The enduring importance of TV in the marketing mix is shown by research done for Facebook by Nielsen. The study was ostensibly commissioned to show how Facebook delivers incremental reach of video content versus TV-only campaigns. However, a more interesting angle is the far superior reach of TV, especially for old farts like me, as Claudio Marcus pointed out here.
I share some below highlights form the research, that analysed the reach relationship between Facebook and TV on 25 campaigns across 2014 and 2015 that ran on both platforms.
1. Facebook has good reach for 18-34's, not 50+
The graph below shows the reach of Facebook alone by age. Not surprisingly, the data shows reach is highest with 18-24 and 25-34 year olds where the numbers are impressive. There is much lower reach of 13-17 year olds, who are not supposed to use Facebook, and who anyway think that Snapchat is cooler and 'more their media'.
However, check out those lower figures for people aged 35-49 and especially 50+. Owing to the ageing population, this group account for 35% of the population, over 40% of consumer expenditure and a whacking great 75% of the wealth, according to this report. That means that Facebook can is NOT reaching 71% of the wealth in the country (75% of wealth from 50+ x 95% of 50+ not reached by Facebook)
2. TV's reach remains way bigger
Now, what happens when we look at the incremental effect of adding TV? The red bars below show dual reach of TV and Facebook; the green bars show the extra people that TV reaches; these people watch TV but don't use Facebook. TV increases reach by between +46% (for 18-24's) up to +1,520% for 50+. This shows that the predicted demise of TV as a channel is a long, long way off. Especially if you want to reach that 40% of expenditure and 75% of wealth the 50+ group account for.
Today I got an email about a fascinating talk called “The Power of Sound: Making Every Second Count.” The talk was given by award-winning composer Joel Beckman at the Promax UK 2016 Conference, ‘The New Normal’. This hit a nerve with me, as I have long been a believer in the power of "sonic branding".
Below I share some highlights from Joel's talk that show why you should be creating amplifying and reinforcing sonic properties for your brand.
1. New media are wired for sound
We live in a digital world where most media are now 'wried for sound'. Think YouTube, Facebook and Instagram video for example. This creates more opportunities than ever before to harness the potential of sound to create distinctiveness for your brand.
2. Sound works fast
Sound efficiently and quickly engages people, something that is important in today's busy world where attention spans are shrinking. Joel explains how sound actually works faster than any other form of stimulus. Different types of sound can instantly trigger different emotions. A string quartet are generally romantic, warm and expansive. A trumpet fanfare is rousing, heroic and powerful.
3. Sound 'activates' your brand
Joel quoted research from Leicester University showing that brand advertising using sound or music fitting with the brand had 96% higher recall than advertising with no sound, or the wrong type of sound. For example, windscreen repair company Autoglass have used a musical slogan for many years: "Autoglass repair, Autoglass replace." This is used in the UK but also in France, where it is "Careless répare, Careless replace."
And sonic devices do more than just prompt recall, they also work as a key to trigger brand meaning. For example, when you here a few notes of the James Bond theme tune a whole set of associations and emotions come flooding into your brain in an instant.
4. Reinforce and amplify your sonic properties
As with all brand properties, the challenge with sonic devices is to use them consistently over time to create memory structure. One example is the start-up sound of the Mac computer, which has been used for many years as part of a distinctive experience. Joel describes this sound as being almost a "religious experience". See below on the blog for a video with the evolution of this property. Joel was surprised to hear that Apple plans to ditch the sound on the new MacBook Pro range, and predicted that Apple will make a U-turn on their decision.
In conclusion, sound can play an important role in creating engaging content that triggers memories and emotional connections.
Below is a nice mind-map summary of the talk, that can watch in full here.
This is the second of two posts sharing highlights from our 10th annual research project: "Rebooting brand strategy for a digital age". Last week we addressed the fundamental issue about how brand strategy is being neglected given the focus on digital and social media. In this post, we look at three key was to carry out this rebooting, with brand examples for each. These findings were published in a recent Campaign article here.
Search for truth
The most important success factor for brand positioning in the digital age remains deep consumer insight. This insight needs to be “holistic”, exploring the role of brands in consumers’ lives and popular culture, not just in their product categories. Digital technology can help generate the right insight, with data mining and social listening identified as the most useful techniques. However, marketing directors suggested that these complement rather than replace direct, real-life contact with consumers. As with branding in general, the challenge is to re-boot the insight process, blending the best of new, digitally enabled techniques with tried and tested ones.
Pot Noodle used this insight approach to revitalize their brand. Social listening revealed that the brand was stuck in the past: a quick solution for those too lazy to cook a proper meal. The previous major campaign in 2011, "Why try harder?", reinforced this image, featuring a transvestite footballers' wife living a lazy life of leisure. Back in the laid back 2000's this felt pretty cutting edge, in today's era of student loans and start-ups, less so.
When the team got out and spent time talking with students, initial feedback confirmed this negative brand image; most of them denied using the brand at all. However, poking around in the same students’ cupboards revealed that the brand was in fact being used by them, although reluctantly. The product was a convenient, tasty time-saver but the brand’s image was a barrier to use. The new ‘You Can Make It’ positioning broke this tension, making the brand more aspirational for today’s ambitious and go-getting millennial consumer. The new campaign has delivered double-digit growth and dramatically improved levels of awareness, brand equity and social engagement.
Our research suggested that a clear sense of purpose about the broader role a brand plays in peoples’ lives and society is increasingly important. This reflects in part the growing desire and ability of connected consumers to learn about the companies behind the brands they buy.
Axe recently sharpened and refreshed its brand purpose, to ensure the brand remains progressive and provocative for today’s young men, as part of a move away from the brand’s ‘babes in bikinis’ image. Research with 3,500 men across 10 countries showed that they feel pressured by masculine stereotypes, with only 15% agreeing that they are attractive. On the other hand, nine out of ten women find men most attractive when they are themselves. This led to a to a brand purpose of “Helping guys to celebrate their individuality and be as attractive as they can be” and a new campaign, ‘Find Your Magic’.
Brand purpose should be authentic and integrated into the brand experience, rather than “bolted” on as an afterthought. In the case of Lynx, alongside a new grooming range and a distinctive new advertising campaign the brand has become the official partner of CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably). This charity works to reduce suicide rates in the UK, as it’s the single biggest killer of men under 45.
Brand positioning needs to be simpler and easier to understand, with one marketing director suggesting that “We are constructing long stories for a hashtag generation!”A final crafting process by a small team, not a committee, can help sharpen and simplify the positioning. Visuals can then provide extra inspiration, with alternatives to complex brand pyramids including brand magazines, brand story videos and even turning the positioning into a movie poster.
These simpler, clearer and more visual positioning outputs can form the basis of an inspiring creative brief. Here, our research highlighted the balancing act required for today’s digital age. There remains a need for a unifying big brand idea to orchestrate the larger number of agencies delivering the brand. On the other hand, clear guidance is also needed on how to adapt the message and tonality for different connection points, including social media.
A good example of a brand pulling off this balancing act is the recent re-launch of Purdey’s, the Britvic owned adult soft drink. There was a fear that the strength of the new brand ambassador, Idris Elba, would dominate and detract from the strategic objective. An old fashioned positioning document wasn't considered suitable. A combination of video, impactful visuals and personal briefings was used instead. This seamlessly integrated campaign that resulted has driven +30% sales growth.
In conclusion, the key to creating growth today is not to overlook brand strategy, but rather to “reboot” it, by searching for deep insight and using this to create and bring to life a purposeful and inspiring positioning.
Post by Jon Goldstone, Managing Partner, Global based in London
In a Campaign column published today, I look at how start-ups are having an increasingly disruptive influence on what was once a very stable food and drink industry. In many categories news brands are driving category growth, breaking category marketing conventions to challenge once-dominant brand . Think Fever-Tree in drinks mixers, Propercorn in popcorn, Pip & Nut in peanut butter and a myriad of craft beer brands. Big companies such as Unilever and Nestlé are responding by launching start-up accelerators.
Three big shifts have created the conditions for disruption: i. a channel shift away from traditional supermarkets, ii. a media shift away from traditional media to include low-cost digital media choices and iii. a consumer shift away from brands that are perceived as being processed or artificial.
However, it’s not that easy, or we would all be doing it! For every Fever-Tree, there are dozens of start-up food and drink brands that fail. Below I suggest five secrets for start-up success, drawing on my experience as Unilever's VP of Marketing for foods and the brandgym work we have done on hundreds of food and drink projects.
Peanut butter is a good example. The category is surprisingly large, the incumbent brand (Sun-Pat) has been relatively dormant, the consumer sees nuts as being an important part of a healthy, natural diet and the retailer wants to jazz up the category. Bingo!
Shortcuts are easy, especially when working with third-party suppliers and in a hurry. It is very tempting to take "off the shelf" solutions that are often no better than the current own-brand offering. However, ensuring you have a great product "sausage" is important to complement the emotional "sizzle" of s start-up brand. The quality of Propercorn’s product is fantastic and makes the incumbent, Butterkist, look very ordinary.
Many start-up brands are starting to look like they use the same design agency and are conforming to a new "Food 2.0" convention. The real successes do their own thing and are inspired by a founder’s story and vision that are authentic and compelling. Innocent is an old example, but still a good one in terms of creating a whole set of distinctive assets to bring the brand to life, including the Innocent Foundation (that gives 10% of profits to good causes), the Big Knit wooly hat promotion (to raise money for old people at Winter) and the use of 'packvertising' to tell the brand story via packaging.
Category leaders are typically owned by big businesses and so move quite slowly, including figuring out how to use social/digital channels. Start-ups have the edge on speed, and can lead in digital channels to make the competition appear slow and anachronistic. A great example is the tea category. Almost all of the category growth is being driven by brands such as Clipper, Pukka and Teapots, which invest in smart digital marketing to help them sell more stuff – a sharp contrast to the campaigns from PG Tips and Tetley.
Many food and drink start-ups think they will only start making money when they achieve scale. But the definition of scale is often ambiguous and, even when defined, often not achieved. It is possible to 'follow the money' from the start. On the income side, a great product and distinctive proposition should allow you to command a significant price premium. On the cost side, keep the supply chain super simple, minimise overheads and use cost-effective marketing that makes the most of digital/social channels. Finally, it’s critical to negotiate trade margins as competitively as possible – once they are set, they are unlikely to come down.
There is no denying that the world of food and drink is changing just as quickly as most other industry sectors. Wherever you stand, it is critical to understand the shifts and respond to them. The only certainty in this period of rapid change is that those who stand still will lose.
This is the first of two posts sharing highlights from our 10th annual research project: "Rebooting brand strategy for a digital age". Here, we address two fundamental questions. First, what is the importance of brand strategy in a world transformed by digital and social channels? Second, how does brand positioning needs to evolve to be fit for purpose in a digital age?
A clear brand strategy remains key for success ...
The enduring importance of brand strategy in today's digital age was confirmed, with almost all our marketing directors (91%) agreeing that the key to effective digital marketing was a clear brand positioning. Even though the routes to the consumer have changed dramatically in recent years, the fundamentals of brand strategy remain vital for success. “If you really start from your brand vision to make choices, results can be incredible,” observed one marketing director.
... but brand strategy gets overlooked
New channels have opened up exciting new ways to engage with the ever more connected consumer. However, a focus on new digital channels means that brand strategy “often gets overlooked” according to 60%+ of those surveyed. “For many people digital is the lifeboat of marketing thinking,” observed one marketing director. Professor Mark Ritson went even further in a recent column, saying "In the last few years, marketing seems to be devolving into a tactical pursuit, devoid of strategic thinking.”
Social media usage is still about following trends
There remains a need for more rigorous and data-based use of social media. “Keeping up with latest trends” remains the main driver of social media usage, four years after our study “Can Social Media Show you the Money?” (62% today vs. 60% in our 2012 survey). Marginally more companies are basing social media usage on “Tangible evidence” (23% vs. 19%), but they remain in the minority.
Brand strategy needs rebooting
Having confirmed that a clear brand strategy is key to effective marketing in the digital world, how does brand vision and positioning need to evolve? The majority of our survey (85%) suggest change is needed, but most (62%) recommend fine-tuning rather than radical change. We call this “rebooting brand strategy”. The top priorities from the study are i. deeper insight into culture and life, ii. creating a more purposeful positioning and iii. bringing positioning to life in a simpler, more visual way as the basis for an inspiring creative brief.
In conclusion, brand strategy remains important in today's digital age but needs rebooting to remain relevant. In the next post we will look in more detail about how to reboot brand strategy, brought to life with brand examples.
About the research
The research was carried out via a global quantitative survey of over 100 senior marketing professionals, covering a range of different sectors. We also did in-depth interviews with 20 marketing directors, from companies including Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and Costa Coffee.
The latest bit of cartoon genius from Tom Fishburne brings to life nicely a key theme from our latest research project: 'Rebooting brand strategy for a digital age'. We recommend the need for digital to drive the business as a whole. We, like Tom, use the quote from Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes: the challenge is "Not about digital marketing, but rather marketing in a digital world".
Below are few key points from Tom's post.
1. Follow the money
As Tom's cartoon shows, too much work on digital and social media is today is still about following fads and fashion, not on driving profitable growth as the data from our research below shows. We need to remember that the sole purpose of all marketing is to SMS (sell more stuff).
I'm with Tom when he says that creating senior-management roles focused on digital "treats it as a silo, distinct from the rest of the business. It can be heavy on hype and light on substance." The risk is that the digital team work are separated from the day-to-day business, and that everyone else thinks its not their job to innovate and renovate using digital.
3. Use digital to grow the core
The real priority should rather be "for everyone in an organisation to figure out how to do what they do better with digital technology," as Tom says. He illustrates this point with a story from a healthcare company The recently-appointed 'Chief Digital Officer' visited Google and ended up cruising around in a smart car; fun but not following the money. In contrast, "his clinician colleagues were meeting with a software vendor about streaming patients' vital signs to their smart devices," in order to improve the customer and patient experience.
In conclusion, we should avoid treating digital transformation as a task separate from the core business, as this "can blind us from seeing the opportunities directly in front of us". Rather, digital technology is an opportunity to reboot each part of our businesses.
Oh dear. Watching the eagerly awaiting John Lewis Xmas ad online today was like unwrapping a present on Xmas day and being disappointed to find an ugly scarf instead of a shiny new iPhone.
The new ad features a dad building a trampoline for his daughter on Xmas eve which is then used by a couple of creepy foxes and a badger. On Xmas morning, before the girl can get on the trampoline, she is beaten to it by Boxer the pet dog who has, we assume, been shown how to trampoline by the nocturnal animals.
You can watch it below on the blog, or here.
Below I explain why I think the brand has lost the magic of its previous Xmas ads.
[For non UK readers, John Lewis is a UK retailer whose Xmas advert has become something of an event, with a build up of anticipation before it is premiered].
1. Losing the plot story
The clever thing about John Lewis Xmas ads up to 2015 has been that even though they look fresh, there has been complete consistency in terms of the story. The end lines varied slightly from year to year (see below), but the story was always "Give a little more love this Christmas, by shopping at John Lewis for your gifts". The focus on the joy of giving makes the brand distinctive versus other Xmas communication that tends to focus on the receiver of the gift.
But what the hell happened this year? The effort put into choosing and preparing the gift is much less involving : the dad struggling with the nightmare of building a trampoline. And the pleasure of receiving the gift is also much less, as the dog beats the little girl to the bloody trampoline!
Compare this with last year's ad where a little girl gives the man on the moon a telescope. Or 2014 when the little boy gets his imaginary penguin friend a playmate - see below.
2. Consistent execution
In terms of execution the ads look different. But look closer and there's was a lot of consistency from 2010 to 2015. The commercials have a similar narrative structure, with a focus on the gift giver, building up to a climatic and tear-jerking "reveal" at the end. Importantly, the focus is on the product/gift and the giver as joint heros. So we have emotional "sizzle" but also some product "sausage": Second, the music is different, but the style of music is similar. All three songs use slowed down, accoustic cover versions. Third, the ads all have an emotional pull on the heartstings, with an "Ah" factor.
Again, this year's ad falls down, with the execution much weaker in my view.
To make things worse, we have a couple of creepy foxes that if our garden is anything to go buy, would leave a rather nasty and smelly present on the trampoline.
3. Adding freshness
There has been plenty of freshness to keep viewers anticipating what this year's ad will be like, and rewarding them when they discover it. From 2010 to 2015 we had a different leading character, a new song and sometimes a change in execution style. Last year it was the imaginary man on the moon, the year before was a make-believe penguin and the year before that we had an animated bear.
And this is perhaps where John Lewis has lost the plot. They have tried to inject more freshness than normal, with the real-life dad hurting his thumb putting up the trampoline and the slapstick humour of a trampolining dog. But in doing so, they've screwed up the magic recipe in my book.
In conclusion, after being a beacon of fresh consistency, John Lewis has over-done the freshness and in doing so produced a weaker commercial.
To have fun watching all their previous Xmas ads, click here.
And the spoof version of this year's ad below.
"The advertising industry is hopeless at assessing the media habits of the rest of the UK." This is the damning finding from research by IPSOS for Thinkbox, as reported here. "We’re generally educated, upmarket, London-centric and time-poor and this shows through in our lifestyles – particularly media." The problem is that ad agency folk tend to project their own behaviour onto the general public, including a massive over-estimation of the importance of social and digital media.
Below I look at the fascinating findings from the study and the implications for marketing.
1. Ad people are social and digital media addicts
Ad people are at "hopeless social media and subscription VoD (video on demand) addicts", according to the study. Past 3 months consumption of social and digital media is much higher than the general population:
2. Ad people have a distorted view of real peoples' habits
One apparent results of addend's love of social and digital media is that they have a totally screwed up view of how normal folk consume media. Ad people estimate that ‘normal’ people spend a whopping 37% of their viewing time watching TV on a device other than a TV (e.g. on a phone or iPad). Guess what the real number is, based on a mix of BARB and broadcaster data?
Ad people are wrong by a factor of 18!
"Yes, but my teenage son/daughter NEVER watches TV!", I hear you protest. "They ONLY watch TV on their iPad". Well, if that's the case, they are different from most young people. Over 80% of 15-24's still use a TV to watch programmes. And whilst thier use of other devices is, as expected, relatively high, it still lags behind using a TV set.
The risk of having such a distorted view of media habits is that the importance of digital and social media is over-played. As Mark Ritson recently commented here, these results help explain why "Marketers are so obsessed with digital communications and so down on what they refer to as 'traditional' media like TV and Radio."
3. TV's impact advantage
TV advertising remains by a long shot the most impactful form of media, according to the study. It sticks in our brains better to 'create memory structure', being 6 x more memorable than the next best competitor And it is more effective at creating 'brand fame'. It is also the medium most likely to drive emotion, make people laugh and drive conversation. And this pattern is mirrored for 15-24 year olds.
Interestingly, the importance of live TV is increasing over time. According to the report, "The public appreciate watching TV on the same day as it is broadcast feels like more of an event. There is a real sense of anticipation around their most-watched programmes."
In conclusion, the Thinkbox report should be a real wake-up call for brand and agency teams, especially the younger, urban 'digital natives'. Most people live very different lives and have very different media habits, which need taking into account when planning marketing and communication. The solution is not about digital marketing replacing 'conventional' marketing, but rather complementing and amplifying it.
Post by Group Managing Partner, David Nichols.
I was in Cape Town last week with fellow brandgym parter David Taylor and we managed to blag an early table at The Shortmarket Club, a hot new restaurant with a cool bar. Needing to stay fresh for the mega worksop we had the next day, we asked what 'mocktails' (non-alcoholic cocktails) they had available. In one of those ‘this must be an ad’ moments, the smiling, white coated barman asked: “Have you tried ‘The Duchess’? It’s a virgin G&T.” My instant reaction was ‘where’s the hidden camera?’, but on trying the drink and seeing the brand, I had another thought: this is the holy grail, a credible, delicious, well branded adult soft drink!
Check it out yourself at www.theduchess.co.za
Again and again the large incumbent businesses who spend millions on innovation simply can’t. It takes the fresh unencumbered thinking of a total newcomer to crack the new opportunity. We think The Duchess has made an excellent start. Can they capitalise on a great brand and turn it into a great business? We’ll have to wait and see.
We're on the phone now trying to oeder a few cases to ship to London....
'In the rush to engage today's connected consumers, the fundamentals of brand strategy are being neglected. That's why a clear brand positioning is more important than ever.' This is the thrust of a Campaign magazine article published online today that fellow brandgym parter Jon Goldstone and I penned, based on findings from our our 9th brandgym survey. Below I share some key headlines from the article.
The digital obsession
There is no doubt that digital marketing is the main topic of conversation for marketing directors and their teams today; in some cases, it is the only thing they seem to talk about! Every week, a sexy new social media channel seems to pop up, promoting itself as the next big thing. And scaremongering headlines from digital experts warn you how marketing is undergoing seismic change and that you had better keep up or risk being a dinosaur.
So, it is not surprising that "keeping up with the latest trends" is the main driver of social media use, according to our research with over 100 marketing directors, across multiple categories and markets. Less than a quarter said their social media use was based on tangible evidence of business benefits. Of even more concern is that the number of companies following the money, not the hype, has hardly shifted since we questioned marketing directors four years ago.
New digital channels have, of course, opened up exciting and potentially profitable ways for companies to engage with ever more connected consumers. However, the risk of so much time, effort and energy being spent on digital channel selection and execution is that the fundamentals of brand strategy are being neglected.
On one hand, 91% of the marketing directors surveyed agreed that "the key to effective digital marketing is clear brand positioning" (see graph below from the Campaign piece). Face-to-face interviews with confirmed that a clear brand idea is more important than ever, to help orchestrate the growing number of agencies delivering a brand over multiple channels.
And yet most of the same marketing directors also agreed that, "with the focus on digital/social marketing, brand strategy gets overlooked". The implication? There are lots of brands out there without a compelling, coherent big brand idea to inspire and guide effective marketing. And this neglect of brand strategy raises the risk of brand equity being diluted over time as the brand message and experience get fragmented across an ever-increasing number of channels.
So, how to inspire marketing and agency teams to rediscover the power of brand strategy? Our research suggests brand strategy isn’t broken; most marketing directors recommend fine-tuning it. The challenge is not to totally reinvent brand strategy but to "reboot" it for the digital age, with three main ways we recommend to achieve success:
The most important success factor for brand positioning in the digital age remains deep consumer insight. This insight needs to be holistic and to explore the role of brands in consumers’ lives and popular culture, not just in their product categories. And as with branding in general, the challenge is to reboot the insight process by blending the best of new, digitally enabled techniques with tried-and-tested approaches.
Pot Noodle used this strategy to revitalise its brand, as Jon posted on recently here. Social listening revealed that the brand was stuck in the past, seen as a quick solution for people too lazy to cook a proper meal. The previous major campaign in 2011, "Why try harder?", reinforced this image, featuring a footballer’s wife character played by a man living a Wag’s life of leisure. This approach was cutting-edge at the time but less suited to today’s era of start-ups and student debt. Culture had moved on. Pot Noodle had not.
When the team spent time talking to students, initial feedback confirmed the negative brand image – most students denied buying it at all!. However, poking around in the same students’ cupboards revealed they did use the product, albeit reluctantly. Pot Noodle was a convenient, tasty time-saver but its image was offputting.
The new "You can make it" positioning makes the brand more aspirational for today’s ambitious and go-getting millennial consumers. The campaign, by Lucky Generals, has delivered double-digit growth and dramatically improved levels of awareness, brand equity and social engagement.
Our research suggested that a clear sense of the broader role a brand plays in people’s lives and society is increasingly important. This reflects the growing desire among consumers to learn more about the companies behind the brands they buy.
Lynx recently refreshed its brand purpose, moving away from the babes-in-bikinis image to remain progressive and provocative for today’s young men. Research carried out among 3,500 men across ten countries showed that they felt pressured by masculine stereotypes and only 15% thought themselves attractive. On the other hand, nine out of ten women said they found men most attractive when they were being themselves. This led to the formation of a new brand purpose – "helping guys to celebrate their individuality and be as attractive as they can" – and a new advertising campaign, "Find your magic".
Brand purpose should be authentic and integrated into the brand experience, rather than bolted on as an afterthought. In the case of Lynx, the brand has not only launched a grooming range and a distinctive new advertising campaign by 72andSunny Amsterdam, it also became the official partner of the Campaign Against Living Miserably, a charity dedicated to reducing the rate of suicides among men.
Brand positioning needs to be simpler and easier to understand. "We are constructing long stories for a hashtag generation," commented one marketing director. A final crafting process by a small team, not a committee, can sharpen and simplify the positioning. Visuals can then provide extra inspiration. Alternatives to complex brand pyramids include brand magazines, brand story videos and even turning the positioning into a movie poster.
These simpler, clearer and more visual positioning outputs can then form the basis of an inspiring creative brief. Here, our research highlighted the balancing act required in today’s digital age. There remains a need for a unifying big brand idea to orchestrate the larger number of agencies delivering the brand. However, clear guidance is needed on how to adapt the message and tone for different connection points, including social media.
A good example of a brand pulling off this balancing act is the recent relaunch of Purdey’s, the Britvic-owned soft drink for adults, featuring new brand ambassador, Idris Elba. As Kevin McNair, GB marketing director at Britvic, commented in the article: "An old-fashioned positioning document wouldn’t have done the job. We used a powerful combination of video, impactful visuals and personal briefings."
In conclusion, brand strategy is not broken. But it does need rebooting in order to regain relevance, especially amongst the younger generation of "digital native" marketers who move so fast that they risk neglecting brand strategy in favour of digital channel strategy.
I came across an intriguing post on Linked In by Andy Raskin about what he thought was "The greatest sales deck ever". Hell of a title for a start, right? The sales deck in question is for Zora, a Silicon Valley based company that sells a software platform for subscription billing (i.e. anything you pay for on a recurring basis, such as Spotify or Apple Music).
So, Sit tight. And get ready for the 5 key steps to a killer sales pitch.
And don't forget, we are ALL selling everyday, whether you are an agency pitching for new business, or a marketing director pitching for funding for a new project, or an interviewee trying to get a new job.
Andy's first step is about being customer issues focused. "Don't kick off a sales presentation by talking about your product, your locations, your clients, or anything about yourself," he says. "Instead, name the undeniable shift in the world that creates both (a) big stakes and (b) huge urgency for your prospect." This sound obvious, but most sales pitches do start with "Our company is...." (I'm just looking at our credentials now with a slightly red face...)
Here is how Zora do this... the phrase “subscription economy” sums up in a distinctive and memorable way the trend to people making recurring payments rather than one-off purchases.
A follow-up slide shows the history of the change that has happened:
Andy highlights a difference from most pitch advice, which is to start with a consumer problem. Doing this can put the person you are presenting to on the defensive, as they may be unaware of the problem, or not want to own up to suffering from it.
Andy suggests that highlighting a shift in the world is a better approach: "You get prospects to open up about how that shift affects them, how it scares them, and where they see opportunities. Most importantly, you grab their attention."
The second step addresses a phenomenon I've posted on before called “loss aversion.” People tend to stick with what they know and don't like change. To get over this barrier, you have to "demonstrate how the change will create big winners and big losers.
Zora do show how winning companies have shifted from selling products to subscription services, including new start-ups like Dollar Shave Club, that I posted on here.
#3. Tease the Promised Land
The next step is to present a taster of what Andy calls "the happily-ever-after that your product/service will help the prospect achieve—the Promised Land." This Promised Land should be both desirable but hard to achieve without outside help.
Zora's Promised Land slide shows the benefits of the great experience needed to win in the subscription economy:
#4. Introduce Features as “Magic Gifts”
Only now do you start to talk about you company and what you have to offer. Here, Andy draws on a Hollywood movie analogy, suggesting you "Position capabilities like 'magic gifts' for helping your prospect reach that much-desired Promised Land."
Zora do this by talking about how its customer record is the key to a richer subscriber experience.
The road to the Promised Land is of course not an easy one, with many obstacles to overcome. And prospects are likely to be skeptical of your ability to deliver. Now its time to show some evidence that you can "make the story you’re telling come true." This is where "social proof" comes in: success stories about how you’ve helped someone similar to your prospect each the Promised Land.
Zora has a set of customer success stories, such as this one from NCR.
So there you have it. 5 steps to a killer sales pitch which build on the principles of storytelling. Why not try them out on your next presentation and let me know how you get on?!
The poster below from Sonos really grabbed my attention when I was waiting for a tube train this week. Nothing too fancy. Not a higher order, lifestyle-driven piece of communication. And unlikely to win a prize at Cannes. But bloody effective in my book. So effective that I have finally caught up with most of mates and installed a Sonos system chez Taylor. We are now streaming music from our iPhones, selecting the room we want the music to play in.
And we're not the only ones. Sonos had its best year to date in 2015, hitting nearly $1 billion in sales, according to this report.
1. Nailing the insight
Talk about hitting an insight bang on the head: your music enjoyment is being held back by a shitty speaker system. This rings so true that I bet Sonos found it by getting out of the office and spending time hanging out with non-Sonos users in-situ. The image above-left of an iPhone poorly fixed with an Apple adapter to a speaker is exactly what was in my kitchen until yesterday; and I'm sure I'm not the only one to have suffered from the problem!
2. Nice brand idea
Sonos have built on the insight into the problems suffered by non-users with the simple but effective brand idea: Listen Better. The poster then contrasts the Sonos Home Sound system experience with what many people are currently putting up with, and challenges the viewer by stating: "You're better than this". What I also like is how this is 100% focused on driving penetration, which is the key to brand growth. It also works by reassuring existing Sonos users that they know how to "Listen Better".
3. Add some sizzle
Yes, the communication is simple and very focused on the product "sausage". But is has a touch of humour with the statements used to describe the shitty speaker systems on the left and right in the poster above. For example, "Listening Fail #28 'Barely Hanging On' ".
Sonos could do more with this in my book, by encouraging people to use #listeningfail and #listenbetter to share their own Sonos experience. At the moment, Sonos doesn't come up in many of the Twitter searches using #listeningfail.
4. Brilliant product "sausage"
Best of all is the experience of setting up and using Sonos. Boy oh boy, this is one helluva product. The Sonos app is a thing of beauty, taking you through a super-simple set of stages to set the system up. There was zero "friction" when I did this, such a pleasant surprise in a world where so many brands over-promise and under-deliver. It. Just. Worked.
In conclusion, Sonos is a great example of a brand that has nailed a powerful insight, created a big brand idea to build on this and then delivered a brilliant product that delivers exactly what it promises, straight out of the box.
We need to not only learn about the target audience for our brands but also "learn to like them", according to Andy Nair, co-founder of agency Lucky Generals in this interesting Campaign column. He suggests that marketing and agency teams often lack respect for and connection with the core consumer, which in turn leads to "clunky advertising, infuriating service design and shoddy ethical practices plaguing business at the moment."
Below I outline an approach to address this issue, which involves going beyond consumer exploration to consumer empathy.
1. Re-frame your consumer portrait
Marketing and agency people can be quite dismissive and even disrespectful of the consumers of their brands. And this can lead to what Andy calls "patronising prejudices" about people, such as "These guys are rate tarts" or "They just want to get pissed and get laid."
The challenge here is to "re-frame" the portrait of the core consumer and focus on the positive emotions underlying their behaviour. Only then can you have respect for and connection with them. Andy gives some great examples from his work where he has done this to see "another side to their stories":
Teenage knife-carriers => frightened kids looking for protection
Rural drink-drivers => the life and souls of the pub who get carried away in the moment
Potential tax-dodgers => self-employed grafters who resent the special treatment given to big businesses
One technique we use on projects to help paint a full portrait is to use the framework below (example for the Top Gear brand), which goes beyond demographics to explore "passion points" and attitudes to life.
2. Immersive research
To truly connect with the consumer, teams need to go beyond rational understanding and feel the insight in their guts. This is hard when there is "a lifestyle gap" between the team and the consumer group the brand is designed for. My first job as a P&G brand manager was working on Milton, a product for sterilising baby feeding bottles. As a 25 year old single guy, my world was miles away from that of the core consumer.
A solution we use on brandgym projects is designing "immersive insight" that breaks teams out of the one-way mirrored world of focus groups, spending time in the real world of the consumer. Andy tells a great story about how this approach helped him on a government anti-smoking campaign. Previous campaigns had focused on the physical health damage to the smoker. Immersive insight highlighted the emotional damage to the family of the smoker, especially kids. One great example was a child who would write notes about these worries and put them inside her mum's cigarette packets.
3. BE the consumer
Immersive insight can really help you connect with you core consumer. But it can only get you so far. To really connect, the best way is not to try and understand the consumer but rather to BE the consumer. I am still shocked and stunned to meet non-drinkers working on beer brands, or non-drivers working on cars. Back to my example of working on the Milton brand for baby bottle sterilising, we should have had at least one mum or dad on the team. Bring the real consumer into your company, ideally on the brand team or as a minimum, as part of an advisory panel. And try, where possible, to work on a brand and category you have a real interest in.
In conclusion, as Andy rightly says, "At a time when we’re accumulating more data than ever before, it would be a shame if this came at the expense of human connection."
Post by David Nichols, Group Managing Partner and Head of Invention.
The latest ad for Kinder Surprise got me thinking about the magic in the mix of these little chocolate eggs with a toy inside. Kinder is not as big as the leading chocolate brands from Cadbury & Mars, but it is growing rapidly and profitably. "Ferrero profits jump 14 pct as Kinder eggs sales soar,’ reported Reuters here.
Below is our view on what they are doing right:
And zoom in on the visual identity. This has to be one of THE best examples of consistent and distinctive design we have ever seen. The Kinder logo, the white top, and red bottom with the wavy line are all there, 30 years later.
Even though you could argue that this new ad won’t win any creative awards in Canes, we are prepared to bet it connects with it’s intended target and communicates the benefit clearly and distinctively.