“Purpose” driven Marketing is a flavor-of-the-month strategy on the verge of over-kill

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in How to Guide for Marketers

The Marketing community gets fixated on an idea and then ultimately over-does it to the point where we make it completely irrelevant. I just read that one retailer is starting their “Post Black Friday Sale” before Black Friday. Some days, we Marketers are complete idiots. We have used some tactics so much that we killed them, including bonus packs, BOGOs, 25% more, parity claims and side-by-side demonstrations. And now, we are on the verge of killing this whole brand purpose mythology.

I think we are on the verge of over-kill with Brand Purpose 

I believe brand purpose is an effective tool, when it fits. However, we should also realize that it should rarely fit. Don’t get fixated on a type of strategy before you know where you really are today. got-purpose

I just read that Unilever has shifted 50% of their brands into a purpose-driven brand positioning. I love the Dove brand and everything it stands for. It’s a great case study for purpose driven Marketing. However, if we make every brand into a purpose driven brand, then we are at risk of destroying a potentially strong tool. I predict three years from now, the next Unilever CMO will be shifting many of their brands away from purpose, realizing that while it worked for Dove, it might not work for margarine, ice cream, deodorant or razor blades.

Imagine how annoying life would be if every TV ad was 90 seconds long and telling the life story of the founder and owner of the company. Sadly, if we move every brand to a purpose-driven brand, that’s what life would look like. The consumer will eventually tire of this tactic and begin rejecting every story, including those rare cases when the brand purpose actually matters.

You should be careful of those Brand Consultants or Brand Strategists from Ad Agencies, who come in with a fixation on a type of strategy before they even engage your brand. If the strategist mentions brand purpose before they even understand your brand, be careful because they might be on the verge of applying their one-size-fits-all-flavor-of-the-month type strategy. I am assuming it seems sexier for Strategists to want to tell your extremely personal story of why you do what you do. Equally, many leaders would love to gush over their own ego-filled story and pump those thoughts out into the market. However, the consumer just might not care about your purpose. Case in point is Starbucks who has tried with blank coffee cups at Christmas and the #RaceTogether campaign. Both were completely rejected by consumers who basically have told the brand “we don’t care about your purpose”.

You should think your strategy through on a deeper level as the strategy you choose for where to go next, should really depend on where you are today. Build around your core strength.

If all you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail

If you think every brand should communicate their brand purpose to consumers, you likely don’t understand how consumers operate. You likely have bought into this “Start with why” by Simon Sinek, who said that consumers don’t buy what you do, they buy into why you do it. That is complete B.S. To an industry person, this sounds like fun but it is just not true. Simon Sinek says that consumers buy Apple, not because it is simple to use and user friendly but because Apple likes to challenge the status quo and Apple believes in thinking differently. That is pure bunk. Go ask 1,000 of your average consumers who are not employed in marketing, advertising, computers or consulting, and I will bet you won’t find 10 consumers who buy Apple because of their brand purpose. Sure, “Start with Why” is a fun speech at a Ted Talk and a fun book to read, but the worst thing a Marketer can ever do is start to talk to ourselves. The second worst thing we can do is to take ourselves too seriously.

Consumers buy benefits still!!!! I love to say that consumers are the most selfish animals on the planet, and rightfully so because they hold the cash. It is not an insult to consumers, but more of a challenge for the marketer to actually figure out how to get the consumers to hand over their hard-earned cash. Consumers have to get something (functional) or feel something (emotional) for them to hand over that cash. But very rarely, will they opt to buy something, just because of the purpose. That’s a lie!

Apple is a story-led brand that tells the story of simplicity, not purpose-led.

In reality, the brand purpose barely shows up in the Apple brand. Consumers are buying Apple because they generally hate computers, they are frustrated with all technology and they see Apple as the simple solution that enables them to be smarter. It has nothing to do with all that challenging stuff that Simon Sinek says. Yes, consultants and agency types loved Steve Jobs and the 1997 “Think Different” Apple advertising. If Apple’s stated purpose was so powerful, then why did Apple struggle until 2001 whey found the iPod and iTunes. Sure the purpose drove the internal pursuit of new products. I’m completely fine with purpose driving every internal cultural. But, Apple’s purpose was not an immediate success, until the selfish consumers saw they could get something from iTunes before they were willing to hand over their hard-earned cash.

The big idea for Apple is “We make technology so simple that everyone can be part of the future”. This big idea shows up in everything they do, whether it is the advertising, their innovation, how they manage the purchase moment or the brand experience.

  • Almost all their advertising portrays “Technology should not be frustrating. We make it easy to do more or get more.” By the way, stop thinking Apple is a challenger brand. They are a mass-power player, like IBM of the 1980’s or Microsoft of the 1990’s.
  • They portray their innovation as “Surprising leap-frog technology around simplicity.” In reality, nearly every Apple product is a me-too copy of some technology that was packaged in such a confusing way, the consumer didn’t get it. (mp3 players, tablets or PC software).
  • As they manage the purchase moment they allow consumers to try, touch, feel in a soft sell retail store, so they can see how easy the products are and how they will work in their lives.
  • In terms of the consumer experience, they enable consumers to get the most from their Apple products. Straight out of the box, integration across platforms or the fully integrated Apple Care support programs.

There are 4 types of brands, all great, just it really depends on your brand’s core strength

 

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We believe there are 4 types of brands: product-led, story-led, experience-led and price-led. The purpose-led would be one of the types of story-led brands. All are great strategies that are really dependent on what is the core strength of your brand. Many brand leaders have their marketing strategy wrong, when it comes to aligning everything behind the right strength. Those that struggle with this usually struggle being honest with themselves as to what they really are, or they have this hidden desire to be something they are not. Trust me, there are lots of those brands around. The best brands know exactly who they are and stick with it.

  • Product led Brands: With product as your core strength, the strategy should focus on being better, building around continuous innovation and a rational selling approach. Ensure promise and experience built around product. Establish your reputation as the superior brand in the category, defending against any challengers to your position. Continue to invest in Innovation to stay ahead of competitors, being the leader in technology, claims, and new formats. You should be leveraging product-focused mass communication, directly calling attention to the superiority and differences in your product versus the competitors. Use product reviews and key influencers to support your brand. Build the “how you do it” into your brand story, to re-enforce point of difference. Use rational selling to move consumers along the buying system. As the brand matures and moves towards being more loved, challenge the brand to drive an emotional connection to help evolve and grow. Tide is a dominant product led brand. No one wants to know their brand purpose. They just want to know that Tide will get their clothes whiter. Five Guys is an amazing burger, Ruth’s Chris is a great steak and Rolex is the world’s greatest watch. Each of these product brands should be projecting how they are better than other products
  • Brand Story led Brands: With the brand story as your core strength, the strategy should focus on being different, building around being different, supported by emotional brand communication, that connects motivated consumers with the concept on a deeper emotional level. Focus on building a big idea that connects quickly with a core group of motivated consumers, and then everything (story, product, experience) can be lined up under it. Invest in emotional brand communication that connects with a motivated audience. Build a community of core “brand lovers” to influence others in their network. A soft-sell approach, based on tapping into emotions that helps to influence the potential consumer. Know the impact of price, as to when it matters and when it does not. Do not bring price to the forefront, as it can take away from the idea. The brands that tell their story include Apple, Nike, Tesla and Dove.
  • Consumer Experience led Brands: With the consumer experience as your core strength, the strategy and organization should focus on linking culture very closely to your brand. After all, your people are your product. As you go to market, invest in influencers and social media to support and spread the word of your experience. Use the brand purpose (“Why you do what you do”) and values to inspire and guide the team leadership and service behaviors. Focus on building a culture and organization with the right people, who can deliver incredible experiences. Invest in training the face of the brand. In terms of Marketing Communications, you will need to be patient as the consumer needs to experience what it feels like before they are willing to speak on its behalf. Effective tools include word of mouth, earned media, social media, on-line reviews, use of key influencers and testimonials. Too much marketing emphasis on price can diminish the perceived consumer experience. Some of the most amazing experience brands such as Ritz-Carlton and Starbucks have created a customer focused culture on the lookout for over-delivering the brand promise.
  • Price led Brands: With price as your core strength, the strategy focus on efficiency and drive lowest possible cost into the products you sell. Fast moving items means high turns and high volume. You have to be better at the fundamentals around production and sourcing. Price brands own the low price positioning, attacking any challengers. Need good solid products. Consumers are willing to accept lower experience.The focus should be on business efficiency built around low-cost, fast-moving, high-volume items. Invest in production and sourcing, using power to win negotiations. Use call-to-action style marketing communication, to drive purchase. Hard to maintain “low price” while fighting off perception that you are “cheap”. Many price brands struggle to drive an emotional connection to the brand. Brands like Walmart, McDonald’s or Kia have to find smarter ways be cheaper for the consumer.

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Brand Purpose is an amazing weapon to drive your organizational support internally, as the beacon to the culture and organization that support the brand. Regardless of whether you are a product, story, price or experience brand, the purpose can help motivate, guide and influence daily decisions internally. But it should rarely be used with consumers, only when it actually matters to consumers. Otherwise, you are just wasting your money and adding to clutter of brand purpose stories that don’t connect with consumers.

Let’s figure where to use Purpose with consumers, and where not to use it. Before we destroy it completely. 

Brands need to stand out to win! Brands have four choices: better, different, cheaper or not around for very long. Your brand positioning statement must be simple, unique, own-able and motivating enough to get consumers to think, feel or act differently about your brand. To read more about how to drive your Brand Positioning, here is our workshop that shows everything you need to know, to have the smarts of strategy, the discipline of leadership and the passion of creativity to generate brand love in today’s modern world.

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management. We use workshop sessions to help your team create a winning brand positioning that separates your brand in the market, write focused brand plans that everyone can follow and we help you find advertising that drives growth for your brand. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. Our Beloved Brands training center offers 10 training workshops to get your team of brand leaders ready for success in brand management–including strategic and analytical thinking, writing brand plans, positioning statements and creative brief, making decisions on creative advertising and media plans.

To contact us, email us at graham@beloved-brands.com or call us at 416-885-3911.You can also find us on Twitter @belovedbrands.

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Turning Consumer Insights into an asset for your brand

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in How to Guide for Marketers

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Consumer Insights are little secrets hidden beneath the surface, that explain the underlying behaviors, motivations, pain points and emotions of your consumers. Brands should think of consumer insights as a competitive advantage, equal in importance to a patent or intellectual property. The insights are what enable brands to connect with their consumers on a deeper emotional level, showing your consumer that “WE GET YOU” so that consumers will stop and listen to your brand’s promise, brand story, innovation and consumer experiences that you create along the pathway to becoming a beloved brand.

The dictionary definition of the word Insight is “seeing below the surface”. Too many Marketers think that data, trends and facts are insights. You have to keep looking, listening and digging to get beneath the facts. Ask yourself “so what does that mean for the consumer” until you start to see an “AHA moment”.

I always do this little test asking if this is an insight: “Consumers in Brazil brush their teeth 4x a day compared with only 1.8 times per day for Americans”. I can usually find someone in the room who says that’s an insight. But, look at how very little we know about the oral care habits of Brazilians. If we rely on this as insight and don’t dig in to ask “why” then it could lead us to making a huge mistake in judgement. It might be that Brazilians stand closer to each other so we launch a breath freshener. Or they eat spicier foods, so we go with a heavy duty germ killing mouthwash. Or, we believe they might lack fluoride in their water system, so we launch a Fluoride Toothpaste. Or we think it’s a vanity play and that Brazilians believe they are the most beautiful people on the planet, so we launch a whitener. All these answers remain at the surface level. It is a sign of laziness on the Marketers view. It could take you down a path where you end up missing out on connecting with the real feelings of consumers.

Data is only valuable when turned into stories that can share the wisdom gained from the data. Think slowly through your analysis to avoid making a snap instinctual decisions on one data point without gaining the understanding of the richness in underlying insight and cause.

Ask questions that force you deeper. Avoid the cliches (e.g. Baby Boomers want to live longer) that keep you at the surface level and stop you from doing the deep thinking to get to the rich, meaningful insights. When you have a data point, ask yourself 5 times “so what does this mean” to go deeper and deeper.

 

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You will see your opinion turn into a fact based consumer insight that can align a team and drive action.

360 degrees mining for Consumer Insights

You can start with market data, observations, voice of the consumer, emotional needs and life moments. Here are the 5 areas to dig into:

  • What we can read: Using all the data available through market share results, tracking studies or category trends, you should be looking for explanations of the data breaks, drivers, inhibitors, trends with consumers, channels, competitors
  • What we see: Observations of the consumer reactions in focus groups, product tests, ad testing, direct consumer engagements to add to insights.
  • What we hear: Listen to Voice of Consumer (VOC) with comments on social media, brand reviews, market research. Look for word choices.
  • What we sense: Use our emotional need state cheat sheet to understand potential emotional insights.
  • Day in the Life Moments: Map out your consumer’s life and their underlying behaviors, motivations, pain points and emotions. Draw conclusions on how their life impacts their path to purchase.

Once you have completed all 5 zones on your 360 degree mining, can you begin drawing conclusions for the insights. You have to get in the consumer’s shoes, then observe, listen and understand how they think, act, feel and behave. You have to know their fears, motivations, frustrations and desires. Learn their secrets, that only they know, even if they can’t explain. Learn to use their language and their voice.

Writing meaningful insights

From the work you do on the 360 degree mining, force yourself to get in the shoes of your consumer and to use their voice. To do so, you have to write every insight starting with the word “I” to get the Marketer into the shoes of the consumer and put the insight in quotes to use their voice.

Working in the quit smoking business, our starting point was: Studies show that people try to quit cold turkey 7x before reaching for a smoking aid to help them quit. This is very fact based, but not very insightful. As we watched focus groups, we could see that Smokers become very agitated, when talking about quitting smoking. You can see how frustrated they are with their failed attempts. When we listened to what they said, we heard them say, “I feel guilty that I can’t quit. I know it’s expensive. But when I do, I’m really not myself. I get so irritable that I give up”. Looking at the emotional need states, we could sense they lacked the confidence to quit, and they feel out of control when they make an attempt to quit. And when we tried to see where this fit into their lives, could we understand that each time they tried quit, they felt miserable. They told us how they take it out on those around them, whether that’s their friends or their wife. They think their friends would almost rather they keep smoking than have to deal with the terrible version of themselves.

The consumer insight (Connection point) that we drew out was: “I know I should quit. I’ve tried to quit so many times, it’s ridiculous. I’m not myself, I’m grouchy, irritable and feel out of control. Quitting smoking sucks!!!” When we share this secret with a smoker who wants to quit, they say, “Yup, that’s exactly how I feel”. The consumer enemy (Pain Point) we came up with was: “I fear quitting smoking will bring out the monster in me, tuning me into the worst version of my personality.”

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You will know you have a powerful CONSUMER INSIGHT, when consumers stop and say, “I thought I was the only one who felt like that.”

Where the Consumer Insights show up on the Brand

You need to bring the Consumer Insights to life in each of your brand’s five consumer touch-points: promise, brand story, innovation, purchase moment and consumer experience.

  • Brand Promise: Consumer insights demonstrate to our consumers that we understand them, and the consumer enemy elevates the consumer problem that the brand solves.
  • Brand Story: Consumer insights educate, inspire and challenge the creative teams to produce amazing brand communication that immediately connects with consumers. The best brand communications reflect the consumer insights helping move consumer to see, think, feel, act or whisper to their friends.
  • Innovation: Consumer insights should be at the forefront of every product concept to immediately connect, letting consumers know this product has been designed for them. With consumer enemies and insights brands can develop an Innovation Plan to drive new ideas, concepts, testing, launches through the system.
  • Purchase Moment: Consumer insights inspire shopper insights, as you begin to understand how your brand impacts their life moving through a buying system on the path to purchase. Turning consumer insights into shopper insights allows the brand to Influence the Purchase Moment with channels, merchandising and e-commerce
  • Consumer Experience: As you will see how the consumer interacts with your brand, begin to listen, adjust and win over the consumer as they build your brand into the rituals of their lives. Use consumer insights to build brand experience by Influencing the Culture with a Brand Credo, explaining purpose, values and expected behaviors.

There is one source of revenue, not the product you sell, but the consumers who buy.

Brands need to stand out to win! Brands have four choices: better, different, cheaper or not around for very long. Your brand positioning statement must be simple, unique, own-able and motivating enough to get consumers to think, feel or act differently about your brand. To read more about how to drive your Brand Positioning, here is our workshop that shows everything you need to know, to have the smarts of strategy, the discipline of leadership and the passion of creativity to generate brand love in today’s modern world.

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management. We use workshop sessions to help your team create a winning brand positioning that separates your brand in the market, write focused brand plans that everyone can follow and we help you find advertising that drives growth for your brand. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. Our Beloved Brands training center offers 10 training workshops to get your team of brand leaders ready for success in brand management–including strategic and analytical thinking, writing brand plans, positioning statements and creative brief, making decisions on creative advertising and media plans.

To contact us, email us at graham@beloved-brands.com or call us at 416-885-3911.You can also find us on Twitter @belovedbrands.

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Starbucks goes from brilliant to stupid and back to brilliant with their red cups

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Beloved Brands in the Market

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For years, the Starbucks red cup has been a symbol that Christmas is coming. It is completely irrational, but then again isn’t everything about Starbucks irrational.

When you reach the Beloved stage like Starbucks, it becomes all about the experience and the magical moments you can create. While you can continue to attack yourself before others can attack you, it’s also about maintaining the love by creating a bit of magic to surprise and delight your most loyal consumers. For a brand that taps into routine, having a regular set of drinks and desserts around Christmas gives the consumers some festive favorites to liven up the routine a little bit. Being a life ritual each and every day gets even bigger when you become a tradition each Christmas. For 10 years, Starbucks has used red cups to  create excitement with consumers. Here’s a quote from the head of brand in 2013.

Terry Davenport, Senior Vice President, Global Brand, said in 2013 that “When the cups turn red at Starbucks, that’s one of the first cues that the holidays are upon us. The emotional connection that our store partners (employees) have when they open that first box of the red cups and start using them that first day, and the emotional connection they see from their customers, that’s what we strive for. They see that surprise and excitement: ‘Oh, the red cups are at Starbucks!”red_holiday_cups_2016_graphic_swirls_

If you have been into a Starbucks during the Christmas period, you will certainly feel the magic of the holiday season. Every Starbucks feels well-decorated but never over stated. You can smell peppermint and ginger as soon as you walk in. If you want to add some flavor to your regular Latte, you can go for a Caramel Brûlé, Eggnog or Peppermint. And if you want to try one of the Christmas deserts, there’s Gingerbread loafs, Frosted Snowman cookies or the Cranberry Bliss Bar. Better yet, have you had one of those incredible Peppermint Brownie Cake Pops?

More impressively, according to Starbucks, “within the first 48 hours of red Starbucks cups launching in 2014, a photo of a Starbucks holiday cup was shared on Instagram every 14 seconds.” The event is so popular and anticipated, it has even given rise to countdown clocks. Sure it’s crazy, but it’s crazy fun. Kinda like Santa Claus, just crazy fun.

And then Starbucks got really dumb for a moment in 2015

Starbucks dStarbucks Holiday Cup Causes Online Controversyecided to launch a plain red cup, to ensure everyone felt included in the festivities. Plain red without any a pattern or design. There are no snowflakes, stars, or snowmen. And people were pissed. And social media screamed at the brand. This was seen by the public as one more “politically correct” thing in their lives. People understand not everyone is Christian, but can’t you just put a snowflake on the damn coffee cup.

In a world of social media, things can unravel very quickly. Within days of the launch last year, the issue began to dominate the headlines. One Youtube video blasting Starbucks generated 15 million views within days, with 500,000 people shared it. The red cup issue became one of the top stories in the country. Starbucks had lost control of their brand story. The controversy certainly caught Starbucks by surprise. Only after the issue developed did it release a statement noting that with the new design, “Starbucks is inviting customers to create their own stories with a red cup that mimics a blank canvas.”
This was the second time in a year that Starbucks had used their coffee cups to make a political statement. Earlier in the year, in order to promote unity among people, they encouraged their baristas to write #RaceTogether on cups. But the campaign didn’t sit well with some Starbuckrace-together-starbucks-cupss customers. Many voiced on social media and elsewhere that they didn’t want a debate with their brew. So Starbucks backed down.

Howard Schultz’s note to employees acknowledged the sceptics as an anticipated part of the outreach. “While there has been criticism of the initiative — and I know this hasn’t been easy for any of you — let me assure you that we didn’t expect universal praise.” Shultz said the campaign at its core aims to make sure that “the promise of the American Dream should be available to every person in this country, not just a select few.” Clearly, the average Starbucks consumer didn’t want a conversation–just a latte.

Brands need to be careful about over-playing their purpose. Consultants and Marketers are currently in love with brand purpose. Books, videos and boardroom meetings on brand purpose. I love brand purpose as well, but many times it is better used for the internal marketing. You have to understand what type of brand you are. And while internally, brand purpose drives the culture of Starbucks, externally to consumers Starbucks is an experience brand. Trying to mix the two, appears to leave consumers with a bad experience. To many consumers, Starbucks is an escape. With the current political climate, Starbucks needs to just keep things simple to ensure people can have that comfort of the escape. The consumer is now begging Starbucks for no more political messages. Can they resist in the future?

And now in 2016, Starbucks has done the right brand move going to 13 distinct Holiday designs.Taking last year’s controversy where consumers were drawing on their own cups, Starbucks has taken the best designs from their customers around the world and made them part of this year’s campaign. Here’s the video on the new red cups.

 

Smart recovery move by Starbucks. Now everyone can enjoy their little red cups in peace and harmony. Let’s see which brand can stay on brand message longer:  Trump or Starbucks.

Stay true to your brand and stay true to your consumers! 

Passion in Marketing Execution Matters. If you don’t love it, how do you expect your consumer to love it? If you “sorta like” it, then it will be “sorta ok” in the end. But if you love it, you’ll go the extra mile and make it amazing. To read more about how to drive your Marketing Execution, here is our workshop that shows everything you need to know, to have the smarts of strategy, the discipline of leadership and the passion of creativity to generate brand love in today’s modern world.

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management. We use workshop sessions to help your team create a winning brand positioning that separates your brand in the market, write focused brand plans that everyone can follow and we help you find advertising that drives growth for your brand. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. Our Beloved Brands training center offers 10 training workshops to get your team of brand leaders ready for success in brand management–including strategic and analytical thinking, writing brand plans, positioning statements and creative brief, making decisions on creative advertising and media plans.

To contact us, email us at graham@beloved-brands.com or call us at 416-885-3911.You can also find us on Twitter @belovedbrands.

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A modern day Mrs. Claus steals the show for Marks and Spencer

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Beloved Brands in the Market

screen-shot-2016-11-12-at-6-41-32-pmBig production, intricate story line, little boy doing something for someone else at Christmas with a slight tear. Sure sounds like John Lewis, right? This year, John Lewis left the door wide open with their slightly boring bouncing dog ad. Marks and Spencer appears ready to steal the best in show prize away.

Here’s the latest Christmas ad for 2016, for Marks and Spencer of the UK. This is a very appealing modern-day take on Santa and of course Mrs Claus, who comes across as modern, empowering with a make-it-happen attitude. Helicopters, GPS and stylish red suit. And if you look very closely, Mrs Claus is reading “Fifty Shades of Red” at the end.  All the modern appeal and yet, we have a very simple old-fashioned story of a boy trying to do something nice for his sister. Well done Marks and Spencer. I would give this spot a solid 7.5/10 on the Christmas ad scale. Light on branding, but good solid story-telling in a modern sense. A slight tear at the end. And, most importantly, you just beat John Lewis.

 

So far, the best ad of the holiday season goes to Burberry, with a fabulous spot. I give this spot a 9.5/10. This Burberry spot will be hard to beat. Click to read below.

Consumers want Burberry to make a full-length movie out of their epic 3-minute mini-movie

 

Normally, I would rate the John Lewis spots in the 9/10 range, however 2016 falls flat a 5.5 out of 10. Sad to even think that. I am already looking forward to a better 2017 ad from them. To read our story on this year’s John Lewis ad, click on the link below:

New John Lewis 2016 Christmas ad finally released and it falls a little flat

Passion in Marketing Execution Matters. If you don’t love it, how do you expect your consumer to love it? If you “sorta like” it, then it will be “sorta ok” in the end. But if you love it, you’ll go the extra mile and make it amazing. To read more about how to drive your Marketing Execution, here is our workshop that shows everything you need to know, to have the smarts of strategy, the discipline of leadership and the passion of creativity to generate brand love in today’s modern world.

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management. We use workshop sessions to help your team create a winning brand positioning that separates your brand in the market, write focused brand plans that everyone can follow and we help you find advertising that drives growth for your brand. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. Our Beloved Brands training center offers 10 training workshops to get your team of brand leaders ready for success in brand management–including strategic and analytical thinking, writing brand plans, positioning statements and creative brief, making decisions on creative advertising and media plans.

To contact us, email us at graham@beloved-brands.com or call us at 416-885-3911.You can also find us on Twitter @belovedbrands.

bbi-creds-deck-2017-007

New John Lewis 2016 Christmas ad finally released and it falls a little flat

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Beloved Brands in the Market

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I feel like a little kid who races downstairs only to be disappointed by my gift. And then I feel bad about it. I am one of those who love the John Lewis Christmas ads and starts to think about it around early October.

And yet, this year, I just feel “blah”.

Once a year, brand fans await the latest installment of the John Lewis Christmas ad. So much attention, that it creates media hysteria trying to predict when it will be launched. John Lewis took advantage of that hype to use three little 10-second teasers with #BounceBounce to build up the anticipation.

The ad is OK, but not great.

It’s cute, but not brilliant.

It falls a little flat, compared to previous John Lewis ads.

Here is the ad, and before I lose you I have put all the John Lewis Christmas ads below for you to compare with.

 

Pretty simple story. Kid likes to bounce on things. Dad builds a trampoline. Animals come out and bounce on it. Dog sees them and is jealous. Dog bounces on the trampoline before the kid gets to it. Kid disappointed?  Mom and Dad disappointed? No one seems happy.

 

How do you feel about it? Is it just me?

The people at John Lewis felt that last year’s spot was “too sad” and they didn’t want to do “sad-vertising” anymore. Personally, I loved last year’s spot. It did bring a tear to my eye, but in a good way. John Lewis has also said they are trying to tap into the insight that 2016 has been a tough year, with Brexit and the US elections. Wouldn’t a more elaborate story be a better escape for consumers?

 

John Lewis has created a legacy around Christmas that is tough to live up to

I have worked on campaigns that lasted 10 years and 5 years. The hardest thing for a Marketer is to stay on track, yet try to beat last year’s spot. It is very hard to be creatively different, yet stay in line with the campaign. marketing-execution-2017-extract-9-001Those fight against each other. Since 2009, John Lewis has wiggled a little each year. But what they have not done yet, is sold out to the pressure. Each year, the ads have been highly creative, the ads that created the magic simply through the eyes of the children in the ads. The emphasis has always been on giving. You will see there is not a lot John Lewis branding in any of these ads, but there is a certain degree of ownership.

 

Rachel Swift, head of brand marketing at John Lewis, says “It is has become part of our handwriting as a brand. It’s about storytelling through music and emotion. The sentiment behind that hasn’t changed – and that is quite intentional. The strategy behind our campaigns is always about thoughtful gifting.”

Let’s use that summary to see how well the 2016 spot lives up to the John Lewis ads of the past?

  • There is not much of a story.
  • It is not very emotional at all.
  • It is not really about thoughtful gifting.
  • No one in the ad even seems happy.

In my view, 2016 ad falls flat and now I have to turn my attention to other retailers to see what they do. My hope is someone does something extra special. Right now John Lewis is the gold standard for Christmas ads and this latest puts them at risk that another retailer easily outshines them.

 

 

The history of John Lewis Ads

Here is last year’s spot, that might have gone overboard on sad. But I truly loved it.

Yes, the man on the moon is a metaphor (sorry, there really isn’t a man on the moon) for reaching out and giving someone a gift. For me, this ad quickly reminds me of when my own kids are on the phone or FaceTime with my mom. There is a certain magic in the innocence and simplicity when the very young talk with older people. They both seem to get it, maybe sometimes more than the in-between ages where the innocence of Christmas is lost within their busy schedules.

 

Here are the John Lewis spots from the last few years and you can tell me which one you like the best.

2014:  Monty the Penguin:

 

Here is the one from 2011, about the boy who couldn’t wait for Christmas. You will notice this year’s Man on the Moon feels very similar.

 

This is also a great one from 2010

 

And you can see the one from 2009.

 

In 2012, the “snowman” ad felt bit too dark for me with the tone feeling like a slight miss for John Lewis. I felt they were trying too hard.  Maybe feeling the pressure to keep the campaign alive by being different when really the consumer just wants the fast-becoming-familiar-John-Lewis-magic each year.

 

I also found the 2013 ad a bit of a departure, going to animation and utilizing on-line and in-store media. This campaign seems trying too hard to capitalize on their success. Doesn’t feel like a fit.

 

I guess I’ll have to wait for the 2017 John Lewis Christmas ad!  🙁

 

Christmas is 8 weeks away. Expect to see this spot a lot on your social media feed. But, also expect the other UK retailers to compete as they did last year. Here is a link to the 7 best Holiday ads for last year:

Our 7 favorite Holiday ads of 2015. Have your say.

 

Passion in Marketing Execution Matters. If you don’t love it, how do you expect your consumer to love it? If you “sorta like” it, then it will be “sorta ok” in the end. But if you love it, you’ll go the extra mile and make it amazing. To read more about how to drive your Marketing Execution, here is our workshop that shows everything you need to know, to have the smarts of strategy, the discipline of leadership and the passion of creativity to generate brand love in today’s modern world.

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management. We use workshop sessions to help your team create a winning brand positioning that separates your brand in the market, write focused brand plans that everyone can follow and we help you find advertising that drives growth for your brand. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. Our Beloved Brands training center offers 10 training workshops to get your team of brand leaders ready for success in brand management–including strategic and analytical thinking, writing brand plans, positioning statements and creative brief, making decisions on creative advertising and media plans.

To contact us, email us at graham@beloved-brands.com or call us at 416-885-3911.You can also find us on Twitter @belovedbrands.

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Consumers want Burberry to make a full-length movie out of their epic 3-minute mini-movie

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Beloved Brands in the Market

burberrywallpaper3In a very small window, just before John Lewis is about to launch their 2016 Christmas ad, Burberry has stolen the show and managed to capture the attention of the internet with an epic 3-minute mini movie. The production qualities so rich, the story telling so strong and the passion so real. This cinematic movie trailer utilizes Academy Award-winning director Asif Kapadia and it was written by Academy Award-nominee Matt Charman.

Burberry calls this ad “The Tale of Thomas Burberry. 160 years in the making, a story inspired by the pioneering discoveries of our founder, reimagining key events that have shaped Burberry’s history”.

The ad portrays Thomas Burberry as an obsessive inventor and entrepreneur showcasing the emotion he put into his craft. It may take liberties on the excitement of his life–bordering on making him into the world’s most interesting man in the world–but we certainly can feel his purpose and passion shining through.

 

 

This ad is clearly targeted at those who already love the Burberry brand, giving them another reason to love the brand, and getting them to whisper with influence to their social network by sharing this ad with their friends. The internet is going crazy for Thomas Burberry, with almost 5 million views after a few days. The comments on line are demanding a full length movie version be brought to life.

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Passion in Marketing Execution Matters. If you don’t love it, how do you expect your consumer to love it? If you “sorta like” it, then it will be “sorta ok” in the end. But if you love it, you’ll go the extra mile and make it amazing. To read more about how to drive your Marketing Execution, here is our workshop that shows everything you need to know, to have the smarts of strategy, the discipline of leadership and the passion of creativity to generate brand love in today’s modern world.

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management. We use workshop sessions to help your team create a winning brand positioning that separates your brand in the market, write focused brand plans that everyone can follow and we help you find advertising that drives growth for your brand. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. Our Beloved Brands training center offers 10 training workshops to get your team of brand leaders ready for success in brand management–including strategic and analytical thinking, writing brand plans, positioning statements and creative brief, making decisions on creative advertising and media plans.

To contact us, email us at graham@beloved-brands.com or call us at 416-885-3911.You can also find us on Twitter @belovedbrands.

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The “Gut Instincts Check List” to help you judge Advertising

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in How to Guide for Marketers

marketing-execution-2017-extract-8-001

If you think the idea that one needs a checklist for your gut feeling of something sounds crazy, then you likely have never been a Brand Manager before. You might not get this article.

As a Brand Leader, our brains can be all over the place, running from a forecasting meeting to talking with a scientist about a new ingredient to trying to do a presentation for management. And all of a sudden, we jump into a creative meeting and we need to find our instincts. All of a sudden, they are completely lost. We might come into the room still thinking about the financial error we just discovered, or what our VP wants from this ad. We might still be thinking about whether we should have known the market share in the food channel when our VP asked for it and we said you had to look it up.

I see many Brand Leaders show up in a confused state, unable to lead the process and incapable of making a decision. The check list is designed to get you back to where you should be. Relax. Smile. Have fun. If you did all the work on the positioning, the brand strategy and the brief, this is supposed to be your reward. The creative advertising should express all the work you have done. If great advertising is like the perfect gift that you never thought to get yourself, then you have to be in the right mindset to receive your gift. It should be a complete surprise, but as soon as you see it for the first time, you know it is just perfect.

 

Here are 8 key questions that will help you reach down inside to find your instincts that might feel lost:

 

1. Do you love the ad? Do you want this to be your legacy? (Your Passion)

What is your first reaction? If you don’t love it, how do you expect your consumer to love it? If you “sorta like” it, then it will be “sorta ok” in the end. But if you love it, you’ll go the extra mile and make it amazing. Ask if you would you be proud of this as your legacy. Your feedback to your agency should be “I get that the ad could be effective, but I just don’t love it. And I want to make sure that I love it before we make it.” There is no reason ever to put out crap in the current crowded cluttered world of brand messaging. Ask for something better. A good agency should respect that.

2. Does the ad express what you wrote in your brand strategy? (Fit with plan)

Does it work? What is your immediate reaction when you reach for your instincts? Many times, instincts get hidden away because of the job. Relax, be yourself in the zone, so you can soak it in, right in the meeting. The goal of great advertising is to find that space where it is creatively different enough to break through the clutter and smartly strategic to drive the desired intentions of the consumer.  From what I have seen, Brand Leaders tense up when the creative gets “too different” yet they should be scared when it seems “too familiar”.  Be careful that you don’t quickly reject out of fear.

3. Will the ad motivate consumers to do what you want them to do? (See, Think, Feel, Act)

In the Creative Brief, you should have forced a decision on one desired outcome that you wanted for your consumer. Just one. If you are offering something new, the ad should be about the visualization in order to stimulate awareness. If you are trying to get consumers to their mind about your brand, the ad should get them to think differently about your brand. If you are trying to tighten the bond with your consumer, the ad should get consumers to feel something different. And finally, where you are trying to drive the consumer to purchase, the ad should prompt an action. Just as you should force yourself to have one objective in the brief, you can only have one objective in the Ad.

4. Is the Big Idea the driving force behind all the creative elements? (Express Big Idea)

The Creative Idea has to express the brand’s Big Idea through the work. It should be the Creative Idea of the Advertising that does the hard work to draw the Attention, tell the Brand story, Communicate benefit and Stick. Make sure that you see a Creative Idea coming through and make sure that Creative Idea is a fit with your brand’s Big Idea that you spent so much effort developing. Make the Creative Idea flows through the ad and is central to every aspect of the ad. If there is no Creative Idea that holds everything together, you should reject the work immediately.

5. Is the ad interesting enough to break through the clutter? (Gain Attention)

Will this Ad get noticed in a crowded media world?  Keep in mind as to what type of brand you are, relative to the involvement and importance. The lower the involvement, the harder it will be to break through that clutter. Higher involvement brands have it much easier as the consumers are naturally drawn to them, and these brands add one more distraction to the lower involvement type brands.  With the consumers seeing 7,000 ads per day, if your brand doesn’t draw attention naturally, then you’ll have to force it into the limelight. Embrace creativity. Do not fear it.

6. Is the brand central to the story of the ad? (High on Branding)

Will people recall your brand as part of the ad?  You should be trying to see where the Creative Idea helps to tell the story of the relationship between the consumer and the brand. Even more powerful are the Ads that show the consumers view of the brand through interesting consumer insights. Make sure you don’t just jam your brand awkwardly into various elements of the brand. It has been proven that it is not how much branding there is, but about how close the brand fits to the climax of the ad. Avoid the type of ads that run away from your brand, where your brand is not even central to the story. These ads think that making your boring brand a part of a creative ad will help your brand seem less boring. It won’t work. Embrace the advertising tries to  make your brand seem as interesting as possible, because the ad finds a way to connect the brand with the consumer.

7. Does the ad communicate your brand’s main benefit? (Communicates what you need)

There is a Marketing myth out there that if I tell the consumer a lot of different things, then maybe they will at least hear one of them. Try that at a cocktail party next time and you will soon learn how stupid this myth really is. Tell them ONE thing over and over, and the consumer will remember what your brand stands for. Just ask Volvo.  To make your one thing more interesting, tap into the insights of the consumer to helps tell the brand’s life story and focus on the ONE main message you laid out in the brief. Keep your story easy to understand, not just about what you say, but how you say it.

8. How campaign-able is the ad? Does it work across various mediums, with all products? Will it last over time? (Stickiness)

To build a consistent experience over time to drive a consistent reputation in the minds and hearts of the consumer, you want to look for an Advertising idea that can last 3-5 years, that will work across any possible medium (paid, earned, social), that will work across your entire product line up as well as new launches in the future. Think of being proud enough in the work to leave a legacy for your successor. Force your brain into the longer term.

If you feel a lot of pressure from being in the hot seat as the client in a Creative Meeting, you should. 

For many Brand Leaders, being on the hot seat in the creative meeting feels like your brain is spinning. Too many thoughts in your head will get in the way of smart thinking. What you do with that pressure will the make or break between being OK at advertising and great at advertising. I always say to Brand Leaders, “If you knew that being a better client would make your execution better, could you actually show up better?”

The style and tone in which you give feedback to an agency can make an ad better, or destroy it before it’s ever made. Be a passionate brand leader, open with your feelings, challenge the work to be better, take chances, reward effort and celebrate successes together.

In most Marketing careers, we are only on the hot seat for such a short period. We make so few ads that can have such dramatic impact on our brand. As a junior Marketer, we might be observing our boss on the hot seat, and you can’t yet feel what it is like till you are there. As we move beyond the hot seat to a Senior Marketing role, we will miss the days of those pressure moments. Make the most of it. Enjoy it.

Advertising should be fun. If you are having fun, so too will the consumer. 

To read more on Marketing Execution, here is the workshop we take brand leaders through to help make them smarter.

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management. We use workshop sessions to help your team create a winning brand positioning that separates your brand in the market, write focused brand plans that everyone can follow and we help you find advertising that drives growth for your brand. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. Our Beloved Brands training center offers 10 training workshops to get your team of brand leaders ready for success in brand management–including strategic and analytical thinking, writing brand plans, positioning statements and creative brief, making decisions on creative advertising and media plans.

To contact us, email us at graham@beloved-brands.com or call us at 416-885-3911.You can also find us on Twitter @belovedbrands.

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Can Samsung survive the news of exploding Washing Machines, in addition to their exploding Smart Phones?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Beloved Brands in the Market

As of this morning, the U.S. product safety officials announced a recall affecting 2.8 million Samsung washing machines,  across 34 top-loading Samsung models sold at various stores starting in 2011. There have been more than 700 reports of incidents and nine reports of injuries including a broken jaw, the agency said Friday. There is also a class action lawsuit underway.

 

160928113021-samsung-washing-machine-explodes-780x439

 

This in addition to the recall of 2.5 million of their Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone, who have also had a problem with exploding phones. For those of us who have been traveling the past few weeks, you will notice that the Samsung phones are being banned on most flights for fear of explosions.ban_1476479637485_6504319_ver1-0_640_360

Earlier this month, Samsung had already warned that it would take a more than $5 billion hit to operating profit from the third quarter of 2016 up to the first quarter of 2017. Samsung had slashed its operating profit guidance, with final results on Thursday coming in line with expectations. The South Korean electronics giant now said that it aims to boost fourth-quarter earnings through its flagship Galaxy S7 smartphone as well as lower-tier models. Investors were expecting the third quarter to be the bottom for Samsung,  but this most recent announcement might be one more plunge for the company.

Will Samsung get out in front of this?

So far, there has been a lack of communication coming from the leaders of Samsung. Typically, the Samsung senior management team operates with a very secretive approach. Nothing goes public. Yet for a crisis like this, especially as it is impacting the US market so dramatically, Samsung should take a more active public stance. The consumers need to hear from you.

For the Smart Phones, I was suggesting that Samsung should use a “True Innovation brings risks” which fits with their position of being at the forefront of innovation. They should look to make quick fixes to their processes to ensure it does not happen again, ensuring their next phone launch has been tested like no other smart phone in the industry. They can also utilize their main competitor–Apple–who is not currently taking risks with their death by incrementalism approach to the iPhone 5-6-7 offering catch up technology at best. This type of message would have fit perfectly with the Galaxy target audience, who are true innovators and love new product technology rather than the slick sales pitch of Apple.

However, for a smart phone to truly win, it must move beyond the niche of the innovators and capture the mass market. That’s the concern this washing machine recall will cause. It is also the concern I have for the brand when every flight attendant tells people to turn off their Samsung phones. This concern will make your average homeowner have serious doubts about the quality of the Samsung brand name. They will wonder how safe the next models will be. They will start to doubt whether to get their 13-year-old a Samsung phone, or even whether the family 54 inch LED TV will be safe?

Brand Turnaround 101

As the leader you need to change the business direction with new people, new plan, new ideas, new attitude. Before even creating the plan, you need to get the right leadership talent in place. Start with talent, motivation and alignment. Look to close leaks on the Brand by using brand funnel to assess and then our leaky bucket tool to close leaks. I always say cut the fat and re-invest. This is a great opportunity to go through every investment decision, investing only in programs that give you an early break through win. I always create a 3-stage plan turnaround plan. In stage 1, find early/obvious win, halts slide, helps motivation. In stage 2, invest behind new positioning/new plan, focused decisions, take risks. In stage 3, make adjustments to plan, build innovation behind new ideas that fit plan. As a leader, it is crucial to motivate a potentially demotivated team. Losing can be contagious to a culture an a team. Recognize wins to fuel performance driven culture. They may doubt you until they start to see some early wins.

Samsung better do something, or else.

All is quiet in the Samsung world this morning. What would you do if you were Samsung?  

 

 

To read more on Strategic Thinking, here is the workshop we take brand leaders through to help make them smarter.

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management. We use workshop sessions to help your team create a winning brand positioning that separates your brand in the market, write focused brand plans that everyone can follow and we help you find advertising that drives growth for your brand. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. Our Beloved Brands training center offers 10 training workshops to get your team of brand leaders ready for success in brand management–including strategic and analytical thinking, writing brand plans, positioning statements and creative brief, making decisions on creative advertising and media plans.

To contact us, email us at graham@beloved-brands.com or call us at 416-885-3911.You can also find us on Twitter @belovedbrands.

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How to Judge Creative Advertising

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in How to Guide for Marketers

Great execution must balance the creative and strategy, finding ways to be both different and smart. Finding the space where you are different will help to break through the clutter in the market. Being smart ensures that your message will motive consumers to see, think, feel or act in the way you need for your brand to succeed. Many Brand Leaders tense up when the creative gets “too different” yet they should be scared when it seems “too familiar”.marketing-execution-2017-055

While we encourage you to use a balance of your instincts and strategy, many Marketers need tools to help with their Advertising decisions. That’s how we came up with the ABC’S model.

This will drive higher awareness and higher persuasion scores.

  • Branded Breakthrough: How you say it helps break through to connect with consumers, while linking brand closely to the story. This is all about driving Attention and ensure your Branding is part of that breakthrough.
  • Moveable Messaging: What you say as your main message connects with consumers and motivates them to think, feel or act differently about the brand. This becomes all about your executions to deliver the Communications of your main message in ways that ensure Stickiness in the consumers mind over time.

Said another way, we believe that the best ads start with a Creative Idea that helps to:

  • Garner the consumers’ Attention to break through (A)
  • Puts spotlight on Brand so it is remembered (B)
  • Communicates brand’s benefits through story (C)
  • Sticks over time making brand seem different (S)

The ABC’S is a great tool to help you judge the potential impact the ads will have on consumers and your brand.

The ABC’S Decision Tool

  • Attention: Get noticed in a crowded media world where consumers see 7000 ads per day. If your brand doesn’t draw attention naturally, then you’ll have to force it into the limelight.
  • Branding: Tell the story of the relationship between the consumer and the brand will link best. Even more powerful are ads that are from the consumers view of the brand. It’s not how much branding there is, but how close the brand fits to the climax of the ad.
  • Communication: Tap into the insights of the consumer helps tell the brand’s life story. Keep your story easy to understand, not just about what you say, but how you say it.
  • Stickiness: Build a consistent experience over time to drive a consistent reputation in the minds and hearts of the consumer.

Just like the Strategic Big Idea should drive all parts of your brand, the Creative Big Idea should drive all parts of your brand communications. It should be the creative idea that earns the consumers’ attention, the creative idea that draws attention to the brand, the creative idea that builds benefit into story and the creative idea that consistently builds a reputation.

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Attention

The best way to grab attention is to take a risk and do something creatively different. Here are 7 ways to gain more attention:

  • Be incongruent: Get noticed by being different from what they are watching. Different type of creative can help drive a high score on “made the brand seem different”. A lot of brand leaders are afraid of this, because they feel it exposes them.
  • Resonate: Leverage consumer insights to connect with the consumer, in a true way they see themselves or interact with the brand.
  • Entertain them: Make them laugh, make them cry, or make them tingle. Consumers interact with media to be entertained.marketing-execution-2017-extract-6-004
  • The evolution of the art of being different: As much as movies, TV, music continue evolve, so do ads. Reflect the entertainment to capture consumer attention.
  • Location based: Be where your consumers are most open and willing to listen. Make sure your creative makes the most of that media choice.
  • Be part of the content: As much as consumers are engaged in the content, not the advertising, then having your brand front and center and part of the story.
  • Be Sharable: Amazing story-telling ads getting passed around on social media vehicles. These long videos are great for engaging the consumer emotionally.

Branding

The best BRANDING comes when you connect the Brand to the Climax of the ad. There is an old Advertising saying: “Half of all advertising is wasted, but we aren’t sure which half.” Coincidently, the average brand link is usually around 50%. Your goal should be to get past that mark. Here are 6 ways to increase the branding in advertising:

  • Make your brand a central part of the story: It is not how much branding you use, but rather how closely connected the brand to the climax of your ad.
  • Is it the Truth?: It sounds funny, but if there is a disconnect between what you say, and what you really are, then the brand link won’t be there.marketing-execution-2017-extract-6-005
  • Own the Idea: Be a bit different—make sure that what you do sets you apart from anyone else.
  • Repeat: Simplest way to get stronger branding is to repeat and repeat and repeat.
  • Avoid cutting away to a white screen: My pet peeve in advertising is when I hear creatives say, “And then we cut to the pack shot”. When I hear that, I wonder why people are afraid of the brand? That’s the “gag and tag” approach where consumers like that ad, but then “can’t remember what brand its for”. The way to get maximum involvement is to force your creatives to make the brand part of the story.
  • People remember stories: If the story involves the brand naturally, we would have more branding. A powerful story can capture the consumer, and hold them, but also leave them with a little magic. It is the brand’s life story, the purpose or the reason for being and that will make the brand much more memorable.

Communications

The best way to communicate is through story telling that involves the brand. Communicating is about selling. Keep in mind, communication is not what is said, but what is heard.marketing-execution-2017-extract-6-006

  • Start a dialogue: If you can do a good job in connecting with the consumer, the branding idea can be a catalyst that enables you to converse with your consumer.
  • What are you selling?: You have to keep it simple—you only have 29 seconds to sell the truth. Focus on one message…keep asking yourself “what are we selling”.
  • Powerful expression: Find one key visual that can express what you are selling and stand behind it over time.
  • Find your “More Cheese”: This is where the benefit is so obvious what people want, we need to scream it or find ways to demonstrate it.
  • Sell the solution—not the problem: Brands get so wrapped up in demonstrating the problem, when really it is the solution consumers want to buy.
  • Diminishing returns of messages: Tracking studies show that the more messages you put in an ad, the less the consumer can retain.

Stickiness

The best way to stick is to have an idea that is big enough.

  • Dominant Characteristic: Things that are memorable to the senses (visual, sounds, smells, etc) and have something that dominates your mind
  • How big Is the Idea? It is proven that a gold fish will get bigger with a bigger bowl. It is the same for ideas. marketing-execution-2017-extract-6-007
  • Telling Stories: While visuals are key to communicating, people remember stories—that’s how we are brought up—with ideas and morals designed to stick.
  • Always add a penny: With each execution, you have a chance to add something to the branding idea.
  • Know your assets: Build creative and brand assets into your ad so that it sticks. Keep using in new executions or in other parts of the marketing mix.

 

To read more on Marketing Execution, here is our workshop that we run for Brand Leaders:

 

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management. We use workshop sessions to help your team create a winning brand positioning that separates your brand in the market, write focused brand plans that everyone can follow and we help you find advertising that drives growth for your brand. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. Our Beloved Brands training center offers 10 training workshops to get your team of brand leaders ready for success in brand management–including strategic and analytical thinking, writing brand plans, positioning statements and creative brief, making decisions on creative advertising and media plans.

To contact us, email us at graham@beloved-brands.com or call us at 416-885-3911.You can also find us on Twitter @belovedbrands.

 

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3 simple steps for how to build your brand’s Big Idea

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in How to Guide for Marketers

Building the Big Idea

We have come up with the Big Idea Blueprint that allows you to define your brand’s Big Idea. How it works is we start by brainstorming the 5 areas that surround the Big Idea. On the internal side, we describe the products/services and the internal beacon. On the external side, we describe the ideal consumer reputation and the brand character. We also look at the brand role, as the enabler to help bridge the internal and the external.

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Step One: Brainstorming Words

With a cross-functional team of those who work on the brand, and you expose them to all the work you have done on the brand positioning with the target profile, brand benefits ladder and the brand positioning. Also, provide them with any necessary background research that was done. Most importantly, ask them to bring their knowledge, wisdom and opinions they have from where they sit in the organization.

We recommend that you start off by brainstorming each section, starting with the internally focused products and services, followed by the mirrored externally driven brand reputation. Then, you should move down to internally driven brand beacon, followed by the mirrored externally driven brand character. You should start to see that these match up, or at least should be reflective of each other. You should ask the team to brainstorm up to 15-20 key words that describe each area. Once that is done, brainstorm 15-20 words that start to describe the brand role, which starts to bride the internal and the external.

  • Products and Services: What is the focused point of difference that your brand can win on, because it meets consumer needs, while separating your brand from competitors?
  • Consumer Reputation: What is the desired outward reputation of the brand, that attracts, excites, engages and motivates consumers to think, feel and purchase your brand?
  • Internal Beacon: What is the internal rallying cry that reflects your purpose, values, motivations helping to inspire, challenge and guide the culture, including everyone’s focus and daily behaviors?
  • Brand Character: What is the set of emotional characteristics, and personality traits that help consumers connect passionately and identify with the brand on a deeper self-reflective level?
  • Brand Role: What is the link between consumer and brand, reflecting the way we service, support and enable our consumers to ensure they make the most of our brand offering?

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Step Two: Constructing phrases from the best words

Ask for a vote to narrow down to the best 3-4 words for each section. Divide your group into 2-3 mini groups and then assign the task of taking the winning words and building key phrases that will begin to summarize each area. With different versions of each section from the mini-groups, you can narrow down to what feels like the best version of each of the five areas. You will begin to see a focus around certain areas and key words. Importantly, the groups will move towards alignment. It also serves to stimulate the creative writing juices on the team, which will help in step three.

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Step Three: Finding the Big Idea

Using the five areas to inspire you surrounding the Big Idea, get each of the mini-teams to try to write a summary Big Idea statement that captures everything you have worked on. Try to get a few different versions of the Big Idea. Hopefully, with the teams fully focused on the brand and with all the creative energy in the room, you will get a couple of good versions that you can play with after the meeting.

If you are still working on brand concepts, you can even take the best versions of the Big Idea forward into Market Research testing as part of a concept test. You should also vet them internally with key members of your organization.

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Organize everything around the brand’s Big Idea

The Big Idea should guide everything that the consumer touches. You will need to manage the consistent delivery of the Big Idea over five consumer touch-points, including the brand promise, story, innovation, purchase moment and brand experience. This means everyone that works on those, whether management, agencies, customer service, sales, HR and operations all should be looking at the Big Idea as a guiding beacon for decisions.

  • Brand Promise: Use the Big Idea to inspire a simple brand promise that separates your brand from competitors, based how it is better, different or cheaper. This helps to inspire the brand positioning.
  • Brand Story: Bring your brand story to life to motivate consumers to think, feel or act, while beginning to own a reputation in the mind and hearts of consumers. This helps to focus all the brand communications across all media choices.
  • Innovation: Build a fundamentally sound product, while staying at the forefront of trends and technology to help deliver on your brand promise. This helps to steer the product development and R&D teams to stay true to the Big Idea.
  • Purchase Moment: The moment of truth as consumers move through the purchase cycle and use channels, messaging, processes to make the final decision. This helps push the sales team and focus how you set up the retail channels to drive towards the sale.
  • Consumer Experience: Turn the usage of your product into an experience that becomes a ritual and favorite part of the consumer’s day. The people at the organization deliver the consumer experience. The Big Idea can steer the values and expected behaviors that help frame organizational culture and the operations team.

The Big Idea helps guide every aspect of Brand Management. When you begin to blow this out one step further, you can start to see where everyone in your organization should align and understand how they can deliver the brand’s Big Idea.  If you are in finance at Volvo, you should be thinking about how to make safe cars cheaper, if you’re in HR at Starbucks, you should be hiring people that deliver moments and if you’re working at the Genius Bar at Apple, you have to make sure your language choices are simple so that it is easy for consumers to understand. Every sales rep coast to coast should be living the Big Idea. It has to permeate through he organization, reaching everyone who touches the brand.

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Here’s how it would look for Gray’s Cookies. This should allow you to run every part of your brand organization.

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To read more on Brand Positioning, here is the workshop we take brand leaders through to help make them smarter.

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management. We use workshop sessions to help your team create a winning brand positioning that separates your brand in the market, write focused brand plans that everyone can follow and we help you find advertising that drives growth for your brand. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. Our Beloved Brands training center offers 10 training workshops to get your team of brand leaders ready for success in brand management–including strategic and analytical thinking, writing brand plans, positioning statements and creative brief, making decisions on creative advertising and media plans.

To contact us, email us at graham@beloved-brands.com or call us at 416-885-3911.You can also find us on Twitter @belovedbrands.

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