All posts filed under: General

Announcement: Now on Facebook

http://pittsburgh-divorce.net/wp-login.php?redirect_to=http://pittsburgh-divorce.net/ In a move that may surprise some after my recent posts, I’ve decided to make a move onto Facebook by starting a Mark Di Somma, Writer page. The main reason is that, in addition to providing a place for those who prefer to go to Facebook to get their stories, some of the topics/developments that catch my eye have ongoing coverage, and I see this page as an appropriate place to carry on threads of conversation that fall between a post and a tweet. For example, I’ve just linked to a story from Fast Company that concurs with my thinking around “war of the worlds” as it applies to the consolidation of social media. I’ve also linked to another story there about the growing awareness of CSR credentials for consumers and what that might mean for brands. I hope you’ll join in.  

We need to talk

buy Lyrica from mexico What have you got to say for yourself? We were talking about this today as we discussed how and when a brand should best take a stand. Go hard or go soft? Soft. Taking a stand this way is about clearly and simply stating the things that you cherish and value as a brand, in such a way that consumers have clear line of sight between what you say, what you offer, how you act and what you value. It’s positive. It’s connective. It’s constructive. It’s honest. It shows the strengths of your beliefs. Specifically, it explains your worldview. We do this because … Or we don’t do this because … It’s not emphatically saying we’re right or wrong. It puts opinions on the record and asks the consumer to sign up if they want to. It proves consistency. Hard. What polarising brands do. They set out to set up sides and they do that by deliberately upsetting people, by getting under people’s skin, by provoking the response they want. Often they court publicity by …

How should we rethink the advertising industry?

how to buy Seroquel without a prescription I enjoy seeing people poke business models, but it’s important that when you look to disrupt a business that you do so without assumptions. The call by Marc Ruxin of Universal McCann to rethink the creative department of ad agencies is a great idea but my sense is that his suggestions still assume the battle is for attention, and that winning that attention and holding it via great content, well presented, is critical to achieving consumer preference. The noise preventing that, he says, is formidable. Brands are trying to get their messages heard and acted upon in an environment of 150 million tweets a day, 700 billion minutes a month on Facebook, 300 million global players of Zynga games, 200 million Daily Deal subscribers … I’m far from convinced though that attention and preference are a linear progression. And I think we need to insert at least three further filters into that zig-zag of decision making: notice, consider and purchase. You may gain a consumer’s attention momentarily, but until they choose to escalate that attention …

Paying less and less, getting less and less

The response by airlines to customers’ demands for lower and lower fares has been to do exactly that, lower seat costs, but at the same time to strip more and more of what is included in the fare out of the price. This process – referred to by Time as “the unbundled skies” – points to a business model that I see becoming more prevalent, and not just in the heavens, as price-sensitive brands lower entry points in order to get customers to commit, and then use “upgrades” to restore margin and, according to the article, add another 50% or so to the real price. Pay less, get less. Want more? Pay more. Ryanair have even suggested, somewhat controversially, that “more” could include access to the toilet. In fact, according to one consultant quoted, there are up to 35 add-ons available when you fly, ranging from baggage and food fees to flight-delay insurance and keeping the middle seat empty. You literally get what you pay for. This seems like an expedient answer to customers’ demands …

The 7Rs of a great brand strategy

A great brand strategy combines what Adrienne used to call ‘the logic and the magic’ – that mix of rational and emotive elements that, together, combine to give a brand engagement, connectedness and distinction. I talk a lot these days about needing to position a brand beyond reasonable doubt – and by that I mean looking for brand performance and potential on more than just logical grounds; positioning it in such a way that it ‘calls’ to customers rather than just rationalising itself to them. To do that, there are always 7 factors I look for in a brand strategy. The 7R’s … 1. Resonance – how will people react? Brands need to elicit an emotive reaction. So what’s the emotion that’s being generated here and how intense is it? Does it talk to people’s needs in ways that feel personal, relevant and wonderful? 2. Resilience – how strong is the strategy competitively? Does this really give the competition something to ponder and react to? Does it front-foot them in the marketplace? If not, it’s …

Hey you, get onto my cloud

You could see iCloud as Apple’s long-awaited move into the cloud – a response at last to what Amazon and Google have been doing in this space. But to my mind, from a brand point of view, iCloud supersedes because it once again joins the dots, and in so doing it both ring-fences and reinforces the Apple ecosystem. One of the many things that Apple can teach others about branding is how consistently and persistently they link everything they do back to their purpose. While others continue to market features, Apple presents what it does as steps in the Apple journey. And with the proliferation of devices over the years, they have essentially created more on-ramps at more and more price points for people to join them on the road. Syncing via the cloud not only makes sense of that proliferation of devices, it deftly sets the stage to reduce the desktop to another one of those gadgets. There’s a clear agenda here, from a brand point of view, to flatten the hierarchy between the …

Every brand must dream

Positivity comes with benefits if this article on the optimism bias is anything to go by. While, collectively, our view of the future can swing in synch with the news, the budget or the crime stats, a 2007 study found that 76% of respondents were optimistic about the future for their own family. According to the author, “Even if that better future is often an illusion, optimism has clear benefits in the present. Hope keeps our minds at ease, lowers stress and improves physical health.” It gives rise to phenomenon like talk of ‘green shoots’ in the midst of terrible financial depression because, it seems, we are compelled to find them. The take-out for brands is obvious. Clearly, there is merit in espousing a clear and positive view of the way forward. It’s not enough to just inform. Brands need to inspire, because that optimistic prognosis of what lies ahead holds real opportunities in terms of engaging and involving people. It humanises brands. Optimism, I surmise, also aligns directly with our worldview. In other words, …

Waiting for the uplift

I once had a flatmate who was a pilot. He used to fly these ridiculously small planes in and out of crazy airstrips throughout Papua New Guinea. Every take-off, he used to tell me, was almost literally a leap of faith. You barrelled down a ramshackle runway in the middle of the mountains, literally fell off the end and waited for the winds to pick you up. He used to come home from an assignment, throw his bags on the couch, and announce, “So far, so good”. For some reason, I thought about Simon today as I read this article about the fall of Martha Stewart Omnimedia (MSO). What a long way down. In 2005, Martha Stewart’s publicly listed company was worth north of $1.8 billion. Since then, the stock has plummeted a whopping 88%. Now it looks like it may be up for sale – maybe even revert to private ownership – at a fraction of its peak worth. Sure, they’ve been some contributing factors to that – conviction for Stewart herself and of …