Wednesday, 29 December 2010

When you get it right TV delivers a powerful brand experience

This Kevin Roberts (CEO Saatchi & Saatchi) favourite ad [click here to see his recent post and Fox interview].

A clear demonstration of the power of television and it's ability to deliver a highly emotional brand experience.

It is hard not to be affected by it.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Happy Christmas e-card idea

Hot on the heels of writing about BMW yesterday, thanks to Paul Flanigan, I came across this clever interactive Christmas card thingy.

I thought it would be a bit of fun. A great brand experience that will encourage a bit of viral (but not quite advocacy)

Here's my version [click here for link].

It is almost an example of the customer becoming the ad agency.

Mobile help brands win in-store

This short video has some great food for thought around retail and mobile from Andy Murray (CEO Saatch X).

He says that the real retail innovation around mobile is 'on the fringe' in Korea and Japan.

To be clear, these countries are not on the fringe, but the points he makes are extremely interesting.

"In Korea the mobile phone is an integral part of the brand experience let alone the shopper communications and connections"

"In parts of Japan shoppers can scan a packet of meat with their phone and it will show where it came from and a picture of the cow."

As I have said before, mobile is fast becoming an increasingly important part of brand experience, particularly at the buy stage of the path to advocacy.

My advice is to be testing and learning how to execute it now.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

BMW experience that will get noticed

This is an interesting approach by BMW. It is a legitimate form of the famous Coke subliminal advertising.

What better way to deliver a brand experience that will get noticed than to create an 'after image' (on the inside of viewers eyelids) effect of the brand logo during an ad?

As they say in this generates a "more intensive connection with the target."

This is clearly not a experience that is scalable but this film has by 300,000+ hits so it is getting BMW noticed.

Nice one.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Fans drive a brands success

Mario Vellandi wrote an excellent article about a book by Kate Newlin called Passion Brands.

It sounds like a must read.

One of Kate’s definitions of a Passion Brand is:

"A product that creates such personal enthusiasm that purchasers badge themselves with it through conversation, apparel, continuous repeat purchase."

These are what I refer to as FANS on the path to advocacy.

Marino does a great job apprising the 7 drivers of Passion Brands.

Here they are:

  1. Adopt and Promote a Shared Worldview...a brand identity based on a worldview, rather than a demographic, will attract a larger and more culturally diverse customer base.
  2. Use Design as a Differentiator and Lovemark..think Apple, Porsche, and Flip video cameras
  3. Hire Passionate Employees...are more likely to positively talk about their work and affiliated brands with other people including family, friends, and the growing circle of online acquaintances.
  4. Engage Customers and Become More Personal..understand how ineffective advertising has become.. most brands have to become a little more humanistic and/or personal in all touchpoints to stand out. [and drive advocacy]
  5. Democratize the Brand...allowing folks to customizing the product/service.
  6. Use Backstories and Arcs.. stories describe how such excellence came to be.
  7. Brand the Buzz... stimulates word-of-mouth and sales.

Powerful stuff.

If a brand can create consumers like these it is going to win.

In my view a key is to deliver brand experiences that are personal. The best deliver meaningful emotion through the use of human contact. Get this right and you’ll build a sustainable competitive advantage that is hard to copy.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Mobiles apps are important drivers of brand experience

MarketingProfs recently blogged about an interesting piece of research by Harris Interactive.

It reveals that mobile is a key part of the brand experience for many (76% of mobile app users say brands should have mobile apps to make shopping or interacting with them easier).

Is this a surprise?

No, not really. However, what is a surprise is that 38% of users say they are not satisfied with most of the apps current available from their favourite brands.

Marketers need to get their act together because mobile is becoming increasingly important and influential.

According to a survey by EffectiveUI 69% of their sample agreed that if a brand’s mobile app isn’t easy to use it contributes to negative perception of the brand.

This is not good.

Let’s look at the facts:

  • Mobile phone subscriptions will reach five billion this year -- almost one per person on the planet, (source: UN)
  • People love their mobile phones. A Daily Mail poll last year found that of 4,000 women, 4 in 10 said they would be 'devastated' if they lost their phones.
  • Mobile ad spending is up 80% in 2010 (source: eMarketer)
  • Retailers see huge potential to sale stuff via the handsets. A survey by Deloitte at the end of last year found that 1 in 5 shoppers said they intended to use their phones to shop over the holiday season.
  • Nielsen predict that smart phones will overtake standard phones sales in U.S. by 2011

So, if you are in the business of building brand experiences that deliver and delight consumers with the aim of driving sales and advocacy, make sure your mobile strategy works.

Getting it wrong could be costly - research shows when things go bad with apps, people spread the word (32% of app users say they have told others about a bad experience with a mobile app).

On the other hand, get it right and you could win. The research shows that 66% of app users have downloaded an app based on a review or recommendation, and 57% have recommended an app because of a positive experience.

One last thought

One-third of US wireless subscribers downloaded a mobile app in the third quarter of 2010, up 2.5 percentage points from 30.6% in the prior three months.

Enough said...

Monday, 8 November 2010

Marketing cycle to advocacy

In the old days marketers used linear funnels to help them plan marketing that aimed to move consumers through the funnel from awareness through various other stages to purchase.

The AIDA model - Attention, Interest, Desire and Action - being one of the most well known.

The power of consumers and the growth of the internet has forced marketers to change their thinking.

Mckinsey's last year started talking about the 'consumer decision journey' and Forrester Research have recently stated talking about the 'customer life cycle'.

Now it's my turn.

Above is my new 'cycle to advocacy'.

It is simply the path to advocacy framework I have been using for the past 2 years, but drawn in a cycle.

The stages are the same and its purpose the provide a framework that enables marketers to work out:
  • What brand experiences they want to deliver their consumers at each stage
  • How to get the whole brand organisation (marketing, sales service, etc) to focus on collaborating to delight consumers in a way that gets them to buy again and become brand advocates.
If you are keen improve how your organisation builds brand experiences that will drive sales, loyalty and advocacy I recommend you check-out all three approaches.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Wheat Thins reward a fan and create a great story

This is a great story.

A Wheat Thins fan posts a comments on Twitter saying: "AAAHHHH I'm outta Wheat thins...mi life is officially over"

Next thing she knows is that the brand delivers a crate full of Wheat Thins to her home.

This is smart brand behaviour on so many levels:
  • This is a brand that knows how to deliver a brand experience that will delight it's consumers.
  • This is a brand that has good social listening capabilities.
  • This is a brand that knows how to create and spread a story - via social media - that will get talked about.
  • This is a brand that understands the power of advocacy; and that when you delight consumers and create a positive story - it will spread (as evidenced by 500,000+ views on YouTube to date).
That's a good way to build a winning brand.

Nice one.

Does Mcdonalds deliver what they promise?

Regular readers know I talk a lot about the Promise ~ Deliver ~ Delight frame work; and how it is vital that a brand delivers the promise they make in their communications.

The picture above (posted by three guys heading west) is a typical example of how brands often don’t deliver what they promise.

McDonalds glossy picture of the Big Mac that bears no relationship with reality of what they serve (deliver).

Is that a problem?

In the case of McDonalds and the food category in general it is probably not. That is because consumers have got used to the fact food pictures on glossary ads, menus, recipe cards, etc don’t actually reflect reality. Most people know a little about cooking and what cooked food really looks like.

However, it is a major problem for most other categories.

If a brand makes a promise they must deliver it, otherwise, quite simply, the consumer will not buy again.

The really smart brands take it one step further. They aim to ‘delight’ their consumers - because they know when they do consumers are likely to buy again and maybe even tell their friends about it.

Think about the brand experiences you are currently delivering after purchase and how your organisation can start to deliver brand experiences that will delight.

That’s how you will build a winning brand.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

T Mobile make air travellers smile

Here it is. The latest T-Mobile flash mob.

It was fun to watch and made me smile.

But will it get passed on like their previous films?

Thursday, 28 October 2010

T-Mobile flash again

I blogged last year about the T-Mobile flash mob event at Leicester Square with some enthusiasm.

So it is with interest that I see in the Guardian that they are at it again. This time at Heathrow.

They are building a good reputation in the marketing world for their engaging flash mob events. This one was even observed by some stunned A list celebs. [check story in The Sun]

More importantly, they have got very slick at amplifying it with the consumer and getting their 'Life is for Sharing' message noticed and talked about. A winning brand experience.

I for one will tune into watch the 3 minute version tomorrow night.

Good stuff.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

A friend of mine – Ingrid Murray - recently told me an extraordinary story about a contact she had with Barclaycard after they had sent her a new card.

She telephoned them to activate it and was put through to someone that was seemingly determined to sell her fraud protection insurance.

This is an example of a really bad brand experience.

When a consumer telephones to activate their card the last thing expected is a heavy sell, particularly when it is for something that isn’t needed. Credit cards typically offer free fraud protection. Here is what Barclaycard have to say on their website:

"As long as you tell us the moment you spot something you think is fraudulent on your account, and you've done everything you can to prevent fraud (like not telling anyone your PIN), you won't be liable for fraudulent use of your card

I, like most people, hate it when this type of thing happens. It is very obviously a ruse to make more money.

It is a major mistake by Barclaycard.

When a consumers makes contact them they should focus instead on delivering a positive brand experience that delights; this is far more likely to result in longer term sales results.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

When brand organisations say “sorry” it can be extremely powerful

I hate it when dealing with a brand organisation when they don’t say sorry if it clearly is the appropriate action. Instead they usually focus on protecting themselves...often it is the customer service people who regard it as a personal duel and an opportunity to prove how clever they are....

This is short-sighted and wrong.

They overlook the fact that consumers are far more likely to change their mind, view your brand positively and maybe even tell their friends (advocacy is a very powerful force) if it says ‘sorry.’

While on face value it might cost a little bit of money it is a great strategy to differentiate vs competitors.

The blogsphere is littered with stories where brands have got it wrong and suffered - see examples on a previous posting about Dell, Apple and Comcast.

I was very interested to see an article on about recent research undertaken by the Nottingham school of Economics.

They asked hacked-off eBay customers whether they would prefer some sort of monetary compensation or a simple apology....the overwhelming response was a preference for a straight apology. (Check-out the report.)

Richard Branson understands the power of an apology. There is a great story about how he handled a letter of complaint.

It isn’t rocket science or difficult. It just requires a change in attitude and culture.

If you work at brand organisation I suggest you look closely at the brand experience your customer service department is delivering and work out how to improve it...saying sorry occasionally. It will potentially be more effective than most other forms of brand communication.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

A pleased customer is our best advertisement

Thanks to my friend Faris for bringing this old ad to my attention.

As he say's, it is far more relevant today than the time that it was originally written.

Jeff Jarvis - in his book 'What would Google Do?' - sums it up well when he says: "your customer is your best ad agency".


A happy consumer is extremely valuable because they can tell their friends about you. When people talk to their friends in a positive way about your brand then that it's more powerful than any ad.

The internet has changed the game when it comes to talking positively about because social media is like word of mouth on steroids. Word spreads fast on-line (see Dominoes story)

If you are a smart brand marketer you will focus on delivering brand experiences that delight so that your consumers talk positively about it. The even smarter ones listen carefully to what is going on on-line and amplify anything positive that is being said.

Here's a good example.

I blogged last year about a fantastic holiday I had in Nikoi Island (see post).

They spotted my post (smart listening skills) and commented on it, offering me a couple of free cocktails on my next visit. They then linked my blog to their site which has resulted in loads of people clicking on my story, I assume before they commit to making a booking.

Later that year I won 'best blog about Nikoi Island.' The prize was 2 free days on the island.

The 'advertising' value they have had from me (on and off line) must have delivered them an excellent return on investment.

Take note. Think how you can delight consumers. It is worth it.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Customer experience is the new brand

I found a great article at Stage Two that quotes Dustin Hoffman...

“Customer experience is the new brand.”

“I’m not referring to a brand as a logo and a typeface. I’m referring to the new kind of brand; the one is formed by the entire experience of a customer’s interaction. That experience gets branded into his or her memory and leaks into the buzz of modern culture. If you can’t make a good customer experience from start to finish, you’ve failed to generate brand value that will attract customers to come back for repeat business and tell their friends to come back, too. That’s how good customer experience directly affects the bottom line.”

It echoes precisely my view on the importance of delivering a winning brand experience and the affect it has on loyalty, advocacy and the bottom line.


I strongly recommend you take note... and if you want to build a better brand experience for your consumers start by looking at the path to advocacy shown above and work-out how your brand can improve delivery at all stages.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Kitchenaid delivers winning usage experience

There is a great story from Hayley’s Dilling about her recent purchase of a Kitchenaid electric hand mixer and how in the instruction manual there were a dozen recipes that involved the mixer.

This is a brilliant example of how to enhance the consumers brand experience usage; the second moment of truth and a key stage of the path to advocacy.

The Kitchenaid example works because:

  • It helps the consumer get the most out of the brand
  • It makes her feel good about it
  • It gives her a positive story to tell others about it (social media is like word of mouth on steroids which helps make this story spread)

The result should be improved sales, as loyalty and advocacy drives consumer acquisition.

Hayley goes on to point-out that marketers usually spend all their time and resource on acquiring new consumers (the brand promise stage), rather than taking care of consumers they already have.

If you are serious about driving brand sales then think about the brand experience at all stage of the path to purchase and not just acquisition. Check out my tips about the use stage.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Brands must get packaging right to get noticed, bought and loved

This recent report - by Business Insights - looks like a 'must read' for any brand that wants to win in store (the first moment of truth). Errhh I think that is all brands!

I write a lot about the importance of packaging. Most marketers know it is key.

This report highlights some vital things to take note of if you are not spending sufficient time on packaging - to make sure it is consistent with the brand experience you promise (in the advertising), or, us they say in their overview:
  • (one of the benefits of the report includes) ...understand how packaging design contributes to the aesthetics and emotion of brand identity.
  • (one of the key findings of the report) for brand enhancement demands consideration of brand communication, consumer needs, the context in which the product is sold, category norms, brand guidelines and constraints, potential pack structure or format and surface design. Packaging is one part of the marketing mix. Examining the global superbrands demonstrates how packaging is an integral part of branding and enhances the brand experience.
Packaging is too important to leave to chance. Get it right and, at the very least, you will stand-out versus competitors and increase your chances of being noticed. However, the real win comes if you make it stunning and delight consumers when they see and use it.

Get it right and they are likely to reward you with greater loyalty and possibly advocacy.

Get it wrong and your brand may not get noticed. If it really disappoints they will probably not buy again [see previous post].

It is definitely worth investing good amounts of time and resource on it.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Tipp ex video becomes highest viewing film on Youtube?

This brilliant video is currently getting a lot of views.

It will cleverly get Tipp ex noticed by millions of people.

Not only that, it is highly effective at communicating a brand message because it is relevant, original and interactive, thereby engaging consumers in what is a low interest category.

While it is a challenge to get the balance right when trying to create a contagious viral ad maybe they could have put a bit more brand into the story.

That said, it delivers a great brand experience.

Good stuff.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Air New Zealand's winning safety video

I seem to blog a lot about airlines. Probably because in the airline category, perhaps more than any other, brand experience is critical to business success.

Anyway, my mate Antony Young bought to my attention this fabulous Air New Zealand safety video.

I love it. It works on so many levels:
  • It successfully gets the key safety messages across in an original way.
  • It fully leverages Air New Zealand's 'fanatical' sponsorship of the All Blacks.
  • It is a fun and engaging film that flyers will pay attention to.
  • Social media will mean it will have a life beyond the cabin (it has already had 164,000 views on YouTube).
  • It will enhance the positive brand experience that Air New Zealand seek to deliver day in day out their consumers.
Great stuff.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Untangling brands and experiences

Untangling brand and customer experience, in 10 minutes or less from Brandon Schauer on Vimeo.

I came across this fabulous 9 minute video on Jay Steele's blog.

It is really helpful for anyone, like me, who is interested in working out how brand organisations should go about building an operation that consistently delivers it's consumers with winning brand experiences.

This video goes some way to help untangle different aspects of brand experience stuff like: brand promise, brand messaging, customer experience, advertising, role of employees, etc.

Why is brand experience important? Because when they get it right it ultimately drives loyalty, advocacy and therefore long-term sustainable profitably.

If that interests you (which it should!) it is worth investing a little time looking at the video.

Then have a look at my Path to Advocacy model and think about how you should be focusing effort not just on traditional marketing but on delivering experience on every touchpoint that delight consumers

Friday, 30 July 2010

RAC drive-in idea will do good things for the brand

In August the RAC are launching drive-in movies in two UK locations (check-out their site for details).

Okay, it's not a new idea but I think it's a really smart strategic fit for them.

It will deliver a pleasurable in car brand experience that rewards existing members and attracts potential members.

It builds some positive and interesting news around an otherwise low interest category.

Rewarding existing users, attracting new users and driving positive advocacy will do good things for the RAC brand.


Good luck with the weather.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

P&G seem to have created a social media winner

I am really enjoying this Old Spice campaign.

It has started to take-up a life of it's own..and so far it seems to be really working. It is getting noticed.

There is an interesting post by Influential Marketing Blog that suggests the following success formula:
  • Simple smart strategy that talks directly to women
  • Creative execution using appropriate personality
  • Personal investment - the ad agency team apparently love the campaign and have been very active about it on-line
It is also getting some excellent spoofs.

Great stuff.

Delighting consumers is the key to business success

I talk a lot about the power of delighting consumers.

I believe if a brand can deliver a brand experience that over-delivers and delights - the consumer is more likely to buy again and may be even talk about your brand. (Many studies demonstrate that word of mouth is one of the most influential touchpoints).

Seth recently wrote an interesting blog about the paradox of promise in an age of word of mouth.

It is worth a read and he references a really useful MBA chart (above).

It is challenging but simple.

Brands need to be really smart about the promise they make and, when it comes to advertising, they must only talk about what their brand will deliver.

Then they must ensure the deliver what you promise every time.

Failure to do so will, at best, stop consumers buying again and, at worst, make them angry. Angry consumers can create a serious headache given that social media is like word of mouth on steroids (an excellent quote from the popular ‘What The F**k is Social Media’ slideshare presentation). Check out my previous article about United, Dell and Comcast

The best brands deliver every time and also work out how to delight.

This is not easy but it is worth the effort.

A good start point is to assemble all the key stakeholders who are involved in delivering brand experiences across the whole path to advocacy.

Align on a definition the brand experience you can deliver consistently.

Then ensure the organisation is in-sync and focused on delivering it.

This is what winning brand organisations do time and time again. [Think Apple, Zappos, Virgin]

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Top ten tatts

Kevin Roberts wrote a great piece on his blog recently about tattoos and how some people are so committed to a brand they will get a tattoo.

Wow. This is really is ‘loyalty beyond reason’ (one of ways he describes Lovemark brands).

The article also mentions a book called Brand Sense, written by Martin Lindstrom , that explored the brand-tattoo phenomenon and that shares results of a survey asking which brands people would most want to have tattooed on their arm.

These are the top ten brands:

  1. Harley Davidson (18.9%)
  2. Disney (14.8%)
  3. Coke (7.7%)
  4. Google (6.6%)
  5. Pepsi (6.1%)
  6. Rolex (5.6%)
  7. Nike (4.6%)
  8. Adidas (3.1%)
  9. Absolut (2.6%)
  10. Nintendo (1.5%)

They are all fabulous brands. They are successful because they have invested in consistently delivering great brand experiences that delight consumers.

Nice one.