Month: January 2012

Participation versus differentiation

see url Right now, across the world, hundreds of different people are opening an office, a restaurant, a social media company … They’ve sunk everything they have into it. They’ve thrown their life at it. It’s what they’ve always wanted to do, and every one of them and the people who has supported them hopes and believes they’ll succeed. Most won’t. Right now, somewhere in the world, someone is planning a business that will one day be bigger than every other brand in their sector. The next shipping magnate woke up somewhere in the world today, without a ship to their name. The property magnate of the future is eating lunch in a schoolyard somewhere. Tomorrow’s Madonna has a clothesbrush, a mirror and perhaps an i-Pod … The contrast couldn’t be greater, and yet curiously, the two groups are interdependent. Because in order for someone to stand out in a market, the vast majority must fail to do so. If every café that opened stayed open, the hospitality sector would collapse because no-one could succeed, no-one could …

Likeable brands: Debating the true value of Likes.

Tadalafil Oral Strips USA Buy If brand owners are buying Likes on Facebook, what are they actually worth?, asks Alexis Dormandy in this recent article in The Telegraph. “Can we really value a ‘Like’ or a ‘Follow’ when so many of them are bought rather than earned?” Dormandy’s question goes to the heart of the marketing community’s ongoing fixation with volume and to the business world’s fascination with social metrics. With marketing managers under huge pressure to build and participate in scaled brand communities, perhaps it’s inevitable that fast-track approaches to ramp up fan bases have become more popular. There’s good, bad and ironical news in this. Let’s start with the good. Slowly a real value case for using social media seems to be emerging. In a recent post on the RICG blog, comScore’s Linda Abraham and Buddy Media’s Mike Lazerow reference research showing that a “share” on Facebook can lead to $2.10 in incremental sales, and drive up the average conversion rate to 10.2 percent per share. A key reason Abraham and Lazerow give to factor social media into …

The future of brands: 7 takes from Jim Stengel

Recently, Jim Stengel, the former global marketing officer at P&G, opened up on his blog on what he perceives as the future of marketing. I very much liked what he had to say. My takes and comments. 1. Brands are becoming more important not just as identifiers in crowded markets but also as valuation mechanisms. As Stengel points out, 30 years ago, “almost none of the market capitalization of the S&P 500 could be attributed to brand equity; today it is above 30%.” Stengel sees that as a sign that marketing has become more important. I agree – certainly in the sense that brand can now be visibly seen to add value on the bottom line. I wonder though whether marketing itself has gotten more important or whether it has become increasingly important for marketers (with their heritage involvement in communications) to evolve their understanding of the value, performance and application of brands. 2. Marketing will be more and more about the behavior of the people behind the brand, not what the brand says. Absolutely. …

Human marketing

This highly informative post from James D. Roumeliotis on Customer Devotion introduces to me the expression “human marketing” which I am much taken with. Not only does it speak to the necessity for everyone within the organisation to think and act like a marketer, it’s also a reminder that, ultimately, people deliver some of our most powerful and memorable consumer experiences – and insights. People have an instinct for people that simply cannot be duplicated any other way. In the rush to mechanise and socialise, it’s easy to overlook the need for brands to continue to humanise their offering – to make it easier, more enjoyable, more fun etc for people to interact with. Powerful brands feel human. There is a real sense of people behind what’s on offer. And that I think is Roumeliotis’ key point: you can’t build and run a great brand if you don’t have a culture that loves people – as staff, as suppliers and as customers. In that regard, while much is made of the need to monitor and …

Gazing into the tea leaves

Happy New Year to you all. Over at Corporate Eye, Susan Gunelius references two JWT Intelligence reports just out that are predicting these five key trends for 2012. Here’s how I see what JWT are seeing. 1. Price Opportunities: Brands will introduce low-cost entry-point products into markets for price-sensitive consumers with “stripped down offerings” and smaller sizes. My view: Agree. The combination of depressed consumer spending and the rise of house brands will see brands looking to diversify their price points. In many sectors, I think this will be accompanied by diversity in the service experience as well – with online increasingly offering lower prices and help-yourself service levels, and full-price, full-service reserved for physical outlets. 2. Shared Value: Companies will shift from simply donating money to charitable causes to integrating social causes into brand strategies. My view: Inevitable, and in many ways mandated by both social media and the politicised consumer. Customers will want to see companies doing more than just talking about their social concerns or throwing dollars blindly at a problem in …