A new way for Brand Leaders to think about how their consumers engage with on-line media

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Too many Marketers are thinking about where the media is. They should be thinking about where their consumers are.

Even when your consumers are on-line, you should be aligned to what are they doing and the mood they are in when they are doing it. Last year, I saw a Rolex pre-roll ad on YouTube. My god people, that is not where Rolex should ever be. If you just go for pure efficiency and reach, you are completely missing the real opportunity of targeting your consumers on line. Not only do you have to find your consumers, you have to find them in the right mood so they are willing to engage with your brand.

The reality is today’s consumers live on their phones, tablets and laptops. While there are many ways to reach consumers, your agency likely recommends the most efficient balance of reach and frequency. However, I would challenge you to look at potential sites that fit your brand, both from a functional and emotional stance.

Here are the 8 reasons consumers use the internet:

  1. Be smarter
  2. Stay aware of what’s going on
  3. Escape the stress at some point in the day
  4. Express themselves
  5. Connect with others
  6. Go places, either local or around the world
  7. Buy things they desire
  8. Do things and control the variables.

Align your brand with the consumer mood states that matches up with one of the 8 ways that consumers use the internet.

As consumers move around the internet, their emotional mood state changes. I have matched up the 8 functional ways of how consumers use the internet, with their emotional mood states. You will notice I have used the 8 emotional zones I use for determining Brand Positioning.

Match up your brand emotional positioning with the consumer’s emotional mood when they are on-line.

If your brand is trying to own the ‘staying in control’ zone, do not use sites where consumers are in the mood to escape or express themselves such as Tumbler or Instagram. Conversely, a brand trying to own the ‘get noticed’ space should not be on the Economist or The Weather Network. There are enough sites that allow you to line your brand up perfectly.

When consumers want to be smarter, they ‘google it’ or look at subject matter expert sites. When consumers want to stay aware, they reach for their favorite on-line news site or scan social media news feeds. When consumers are in the mood to feel free, they try to escape, whether a 5 minute break at work or the subway going home after a long day, they look to escape with Youtube or Bleacher Report.

The line is getting blurry when consumers want to express themselves. While they might start with 140 characters on Twitter, they duplicate the post on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest as they are in the mood to get noticed. One of the most obvious reasons for the internet is to connect with others, feeding their mood to be liked. They use email, texting or Facebook.

Consumers reach for their phone when they want to do things, checking the weather, looking up restaurant reviews or buying tickets to an event. While these consumers are looking to have fun, they use tools to stay in control, so nothing gets in the way of having fun. When consumers want to buy things to fulfill a craving or desire to reward themselves, they want it now and use transactional sites such as Amazon or eBay. Moreover, they go straight to a favorite retailer’s e-commerce site. When consumers want to go somewhere, they use Waze for driving directions or Uber to hail a ride. If they want to go on a vacation, they use Expedia to book a flight, explore things to do using TripAdvisor, or look up cool places to stay using Airbnb. These consumers are in the mood to explore but also find comfort.

Where are consumers when they are in the mood that matches up with your brand’s desired emotional space?

 

Here are five media questions for the future

Here are some challenging thoughts for us going forward.

1. Will people watch even more TV in the future?

Sounds crazy, but with more tablets and instant internet access, the future will see us watching even more TV programming. Consumers love anything on video. But, it will not be traditional network TV. We are already seeing a huge consumer shift to streaming TV, whether Netflix, special channels, on-demand viewing and Youtube videos. Advertising has yet to figure out how it will fit into these new TV options.

2. How can brands capture young adults?

With two college-aged kids, I can tell you they never watch network television, never read newspapers and never listen to the radio. Yet, they are constantly connected, using Netflix, texting, SnapChat and Instagram. One of the most interesting insights about this group is, ‘They never go on-line, mainly because they never go off-line’. They put their lives on-line and expect instant access to everything. They are constantly multi-tasking, prefer apps over software, newsfeed over news stories. While high profile beloved brands can easily reach them, low involvement or indifferent brands will have a hard time reaching them.

3. Can newspapers or magazines even survive?

Newspapers and magazines appear lost. For too long, they linked their brand to the actual format and moved on-line too slowly. For many, news now is now instant, ubiquitous and more casual/social. Instead of seeking out news, consumers now filter news. Journalists are struggling to capture readers and print companies are struggling to capture consumers to their on-line versions, as fake news, Twitter feeds and social media are dominating traditional print. Can these print companies figure out new revenue and profit models with on-line versions?

4. Are there too many social media options?

Early innovation in social media led to divergence of options. Yet, they are become more similar than different. Potential power plays could see mergers where the strongest brands squeeze out other players—the first being Microsoft’s purchase of LinkedIn. Other than high profile brands, many Brand Leaders struggle to come up with relevant content that can engage their targets. Imagine who might be next.

5. Can Brand Leaders figure out how to win in the new world?

Brand Leaders are more confused than they ever have been. The exploding of media options has led to an explosion of agencies, each battling each other for a share of the spend, rather than directing the Marketer with clear advice. Big traditional agencies have struggled as they move into digital and social, forcing the Brand Leaders to look to smaller agencies or even internal options. The biggest issue I see is that Marketers have become too involved, they are now doers taking on parts of subject matter experts rather than staying in the generalist decision maker role. For Brand Leaders, the changes are speeding up. Just as they are used to digital, there is a dramatic shift to social, and then another dramatic you shift to mobile. The problem is that unless you are a consumer of the media options, you will struggle with it. Every Brand Leader must have the curiosity to personally engage in new media options as a consumer, before they can judge it as a Marketer. You will learn more about these media choices by trying them out, than you will reading a presentation in a boardroom.

Here is a workshop we run on Marketing Execution that looks at both the creative and media sides of  reaching consumers.

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We can help you come up with your brand’s Brand Positioning, Big Idea and Brand Concept. We also can help create Brand Plans that everyone in your organization can follow and helps to focus your Marketing Execution. 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 will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. We offer brand training on every subject in marketing, related to strategic thinking, analytics, brand planning, positioning, creative briefs, customer marketing and marketing execution.

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.

 

64 of the best analytical questions to understand your brand’s performance

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Leading a deep-dive Business Review

To start the deep-dive Business Review, dig in on these 5 sections: Category, Consumers, Channels, Competitors and Brand.

  • Category: Start by looking at the overall category performance to gain a macro view of all major issues. Dig in on the factors impacting category growth, including economic indicators, consumer behavior, technology changes, shopper trends or political regulations. Also look at what is happening in related categories that could impact your own category or replicate what you may see next.
  • Consumer: Define your consumer target, knowing the consumer’s underlying beliefs, buying habits, growth trends and key insights. Use the brand funnel analysis and leaky bucket analysis to uncover how they shop the category and how they make purchase decisions. Uncover consumer perceptions through tracking data or market research.
  • Channels: Look at the performance of all potential distribution channels and every major retail customer. Understand their strategies, as well as their available tools and programs. To be successful, your brand must align with the customer strategies.
  • Competitors: Dissect your closest competitors by looking at their performance indicators, brand positioning, innovation pipeline, pricing strategies, distribution and the perceptions of consumers. Map out a strategic Brand Plan for major competitors to predict what they might do next. Use that knowledge within your brand’s own plan.
  • Brand: Understand the view of the brand through the lens of consumers, customers and employees. Use brand funnel data, market research, marketing program tracking results, pricing analysis, distribution gaps and financial analysis. You need to manage your brand’s health and wealth.

While other parts of the planning process are about focus, the deep-dive business review must look at all parts of the business to see beneath the surface level. You might find some treasures and you may find something really ugly that needs fixing. But, if you don’t look, you won’t know.

Here are 10 probing questions to kick-start your Category review

  1. How is the category doing relative to the economy?
  2. Look at the last 5 years and explain each of the ups and downs in the category.
  3. What is driving category growth? What is holding the category back? What are the big open opportunities to take advantage of? What are the risks to the categories in the next few years?
  4. What category segments are growing, declining or emerging?
  5. What macro trends are influencing/changing this category?
  6. What is the role of innovation? How fast does it change? What innovations are transforming the category?
  7. What are you seeing in terms of regional or geographic trends?
  8. Who holds the balance of power in the category: brands, suppliers, channels or consumers?
  9. Look at other issues: Operations, inventory, mergers, technology, innovation, investments, global trade.
  10. What is the overall value of the category? How is the category performing financially? Any price changes? Major cost change?

Here are 10 probing questions to kick-start your consumer review

  1. Who are your possible target market consumer segments? Are they growing? How are you measuring them?
  2. Who are the most motivated consumers by what you have to offer?
  3. Who is your current target? How have you determined demographics, behavioral or psychographic, geographic and usage occasion? Generational trends?
  4. How is your brand performing against the target segment? Share, sales, panel data, funnel data, tracking scores? By channel or geography?
  5. What drives consumer choice? What are the main need states? How so these needs line up to your brand assets?
  6. Map out the brand funnel and assess your brand’s performance in moving through each stage. Are consumers changing at stages? Are you failing at stages?
  7. What are the emerging consumer trends? How does your brand match up, to potentially exploit? Where would your competitors win?
  8. What is the ideal brand experience and unmet needs you can attach your brand to?
  9. What are the emotional and functional needs? How is the brand performing against them? How are you doing in tracking studies to meet these needs?
  10. What are consumers’ perceptions of your brand and your competitors?

Here are 10 probing questions to kick-start your channels review

  1. How are the channels performing? Are there regional differences by channel? Are there any channel shifts happening?
  2. Are there new/emerging channels? Are there existing channels not being developed?
  3. What are the strengths/weaknesses of each channel?
  4. Do you understand the strategies of your channel customers?
  5. Do you have the competencies to service your customers?
  6. Who are your primarily and secondary customers? Have you segmented and prioritized on growth vs opportunity? How large are they? What are their growth rates?
  7. How is each channel performing?
  8. How are brands doing within each channel? What are the main reasons for each brand’s channel strength/weakness?
  9. Who is the category captain within your key accounts and why?
  10. Who are the top 5 customers? Main strategies? How do we fit into that strategy?

Here are 10 questions to kick-start your competitor review

  1. Who are the main competitors? How are they positioning themselves?
  2. What is your competitor’s use of communication, new products and go-to-market strategy? How are they effectively executing against it?
  3. What is your competitor’s operating models, culture and organization? What brands are they focused on as a company?
  4. What are your competitor’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats?
  5. How is your competitor doing in terms of customer share, market share, P&L, margins, innovation, culture, regulatory advantage
  6. Map out the competitors Brand Plan: vision, goals, strategies and tactics.
  7. What is the culture at your competitor and what is the role of the culture in their brand?
  8. What is the investment stance and expected growth trajectory of competitor’s brand? How/where do they invest? What is the marketing and commercial focus? What is their ROI?
  9. What is the competitors brand strength/equity? What drivers/attributes do they own?
  10. Any public materials about the competitor, including strategy and financial results?

10 probing questions to assess your brand’s power

  1. Where do you play? How do you win? What is your current point of difference? Is it own-able, unique and motivating for consumers?
  2. What is your biggest gain versus prior periods? What is your biggest gap?
  3. What is your market share? Regionally? Channel? Where is your strength? Where is your gap?
  4. How are you doing on key brand tracking panel data? Penetration? Frequency? Sales per Buyer? Dollars per trip?
  5. What are your scores against the brand funnel?
  6. How is your program tracking data doing? Where could you improve?
  7. How far can you “stretch” your brand into other opportunities?
  8. What is your current operating model?
  9. What is your culture? To what extent does your culture enable and support your brand and business strategy? Is there an alignment to the brand promise and strategy by employees?
  10. What is the innovation process and capability of the organization?

10 probing questions to assess Brand Wealth

  1. Your CAGR? (Compound Annual Growth Rate)
  2. What are your contribution margins over last 5 years? Margins broken out by product line?
  3. What is your budget breakout? Working dollars versus non-working dollars? Media versus production? Consumer versus trade?
  4. Pricing Elasticity studies?
  5. How are you performing overall and by line of business?
  6. What are your current brand/business performance measures?
  7. What programs are driving the highest ROI?
  8. What is driving your profit? What are you focusing on right now?
  9. What are your forecasting error rates? Fill rates?
  10. What are the financial pressures you face? Quarterly results?

4 more questions that Summarize the analysis to tackle in your Brand Plan

  1. What is driving growth? Focus on the top factors of strength, positional power or market inertia that has a proven link to driving your brand’s growth. Your plan must continue to fuel these drivers.
  2. What is inhibiting growth? Focus on the top factors of weakness, unaddressed gaps or market friction that can be proven to be holding back your brand’s growth. Your plan should focus on reducing or reversing these inhibitors to growth.
  3. What are the opportunities for growth? Specific untapped areas in the market that could fuel your brand’s future growth, based on unfulfilled consumer needs, new technologies on the horizon, potential regulation changes, new distribution channels or the removal of trade barriers. Your plan should take advantage of these opportunities in the future.
  4. What are the potential threats to future growth? Changing circumstances including consumer needs, new technologies, competitive activity, distribution changes or potential barriers that create potential risks to your brand’s growth. Within your plan, look for ways to minimize the impact of these risks.

To read more about conducting a deep-dive Business Review, here is our training workshop we use to help Brand Leaders get better in this area

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We can help you come up with your brand’s Brand Positioning, Big Idea and Brand Concept. We also can help create Brand Plans that everyone in your organization can follow and helps to focus your Marketing Execution. 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 will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. We offer brand training on every subject in marketing, related to strategic thinking, analytics, brand planning, positioning, creative briefs, customer marketing and marketing execution.

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.

 

Consumers of today have changed dramatically, impacting what it now takes for brands to win.

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The consumers in today’s world now see 7,000 brand messages per day, far too many for their brains to handle. They filter out the irrelevant advertising and gravitate only to those brands that capture their minds and their hearts. Consumers are constantly distracted—working, walking, talking, texting, driving, searching and clicking—rarely doing one thing at a time. Consumers are tired of being burned by faulty brand promises. Their instinct is to doubt first, test second, and at any point they are willing to cast aside those brands that do not live up to their original promise. They stay loyal to brands that speak directly with them and those that offer the most amazing experiences that exceed their expectations. Consumers take control of the buying process, literally at their finger tips. They feel empowered knowing that they matter more than they ever have before. Right in the moment, they openly voice their pleasure and displeasure to their friends, empowered knowing the influence they bring. Consumers may explore rationally, but engage emotionally with brands they believe in.

In today’s Marketing world, Brand Love is the new currency. The best brands have a base of loyal brand fans.

The best brands of this century build everything they do around a Big Idea that creates a bond with a group of motivated “brand lovers” who then become a coveted asset for the brand to leverage. Think of brand love as stored energy that can be unleashed at any moment to help accelerate a brand’s positive momentum. These brand lovers can be leveraged to successfully enter new categories, to defend the brand against any attack and to drive awareness and influence with their network.

Brands must generate insight-driven stories that capture the hearts of their consumers. They need to build innovative new products that surprise their most loyal users. The best brands must manage ubiquitous purchase moments, catering to whenever, wherever and however their consumer wants to buy, not just how the brand chooses to sell. The best brands build amazing experiences that over-deliver every consumer expectation, adding energy to the bond consumers have with their brand. Instead of shouting their message at every possible consumer, the best brands confidently whisper to their group of motivated brand lovers, who then whisper with influence to their friends on behalf of the brand.

The role of a brand is to create a tight bond with consumers, leading to a power and profit beyond what the product alone could achieve.

Brands are no longer just logos on top of a product. While a product is something we can touch, a brand is an idea that can be understood, experienced and cherished. While a product may have a rational connection, a brand forms an emotional bond with a loyal base of brand lovers. While a product solves small little problems the consumer did not even know they had, a brand beats down the consumer’s enemy that torments them every day. While a product is consumed and used when needed, a brand is experienced and becomes a ritual built into the favorite parts of the consumer’s day or life. While a product is a legally protected design, a brand is a carefully managed and protected reputation. While a product is tucked away in the cupboard to use later on, a brand is worthy of display, whether it is on our counter, our feet, our desk or held with pride in our hand.

The best brands find their sweet spot when the Big Idea, Brand DNA and Consumer Reputation are all the same.

The first moment a consumer will connect with a brand is when they see an idea worth engaging in. They will buy those brands that turn engagement into consideration and interest. Every time the consumer uses that brand, they will compare it to the original idea they bought into, to see if it lives up to that promise. They will feel let down when the brand fails to deliver and cast the brand aside when it fails too often. To win in today’s cluttered world, Brand Leaders must create a Big Idea for their brand that captivates the consumer’s attention. The Big Idea must be interesting, simple, unique, motivating and own-able. Brand Leaders must ensure that everything they do—the brand promise, brand story, innovation, purchase moment and consumer experience—lines up to deliver that idea.

The smartest Brand Leaders in today’s world are able to consistently manage everyone who works on the brand to create a consistent brand reputation in the consumer’s mind. This reputation has to perfectly reflect to the brand’s soul, what I call the brand DNA. The DNA must explain the purpose, values, passions, motivations and beliefs of those who lead and work on the brand. Simply put, the DNA answers the question of, “Why you get up in the morning to do what you do”. Brand Leaders are now responsible for building the internal team culture and organization behind the brand, using this brand DNA as a rallying cry to guide everyone in delivering the brand promise.

As much as Marketing has changed, the fundamentals of Brand Management matter more now than ever.

I believe that the fundamentals of Brand Management are essential for brands to create a tight bond with their consumers so they can win in today’s cluttered brand world. Too many Marketers have become distracted by the tactics of a growing number of media choices and distribution options. They have become task masters, focused more on doing, than managing and leading. They have lost sight of the fundamentals of strategic thinking, brand positioning, brand planning, creative execution and analytics.

  • How to think strategically: Too many Marketers are so busy, they do not even have time to think. The best Brand Leaders do the necessary critical strategic thinking to find ways to win in the market. Strategic thinking is an essential foundation, to force Marketers to ask big questions that challenge and focus brand decisions. I will show you five ways to enhance your strategic thinking, using the brand strength finder, engagement strategy, consumer strategy competitive strategy and situational strategy. You will learn how to set a vision for your brand, focus your limited resources on breakthrough points, take advantage of opportunities you see in the market, find early wins that can be leveraged to give your brand a positional power to drive growth and profits for your brand.
  • How to define your brand: Too many Marketers are trying to be everything to anyone. This is the usual recipe for becoming nothing to everyone. The best Brand Leaders target a specific motivated consumer audience and then define their brand around a Big Idea that is interesting, simple, unique, motivating and own-able. I will show you how to write a classic Brand Positioning statement with four key elements: target market, competitive set, main benefit and reason to believe (RTBs). You will learn how to build a Big Idea that leads every aspect of your brand, including the brand promise, brand story, innovation, purchase moment and experience. I will give you the tool for how write a winning brand concept.
  • How to write Brand Plans every one can follow: Too many Marketers are focused on a short-term to-do list, not a long-term plan. The best Brand Leaders write Brand Plans that everyone in the organization can follow, including senior management, sales, R&D, agencies and the operational teams. I will teach you how to write each element of the Brand Plan, including the brand vision, purpose, values, goals, key Issues, strategies and tactics. I provide examples that will give you a framework to use on your own brand. You will learn to build execution plans including a brand communications plan, innovation plan and in-store plan.
  • How to inspire creative execution: Too many Marketers are becoming task-masters and stepping over the line into execution. The best Brand Leaders inspire experts to produce smart and creative execution. I will provide tools and techniques for judging and making decisions on creative ideas from your agency. For judging execution, I use the ABC’S tool, believing the best executions must drive Attention (A), Branding (B), Communication (C) and Stickiness (S). I will provide a check list for you to use when judging executions and then show you how to provide direction to your Agency to help inspire and challenge great execution.
  • How to analyze the performance of your brand: Too many Marketers are not taking the time to dig in on the analytics. There is no value in having access to data if you are not using it. The best Brand Leaders are able to tell strategic stories through analytics. I lay out the smart analytical principles to help you tell analytical stories through data to challenge strategic thinking, build Brand Plans and gain alignment for strategies. We will show you how to build a deep-dive business review, looking at the category, consumers, competitors, channels and brand. I will teach how to turn your analysis into a presentation for management, showing the ideal presentation slide format.

To get smarter about Brand Management, read more on how to define your brand. Here is a Powerpoint workshop on Brand Positioning.

 

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We can help you come up with your brand’s Brand Positioning, Big Idea and Brand Concept. We also can help create Brand Plans that everyone in your organization can follow and helps to focus your Marketing Execution. 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 will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. We offer brand training on every subject in marketing, related to strategic thinking, analytics, brand planning, positioning, creative briefs, customer marketing and marketing execution.

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.

 

Best Christmas ads of 2016 from around the globe

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xmas-001

 

As we hit mid December, many of us are busy trying to close off projects before year end. Take a few minutes to see some of the best Christmas ads from around the world.

 

From Poland

Great story telling from Allegro, a Polish website. The ending is very heart-warming. Millions of views so far, lots of tears for sure.

 

From England

Heathrow Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world tells a story through the dolls of two grandparents visiting their grandchildren. Hard for an airport to generate 5 Million views, but this ad certainly puts a nice face on a crowded airport.

 

From Canada

WestJet is the alternative airline to Air Canada, providing a better customer experience. For 6 straight years now, WestJet has done some of the better Christmas ads. This past year in the Western Canadian town of Fort McMurray, there was a fire that destroyed the entire town. This ad does a nice job in building around the recovery with a wink to Who’ville.

 

From Portugal

Every year, there is a lottery just before Christmas, Anuncio Lotería de Navidad 2016. The last few years, they have done some great ads with deep story telling. This year, the ad tells a sweet story of a grandmother who catches the winning number on TV from a few years ago, believing she has won this year’s lottery. Very cute that the family goes along with it as she moves through the village. Nice ending.

 

From England

Marks and Spencer likely won the UK retailer contest of 2016. This ad does a nice job in telling the story of Mrs. Claus. While very modern, it still brings a lot of traditional touches of Christmas.

 

From Germany

A nice ad from EDEKA, Germany’s biggest supermarket encourages parents to spend more time with their kids.

 

From Ireland

Lidl uses a very traditional Christmas ad. How it should really feel.

 

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.

strategic-thinking-2017-148

 

 

Narrow your target to those who are already motivated by what your brand does

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Who wants you?
Too many Marketers think the way to make your brand bigger is to be able to appeal to a bigger, broader audience. While targeting everyone “just in case” might feel safe at first, it is actually less safe because you spread your resources so broadly, you never see the full impact of the resources. Instead of going after who you want the most, go after those consumers who want you.

book-photos-032To illustrate this point, we look at types of target markets:

  • Selling Target: You can sell to anyone who comes in the door and wants to buy. You can reactively sell to anyone who shows interest in your brand, regardless if they fit your ideal target. However, as your brand is constrained by limited resources, you should not spend your limited Marketing dollars against this large of a target, especially when you have seen no signs they will respond enough to provide an efficient pay back.
  • Marketing Target: The smartest Brand Leaders know their ideal consumer. With increased access to data, we know more and more about these people. Just like the shoe-shine person, you should focus your limited resources on those consumers motivated by what your brand offers. These people will respond to your brand story or your product offering, providing the fastest and highest return on investment and effort.
  • Program Target: When working on a specific campaign, the target narrows even further. These are the people you want to stimulate to see if you can get them to see, think, feel or do. A specific program target is smart when launching a new product, or lining up to a specific time of year (Back to School).

I was working with a bank who told me that their target market for a first time mortgage (home loan) was 18-65, new customers, current customers and employees. book-photos-033Sarcastically, I said, “You have forgotten tourists and prisoners”. As I pressed to help them narrow their consumer target, they pushed back saying that they didn’t want to alienate anyone “just in case” someone outside the usual target wanted a home loan. Sure, the odd 64-year-old might be tired of renting for the past 40 years and wants to finally buy their first home. But they would not be offended if there was a 32-year-old in the advertising. The reality is that first time home owners are usually in their late 20’s or early 30’s. The age target should be 28-33. I told the bank I could narrow their target from 100% of the population to 1% with one simple line. I said, “We should only target those who are looking to buy a house”. No one buys a house on impulse. And no one ever wanted a mortgage, without buying a house. Consumers usually spend 6-12 months looking for a house. This is complete common sense, but why was it lost on the bank? Think about the difference the focused target market makes. Instead of just randomly advertising to everyone on mass media, you can focus your resources where the consumer would be most open to your message. Advertise on real estate websites, use billboards beside new housing developments and buy radio ads on Saturday afternoon when people are looking at new homes. We narrowed the target market to: “28-33, already considering buying a house within the next year and nervous about their debt load.”

Narrowing the target is a choice. It is a myth to suggest that a bigger target will make your brand bigger. You will be much more successful convincing a small segment of the population to choose your brand because the promise matches up perfectly to what they want. They are already motivated by what you do.

Realizing not everyone can like you is the first step to focusing all your attention on those that can love you.

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

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in How to Guide for Marketers

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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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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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