guide the work, everything has a purpose. Everything is either on or off.  

(By the end of the day, I expect to be the owner of a little red house in Asheville, NC.)

Peace.                      

 

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Just reading an article suggesting that nearly everyone in China uses mobile devices to pay at retail. If it’s in China, it’s going to be in the US and Europe soon-ish.  Marketers in R&D mode may want to start planning and productizing around ways to keep lost and stolen phones from becoming debit tsunamis. When a phone is cash, the bad guys are going to figure out how to take advantage.

Clothing companies will need to make more secure and better fitting pockets. Software cos. will need better sign-on security and/or visual ID programs.  Luggage and/or millinery manufacturers will want to think about phone holsters and such — ways to secure our devices that are fashionable.

Whatever the winning solution looks like, it will be a bah-billion dollar business. Initially at least.       

Beyond the dashboard planners reap higher rewards.

Peace.

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

How do you build a brand?  It’s an easy question. Sadly, it has a thousand answers.

Were I to ask how to build a car, the answer would be with an engine, steering, wheels, transmission, chassis, etc.  How do you build a sandwich? How do you make beer? Of course there will be variations in ingredients but the components are pretty static. Not so much in brand building.

If you ask ten brand consultancies you’ll get ten different constructs for what constitutes a brand plan.  Components may include product development guidelines, packaging, a visual identity scheme, (e.g., a logo, style and usage manual) and rough communications guidelines, but for the most part the actors charged with building the brand are a federation of marketing people inside and outside the company (agencies) following a marketing plan, not a brand plan.

Marketing plans are built with line items transferable from one company to then next. Metrics include: unit sales, revenue, market share and profit plan. And lots of tactical cow bell. Brand plans, on the other hand, are devoted to building product and consumer value. Values based on care-abouts and good ats. They are not transferable line items but values endemic to the product.

The best marketers are also great brand advocates. They don’t care only about the plumbing, they care about the product and its unique value to the consumer.

Peace.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

« Older entries