Month: July 2013

Are review sites the new brand managers?

buy modafinil online legal It’s no news that the relationships between brands and their customers are changing. But the rise and rise of a new intermediary is something we should all ponder. Once we relied on frontline staff, advisors and others to help us glean the best choices. Increasingly, as the popularity of review sites like TripAdvisor can attest, buyers are getting the lowdown on what’s good and what’s not from people just like them – customers. The good people at Clear Returns spell out the changes in this nice summary: Research from Google says 84% of customers felt that online research and feedback helped influence their buying decisions and that site visitors who interact with reviews are 105% more likely to purchase; and An Econsultancy report revealed that 43% of shoppers now use their smartphones to compare prices and read customer reviews, up from just 19% the previous year. That’s not surprising. In a world brimming with choices, buyers want to know that they are making the right decision – and review sites and searches are a critical part of …

The ironies of quantifying market demand

buy me a rose lyrics Anyone proposing something new in an organisation is likely to be hit by four questions that represent two contradictory lines of enquiry. They serve perhaps to highlight the ironies of trying to quantify demand. On the one hand: The search for precedent Question 1: Who else has done this? Wrong answer: If the real answer is that many others are doing it, you have signalled what should be a non-starter. That’s because if others are doing what you are suggesting, it is not an innovation. It is, at best, catch-up. If you present it as a competitive opportunity, then you are, as Michael Porter has pointed out, relying on the incompetence of your rivals and that is not the basis for a sustainable competitive position. Right answer: The idea is new for the sector, and a similar concept, using a parallel model, has worked well in other sectors with a similar competitive profile. Question 2: Is there a demand for it? Wrong answer: You think so, or there should be, or it’s a great idea …

Should you save your brand or let it die?

http://oceanadesigns.net/wp-json/oembed/1.0/embed?url=http://oceanadesigns.net/ Recently Patrick Hanlon wrote an interesting piece on branding a DOA brand. In it, he laid out a well thought-through plan to resurrect a dying marque: rediscover your reason for being; define your zealot consumers; define your brand assets; discover your relevancy all over again. His conclusion: “Even brands that seem out of date, irrelevant, and barely resonant with consumers can be re-imagined, reconceived, and reconstructed using this simple, regimented path.” Hanlon’s approach for bringing a brand back from near-death seems logical. My question: Should you do it? Birthing brands doesn’t seem to be an issue. In fact, marketers have no problem introducing new brands to market at a dizzying rate. As Professor Jerry Hausman explains, “The number of new products introduced in any year is astounding. New varieties of consumer goods such as cereal brands are evident, as any shopping trip to a local supermarket or Wal-Mart demonstrates. Potentially even more important are the new products based on technology: more than 55 million cellular telephones are in use in the United States.” In an …

Positive impacts

Back to the Pavan Sukhdev interview from a few days back – and some other ideas he raised that were interesting. Corporations, he said, need to evolve their financial standards to keep pace with a changing world. Currently, they define success in terms of profit and loss, which is a 150 year old model. They now need to redesign the corporate performance system to keep pace with the realities of today’s externalities and that, Sukhdev says, means a move from shareholder capitalists to stakeholder capitalists and the commitment not just to manage and measure financial and physical assets for shareholders, but to measure and manage all impacts, including those on public assets. 10 years ago, he says, we simply couldn’t measure this. Now, we can. He also called for a resource taxation rather than profit taxation and getting the financing balance right so that the world doesn’t have companies that are too big to fail. One more thing. Accountable advertising. There was a real need, he said, to make advertising more accountable and more responsible …

Brand equity and its relationship to a good brand story

Like most people I’ve probably tended to silo the financial value that brands generate from the story they tell. Purpose, values and story defined a brand in my view; margin and financial worth were the outcomes of a brand well executed. More recently, I’ve been wondering whether in fact these items are not so disparate after all, and whether in fact they should be directly linked: whether the margin that a brand is able to sustainably generate, and thus the value that it achieves, is attributable and proportional to the strength, relevance and longevity of its story. David Aaker has defined brand equity as the value added to a functional product or service by associating it with the brand name. It is in effect, he says, a set of assets, including brand awareness, loyalty, perceived quality and brand associations, that are attached to a brand name or symbol. Increasingly, I believe, those assets are generated, or at the very least increased, by the stories brands tell and the experiences they deliver. This article about brand …

Finding a better good: the leap to true responsibility

At a recent presentation, I introduced the concept of the “goodness movement”. I defined this as a global wish for social wellness that is driving corporate social responsibility today: a recognition by brands that those that are seen to do good perform better; and a response to a wish by consumers to make a difference. Buyers want to tell themselves they are doing the right thing, and as part of that, they want affirmation on the part of the brands they buy from that good is being done. That’s never been easier. Purchases are increasingly tied to beneficial actions that, if I can refer back to my direct marketing agency days for a moment, amount to a “social premium”. The new coupon is social. Once consumers clipped physically to get money off. Increasingly, when they buy the brand, a good action is now included. Pampers, for example, have teamed up with UNICEF in a programme that sees one dose of the tetanus vaccine donated for every pack of product bought. Brands are increasingly presenting consumers …

Brand extension: when is it an extension of perceived risk?

We tend to judge the likelihood of whether a brand extension will work on the compatibility that consumers will feel between the brand they know and the extension they are being asked to accept. As Brad VanAuken has observed, “Any brand extension into a new product category must reinforce one of those primary associations without creating new negative, conflicting or confusing associations for the brand. If this rule is followed, the brand extension will actually reinforce what the brand stands for.” In fact, providing that association is strong, Nigel Hollis says, “the fit between the brand and the category does not need to be based on a direct application of the brand’s functional credentials”. The need for structure Now, in a new study discussed here, Wharton marketing professor Keisha Cutright and co-authors James R. Bettman and Gavan J. Fitzimons of Duke University, contend that, alongside the quality of the product, the way it is marketed and the fit with the current identity, consumer psychology also has a role to play in whether a brand extension flies …

What makes a brand worth sharing?

Everybody wants their brand to be talked about – and most of us have used social media to spread the word. But what would happen if you reversed the process? I’m fairly certain it was Grenville Main, a master of the memorable phrase, who once referred to Twitter as the “talkback radio of the internet”. I recalled the comment when an article arrived in my inbox referencing research done by MIT into why some tweets do the rounds, and others don’t (thanks Blackland PR). Perhaps by studying what people are most inclined to chatter about, it’s possible to engineer a brand that is simpatico with our very human need to share – or at least to draw some conclusions about what might lift a brand’s social attraction. The nine key factors that, according to the research, decide a tweet’s success are: Brevity – no surprises, given that 140 characters amounts to communications’ fast food. Made to snack quickly and often. Attention grabbing – the communication itself talks to something the reader is already interested in …