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The Rational, the Emotional, and the Controversial

In Ads and other executions on May 3, 2012 by Jox Tagged: , , , , ,

Ads have various approaches in showcasing a product/brand. When it comes to getting attention and imparting information, certain approaches fit the brand well. However, there are some ads that choose to disrupt consumer thoughts for its very sake.

THE RATIONAL

When introducing a new product whether under a known brand or also a completely new one, the ad should be rational. The basics must be covered: What is it? What does it do? Why should I buy it? The last question can play a bit on emotions such as celebrity associations or consumer reflections/realizations.

Just because an ad is rational it doesn’t meant it should be literal. That is an insult to the consumer especially when the product is a common consumer good. Even ads on technology and gadgets don’t go for the literal approach rather on educating and exciting the consumer via product showcase.

Colgate Sensitive Pro-relief directly approaches the problem of having sensitive teeth. Skeptical passers-by are challenged and they prove to themselves that the product works right then and there. The approach is direct: present the problem, attack it by presenting the product as the solution, solve the problem. Yet the ad does not just show a slide of the product’s function but incorporates consumer views to add to the authenticity which further convinces minds.

THE EMOTIONAL

When a brand has achieved a strong equity, meaning across all indicators from awareness to loyalty the brand is healthy, an emotional approach can be used. Emotional ads can reveal a truth about the brand, banking on the affinities of the consumers towards it. Although sometimes the product calls for an emotional approach such as Insurance companies. It would be weird if their ads sounded like their agents presenting a 15-year platform on returns on investments.

This Thai insurance ad has been known for its heavily dramatic ads. It does not underestimate the human power to love. And with love comes security and sacrifice. The ad highlights a riveting story that can happen to anyone.

THE CONTROVERSIAL

Ads that evoke adverse reactions for the sake of attention. There are a plethora of these featuring topics on religion, sex, and politics. They can be satirical or downright brutal. They work but may not necessarily be in a good way. Controversial ads are usually used by advocates that bring a marginalized issue mainstream. Controversial ads vary per country and culture.

Controversial ads like this one are done intentionally. They grab attention and gather different reactions. Any reaction is good. United Colors of Benetton has always touched on diversity and unity. The idea is simple yet the execution has exaggerated it to gain publicity.

WARNING: Example ad may be offensive.

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Turning Pinocchio for Products’ Sakes

In Marketing Ethics, talks and lessons, Views and Reviews on April 26, 2012 by Jox Tagged: , , , , , ,

Photo borrowed from Daniel Plues' site.

Seth Godin in his intriguingly titled book, All Marketers Are Liars, said that, “Authenticity is the best marketing of all”. It’s like being yourself. When your intrinsic qualities align with your manifested self, you are happy and carefree. Otherwise, when you try to hide or divert people’s attention away from an aspect of yours, you appear contrived or aloof.

As a brand or product manager, you know you have a great product when upon making your briefing material, your imagination has already produced even a brand spokesperson’s dialogue. That’s because you are excited to bring the good news to people in creative ways across several contact points. There is something authentic and believable in your brand and you know that it will hit home once out in the market.

Alas, this does not happen all the time. Sometimes there are products that just need to exist to disrupt the market or further dominate the category by creating haphazard ammunition or “just-in-case” brands to counteract possible entry of an international player. But there are also products that are not necessarily original or remarkable but need to be launched fantastically thanks to advertising. This is the time when the team has to lie through exaggeration, omission or deception.

Indeed it is. However, innovations don’t pop out like mushrooms per square foot of a category. Usually, there is a first player that defines the market. When proven to be profitable, others follow with “me too” products. In their most basic forms, these new entrants have marginal or no difference from the first player. So they resort to the guys who can make products seem distinct through branding.

Image borrowed from MASHABLE.

It is a challenge to differentiate especially when there is NOTHING intrinsically different about the product. The task of the creative team is to let the new brand play in the market and bite off the pie. Given this pressure, creative lies may emerge just to come up with a selling proposition.

It’s the Pinocchio Syndrome and the length of how the nose goes indicates how much lies have been told to sell a product. It can be an expensive undertaking to communicate a lie to consumers. They eventually find out anyway. No matter how much emotion an ad has evoked in a consumer when a product fails to deliver, consumer trust is broken upon usage. Usage is the moment of truth and that truth is the venue for the product to reveal its authentic form to the consumer without the frills of emotional propositions or catchy communication points. #

 

(C) COPYRIGHT Brands & Pitches 2012

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Of Brand Equities and Sponsorships

In Campaigns, Strategy, Views and Reviews on April 21, 2012 by Jox Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Recently, this massively touching Procter & Gamble global ad featuring dedicated mothers as driving forces behind Olympic winners reached into viral mode. The “Thank You, Mum” campaign is simple as it is genuine but what makes it successful is its relevance with the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics in London and all the emotions attached to the anticipation of knowing the medalists and their stories. True enough, the underdogs often rise in the world arena.

It is no doubt a strategic move for P&G in communicating to their consumers worldwide. Their products may have been household staples but the brands should strive to remain significant through time. By becoming a major sponsor of the Olympic Games, the company shares the spotlight even if it doesn’t need much push for consumer preference due to its brands’ competitive edge. However,it still pays to have a strategic undertaking when it comes to sponsorships.

Brand Equity is a pillar of Brand Identity. It is basically the strength of a brand and its ability to transmit the same strength to other products and conditions under it or associated with it. Below is an extensive explanation by Investopedia.

With big companies such as P&G, sponsorships can be very common from the smallest village projects to worldwide events such as the Olympics. The greater the brand equity, the more sponsorships get attracted.

When this happens, people in the company must be aligned with the marketing strategies of the brands such that anyone who may say yes to a sponsorship, enriches the brand rather than dents it. Moreover, sponsorship partners must be properly oriented about the brand so they are aligned. I have seen several brand violations unintentionally done by partners just because they were not aware.

The brand must be consistent across communication points especially if it has a strong equity. Any deviation from how it is recognized and admired by consumers can be damaging. Sure, some might claim that brand manager can be exaggerated but that’s because they are custodians of the brand.
Brand managers should not be alone in maintaining the brand’s integrity in any event. There must be a solid and updates brand book that explains the brand from its visual treatment to emotional associations. This brand book is the single consistent guide of any one who wishes to deal with a brand as soon as allowed by the brand manager and/or communications director.
Brand books are not just for big brands who can afford strategic agencies but for budding ones as well. So for any business owner who wishes to make their products distinct, it is time to get started.#
(C) Copyright. Brands & Pitches 2012.

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Are Science and Marketing like Oil and Water?

In talks and lessons on April 12, 2012 by Jox Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Marketing is often perceived as a discipline completely isolated and remotely comparable with the Sciences. While I love marketing, Science has always been my passion. If it wasn’t for a rare opportunity of an Integrated Marketing Communications degree, I would have pursued my course in Biology.

I went to a high school with a specialized curriculum in Science and Math. I must say, those were the happiest times of my life. Most of the subject matter would deal with the concepts but we would have regular activities that would test practical applications.

Having stumbled upon a TED talk given by Google’s Marketing Director, Dan Colbey, I completely agree with his correlations of marketing with scientific concepts starting with forming and disproving hypotheses. Some may say it is much of a push and the conclusions might have been forced but Mr. Colbey has opened my mind about leveraging my stored knowledge in Science to become a better marketer.

Here are the key points of his talk.

1. Newton’s Second Law of Motion: Force = mass x acceleration

Deriving another formula from it is Acceleration = Force/ mass. The bigger the brand, the more force it requires to make it “move” i.e. gain market shares, increase penetration, etc. Big companies with big brands are also often the big spenders to maximize share of voice. He also pointed out the importance of being agile thus, companies like Unilever and P&G have several brands under their portfolio, each functioning independently to grow the company.

2. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle

I find this inference on pointe. The explanation is that the measurement and characteristics of a particle cannot be determined because by measuring it, its very properties have already changed. The same principle applies in determining consumer behaviors that change as soon as the act of determining them is activated.

3. In the scientific method, disproving a hypothesis is more probable. A brand is hard to build but is easy to destroy with just one wrong move.

(C) Copyright Brands and Pitches 2012

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Branding Yourself: Your Professional Image Part 2

In Personal Marketing, Views and Reviews on April 9, 2012 by Jox Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

Before we proceed with the second part of the Branding Yourself series, you may watch this witty talk by Chip Kidd, a brilliant book designer. I somehow disagree with the old adage, “Don’t judge the book by its cover” for this means, the person has failed to present his/her supposed integrity.

Chip Kidd’s work is to visualize a story so as to intrigue a reader to dig through. In managing your brand, it is important that your substance is evident with how you present yourself. However, this can be a daunting long process. I shall make another inference at the latter part of this post.

The second part of the Branding Yourself series is about your offline self. Who are you when disconnected from the computer? It is “you” in meetings, mixers, events, conferences, and reunions. There is a high probability that an individual or two already know a little about you, thus, your online self must be in-synch with your actual self presentation.Another advantage of having a great online record is that they can supplement you in any meet-ups. “You’re the brand manager that turned around X brand”. “You’re the Marketer of the Year”. etc.

Whilst it is inevitable to not exist online whether of your own accord or not, you can be in control of your actual presence in your industry.When your online self has placed you at an advantage, you have to back it up with substance. The offline you may debunk your great online reputation. This cycle then creates a cycle of your professional reputation.

Part 2. The Diagnosis. Your Offline self.

Substance over style. Review your interactions, connections, and self presentation.

A.Review your network. How big is your network i.e. your connections that can make or break your professional standing? What a network can never do is maintain your status quo. You are always moving in and out of a network. A good indication can be the number of business cards you have collected. If you have failed to keep any of those, please consider collecting them now. I got business cards from a cab line just by networking with a firm owner. You should be able to network anywhere for you will never know when you need a person to kickstart your goals. So go back to the business cards you have, sort them according to industry, and sort them according to the probability of connecting with them sooner or later.

P.S. Don’t underestimate your relatives as part of your network. Your uncle or aunt may be a business owner or a hard-core executive who can amplify your profession. Just present yourself as a viable candidate.

B. Who are you in a sentence or less? In marketing, a brand must always have a key selling proposition or a distinct characteristic that sets it apart from competitors and industry players. A quick gauge is when you introduce yourself, what words describe you? For some reason and perhaps with a little bit of brainstorming, I was able to come up with Integrated Marketing Professional specializing in Brand Management and Execution. Of course, this can be shortened and altered just how taglines/copies creatively change while remaining true to the proposition. Your primary professional description must present your greatest abilities such that anyone who might be looking for your services can easily consider you as a solution. A suggestion, you may want to have your business cards made.

C. Activate your interpersonal skills. I admit it is an imperative to have great people and communication skills in my field but I believe everyone has the right to present themselves with utmost confidence. Having joined Toastmasters International has been life changing. I have met seriously socially averse individuals who now impart their knowledge to people akin to prophets of enlightenment. I believe that it is such a waste to have brilliant ideas that never make it across the wall. Information is power and being able to share and receive them is far more empowering.

D. Enrich your mind. There is a difference between being pedantic and being useful. Aim to be the “go-to” person in connection to your expertise. For example, in the office, I was considered to be the “copywriter” just by creating creative words for presentations, thank you cards, campaigns, or even introductory speeches and also the “fact checker” just because I like reading random information from entertainment to politics. Since I don’t know everything, I also have my “go-to” persons who also cultivate themselves with information they want.

John Maxwell is an advocate of developing habits and I think feeding your mind daily with mini-information cultivate your memory and your analytic skills. Turn on the news while eating breakfast or driving to work. Read the front page while sipping coffee. Check news about your company on the intranet. Just extend a small effort to know about something everyday.

E. The 80/20 Principle. The Pareto Principle can be such a cliché especially in the business world but it is often effective. While over-all you must be an amiably just person, you should be strategic with presenting yourself. You must be at your best and most professional self among powerful people in your field e.g. your boss, the director, the investor, etc. for they have vast networks where information about you can circulate. Seize the opportunity in presenting yourself well and become memorable. Having made the impression among these people can yield huge rewards in your entire network. Be strategic about this.

 To sum up, managing your offline self is about improving yourself to effectively reach out and expand your network. It is also aligning with your online portfolio and enabling both aspects to build a sound professional reputation. These five points are just a few guidelines on top of performing well and not settling on mediocrity.

Akin to a book, you must have an intriguingly intellectual cover that unfolds your talents and abilities any person would like to dig further through. You must be the visual embodiment of your brand of integrity and substance. #

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Branding Yourself: Your Professional Image Part 1

In Personal Marketing, Views and Reviews on April 7, 2012 by Jox Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

It is unsurprisingly common to meet a person with multiple titles/designations these days. Among young professionals, diversity is key to move forward in the job market or take a budding business to the next level. I browse through my LinkedIn contacts from 1st to 3rd degrees and any person does not settle on one title alone e.g. Student/Blogger/Youth Revolutionary: Marketing Manager/Yoga Instructor; Entrepreneur/Surfer; Finance Consultant/Life Coach/; each combination seems fascinating and promising.

People of my generation (coined as Gen Y that has received mixed reviews from the Boomers and Gen X), find it necessary to do so. Not because to merely tag themselves as such but because there is a compelling need to become more. Gone are the days that you are banker and you slightly brush on painting as a “hobby”. Young professionals and students nowadays pursue both profession and passion such that these activities get converted into expertise thus, the multiple titles.

I, myself, am currently working on other branches of my abilities so I get to develop myself further. I want to establish myself as a great marketer and brand custodian but I also want to be an entrepreneur. I am glad that this year I have finally become a blogger and a published writer. The thrill of reinventing my portfolio gives me a sense of maximizing time whilst attaining the best possible version of myself. I encountered this captivating spoken poetry by Sarah Kay where she thought when she was a kid that she could be everything in one lifetime but when she discovered that one can live only one life and become very great at something, she pursued her love for literature. Yet in the process of perfecting herself as a poet, she has become an advocate of the arts among young people, a public speaker, etc. I think while becoming relevant and a master at one thing, you develop faculties of multiplicity. And this makes individuals interesting.

Branding yourself is not a superfluous pursuit. “Poser” is the mean term in high school. No, it is about manifesting a discovered self for others to witness and connect with. Being “you” may not be enough these days because you may be embodying the least plausible version of yourself. Excellence is a constant human undertaking. We are meant to be greater than our circumstances whether good or bad. I am not an expert but I aim to extend my knowledge in marketing to the personal aspects of people. Here are some points for consideration if you want to create your “professional” self.

Part 1. The Diagnosis. Review your brand 

Your online self. Open any, if not all, of your online accounts and review them.

A. Is your email address still coooljewel85@xyz.com? I suggest you replace your high school email account with a name that needs to be professionally recognized. John.Doe@xyz.com. Make sure to use credible domains as well and not the questionable ones. You may still keep the old one for personal use and should not be found on your resume’s contact details.

B. Check your Facebook. Is your profile a smorgasbord of events from your wild beach party to your board room presentation and it’s up to your friends and/or colleagues to sort which ones they’re supposed to process or not? Impressions matter and here comes the age that a boss or business partner want to know how your personal inconspicuous behaviors affect your work performance. I have decided that at work, people should know 80-100% of my identity as a worker and not the other way around. This doesn’t mean you have to be uptight but you don’t want to be known as the “party girl” or “wild animal” in the office. Again, my personal opinion. It’s time to create boundaries and sort people according to social groups. In that way, you can compartmentalize aspects of your activities.

C. What do you tweet about? Who do you follow? Twitter has enabled the perpetual need to declare real-time activities and opinions. Unless you are a celebrity, most people don’t care by your mere “ugh”and “this sucks” tweets. Please try to create complete sentences. After all, twitter also challenges you to say much in just 114 characters. I’ve also read that you can establish your expertise by tweeting about things relevant to your profession. You may also follow those relevant to your interests and profession to learn a thing or two.

D.Google yourself, both your full name and nick name. This is the fastest way of looking at your online self. What web contents are associated with you? It will always be Facebook and Twitter (thus, the first points to work on). What next? Click also on the images to see. It might shock you. I admit mine is not that impeccable but not alarming anyway. If you don’t like what you see, you may ask friends to take down unfavorable information about you or you may start counteracting those web content with the next few points:

E. LinkedIn is your professional network. It’s time to be present here to build your connections. Believe me, at some point, you are going to cross paths with someone who will need your help and/or vice versa. Observe how people in your field present themselves on the site and you may refer to them in building yours. Eventually, you’d know how to market yourself. If you already have a LinkedIn account, review your profile. Make sure each field highlights your strengths. It is after all a venue to legitimately showcase yourself. What’s good is that, your profile can be easily transformed into your resume. You may simultaneously update both as you go on.

F. Consider making a professional blog. This can be as simple as chronicling your learning points everyday but be careful of the information you reveal. Please stick to the objective learning and professional realizations. Do not rant about work on your blog. Seriously. You can also talk about your observations in your industry. You are smart enough to have an opinion. If not, you can take great photos and turn them into visual masterpieces.

G.  Join professional forums or subscribe to leadership blogs. Might as well learn from the best and your counterparts. For example, brand managers from the Middle East post about their campaigns and observations and they give me a snapshot of what their market is like. You can think globally by just reading through posts. Moreover, they can serve as sources of great knowledge that you can apply at any project. I like reading Seth Godin and John Maxwell‘s blogs. I also receive daily management tips from Harvard Business Review. Mashable is always entertaining. TED.com never fails to cultivate my mind. There is a plethora of information resources  but do not take in so much as they can be paralyzing.

I guess this is just my take on diagnosing and improving your professional self online. I may have missed something but these are exactly what I did before to utilize the internet wisely. As they say, the discretion is ours and online sites are just the tools to make or break us.

Next topic will be about Diagnosing Your Professional Self Offline.

(C) Copyright. Brands and Pitches 2012

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The “Lent” Ads Go To: A Holy Week Special

In Campaigns, Marketing Ethics, Views and Reviews on April 5, 2012 by Jox Tagged: , , , , , , ,

The basic functions of an ad is to catch attention and elicit a response. Commercially, that response must ideally be transformed into purchase. Nevertheless, there are ads that settle on evoking any response.

Religion or more specifically, the Catholic Church, is often a subject of satire ads that evoke fragmented responses. Some brush on the gradual loss of faith. Others wittingly invite people back to church. The rest just offend heads on with blasphemous portrayals of the Church and bank on ecclesiastical controversies.

I stumbled upon a series of religious advertisements on buzz feed.com and each one, I had different responses for. I will not discuss my opinions of them for they are personally driven and based on my faith. Rather, I will just present the plethora of ambient ads that will either entertain or offend. You may view the full list on their website.

Today is Maundy Thursday and if you were Catholic you would know that Lent is about to culminate on Sunday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I am not about to go proselytizing readers but to explain how brands are getting attention during the supposed time of resisting worldly temptations. Some ads opt to be of service, facilitating religious practices or providing convenience when the line between fanaticism and genuine devotion cannot be drawn.

Fast food chains remain at the forefront during Lent offering guilt-free meals to the devout and the struggling. Telecommunications companies also provide information assistance. Indeed, respect for culture of the area of operation should be observed while maintaining commercial relevance.

Below are some ads, current or outdated, that exemplify the practice. I graciously borrowed them from other blogs which you may kindly visit for more insight.

McDonald's Lent meal|image from thesweethostage.blogspot.com

Jollibee's tuna pie is back for the season. Image from fudash.wordpress.com

KFC's twist on their twister. Image from www.dencio.com.

Get bible verses from you phone. Image from page1budjette.blogspot.com

SMS a prayer. Image from page1budjette.blogspot.com

Find a church for confession. Image from page1budjette.blogspot.com

(C) Copyright protected| BRANDS AND PITCHES 2012