Posts tagged: Branding

NATIVE ADVERTISING… a new definition, or will it lead to consumer deafinition?

By , July 25, 2013 11:14 am

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It may be the time to ask whether this new definition is helpful — NATIVE ADVERTISING is a method of communication that is “native” to the experience offered within a website’s content, valuable content integrated within the editorial feed — not an ad-in-a-box alongside the search page.

Actually, we have already used descriptions of Native Advertising such as advertorial, brand reference, and sponsored content, among others.  Thus, Native could be defined as any ad that is blended within content.  Also from a consumer’s view, it may be an opt-in interactive choice in which she or he is aware of the advertiser’s message intent, and still opts-in.  Different age groups react to marketing online in more or less accepting/receptive ways.  Therefore, a Native Advertiser needs to communicate how its offer has personal appeal and feels native to the site, overcoming the consumer’s wish not to hear or see advertising messages.

Up to this era of constant change and 24/7 communications, the advertiser and the media had agreed that the blending of advertising and editorial was not allowed. There was a wall between the two because it was considered confusing to the consumer.  It might be suggested that the media’s main interest was in making money through advertising, even more than in providing useful information and entertaining experiences.  However, many of the media are in a new world of needing to find new revenue streams.

At this time, an argument is occurring about what the term Native Advertising really describes.  And if it also means advertising that will not be received as advertising.  On the other hand, it may prove to be perceived as better than the newer omni-channel forms of advertising that surely are on the way.

Some practitioners will contend that in this new “social media world,” many consumers don’t perceive any difference between editorial and advertising.  They regard it all as content in their communication.com lives.  Behind the strategist’s attempt to create appeals by linking content to a consumer’s wants and/or needs is still the positive positioning of a brand.  Whatever method used, increased brand relationship + loyalty = improved brand equity, which is the goal.

It is important to note that consumers are now more informed, aware, and selective.  So we ask: Is it wise to use “Native” in our advertising and communications?  Will it be a strategy to increase trust or mistrust?  Will it be constructive or obstructive?  Will marketers get better results, publishers get a premium revenue stream, and audiences get a better experience?

Will Native Advertising be the new strategic direction or just one more arrow in our ad quiver?

Native Advertising Mad Avenue

“I feel that Native Advertising may turn out to be the Mad Avenue to be on…” Drapered by Art Winters

 

For more on Native Advertising:

Adyoulike.com; Nativo.net; AdsNative.com

sharethrough.com

 

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

Neuro-Marketing through FMRI and NAcc

By , May 30, 2013 10:47 am

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It’s a brave new world we are seeing and must work within. As an evolving story, we have to consider how online advertising will be affecting the consumer’s brain? Neuro-marketing research is already investigating the effect online neuro-marketing will have on our brains in the current and evolving Internet/PDA world.

As we have recently discussed in a previous blog, researchers have learned that when the consumer first receives a message, it hits a section of the brain called the Nucleus Accumbens (NAcc). This is the reward/punishment, pleasure/pain “headquarters” of the brain. By evaluating the amount of activity in such demarcated brain areas, the prefrontal cortex and the insula, neuro-marketing’s use of FMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is working on a process to foresee how a consumer makes shopping decisions. For example, if the NAcc indicates a positive desire response from a brand message over a more negative doubt response –“Should I be spending money?” then the pre-frontal cortex could believe that it is getting a great deal and making a wise choice (such as better prices, bonuses, and other personal satisfactions).

NeuroMarketing

Drawing by Art Winters

Neuro-marketers are seeing the possibilities of using FMRI to examine and better understand the workings of consumers’ brains.
With this new knowledge they hope to develop new ways to initiate and stimulate consumer wants and needs. Don’t forget that it has always been marketing’s purpose to stimulate the consumer’s cravings and increase AIDA: attention, interest, desire and action.

If this concept makes you feel queasy, what kind of debate might occur if companies/brands have more invasive ways to communicate to and influence consumers in how to respond to a brand’s image, its brand story, and its brand positioning for superiority???

What kind of society will develop if this becomes the normal practice rather than a seemingly science fiction prediction?

OMG – What’s Next??? We may not be LOL’ing for long…….

 

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

TIME TO THINK visCOMual

By , March 28, 2013 11:05 am

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Fashion advertising has always been more visual than verbal, which may play into its favor in the current, highly visCOMual marketing environment. We are seeing a trend in this mega-media environment for marketers to be involved in a heightened sense and use of visual literacy, visual thinking, visual perception and visual communications.

It has been our practice in our teaching and in our marketing and brand consulting to stimulate thinking by refashioning some of the terminology. It is our way of encouraging our own team and other participants to stop, think and apply the concept being presented through a new and different term such as visCOMual.

As in this case with visCOMual, we have noticed the need for more arresting visual communications in our digital, instant messaging world. To emphasize the importance of applying this to our clients’ branding messages, we created our own word for these innovative communications. Stop, think and recognize what is going on around you – what are you noticing about the visual communications you are encountering in your life? Even though the visualization of fashion has long left still-form, “proper” posing, as in the Levi’s ads of the 1950’s (seen here), to keep up with our own human evolution, there is certainly a need for the creation of effective matrices for this newly defined visCOMual process.

2 Levi's 1950's ads

1950’s Levi’s version of visual communications is “proper posing”

The visual literacy process can present fashion modeling with language as unique as the product design. There are advertising/brand managers and catwalk directors who are working on nonverbal languages of their own. Their intent is to grab attention with this new imaging language and visual meaning newly applied to their brands. They may now create a mind’s eye matrix for visCOMual that correlates visually with elements that are: emotional, rational, imaging, associative, symbolic and/or cultural, as in the Levi’s ad of today. The goals are to engage the customer’s seeing eye, the cultural eye that perceives the inner-mind or “my-style” eye, and/or creates a video-eye that records in the must-have, shopping mind.

2 current Levi ads

2013 Levi’s visCOMual – new-world posing and connecting with the Levi’s customer of today…

The positioning of visual communications for designers, brands and retailers is to encourage additional purposes for our ever growing and changing technologies. We are all working to create new areas of communication that can provide: product information—knowledge, self-design aspiration, increased meanings, and unique expression in our new visCOMual languages…

Think VISCOMUAL by Art Winters

Drawing by Art Winters

What strikes your mind’s eye?

 

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

10 Trends for Better Marketing and Results in 2013

By , March 23, 2013 10:08 am

Everyone loves top 10 lists.

So now that we’re ending the first quarter of the year…here’s some helpful directions to focus on in your marketing and business (they are in no particular order of importance)

1.       Integrate your marketing
As much as everyone would really love “the answer” and that it be just one thing…social media is the “one” at the moment…that’s just not how marketing works. Marketing is an eco-system that includes social, PR, collateral, branding etc.

2.       Put in a call to action in every piece of marketing you do
This may sound self-serving but it actually helps direct the customer to the key next steps in order to buy your product or otherwise engage with you.

3.       Create content that is valuable to your customers
This includes helpful tips and case histories that will help move the prospective forward to become a customer.

4.       Communicate
Tweet, blog, get your voice out there and heard.  I posted a jobs graph from another source a while back and suddenly it’s been “Pinned” by dozens of people on Pinterest. Who knew?

5.       Do primary research with your customers
Ask them open-ended questions about what’s important to them about your product or service and what will drive them to buy it.

6.       Listen to your customers’ answers
The information may be different from what you expected. Welcome the face that you do not know it all and keep your ego out of it.

7.       Follow-up after the sale
Thank your customers. If they have feedback (which you should solicit) listen to it and if something is wrong, make changes or otherwise implement their feedback.
Follow-up again.

8.       Identify your influencers
Build a relationship with them either on-line or in person.

9.       Brand yourself, your product, your company
Remember, you are your brand.  Use experiences and stories to help with brand identification. Your customers will also help you create your brand.

10.     Write better subject lines
It’s a crowded, competitive world out there…make sure your communications are opened.

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Just say yes…to networking

By , March 2, 2013 9:12 am

A lot of business (particularly service businesses) is done by relationships.  Chemistry is one factor that helps to foster those relationships. Sharing an experience is another. That’s why networking is important.  (Yes online networking is important as well and chemistry and experience sharing occur there also but my focus in this post  is on in-person networking encounters).

Now, don’t just jump up and run to the nearest networking events – there are too many each day. So you have to be selective.

Here are some tips that work for me on events:

  • Select events that interest you – it’s easier to start conversations and ask questions of panels if you’re interested. Also once you’ve asked questions, people are aware of you and may approach you after the panel.
  • Stretch – go to an event that’s geographically different – cross the river –  if you’re in Manhattan, go to Brooklyn or New Jersey. I’ve gone as far as the outer suburbs of Philadelphia.  I was in a networking event in Newark, and had the opportunity to meet Christine Quinn, President of the New York City Council, and chat with her for a  few uninterrupted minutes – I might not have been able to do that in a Manhattan venue (especially in her district) because when she’s local, everyone wants to meet her.  A few months later, I ran into her again at another event and she recognized me – we chatted again and I was connected to her chief of staff for ongoing communication with her. Valuable connection.
  • Use social networking to find out which events are high quality.  Sometimes someone in the know will offer you a discount to the event. Almost always someone will direct you to a good event and maybe even one you hadn’t heard of before.
  • Get to the event early – I often wind up speaking with the guest speaker or panelists prior to the event before anyone knows who they are – after the panel, they are usually surrounded by lots of people.
  • Go no matter how you are feeling – sometimes just walking in the door without any expectations brings nice surprises.
  • Don’t expect to meet everyone.  That results in lots of business cards in the trash later.
  • Networking is not limited to a time and place – I know colleagues that got business by chatting while waiting on a long line at a professional meeting. Here are some other networking ideas http://adminsecret.monster.com/benefits/articles/1211-alternative-places-to-network

In my entrepreneurship classes, I sometimes run into an individual who is shy and says they can’t network. There is one universal answer: “get over it!”   If you are starting a business, the single most important factor in the business is you  — YOU ARE YOUR BRAND.  You must get out there and network because people are buying you.

Here are some more tips on how to make your networking succeed: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-bernard/six-tips-how-to-network_b_1954824.html

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

GOOGLE MAKES MAD MEN, SAD MEN

By , February 28, 2013 9:54 am

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Print Media Commissions are not in Mad Men Visions

GOOGLE MAKES MAD MEN, SAD MEN

drawing by Art Winters

In 2012, Google billed over 20 billion in advertising dollars.  This was more than the total of all U.S. print media.  What a contrast to what magazines and newspapers sold just five years ago!  In 2006, print media sold 60 billion dollars more in advertising than did Google!  How will this change brand marketing?  This isn’t your Mad Men’s day of advertising. (“Mad Men” is AMC’s TV show based on Madison Avenue’s advertising business and people in the early 60’s.)

So what does this mean for brand management performed by many of today’s advertising agencies?  Well, they had better get their act together.  They need to deliver branding power that can compete or at least do co-branding with the Googles, E-Bays, Amazon.coms, and many others, which will keep coming down the Internet superhighway.

The big question is how much of a threat is online advertising?  Is it delivering the ROI experienced through print media advertising?  It’s vital to realize that Google, just 14 years old, is now taking in more ad revenue than print media, which has been here for over 100 years!

However, it must be accounted that Google has a global operation, so this can’t be simply analyzed.  It must also be analytically figured that Google has seen a 15% decrease in ad Cost-Per-Click, CPC (the average fee that advertisers are charged for each clicked on ad) in 2012.  But now, Google’s CPC drop has slowed and perhaps turned the corner in January, as their CPC share increased due to click share on tablet devices. As more people are watching content across a variety of their mobile devices, Google has decided to pull out of its 5-year effort to build its TV Ads product.  Since 2009, they have shut down similar services for print and radio advertising.

Google is concentrating on beating Facebook in the sale of online display ads.  (Online display ads feature the advertiser’s content message on a destination website, usually in a box on the top or side of the page.)  The company is planning to lead web-search ads and online display ads that feature graphics, interactive communications and videos.

Google’s significant increase in display ads that concentrate on brand content is evidence that they have ambitious brand marketing goals.  Now Google is building and developing plans for their advertisers to more efficiently buy across a multitude of sites.

This is not only an important story for the online aspects of our businesses; it is also a good brand invention and reinvention story to watch in real time. 

Where has Google been and where is it going – stay tuned… the next generation of Mad Men is in the digital works….

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

Social Media week – observations and a guest blogger on those observations

By , February 23, 2013 8:37 am

Social Media week was full of fantastic events with different experts in various sectors.  The networking was great because each venue had different people to meet and multiple points-of-view.

There were two global takeaways I had from the events I attended.

·   The first is that there’s still no magic bullet to get customers, even in social media.  SEO, blogs, websites, linked in, pinterest, etc. must all work in as part of a strategically organized system in order to be successful. And that requires a fair degree of participation on your, the entrepreneur’s, part

·   The second takeaway I observed and heard from techies who were self-proclaimed “not” marketing people (that’s how obvious the problem is) is that the paradigm of giving the customer what the company and ad agency wants hasn’t changed at all.  The only change is how it’s delivered –- using new, sexy technology.  This is troubling. For example, at the “Marketing without words” event, there was a discussion of social engagement through images. Tools to follow each visitor from first look to sale, re-tweet or re-pin, etc. is now available. It’s called Curalate.  Great. But what does it measure AFTER a customer’s visual trail?  How does that affect a company’s bottom line? Imagine how much more impactful a  brand would be if they asked their customers what THEY wanted to see before they posted anything.  I predict that audience participation would skyrocket.  And Curalate would confirm that.  There is some progress in that, but where’s the ROI?

Here are some thoughts by Joe Bergmann, who has many years of online marketing experience. His approach is simpler and more effective than anything I’ve heard in a long time.

“Just By Asking”

Why do ad/brand companies try so hard to quantify people? Why do they try to dictate what they want people to think? Why do they think they have the power to brand themselves in people’s minds?

Most ad/technology companies of late adopters (advertisers), try to be hip, thinking they are on top of the latest technology and social networks so that they can exploit early adopters (customers, who don’t want their social media invaded by yellow creamy cheese and canned soup). Advertisers talk about controlling “authentic” relationships directly with customers, as if that was possible. Actually, it’s self-delusional. And then they take that delusion in-house (what next — outsourcing that authenticity to India?). Unbelievable.

This is top-down, invasive thinking. Most companies believe that what is important to them is important to their audience. It’s eyeball gathering that gets dirty looks from the consumer, because it is perceived as interrupting customer conversations and trampling on their privacy. What it is, is bad manners. Many companies seem to have forgotten that serving the customer also serves their stockholders. Until companies stop imposing meaningless marketing messaging on people, they will be stuck in a morass of the latest technological gimmick and the old-fashioned broadcast mentality. The Internet is a graveyard of technologies and metrics that have been the next, best thing.

So what’s a company to do? Remember, your brand is what the customer experiences of you — not what you want them to think (no matter how much and where you advertise). To make that work for your company, you should consider asking your customers what’s important to them. All you have to do is ask. So few companies do that, because they fear the of loss of control. But loss of control is not a bad thing. Being too much in control will make you less effective in the sales process. It turns your marketing message into a monologue. And most monologues don’t produce sales. After all, that’s what marketing boils down to — sales. Giving in to your customers and listening to what matters to them is liberating. It helps you think clearly about how you should approach your audience — without trying to interpret what they mean. In our experience, your customers are more than willing to help. They are the most important asset your company has.

So why do so many marketing companies and ad agencies still operate in broadcast mode? Again, loss of control. So they offer focus groups to pick the “best” of their controlled ideas. So what if the best idea isn’t in the 3-5 boards presented. Just keep developing more controlled ideas. Wouldn’t it be simpler to ask the customer what’s important to them and then build your marketing around their needs? But that takes a willingness to lose control and let people speak freely.

But that takes an approach to market research that requires a sense of humility, listening skills and a commitment to giving people what they want from your company (and a good product  or service that meets a need doesn’t hurt). The problem with most companies is that they rationalize or assume they know what the customer wants without having ever asked. They think their product or service should be interesting without being interested in their customers. Or worse, to be able to manipulate their perception. It doesn’t work.

That’s why I developed the OpenMind session and methodology. There is no better way to discover what your audience wants — and helps you give it to them. It’s the simplest, most time and cost effective way to make your marketing work. One OpenMind session will open your eyes to a whole new way to brand your company and then turn that brand into an experience to your audience. In OpenMind sessions customers are the ones who inform you how they want to be “told and sold.” Then and only then can technology become a tool that enables you speak to their needs.

Just by asking.

To learn more about OpenMind visit: http://www.holtzmancom.com/teamwork_openmind.php

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Stop marketing, and you’ll see a change

By , February 9, 2013 10:10 am

We’re usually so busy trying to get started in marketing that we tend to forget that once we start, we need to continue. What happens if we don’t?

Today’s guest blogger,  Aruna Inalsingh (http://www.animarketingservice.com/) provides some insight into marketing, measurements and meltdowns of the corporate variety.  Aruna is President and Found of Ani Marketing Services Ani Marketing Service, and has years of experience providing strategic marketing solutions for a wide  range of companies, products, and services, starting their new programs and improving their existing ones.

“As a career marketer, one of the most common client requests is for a direct correlation between marketing investments and business revenues.  The reality is that it is indeed hard to quantify direct success from marketing programs.  Although with digital media, it’s getting easier, as you can track the number of followers, visitors, clicks, and online sales– especially if you don’t have any brick and mortar stores.  Furthermore, it is true that marketing takes time, resources, and/or money – ask Walmart’s CFO, Charles Holley!

That being said, here’s a story we like to tell about the value of marketing, which is exemplary of scientific proofs where you cannot prove if something is true, but you can prove if something is not true:
Seiko Watches was founded in 1881.  They were a strong believer in marketing, and with an ongoing commitment to invest in company promotion, within a short amount of time they developed a solid reputation for affordable and reliable watches. Seiko had a monopoly on this market until 1930, when Citizen Watches was established. Citizen wanted to be the Pepsi to the Coca-Cola, if you will. Citizen proceeded to invest as much money in marketing, if not more than Seiko, to achieve a similar brand recognition (and revenue stream). It never happened … until 2008. The global financial crisis in 2008 hit everyone hard. Seiko and Citizen had to make strategic decisions. Seiko decided its brand was strong enough to temporarily sustain itself with a skeletal marketing staff, and Citizens decided to maintain as much of its marketing program as possible, in context of its diminishing budget. In 2010, when Seiko was ready to re-invest in its marketing program, initial research showed that the consumer market thought Seiko had gone out of business and therefore had turned to Citizen as the market leader. It took 2 years of marketing withdrawal to ruin the 127 year old Seiko watch dynasty. Today Citizen has a similar brand and market value to Seiko.”

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Brand MarkETing… No More Brand Marking!

By , January 31, 2013 12:06 pm

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Brand MarkETing

Are we seeing Trans-Planetary Brand MarkETing in our digitized mobile economy? Drawing by Arthur Winters

So what is the difference between brand marking and markETing?

In the past, branding was initially a way of marking or identifying a brand as in marking a rancher’s cattle with a branding iron. As time went on, logos were developed to mark and establish an identity for companies, products and services. More recently in our digitized world, brand managers must bring an ET — Extra-Terrestrial or more likely, an Essential Technology element to their branding. Bringing a more advanced brand marking to their brand markETing.

In the past few years, many customers have felt more of a divide between what they want and what brands offer. Brands that have a vision of what the customer really wants make the most of what their customers value and enjoy. In addition, the customer is increasingly aware of their involvement in product development in their role as “prosumer.”  We see an increase in the desire for personalization from and customization of products, services and experiences.

To satisfy their new brand expectations, customers are moving rapidly to shopping with online retailers. Retailer brands will have to explore more UC, Unified Communications, that include retail pop-up stores and departments similar to Amazon.com and kiosks for brand offers similar to Groupon.com. UC strategies will be created that involve real voice (as opposed to electronic menus) responses to customers’ demands for personal attention and customization.

Strong brands that fulfilled customer expectations in the past may diminish, as many consumers are no longer loyal to brands they perceive as category leaders. As always, Brand Managers have to create strategies that convert consumers into customers. The hard work is now in creating an innovative presentation of relevant and much desired brand attributes for the most effective brand positioning. Some brands are creating differences that are being told through their brand story. A compelling brand story and the brand’s history can be delivered to better sell the brand’s positioning assets, differences, and superiority.

So we find content and technology merging in new ways. Consumers may now depend on apps that provide applications to personally bring to mind brand differences and values. These can be inspired by knowledge of their singular profiles and their current desires. And right up there in ET brand positioning is the brand manager’s awareness of their customers who are not really engaged. Previous paradigms for customer-engagement may no longer be effective and customer experiences, CX, that are no longer current in today’s retail marketing, will need to adjust and innovate like never before!

Next, brands will rely more and more on VOC (Voice of customer), innovative interactions with customers and encourage buying recommended by their friends via social media. Successful brands will acquire more knowledge about operations involved in a consumer-run world. As we have mentioned previously, PDA’s/mobiles employed by consumers will dramatically increase. Consumers will be scanning their own screens to connect with a brand, and perhaps, influence their buying. A brand will need to unify all of its messaging and specifically its advertising that is designed for the mobile customer. This may include new screen-oriented techniques for these new retail venues. Google made over $20 billion in ad revenues this year, more than all U.S. print media combined!

We suggest the oft-quoted phrase: “The Future is NOW” — might apply.
What do you think?

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

Digital Storytelling – Tell the Right Story to the Right People.

By , January 5, 2013 9:23 am
Image provided by Shutterstock http://www.shutterstock.com

Image provided by Shutterstock http://www.shutterstock.com

The transition from analog to digital has enabled the reach and focus of PR and marketing messaging exponentially. These transitions are nicely described by Lucy Siegel (http://bridgebuzz.bridgeny.com/). With these new powers, it’s important to make sure that your storytelling is aligned with your branding and that both have been influenced in some way by your audience (let’s call it customer-focused storytelling). This not only strengthens your story, but your brand as well.

Even the new technology has a new wrinkle, as Janet Falk (http://www.janetlfalk.com/) tells us. It’s crowd sourcing and user-generated content — when companies actively solicit input from target audiences. She provides a familiar example: The 1995 campaign to select the next color of M&Ms is now a contest for user-generated video commercials. Contestants are rewarded with seeing their work displayed on the company website, inevitably shared among a like-minded audience and often voted upon. The grand prize winner gets monetary compensation and digital fame. In the process, consumer packaged goods companies relinquish a measure of control and yield reliability of authoritative sources to the unknown contestants, whose agendas may or may not align with specific corporate goals beyond increasing brand awareness.

The benefits of digital storytelling come with more responsibility, in the form of having to monitor both the effect your story is having, as well as your audiences’ reactions to the story (for instance, bloggers without journalist credentials and audiences with agendas).

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

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