There’s been lots of talk lately about how much marketing and brand management has changed. I’m not sure it’s changed at all. As Brand Leaders, we still need to start with the consumer, drive for insights, match up their need states to your brand’s offering and then create a competitive offering that you can own so that no else can. A great brand has to be either better, different or cheaper. That still holds true, and we still aren’t at the media decision.
Yes, the media options have changed, but there is so much more to running a brand than just the media options. The average consumer now sees 6,000 ads per day, and likely only engages and acts on a few each day. Not just social media, but every little space to and from work each day. Media is ubiquitous, making it even more important to choose a media plan that makes sense for your brand. Before we get into the role of social media for brands, let’s review where Media options fit into the Brand Planning process. Here’s the fastest 130 word summary of the planning process.
- We have some long-term thoughts on where the brand can go and the special assignment to get us on our way. And that helps shape the things we want to achieve with our brand. To get started, the brand has different options for how to get there
- We try to find a slice of the population to get them to take an action that makes our brand bigger. We then find out what to say and how to talk to them to trigger that action we need to re-enforce why we can do it and others can’t.
- We then create the most motivating stimulus to get them to take action and put it in part of their life where they are most likely to hear it and act on it.
So the media choice is all about finding a part of the Target Market’s life where they are most likely to hear the message and act on it. As I’ve always looked at media plans from the vantage of the Brand Leader, I’ve always looked at a balance of strategy, media efficiency, the link in with the creative and finally, the mood of the consumer at the time of the media exposure. So with TV, while day parts matter to the efficiency, the day of the week also matters to the mind and mood of the consumer. How receptive will they be to your message at the time of exposure? When I worked on serious healthcare brands that wanted to deliver serious news about the brand, we wanted to own Sunday nights when people’s brains were working full-speed as they get ready for work. But we would avoid Thursday night when we knew they were thinking about the weekend. When I worked in confectionery, the reverse was true, as we wanted to own the weekend slots.
So as we look at Social Media and where is their mood and emotional state as they engage certain social media options? I started with the 8 emotional need states that Hotspex as mapped out:
- I seek knowledge
- I want to be in control
- I want to be myself
- I’d like to be comfortable
- I feel liked
- I want to be noticed
- I want to feel free
- I feel optimistic
I then mapped out the consumer’s mood and emotional state while they are using the various social media tools.
For instance, when the consumer is seeking knowledge, they might use google, slideshare, wikipedia, TD Ameritrade or Harvard Business Review, depending on what knowledge they seek. But when they in the mood to be noticed or liked, the same consumer might then choose Facebook, foursquare, meebo, twitter or even Pinterest to express their personality on-line and connect with friends. The same consumer seeks out various social media tools to fuel their emotional needs at different points of the day. I know at lunch, I sneak away from the seriousness of work and read gossip on People.com or check for sports trades on ESPN.
From a Brand Leaders view, as you try to win with consumers,the first thing to do is understand where your brand stands emotionally with consumers. Using the Brand Love Curve, most brands start off at Indifferent, then move to Like It, then to Love It and finally to becoming a Beloved Brand. Be honest in your evaluation, use data to support your view, because it impacts the mood and emotional feelings of your consumer about your brand. For instance, at the Indifferent stage, where consumers have little or no opinion, I’d recommend using display ads that create awareness and in places that match up to your brand’s main strategy, positioning and messaging. You might not want to create a Facebook page that only 17 people like–which re-enforces that consumers are indifferent to your brand. Last month, I saw a rock quarry with a sign that says “Like Us on Facebook”. That’s crazy! Conversely, if you are a Beloved Brand, it becomes more about opinion and less about the pure facts. Engage on Facebook and twitter to continue the conversation and fuel the love of your consumers, use your popularity in those mediums to influence the feeling of a movement and popularity for your brand.
Whenever I talk to Social Media experts, they rarely talk about anything that involves the consumer. When I ask about the consumer, they blow me off, as though I don’t really understand Social Media and how powerful it will be in the future. They tell me I’m old school. But, regardless, I keep asking about the consumer because that’s what old school marketers are told to do. I need to know how my consumers interact with the medium because I need to match up the behaviour of my target so that I can get my message to them in a way that matches up with my strategic needs–whether that’s connected to the stage of my brand, any strengths and weaknesses in my brand funnel or a large opportunity in the market that plays into my brand’s natural strengths. Wait a second, that’s the same thing that great marketers have been doing since the 1920s. So while the execution of media has dramatically changed with the internet, the strategic thinking of really good marketers has not.
So next time you sit with a media expert, as they present ideas ask
- How does my target consumer use this medium?
- What is their mood and emotional state when they use that medium?
- How receptive will they be with my brand’s strategy, positioning and message when they are engaged with that medium?
About Graham Robertson: I’m a marketer at heart, who loves everything about brands. I love great TV ads, I love going into grocery stores on holidays and I love seeing marketers do things I wish I came up with. I’m always eager to talk with marketers about what they want to do. I have walked a mile in your shoes. My background includes CPG marketing at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke. I’m now a marketing consultant helping brands find their love and find growth for their brands. I do executive training and coaching of executives and brand managers, helping on strategy, brand planning, advertising and profitability. I’m the President of Beloved Brands Inc. and can help you find the love for your brand. To read more about Beloved Brands Inc, visithttp://beloved-brands.com/inc/