Archive for August, 2011

What if I’m ordinary?

DATE: August 25th, 2011

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about brand. Every article, book and blog pulls out Apple and eBay and Microsoft and Coke. And as I look through my own blogs, I’m guilty.

While Google, Apple and Coke seem to be ubiquitous, “ordinary” companies continue to struggle to build brand power.

Albert Szent-Gyorgi said: “Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking what nobody has thought.”

I love that. But I have to challenge myself.

Last week I received a direct mail piece from a past client. While we worked hard to capture the unique voice of the client, the new piece was stripped of brand, voice and uniqueness. They used an tried and true bounceback technique and the letter that went with the package was generic — there was no voice or brand in it.

I grit my teeth, knock my head against the wall, stamp my feet.

And then I realized…. while we idealize uniqueness and brand personality, very few organizations actually achieve it. First of all, it’s a risk. If I continue to do what has worked for other companies, I will grow my business. Why would I risk that? So if you can show me a label package that can be mimicked for a 2% response rate, why not just copy it?

Secondly, there is a fine line between unique and obscure. The human race is not that unique. There is a very small list of motivators that trigger response. People respond predictably. On the whole, dollar valued responses to marketing are most likely to be generated by linear offers. When clever ads require the audience to determine the actual offer, sales will decrease.

Finally, immature marketing strategies may resist the foundations: audience, product and value.

We were producing a small package for a client. They requested a younger more edgy look because that was the direction they wanted their brand to go. Their customer based was firmly entrenched in the 60+ demographic. Going young and edgy was the desire of the marketing team, not the customer. The team was blinded by an inside view, unable to look outside and understand their own audience.

So how do small, relatively insignificant companies build stronger brand while developing marketing strategies that increase the sustainability of their company?

I’m not sure there’s an easy answer.

In the midst of a mountain of literature on change, social media and consumer behaviour, there are many things that are too successful to change just yet.

Campaigns are dead…

DATE: August 3rd, 2011

Peter Fisk said that… in 2006.

Too bad no one told Dove.

The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty launched in  the US in 2004, it hit Canada in 2005. In 2011 it still hasn’t lost steam.

One of the most challenging aspects facing today’s markets is speed.  So much is changing so fast. Or we think it is. We have to be careful we don’t let technology consume us (yes, Brian, I am cognative of the irony of me saying that.) My Space, Facebook, Twitter, Google+….. just 4 of the myriads of socia media sites millions of people flock to. Who would have thought that Facebook would completely consume My Space?

Fisk wrote the book in 2006 and referred to “multi-disciplinary mobile phones” … I believe he is referring to smart phone. Today, 33% of Canadians own a smart phone…. or carry a tiny computer in their pocket at all times. That tiny computer is more powerful than my first 4 computers.

When we panic about the fast-paced, changing world dominated by technological innovation, we cannot forget Dove. In a consumer-oriented environment, Dove’s marketing team stood true. They started with their audience. In an environment that assumes the consumer to lead, the marketing team stuck to their principles. They did everything they could to understand the inner woman…. the woman who did not see herself as beautiful. Which, as it turns out, is 96% of the female population.

Dove launched a traditional and powerful campaign. They used traditional media and new media. The used inspiration and education. Their numbers soared. Once an old fashioned beauty soap, transformed to a young, smart product…