Can you recognize these online brands just based on the color of their sharing buttons? Answers, and some science behind color and branding.
7 Questions Every Head Of Marketing Better Be Able To Answer
CEO Francine Hardaway:
"Brands are promises that get delivered every day. What did you promise today?"
CMOs have it tough. Not only do they have to account for every single dollar invested in marketing but they have to be part engineer, part marketer, and part financial guru.
Although most industries have been disintermediated by technology, the marketing industry worked backwards. More and more intermediaries now stand between the brand the publisher. It used to be only an agency. Now it’s many agencies and a plethora of tech vendors.
To complicate matters more, the marketing mix is expanding daily and now includes more buzzwords and acronyms so that you don’t pay any attention to the people behind the curtain. The savvy CMO is going to have to learn what questions to ask. Working with Proximic and its special way of helping brands deal with their own data to plan media has taught me to ask the right questions. The answers will be different for each of you.
Does this algorithm work for me?
Do I need RTB (real-time bidding) or RTM (real-time marketing)?
What’s more important, targeting the right person or delivering the right message? And do I need a cookie to know?
Do I know that where I’m appearing is brand safe?
What’s premium now?
Where does digital fit in my overall media mix?
What do I do with “Social-Mobile-Local”?
Remember: All advertising starts with a problem (e.g., one of your brands needs to gain share versus a competitor or need to protect share from a competitor). The only ROI that really matters is Did you “move the needle”? Did you move product or move minds? To do either, that message has to break through the clutter. That’s all. No other metric matters.
[Image: Flickr user Tony L. Wong]
The Sex Panther Formula For Finding Your Brand’s Secret Sauce
Anchorman’s Brian Fantana may have been off the mark with his Sex Panther cologne, but his head was in the right place. Every brand could use a simple lesson in setting itself apart.
Brian Fantana, Ron Burgundy’s friend and Channel 4’s field reporter, brings home the importance of having a “secret sauce” to make your product stand out in the movie Anchorman. Talking about Sex Panther, the best cologne in his arsenal when he’s on the prowl, Brian tells Ron that the cologne’s secret is that “It’s made with bits of real panther.” He then hits Ron with some research-based evidence, “They’ve done studies, you know. Sixty percent of the time it works, every time.”
While Brian eventually ends up striking out (the target of his desire, co-worker Veronica Corningstone, likens the cologne’s aroma to that of “a used diaper”) the iconic scene does make the point: Every offering needs to have a secret sauce. And it has to have that something inside that leads to a differentiating benefit.
For example, Gatorade helps athletes recover faster in the heat by having ingredients that replenish their fluids and electrolytes quickly. Under Armour sportswear keeps athletes comfortable and dry because its high-tech fabric wicks away moisture from their bodies. Moving to a different arena, Walmart helps value-conscious shoppers live better by giving them the lowest prices every day.
One way to test if your brand has a secret sauce is to apply the tried-and-true “brand promise” format:
- For (target customer)
- Who needs (what they need)
- The (offering name)
- Is a (category)
- That provides (primary differentiation benefit)
- because (secret sauce/reason to believe)
For example, Sex Panther’s brand promise would be:
- For young men
- who want to attract women
- Sex Panther
- is the cologne
- that works sixty percent of the time, every time
- because it’s made out of bits of real panther.
When I speak with marketers it’s that last part, the secret sauce, the reason-to-believe, that their brands struggle with. Sometime it’s not clear, what, if anything, makes them special. Oh sure, there’s vague references to “quality” or “better performance” but too often there’s no understanding of what’s unique about the brand.
So what to do?
1. Find out what’s different about your brand.
2. Scope out the competition.
3. Find a gap in the market.
5 Ways To Thrive During Marketing’s Seismic Shift To Mobile
During SXSW, major brands convened to discuss how to move forward with mobile. Urban Airship’s Scott Kveton outlines the key trends and strategies that emerged and provides examples of brands adding value via mobile.
What is increasingly clear is that mobile will confound the cookie-cutter campaign creator, bother the bulk emailer, and annoy broad-audience advertisers. Brands that rely on traditional, one-way mass media must completely re-engineer their approach for mobile, because when customers perceive marketing as an interruption, they take immediate action to tune you out.
- Find your value in your customers’ lives.
- Engage each customer in the key moments of their day.
- Deliver value based on location.
- Allow customers to personalize their experience to gain relevance.
- Don’t sell to your customers: entertain, engage, and delight them.
How Is Food Porn Made?
Why do companies keep making offensive pink products “for her”?
The ePad Femme is just the latest in a long line of ill-conceived, insulting, “female-focused” products. Here, we look into the mystery of the unnecessary genderification of gender-neutral products.
In October, the Eurostar Group introduced a product called The ePad Femme—an eReader just for women. It sells for $190, and it comes preloaded with stereotypically feminine apps, which seem to revolve around fitness, cooking, and man-pleasing. It is, of course, pink. Eurostar Group is a Dubai-based company, and the tablet received little attention in the U.S. until the past week or two, when bloggers picked up an article in the Jerusalem Post about how Eurostar was marketing the tablet as a Valentine’s Day gift. Cue the understandable outrage at such a sexist product.
This opprobrium happens every time there’s a goofy product marketed as something “for women”: Check out the Bic Cristal Pen for Her, the Della computer for women, and Honda’s car for women for debacles similar to the ePad Femme kerfuffle. And even marketers who aren’t creating a bespoke product for women seem to cling to some jaw-droppingly retrograde notions about women’s behavior vis-à-vis their existing product and women’s lives in general—witness Samsung’s embarrassing Galaxy S4 event, which featured a group of drunk ladies preoccupied with weight loss and marrying doctors.
Since the public response to the pinkification of gender-neutral products seems, at face value, to be universally negative, we were wondering, why do companies keep making these things?
We asked Jonah Disend, CEO at the brand development firm Redscout, and Gina Reimann, director of industrial design at Redscout, to clue us in on why Eurostar might have created the ePad Femme.
Find out what she had to say here.
The Genius Marketing Idea That Put Maxwell House On Every Passover Table
If you’ll be attending a Passover Seder this year, chances are you’ll be reading from the Maxwell House Haggadah—which is the perfect example of how to do branded content right.
Over 90 years ago, American Jews celebrated the Passover holiday by eating matzo and unleavened treats, but when they reached for a beverage they shunned coffee in favor of tea. It seems there wasn’t a coffee brand certified kosher for Passover. In 1923, Maxwell House saw an opportunity and introduced the first kosher for Passover coffee; others soon followed. Looking to solidify the brand in the minds of Jewish consumers in the early 1930s, Maxwell House’s ad agency employed an innovative marketing tactic for the time: branded content.
Well, that’s what we call it today. In fact, Maxwell House decided to publish a book, specifically a Haggadah, and offer it to customers for free with the purchase of a can of coffee. (A Haggadah recounts the Exodus from Egypt, comprised of prayers, songs, and stories which guide the Passover Seder.) The Maxwell House edition was an instant hit. Today, it’s the most popular Haggadah in the world, with over 50 million printed.
In The Words of Zag…
Laughter is social bonding communication. It’s like saying, “I like you” or “I want you to like me.” Evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar says that belly laughing may have worked like “grooming at a distance” for early ancestors, allowing them to maintain bonds within larger groups, which explains why humor in ads can bond people to brands. Laughter is an innate, cross-cultural response triggered unconsciously, which is why it is hard to fake or control. Shared laughter synchronizes our brains in emotional attunement, the hallmark of successful communication, releasing oxytocin and tension, firing our trust circuits.
This approach felt authentic and compelling only because the brand had earned the right. VW had a storied legacy to “think small,” not boast big; not through sales talk, but by speaking human. And they attained massive sales growth back then as well as today. That’s in part because they recognized that our purpose as people is to lead better lives, not to consume their products.
This fascinating project, brought to us by Ewan Yap, explores how “less is more” within big consumer brands. Ewan created a series of experimental packaging design based on the principle of ‘Big Brand Theory‘. The main focus is to have each brand’s identity meticulously and uniquely cropped out of the packaging as much as possible, yet maintaining it’s integrity and comprehension and, at the same time, enhancing the aesthetic value.
Social media has ushered in a new reality for marketers looking to play in the big game, and it’s allowing brands to create deeper narratives, engage fans earlier on and create greater buzz by releasing teasers and assets online before the event. It’s also sparked a debate over the merits of releasing bits of creative in advance: is this the future of Super Bowl advertising or a tactic that ruins the surprise element of TV’s (and adland’s) biggest night?
1. Because it creates (even more) buzz.
“This is the one time of the year when people want to hear from a marketer. And they’ve made it abundantly clear they want it sooner,” he says. “Why wait for a USA Today poll to tell you you’ve won when tens of millions of YouTube viewers, bloggers, tweeters, journalists and dear aunties on Facebook can say it for you—days before kickoff?”
2. Because it builds social currency.
“By engaging with and rewarding them first, we’re providing [fans] with the chance to build their social currency by being in the know and sharing the teaser and ad with their friends,” says Taco Bell’s Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer, Brian Niccol. “Prereleasing only amplifies what we are doing.”
3. Because it allows for deeper storytelling.
"We don’t set out to make a Super Bowl ad, we set out to tell a great story. We probably look at 50 different ideas for a Super Bowl spot. The criteria we use is, what’s the most original, and what’s the most shareable? Too often advertisers get carried away with crazy spends and production overkill, where simple storytelling often wins the day." -CEO of Deutsch LA, Mike Sheldon @ 12:33 PM in the Fast Company live chat.
4. Because it works.
A recent whitepaper from online video tracking company Unruly Media titled Unruly’s Social Video Advertising Playbook suggests that taking advantage of the lead-up to the big game yield big results. The report found that for Super Bowl XLVI in 2012, 75% of the top 20 most shared ads were launched before Super Bowl Sunday, and the year’s top four most shared ads were all preceded by teasers.
Want more? Check out Fast Company’s live interactive Q & A with Loren Angelo, GM of Brand Marketing at Audi of America; Mike Sheldon, CEO of Deutsch LA; and Co.Create editor Teressa Iezzi, as they discuss Super Bowl marketing strategy with readers.
Going on right now!
[Video: Chasing Coke]
Fast Company is hosting a live chat with marketing experts right now!
Superbowl Sunday is here and the competition is tight, who will win the advertising battle royal?
Join Fast Company’s live interactive chat with experts- Loren Angelo, GM of Brand Marketing at Audi of America; Mike Sheldon, CEO of Deutsch LA; and Co.Create editor Teressa Iezzi, as they discuss Super Bowl marketing strategy with readers.
How do marketers devise their Super Bowl strategy?
What are the pros and cons of releasing teasers and original content before the actual game?
These questions and more will be addressed by our mini Super Bowl panel of experts and our editors in our live chat today at 12p.m (E.T.). And you can join in the conversation, right here.
Taking customer engagement to the next (creepy) level: This pizza chain follows its Twitter followers back — by stalking them in real life.
Inside The Hunger Games’ Social Media Machine.
“Within Twitter what we did was expand on that. We started assigning fans different roles within this virtual world. We have district mayors and district recruiters, which really got them active and sharing over Facebook and Twitter. I mean, that’s what Facebook and Twitter are—it’s like your way of identifying who you are and sharing that with your friends. So, by giving them an occupation within their district, we gave them an identity.”