New Proofs Daily.

    Remassify

    Marketing

    Brand Planner’s Prayer

    0

    Things we remember.

    We remember beauty.

    We remember new.

    We remember rich.

    We remember melody.

    We remember funny.

    We remember nature.

    We remember poetry.

    We remember pain.

    We remember educators.

    We remember warmth.

    We remember charity.

    We remember happy.

    We remember love.

    We remember triumph.

    These are the things we remember.

    (I post this brand planners prayer once a year in January as a reminder.)

    Offense Defense.

    0

    This is going to be a short post. 

    Strategy is offense.

    Using dashboard metrics to power your marketing is defense.

    Peace.

     

     

    Brand Strategy Trifecta.

    0

    There are many things to love about being a brand strategist. But if pushed to highlight best, I’d have to say it is the learning.  Learning the product, the category and the consuming behaviors of the market. 

    I start many meetings with customers and prospects explaining I’m a simple man.  I strive for simple solutions that are easily understood. Complexity is what ruins most branding efforts.  Complexity supports multiple values. Complexity makes it harder to create order. Complexity makes it harder for decision-makers to lock down on order. Simple order is what consumers crave when making brand decisions.

    What I like to think I’m good at is creating compelling order. Prioritizing customer care-abouts and brand good-ats into three reasons-to-buy is part of my framework. But finding those 3 reasons or values that are most compelling is the secret sauce.

    I love learning and creating compelling order. The things are inextricably tied. Learning by itself doesn’t work. Creating Order by itself doesn’t work. Compelling by itself doesn’t work. The trifecta is built upon all three.

    Peace.

     

     

    Post-dispose. Is that even a word?

    0

    Years ago while working at McCann-Erickson NY, I was put on a task force to develop a white paper addressing the topic of “ad spending in support of emerging technologies.” The client was AT&T.  AT&T didn’t mind funding cash cow businesses like business long distance and 800 service but they weren’t really sharp on advertising for its $3B private line (data line) business. 

    During my tenure on the task force I came across a bunch of documents from the 40s and 50s residing at the Center for Advertising Studies, a shared IPG unit serving all sister agencies.  Copy testing was one topic I looked into. In one doc there was a sentence that stuck with me and I still use it to this day: “Copy that predisposes consumers to purchase.”  It’s a nice turn of a phase meaning convince consumers to act. Presumably for the first time.  And isn’t that what advertising and marketing, even ecommerce is all about? So simple.

    But what about loyalty? How to we post-dispose people to continue to keep purchasing? 

    The answer is through brand strategy — a constant, drumbeat of value and reasoning that refreshes consumer preference.  Not to be confused with bludgeoning consumers, as does Geico. Branding is a foil for advertising frequency. It convinces across mediums. It’s more existential. It’s more active and participatory.

    Branding predisposes and post-disposes consumers to act. Get you some!

    Peace.

     

    Amazon Brand Strategy. A New Claim.

    0

    Yesterday I parsed the Amazon brand strategy explained by Shah Mohammed while offering that the “everything store” was not the most powerful claim Jeff Bezos and team could have made.  It wasn’t bad mind you, but it left some value on the table. Today I promised to come up with a claim that trumped “everything store.”  The key to branding is to set the strategy (like setting a hook) with proof. Or what I call a proof array — three proof planks.

    We discussed yesterday that the three proof planks were extraordinary convenience, comprehensive selection and lower prices.  A claim is best supported when the planks are closely linked to the claim. In harmony with the claim. Assuming these planks are right, and they certainly look right, how might we strengthen the claim?  

    I would look at the word store. Sure, everyone knows what stores are. That’s good. But not everyone has positive associations with stores.  What about a word like bazaar.  It’s a bit more communal, sensory and exotic. A different kind of experience. And Amazon is certainly a different kind of shopping experience.  Bazaars are known for bargaining, so it delivers the low price story. And it hits comprehensive more directly as well.  

    When brand manager are looking to develop programs to further create brand value (and sales), I bet they will have more fertile ground to play on “bazaar” than with “store.”

    Always thinkin’.

    Peace.

     

     

    Words Are the Root of All Business.

    0

    When you are in the brand strategy business it’s hard to share your work product. Brand strategy as Mighty Jungle owner Mark Pollard would say “Is your words.”  I refer to brand strategy as an organizing principle, but that principle is words on screen or on paper. 

    Success and failure in branding is tied to adherence to the brand strategy and to the actions and marketing activities generated.  When on-strategy you are likely to have success. Off strategy, it’s a crap shoot. Once I’ve created a brand strategy for a company it’s left to the makers and builders and brand managers to see it through. I don’t make logos. I don’t write print adds. I don’t create a web experience and code.

    So, on my website what do I show?  Process charts? Customer testimonials? Client logos? Case studies?  Other people’s work?  Meaning other communication agencies’ work?  And let’s not forget, in almost all cases I’m under nondisclosure. 

    What do I do to move customers closer to a sale on the web? Well, right now I use words. And more words. For 14 years I’ve blogged about branding. In the fishing world this would be called chumming. I toss branding words into the ether and hope it attracts attention.

    So far it’s worked. Words are the root of all business.

    Peace.

     

    Brand Strategy and Messaging.

    0

    One of my brand planning memes is the definition of brand strategy: “An organizing principle for product, experience and messaging.” I was working on a readout for a specialty pharmacy company using this definition when it dawned on me that maybe it’s time to subjugate “messaging” by surrounding it with parentheses.

    Even though messaging is what most people are concerned with when thinking about brand strategy, I’m having second thoughts.  It is where a lot of the marketing budget goes, especially for companies with out-sized advertising budgets — but I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s really secondary to “product” and “experience.” 

    Get the organizing principle right for product and the experience and it’s going to be hard to get the “message” wrong.  And advertising messaging should never, ever be the tail that wags the dog.

    Peace.

     

     

    Resist Templates.

    0

    I hate templates. I love templates. There you have it. Shit ain’t always binary. 

    I built my business around four key tools. The 24 Questions. A Fact Finding questionnaire for brand discovery. A brand/creative brief taken with me from McCann-Erickson, NY. And a marketing communications plan bequeathed me by Mark Pritchard (not the P&G one) who himself took it from Ammirati and Puris.  All are fill-in-the-blank templates.

    That said, it’s what goes on between the ears, using these templates, that makes the money — but a man has to start somewhere.

    I tried to build another business (Zude.com) doing the opposite: allowing online users to build websites without templates. My heart was in the right place but it didn’t work. Facebook used databases and a template in the background to kick our ass.  You have to pick the right battles.

    Templates are what humans want. It’s how they organize and get started. Even a musician creating music must have a template in his/her head. A template of something.

    If you ask me, templates are diminishing creativity. And as our heads and machines are getting more and more filled with data, we must resort to templates for order.  Resist. Invent. Resist. Invent.  This is how we get to better work. This is how we get to more artful work.

    Peace.

     

    When is Bias Positive?

    0

    A friend and early mentor of mine, Eric Keshin, used to talk about creating “bias” for a product or service.  Bias has a bit of a negative connotation today but as a strategy in branding it is spot on.  One can attempt to position a competitor by denigrating them, creating a negative bias — or, stay closer to home, and elevate one’s own product, creating a positive bias.

    Done well one can accomplish both.  That is, focus on elevating your brand and by inference diminish the competition. Don’t spend time talking about your competition, but attempt to find a perceived weak spot and play to it. Burger King did this so well with Flame Broiled. Everyone knows McDonalds grills. Coors did it with mountain fresh water. Everyone knows Budweiser and Miller aren’t brewed in the mountains.

    Finding ways to create positive bias toward your product or service is the primary job of the brand planner.

    C’est fini.

    Peace.  

     

     

    Things We Remember

    0

     

    We remember beauty.

    We remember new.

    We remember rich.

    We remember melody.

    We remember funny.

    We remember nature.

    We remember poetry.

    We remember pain.

    We remember educators.

    We remember warmth.

    We remember charity.

    We remember happy.

    We remember love.

    We remember triumph.

    These are the things we remember.

    These are the things consumers remember.

    (I post this brand planner’s prayer once a year…as a reminder.)