Tuesday, 29 December 2009
Friday, 18 December 2009
Out of curiosity I tried Via instead of the brewed Coffee option, and was stunned to find it so drinkable. So much so that I was tempted enough to have a refill - an unexpected positive experience. Yet it wasn't really so unexpected, because they keep telling me it tastes better than brewed coffee...but that just was not believable until now.
Ultimately they had my permission to change my mind because I had already reached out to them through my Twitter follow and my Iphone app, but in the end they got me by accident.
Thursday, 3 December 2009
(not so) Secret Weapon to monetary attraction
Seth Godin has smartly cultivated his fans in order to launch his new book "The Linchpin" with a simple yet compelling formula (with his actions in brackets):
- Functional Benefit (book) +
- Emotional benefit (Acumen Fund - Charity endorsement) +
- Motivation (limited offer of 3000 + request to blog a review)
= Monetary Attraction
The formula is masterful ...savour, digest, share and reapply.
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Very few brands can re-create their visual identity and be incredibly captivating. Sade has managed that with the cover art for their new album.
What brand would easily generate 1 million sales in its first week after being absent for a decade. Yes, you've guessed ! Sade.
If Sade were a product its brand equity would be off the scale, by being unique, authentic and the best at what they do.
Marketers - start emulating brands like Sade - the brand queen(and kings).
Sunday, 8 November 2009
I chose to invest $25 to download the 'priceless' mp3 audio book version, and Its money truly well spent. I get to hear the author breathe fresh life into his work, and hear him re-tell all the stories. I get to feel what he felt when writing it, and share his joy, surprise, fear and confusion. I get to build a relationship with him (of sorts), and it only cost me $25.
The publishing industry is in shock, and charging for content you can find for free is pretty audacious. With e-books (and Amazon) keeping prices at c. $10 it will be a tough task to create more value via price rises.....and I fear for authors who don't look to innovate with these new book mediums.
But if you know your consumer well enough you realise that they will pay more for a special experience such as a 'tried and tested' audio book....As I said - you can get it all for free, but who wants free when you can get true experiential value for such a small investment.....
Sunday, 11 October 2009
The September Issue
Art and Copy
The simple way I connect both films is that in these industries breakthrough success can only arise from three things:
• passion for what you do
• rejection of mediocrity
• Unbridled joy at expressing your creative self
Sunday, 4 October 2009
So what makes a great claim?
1.It must be simple
2.It needs to have stopping power
3.It needs to be believable, (or at least make you feel that its believable)
4.It needs to make you buy
5.It needs to make you come back and buy again
Well this one certainly meets all 5 criteria. My wife has purchased 4 pairs of these socks in the last 4 months, and at c. $8-10 a pair (in stores) they certainly are high margin for the manufacturer and retailer alike.
I cannot figure out how they substantiate this claim "world's softest sock", unless of course they test each and every sock in the world for softness (unlikely)…..or perhaps this counts as ‘marketing puffery’ (more likely)?
In any case its fantastic marketing, because it works !
Monday, 21 September 2009
Hope it helps and please leave comments on the blog.
Friday, 18 September 2009
So If marketing is about gaining attention, and search marketing is about defining and choosing the optimum words for your 'bsusines' or 'barnd'…then you may be missing a trick by not actively buying miss-spelled words.
Simply, get someone to type your top 5 search words out 20 times, and keep the mistakes for some of your key words!
I credit this highly original thought to the great guys at the Marketing over Coffee site and podcast ….listen to the show dated 16th Sept (at 06:25) to learn more….
As a former resident I’m a big fan of London. However, it does need to step up its game to keep up with wonderful cities such as Barcelona, Stockholm and Melbourne. So Im watching the rebranding London campaign brief and pitch process with interest. Moving Brands have breathed some great energy into the process by leveraging crowdsourcing - with some amazing ideas sent in : check them out here .
My three tips for success
1. Bring the Outside In
The opportunity to re-brand london should be championed outside of the country – after all visitors and tourists will be the key customers of any new identity.
2. Engage the Masses
Internally, It could be a great opportunity to reach out to the wider community of ‘brands’ that actively touch London – eg airlines, sports teams, retailers that also have a vested stake in the success of the output, tapping into their creative minds and ample resources – encouraging them to submit.
3.Inspire the Kids
This could be a great school project – to get kids engaged in the discussion – reaching out to school bodies to encourage submissions. Good Luck London.
Friday, 4 September 2009
The difference was the waitress, who had a genuine love and excitement about the food. She was just so keen to recommend her favourites, and delighted to offer sides of the delicious peanut sauce that they have (at no extra charge !). She was fast, efficient and just fantastic at her job, and did it all with passion !
This was not the usual friendly and forced smile, this was not the usual coached and trained service - no this felt genuine, authentic and honest. The positive energy and excitement rubbed off on me, and that makes all the difference to the consumer.
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
Lets Bing it
I first heard the expression ‘let’s Bing it’ – in a sponsored section of the Rachel Zoe Project tv show earlier this week. Having taken a couple of days to ponder my reaction, I still feel that the expression frankly sounds forced and quite odd.
Although Bing has to differentiate itself from Google, (with eg their TV creative poking fun at the shortcomings of other search engines) they now go head on to challenge Googles’ ubiquity. But can you think of anyone who would get what you meant if you said “I binged that ”?.. I don’t think so !...not yet anyway.
Going for Gold
Bing works really well, looks good, and provides different results to Google, and I love any brand that offers me a better solution. So, yes I applaud Microsoft for having the tenacity to set their benchmark as at least a dead heat – and to metaphorically race their Usain Bolt.
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
As smart users of social media they maintained transparency in their communication, and didn’t hide from the facts. The first tweet was a link to an ABC report that was neutral in overall tonality; containing both positive and negative comments about pricing, but also referenced a competitors’ success (McDonalds).
Today they posted a tweet to savvy sugar which gave 10 tips on how to save money, nicely balancing being informative vs overtly sales focused. The tonality of the piece felt authentic, and I love this grown up approach.
By building this kind of relationship with their consumers Starbucks is adopting a winning strategy to strengthen their brand.
Monday, 24 August 2009
NB Now my only dismay will be if it takes the full 90 days for me to receive it !
Sunday, 16 August 2009
Start at the Beginning
My visits to Barnes & Noble stores, are underpinned by a compulsion to browse the business section, with my working theory that the market is fuelled by 3 drivers:
a) a race to create the latest buzz word
b) a plethora of new/breakthrough 7-10 step processes that will revolutionize the way we think
c) the emerging/returning Guru with the as seen on ‘Oprah/The View/Fast Money/Today’ sticker on the front cover, (with accompanying endorsements from all the usual suspects).
The above theory is being threatened by Dan Roam’s book ‘The Back of the Napkin – Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures’. This literally jumped out at me; as my preference for visualizing my thinking is the core of his work - via ingenious illustrations that help captivate and inform. I just Had to buy it, and i dont think he's been on Oprah ...yet !
...But... to be honest I haven’t yet read it, as Dan’s book was in the queue - behind ‘Purple Cow’ (Seth Godin) and The Black Swan (Nassim Nicholas Taleb) which I’m attempting to read simultaneously…
Well, not any more, Dan has captivated my attention by writing 4 amazing 'Napkins' which demystify the healthcare reform debate (in the US) - leveraging his truly unique pictorial eloquence and elegance…I’m absolutely hooked, and he’s forced me into choosing him first (and hence placing on hold the other books I'm reading), and that’s what any great brand should achieve…
NB I’ll post a review when im finished, but go and check out the book website
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
A perfect definition of brand loyalty and brand equity in action ! PS congrats to the new parents.
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
There are some brands that just permeate the soul, and in my case one of them is Nespresso. Acquiring the newly launched Citiz machine cost me 5 hours – the time it took for a round trip to my nearest Sur Le Table store (courtesy of the Chicago area traffic). Although the official launch was 1st August I have been enjoying my machine for 2 weeks now.NB this proves the power of exclusive launches works for brands (as Sur Le Table get a 1 month head start on the other retailers).
What did I get: a) exquisite design, b) an in built milk frothing (Aerocino) for Lattes and Cappuccino’s, and c) consistently darn good tasting coffee. I have already overinvested in 200 capsules (when purchasing my welcome pack) – and cant wait for the ongoing interaction with the Nespresso Club.
My next goal is to understand how well the folks at Nespresso build their brand relationship with me.
I have become an immediate fan of Seth Godin, who gets his messages across by owning the mantle of being brutally honest, repetitive and most importantly short and 'sweet'.
In ‘The Dip – the little book that teaches you when to quit (and when to stick)’’ he talks about the same 2 themes over and over, and abruptly stops after only 80 pages. Its successor ‘Tribes – we need you to lead us’ on the other hands runs a little longer (150 pages), but doesn’t stray too much from the 2 topics of leadership and avoiding mediocrity.
In tribute to Seth I leave you with my review of Tribes - in as succinct a manner as possible: provoke, frustrate, enlighten, motivate, enable !
NB I’m waiting on Amazon to deliver ‘Purple Cow’, with the hope it’s equally as short and just as engaging.
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
Let me take you back a week
As a happy Coke zero consumer, (and an occasional Sprite zero drinker) I happened to be thirsty and needed a drink whilst shopping in Target. So on auto pilot I searched for Coke zero and couldn’t find it in the chillers by the checkout (I don’t like Diet Coke).
A sudden appearance
Now, all of a sudden I noticed diet Pepsi. Why did I notice ? Well in the last few months Pepsi has rolled out new designs across the lineup, and they just seem to attract me that little bit more, and as they were the same price as Coke I thought why not try diet Pepsi. Why am I telling you all this, well it’s because I absolutely love diet Pepsi, in fact I prefer it to Coke Zero.
I have defected from Coke zero after one trial of diet Pepsi !
The Power of New
As a brand manager this experience troubles me. It seems that my action was sparked by 3 things:
a) there was no real risk to my decision, after all I was thirsty, so I was desperate to consume anything cold and wet.
b) no incremental cost - ie diet Pepsi was the same price as the Coke equivalent, BUT
c) there was something new and interesting about Pepsi. The new packaging design made me feel different about Pepsi, it made me think differently about Pepsi, it helped interest me enough to try Pepsi.
What's going through your mind ? Do diet Pepsi know that their taste beats Coke zero ? Am I going to revert back to Coke ? Why doesn't Target have Coke Zero in the chillers ?
It feels liberating to try something new, and I guess Pepsi were counting on that simple response.ix74wmjf2r
Monday, 27 July 2009
A New Business Model
With focus on downloading music (via lala.com), I sense a change of business model – to actively generate user revenue and return visits vs. the ad driven model.
Is it the same brand?
I’m not sure that I like the new ‘MySpace’ feel which undermines the ‘authority’ brand value. The brand clearly needs to evolve and perhaps has succeeded - I have already opened a www.Lala.com account and downloaded music (by Alexi Murdoch).
Marketing works !
This could prove to be a classic marketing case study where a brand:
a) Reinvents itself by refreshing its equity - but not straying too far (simply by adding ‘first choice’) as an additional equity element
b) Ensures it understand how to engage and retain consumers
c) Drives the top and bottom line
Bravo to the marketing folks at Billboard.
Monday, 20 July 2009
Having seemingly lost its way as consumers tighten their discretionary spending at last Starbucks is back and returning to their premium (coffee) experience roots via the Inspired by Starbucks brand of stores.
For years the key characteristics of:
a) great tasting coffee, and b) a truly unique and engaging experience, have been hindered by the push behind stretching the brand into for example, cold ice filled flavoured drinks - coupled with the sense that the role of the Barista was being diminished .
To make matters worse brands such as Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds (McCafe) have successfully infiltrated Starbucks territory and spent significantly to communicate their offerings. NB in Europe McCafe’s are also nicely decked out in comfy leather seats, wooden tables, and art alongside an offering of muffins, cookies etc.
The Ugly (Truth)
Contrary to the experts at Coffee Review, my current tally is a stirring 20:1 visits in favour of McCafe vs Starbucks. Yes, I freely admit to preferring a McCafe ‘Medium’ Cappuccino vs the ‘Tall’ Starbucks equivalent.
The winning Formula
Lower McCafe price (by 50c or so) + incentive (discount coupons on ‘Medium’ size) = Starbucks disloyalty.
But with hope of the “inspired by Starbucks” franchise on the horizon, perhaps there is a way for Starbucks to win back my business.
Thursday, 16 July 2009
So did President Obama’s visit to Ghana help build the Ghana brand ? If yes what can you remember ? Well, a CNN search of ‘Ghana’ today (Thursday July 16th 2009) shows perhaps the message decay has already set in, and the lead story is about a charity that donates used computers to village schools . Great stuff, but what does brand Ghana actually stand for ?
What’s great about Brand Ghana
From the CNN reports I give top marks for clearly identifiable core values of democracy and independence, and a solid brand character of passionate, proud, and hopeful. However, with no clear overall equity – and no real executional elements Im left a little disappointed.
Execution, execution, execution…
Yes there were merchandise and memorabilia (sold locally of course)and even official songs but without a video there’s no chance to generate the 3m+ views that eg the United Breaks Guitars song has achieved on Youtube. The missed opportunity here is develop a visual identity that could travel the world and lodge in peoples minds.
Visual Brand icons
Simple question - from this event what will the international consumer (ie viewer) take away ?
As awareness slips, a simple distinctive visual identity would help recollection. I’m not saying its easy to do, but two great recent examples :
1. Michael Jackson’s memorial service silver glove and aviator shades
2. fireworks and the singing girl from the Beijing Olympics
Unfortunately for Ghana, from president Obama’s trip, all I can clearly remember is, well President Obama in a suit....
Saturday, 11 July 2009
Don’t buy it huh, well hear me out…..
1.In the above case United Airlines get lots of coverage and can use it to show how they will learn and improve, and Dave Carroll (the inconvenienced customer) will get some belated compensation.
2.After all we have recently seen a number of cases of very smart and highly impactful ‘crisis management/turnarounds’ to handle negative publicity following inappropriate staff behavior at Domino’s (as reported on Fox) http://tiny.cc/quWZx and a chicken shortage at KFC http://tiny.cc/LpDQq
3.Although I’m not suggesting it was a premeditated strategy in the above examples, the results are impressive. What would stop a brand thinking ‘aha’ perhaps we ‘stage’ a negative experience as a way to build a viral ‘turnaround’ story.
4.That’s why I argue that there’s a gap in the market for the ‘sabotage marketer’, their sole job would be to actively and purposefully stuff up - and yes annoy consumers!
For those inclined - some sabotage marketing tips:
a)have a ready made press release, b) get your CEO Youtube response recorded, and of course - c) your Twitter apology posted, and d) fingers crossed either Wolf Blitzer or Anderson Cooper cover you on CNN.
Typing the phrase ‘sabotage marketing’ into your search engine produces descriptions not as extreme as the way described in point 4 above…..but you never know, so keep your eyes peeled and let me know if you find any concrete examples.
The Pro’s: (captivating brand experience)
Nespresso has won my heart because it gives me a delightfully captivating experience each and every time I need it. I’m fanatical enough to visit a store everywhere I travel, and so be it Barcelona, Stockholm, Geneva, Frankfurt or New York, I’m left in awe at how they excel at deliveing a perfect brand representation of style, indulgence, and premiumness in each location. Add to this incredible on line work, eg this new Swiss website gives me access to their ‘experts’, providing yet another level of fascination to what Nespresso means to me.
The Con’s: (waiting for new product launches)
The low point is that new products are launched later in the US vs Europe - I’ve had to wait to get my hands on a new Citiz Machine. Although they’ve been missing out on my coffee capsule sales for the last 3 months, I don’t think they’re hurting right now - despite the current economic crisis sales are up : +20% . These girls and guys are damn good at marketing.