Friday, November 19, 2010

When clients say, "I just need a website."

I always say, "No, that is not necessarily true."  You might need a website, but you probably also need a lot more than that and maybe a website isn't first on the list. Branding matters. Do you have any? Who are you to your target? Do you have a persona mapped out and do you stick with it-- live it? Do you know who your target(s) is and what they care about? Why would they come to your website and what experience do they expect and need to have once there? How will they even know to get to your website? Maybe you need some advertising to drive them there. Maybe you need to determine how you'll use social media to your advantage as well. Do you mean anything to anyone right now? Or are you simply marketing to yourself and your internal people (read that as CEO)?

So please, don't call up an agency and ask for a website. And if they give you one without the above-mentioned questions and solutions, run!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Gap Logo Change Follow-Up Blog--neuroscience says, "No!"

Seems we have neuroscience on the bandwagon proving exactly why no one liked the new Gap logo.

Apparently not only did the new Gap logo irritate the consumer owners of the brand on principle, but it was scientifically unworthy of our attention. The sharp box edges coupled with overlaying it on boring type and the gradient color all combined to make our brains simply HATE it.

We interupt this Creative Marketing Blog

The last day of harvest. It was cool and foggy.

For a personal word about my local Community Supported Ag group, Goat Lady CSA of North Carolina,  of which I am a member. This was my first year learning about growing sustainable foods and harvesting and cooking with leafy greens such as kale and chard. Eating veggies like Hakuri turnips and bitter melon.

Edible art.
I loved it all and am a converted soul. No longer do I take for granted that a head of cabbage or a potato will just be waiting for me in the store. I understand how it got there. I know that I like the taste of REAL, pesticide-free food much better than store-bought, highly processed junk. Stuff that's gassed and trucked in from Chile or Mexico. It matters. Eating locally. Growing locally.

I encourage you to join a local CSA, too. It will change you forever. And if we need something right now, it's change for the good.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How The Gap Logo Debacle Proves Consumer "Voice" Wins

If you've been following the news around The Gap's rebranding efforts, you know it has been quite a misfire. Why? Gap is a brand people know, love and trust. Yet just last week they decided to roll out a new logo. They never even once stopped to consider the ramifications. So intent on being "new" and "hip" they didn't remember that their customers might disagree with a change.

First mistake: Let's look at the psychology behind change. People resist change under normal times, they sure as heck don't need or want change now. We've had enough change thank you. We'd like to feel we can count on a few things in our lives to remain consistent.

Second mistake: They didn't even ask their loyal followers what they thought. When you get to be a brand as big as The Gap, you don't own that brand any longer. The universe of consumers do. They own you. So ASK.

Third mistake: did The Gap forget this world is now socially linked? Groundswells of emotion happen and once they get rolling, good or bad, they are rolling. People piled on to the conversation and because of mistake #1 and 2, they yelled bloody murder. Consumers have no control over their lives at this moment (or so they feel) and this was one thing they felt they could control. And did.

Was it the right thing to do for The Gap to pull the new logo so soon? Did caving under the pressure earn them respect or will they lose face? This remains to be seen.

I am of the mindset that The Gap should have stuck to its guns a bit longer.  It just feels icky to me that they threw their hands up in the air. The timing was off.

What do you think? How did you feel when you heard they switched back?

Moral of this story, your customers can own your brand and when that is the case, be very, very careful what you do with their "baby."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Social media like you've never seen it--at its best and on the street

So the other day I was driving along and saw the TRUE power of the consumers' voice in a social media platform that you might not have thought of before--the back window of a car!

This unhappy customer was so irritated by Ashley Furniture that they plastered it on their car.

Power to the people and if you are a company today, this is what you are up against. It keeps you honest though.

Good marketing and branding can do a lot to help assuage people's feelings toward a brand, but bad customer service is a train wreck or in this case, a car wreck.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Businesses on Facebook and how they can achieve success

There is so much talk around whether Facebook is a viable place for businesses to be. So I wanted to share a case study that I personally was involved with for a former client of mine, Thomasville Furniture, that I would say demonstrates a 'success'.

When I was hired to help Thomasville with their Facebook page, they had about 800 Fans. Within 7 months, they had more than 8,000. Success #1. But what do all those extra eyeballs and "Fans" mean for Thomasville?

These are people who might not have otherwise advocated for this furniture brand. These are people who willingly engaged with Thomasville and shared that advocacy with their friends by having it appear on their newsfeed page for all those friends to see. This opens the door to those friends considering becoming a Fan, too, and on and on. A study was just done that showed people most trust their friends/peer recommendations over any other kind of advertising. (See my blog entry from May 6, 2010)

The cost for Thomasville to pay me to handle their page and create promotions for their page was minimal given the costs they might have paid for ads to be created and media to be bought to run those ads. There is no telling how many "eyeballs" have seen the Thomasville posts and comments from these Fans and their friends. That is an amazing awareness builder for a relatively small price. (which isn't to say I think Facebook is preferred over print or other forms of marketing. An integrate media approach works best. We sent out emailers that also drove success.)

The other good news is, I also figured out ways around Facebook's costly promotion guidelines, saving Thomasville even more but allowing them to have sweepstakes and giveaways that shot up their Fan base numbers.

This promotion was done using Facebook, but there's a secret to getting around paying the exorbitant media costs Facebook requires.

So can businesses find success on Facebook? With the right understanding of the target and how to engage that target, mixed with appropriate and smart promotions, I'd say the answer is a resounding, "Yes!"

Check out these posts in response to a single sweepstakes promotion that we did. (Click on picture to enlarge it.)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Simple, effective ads. Wonderful.

Man Vs Wild is a Discovery TV show where Bear Grylls, the "Man," dares to take on the "Wild," and teaches us survival skills. While doing so, he eats stuff that makes you cringe. Which is what makes these ads so engaging. And why many people watch the show. For its shock value. And why the simplicity and focus of the creative is so dead-on. They realized the food aspect was one of the top reasons people were captivated by Bear. I love ads that are this focused and clear. A single message. A single insight. A single grand slam!

(Click each ad to see it larger.)

Do People TRUST advertising and if so, what forms of it?

I just read a post by my friends at The Blake Project and they included this chart from Nielsen that I thought was really enlightening.

Now, just because people say they trust certain forms of information or marketing more than others doesn't mean it's true. As we all know, we don't know ourselves and our motivations any better than researchers can know those things. But, that said, this survey was done under slightly different circumstances, and I quote:
"cultural anthropology methods were used to follow consumers from around the world throughout the day, observe their real world media behaviors, and question them about their attitudes toward news and advertising. This was an opportunity to go beyond hard numbers, to get insight into how consumers are thinking and feeling about advertising as a medium."
I was quite surprised by the findings personally.

So people trust friends' opinions and reviews, as well as others. This makes sense considering blogs, chat rooms, and other online review forums are swarming with people looking for information before they purchase. And this is BIG so marketers take note. This is why social media is KEY today for you. B2C and B2B.

But what amazed me was the pull traditional media still has. I have many clients who only want to be online. They don't like print because they often feel they can't measure its impact. Yet, here we are seeing that it still matters.

And the one thing missing was direct mail. Where is that?? Opt-in emailers are there, but still fall below traditional media. Very interesting.

It is still my opinion that an integrated, 360-degree media plan that finds people where they live and shows up in a variety of different places and times when someone is OPEN to hearing and engaging with the message, is still the best and only way to be successful.

Think about how you get your information. You see a print ad. Then maybe a TV spot and lastly, you see a banner out of the corner of your eye. Then you go online to research it all. Ta-da. THAT is how it's done.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Oh how true. A cartoon that nails brand mindshare.

4 Reasons Why These Ads Are Great

Perfect timing, visually engaging creative, smack-on-the-nerve connection, simplicity.

Four things that equal really good work that makes someone want to take action. (What an ad should do, right?)

And the client could have pushed to fill these ads up with a bunch of feature-related copy about what kind of equipment or classes are available at this gym, but smartly so, they did not. We all know what's at a gym. But what doesn't happen is that we sign up and go.

These ads make me want to go. I "get" it quickly. Say no more. Sign me up.

And that is what good work and insightful strategy is all about.
(Click on each ad to see it larger)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Marketing in 2010: It's ALL about consumer conversation

I just read the Marketing Media & Ecosystem 2010 study and Arthur Hendrix's (Editor of GoViral newsletter) assessment of it and found both quite interesting and supportive of my view of marketing in these media fractured times. You can read the study for yourself, but here is the basic bottom line for marketers paraphrased from Arthur's story:

• Media fragmentation, new technologies, personalization, and consumer power are the most influential driving forces in 2010.

• Taking a more consumer-oriented approach with your marketing actions is one of the main challenges marketers will face in the coming year.

• Rather than machine-gunning consumers with the company’s marketing communications, the role of the marketer will be to facilitate conversations with and between consumers.

• Brands that want to be present where their customers are can no longer regard digital and interactive media as “niche” capabilities.
Publish Post

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dell Made $6 million using Twitter

According to Dell, their active participation touting coupons via Twitter made the company millions! To quote an article in Gigacom:
Dell, for one, has shown just how important Twitter can be to a company’s bottom line by offering sales through its Twitter feed, listening to what customers are looking for, and telling those followers about available coupons. In the meantime, besides the $6.5 million it’s pulled in from using the site, it’s attracted a whopping 1.5 million followers looking for deals.
So business does have a place on Twitter. If you do it correctly. (For that please consult a social-media-friendly marketing pro.)