Posts Tagged ‘branding’

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Make it “Viral”

In Ads and other executions,Campaigns,Views and Reviews on February 26, 2014 by Jox Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

There is a Content bubble happening across brands. Stories have become the currency of engagement. It is quite surprising how Brands (and Brand Managers for that matter) have decided to take a back seat, patiently waiting for functional messaging to come out in the end or subtly along story lines.

VIRAL & MOVEMENT are words circling around in brainstorming sessions and client briefs. “Viral”, is a function of highly entertaining or moving stories that people “organically” circulate online.  Honestly speaking, I am way past “Viral” that if we keep on saying it, the marketing gods might just release the Kraken. My proposals have been consciously turned to, “Let’s make a viral video” to “Let’s make a good story that can potentially go viral”. No asset or campaign is inherently viral. If people like it (or hate it), it will be picked up. And now here’s hoping that the brand won’t be overshadowed by the story. DEBATABLE.

“Movement”, is when having triggered an idea, what then do you want consumers to do? To many movements out there that we’ve run out of words to call them. And consumers have become exhausted that we’ve been asking them so many things to do just to support our brands and tactical campaigns. “Isn’t a Facebook like enough?” No because now that you are our advocate, we need you to convert others. And then they just don’t like us anymore thus, the drop off. Then we resort to incentives just to move the needle conversion just a little bit. I am no expert and I have yet to figure out a new way to get out of the Movement mindset.

Brands have embraced Advocacy and assumed identities that ride on the signs of the times whether on diversity, animal rights, human rights, or what have you. For instance, campaigns with Feminist undertones (I, myself, have yet to fully grasp what Feminism really is) have invaded newsfeeds encouraging women to be “themselves”, stand up for what’s right and stand up for themselves. These are not exactly new it’s just that because of brands and commercial attempts, these topics have moved mainstream. After all, if you support a woman of character, a credible bra brand support her. I digress.

Here are some examples:

Pantene Whip It (Philippines): The first thing that I did as soon as I saw it was post on Lean In’s wall. This one was picked up by the right people who believe in the cause but was questioned by Brand advocates. “Where’s my brand?”, they asked. My honest take, at least that’s new news for shampoo vs. trying to convince women what Keratin is.

 

Wacoal My Beautiful Woman (Thailand): The Thais have done it again. They always manage to get reactions from me. Again, no new news for bras but this one just made me question what kind of support have I been getting from Victoria.

 

Budweiser Puppy Commercial (USA): Just pure love. And it doesn’t just apply on animals.

Articles

Women, Causes, and Ads: International Women’s Day

In Ads and other executions,Campaigns,Marketing Ethics on March 9, 2013 by Jox Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Talking to women, selling products, services, ideas, and any commodity imaginable have been proven to be profitable. Billion-dollar businesses thrive on women’s buying power. Advertising has come a long way when it comes to women empowerment. Ads have evolved with women as their roles changed, shifted, and escalated to new heights.

Yet International (Working) Women’s Day serves as a reminder that whilst it is worth celebrating gender equality, there are still issues that can be considered backward as culture, religion, or even ignorance can be a factor that hinders rights from being acknowledged and implemented. It’s always a step forward and two steps back in the feminist realm.

TIME Magazine hit the stands yesterday with a bold statement, “Don’t Hate Her Because She’s Successful” with a seemingly ubiquitous presence of Sheryl Sandberg that implied that we’re not going to get rid of her and her supposed cause easily. The statement pertains to one of Sandberg’s points on female’s rise to power that is inversely proportional to her likability. Now whether this is a publicity stunt for mercenary causes or a real cause about “rebooting Feminism”, I personally believe the latter but I shall not dwell on this.

sandberg

Image courtesy of TIME magazine

Timing is everything and the riveting cover opened up International Women’s Day on a positive note. It also happened to be a grand launch of Sandberg’s new book, Lean In and her new organization that has already gathered women of power. Given all these contact points that strategically hit the right buttons at the right time, the campaign seems to be moving full speed ahead.

Screen Shot 2013-03-09 at 10.15.02 PM

International Women’s Day is also a perfect platform for make up brands. L’Oreal has been truly effective with its “Because I’m/you’re worth it” tagline. One way to keep track of women’s progress is through their ads. Back in the day, make up ads would be even dubbed with male voice talents because beauty and image were defined from a man’s perspective. The Feminist Revolution has shifted the focus and spoke to women by women.

L’Oreal also has reinforced its Women of Worth campaign to reinforce the brand’s association with women empowerment.

The brand partnered with Marie Claire and kickstarted the #womenwishes campaign on twitter.

Womenswishes1

At the end of the day, campaigns that capitalize on words are not enough. When a brand or company hinges on a cause and venture in Corporate Social Responsibility, there must a follow through. The agenda must be real. Companies must excavate their hearts that have been piled on by corporate blur. It’s time to go back to humanity.

And ads are just waiting to be conceived to once again stir the status quo and document history.#

(C) Brand and Pitches 2013

Articles

Consumer Involvement in New Age Brand Communications

In Ads and other executions,Campaigns,Strategy on May 6, 2012 by Jox Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

By now we cannot deny that consumers have become wiser when it comes to digesting information. When they don’t like a commercial, they can just skip through it. In fact, they are moving towards activities and channels that enable them to be free from commercial pursuits. They know when you’re selling something and when they think you are such a phony, they can shut you off.

Nevertheless, it is a given that this is an enterprising world. How should we know? Despite the resistance of the most of us towards timeline, the transition has been inevitable. For what? For brands to better showcase themselves, know more about their consumers as easy reference for backyard research, and yes, to gather and convert brand loyalists.

Social networks and personal media sites have enabled consumers to consent their participation. They can join, discuss, praise, criticize, complain, and most importantly, share. Word of mouth has never been more empowered than today. Anyone can become popular and become an opinion leader. Bloggers are neo-journalists who chronicle their brand interactions for the rest to consume.

Marketers are aware of this phenomenon. In fact, they are ambassadors themselves of brands they believe in by pushing the subscribe button. Everyone’s equal in these new age communication platforms. Consumers are becoming more involved in brand decisions. The use of polls in product design and variant launches has become a staple. Consulting consumers has become convenient that it has served as buffer for possible losses for wrong business decisions.

Consumers want to be involved. They don’t just want to share information you pass to them. They want to be IN it. The viral component of a campaign becomes massive when it involves the consumer. The effect of push marketing has become diluted and collaborative communication has gained significance recently. Hotcow’s article on consumer creativity extensively discusses the need to bank on consumers when it comes to creating materials for brands.

By simply involving consumers, a brand is saying that “This is OUR brand. We should enrich it”.

Below are just some examples of remarkable campaigns:

Nike iD Generator Concept Store (Japan): Experiential and Digital Campaign

Nike has a cult following of its own. The brand has always banked on collective individuality of its loyalists but they brought the concept to life by capturing the vibrant fashion of Harajuku City, the ultimate melting pot of unique styles. There’s another campaign in London where opinion leaders get a one-on-one VIP consultation in creating sneaker designs. Nike is one of the strong advents of co-creation in product innovation.

Kotex Inspiration Day: Direct Marketing and Digital Campaign

Pinterest has become an advent of popularizing uniqueness and interest intersections. Banking on its increasing popularity, Kotex sent direct packages to targeted inspirational women based on their pinboards. In involving a consumer, marketers should speak to her personally and authentically. The campaign had massive viral online results.

Maybelline 8-in-1 BB Cream Commercial (Philippines): Be Gerald’s Girl Digital campaign

In this campaign, a mini-movie was shot with popular local heartthrob that every young woman desires to be with and also become the face of Maybelline! Users were directed to a site where they could upload their photo and generate a movie featuring the user and the celebrity. Delighted users spread their videos in their social networks. The word spread virally about the new product. The campaign won a Spikes Asia Award.

 (C) Copyright Brands and Pitches 2012

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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

Articles

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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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. #

Articles

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