Tag Archives: branding

My Social Media Marketing favourites of 2014

2014 has been a great year for advertising and marketing. With brands moving further into the digital space, newcomer social media like Vine or others started to see the first big campaign bang. I could probably call many campaigns great campaigns, yet a few stood out in terms of creativity, use of audience relevant media and, from could be gathered publicly, campaign ROI.

#emojiscience by GE

GE has made the transition from a global brand into a social brand some time ago. Yet the multifaceted giant still surprises by its creative tackle of various out of scope fields to position the GE brand in potential (future) customers`minds. For its latest stunt, GE has partnered with Bill Nye to create the emojiscience campaign, which runs on almost every thinkable social media channel, ranging from snapchat, vine to the bluechips of social like Facebook or Twitter. The heart of the campaign is however surely the campaign microsite, which details the science driven approach, howe to enter the campaign and be “revined” by GE. The cross-social approach deserves a virtual high five and surely boosts GE yet again to the top of brands I didn`t expect to be at the forefront of Vine or Snapchat. In my eyes, GE is doing a tremendous job to both experiment in these new social media spaces, while attracting new crowds of followers which eventually transform into GE customers, directly or indirectly in the future.

always #LikeAGirl 

always, a leading P&G female hygiene brand, managed to pull of a campaign during the soccer world cup earlier this year, which attracted almost 54million YouTube views, without starring any soccer players. Without going into further campaign details, that could lead much to a philosophical discussion as one can tell from the many YouTube comments, the campaign surely paid of and smartly capitalised on a less heavy targeted audience during the World Cup. It also shows, that touching stories can still create brand friction for the good.

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#ShareACoke Campaign

Coke`s 2014 summer campaign embraced what social media is all about: sharing. Replacing is brand presence on Coke bottles with the most popular names in various countries, coke animated its fans to share virtual coke bottles with friends on Facebook, instagram and twitter under the hashtag shareacoke. The campaign was supported with both online and offline media and resulted in much publicity and the hunt for name tagged bottles. According to the WSJ, coke sales spiked by a little over 2% during the campaign period. A good campaign performance in a very competitive and highly saturated space.

Samsung vs. Apple

For both consistency and bravery, Samsung deserves a spot in the top 4, too. Whilst Samsung`s aggressive anti-Apple campaigns also backfire by becoming a little to blunt, Samsung deserves to be mentioned by sticking to its uphill battle against the Apple fanboy community. Whilst the Apple vs. Samsung debate surely spikes religiously driven discussions, from a pure technology standpoint, it is fair to say the technological trajectory of the mobile space has long been surpassed by the strength of brand perception in the mobile community.

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2015 will surely be an interesting year for some brands to catchup, for others to still learn how to navigate in the social media space while a few will power ahead to occupy new media and boost brand engagement to new heights.

 

 

 

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HOHOHO by WestJet Airlines – amazing interactive marketing stunt

With the holiday season approaching fast, and advertising budgets going crazy, brand exposures are at an all time high. It is obviously harder for each brand to leave a lasting memory nor to get much attention from customers. Yet, some creative marketing stunts deserve the later by showcasing creativity, contextual integration and on the spot execution. WestJet Airlines has surely gotten this right with their latest christmas surprise for some of their passengers.

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Using digital channels, WestJet not only shares this stunt but gets also feedback from passengers and as it seems much earned media attention.

Passenger interaction

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My Milka ‘dare to be tender’ experience

After my last blog post, I couldn’t resist to head out and get a bar of the ‘dare the be tender’ campaign bars.

My Objective: To get a dare to be tender bar to test the campaign

Hurdle 1: My quest quickly evolved into a treasure hunt. After I have hit various large retailers, I still couldn’t find a ‘dare to be tender’ bar. So I went online and wrote to Mondelez (through the campaign microsite’s contact form). Roughly 2 days later, somebody from Mondelez got back to me saying that they do not know distribution details but suggest to talk to a local store manager. Thanks Mondelez for that amazing and very helpful advice!

The Purchase: I finally found a retailer (Real) who had the bars in stock. Only a little queuing up and a 15 minute drive home was holding me off from experience the ‘dare the be tender’ claim of the campaign. So far, it was more a dare to believe experience.

Unboxing Premiere of the dare to be tender bar:

Let the ‘dare to be tender’ experience begin: 
After having enjoyed the first pieces of the bar, I followed the instructions as printed on the packaging. The campaign microsite is nicely done, yet it takes quite a few steps to finally send the last piece off, including an invite join Milka’s community (see the gallery above).
Waiting for the last piece to arrive:
…waiting…waiting…waiting…
So far, so good:
One has to admit, the campaign is quite fantastic. Not only is it fun to eat chocolate, having a bar with one piece missing is quite an eye-catcher. Using the product as the communication medium is nothing short of genius and a very brave move by Mondelez. Brand integration is nicely done throughout the entire experience. I cannot wait for my wife to receive the last piece of my Milka dare to be tender bar…
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B2B’s miss the mark in their brand communication

It is not long ago, that the B2B content marketing institute released its annual content marketing prediction (in this case for 2014 – more here). Throughout the report,  two things became apparent, content marketing has grown widely (with 93% of B2B engaging in some form of content marketing) and thus gained more attention in yearly budget rounds.

Content Marketing Engagement

However, at the very same time, only 42% of B2B content marketers judge their own efforts as effective. Although this is an uplift from 2013 of 6%, we can see still a large number of marketers engage in a practice doomed non-effective by themselves.

Content Marketing Effectiveness

Even more interesting is the fact, that over 73% of marketers state to produce more content than the year before; with a large percentage even having a dedicated person to content marketing and a documented content marketing strategy.

YET, if we contrast the latest McKinsey study (more here) on B2B communication (although brand focused), it becomes apparent that the effectiveness rating giving by content marketers (most likely on the skewed goal setting and remaining issues to measure the success of their programs) are in contradicting to the perceived brand strengths (post communication) in the market. Brand Awareness was stated as the number one content marketing goal by B2B’s for 2014 (82%); but as it seems, the focus remains on internally centred and not customer centric.

McKinsey study on B2B brand communication

I am thus wondering if the stated success metrics and effectiveness rating of B2B content marketing programs are in line with customer perceptions or if B2B’s are still largely trapped in using gut feeling or sales as an overall measure of success. Contrasting both studies on that aspect, I have my ongoing doubts.

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silos kill great branding – organisations need to rethink organizational structures

Brand and marketing management is often focused on external image analysis to mirror image to identity gaps to define improvement processes. In most cases, these process definitions happen in a certain degree of isolation from the rest of the organisation and lead to an inevitable image incongruence across multiple brand touch-points, particularly if measured along the entire brand value chain.

Figure-1-Brand-Audit

Figure-1-Brand-Audit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two of the easiest image to identity gaps to uncover are highly public yet often badly integrated organizational functions such as marketing or customer support. In a recent field test of roughly 170 organizations across multiple sectors in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the UK, Ireland and the US, all of mid to large size market cap, I was able to identify tremendous image gaps in either of the two mentioned functions. Particularly HR stood out negatively by completely diverting from organizational branding aspects through evidenced actions, behavior and conduct. In some follow up interview, however of non-statistical relevance to the study, interviewed brands revealed a 180 degree diversion from the overall brand promise and even suggested contrary behavioral elements to be of higher importance than explicitly stated values or brand elements in publicly available material (e.g. websites, social media). Whilst I haven’t finished accumulating and analyzing results, preliminary results do not suggest a high integration of brand values throughout organizations, similarly to the often in isolation formulated organizational value statement. For marketers and general managers, it is thus of importance to reflect upon organizational and brand core values to define stringent and coherent organizational processes adhering to set core value statements. At this point it is even argued that a general core brand value audit, as conducted by numerous consultancies, is not going to discover these evidential discrepancies due to their complex and cross-functional differentiation.

Preliminary outcomes:

> brand image and brand identity differs in 9 out of 10 organizations when it comes to assess explicit HR behavior (e.g. reaction on hiring requests, phone support, interview scheduling, reply time etc)

> brand image and brand identity differs in 6 out of 10 organizations when it comes to customer support; in highly competitive and or retail oriented organizations, these numbers even increase!

> employees, particularly in HR, do not seem to understand brand value concepts and what the brand for whom they try to source staff stands for. With that cultural aspects need to be assessed, too.

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Direct Fan Engagement – what brands can learn from the music industry

The music industry and many artists are undergoing a vivid transformation from top down content producers and mass entertainers to connecting on individual levels with fans. Some artists, such as Chamillionaire capitalize on digital marketing and gamification effects for a higher level of brand engagement, which is impressively shown in the following clip (extract from the 2012 gamification summit). Worth watching & very entertaining.

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learnings from the clip:

> Authenticity counts

> Engage on personal levels

> Make the brand matter

> Budget isn’t the driver – creativity is

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Are campaigns dead?

Jeffrey Jones, Target CMO made a blunt but thought provoking statement, recently published in a brandchannel article, by addressing the shift from campaigns to mobile, content and thus in my eyes customer centric marketing.

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“In the past, marketers would make campaigns, they would put them in the world, and they would wait to see what happened,” Jones said in a video released on the brand’s A Bullseye View website and YouTube channel. “In today’s world, it happens hourly. It happens daily. And this is a brand that has such enriched deep content that our guests want to hear from us on. So if we can create content and share content and allow our guests to speak on our behalf, that’s really beneficial for them to deepen their engagement and it helps us amplify our message as well.”

The importance about this statement in my eyes is not the shift from campaigns to customer centricity in advertising but brands and marketing managers starting (could we say forced to by mobile technology and social media) to diss-intermediate in the message to consumer chain. Building up competencies, knowledge and experience in-house is a very important step to owning content and thus gaining control over customer’s brand experience.

The 60′s to the 90′s were the glory days of advertising agencies, slogans got created behind cigarette filled walls in men dominated meeting rooms. The customer was in most cases the least of everybody’s concern – data discrepancy just being one of the reasons.

Will we see more marketers taking on responsibility, diss-intermediating to getting closer to their customers but outsource operational tasks to third parties? Let’s hope so in 2013, I for my part, am in!

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Your celebrity partner is not the only brand ambassador to worry about!

The press and theory:

According to an article by the AdvertisingAge, Beyonce Knoles has just signed a $ 50 Million brand ambassador deal with Pepsi. Whilst brand ambassadorships are meant to catapult the brand’s reach based on a more credible partnership than just celebrity endorsements, the question of authenticity to consumer remains. Naming will.I.am director of creative innovation at Intel or Lady Gaga creative director of Polaroid is hardly credible to the educated consumer.

 

The other angle:

Johan Jervoe, VP of creative services at Intel, argues for the celebrity expertise infusion into an organization based on the cultural and process impact these celebrity partnerships may result in. Whilst Intel cannot specify any ROI to backup this claim, it remains questionable how much real operational impact a celebrity can have based on a career in live entertainment or acting. Some consumers surly fall for the Lady Gaga designed printer without questioning Lady Gaga’s stake in the design process besides lending her name to the product and appearing at tradeshows, others surely question the authenticity of these endorsements which widens the brand to consume gap.

 

The crux of the deal:

On a more subtle base, consumer’s might be drawn in by Lady Gaga, will.I.am and co, yet their brand experience will be defined at every brand touch-point, with an ever increasing likelihood that aspirational celebrity endorsed placements differ from the consumer’s real life product experience.

 

The harsh reality (a real life story):

As it happens, I am up and jet-lagged after an enduring US – EU trip which made me yet again aware of the difference between story telling and fulfilling the brand’s promise. The most outstanding brand experiences of my recent trip were with airline ground personnel as well as various rental car representatives. Both organizations have worked with celebrities to point a flashy & glossy picture of their service offering. The big difference however was that in both cases, company own and company branded but external staff missed the brand’s value proposition in every aspect, had obviously no pride in working for their respective brand nor cared in any way about the consumer brand interaction, particularly their influence in the game.

 

The return loop:

No matter if a new mobile operating system inclusive of new hardware gets mass marketed by various celebrities but newly opened flagship employees fall short of being able to sell the product to the consumer and highlight the negatives compared to their big fruity competitor or if airline ground staff does not care about check-in policies, rental car employees disrespect customers and forgoe their own rental policies, these are the touch-points that truly matter, the touch-points defining first hand customer brand interaction, the touch-points that have a driven influence on repurchase / revisit behavior but worst, the touch-points that will lead to negative brand buzz.

 

Old marketing tantras become the new philosophies, yet again!:

> Stick to the basics! Don’t overpromise but underdeliver. No matter how much marketing budget gets attributed to hiring the next big star for a product world tour, an outstandingly cool tv commercial or “product development” don’t forget to monitor where the action happens: at customer – brand touchpoints

> Don’t forget sales! A great social media campaign, to give the celebrity a break, that falls short of in-store product placements in important retail channels, doesn’t hold up to the promise (e.g. see my Kodak vs. Apple post). The same holds true for a big marketing stunt to promote said new mobile OS but employees lack sales savvy to close the deal with in-store customers.

> Don’t forget the customer! No matter how popular the celebrity, how great your competitor’s campaign based on celebrity affiliation: what your customers thinks, feels and encounters is what matters!

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Pocket like it’s hot – the best of both worlds

How do you market a microwaveable product to teens these days? After all, they surf the web both mobile and stationary and are less likely (banner blindness) to react on either your display advertisements or even print advertisements. Well, one very smart move is of course to hire Snoop Dogg and DeStorm to not only hit it off in the coolness department but also have an instant foot in the door with both Snoop Dog’s and DeStorm’s online followers. A perfect combination if one thinks about it. Online celebrities like DeStorm (check his youtube channel here) come with a ready and highly engaged audience, which thanks to digital marketing can be readily thought out before any placement or engagement takes place. Below’s video has been posted on the 10th of October, on the 11th it had a merely 2000 hits, let’s wait and see.

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Paid vs. earned trust in ads…which one do your customers trust?

Advertising Dollars continue to rise to almost $128 billion in Q1 – 2012 (Nielsen report), yet marketers need to ask themselves in which ad-format to invest their advertising budget.

Trust in advertising channels

Trust in advertising channels

Nielsen’s study confirms that trust is an important and ever increasing factor in advertising. Earned trust through social recommendation or consumer reviews scored by far the highest. With advertising blindness growing, Amazon, ebay and facebook sponsored stories are just a few examples of organisations or ad solutions capturing the essence of earned trust effectively.

What does this mean for us marketers?

Stage campaigns and build upon the trust continuum! The buying funnel customers move through today has changed tremendously from the one 20 years ago. Many purchase decisions have been started online both through impulsive product awareness (paid trust) to recommendations and social mingling (earned trust). Adapt your campaigns and advertising spending holistically; it is not anymore a single campaign or ad that get’s placed but a channel strategy to move customers along the trust continuum to the final objective: conversion (sales).

Trust is built upon a continuum from paid to earned, the more likely marketers accept that trust is hardly bought for ad Dollars, the easier it will be to build staged campaigns as suggested above.

Convince the C-suite today! How often have you heard, we need to increase in ad spendings to drive sales. Not anymore – well, not in every case. Work on the value proposition and communicate this internally. Earned and owned trust is also developed through word of mouth (on- and offline). Owned trust (e.g. claims on your website) can easily be ruined by a faulty customer service experience, which in turn results in a decrease in earned trust through negative reviews! Make your C-suite aware of this trend.

Whilst spending for earned and owned trust advertising types continues, it might be a trend which marketers should rethink to increase the ROI on ad budget spendings.

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