All posts filed under: Consumers

Does sponsorship actually work? Driving up likeability through association

Does the passion and commitment that fans feel for their favourite sports and events carry across to the sponsors who often help make such events financially feasible? Previously I’ve examined how advertisers have woven their participation into the very fabric of Superbowl Sunday and contrasted the sentiments that such engagement enjoys with other sponsorship arrangements where brands are much more sidelined. I’ve also looked at Dow’s involvement with the upcoming London Olympics. Now Kirk Wakefield, Professor of Retail Marketing at Baylor University in Texas and Anne Rivers, Senior Vice President at Brand Asset Consulting in New York, have studied the relationship between brands and fans more closely by looking at the effect of official sponsorship on key aspects of the brand relationship Using key sponsors from the NFL, they’ve looked at what role sponsorship plays in brands achieving knowledge (how well the brand is understood), esteem (how well regarded the brand is) relevance (how appropriate the brand is seen to be), and differentiation (how distinctive the brand is in its point of view from competitors) …

Breaking the habit of dissent

Blair sent me this great story about harnessing the power of habit from NPR. It includes an explanation by business reporter Charles Duhigg from his upcoming book “The Power Of Habit” of how companies have successfully altered people’s habits by tapping into what the author refers to as the “habit loop.” According to Duhigg, this loop has three parts: the cue, which triggers a behaviour; the routine, which is the behaviour itself of course; and the reward, which is the signal that goes to the brain to store this habit for future use or not. Duhigg also talks about when Paul O’Neill took over as CEO of a dysfunctional Alcoa. By focusing on worker safety and the dangers of inefficient manufacturing to workers, O’Neill found a way to get everyone on the same page. He went on to build a highly profitable and efficient company. The story serves as a reminder that a change in culture only takes place when you achieve a change in mindset; when you break what Duhigg calls a “keystone habit”. …

Chemistry or contamination: Dow at the Olympic Games

Right now a brouhaha is building between the India Olympic Committee and the IOC over the presence of Dow Chemicals at the London 2012 Summer Games. In particular, India is up in arms over Dow’s sponsorship of an $11.4-million decorative wrap to be installed around the London’s Olympic Stadium, according to this post in Brandchannel. The Indian Olympic Committee takes exception to Dow’s ownership of Union Carbide, which Dow bought in 2000, 16 years after that company’s plant in Bhopal had leaked gas killing thousands and injuring hundreds of thousands more. For their part, Dow seem to be saying that they didn’t own the plant when the accident happened and therefore the Bhopal tragedy is not their responsibility. In a letter to the Indian Olympic Association quoted here , IOC President Jacques Rogge explained that “Dow had no connection with the Bhopal tragedy. “Dow did not have any ownership stake in Union Carbide until 16 years after the accident and 12 years after the $470 million compensation agreement was approved by the Indian Supreme Court. …

Great brands unearth

In his recent post on imputing, Tom Asacker used a single word that for me clinched the mystery and the power of great marketing, and explained why so much money is spent on communication that just inspires a change of channel. That word: unearth. Unearthing is about discovering. It’s about seeing for the first time something that has been hidden for a very long time. It’s about revelation. It’s about something that inspires. Great brands release emotions that people are not asked to feel most of the time. They uncover the irrational drivers that impel busy, pressed, distracted human beings to stop doing nothing or something else and instead make the time to take an action. Because that action is worth it to them. And it’s worth that time because it feels worth that amount of time. Most brands don’t work that hard to win our time. They are unsurprising, uninspiring, unprovoking. They unearth nothing. On the contrary, they monotonously state the obvious. They go over and over and over the same old ground. And …

Sense and Serotonin

Recently in response to a post by David Meerman Scott about the need to apply left and right brain thinking to content creation, I suggested in the comments that brands should apply that same approach to most aspects of marketing. As I pointed out at the time, blending right and left brain signals is critical to how brands engage with prospects and buyers because it ensures that people remain fascinated and justified as they make their way through the sales funnel. Logic and magic. I think most of us accept that consumers generally buy emotively and explain logically, so the ability to provide them with experiences that they enjoy and talk about, and at the same time to arm them with reasons that help them explain, to themselves and to others, what they are doing is critical. It’s easy and tempting though to treat each hemisphere as separate: to apportion logical arguments for those who think that way or for times when they are needing to rationalise; and to ramp up the emotions and associatives …

Likeable brands: Debating the true value of Likes.

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 …

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 …

Getting real value from your CSR

This thought-provoking article from McKinsey looks at what really drives value in corporate responsibility. As the authors point out, CSR continues to influence how companies and brands go about their business: carbon footprint, ethical and greener supply chains, volunteer programmes and philanthropy are now all par for the course. We all know that not being involved in such investments can have a negative effect on consumer perceptions, but do the activities themselves add value and if so what are the best ways for companies to make the most of that potential? “Some investments, of course, produce immediate and quantifiable gains, such as those from recycling or from manufacturing processes that save energy. But often, social investments are expected to yield longer-term benefits as engaged consumers step up their purchases, a broader investor base develops, or new talent flocks to a company’s recruiters … In these more ambiguous cases, how is a manager to know whether stakeholders will indeed respond positively?” Great question. Personally I’m always suspiscious when someone tells me that there are long term …

Passing the feedback test

Conflict resolution is one of those huge opportunities that so often goes begging. Ask yourself how many times you’ve been in, or watched, this scenario unfold. A client is upset with something that’s happened or has voiced concerns about a brand or some element of the service. The immediate, almost instinctive, reaction is to jump to your own defense; to justify in your own mind why things have happened, and to look to foist that justification on the complainant. You want to clear your name. Of course. No-one wants to be, or even to feel, like they are in the wrong. Here’s the thing. As my colleague Janelle Barlow puts it so well in her book, “Complaint is a Gift”, if someone bothers to complain, they do so because they feel emotionally engaged enough with what is going on to interact. The opportunity here is that they are giving you feedback and they are looking for, and judging you by, your response. Every complaint is a test – a test of your commitment to the …

Will they or won’t they?

So often it seems to me brand owners hope to bring about change rather than planning to bring about change. They see persuasion as an awareness issue rather than as a behavioural issue – often because they regard their product as the obvious choice that somehow, miraculously will spark a “road to Damascus” moment as soon as consumers encounter it. To that end, they pad out their media schedules with as much presence as their budgets can muster and throw huge amounts of energy and disarming levels of resource into whatever’s trending on social media. So I was very interested in an article on willpower in the NZ Listener recently that refers to key elements that persuade us to behave differently. It includes some great thinking from David Thomason and the planners at Draft FCB who, like more and more of us in the marketing sector, are looking to the behavioural sciences for clues on ways to shape brands and the behaviours that make brands gel for people. The article quotes from psychologist Robert Cialdini …