Posts Tagged ‘brands’

Articles

GRIT

In talks and lessons on August 23, 2013 by Jox Tagged: , , , , , , ,

“Hardwork beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”. – Tim Notke

SUCCESS- such a powerful word. The very promise of it serves as a key driving force to anyone. Who among you here think that they’ve made it because of intelligence? Hardwork? Guts? So many traits have been pointed out to determine success. Yet there is a key factor that contributes to success- GRIT.

“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals”. Abigail Lee Duckworth, a consultant turned public school teacher turned Psychology professor, studied the patterns of success among several subjects. What they found out was that it was not IQ, talent, or any genetic or circumstantial characteristic alone that lead to success. It’s about sticking to your goals and braving through obstacles. You may call it perseverance or resilience, only deeper.

I just watched the Apprentice Asia finale. It was down to two contestants. Andrea from Singapore who had a track record of winnings and Jonathan who remained persistent throughout. Jonathan won and he attributes his win to one thing: GRIT. His undying passion that remains inflamed in him.

Practice makes perfect. Rather, deliberate practice makes perfect. It takes 10,000 hours doing the same thing over and over again. This is what author Malcolm Gladwell in his book,Outliers, found out about the groundbreakers such as Mozart and even the Beatles. They relentlessly practiced and lived through their art. “Grit is sticking with your future — day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years — and working really hard to make that future a reality”(Duckworth et.al).

Life is a marathon. How many times have we heard this? We just don’t have one strand of motivation and end at the first pit stop. We continue riding with the highs and the lows. Grit as a virtue dates back to even Aristotle’s time. Historically, we know that as long as we live, we must not stop pursuing.  You remember the fable of the turtle and the hare. Potential-wise, the hare had a better chance. But he rested on his laurels and in the end, the persistent turtle won.

Success is not easy. I know that. YOU know that. It is not a linear path. It is actually messy but the key is to be consistent and never losing your eye on the prize.

“Our most important talent is having a talent for working hard” (Duckworth et.al). So be GRITTY and find your greatness.

*I delivered this entry as one of my speeches in Toastmasters. Winning Best Speech in that meeting was an added blessing. 

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

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.

Articles

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

Next Level Brand Experiences

In Campaigns,Strategy,Tools on April 2, 2012 by Jox Tagged: , , , , , ,

Experiential Marketing is about bringing the brand to life. It can build awareness and induce trial at the same time. Moreover, actual consumer reactions are captured in an instant. There is clutter in traditional media channels and messages are cut to fit into 30 seconds while advertisers are hoping for positive reactions that will be captured and reported a month later by research agencies.

Experiential marketing is a fully customizable medium that brands can take advantage of in talking to the consumers. It is not enough to just go out there and start plastering logos on random available spaces. Or worse, placing annoying mascots or spokespersons in busy places interrupting people with skits and flyers. Brands must create memories with consumers through exciting experiences…experiences they are willing to witness and take part of.

Based on my experience with activation and events marketing, consumers just don’t need to try your products via free tasting or service but they must get the brand message upon leaving the venue. The best experiential campaigns are those that become viral and sustainable.

Next-level experiential marketing makes use of technology and revolutionary techniques in order to strategically enhance consumer impressions. The most common trend lately is linking online interactions with offline experiences. These holistic experiences allow consumers to be excited about brands which is usually not induced by commercials.

Below are some examples that take sampling, events, and retail marketing to the next level.

TARGETED SAMPLING: TEMPTATIONS BY JELL-O

A vending machine that dispenses a free sample accurately detects target consumers via age recognition technology. Much to their dismay, kids were politely refused to be given any. I believe this technology effectively eliminates manpower training and implementation risks. I just wish that aside from dispensing products, the machine could have been more interactive in capturing information about consumers and their reactions which is an advantage of experiential marketing.

ONLINE TO OFFLINE EVENTS: T-MOBILE BARCELONA

Angry Birds has taken over the virtual world by storm such that T-mobile brought the experience in real life for passersby to witness. I like how subtle the company approached the opportunity by placing the game in the forefront rather than the brand. The event achieved 100% excitement but it always boils down to subscriptions.

“SOCIAL RETAILING”: MACY’S FITTING ROOM

Convenience is essential in experiential marketing. If it is such a hassle for consumers to participate, they easily lose interest and they eventually leave. Fitting clothes can be tedious and shoppers remain skeptic in buying clothes that they see on skinny mannequins or models. They can get disappointed once they have gone through the ordeal of fitting only to find out they look worse than usual. The magic fitting room answers convenience and the proverbial question, “Will I look good in this?” I wonder how the technology facilitated “impulse buying”.

Over-all, I think these are just some important points in crafting experiential campaigns for today’s fickle consumers:

1. Excite then inform: Hype is important to scale how much participation is going to be captured before the launch. Buzz can go viral but craft the communication points such that consumers know where to witness the reveal. For campaigns that involve “never-been-done” activities, set the “be-the-first-to-experience” bait.

2. Make the information accessible: People are always inquisitive especially if the information is relevant to them. Make sure that it is your company or agency that provides the know-how to inquirers for accuracy and credibility. It’s good when others are talking about it but messages always evolve through a long chain. Just be present wherever the questions will pop out.

3. Convenience is key: As said in the example above, consumers lose interest when it is such a hassle for them to go through your gimmick. Make the experience simple but impactful. Present incentives right away but never bribe them. It is an automatic turn-off and credibility is flushed down the drain. Present the incentives yet make the consumers earn them conveniently.

4. Strike consumers at the right time and place: This part is always tricky but research provides guide in contact planning. Engage consumers when they want to. It is in the quality of interactions and not in the number of hits that make an event effective.

5. Create a string of experiences: Also as said earlier, successful campaigns are viral and sustainable. One experience can be intense and memorable while there are some that require a holistic approach to reinforce the message. Whichever it is, never stop communicating with the consumer. This doesn’t mean to be intrusive and annoying but be present in the most significant venues and times. What’s good with experiential marketing is that it can connect with other media for it to continue e.g. TV coverage, online presence, radio promo components, etc.

To reiterate, experiential marketing is customizable and adjustable with the needs of the brand and the availability of the consumers. It should be viewed as an independently effective tool and not just a support in extending TV-driven campaigns.

Articles

Campaign Watch: The Deep Sea Challenge

In Campaigns on March 30, 2012 by Jox Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

A few days ago, Director James Cameron made history by having the deepest solo dive in the Mariana Trench. Of course the news caught my attention: 1. It’s James Cameron 2. It’s on National Geographic 3. The Mariana Trench! All fascinating elements of a newsworthy event that just made my anticipation for the complete video footage of the deepest place on Earth more intense.

And then yesterday on CNN, Rolex apparently also made another record of its own with the Oyster Perpetual as the deepest diving watch in the world. The watch already prides itself being made of 904L steel that can resist the harshest corrosion-causing elements. Diving down strapped on the submarine that plunged into the deepest part of the earth only made it incontestable. The In a short riveting ad, Rolex congratulates resident explorer James Cameron and builds the brand association with prestige. Certainly, Rolex already has an undisputed brand equity but brands like it aim for the highest distinct achievements that its opulent target and aspiring consumers admire.

For more information about the watch, Geeky Gadgets has a full feature on about it. Know more about The Deep Sea Challenge on National Geographic.

Articles

Smart Brands Make Smart Consumers

In Strategy,Tools on March 27, 2012 by Jox Tagged: , , , , ,

Consumers are no longer oblivious to the truth. They are now more active in seeking benefits beyond the ads. They are willing to pay a few more dollars just to get a genuine advantage inherent to the product. They are willing to buy and talk about the brands that have hidden advantages that they were smart enough to discover. An ordinary mother from the suburbs who blogs about her everyday discoveries is just as credible as the endorser paid to talk about your brand. So instead of counteracting these new consumer tendencies, brands must enable them to be even smarter.

I’ve already talked about consumer education before and how they extend communication beyond the tag lines/copies on ads. Brands should revolutionize not just their communication but their interaction with the consumers. Work with them and recruit them as ambassadors. The recruitment must be based on genuine belief in the brand and not some bogus endeavor. These types of efforts never last anyway and end up hurting the brand in the long run.

An example is how Nestlé launched a campaign on checking labels or the nutritional information normally skipped through by moms. How could they not? The back part of the packaging is usually a place of compliance and technicalities. It is full of texts and numbers of very small fonts. That part does not speak to the consumer. Yet, the Check the Label campaign extended consumer interface by facilitating the buyers’ understanding of nutritional content and value for money. The habit of checking the label might have been practiced across different products but pioneering the movement is attributable to the brand (or company).

It is not enough to be transparent with the consumers for it is a commercial and ethical (or legal) imperative nowadays. However, the truth can really be a disadvantage for a brand. For example, McDonald’s cannot deny that they have the healthiest foods but they managed to be transparent and enable consumers to make informed decisions at the same time. By launching a nutrition calculator, the power is given to the consumer to decide how much indulgence they are willing to take. It is not just about telling the truth, it is teaching consumers how to deal with it as well.

Below is a complete chart of everything on the fast food giant’s menu.

To sum up, crucial steps can be taken in making consumers smart with your brand.

1. Be transparent: Tell consumers significant truths about your product. It can be a hidden advantage, a new habit they can start, or a truth that can set rumors straight.

2. Manage how to deal with the truth: Brands must be the first to reveal and first to deal with information. But if consumers have gone astray in dealing with it e.g. switching to another brand, getting out of the category, or speaking ill about the product, then the truth must be set straight, public relations controls dissemination, and campaigns can be formed.

3. Getting smart together: Gather your brand believers and give them a venue to interact together and with your brand. Give a face to credibility by having a real person talk to the ambassadors regularly. Discover new habits and spot the ones that can be turned into campaigns. The key is to discover what works for the brand and initiate a movement.

Of course there are still brands and products we wish to be more transparent to us like insurance companies but then, that’s another discussion.

 

C) Copyright protected| BRANDS AND PITCHES 2012