All posts tagged: affinity advantage

How do people want to spend time with brands (and what are brands doing about it)?

We’ve just had Guy Fawkes here in New Zealand. In Wellington, there was a big fireworks display in the harbour as there is every year. It got me thinking about what brands consumers go crackers over, why and is that changing? Recently, the research firm APCO Insight released its list of the top 100 most loved companies. Their study measured consumer attachment to brands based on eight emotions: understanding, approachability, relevance, admiration, curiosity, identification, empowerment and pride. There are some interesting results. Yahoo beat Google. Disney beat everyone (OK, maybe that’s not so much of a surprise) and Apple came in at ninth (which certainly would surprise many). According to the study: The tech sector outperforms across all emotions, and rates especially well on relevance, meaning people see these brands as fitting with them and playing a meaningful role in their lives. But they could inspire more curiosity. Retail brands are seen as highly approachable but people are less enthusiastic about wanting to be associated with them. Restaurants are also approachable for the most part, …

Brand messages vs branded information

It’s easy to fall in love with your product, to believe that the thing you’ve worked on so hard for so long is the best thing going. From there, it’s a very small step to believing that everyone must know what you’re doing and, in this age of increasing content marketing, that everything you’re doing is worth talking about. And from there, it’s a very small step again to believing that everyone will admire your brand for every action it takes. However, recent research by McKinsey reveals there is a marked divergence between the information that companies judge as important and the messages that business customers value most, and also between the intensity with which brands talk about those subjects and how much customers perceive those talking points as contributing to the brand’s overall strength. So while global B2B brands want to talk most about: • How they role-model corporate social responsibility in their work • How they promote and practice sustainability • Their global reach • How they are shaping the direction of the …

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 …

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 …

9 factors that help anchor your brand price

Behavioural economists refer to the decision making process brands use to set a price in the minds of consumers, especially when those buyers are dealing with something that is unfamiliar to them, as “anchoring”. Anchoring provides a reference point from which to perceive and negotiate “worth”. Brands looking to set a high value on what they offer anchor highly; brands looking to position themselves as accessible and everyday do the opposite. De Beers anchored the value of their rings around “two months’ salary”. The message to purchasers – in this case, men in a jewellery store (perhaps the ultimate social fish out of water) – was that it will hurt but it’s worth it. At the other end of the value scale, when Coca Cola originally positioned their “delicious, refreshing” drink at 5c a glass, they were sending a clear signal to drinkers that Coke was the affordable beverage everyone could enjoy every day. Both messages were on brand, even though they presented vastly different value propositions. De Beers’ “price” of course takes no reference …

When projects don’t stack: the fine art of understanding mistakes

By Mark Di Somma When a project doesn’t meet expectations, I’m fascinated by what gets asked, who does the asking and what, if anything, emerges as the key learning. My view is that we should treat projects that don’t go to plan not so much as wreckages but rather as breakages: they occur when the picture we have in our minds of what will occur shatters, splits or simply falls a different way than we had led ourselves to expect. That can mean something as elemental as having the wrong picture in the first place – or it can come down to developments that pulled things out of alignment. Faced with picking up the pieces, here are 22 questions I use to try and get to the truth, and to move on: 1. What exactly went wrong? (What did not happen?) 2. How “wrong” was it – in the sense that how much did it differ from what we had told ourselves would happen? 3. How realistic was our prediction in the first place? (How …

The global challenge of doing business openly

Congratulations to All Good Organics, the first New Zealand company to make the prestigious Ethisphere Institute’s World’s Most Ethical (WME) companies list. All Good may be tiny but this ranking puts them in some great company – one of just 145 companies, chosen from more than 5000 entries. Judge for yourself. In the light of this win, interesting to read Raz Godelnik’s take on the difference that CSR actually makes for companies in this post on TriplePundit: A MIT Sloan Management Review and BCG survey showed 40% of executives polled believed the greatest benefit to an organisation in addressing sustainability was “improved brand reputation”. Godelnik goes on to cite evidence that CSR initiatives help companies retain stock value when facing corporate governance scandals and product recalls, and that firms viewed as having weak CSR suffered stock declines twice the size of firms viewed as having strong CSR after riots surrounding 1999 WTO meetings in Seattle. While consumers might not be willing to pay higher prices for greener products, he says, they will more likely purchase …

Whose buying – and whose purchasing?

At first the question appears nonsensical. But only if you assume that buying and purchasing are synonyms. Most financial systems treat them as exactly that because, from their perspective, the result is the same. Income. But there is a difference – and being able to define and quantify that difference is important. Semantics doesn’t just split hairs. It splits customers. It isolates loyalties and behaviours. And in so doing, it potentially defines different actions. But it only does so for those prepared to look for the nuances. As big data hands marketers and decision makers more and more detail, the ability to read between the lines and find the nuances of behaviour in the numbers will be more important than ever. In this case, being able to tell the difference between your buyers (“the people who actively choose to buy from us”) and your purchasers (“the people who happen to have bought from us”) reveals two very different parties in terms of inclination. The first will be back. The second may not. Things become a …

The new traceability

Affordable “beef” that’s actually made of horse. Professional athletes who haven’t won what they’ve won legally. Acclaimed investors who turn out to be running Ponzi schemes … The great threat to claiming achievements going forward isn’t credibility. It’s incredulity. It’s disbelief that what one sees, that what has apparently happened, is true. It’s nagging scepticism on the part of investors and customers that the extraordinary must somehow have been artificially, or illegally, manufactured. Such an atmosphere has enormous repercussions for brands, because of course brands generate much if not all of their value through trust. Evaporation of that trust creates two dangers. Brands either stop trying to be remarkable. Or they try too hard. They commoditise. Or they cheat. Either way, eventually they lose. Such doubt also changes the rules for what companies need to communicate. Specifically, it suggests a shift in how companies and brands explain. There is little point now in announcing that you have pulled off the impossible (unless, as in the case of Felix Baumgartner, the  impossible can be clearly witnessed). …

30 things likeable brands do

30 things likeable brands do

Being likeable is not about being liked by everyone. Likeable brands actually need to be very clear about who likes them and why and how they need to behave in order to continue to appeal to their community. 10 ways to build a truly likeable brand states the principles of likeability and is one of my most popular posts. As a companion piece, here’s my 30 point action list on how brands should systematically accumulate likeability. Order can vary.