Branding matters. Because branding matters.
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Dear Friends: It has been a tumultuous past few weeks. With the Facebook/ Cambridge Analytica Data breach hitting headlines the world over, we just might be at the cusp of a big inflection point in how Social Media platforms will function(or allowed to function) in the times to come. Waiting with bated breath on that. But there is no more waiting if you are expecting the finest, distilled, actionable eviden ce from the world of branding & marketing. Packed in this issue includes a feature on Why Advertising Agencies need to take back Creativity(that seemed to have been lost out in the midst of Data, Excel sheets and Analytics). We also step on a rather contentious issue of Why organisations need to understand that a Brand Plan is more important than a Business Plan. Similarity breeds inspiration? Well the logos of Google, Airbnb and Pinterest seem to tell a stor y that we have featured in this issue. As times change and rapidly at that, there is a strong case being made out for the conventional ‘Client-Agency Relationship’ to be exami ned from a new lens. ‘Spray & Pray‘ never works and the article on The 5 New Rules of Branding will tell you exac tly why. The new kid on the block for brands and advertisers is Podcasts and we take a bit of a dive into why it is emerging as a strong camouflage for people wanting to succeed in an increasingly ‘attention economy‘. There is loads more of very exciting content that you will soak in and I leave it to you to make the most of this May edition of BrandKnew. Until next issue…
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Suresh Dinakaran @ISDGlobalDubai
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Why Your Brand Plan Is More Important Than Your Business Plan Branded Podcasts Are The Ads People Actually Want To Listen To Classical Music Gets Rebranded For The 21st Century It’s a time to Re-Imagine! Product is the Future of Growth - Here’s Why Why Do Google, Airbnb, And Pinterest All Have Such Similar Logos? Is This The Logo Of The Future? Four questions from a branding practitioner to the AI tribe Advertising Agencies Need to Take Back Creativity The times are changing: what a solid client-agency relationship looks like From Online to Offline: How Brands Use Big Data to Figure Out Where Their Customers Will Shop How to Measure Your Content Marketing Efforts [Infographic] I Buy, Therefore I Am: The Psychology Behind Why We Choose Our Favorite Brands What’s the Next Social Network? Think Music “Being Everywhere Is Not Enough”: The 5 New Rules Of Branding How to Price a Marketing Proposal: Four Proven Approaches How B2B Marketers Are Embracing Brand as the Top Driver of Growth Book, Line & Sinker
Why Your Brand Plan Is More Important Than Your Business Plan IF PEOPLE DON’T KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU REPRESENT, THEY WON’T DO BUSINESS WITH YOU. By Areva Martin
Why should you care about branding? Because these days, everyone will Google you before they visit your restaurant, buy your products, hire you to perform a service, loan money to you or invest capital in your new or existing venture. Any time you interact with people -- online or off -- your brand will matter. We used to live in simpler times. The only brands most of us knew about were managed by big corporations: IBM, Coca-Cola, BMW. If you wanted to build a business, you wrote a comprehensive business plan that focused on the numbers: cash flow, revenue, expenses and profit. In most circumstances, that plan would include a substantial line item for traditional print and maybe radio and television advertisement. Branding wasn’t on the radar for most companies. If that sounds like a better world to you, you’re mistaken. The advantages available to us in the last decade are so much greater than anything that’s ever been possible, the two worlds can’t even be compared. Never before have you had the chance to build a brand like you can today, then leverage it to expand your business, increase your sales,
and enhance your credibility and your bottom line. Despite these tremendous opportunities for entrepreneurs, many are oblivious to them and cling to a by-gone era where timehonored business plans and approaches to promoting a business focused on advertising and not engagement. Those customary plans may have been adequate for those “simpler times.” But, for today’s internet and social media driven world, a business misses the mark without a sophisticated “brand plan” that specifically conveys what it represents, the value it brings to its customers and strategies about how to keep a conversation going, otherwise known as engagement, with thousands of strangers online.
What goes into a brand plan Specifically, a well-written brand plan focuses an organization’s brain-trust, resources and tactics in the direction they need to go in order for a brand to achieve its goals. The brand plan acts as an umbrella under which functions such as marketing, sales and product development are united, detailing what each group needs to do for the brand to be successful, while setting objectives that operations and finance need to support.
A successful brand plan starts with a vision -- ideas about what the brand should represent or symbolize. The plan should also include a mission -- a specific plan-of-attack that helps launch the brand. Next are goals, things you want the brand to achieve, followed by strategies that provide a road map on how to get there. A successful brand plan must identify consumer targets, the demographic a business needs to support its brand. To entice these consumers to buy the product, a brand must have a main message, which explains why the company and its products can do things that others cannot. Lastly, a brand plan should include strategies for promotion that gets its targeted consumers to take action. Most importantly, branding is about emotions and how your customers and clients feel about you and your products. Marketing is about numbers. Both are important, but in today’s climate, how you make people feel can make or break your business.
Lessons from Elon Musk’s expert branding One person today who understands the emotional aspect of branding better than most is Elon Musk. With his Tesla Motors, Space X rockets and Solar City energy company, Musk -- it’s been said -- doesn’t have customers, he has followers. Known as a maverick and creative genius, Musk has successfully branded himself as a globe-trotting entrepreneur who’s out to save the world by inventing brilliant products and machines that are environmentally friendly. Thus,
Musk’s customers not only admire his creativity and business acumen, but also his ideology. For many of his followers, Tesla automobiles are a seamless extension of the man, himself -- cool looking vehicles that simultaneously combat global warming. What’s also attractive to consumers is that Musk takes personal responsibility for his brand. In 2013, when the company was hit with a wave of bad publicity after several Tesla automobiles caught on fire, Musk personally authored a blog post that made a strong defense of Tesla’s product and consequently of his own brand identity. Consumers rewarded Musk for his honesty and sincerity by making the company’s Model S the world’s bestselling plug-in electric car in 2015 and 2016. As Musk has shown, a business’ success depends on authenticity, transparency and sincere actions. A positive brand that ignites enthusiasm and drives millions in profits isn’t something you leave to chance or expect to create without much consideration and planning. Why leave it to chance? The more time, effort and resources you spend on your brand plan, the more likely you are to create a sustainable positive brand that resonates with your customer base, grows your influence and impacts your bottom line.
Areva Martin, Civil Rights Attorney, Special Needs Advocate and Legal Analyst
Branded Podcasts Are The Ads People Actually Want To Listen To BRANDS AREN’T JUST BLANKETING PODCASTS WITH DISCOUNT CODES— THEY’RE TAKING OVER ENTIRE PODCAST SERIES IN THE HOPES OF TURNING AVID LISTENERS INTO BUYERS. By Melissa Locker
Podcasts are becoming big business not only for creators, but for advertisers. Podcast advertising is on track to hit more than $220 million in 2017, up 85% from 2016. And now that Apple Podcasts is delivering analytics on listeners, advertisers can rest assured that listeners are paying attention. NPR says it’s found that 75% of listeners took action on a sponsored message. Midroll, the podcast content company owned by radio and TV operator The E.W. Scripps Co., has collected their own survey data and found that podcast listeners make it through about 90% of a given episode, and relatively few are skipping through ads. To make sure that listeners are truly engaged, though, more companies are turning to branded podcasts, full series produced to amplify a brand’s story, and find an audience of like-minded folks delivered free to consumers. Shows like Tinder’s DTR and Casper’s In Your Dreams with Chris Gethard are engaging and entertaining listens, even though they are still very much advertising, which is the entire point. “No one wants to listen to a 10-episode podcast about how great ZipRecruiter is at finding a job or helping hire the right applicant,” says Lex Friedman, CRO of Midroll. “But if we can create a show with someone like entrepreneur and author Seth Godin about what it means to be successful and being
the most productive person around, that’s going to appeal to exactly the kind of people that ZipRecruiter wants to reach.” “ZipRecruiter is all about finding good employees and good people and Rise and Grind is all about that, too,” says Shark Tank investor Daymond John, whose new ZipRecruiter sponsored podcast Rise and Grind recently launched with Midroll. “Because how do you have someone work for you who doesn’t believe in those types of things? Who doesn’t get up and bust their ass every day? So, ZipRecruiter was a natural fit as a sponsor.” John’s new 10-episode interview series is one of four new business-minded podcasts that Midroll is launching through its branded content division, Midroll Brand Studio. In addition to Rise and Grind, based on John’s book of the same name, ZipRecruiter is sponsoring two other branded series, too, one with Godin and one hosted by corporate consultant Cal Fussman. In March, Midroll will release a branded series sponsored by Carbonite called Breached hosted by tech expert Bob Sullivan. It’s not just the digitally minded folks at startups and dotcoms that are getting in on branded series, either. MasterCard
and a connection to the brand—and that connection can turn listeners into consumers. “You’re not necessarily going to need to build a Squarespace site the first time you hear a Squarespace ad, but they want to be present enough in your memory that when you finally do need to build a website, you’ll remember Squarespace,” says Friedman. Of course, branded podcasts can be a pricy purchase, depending on how brands want them to sound. “Well, they are definitely cheaper than Super Bowl spots,” said Friedman, laughing. While neither Friedman nor Lieber would cough up a price tag (Digiday put a full season at around “a mid sixfigure investment“) both agree on two things: branded series are competitively priced with other national media campaigns, and that creating a quality, engaging podcast that potential consumers will want to listen to costs money. “If you want to make a show that sounds like This American Life that’s fully produced with interview tapes and you’re traveling all over and there are sound beds and music transitions, that’s an expensive show to make for anybody,” says Friedman. “That can cost more than if it’s a chattier show with a single voice on a microphone.” And simply making a good show isn’t enough: Companies also have to pony up to buy ad space on other podcasts to ensure that they’re discovered, basically advertising their advertisements.
teamed up with Gimlet for Fortune Favors the Bold, about the future of money, Microsoft has .future, and GE and Panoply created the sci-fi meets real science series, The Message. Even McDonald’s has a podcast now: The Sauce, a slightly satirical Serial-style series created with the help of Studio@Gizmodo and Onion Labs. There’s a good reason to tap into the podcast boom: Around 67 million people ages 12 and over listen to podcasts each month, according to findings that Edison Research published earlier this year. That’s 21% of Americans, or roughly the same number who use Twitter on a monthly basis. The audience tends to be affluent and educated, and really likes the shows that they click on—a whopping 85% of people who start a podcast listen to all or most of it. When listeners hit play—or better yet, subscribe— on a sponsored podcast, they are getting a lot of one-on-one time with a brand, which for a brand is a very valuable proposition. “Brands know that [branded podcasts] are an effective way to reach an audience that otherwise is hard to reach in an engaging way with a longer story that can only unfold over time,” says Matt Lieber, cofounder and president of Gimlet Media. If 75% of podcast listeners take an action on a sponsored message, as NPR says, it takes 25 to 30 times for a consumer to hear that message before they follow through with engagement. A sponsored series helps build brand awareness
While creating a well-produced branded series may be costly, the shows can create a deeper connection to consumers that is hard to come by in a 30-second TV spot or newspaper ad campaign. “If brands have a bigger story to tell or want to make a bigger statement or build a platform around an idea or a story it can make sense to do a branded podcast,” explains Lieber. For example, Blue Apron has been a big advertiser in the podcast space since the audio boom started. When they wanted to share more of their company’s story and ethos and enhance their connection to consumers, they decided to create a branded series, resulting in their engaging show, Why We Eat What We Eat. The show, hosted by author and food historian Cathy Erway, looks at everything from picky eating to the origins of duck sauce. It’s entertaining and informative and perfectly proves the point that when branded podcasts are executed well, consumers want to listen—even though in many ways they are listening to a 30-minute advertisement. As brands become both more aware of the podcast market and more savvy about it, branded podcasts are booming. “It’s definitely a growing part of the business,” says Lieber, who says that Gimlet has tripled the number of branded podcasts in the last year and brands like eBay and Tinder have already signed up for second seasons of their series. “It’s growing at a faster clip than ever before,” agrees Friedman. “When we first built out our Brand Studio team, we wondered if there would be enough work for that team to do. Now the question is how many more people do we need to hire to keep up with demand?” Melissa Locker is a writer and world renowned fish telepathist.
Classical Music Gets Rebranded For The 21st Century THE DYNAMIC VISUALIZATIONS ENTIRELY DEPEND ON THE MUSIC THE ORCHESTRA PLAYS–AND REPRESENT A NEW WAY TO MAKE CLASSICAL MUSIC MORE ACCESSIBLE. By Katharine Schwab
Classical music can often feel like the domain of an elite few. But a new generative logo for the amateur Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra aims to make the community organization’s music accessible to a broader audience. Created by the branding agency Superunion, the static version of the logo is composed of three bold typographic letters–an architectural “B” that echoes the arches of the Brooklyn Bridge, and sinuous “S” meant to evoke the expressive rhythm of music, and an “O” letterform that’s entirely composed of dots, which represents the community focus of the organization. It’s a striking contrast to the old logo, which used a graphic of the Brooklyn Bridge that looks like a piece of clip art. For Nick Clark, an executive creative director at Superunion
who also worked on branding for the London Symphony Orchestra, the biggest challenge for creating the logo was to not fall into the clichés that other classical music organizations tend to rely on graphically–like music notes, instruments, and representations of the orchestral pit–which doesn’t help them appear to be accessible to a wide range of people. “The visual identities tend to be a lot of imagery of varying quality showing performers and instruments because these are easiest to depict,” Clark says. “However, this very much speaks to the cognoscenti rather than new audiences, to whom this sort of stuff is either irrelevant or can be real turnoff. It also says very little about the experience of the music, being much more about the means of its production.” It was important to avoid such overused tropes because BSO isn’t like most orchestras, which tend to be professional institutions. BSO is a nonprofit that enlists only members from the local community, and does weekend concerts at the Brooklyn Museum at low price point–specifically targeted at music lovers who have less income and feel left out of larger institutions.
different colors that still work within the organization’s new identity–allowing for cohesion amid each random new visualization. “Every time it creates these very unique visuals but at the same time has these elements that always stay the same,” says Andrew Herzog, a partner and cofounder at HAWRAF. “Colors and composition may change, but the elements that underlie it always stay the same.”
To ensure that BSO’s logo was something dynamic that would reflect the orchestra’s community-oriented approach toward music, Clark brought in the New York-based design studio HAWRAF to create generative graphics that are derived from the music the orchestra plays. HAWRAF created a tool for the orchestra that the organization can use in two ways. First, they can use a microphone to generate graphics live in front of an audience. Or, they can upload a recording later and use that to create graphics for marketing and promotional materials like tickets, merchandise, and advertisements. The simple interface gives the orchestra different visualization options inspired by each of the logo’s letterforms. One visualization, derived from the blocky “B,” looks like the music is dragging the letter around the screen, creating dynamic, architectural forms. Another, inspired by the “S,” looks like a wisp of smoke that twists and turns to the beat of the music. And the last, inspired by the dots of the logo’s “O,” looks like a swarming beehive that slows down and speeds up their movement as the music ebbs and flows. Because every piece of music that’s fed into the system will be different, even if slightly, the software will always yield a brilliant new combination of forms. The software also allows the orchestra to choose between
For Clark, the generative tool gives the orchestra power to express itself and distance itself from the assumption that classical music is old-fashioned and staid. “Getting past those barriers for people is really important. That’s why if you really believe that classical music has got something to offer, it’s important that they are presented in new ways to people,” Clark says. “It’s about breaking down those preconceptions. If I live in a part of Brooklyn and I don’t have a lot of money but I’m looking for cultural enrichment, this is something that welcomes you to be a part of it.” Katharine Schwab is an associate editor at Co.Design based in New York who covers technology, design, and culture.
It’s a time to Re-Imagine! By Suresh Dinakaran
Time to Re Imagine Business! And the time is now. As they say, ” The future is already here, but it is a tad unevenly distributed ‘. It’s a new world of business. So, isn’t it time to ring out the old and bring in the new? A new mandate has to enter the fray. Can we shake free of the past? Including(yes definitely) past successes! Can we re imagine an entirely new way of doing business? Could we stop using these two traditional phrases ( I will tell you why): ” Push the envelope “ ” Think outside the box “ The problem with both the above(other than their gross overuse) is: Both suggest that there is an intact envelope or a sturdy box from whose known (and identified borders) we can step out from. But remember: The envelope is already torn and crumpled..and The box has been run over by a speeding trailer truck. So, the task at hand is to: Think “Weird“, however weird it may sound..be wired for it! (Re)think ” excellence “ Re-Imagine ” leadership “ Get strange. Did you know that the No 1 source of innovation is ‘ pissed off ‘ people ? People who just cannot tolerate the mundane, the silly, the mediocre that is happening around them. That’s the origin of the best innovation you can ever lay your hands on. So, go ahead and seek pissed off people! HR, are you listening?
Fire the planners. Hire the freaks. An “excessive cult of the consumer“- ” customer driven” also meansbeing slave to demographics, market research and focus groups. So, ‘listening to customers ‘ might just be the No 1 sin in marketing... Turn the cliched phrase on its head. ‘The customer is always right‘ to ‘ The customer is always late ‘Who wanted Post It Notes? Nobody for a dozen years till 3M ‘ wrote ‘ history and we still keep ‘posting’. Who wanted Fax Machines? Nobody for the longest time till a ‘ critical mass ‘ of users came along. Who wanted CDs? Nobody or atleast none of us who had just been through the transformation from phonograph records to tapes. Then the kids started using CDs and the awesome quality of sound made us go Ka-boom! In the words of Doug Atkin, a partner at Merkley Newman Harty: ” These days you can’t succeed as a company if you’re consumer led-because in a world of constant change, consumers can’t anticipate the next big thing. Companies should be idea-led and consumer-informed” It’s time to re-imagine. At ISD Global we are constantly trying to be as future ready as possible, driven by the weird, motivated by the untried and fuelled by no fear. To generate ideas that can transform businesses and thereby quality of human life. Your time starts now. The clock is ticking! Suresh Dinakaran is Group CEO of ISD Global, a brand strategy & creative ideations entity based out of Dubai with operations across the globe. With over two decades of insights, expertise and experience in building and growing brands across multiple geographies and media platforms.
Product is the Future of Growth - Here’s Why By Kieran Flanagan
The future of growth belongs to product driven companies. At HubSpot, we realized this a few years ago, which is why we disrupted our own business model before anyone else could. At the time, HubSpot was still growing 30%-40% per year on the shoulders of our original marketing and sales driven inbound marketing model. Despite the success, we consciously chose to upend what had been working by launching our first freemium products in 2014. Market dynamics and consumer behavior have been changing - increasingly consumers expect to use software and extract value from it before buying. To stay relevant over the long term we needed to adapt, or risk “getting our lunch eaten.” We entered the world of freemium in 2014 with Sidekick, a sales automation product, and HubSpot CRM. In 2016, we rebranded Sidekick as HubSpot sales and deepened our commitment to becoming a product-first company, launching Customer Hub, a freemium product for customer success, in 2017.
Product is the Future of Growth Over the past 24 months, I’ve been dedicated to building out product driven growth at HubSpot - acquiring users into our freemium products and working with product and engineering to upgrade them to paying users. What do I mean when I say product driven growth? I’m talking about using in-product levers to grow, in place of or in conjunction with external marketing and sales channels. When people can try your product for free, they experience the value of your product before making the decision to pay. This turns more people into happy users, creating more opportunity for them to tell their friends, who in turn tell their friends. This can trigger virality and widen the top of your funnel. In a new reality where Google and Facebook are the only two platforms that offer opportunities for user acquisition at scale, product driven growth allows you to decrease customer acquisition cost by reducing dependence on paid marketing, and sales for B2B products. Because it’s scalable and cheaper, product driven growth is how the biggest products have grown so large so quickly. It’s also how new products will win in the future.
How HubSpot Experimented Its Way Into Freemium Growth The first step in adding freemium to our go-to market strategy was setting the overarching vision of where we wanted to go. Then, our goal was to run experiments to iterate towards the vision or inform how we needed to evolve the vision. We set our sights on providing companies from big to small with the right tools to grow. We wanted customers to be able to get started with our marketing, sales, and customer success products for free, and upgrade to different packages as their needs grew. Navigating the associated shift to product driven growth (while still growing 30-40% a year!), hasn’t been easy. But it has brought valuable learnings, which I’ll share with you in this post. I’ll walk you through the process our growth team used to experiment our way into higher and higher impact growth opportunities for HubSpot’s freemium products. I’ll detail the initiatives that drove step-change improvements to our funnel, rather than just small percentage gains, and the principles we used to arrive at those initiatives. Here’s the high level process that worked for our growth team: • Get wins on the board to build trust with leadership and other teams, such as product and engineering. • Prioritize growth experiments you can execute quickly to demonstrate results. • Once you start to see a high-level of test failures or non-results, move on to tackle more complex growth opportunities (take big swings). • Eventually, tell your CEO you want to test pricing ;-) (take even bigger swings) If you already work in growth, this process of getting quick wins and laddering up should be familiar. Where I’ll add value, is through transparently sharing how the growth team at a public company like HubSpot actually executed this process, applying it to build a freemium businesses, and the learnings and results that came out of it all. Kieran Flanagan is the VP of Growth at HubSpot, a marketing and sales software company. He is responsible for the growth of HubSpot’s freemium products, monetization of their freemium funnels and optimization of their global web strategy.
Why Do Google, Airbnb, And Pinterest All Have Such Similar Logos? BRANDING EXPERTS WEIGH IN. By Katharine Schwab
Why do so many tech companies’ logos look the same? From Google and Airbnb to Spotify and Pinterest, these companies have gradually shifted their branding from idiosyncratic typefaces to remarkably similar sans-serif fonts. This month, a viral tweet from the type studio Oh No Type Co compared those four companies’ former and current logos, demonstrating how alike each company’s current branding looks.
Is there a technical reason for this shift? Are there cultural forces at play? Are these companies trying to project a different message now that they’re billion-dollar corporations? Co.Design reached out to branding experts who’ve worked with tech companies to demand answers. These are their theories.
SANS SERIF = SIMPLIFICATION “My theory is they want to integrate their look and feel from a logo standpoint with their UI. They’re looking for a really cohesive identity, a cohesive experience and look and feel. As they look at their UI for their apps, for their website, or their interface, they’re trying to simplify it. As you simplify, you move away from some of the quirkier and more unique logotypes that these companies originally launched with.” –Howard Belk, co-CEO and chief creative officer at Siegel+Gale “The amount of visuals the consumer is bombarded by every day is tremendous–in the street, on a laptop, or a smartphone. A visual chaos that makes it hard to navigate into. Impact and, most of all, clarity, have become keywords for all brands. All these bold and neutral logos are telling the consumer the same message: Our brand and our services are simple, straight-forward, and clear. And extremely
readable.” –Thierry Brunfaut, creative director and founding partner at Base Design
THE MORE GENERIC, THE MORE RELIABLE “I see this as a natural step for brands to take as they grow from scrappy startups into established brands. Your goals have shifted from making noise and standing out to being a trusted, dependable part of people’s everyday lives. That heartfelt personality and idiosyncrasy that defined you as you started out, and won over your early adopters, can be a limitation as you aim for broad appeal (and bigger revenue). “There is an equal danger that we think brand equals color/type/logo, but this avoids the world that brands are now thriving in. More established tech brands deliver their personality through their service, their content, their voice, the way they sound and behave. They can afford to make their personality more present and alive than a startup with one app or one site can ever be–viewed like this, the friendly corporate typefaces of the world aren’t much of an issue.” –Andy Harvey, creative director at Moving Brands
like “I will just google this” is the best example. Becoming words, these brands will be articulated in sentences and texts more and more. To reinforce that, most of those brands now spend on designing custom typefaces instead of logos: a custom typeface becoming their recognizable voice on every platform or device.” –Thierry Brunfaut, creative director and founding partner at Base Design “I think another trend right now is that the logo is not doing all the work. It’s doing a lot less work in terms of defining the identity. So much of the identity now is defined by a lot of elements and experiences that surround the logo, that are supporting it. My metaphor is, think about the logo as the keystone in the bridge. It’s central but there’s a whole bunch of other things around it that keep that bridge intact and get you from one side of the river to another. It has to fit with a lot of other component parts.” –Howard Belk, co-CEO and chief creative officer at Siegel+Gale
SIMPLER LOGOS WORK BETTER ON SMARTPHONES “Since the great rejection of skeuomorphism in 2007, the tech sector has been endlessly repeating the same ‘flat’ design style chiefly because we don’t need metaphors in UX like we did in the early days of popular tech, and because it just works faster and better on small-screen smartphones. Tech typography has been influenced by this to such an extent that it’s all becoming quite stale and straight-out-of-the-box predictable. But it’s no different to many other categories where visual codes become so entrenched, to see anything else would invite rejection.
THE LOGO ISN’T THE BRAND ANYMORE “People at the head of these powerful digital brands, as any strong brand, know very well they are not defined by their logo anymore but by the product or service they provide. They are strong, thanks to what they allow you to do with them. Before, logo designers would look for a ‘concept’ when designing a logo. That is obviously not needed anymore: The brand is the concept. Their logos may look similar, but what they offer is totally different and effective, and that’s what finally counts for the consumer. They are 100% recognizable. “These brands are now so good at what they do and so widely used they have become part of our everyday life and culture. That’s why they do not need logos anymore, as they become words (or even better, verbs) in our daily language. Sayings
“I think if you look across many categories (but not all) you can see the same thing happening. Perhaps not with exactly the same fonts, but certainly a category style. For example, if you look at luxury brands they can be very conformist, as can categories like Scottish whiskey or pain relief. They all have their familiar codes, tropes, and clichés. “So we’re probably stuck with it for a while yet, until someone blows it all up again. And to that I say, bring it on.” –Nick Clark, executive creative director at Superunion New York
Katharine Schwab is an associate editor at Co.Design based in New York who covers technology, design, and culture.
Is This The Logo Of The Future? A NEW APP CALLED WEIRD TYPE RENDERS TEXT IN AUGMENTED REALITY. IT’S A GLIMPSE OF AR’S POTENTIAL IMPACT ON GRAPHIC DESIGN. By Mark Wilson
Oooooooooooooooooooooooooo. What does that look like to you? A long string of Os? Right you are. But with Weird Type, a new augmented reality app from Zach Lieberman and Molmol Kuo that puts words into real space, that “Oooooooooooooooooo” isn’t just a string of letters. It’s a 3D tunnel that you can enter like a cave.
Instagram’s filters. They’re easy to use and immediately elevate your work to something worth sharing. (You can record video and stills in the app.)
This is just one of many amusing discoveries made by users of the app so far. Weird Type allows you to spell out any word you’d like and place it literally wherever your phone is in space. It’s essentially a digital typographical stamp that you can place onto the world instead of your Instagram Stories. It augurs a future when visual branding exists in animated, three-dimensional space.
[Image: Zach Lieberman]
The interesting thing is that Weird Type isn’t just a barebones skywriter. It’s got some funky filters out of the gate, too. One breaks your word into pieces spread across the Z plane–it looks perfectly straight head-on, but as soon as you move a few degrees to the side, the illusion falls apart. In another, you type the word you want, but instead of stamping it out, you can flail your arm like a ribbon dancer to spell it out in police-style tape. In one case, someone actually drew a human figure out of this tape, turning words into sculpture. In this sense, Weird Type’s filters are a good analog to
We’re seeing a flood of Apple AR apps right now, and another is on the way from Google. Yet even amid this cresting wave, Weird Type is notable for the way it integrates text with AR– like a ready-made meme generator that seems to tease a new era of branding to come. Think about it: Decades ago, logos went from being static on a page to full-motion videos. More recently, visual branding went from TV commercials to snarky Twitter personalities. Now, as physical space enters the equation with augmented reality apps, brands will need to master consumer engagement all over again. I’m not sure Weird Type is the key to doing so, but the experimental app is striking a chord with artists and designers. Or should I say, a chooooooooooooooooooooooord? Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started Philanthroper. com, a simple way to give back every day.
Four questions from a branding practitioner to the AI tribe By Abhay N Goghari
There is a fundamental disconnect between the human brain and AI. While the former is a fully alive biological organ, the latter is an abstract technology. AI has algorithms, not brains. With advertising migrating to digital platforms by leaps and bounds, there is a tectonic shift toward smart strategies that will ultimately converge with AI in some manner or the other. Within two or 3 years, almost all digital marketing plans will have AI embedded in their activation tools. Four fundamental queries are top of the mind among branding professionals, whose satisfactory answers by the AI tribe will help me and my fraternity predict the near-term course of branding ballgame in above context.
Will AI become interchangeable with human intelligence? AI capabilities are nascent in comparison to that of the human brain. A chemical signal passes through the synapse and becomes a nerve impulse in nano-seconds. Besides the speed and sharpness of brain reflexes, there are perception, comprehension, interpretation, and other brain functions that help us understand human (consumer) behaviour. Entire UX and UI design journeys are based on this understanding. Intelligent visual design and semantic-rich textual content are also an outcome of the brain’s efficient interpretation of target consumer’s preferences. Hinglish in Indian advertising and the Vodafone Red are prominent examples. Will AI begin to undertake the complex responsibilities of various design and content disciplines, in near future? If yes, will ‘smart’ become interchangeable with ‘intelligent’ in this query’s context?
Will the creature become larger than the creator? AI is human intelligence’s baby. However, this infant is growing rapidly, like an alien sci-fi character achieving overnight adulthood. It took human intelligence 200,000 years to evolve to its present stage, as hominids matured into Homo sapiens. However, AI is upon us in just two decades! Its evolution is fiery and fearful to some. In general, how long before this creature outgrows its creator? In branding context, is my career at risk from machine learning and deep&big data-leveraged artificial logic? Are robots likely to perform branding tasks in my lifetime?
Will AI begin to have EQ? Artificial intelligence – the very term is excluding of the emotional quotient. As such, its functions are confined to the left-brain premise. However, if AI is to replicate human intelligence holistically, it ought to incorporate emoting capability and emotional intelligence in its folds. All streams of the communication profession – from acting to advertising, currently uphold their one-upmanship over AI on this count. However, story-telling formats across platforms and channels, especially those in the digital marketing arena, are driven by SEO and predictive analytics’ dictates. Intuitive stories are gradually declining. Will AI achieve right-brain capabilities in the next ten years? Will Alexa and the army of chat bots and robots be able to emote at a scale and depth required to engage the consumer meaningfully and effectively?
Is AI good for branding and communication professions? To wrap it up, presuming that AI will cover reasonable ground in the communication profession, is it a good development? By good, I mean not only safe but also preferable for the consumer’s good. Human greed and ambition has misused every ingenious invention until now. What happened to the atom, the natural resources, the virtual social media? What if blockchain becomes pregnable and trillions of terabytes of consumer data is stolen? Ultimately, AI is a tool, neither good nor bad. The worry that cyber cooks will invent ways to misuse technologies for unethical business practices is not out of place. A select few rogue elements will benefit, at the cost of the practitioners and the consumers. If this seems farfetched or alarmist, let me just utter Cambridge! From another angle, can AI equal human capabilities in terms of emotional, sentimental, psychological and other nuancing? All branding efforts have two common goals: to help the consumer make informed and better buying decisions, and to add delight to his purchasing journey. Will AI come of age in the next ten years, to shoulder this responsibility? Abhay N Goghari is a creative strategist, ideator, copywriter, creative writer, digital and web content developer, branding practitioner, and long form copywriter. He has over 20 years of active experience, and is a lifelong learner. Above all, he is an avid storyteller.
This wasn’t always the case. I spent many years in the advertising industry – a creative industry, certainly, but for a long time, I would never have called myself creative. Creativity required competence in traditional artistic skills; creative people were graphic designers, they could draw a storyboard or produce beautiful mockups, they were copywriters and so on. The rest of us in the industry – client services, accounts, media buying, planning, sales, research and so on – we were known as ‘suits’. The thought that we might be ‘creative’ hadn’t really crossed anyone’s mind. If it had, it probably seemed like a misnomer. Not so today. In our work at One Young World, we have access to thousands of the most talented young leaders in the world. Most of them are creative in their fields – whether that’s advertising or accounting. When their creativity is harnessed, these inspiring young leaders are transforming their industries and driving positive change. What we notice about the very best of the best talent is that they want and demand to be able to make a difference at work. This doesn’t just mean that they want to be employed by a business that is making a difference (although they do), they also want to make an impact as individuals. It isn’t an easy demand to fulfil, particularly in massive corporate structures where young people might be expected to settle in amongst the layers and layers of hierarchy. But, the big tech giants, like Apple, Google, and Microsoft, are proving that it’s possible. Sadly, many advertisers and other ‘creative’ companies are, in contrast, lagging behind. In the competition to attract and retain the best talent, they are failing – not good news for an industry facing unprecedented disruption and uncertainty.
Advertising Agencies Need to Take Back Creativity By Kate Robertson
In the 2017 Forbes survey of Top 10 Big Companies Millennials Want To Work For, The Walt Disney Company was the only business that could be traditionally described as ‘creative’ to make the list (the others were Microsoft, HP, Google, Apple, Boeing, Intel, Caterpillar, Amazon and Lockheed Martin.) Of course, traditional definitions don’t always hold true and the case could be made that all of those businesses are creative. Few people looking at an iPhone, for example, could fail to admire its creativity. New products, new markets, new strategies – these ideas all require creativity and there’s increasing awareness that highquality innovation and creativity can come from anywhere.
This failure is surprising when you consider that enabling an individual to make a difference and enabling an individual to be creative often go hand in hand – they both require being granted space to have your own ideas and develop them. Creative departments, agencies, and industries should be well placed to attract and retain top talent if they go back to owning what they do best: creativity.
The rest of us in the industry – client services, accounts, media buying, planning, sales, research and so on – we were known as ‘suits’.
Advertising needs to be fostering creativity in all of their employees, to be ensuring that every single role is such that anybody working there will feel inspired. Productivity will rise, innovative ideas will flow, and advertisers will continue to grow and adapt. It’s vital that advertisers can own this kind of creativity – the industry desperately needs exceptional young talent in order to adapt to the changes and challenges ahead. Without creativity fostered across all aspects and levels of the industry, advertising as we know it may be lost for good. Kate Robertson, Founder at One Young World
The times are changing: what a solid client-agency relationship looks like By Graeme Sanford
A lot comes into client happiness – increased sales, helping build brand and performing well against competitors are just a few factors. Today there is enormous pressure on marketing departments of client companies. Pressure to get things done. It’s been this way for a long time, but today there’s more pressure to deliver results right now. It’s nice to build brands, but a lot of business is now all about ROI. Investing in five-year brand development goals is not a reality for many organisations. They need results and they need them now. There are also people to help them get it done.
Why are there so many unhappy clients out there? Advertising agencies are businesses as well, and they too need results and profits right now. So, when it comes time to pitch to new clients, there’s no surprise they fill the room with their top guns. But when clients actually sign on, it’s not long before they find that a lot of those people won’t actually be working on their business. The agency has a lineup of professionally experienced people, but after the business has come through the door, the client is often relegated to less experienced people. Spreading senior talent across so many accounts is one of the biggest challenges for large agencies. As a result, many clients miss out on the attention that they really want and need. This has led to a growing need for agencies that can service a small, select group of large and complex clients. Small volumes of clients and agile structures help each party to get the desired results out of the relationship.
Back and forth Short lines of communication are very important in fast moving businesses. Structuring quick communications makes life so much easier. Issues can be addressed and agencies can get back to clients with a degree of immediacy rather than seeking approvals from a number of account managers and directors first. It’s important to keep the lines of communication very open. We like to be told by our clients when things don’t work – that’s probably more valuable information from which to learn. A good agency wants to get involved with clients at the business level and find out what works for them and
what doesn’t. Having an open and honest relationship with a client – and, where possible, getting quantifiable results about what worked and what didn’t – is extremely important to a good agency.ii
People and structure We all work in a ‘people’ business. There needs to be a good personal fit with clients and agencies. It comes back to trust. Client-agency relationships built on trust produce great work. Is the relationship built on honesty? Will the agency provide guidance and direction? The last thing you want is a mouthpiece that agrees with everything you say – if that’s what you want, you may as well do the work yourself. You need people who can do the things you can’t – within budget and on time. Look for objectivity from your agency. Expect the best advice possible, and if for some reason you don’t think you’re getting it, there’s an issue. Disagreements are common and need to be addressed. Boisterous debate over things, but an agreement that the finished product will be the best result for the business? That’s perfect. There’s plenty of unhappy clients out there, but the question is, are they unhappy enough to move? There’s a handful factors that can lead to unhappy – or happy – clients, and if someone at an agency can’t pick up on client happiness or unhappiness, they probably shouldn’t be in the job. Agencies put a great deal of time and effort into preparing pitches, learning client objectives, understanding what the client wants and producing great work. After investing all that time, money and effort into client business, the last thing they want to do is lose it. Furthermore, as we all know, it’s much harder to win a new client than to keep an existing one, so client happiness is in their best interest. It’s critically important in maintaining ongoing business, along with the obvious effect on reputation when courting further clientele. Getting everything off on the right foot initially with the right creative people, working together and developing a mutual understanding of business needs and strategies – think about what you can do to get there.
Graeme Sanford, FAMI, CPM, is managing director at The Sanford Partnership.
This article was sponsored by The Sanford Partnership to outline the definition of a strong client-agency relationship.
From Online to Offline: How Brands Use Big Data to Figure Out Where Their Customers Will Shop Ecommerce brands are using big data to open stores exactly where their customers want them. By Nancy Miller
It took Warby Parker three years to figure out exactly how to sate its customersâ€™ demands. At first, when it launched in 2010, the company was online only: It offered to mail people five different fashion-forward eyewear frames so they could try them on at home, decide what they like and mail the rest back. When sample inventory ran out after two days, customers called the co-founders -- who were then students at Wharton living near campus -- and asked to come to their apartment to try on the product. (They said OK.) Then in 2011, Warby Parker moved into a building in Manhattan,
and thousands of people arrived to try on the in-demand glasses. The companyâ€™s landlord threatened to evict it for monopolizing the elevator. So in 2013, the company finally found a solution. Though it had quickly become a famous ecommerce company, Warby Parker opened its first official store. By the end of 2016, it had 36 stores, and half of the companyâ€™s revenue -- then estimated at $250 million -- came from brick-and-mortar sales. Today, it has a total of 63 locations across the U.S. and Canada, with plans to hit 90 by 2019.
This brick-and-mortar success comes at a time when the imminent death of retail is a regular news story. Real estate firm Cushman Wakefield estimates that 12,000 stores will shutter in 2018, up significantly from the 9,000 that already closed their doors in 2017. But Warby Parker isn’t alone in its commitment to retail. Other ecommerce leaders like Birchbox, Everlane and Bonobos are staking their next round of growth on brick-and-mortar outposts. What do these brands know that others don’t? For starters: exactly where to find their customers. As a digital-first merchant, Warby Parker has been gathering valuable information about its customers from day one -- first and foremost, where they live. That gives it an immediate edge in selecting locations for stores. To figure out if a space will maximize traffic and sales, Warby’s team reviews a mass of data points that help them find the best block on the best street in the most ideal neighborhood. Population density, the number of eyeglass customers and preexisting ecommerce sales in the area all play a part in the comprehensive consideration of an area. So do comparative sales data on nearby stores, available retail space and the neighborhood landscape, including factors like whether or not having a café on the same block as a Warby store will impact sales. Most of that data comes from Warby’s own documentation of customer behavior and a proprietary statistical model, but the company also taps anonymized data sold by cell carriers that track user movement. People don’t always shop where they live; some shop closer to their work. That’s important to understand when selecting a site. “We are believers in deep data rather than big data,” says Neil Blumenthal, who, alongside his co-founder Dave Gilboa, serves as co-CEO. Of course, Warby Parker can afford to build out an in-house data team to pinpoint perfect locations. But even young brands can take a page from its book. Ecommerce platform Shopify, popular among startups and established companies alike, gives merchants access to consumer behavior data, which savvy users have relied on as they consider expanding to brick-and-mortar stores. Sheena Brady, a Shopify employee who moonlights as the founder and CEO of Canada-based Tease Tea, launched an online store with plans to serve her small local market in Ottawa. A year later, she was surprised by orders placed by shoppers in the U.S. who had stumbled upon her site. Brady took a closer look and found Tease Tea had a strong fan base in the New York area. “I used Shopify reporting data and decided to open a pop-up in New York City,” Brady says. She set up shop in an indoor market in the Meatpacking District, and sales were so good, she opened a second location in the city with extended hours. Similarly, U.K.-based athleisure brand Gymshark noticed a lot of orders coming in from Los Angeles. By digging into that sales data, as well as examining where their most active, engaged social media followers were based, the company decided to open a pop-up store in Santa Monica, which operated for a single weekend in January. “It was a huge
success -- record setting in terms of brand awareness,” says Seb Mills, Gymshark’s IT director. Despite the pop-up victory, Gymshark, which launched in 2012, is taking it slow before investing in full-time retail stores. “There’s always potential to explore that avenue, and if and when we do, the locations will be data-driven decisions.” Meanwhile, traditional retailers are falling farther and farther behind their younger, more nimble competition. The nature of their business works against them: Most are saddled with inventory and pricey leases, and due to the nature of brickand-mortar retail, they’re not gathering much useful data on their customers. Still, retail insiders offer a word of caution: Unfortunately for them, we’re still in the early days of using deep-data science to make real estate decisions. At Foursquare, the social network that remade itself as a location technology company, CEO Jeff Glueck says his team is actively exploring data’s limits. It’s working with several companies on a pilot program to deploy the extensive data in Foursquare’s arsenal -- including foot traffic by time of day and demographic info from more than 140 countries -- on a real-time basis. “That’s powerful stuff,” Glueck says. But it requires great sophistication. Top hedge funds use foot traffic to predict earnings for publicly traded companies, but they have the capacity to process it. Glueck says this kind of data won’t be a part of the retail leasing toolbox for another five to 10 years. Nevertheless, the companies that can blend online and brick-and-mortar seem to have an advantage -- gaining access to good data while also connecting with people in person. That way, online informs retail, and retail informs online, creating a symbiosis that pays off for those who can master the balance. Industry-wide, when a digital retailer opens a store, traffic from internet users in the region jumps between 25 percent and 100 percent, according to Frank Layo, a managing director at Kurt Salmon, part of Accenture Strategy. The physical stores, he says, solve a key problem for digital etailers: “How do I get another touchpoint?” The physical store also creates data that no online store ever could. For example, Warby Parker recently tested a kioskstyle pop-up in the middle of Brookfield Place, a mall in lower Manhattan. (Malls are different animals from streetfront stores -- they can require merchants to be open at hours that aren’t productive and serve a different clientele.) The company learned something unexpected: Customers don’t like trying on prescription glasses in a public setting; it’s too intimate, Blumenthal says. But sunglasses sold well. Warby Parker has added that insight to its ever-growing collection of data. “If you believe in putting the customer first as a strategy, then you just find ways to create better and better experiences,” Blumenthal says. “Eventually that takes you to data.”
Nancy Miller - Magazine Contributor
How to Measure Your Content Marketing Efforts
[Infographic] By Jon Feagain
Content marketing can be a powerful tool for building brand awareness, encouraging consideration of your product or service, and converting prospects into leads and customers. All those steps on the sales journey are important, but how, exactly, do you measure the effects of your content marketing on each of them? Brand awareness can be a vague concept, for example, and conversion could have happened thanks to any number of factors. The team at content marketing agency Brandpoint explored content measurement a few years ago, and it’s back with an updated infographic and new tips for how to measure your content marketing. When you’re determining how your content makes prospects more aware of your brand, measure search ranking, Web traffic, and social engagement, the graphic suggests; for the consideration stage, you’ll want to dig into your Web analytics to see pageviews, bounce rates, content downloads, and so on. For more on how to measure awareness, consideration, and conversion—and for tips on how to improve the effect of content marketing on each of those steps of the customer journey—check out the infographic
Laura Forer is a freelance writer, email and content strategist, and crossword puzzle enthusiast. She’s an assistant editor at MarketingProfs, where she manages infographic submissions, among other things.
I Buy, Therefore I Am: The Psychology Behind Why We Choose Our Favorite Brands By Dr. Paul Warner
What do the shoes you wear, the coffee you drink, and the car you drive say about you? In what ways do your favorite brands help create your personal brand? How do they contribute to fulfilling your individual needs? And how do your shopping dollars help craft—and confirm—your personal identity? Over the past 15 years, InMoment has collected and analyzed feedback from billions of customer experiences. We’ve proven—time and again—the direct connection between the meaningful differentiation of these experiences and the success of a brand’s CX objectives, such as willingness to return to, recommend, and, ultimately, promote a business. The customer stories shared at various touch points throughout the customer journey not only capture the thoughts, feelings, and attitudes within each unique experience, but confirm the congruence—or lack thereof—between customer expectations and the reality of the experience delivered. While the intelligence derived from this feedback is critical for an organization to create optimal, personalized customer experiences that drive business value, there is another salient factor that drives consumer behavior: customer-brand identity. This concept is derivative of social identity theory and describes “an active, selective, and volitional psychological process in which customers compare their own identity to that of the company and identify with the company if it can fulfill one or more self-differential needs.” This connection between consumer and brand is much deeper and more meaningful than a singular experience; therefore, it has a greater potential impact on long-term loyalty, advocacy, and value. Best-in-class brands know if they create a promise, product, and experience that evokes an identity worth aspiring to, customers will pay to align with and even promote it— increasing the lifetime value of the relationship. For instance, professional athletes across the world wear Nike; however,
the sweeping majority of Nike customers are not actually world-class and/or Olympic athletes. Yet, when a shoe represents something we identify with or aspire to attain, we’re drawn to it. The truth is, most Nike customers are just like you and me: casual athletes or city dwellers who are drawn to the aura of innovation and inspiration associated with The Swoosh. This is a perfect example of a co-created brand identity that satisfies customer needs while staying true to the brand’s promise. Tiffany & Co. is another The truth is, most Nike example. The blue box and white ribbon exude elegance, customers are just like class, and sophistication, and you and me: casual therefore, the legacy luxury athletes or city dwellers brand has both the benefit and challenge of living up to who are drawn to the a well-established customer aura of innovation and expectation. The exclusivity inspiration associated and allure of the iconic Tiffany Experience throughout the with The Swoosh. entire customer journey— advertising, web presence, in-store experience, packaging, unwrapping, and ownership (of both the jewelry and box!)— is about so much more than a brilliant piece of jewelry. It’s about how we see ourselves, what we aspire to, our connection with the brand, and our identity. And that’s where true brand loyalty is born. The same philosophy rings true for more utilitarian industries, such as retail pharmacy. While these entities are most commonly visited when people are feeling under the weather, Rite Aid has not resigned itself to being just a drugstore. Instead, it has deliberately positioned itself as a center for wellness, from its on-site illness-prevention services to its comprehensive loyalty program (aptly named wellness+) to its online and in-store imagery and messaging focused on healthy families and happy lives. Yes, you can visit Rite
It’s more than a product or even an experience—it’s an identity.
Aid to buy diapers or have your prescription filled, but the company’s promise is to be a partner in long-term health and wellness that goes beyond a single interaction.
Brands like Nike, Tiffany & Co., and Rite Aid have moved beyond simple, transactional customer satisfaction (which has low self-referentiality), and have found ways to integrate how customers see themselves within the brand’s offering. It’s more than a product or even an experience—it’s an identity. All things being equal, selfperception and aspiration are often the prevailing factors in choosing one product or brand over another. Creating a strong, enduring customer-brand identity is also a competitive inoculation strategy. It is evident that the more customers identify with a brand, the more resistant they are to competitive attempts at winning their business. In addition, as their identity with a brand strengthens, so does their intent to repurchase and willingness to pay more for goods and services (e.g., waiting all year for a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte or immediately upgrading to the newest Apple iPhone). So how does a brand integrate so seamlessly into a customer’s life? Creating a strong customer-brand identity that leads to fervent loyalty may seem like a tall order, only achievable by the most established brands. There are, however, steps organizations can take right now to begin building nearly unbreakable customer relationships: 1. Listen to your customers (and understand what they’re saying and feeling). Most brands have formalized listening channels to track customer satisfaction in real time. And while guiding metrics like NPS and OSAT can serve as barometers for how well the company is meeting customer expectations, do not ignore customer stories (e.g., feedback, social reviews, and conversations) delivered through narratives, videos, images, and audio recordings. Customer stories, both solicited and unsolicited, speak the full truth about your customer-brand identity. For this, you need powerful analytics capabilities that can derive meaning from the explicit and implicit emotions that relate to identity, and arm your company with targeted insights, prescriptive recommendations, and predictive foresight. 2. Understand your industry, position, and competition. Creating a strong customer-brand identity is also about offering a differentiated experience from your competitors. In addition to customer stories, competitive benchmarking can help your brand understand its position in the market; yet, going beyond simple rankings is imperative. As our team analyzes over one million pieces of customer feedback each day, we find that specific competitors are mentioned frequently—especially when an experience fails to meet expectations. These consumers often cite the reasons why a competitor fits better with who they are and why they may return to that brand despite past negative experiences. Understanding where you sit in your competitive universe is important, but unless you know the reasons why consumers choose products or brands, a clear and actionable path to meaningful customer experiences will remain a mystery.
3. Engineer a clearly-defined, and customeraligned, brand identity. Understanding your customer base, and more importantly, what drives loyalty for your brand, is critical when crafting and delivering your promise to consumers. Your presentation and offering must be in line with their self-concept and aspiration—especially those with the highest lifetime value. Remember the Tiffany example? The customer-brand identity is at play throughout the customer journey, from research to purchase to ownership. Your brand’s identity must be omnipresent, continually feeding the customer-brand relationship. 4. Create a congruent culture. Have you ever gone shopping and dealt with an employee who clearly did not want to be there? Of course you have. Likewise, it’s evident when employees are not only brand advocates, but likely, customers themselves. For example, at Cabela’s, the frontline staff (also known as Outfitters) are more than just salespeople and cashiers—they’re experienced adventurers with a passion for the outdoors. Further, Outfitters are experts in the department in which they work, allowing them to elicit each customer’s individual needs and give personalized advice. Employees are an extension of your brand, and trust me, your customers have taken notice. Creating products, processes, and a culture aligned with your brand’s identity is infectious. When leaders and frontline employees identify with and advocate for your brand, they will create experiences that exceed customer expectations. 5. Connect through experiences. There’s no simpler way to build customer-brand identity and loyalty than through experiences that are meaningful and authentic to that specific, co-created brand identity. In the hospitality industry, nobody does this better than Cracker Barrel. This home away from home is modeled after a traditional Southern general store with a singular mission: pleasing people. So rather than waiting for your table in a sterile holding area or on a cramped bench, guests can browse aisles of delicious country goodness, creating a seamless retail + dining journey—nary found anywhere else. Experiences that are unique to your brand’s culture, are meaningful to guests, and show you care about your customers are worth their weight in CX gold. Understanding the underlying psychological mechanisms that motivate consumers to choose, stay, and advocate for brands is a critical endeavor in creating competitive advantage. By moving beyond fulfilling customers’ basic, utilitarian needs and building an ecosystem where who the customer is—or wants to be—integrates with what the brand offers, companies can develop an identity that actualizes customers’ higher-order needs. Using the aforementioned strategies, it’s no wonder the world’s leading brands have outlasted their competitors—crafting products and experiences that fulfill the deep-seated psychological needs of their customers. If trends in CX continue on their current trajectory, the necessity of customer-brand identification will determine who wins in the marketplace. Dr. Paul Warner, VP Customer and Employee Experience Strategy at InMoment
What’s the Next Social Network? Think Music OPINION: CONSUMERS ARE READY TO ACCEPT BRANDS ON THEIR FAVORITE STREAMING PLATFORMS By Dara Treseder
We plug into it with our closest friends, dance to it with complete strangers and discuss it among our newest acquaintances. There’s no doubt about it: Music is a deeply powerful connection point for humans. Nielsen found that on average, Americans spend more than 32 hours per week listening to tunes. And by mid-2017, they had already requested 184 billion streams via on-demand music streaming platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify, a 62 percent increase from the same mid-year mark in 2016. Music platforms are poised to be the next social media frontier. With 159 million users (and counting), Spotify has already accomplished the user growth that sinks so many aspiring social networks. Now, social marketers just need to capitalize on it.
In the age of mixtapes, music lovers wanted to know what their best friends were listening to. Today, they want to connect with their favorite influencers and brands in the same way. By treating music streaming as a new type of social network, brands can connect with consumers on a deeper level and inspire stronger loyalty among fans. Music as a social network Modern consumers expect brands to take stances on social issues, politics and styles of humor. It’s only natural that they now expect companies to demonstrate a taste in music. Recently, some brands have built personalized playlists to boost engagement with their target demographics. Carnival Cruise Line, for example, has a Spotify playlist filled
with upbeat summer tunes to immerse followers in the cruise experience—whether they’re on a ship or not.
better execution, features like this could drive users to one platform over another.
And after the premiere of Stranger Things 2, Spotify and Netflix paired up to create musical profiles for 13 of the show’s characters. Using individuals’ listening data, Spotify matched fans with character playlists that best fit their listening habits.
Audio marketing will gain on video: As devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo become more common, social music will blossom in homes around the world. According to research from Nielsen, audio advertising might boast the highest return on investment of any format. For every $1 spent on audio advertising, studied brands saw $6 in sales increases within one month of listeners hearing their ads. No one will listen to Spotify playlists full of sales jingles, but if people’s ears continue to guide their wallets, brands can’t afford to stay silent.
Music extends the reach of these brands to a level not achievable through other social media channels. The playlists match consumer moods to popular tunes that align with the company’s values. Listeners can share Spotify playlists on other types of media, stretching free exposure even further. Consumers who stream music are valuable prospects. They’re twice as likely to pay more for a brand than nonstreamers, and nearly three-quarters of them are more likely to describe a certain brand as the only one for them. When brands seize the opportunity to connect with consumers through jam sessions that don’t feel like sales pitches, they’ll come out on top. For example, Anytime Fitness leveraged Pandora to build brand awareness and drive foot traffic to gyms for the company’s Free Workout Saturdays promotion. A postcampaign case study found that by targeting an audience of fitness enthusiasts on their mobile phones, the brand was able to boost overall awareness by 22 percent and awareness for Free Workout Saturdays by 44 percent. The future of brands in music In the next few years, music streaming and brands will evolve together. Social marketers should prepare for these upcoming changes: Streaming services will steal features: Just as Facebook and Instagram borrowed Stories from Snapchat, music streaming services will lift social tricks from one another. Spotify killed its messaging program because of low engagement, but with
Deep learning will increase personalization: Pandora and Spotify strive to provide users with the best song recommendations. Thanks to improvements in machine learning, they’re getting better. Brands that follow the development of their audiences’ musical tastes could show up in users’ recommended feeds—but only if they keep their social music presence current. Virtual reality will create new experiences: Music lovers already stream videos of their favorite concerts. What happens when they can strap on VR devices to sit in the front row at a live show? Brands should stay close to the intersection of music and technology so that they can pounce on promising opportunities like this. Consumers are ready to accept brands on their favorite music streaming platforms. And brands that prepare for the future of social music today can gain an edge on the competition for years to come.
Dara Treseder is chief marketing officer at GE Venturess.
“Being Everywhere Is Not Enough”: The 5 New Rules Of Branding Advertising is historically rooted in persuading people. Today, it has to serve them. Droga5’s chief design officer shows how. By Jason Severs
Brands today face herculean challenges. They have to deliver experiences on a laundry list of social media platforms, as well as through traditional media and sales channels. And being everywhere at every moment is not enough. They also have to engage with consumers across a broad cultural, social, and political spectrum. When you think about it, there’s only one real solution: Brands have to embrace ambiguity. As the futurist Bruce Sterling put it at SXSW 2018, “Hope is the awareness that what you’re doing makes sense, even when everyone else fails to understand.” This may be a tough sell for companies that elevate measurable outcomes above all else. Over two years ago, I left the strategic design consultancy Frog to join Verizon as the director of strategic initiatives. My goal was to help Verizon provide better value and worthwhile experiences to its customers. But I witnessed firsthand the inherent conflict between the role of marketing to drive business goals and service customer needs. The motivations and outcomes of sales and service are difficult to align. But not impossible. Recently, I joined the creative agency
Droga5 as the chief design officer and immediately gained a better understanding of how exceptional creativity–a necessary ingredient for any company that accepts uncertainty–can help brands better connect to audiences. This year’s SXSW offered a taste of just how powerful that experimental advertising can be–and underscored five key tenets of branding in the 21st century.
INTERACT WITH YOUR AUDIENCE OR DIE At SXSW, Land o’ Lakes Butter developed an experience that let participants interact with exhibits and donate to charity in an effort to expand their understanding of farming and responsible food production. HBO built a replica of Sweetwater, the town in the hit drama Westworld, to usher people, quite literally, into the show. The takeaway? Interaction drives curiosity. Brands without interactions risk
boring their audiences and miscommunicating key product features and benefits.
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION ARE BUSINESS IMPERATIVES With Black Panther surpassing $1 billion in global box office sales, we’re reminded once again of the power of and promise found in representation. As John Maeda put it in the Design in Tech Report he released at SXSW (and which Co.Design covered here), inclusivity in creativity and design is “just good business and expands your addressable
then step into a dressing room with a virtual mirror and your friend Skypes in to help you pick an outfit, that’s mixed reality. Creatives in advertising need to start thinking about how to design these “mixed” moments. At SXSW, the lead researcher Elliot Hedman at mPath emphasized “the tyranny of choice” many consumers feel–and described how brands are failing to create a mixed reality that engages people in “the feeling of the joy of learning.”
market.” If you’re in the business of content creation and curation, you won’t survive unless you bring varied, underrepresented, and underserved cultural experiences and ways of thinking to the whiteboard.
CREATIVE CURATION IS A MUST Enough with the marketing gimmicks. Advertising agencies should be in the business of “creative curation”–pairing cultural trends to market opportunities that
DEATH TO THE AGENCY OF RECORD, LONG LIVE THE SPECIAL PROJECTS ROADMAP Companies often hire an agency of record to handle their advertising needs. That works for many companies. But brands also need help tackling special projects that may determine business priorities, potential partners, and other strategic imperatives. To be clear, just because brands embrace makes sense for consumers. The LVMH Benefit Cosmetics Brow AR experience is a good example. It capitalizes on developments in AR to give customers a genuinely useful way to experiment with different eyebrow shapes.
uncertainty doesn’t mean they’re venturing out into the world
MIXED REALITY IS READY FOR ITS CLOSE-UP
the human experience.
When you walk into a clothing store and use your mobile device to read reviews of something you hold in your hand,
uncertainly. Quite the opposite. A strong sense of purpose is what gives brands the freedom to experiment. And with all of the ambiguity, we must remember to focus on what matters:
Jason Severs is Droga5’s chief design officer.
How to Price a Marketing Proposal: Four Proven Approaches By Ruben Gamez
Conversations about pricing can be uncomfortable, but they’re a necessity for every marketer. Figuring out how to broach the topic tactfully—in a way that actually encourages prospects to become clients—gives you a tremendous advantage over competitors. How do you pull it off? By applying a few tried-and-true principles, you can navigate this key part of closing every sale. Let’s talk about how to do that.
Use price to persuade prospects to become clients
Looking at all that information gets overwhelming in a hurry, and not in the way you might hope. Instead of focusing on the value you can deliver, a prospect’s eyes fix on all those dollar signs and zeroes. Your marketing solution (a combination of expertise and insights they can’t find anywhere else) gets devalued into a commodity that’s easy to compare with other service providers. Your pricing section becomes more persuasive when you bundle all your discrete services into a single solution. By listing a price for the solution while describing all the included services, you keep people focused on value. Here’s how that might look:
Cost is always on potential clients’ minds. Even if you spend hours painstakingly preparing your marketing proposals, readers will often flip straight to the pricing section. Accepting that is the first step to conveying your price in a way that helps your chances of winning new business instead of hurts them. Regardless of the project, apply the following six principles within your proposal pricing sections to help you land more clients.
1. Bundle your pricing Even if you are confident in the value you can deliver to marketing clients, it’s often tempting to try justifying each service by associating it with a specific cost.
Our research into over 25,000 sales contracts and proposals found that those with bundled pricing were 36% more likely to be approved than those with standard pricing.
The idea is that by listing every discrete service you plan to offer, you’ll help would-be clients grasp the full extent of your value. As a result, you might end up with a pricing section that looks something like a receipt:
2. Offer several options for clients to choose from Bundling your services is a great first step, but your pricing can become even more effective when you offer multiple options. A proposal with just a single solution is limiting: Prospects are faced with a binary choice—”take it or leave it.” Often, out of a sense of powerlessness, they’ll be tempted to leave it and move on to someone else. However, offering a few options is empowering. Instead of choosing simply yes or no, prospects get to sift through various packages and choose the best solution. One caveat here: don’t offer prospects too many choices. That will overwhelm them.
Back in 2000, Yale and Stanford professors conducted an experiment at a supermarket. Researchers ran a station where shoppers could sample jam. The researchers tweaked the number of jams people could sample and tracked the effect on jam sales. Here’s what happened when the researchers increased jam options from six to 24:
When we’re given too many choices, the sheer number can become demotivating. Keep that in mind for your pricing proposals. Our research found that offering two or three options increased revenue 32%, on average.
3. Use the rest of your proposal to create an upscale, professional context Would you pay $20 for breakfast in a greasy-spoon diner? How about in a swanky hotel? Which one seems like a better deal? Even if the meals are exactly the same, the context in which they’re offered has a huge impact on whether we feel we’re being ripped off or getting our money’s worth.
much easier to convince a current customer to invest a bit more money than to find a new customer. You can do that within your proposal pricing sections as well: It’s an opportune time and place for someone to select the best bundle and any add-on services they might need. Here’s an example from a proposal for marketing projects that we offer for free:
Some marketers stumble because they try to force upsell options into proposals by making suggestions that aren’t logical extensions to the core services being offered. A marketer might try to upsell Web design or IT support, for instance, even though the potential client is interested primarily in dominating local search rankings. It’s much harder to upsell different services than add-ons, which enhance the value of the core service. Consider a car wash that upsells add-ons like premium waxing and wheel cleaners. That’s an easier “yes” than trying to sell a sunshade or floor mats. Just as with your primary service bundles, you can find a sweet spot here by offering a few upsell options, but not so many that people get overwhelmed.
Make it easier for clients to say ‘yes’
A Vanderbilt University study found that customers were willing to pay more for a Budweiser when they knew it came from an upscale hotel than from a rundown grocery store.
Pricing is always a factor, but there’s no reason why you need to minimize or hide it in your proposals. Fortunately, you can present your price in a way that’s as persuasive as possible.
We can apply those insights to our marketing proposals, too. Sloppy formatting or an unpersuasive structure creates a poor context, and when would-be clients check your prices they’ll be less understanding about high figures. On the other hand, a concise, well structured, professional-looking proposal creates an “upscale” context.
When you adhere to the key principles I’ve outlined in this article, your prospects will focus on the value of what you can deliver instead of just the financial cost. With an easyto-understand pricing scheme that discourages comparisonshopping, you make it that much easier for clients to say “yes.”
Even if someone flips straight to the pricing section without reading the rest of the proposal, they’ll notice the cover, layout, and design elements. All those details matter. The good news: it’s entirely within your power to optimize those details to create the most professional context possible.
How do you address the pricing conversation in your marketing proposals? What works for you, and what have you struggled with? Leave a comment and let us know!
4. Use strategic upselling Most of us try to upsell in some form or another because it’s
Ruben Gamez is the founder of Docsketch, a sales document tool that has helped companies earn more than $2 billion in sales.
How B2B Marketers Are Embracing Brand as the Top Driver of Growth By Julia Cupman
A recent B2B International survey* of large businesses serving B2B markets has found optimism among marketers across the US and Europe, many of whom are focusing on brand as a growth driver.
Increasing investment in marketing reflects optimism The outlook is positive: 57% of survey respondents anticipate marketing budget increases this year, compared with 38% last year who said they were expecting an increase. Although that optimism is industrywide (no more than 13% expect a decrease in budgets, regardless of the industry group), those in trades and services (e.g., retail, hospitality, transportation, and energy) are more optimistic about their marketing budgets than those in knowledge-based sectors (e.g., IT/technology, financial services, healthcare, and education). Market research budgets are also set to increase: 49% of respondents anticipate an increase over the next 12 months, versus only 13% expecting a decrease and 38% envisioning no change. That pattern is the same for the US and Europe.
Branding is the top strategy for growth, but most marketers acknowledge brand deficiencies The most widely deployed marketing strategy is branding: 60% of respondents say they are focusing on initiatives to grow their brands. However, although the importance of branding is recognized, many marketers are facing challenges in building their brands: â€˘ Only 41% of respondents say their organization has a strong USP (unique selling proposition). â€˘ Only 43% perform well in assessing their brand health at regular intervals (e.g., measuring awareness, brand perceptions, brand performance). Those in trades and services rate their brand performance higher than those in other industry groups doâ€”possibly a reflection of investment in their brands, since this industry group is also the most positive about marketing budget increases. A strong brand is a major asset to a company because it drives appeal and value. Some 42% of marketers and corporate researchers say brand
research is among the most useful types of research to invest in within the next two years. That’s especially true of those in the US, where half (49%) consider brand research to be of high value to their organization.
Innovation is the lifeblood of success, but a challenge to many Customer satisfaction and product development are tied in second place as marketing strategies that B2B marketers and corporate researchers are addressing, especially those in process (e.g., manufacturing) and construction sectors. Innovation is clearly recognized as a key growth driver since it directly impacts the bottom line, but it is also consistently the first- or second-ranked, challenge faced by businesses each year. Only 36% of organizations rate their performance an 8 out of 10 or higher on having a structured process to innovation (e.g., Stage-Gate), suggesting that most businesses lack a systematic approach to ideation, concept development, and product assessment. Acknowledging the need to improve, 36% of organizations in the US and Europe consider product development research among the most useful types of research studies to their business within the next two years.
Customer satisfaction is vital; it keeps marketers awake at night Over half (55%) of organizations are focusing on marketing strategies to improve customer satisfaction, especially those in trades and services sectors. That focus is likely a result of the increasing importance of customer-centricity: Fully 50% of businesses say retaining customers is a top challenge. In today’s economy, suppliers are frequently pressured by growing customer demands, and the threshold for delighting customers seems to stretch higher and higher. Furthermore, with their increasing marketing budgets, marketers are vying for the attention and loyalty of buyers who are often overwhelmed by the many brand and product choices available to them. B2B marketers admit to weaknesses in how their organizations are tackling the need to become more customer-centric: • Less than half (46%) of businesses perform well in collecting NPS (Net Promoter Score) regularly and acting on the findings. • Only 37% map the customer journey to identify critical interactions or touchpoints and improvements. • Only around one-third (32%) maintain an up-to-date customer database. Not surprisingly, organizations are considering market research to address those challenges. Some 53% say customer experience and customer journey mapping research will be useful to their organization within the next two years, and 47% acknowledge the need to focus on the fundamentals of customer satisfaction and loyalty surveys. Clearly, there is substantial opportunity for B2B marketers to invest in the voice of the customer. Based on current strategies and challenges, organizations should place priority on the following: • Building more distinct brand positions and measuring brand health • Identifying unmet needs and the potential for enhanced or new products • Measuring the pulse of customer satisfaction while seeking to achieve customer experience excellence
*About the survey: The research comprises a longitudinal online survey (annual waves) conducted by B2B International; the most recent wave was fielded in October and November of 2017. The total sample size was n=356 (57% in Europe and 43% in the US) and comprised large businesses (the average business revenue was $3.05 billion). All respondents were required to have a responsibility for marketing or research.
Julia Cupman is vice-president at global business-to-business market research agency B2B International, which serves a wide range of sectors, from traditional heavy industry to financial and business services.
Branding: Brand Identity, Brand Strategy, and Brand Development
Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen
By K.L. Hammond
By Donald Miller
In the world of business, a great brand is everything. Those who lack a strong brand and branding strategies are surely going to struggle in their climb to success. Having a well-developed and powerful brand can be the difference between success and failure in the modern business world. Naturally, you want to run a successful business.
Donald Miller’s StoryBrand process is a proven solution to the struggle business leaders face when talking about their businesses. This revolutionary method for connecting with customers provides readers with the ultimate competitive advantage, revealing the secret for helping their customers understand the compelling benefits of using their products, ideas, or services.
Branding It 3.0: Business Performance through Excellence in Brand Management Kindle Edition
How to Write Copy That Sells: The Step-By-Step System for More Sales, to More Customers, More Often Kindle Edition
By Marco Casanova
By Ray Edwards
In BRANDING IT 3.0 global branding expert Marco Casanova uses best practice examples from more than 20 of today’s leading corporations, including Amazon, Starbucks, and Ritz Carlton, and shows how state-of-the-art brand management can be achieved.
Writing copy that sells without seeming “salesy” can be tough, but is an essential business skill. How To Write Copy That Sells is a step-by-step guide to writing fast, easy-to-read, effective copy. It’s for everyone who needs to write copy that brings in cash – including copywriters, freelancers, and entrepreneurs.
Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords: How to Access 100 Million People in 10 Minutes (Ultimate Series) 5th Edition, Kindle Edition
The 7 Critical Principles of Effective Digital Marketing Kindle Edition
By y Perry Marshall,Mike Rhodes,Bryan Todd Covering the latest breaking news in Google AdWords, the fifth edition introduces revised, expanded and new chapters covering Enhanced Campaigns, Google AdWord’s Express, Google’s Product Listing Ads, and the introduction to Google’s Universal Analytics.
Social Media Marketing 2018: Step by Step Instructions For Advertising Your Business on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin and Various Other Platforms [2nd Edition] Kindle Edition By Noah Gray
By Andrew Essex The 7 Critical Principles of Effective Digital Marketing is an attempt at establishing a baseline for one of the most tumultuous and changeridden industries in existence. It takes a step back from the strategies and tactics that most digital marketing approaches start with and, instead, establishes a core and foundational structure from which all digital marketing initiatives can and should operate.
Instagram Marketing: Social Media Marketing Guide: How to Gain More Followers With Step-by-Step Strategies and Life-Hacks Kindle Edition By David Croll In Instagram Marketing, you’ll get all that and more. I’ve conducted more than 40 Instagram projects and structured all methods and tips so you can use them with your blog or business account. Every recommendation in this book to increase your social marketing knowledge.
The Complete Guide to Facebook Advertising Kindle Edition By Brian Meert In The Complete Guide to Facebook Advertising, Brian Meert teaches you how to advertise on Facebook. He walks you through step-bystep guides filled with illustrations and easyto-understand explanations. Additionally, he provides free resources and tips on how to create the perfect Facebook ad. Small business owners with learn how to run successful Facebook ad campaigns.
The Language of Branding: Theory, Strategies, and Tactics By Dawn Lerman, Robert J. Morais, David Luna The Language of Branding: Theory, Strategies and Tactics will teach marketing students how to use language successfully to improve brand value and influence consumer behavior. Luna and Lerman are among only a few researchers who take a multidisciplinary perspective on the ways language influences how consumers act.
Brands and BullS**t: Excel at the Former and Avoid the Latter. A Branding Primer for Millennial Marketers in a Digital Age
Get to Aha!: Discover Your Positioning DNA and Dominate Your Competition
By Bernhard Schroeder
Andy Cunningham has been at the forefront of tech and innovation since day one, and she’s been helping companies create new product categories ever since. Now she reveals the winning framework she uses to transform markets and industries. Get to Aha! shows how to establish the kind of foundation world-class brands are built on. Too many business leaders fail to ask the most basic questions about their company. Who are we?
Brands and Bulls**t is the first book written exclusively for Millennial marketers and entrepreneurs to provide insights and tools on how to purposely create a digital brand. The kind of brand that ultimately creates such a powerful “feeling” in a customer’s “mind and gut” that they feel there is no substitute for your product or service. Brands and Bulls**t.
By Andy Cunningham
Branding Is Out, Results Are In: Lessons For The LOCAL Advertiser
By Tom Ray
A robot named Branding considers acting against his programming. Can he find it within himself to quit Marketing? Or will he always be “Branding?”
Brands are important, of course. This, however, is a book about advertising. And, while all branding is advertising, all advertising is not branding. If you’re a local advertiser, spending precious advertising dollars to simply brand your business, you might be making a costly mistake. Branding Is Out, Results Are In gives you the principles that need to be in place in order to achieve RESULTS from your advertising investment.
The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, And Stand Out From The Crowd Kindle Edition By Allan Dib To build a successful business, you need to stop doing random acts of marketing and start following a reliable plan for rapid business growth. Traditionally, creating a marketing plan has been a difficult and time-consuming process, which is why it often doesn’t get done.
By Branding Unchained
Unstoppable Influence: Be You. Be Fearless. Transform Lives. By Natasha Hazlett In Unstoppable Influence, attorney, speaker, and business coach Natasha Hazlett takes you on an unfiltered, comfort-zone-stretching journey to becoming the Unstoppable Influencer you were created to be! One decision helped this uninspired, unmotivated entrepreneur on the verge of abandoning her business to finally ditch her limiting, selfsabotaging beliefs and uncover her radiant Truth. Now she’s helping thousands of others do the same.