Tag Archives: branding

Be ready for what is next…

In this year’s Nielsen Consumer 360 Conference, one topic hit the mark in terms of futuristic outlook. Whilst many organisations and marketers are focusing on adopting the latest (some the earliest) web technology or even mobile technology; one must begin to ask what is next? How will customer centricity be shaped in the months or even years ahead and start building the organisation to be able to cater to these new game elements.

What does this mean for us marketers? Engage in strategic conversation, work today on tomorrow’s value chain setup, enhance customer centricity today to be able to set the tone tomorrow.

The clip below is a short excerpt from the conference and gives great food for thought.

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5 notable differences between Apple and your brand

This blog post might become a little humorous at times, yet in the Post Jobs’ Apple Mania, it is worth to look at some of the difference of Apple and your brand to not fall into the Apple-wanna be trap.

  1. You are not Apple! This is probably the most obvious one. You can of course dress up in black turtlenecks, run around with an ipad all day and start naming your own products iSOMETHING, yet you are still not Apple. Make peace with this fact. The sooner you get it over with, the easier your life will become. Seriously, I have seen this happen (in real life; and no, I am not drunk).
  2. Simplicity! every 5 year old can explain the difference between an iPhone and iPad. Apple sells high-tech nicely designed electronic consumer products built around a very smart and far reaching closed eco-system which Apple controls. If you do sell tractors, sewing machines or the world’s most advanced vacuum cleaner, you are still not going to get the hype of Apple BUT, start to learn from Apple’s early days. Keep it simple and focus on the important things – your customer. Have you ever tried to buy a suitcase from a well known US suitcase manufacturer? If you just look at one of their product lines (let’s say check-in hardside luggage), what is the difference between these various models? For the fun of proving my point, I have visited various retail stores and asked for the difference of products and which item would most likely suite my needs of frequent long distance travel. 5 stores, 8 answers, 10 models and a confused customer. If that is you – you are not Apple! Ask your accountant to explain your product portfolio – if he fails, your customers are likely to fail as well and worst case, drive of their buying decision. It sometimes help to put on the customer hat and look at your product and service offering from the outside – little changes can have big impacts!
  3. Aspiration! The Iphone5 has made it to the top of all headlines like no other, but Apple, product in history. Many critiques embarked on rants and raves about Apple losing it’s edge against their main smartphone competition based on pure tech-specs. You judge for yourself, but the same seemingly underdesigned, underequipped and sluggish product sold out within 1 hour and is expected to sell 58m times in the remainder of 2012 which equals roughly $36billion in sales. Since Apple has already sold 8m units in hour 1 of day 1, this number might actually become reality. Aspirational marketing or emotional brand values are the strongest link between a brand and its consumer. No tech-spec could ever come close in the short term and beat the strong emotional link of a brand and its fanboys :-)
  4. Reach! Apple’s iPhone launch reaches about as many people as the US election over a period of one year (measured globally). In other words, unlike very few other brands on this planet (most notably some game franchises), it is highly unlikely that you will have such an unordinary brand or message reach – especially on a seemingly organic level. Thousands of bloggers post clips and stories about every little detail of an Apple product. In most cases, private youtube channels are better marketing efforts than Apple’s ads themselves. Since you are not Apple and you have made peace with it (if not, go back to no1), think about effective ways to reach your target audience. You might have to repeat messages to position your brand or product in your customers’ minds. Be creative in your channel selection and messaging and don’t copy. “Light luggage – the biggest thing that happened to luggage since the luggage” won’t cut it for you!
  5. Credible uniques! With the exception of a few glitches, Apple has staid very true to its brand values for a very long time. If you have followed the Apple history, these values have been ingrained by the founding team over the years and of course fostered under a very exotic and charismatic lead-character. Find this unique and yet credible style for your brand. I have been in many meetings in which a sales VP has pulled out and ad from some organisation he liked, mostly for personal reasons, and asked to have it copied. This won’t help to create a unique look and feel or character for your brand. Be yourself, find or define the core and stick to it. This might be the only differentiation you have in your market; also, this might be the differentiation your employees need to form a relation with your brand and be outspoken (positively) about it.
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5 core rules for consumer engaging conversational marketing

To be a truly conversational brand, content creation alone does not do the trick. Some brands or companies try to engage with heavily with followers and stimulate user generated content (just google GE and ugc), whilst others create internal content strategies or just let the faith do its thing.

From my experience gathered and discussions with other Marketing VPs, I have distilled the following 5 rules to create conversational marketing for brands.

The 5 core rules for consumer engaging conversational marketing:

1) Be authentic: define the core of your brand and stick to it. You don’t do much good by creating content which is far off your brand’s core values and or in misalignment with your brand’s voice. If you are a bunch of bike lovers creating your own custom bikes, communicate like a bunch a bike lovers to the most likely other bunch of bike lovers following you. Don’t try to emulate some corporate slang or a fastfood restaurant’s voice because you thought it was good, interesting or successful. Your followers or customers are interested in you and your product for a reason!

2) Be consistent: consistency and authenticity are closely related. To create conversational marketing, you need to have a communication strategy in place and stick to it. Don’t overkill it in month one, two and three and let your efforts fade during the reminder of the year. Followers, consumers and potential consumers value consistency not only in messaging but also in timing. Also, be consistent in your content’s message – find a voice and stick to it.

3) Be an expert: consumers are likely to engage with your brand for an expert opinion. Why is it that your brand is the leading brand, aspirational brand or upcoming brand for some product? Transpire this message in your brand’s voice to consumers. However, make sure you not only talk the talk but also walk the walk. Nothing hurts a brand more than the good old over-promise and under-deliver.

4) Be environmentally aligned: look at what GE is doing right now. User generated content can be a great means to hit the mark for followers and customers. However, be aware, don’t expect your followers to write what’s in your communicational plan. Be open to their voice and most importantly engage in a conversation. Airline facebook pages do usually serve as a great negative example, potential customers ask questions about flights or policies but often only to find that no airline representative answers them. If you engage in certain channels, think about the consequence, your branding strategy and fully commit to this channel.

5) Be a platform experience creator: think beyond one platform, think broadly and engage consumers in the chosen media with your content strategy. Create a brand footprint in the platform by capitalising your brand’s voice in each channel. Your website is likely to have

Video Update:

In the clip below, Deanna Brown talks with Brian Solis about brand publishing, social media teams running accounts and creating content. Whilst content creation as such does not seem to be the main issue however strategic alignment with company objectives and its environment. I recommend watching the clip, it takes about 18 minutes and is worth as some food for thought!

Deanna Brown: Why Brands Are Becoming Publishers

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