buildables

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Experience is hot marketing word these days. It is rooted me thinks in user experience (UX), which started in the early days of the web when sites were hard to navigate and not intuitive. Ad and digital agencies caught on to experience a few years later as a way to create new buildables (content) and garner planning fees It didn’t hurt that “customer journey” and “communications planning” were smart ideas to begin with.

Product experience, some will have you believe, starts with communications and ends with the after-sale. The experience is everything in between. A lot of product experience buildables – designed to follow the AIDA principle: Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action — are online and in-store. But product gesture is different.

Product gesture is not so much about the product journey and surround as it is the “consuming experience.” (See my last blog post.) A product gesture is the olfactory response that occurs when you drive by a Burger King. It’s why “flame broiled” is such a powerful brand asset of BK. For Coke, whose long standing brand idea is refreshment, the moment when your head snaps back after a full swig of a newly opened Coke is induced by the product gesture. Google’s product gesture occurs during search when your problem is solved, you smile and twitch to act.

Every product has a gesture. Man-made gestures like the Stella Artois pour and glass are distant seconds, but they are gestures nonetheless.

Find your product gesture and you will find marketing and branding success.

What is your product gesture?

 

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WNYC, a NYC public radio station, just announced it will open a new $14 million facility to create and distribute podcasts. It’s a brilliant marketing idea. I’ve always had a soft spot for radio and podcasts feel like a smart new media content play. The brilliant investigative series “Serial” by Sarah Koenig last year sparked the podcast movement.

Podcasts are also a good content play in the marketing arsenal. Companies create lots of words and video to hanging off their websites to drive traffic, action and sales — a tactic mostly born to feed the Google Algorithm. And lately content has been championed by ad agencies looking to make more creative buildables. Podcasts have been overlooked.

Smart companies will begin to delve into podcasts. What’s the Idea? has been recommending podcast creation to clients for years.  Here’s how it works. The brand planning rigor at What’s The Idea? drives clients to care about what their customer’s care about. The nexus of customer care abouts and brand “good ats” (Thanks Robin Hafitz, for the wordsmithing) drives the organizing principle that is the brand plan. And the care abouts are where we mine for podcast development.

When you create content people find interesting (versus content about yourself), you connect. People found “Serial” interesting. If you are in the tooth whitening business how do you decide what consumers are interested in? How do you keep it fresh? How do you make deposits in the brand bank? These are good, tough questions. Questions with answers. Questions for a new medium.

Peace.

 

 

 

 

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storytelling

From the big consumer package goods marketers to the mid-size boutiques to one-man PR shops, “storytelling” is the communications art form of the day. A well-worn pop marketing tactic.

The stories to which most refer are content stories, spun by marketers to get customers to buy. Today, content is a by-the-pound business. Stories are, in fact, buildables — production buildables. Storytelling fills the revenue void of the once lofty high margin TV spot.

I’ll trade you 25 stories, 50 stories, for one powerful brand idea. In terms of value.

That’s what brand planners do.  We create big, honkin’, motivating brand ideas. And for brand planners “story listening” is way better than “storytelling.” Sure, I prime the pump by telling consumers a story. The more personal the better. I’m trying to get them to free up insights. Even strangers free up when you are real with them. I’ll show you mine… You’ve got to give to get. Brand planners are good at quant but great at hearing stories fertile with brand meaning. Consumer stories that set off alarms in planners’ heads.

All you storytellers out there – you creative, biz/dev. and agency positioning types – go on and do your storytelling thing, but remember how you get the strategy for those stories. By listening.

Peace.

 

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I’m guessing the percentage of global marketing budgets spent on strategy is 1%. Maybe sub. I’ll also go on record as saying that 90% is invested into buildables – the ads, websites, POS, and content we built to help sell. That leaves 9 percent for what? Measurement, analytics, quantitative research.

This is a shame. It’s also why only half of advertising works. It’s why Google is killing it and in many cases becoming strategy for marketers.

What is strategy? It’s a plan to accomplishing a goals. An organizing principle for tactics. Talk to many marketing and you’ll find many who confuse objectives and strategies. And tactics and strategy.

The absolute most important part of a market plan is the strategy page. It’s the page that requires the most thought, the most time, the most discussion and the most complete buy-in from senior management. When the marketing plan is reviewed by senior management, in what typically is a 2 hour meeting once a year, it’s the budget page that gets the most attention. Who will get the most buildables? Who will create them? Where will they go? What will they achieve?

It’s backwards. For every percentage point taken from buildables and put into strategy, the payout is truly significant. As my Norwegian aunt used to say “Tink about it.”

Peace.

 

 

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Storytelling in advertising and marketing is the haps. The narrative. The customer journey. These approaches refer to getting consumers onboard without direct selling. Direct selling being “me, me, me” advertising versus storytelling which is you, you, you — always a more thoughtful approach. An approach much harder to get funded by marketing officers.

Agencies like storytelling because it creates buildables. Video is big. A friend of mine with a women’s sneaker company tells me “everyone keeps calling trying to sell me video.” BBDO has a Lowes Vines story on its website, boasting of effective 6 second Vines videos that only cost Lowes $5,000.

I’m down with storytelling. And video. And the digital journey through an assortment of buildables. But I’m more down with strategy. Or moving consumers to the moral of the story –what one feels about a brand as a result of all the work. And it’s not just a click or a product purchase, it’s the why. I bought a Coke because I wanted refreshment. I bought a Krispy Kreme donut because I deserved a treat.

Story telling is good but branding is more like crescendo building. Moving custies closer to full on purposeful love. Geico, could take a note or two here. Peace.

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