Archive for July, 2010

falling in love

DATE: July 20th, 2010

Fully cognitive this title will bring a rash of spam, I fling caution to the wind…. So here’s the thing, research suggests that engaging with social media produces oxytocin, the hormone produced when you fall in love. Oxytocin creates feeling of love, trust and generosity.

BUT, here’s where it get interesting for marketers, social networking actually increases the levels of oxytocin in our blood.

I’m guessing that Health Canada is not going to look kindly on our using oxytocin in scratch and sniff in direct response print material, but I am curious on how marketers can use social networking to increase purchases, donations and engagement in brand.

It’s not news that purchasing (and donating) decisions are not all made intellectually. Many are made because of the purchaser has seen pleasing images of the product. Consider this comment I read recently in a blog: “If it doesn’t taste good, why buy it?” The author pointed out that advertising impacted people’s choices. I’m old enough to see that. Suddenly yams, which my grandmother excluded from our diets because they were the food of the poor, are beginning to crowd the potato market. Kale, often a staple in regions of high poverty, is showing up on high priced menus.

What happened?

Suddenly the palates of North Americans woke to the wonder of yams and kale? I don’t think so. But advertising and placement tweaked our taste buds into associating these foods with pleasure, find dining and image. Savvy marketers understand their audience and carefully craft their message to address their unique audience needs.

Wonder Bread, in the 50’s, appealed to new technology (made from batter not dough) and body strength: . In 2010, they played up the winter games AND the + factor of adding whole wheat while retaining the (guilty?) pleasure of white bread . Same product, new audience, updated approach… because they understood their product, their audience and today’s culture.

Traditional advertising, like the Wonder Bread commercials, are well executed and the marketing knowledge is well researched. But social networks and digital is still a space of discovery. While some select marketers have gained measurable success, we have not fully realized the potential of the internet, web sales or brand equity in social spaces.

I’m looking for your ideas on how social networking impacted your marketing.

To read the full article on the power of oxycotin go to


DATE: July 9th, 2010

A long time ago (eons in digital time, a few months in real time) I mused about brand.

And considered brands most recognized in Canada:

And I thought… these companies are worth millions of dollars. Couldn’t they come up with something more interesting? More modern? More memorable?

Because every time we embark on a brand project the client gets caught in the quest for a cool logo, bypassing the work it takes to develop a strong brand.

So here’s the thing.

Brand is about promise. Not about logo.

We know Walmart because it delivers what it promises: unlimited department store selection at prices that are lower than anywhere else. “Save money. Live better.”

We know Canadian Tire because for generations our fathers have carried Canadian Tire money in their wallets — a symbol of value and customer service. Their logo doesn’t say nearly as much as the first step in the store when you smell the Canadian Tire brand and scan the wide expanse from automotive to fishing gear.

Blackberry is not the company name but the product. RIM itself (Research in Motion) is well known in Waterloo, but the rest of the world sees the Blackberry. But their brand — a small, black device which engages the thumbs — is well enough known that Obama was said to carry one. Ooops…. wrong brand, but great exposure.

RBC is known by colour…. it is the blue bank in Canada. The logo is old, traditional and complicated. Perhaps all true to the brand.

My point?

Logo is one important, but small part of your brand promise.

The logo does not tell you story. Your personality is built by the products you sell, the stories you tell, the graphics you use, the places we find you, the people who use your products or services and your sales team.

Your logo should have these characteristics:

  1. Be easy enough for a 5 year old to draw
  2. Be simple and memorable
  3. Resist the temptation to serve as your mission and/or vision statement

Think of your logo as your marker — like a stamp or a sign post. Its job is to mark the pathway to your products and services. Build your brand by developing campaigns that tell your story.

One quick client example.

Several years ago we were introduced to a modular home builder. This unique technique for building was amazing. To watch an entire house being built under one roof was spectacular. At first glance the precise measurements and protection from the adverse Ontario elements seemed to be the strongest differentiation for the company. Past campaigns really focused on the technique of modular building.

But those strategies negated the customer and the brand promise that resonated with them. It also stripped the company of their true brand promise: we will build your custom home on your lot reflecting your unique family values.

Centering campaigns on modular construction completely ignored theirĀ  primary customer: women. While men drooled when they saw images of a full roof gliding on winches… women? Not so much. They wanted a cozy fireplace, kitchen filled with laughter and a quiet en-suite in which to retreat.

The brand promise of Royal Homes?

We will build a home that is uniquely you!

The company began to transform the overall brand image of the company without ever touching the logo. They used images, web development, customer service, model homes, TV spots, radio and a very well designed magazine to build their brand promise.

One more story — because I can’t resist.

A young gentleman offered some constructive criticism about our web site. And, don’t get me wrong, our web site is always a work in progress. His point? We had no flash, no coloured photos, no hype on our web site. How could an advertising company live with such a simple site?

And I thought to myself — wait, he doesn’t understand brand…. Barefoot Creative is about honest, simple communication that effectively grows businesses and non-profits. Barefoot is comfortable nakedness.

Brand Therapy

DATE: July 6th, 2010

So I think…. just how do brands impact?

Let’s consider the evolution of a simple, everyday product: Tide.

I know — it’s a laundry detergent. But from the very beginning, Proctor Gamble had their finger on the changes in society. This laundry soap, a unique blend of heavy-duty synthetic detergents, entered the market at the very same time as the automatic washing machine.

WOW…. the world of the everyday homemaker changed.

Laundry — and the soap you used — became a symbol of a homemaker who lavished love on “her” family.

Interestingly, while the advertising morphed with society… the actual brand didn’t change at all…. check these out:

Studies today show that identifying with a brand can actually impact the way you see yourself. Imagine — just carrying around a Victorian Secret bag will make me think I’m sexy.

Just wearing Nike running shoes will make me feel fitter. Taking out my iPhone makes me feel young and cool… younger and cooler if I take out my iPad. Stepping out of my brand new Carrera shouts: fast and edgy… the whole package of brands defines me (well, not me…. I’m a Mazda 3, Blackberry, barefoot yoga kind of person).

But you get what I mean. Linking with brands, wearing them, using them, displaying them… gives definition to who we are.

Few of products or organizations carry the weight of the iPhone or Blackberry. BUT we convey our personality by every aspect of our brand: our staff choices, our graphics, our furniture, our web site, our mail pieces, our display messages, our twitter, our choice of words.

Just for fun, check out this article — it is a great test of what brands mean to us and how they impact our psyche…. scientifically… you need to pay attention to the message you’re giving.