Branding matters. Because branding matters.
Dear Friends: Fall is about to descend in most parts of the world and we do see a corresponding rise in the buzz and activities in brand kingdom. Great for the fraternity. This issue is really rich and I mean it. We take a look at what the C Suite thinks of CMOs, compelling insights there. After long, yours truly contributes a column on the Future of Advertising- I hope some of you warm upto it. We also take up a conversation with CMO of Mastercard Raja Rajamannar where he articulates the move of the brand from advertising to experiences. Very insightful. With a surplus of choice and a deficit of attention, trust & resources, we feature a story on why brands are more important than ever in the current context. We also cover the obvious: how mobile remains a truly disruptive force for marketers. ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment) had made a comeback. We go a bit deep on that in this issue. Social Media is definitely shaping our identity. Understand more on the article herein. All those fans of brand positioning will gravitate towards the feature on how you can position your brand in a particular market. We have also done an overview of the Do’s and Dont’s of Comparative Advertising in this edition. Ample more in this issue and I expect all of you to find value and relevance in the content curated. Till the next, my very best! Till the next… Best
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Suresh Dinakaran @ISDGlobalDubai
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Managing Editor: Suresh Dinakaran Creative Head/Director Operations: Pravin Ahir Magazine Concept & Design/ New Media Specialist: Mufaddal Joher Business Development Director: Rishi Mohan Brand Engagement and Outreach Specialist: Anuva Madan Country Head India: Rohit Unni Research & Analysis: Meeta Pendse Country Head, Australia: Norbert D’Souza Country Head, UK: Sagar Patil Performance Marketing Architect: Ryan Govindan Video Content Specialist: Mikhaela Cena Content Development Specialist: Abijith Pradeep Revenue Development Specialist: Nitin Kumar
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What the C-suite thinks about CMOs A Strategy for Desire: Inside the brain’s brand room How Social Media Shapes Our Identity Forget ads, use experiences, says Mastercard CMO How to Create Strong Brand Positioning in Your Market Experience strategists are the new brand guardians The Future of Advertising: A Sneak Peek! Forget ROAS, It’s All About ROMI Now You Guys Suck! The Dos And Don’ts Of Comparative Advertising Can the ‘Supercharged’ Consumer Save Retail? In an age of abundant choice, why is brand more important than ever? We need a new ‘third way’ to set marketing budgets Why Being a Celebrity Is Big Business Mobile remains a disruptive force for marketers What’s Next for the Digital Living Room? Media owner spotlight: The Economist’s approach to brand content in the era of social purpose To Navigate Advertising Uncertainty, Marketers Must Aim To Maximize Unduplicated Reach How to Create and Use Infographics for Your Content Marketing Book, Line & Sinker
What the C-suite thinks about CMOs By WARC Staff
The most senior client-side marketing position, the chief marketing officer, is reportedly under threat, under-regarded and lacking confidence. But new research from Deloitte finds that such existential worries may be overblown.
chiefs, who are particularly admiring of CMOs’ knowledge of the customer – though they would like to see marketing initiating collaboration more. The finance department’s perspective is similar.
Professional services firm Deloitte, recently surveyed 575 C-suite executives from across the Fortune 500, including CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, and CTOs, along with 19 in-depth interviews. Some of the results were published in the Harvard Business Review. Here’s what you need to know.
Particularly in the area of demonstrating financial impact, both CSOs and COOs are doubtful of CMO’s abilities across nearly all competencies. In this regard, the sales chiefs are very critical.
CMOs are overly worried According to the research a tiny minority (5%) of CMOs feel highly confident – strongly agree – in their ability to impact the strategic direction of the overall business, and gain the support of their C-suite peers. As the authors of the research note, this is far below the rest of the suite’s personal ratings. They are similarly worried about competencies: just over a quarter (27%) feel they demonstrate financial impact “extremely well,” while 32% say they perform similarly at understanding their customers. The same proportion report being good at collaboration.
They are considered experts by peers But they undersell themselves, according to other members of the C-suite, who often respect the CMO’s expertise and efficacy. This is especially true of CEOs, of whom 50% believe their marketing chiefs are highly effective. It’s a similar picture reported from information and technology
What to do about it Customer understanding is a key area of expertise that other C-suite positions respect. The authors recommend this understanding of the end-consumer and their route through the market as key strategic intelligence that can become part of an offer to other executives that will allow them to achieve their own goals. Given that a brand is experienced at every different touchpoint that the company offers, it is surprising that CMOs often score so low on collaboration. Just 17% of the surveyed executives reported having collaborated with CMOs in the last year. “They should invite C-suite colleagues to co-own key initiatives that are of shared interest (such as evaluating new geographic markets) and that leverage the CMO’s unique customer insight.” Considering the relatively high opinion in which CEOs hold them, ensuring their advocacy in collaboration is a strong first step in bringing more collaboration. Sourced from Deloitte (via HBR)
A Strategy for Desire: Inside the brain’s brand room HOW TO NAIL APPLIED NEUROSCIENCE
By Mark Frary
In a world where consumers have become accustomed to a best-in-class user experience, gorging themselves on the personalised recommendations and frictionless worlds of Amazon and Netflix, many companies are being forced to implement customer-driven digital transformation to survive.
OBSERVING REAL-TIME CUSTOMER BEHAVIOUR, WHETHER THEY ARE SHOPPING IN A STORE OR HOW THEY NAVIGATE A WEBSITE, IS INVALUABLE To get closer to their customers, some companies are starting to recognise they need to understand the consumer’s mind better and are using the tools of neuroscience to understand what makes people buy.
Customer-driven digital transformation To do this, businesses are turning to neuroscientists to augment what they can glean from traditional research. Cristina Balanzo, director of Walnut Unlimited, which calls itself a human understanding agency, says: “What neuroscience is providing are complementary insights. It is an additional layer of understanding that it is needed to have a full picture so these companies need to change behaviours and shape attitudes. “Current user-experience testing is being explored through behavioural observation and declarative measurement. We know that beyond the click, our subconscious drives most of our habitual behaviour, so understanding the motives and emotions, which underlie these behaviours, is crucial to understand the real engagement with these online platforms. People cannot report everything that drives their behaviour.”
Anticipating changes in customer behaviour
find their regular pack or to choose between packs.”
Shopping has been revolutionised in the online era and it is forcing retailers to rethink what they thought they knew.
The brain also processes how it interacts with brands differently, according to Shazia Ginai, chief executive of Neuro-Insight.
Take the familiar setting of the supermarket; retailers have long understood the power of manipulating the brain, whether that is by piping in the smell of hot bread or by arranging goods on shelves in a particular way. Phil Barden, author of Decoded: The Science Behind Why We Buy and the managing director of consultancy DECODE MARKETING, says: “When you are navigating a store in the physical world, you learn the heuristics of shelf layouts. We know the brand with the most space is likely to be market leader. We learn that products on the top shelf tend to be more niche and premium, and those on the bottom shelf tend to be generic.”
Tapping into the online brain The problem is that none of this translates into the online world. If you are a supermarket needing to implement a customer-driven digital transformation, you are going to need to learn the way the brain works when choosing products online. Mr Barden says: “No one can ever be a mind reader and neuroscience cannot accurately say what people are thinking, but it can help explain behaviour. Observing real-time customer behaviour, whether they are shopping in a store or how they navigate a website, is invaluable.” How products are perceived online needs careful thought. If you look at how most online sites present products, they do so with a single pack shot, which is very different from the real world. “A lot of manufacturers are now manipulating the images specifically for digital representation such that the brand is easy to identify,” says Mr Barden. “It is not done to be duplicitous or to mislead, but purely to help people quickly
The brain’s brand room
“We use the analogy of a brand room,” she says. “For every brand you interact with, there will be a ‘room’ created in your brain for that brand. Your experiences in the offline world with that brand, whether TV, direct mail or retail, help furnish that room. If you have a bad experience with a brand, you get a badly furnished room. “With digital, the way information is fed to you, it is usually in a situation where advertising is not the primary context. That doesn’t furnish the brand room, it turns the light on in that room. Those rooms sit in darkness until someone switches the light on.” A customer-driven digital transformation has to recognise the difference and brands will have to do more to make sure the room is furnished before the light is switched on. Looking ahead, applied neuroscience could lead to better personalisation, which is a goal of customer-driven digital transformation. “You go to YouTube, watch a video and then the next recommendation is three more of the same thing,” says Thomas Z. Ramsøy of Neurons Inc. What Dr Ramsøy potentially sees is a future when sentiment is monitored in real time and what you are offered is customised. He concludes: “There might be a natural limit. You can’t ask people to do a brain scan in their everyday life and then there is GDPR [data protection].”
Mark Frary, Science, technology and business writer with eight published books, he speaks regularly on technology and futurology at conferences.
How Social Media Shapes Our Identity THE INTERNET CONSTANTLY CONFRONTS US WITH EVIDENCE OF OUR PAST. ARE WE LOSING THE CHANCE TO REMAKE OURSELVES? By Nausicaa Renner
ast year, I had a strange dream. My father and I were wading in an industrial canal, reminiscent of a subway, as thousands of hatchery-raised fish were being released into it. The fish crowded, slimy, around our legs, and I knew (in the way that one knows in a dream) that they thought, as they hit the water, that they were drowning—that they had to experience death before entering adulthood. The next day, I told my father about the dream. He revealed that, when I was three, when we were living in Pittsburgh, he took me to see a truckful of catfish being pumped into an artificial pond. I was too young to remember this. But somewhere in my mind the vision of fish being spewed into water had lodged itself, resurfacing more than twenty-five years later. These days, it’s common to find an image emerging, unbeckoned, from the reservoir of the past. We spend hours wading through streams of photos, many of which document, in unprecedented ways, our daily lives. Facebook was invented in 2004. By 2015, Kate Eichhorn writes in “The End of Forgetting: Growing Up with Social Media,” people were sharing thirty million images an hour on Snapchat, and British parents “posted, on average, nearly two hundred photographs of their child online each year.” For those who have grown up with social media—a group that includes pretty much everyone under twenty-five—childhood, an era that was fruitfully mysterious for the rest of us, is surprisingly accessible. According to Eichhorn, a media historian at the New School, this is certain to have some kind of profound effect on the development of identity. What that effect will be we’re not quite sure. Eichhorn sees both sides of the coin. On the one hand, she says, children and teen-agers have gained a level of control that they didn’t have before. In the past, adults refused to acknowledge children’s agency, or imposed on them an idealized notion of innocence and purity. Adults were the ones writing books, taking photos with expensive cameras, and commissioning paintings, all of which tended to commemorate childhood—to look back at it—rather than participate in it. The arrival of cheaply made instant photos, in the nineteen-sixties, allowed children to seize a means of production, and the arrival of the Internet gave them an unprecedented degree of self-determination. “If childhood was once constructed and recorded by adults and mirrored back to children (e.g., in a carefully curated family photo album or a series of home video clips), this is no longer the
case,” Eichhorn writes. “Today, young people create images and put them into circulation without the interference of adults.” This practice can be hugely beneficial. New technology— especially the smartphone—allows us to produce a narrative of our lives, to choose what to remember and what to contribute to our own mythos. For Eichhorn, this is the latest instance of a long-held, if mysterious, practice. “Long before children were able to create, edit, and curate images of their lives,” she writes, “they were already doing so on a psychic level.” Freud called these images “screen memories”— no pun intended—and he thought that we used them to soften or obscure painful experiences. Humans have always tried to cope with the difficulty of memory, to turn it “from an intolerable horror to something which is reassuringly innocuous and familiar.” Social media just makes us more adept at it. On the other hand, Eichhorn writes, such media can prevent those who wish to break with their past from doing so cleanly. We’re not the only ones posting; our friends and family chronicle our lives, usually without our consent. Growing up online, Eichhorn worries, might impede our ability to edit memories, cull what needs to be culled, and move on. “The potential danger is no longer childhood’s disappearance, but rather the possibility of a perpetual childhood,” she writes. We may, in short, have traded “screen memories for screens.” This is of particular import for those who yearn to establish new identities. People who transition, for instance, often rely on having a clean break, visually, with their previous appearances; as Eichhorn points out, one of the early promises of the Internet, when it was just “texts and clip art,” was that it “presented itself as a safe place [for transgender youth] to try on an aspect of their identities they could not explore in their material lives.” Now that the Internet is more permanent, and more pervasive, it’s hard to avoid the relics of past identities. Eichhorn cites one of her students, Kevin, an aspiring film critic from a small town in upstate New York. By his second year of college, Kevin says, his Facebook stream “was getting really weird. I had my new friends from New York posting about queer performance art and these guys from my high school posting about dirt biking in a gravel pit and tagging me in photographs from high school.
I needed to move on.” Although he deactivated his socialmedia accounts and created new ones under a pseudonym, he continued to be tagged in old photos. “I guess that Kevin is out there for good,” he says. “I just have to live with him and all those people he was trying to escape.” The persistence of certain images is more of a problem for some than for others. There are moments, elevated not by the fact of being recorded but by the impossibility of being erased, that become traumatic. These situations—in which a naked photo or an offensive tweet destroys a person’s public life—are unfortunate, and widely covered (for example, in Jon Ronson’s “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed”). Eichhorn details the case of Ghyslain Raza, a Canadian teen-ager who, in 2002, recorded himself wielding a golf-ball retriever as though it were a lightsabre. The video, which was found by a classmate, titled “Star Wars Kid,” and uploaded to the Internet, was viewed by millions of people; as Eichhorn points out, this all happened at a time when virality, as a phenomenon, wasn’t really a thing. Raza was bullied at school and ended up in a psychiatric ward. In 2013, still unable to escape the video, despite legal action, he spoke publicly about his experience, describing his contemplation of suicide. Everyone, Eichhorn writes, benefits from experimentation in adolescence. During that time, we exist in what the psychoanalyst Erik Erikson called a psychosocial “moratorium”—a stage in which we hover “between the morality learned by the child and the ethics to be developed by the adult.” The moratorium is a period of trial and error that society allows adolescents, who are permitted to take risks without fear of consequence, in hopes that doing so will clarify a “core self—a personal sense of what gives life meaning.” The Internet interrupts the privacy of this era; it tends to scale up mistakes to monumental proportions, and to put them on our permanent records. Colleges and employers now look at social-media accounts for evidence of character. Eichhorn spends less time than she might have on how this affects today’s teens. What is it like to live under threat? What are the ramifications when an entire generation never gets the chance to experiment freely or to remake themselves? Eichhorn does lightly gesture to a kind of universal human right, one that runs counter to the whims of companies that use data. “Forgetting—that once taken-for-granted built-in resource that all humans possessed—is now being pitted against the interests of technology companies,” she writes, implying, with an endearing idealism, that we have a right to forget. (For some, this belief might reflect a distinctly American approach to the rest of the world.) More plausibly, she cites the right to be forgotten, which is the nickname of both data privacy regulations in Europe and movements against naming minors in the media. Either way, the implication is that the ability to detach from one’s past self—to move laterally, as an individual, into a new body or personality—is a democratic ideal. We also have the right to stay as we are. In some cases, retaining our sense of self across chasms that might destroy it is more important than having a rebellious phase. Take, for instance, the case of migrants, which Eichhorn touches on briefly: “Family members left behind can now stay in constant touch with their sons and daughters and even track their footsteps across Europe.” Here, memory is almost a form of political representation, enabled by social media; groups are able to preserve their history as they travel across continents.
Are all photos documentary? In “The Social Photo,” Nathan Jurgenson puts forth the useful proposition that most online photos are about sharing experiences, not creating memories. In one passage, Jurgenson, a founder of Real Life magazine, writes that selfies are “less an accurate picture of me at this time in this place and more . . . a visual depiction of the idea of me.” They’re units of communication, more emojis or hieroglyphics than portraits; they have little context, aren’t discernibly located anywhere, and typically come in the aggregate. For the most part, it wouldn’t really matter if they existed in twenty years. This explains the prevalence of disappearing photos, like Instagram stories and Snapchat. (Jurgenson is also a sociologist for Snap Inc., Snapchat’s parent company.) It also explains photos of food, which are rarely artful or worth saving. For Jurgenson, taking social photos changes the way vision works—a process that began with the advent of cameras and is still evolving today. Teen-agers are cyborgs, and their phones are mechanical eyes that help them interpret their experience. “To document,” Jurgenson writes, “is to be involved with our own experience instead of passively letting it float by.” On this subject, Jurgenson has all the right, if somewhat dutiful, opinions: nostalgia is overrated, but he’s not into “digital austerity.” We shouldn’t hark back to an era in which we were less attached to technology—mostly because that era doesn’t exist. “Our reality has always been already mediated, augmented, documented,” he writes, “and there’s no access to some state of unmediated purity.” We shouldn’t ask whether social photography is good, but how it can be good. Jurgenson, unlike Eichhorn, isn’t worried about the Internet making it hard to bury past versions of ourselves. If anything, he fears the prevalence of death. Photos, he writes, “embalm” their subjects, encasing them in a “stilling sadness that kills what it attempts to save out of a fear of losing it.” For him, the risk of constant documentation is alienation: a sense that our bodies are generating still moments rather than constant movement. He cites Wolfgang Schivelbusch, a German scholar who wrote about the effect of the railway on human perception. With its speed and glass windows, “the train flattens nature into something smooth and predictable, not something traveled within but something easily seen and consumed,” Jurgenson writes. “As more of life is experienced through camera screens, does it occur at a similar remove, where the messiness of lived experience is made into something merely observable?” It would, indeed, be stunning if we were able to see painful moments from the past—the ones we meditate on for years—as dead and embalmed. The trouble is, most difficult memories aren’t captured by photos, videos, or tweets. Screens, like screen memories, are avoidant; they turn away from the painful. There are few crying children on Instagram. A friend, whose mother digitized all her family’s old home videos, recently told me about a significant birthday party at the roller rink. What she remembered was the drama beforehand: at the time, she was obsessed with Rollerblades, and when the rink had only roller skates her mother rushed to a sports store to get an inline pair, barely saving the day. None of this, it turned out, was captured in the video. All it showed was the triumph—a redemptive moment after tears, and a happy loop around the rink.
Forget ads, use experiences, says Mastercard CMO By WARC Staff
Mastercard, the financial payments firm, concentrates on leveraging experiential marketing to engage consumers around their passion points, having concluded six years ago that traditional advertising just wasn’t as effective. That is according to Raja Rajamannar, the company’s global chief marketing and communications officer, who outlined Mastercard’s thinking and focus on consumer experience during an interview with Campaign Asia. “Six years ago, we decided that we’d twist and change our entire strategy and not rely on advertising as a primary way of connecting with consumers,” said Rajamannar, who is also the president of the World Federation of Advertisers. “We provided exclusive experiences to consumers that are available only through Mastercard, and not available through other means,” he added, while predicting that the marketing and advertising mix will be completely different in ten years’ time, when he expects experiences to “predominant.” “What I have done is move money from traditional advertising – a lot of it – into experiences,” he said. “To be very provocative to my team, I keep telling them advertising is dead. Advertising is all about storytelling – so I say storytelling is dead. The future is storymaking.” To that end, Mastercard spends heavily on experiential marketing, while keeping a close eye on ROI. And for Rajamannar – although he did not directly reference the latest BrandZ global brand rankings – that investment has helped to elevate Mastercard to become the 12th top brand
in the world. Engaging consumers effectively, he said, involves creating experiences that tap into their “passion points”, or their inherent cares and concerns. “We’re not necessarily selling a product, we’re selling them an experience in which the product is an ingredient. That’s how it works,” he explained. Mastercard is helped in this respect by the fact that the very nature of its transactional business crosses so many of these passion points – whether that is art, food, health or sports – but the company certainly takes a creative approach. For example, the company tapped into the food travel trend with its Priceless Tables initiative that provides customers with an immersive, multi-sensory, digital experience of three iconic restaurants in Japan, Tanzania and the UK complete with “360 degree views” from their windows and relevant sonics. And sonic experience is another area Mastercard has been active in developing. As Rajamannar explained earlier this year in a WARC exclusive, Mastercard has been working with agencies and musicians to compose a central melody that is simple, neutral, likeable and memorable, with this threesecond “musical logo” played at the point of purchase. “Music can evoke a lot of feelings,” said Rajamannar. “It can be tense, suspenseful and it can be romantic. We wanted this to lean towards positive emotions, either by itself or in combination with other elements.”
How to Create Strong Brand Positioning in Your Market By BJ Bueno
What is Brand Positioning? Put simply, brand positioning is the process of positioning your brand in the mind of your customers. Brand positioning is also referred to as a positioning strategy, brand strategy, or a brand positioning statement. Popularized in Al Ries and Jack Trout’s bestselling Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, the idea is to identify and attempt to “own” a marketing niche for a brand, product, or service using various strategies including pricing, promotions, distribution, packaging, and competition. The goal is to create a unique impression in the customer’s mind so that the customer associates something specific and desirable with your brand that is distinct from rest of the marketplace. Ries and Trout define positioning as “an organized system for finding a window in the mind. It is based on the concept that communication can only take place at the right time and under the right circumstances.”
Brand positioning occurs whether or not a company is proactive in developing a position, however, if management takes an intelligent, forward-looking approach, it can positively influence its brand positioning in the eyes of its target customers.
Positioning Statements versus Taglines Brand positioning statements are often confused with company taglines or slogans. Positioning statements are for internal use. These statements guide the marketing and operating decisions of your business. A positioning statement helps you make key decisions that affect your customer’s perception of your brand. A tag line is an external statement used in your marketing efforts. Insights from your positioning statement can be turned into a tagline, but it is important to distinguish between the two. (See examples of brand positioning statements and taglines below.)
7-Step Brand Positioning Strategy Process In order to create a position strategy, you must first identify your brand’s uniqueness and determine what differentiates you from your competition. There are 7 key steps to effectively clarify your positioning in the marketplace: 1. Determine how your brand is currently positioning itself 2. Identify your direct competitors 3. Understand how each competitor is positioning their brand 4. Compare your positioning to your competitors to identify your uniqueness 5. Develop a distinct and value-based positioning idea
definition] that delivers [brand promise] because only [company name] is [reason to believe].
Two Examples of Positioning Statements Amazon.com used the following positioning statement in 2001 (when it almost exclusively sold books): For World Wide Web users who enjoy books, Amazon.com is a retail bookseller that provides instant access to over 1.1 million books. Unlike traditional book retailers, Amazon.com provides a combination of extraordinary convenience, low prices, and comprehensive selection. Zipcar.com used the following positioning statement when it established its business was founded in 2000: To urban-dwelling, educated techno-savvy consumers, when you use Zipcar car-sharing service instead of owning a car, you save money while reducing your carbon footprint.
6. Craft a brand positioning statement (see below)
15 Examples of Taglines
7. Test the efficacy of your brand positioning statement (see 15 criteria below)
Once you have a strong brand positioning statement you can create a tagline or slogan that helps establish the position you’re looking to own. Here are 15 examples:
What is a Brand Positioning Statement? A positioning statement is a one or two sentence declaration that communicates your brand’s unique value to your customers in relation to your main competitors. In Crossing the Chasm, Geoffrey Moore offers one way of formulating a positioning statement: For (target customer) who (statement of the need or opportunity), the (product name) is a (product category) that (statement of key benefit; also called a compelling reason to believe). Unlike (primary competitive alternative), our product (statement of primary differentiation). However, we provide a more simplified structure for formulating a Brand Positioning Statement in the following section.
How to Create a Brand Positioning Statement There are four essential elements of a best-in-class positioning statement: 1. Target Customer: What is a concise summary of the attitudinal and demographic description of the target group of customers your brand is attempting to appeal to and attract? 2. Market Definition: What category is your brand competing in and in what context does your brand have relevance to your customers? 3. Brand Promise: What is the most compelling (emotional/ rational) benefit to your target customers that your brand can own relative to your competition? 4. Reason to Believe: What is the most compelling evidence that your brand delivers on its brand promise? After thoughtfully answering these four questions, you can craft your positioning statement: For [target customers], [company name] is the [market
• Mercedes-Benz: Engineered like no other car in the world • BMW: The ultimate driving machine • Southwest Airlines: The short-haul, no-frills, and lowpriced airline • Avis: We are only Number 2, but we try harder • Wharton Business School: The only business school that trains managers who are global, cross-functional, good leaders, and leveraged by technology • Famous Footwear: The value shoe store for families • Miller Lite: The only beer with superior taste and low caloric content • State Farm: Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. • L’Oreal: Because you’re worth it. • Walmart: Always low prices. Always. • Nike: Just do it • Coca-Cola: The real thing • Target: Expect more. Pay less. • Volvo: For life. • Home Depot: You can do it. We can help.
15 Criteria for Evaluating Your Brand Positioning Strategy An intelligent and well-crafted positioning statement is a powerful tool for bring focus and clarity to your marketing strategies, advertising campaigns, and promotional tactics. If used properly, this statement can help you make effective decisions to help differentiate your brand, attract your target customers, and win market share from your competition.
Here are 15 criteria for checking your brand positioning: 1. Does it differentiate your brand? 2. Does it match customer perceptions of your brand? 3. Does it enable growth? 4. Does it identify your brand’s unique value to your customers? 5. Does it produce a clear picture in your mind that’s different from your competitors? 6. Is it focused on your core customers? 7. Is it memorable and motivating? 8. Is it consistent in all areas of your business? 9. Is it easy to understand? 10. Is it difficult to copy? 11. Is it positioned for long-term success? 12. Is your brand promise believable and credible? 13. Can your brand own it? 14. Will it withstand counterattacks from your competitors? 15. Will it help you make more effective marketing and branding decisions?
Repositioning Positioning The unfortunate reality is that no marketer has the power to position anything in the customer’s mind, which is the core promise of positioning. The notion that positions are created by marketers has to die. Each customer has their own idea of what you are. Positioning is not something you do, but rather, is the result of your customer’s perception of what you do. Positioning is not something we can create in a vacuum—the act of positioning is a co-authored experience with the customers.
Behind your positioning statement or tagline is your intention—how you desire your business to be represented to customers. Once the real role of positioning is understood, having a tagline or a positioning statement can be useful by clarifying your brand’s essence within your organization. By examining the essence of what you are and comparing it with what your customers want, the doors open to building a business with a strong positioning in the mind of the customer. Why? Great brands merge their passion with their positioning into one statement that captures the essence of both.
Integrating Your Brand Positioning in Your Customer’s Mind To position your brand in your customer’s mind, you must start from within your business. Every member of your organization that touches the customer has to be the perfect expression of your position. And, since everyone touches the customer in some way, everyone should be the best expression of your position. Now comes the hard part: Put up everything that represents your brand on a wall. List all your brand’s touch points— every point of interaction with your customer. With a critical, yet intuitive eye, ask: • How can I more fluidly communicate my brand’s desired position? • Does every touch point look, say, and feel like the brand I want my customers to perceive? Many marketers don’t have the clarity and conviction of following through on their words. Without certainty, you default to the status quo. Turn everything you do into an expression of your desired positioning and you can create something special. This takes courage; to actively position your brand means you have to stand for something. Only then are you truly on your way to owning your very own position in the mind of your customer.
Experience strategists are the new brand guardians By Tom Morton
The job of brand strategy expands from telling the brand story to building the brand system, argues R/GA’s Tom Morton in an essay for the Future of Strategy 2019. Any list of leading brands shows how many of today’s most valuable brands are ecosystems. They come to life in their interface and innovation. They take user data to expand their services. Their ultimate aim is to turn customers into members. They do have a purpose and a narrative, they just bake it into their design as much as they share it in their communication. Only three companies have ever achieved a valuation of a trillion dollars: Amazon, Apple and Microsoft. All are ecosystems. Most other entities aspiring to twelve-zero status, from Disney to Nike, are following a similar connected playbook. As Jeff Bezos says: “In the old world, you devoted 30% of your time to building a great service and 70% of your time to shouting about it. In the new world, that inverts.” Their businesses and their brands are entwined in their experience. And if experience is the new high ground for brands, experience strategists are the new brand guardians. That expanded role brings added responsibilities. The job of brand strategy expands from telling the brand story to building the brand system. As the names suggest, User Experience and Human-Centred Design start with the person on the receiving end of the brand. That’s important. User behaviour and needs continue to unlock opportunities. Service transfer is a reality of life. People compare the user-friendliness of one brand against all the other brands they use: is it as curated as Netflix, is it as effortless as Uber? A bad experience is both a reason for an existing user to jump ship, and for a new competitor to take business. But human-centred design alone can miss the powerful nuances of the brand. It misses the difference that distinguishes brands – we should expect a Disney service to behave differently from an HBO service. It risks becoming the service equivalent of a wind tunnel, from where every brand emerges frictionless but indistinguishable. And while
it might serve the existing user who is already in front of the brand, it forgets to attract the new user who will drive growth. The strategist who leads the experience needs to factor in the role of the brand. Purist design thinking filters ideas on Desirability, Feasibility and Viability: do users want it, is it technically possible, is there a business case? We need to add a brand filter that distils what is authentic to the experience. And if we want the experience to propagate the brand to more people, we need to add a cultural filter to see what real-world trends and conversations the experience relates to. Brand story and brand system aren’t opposing forces. Just as brand stories need a system of media to house and distribute them, brand systems need a brand story to inspire and distinguish them. We can’t decouple brand thinking from experience thinking. The people we design for have technical expectations – like how seamless the experience should be and how they can access it – and brand expectations – like what experience the brand can authentically offer them. We have to work with both in mind to deliver a meaningful experience.
Design sets the terms of experience The digital world has turned experience designers and strategists into accidental ethicists. User behaviour and data are the building blocks of digital experience, and they are not inherently good. The same concepts of Nudges and System One Thinking that inspire a healthy eating program can inspire an addictive game or a sinister political campaign. If we believe that brands only endure when they serve people, strategists need to take some responsibility for the ethics of brand experience. Are we working with or against people’s best instincts? “The Attention Merchants”’ author, Professor Tim Wu, explains that design sets the terms of any digital experience. Picking up the responsibility for factoring in brand story to the brand system, and factoring an ethical dimension into the brand experience will make better strategists. It will also make better brands.
The Future of Advertising: A Sneak Peek!
By Suresh Dinakaran
What could/should “advertising” look like in 2020 and beyond? What should we do now for that future? Some questions that crowd our every day artery. Restless consumers and fast changing technology are creating unheralded disruption. Advertising has always been a combination of art and science. Technology is now becoming a third variable. Advertisers “have to get all three of these things right”. They have to be three good. There are Un Ignorable Forces of Change. Throwing Unabated Challenges to the status quo. But having said that, once recognised, respected and responded right, they offer Unprecedented Upside Potential for the Future. Let‘s examine them below:Exponential Advances in Science & Tech: With IOT, AI, Machine Learning etc, we now have a deeper real time understanding of things, people, situations. Bringing along with it an outsized and unprecedented responsibility for what we do with that knowledge. Empowered & Skeptical “Consumers” : Wanting Customerization & Personalization (make it mine), seeking Choice(Give me tools to make better decisions), expecting Competitive Value (Give me more for my money), searching for Communities( Let me be a part of it), across multiple Channels (I want to call, click and visit). Individuals with lives, aspirations, challenges, family, communities. They want to be worthy of respect and you need to earn their trust. Media Disruption & Redefinition : One way has become Two Way, Static is now Dynamic, Stationary is now
Mobile, Passive is now Sensing, One-Dimension is now Immersive, Visual has turned Multi sensory. There exists Unprecedented Platform Design Capabilities for delivering Exceptional Contextualised Experiences. Culture, Society & Our World : Straddling many a Divide across Health, Income, Digital, Education, Equality & Tolerance, Climate & Sustainability. Inspiring, Measurable Business Models: A heady mix of The customer driven/ holistic model , The co creation model, The open innovation model , Network orchestration model , The Competitive Value Model, Transformation to full service provider model, The emerging market innovation engine model, The shift to digital and network business models
So what are the takeaways that we can extract from the above listed landscape? – Traditional mindsets, including those about advertising and marketing, must be challenged and potentially changed. I am referring to the Mental Models: The Primary Impediment to Transformation- For eg: “It has always worked this way.” “We tried it and it didn’t work.” “We’re profitable; why change?.. and so forth! Before Roger Bannister broke the 4 Minute Mile on May 6, 1954, nobody thought that such a record could be set. We need to ask ‘ What is your 4 minute mile ‘ ? It‘s the time to challenge our Mental Models of Advertising and
Move from Marketers and Agencies, through Media, at Target Demographics toward being Cross-Silo Collaborators, from Ads toward Orchestrated Value-Creation Touchpoints, from Frequency toward When Needed, Wanted, Appreciated, from Reach toward Where Needed, Wanted, Appreciated, from Push and Persuade For Sales toward Multi Win Outcomes, pull & engage, from Ad Campaigns toward Initiatives in a Holistic, Dynamic Ecosystem. There is also a great upside in starting to use a new Vocabulary: From Campaign To Initiative, From Content To Substance, From Persuading To Inspiring and Enabling, From Selling To Serving, From Seeking Loyalty To Earning Trust, From Disruption To Better/Alternate Solutions, From Features and Benefits to Brand Roles in People’s Lives, From Brand Differentiation To Brand Distinctiveness, From Employees To Brand Ambassadors, From Talent To Brand Stewards, From Consumers(myopic) To People with Lives, From Advertising Campaigns To Value Creation Initiatives, From Direct Response To Actionable Communications, From Big Data To Actionable Insights, From Success/Failure To Learning. The time has come to challenge everything. Leave no sacred cows. Even challenge the objective of the firm from maximising long term shareholder value to aligning the objectives of the brand, the people (consumers) and society. – A strong call out to shift your focus from media mix to portfolios of all touchpoint orchestration. Go beyond the 4 Ps – bring in CeX, CSR, Packaging, Web & App etc all. The path to purchase is not linear any more. Operating in a sliver is not serving the purpose.
– Leverage the power of content (make RAVES– Relevant, Actionable, Valuable, Exceptional & Shareworthy) and the power of context (MADE: Multi Sensory, Audience driven, Delivery across platforms, Environment & location sensitive) that helps deliver your compelling brand purpose. – Be always in beta – in adaptive experimentation mode to foster innovation, to learn faster & better, to attract and retain better talent, to hoodwink competition. There’s no shortage of screens and there’s no shortage of impressions. But there’s a shortage of high value connection points between brands and consumers, which is the whole point of advertising. You have to create effective engagement with the consumer that gets them to buy. Latin is very much Greek to me but as I come towards the end of this piece some Latin to keep an eye on. We have passed those days of ‘ Caveat Emptor ‘( meaning Buyer Beware). The new skid on the block these days is ‘ Caveat Venditor ‘ ( meaning Seller Beware ). As the brilliant Bob Hoffman puts it ” If you want to die an imbecile in advertising, don’t pay attention to art, literature, history, science, anthropology or nature. Pay attention to the Kardashians “. Going back to Latin mode- friends- Semper Vigilans (meaning stay vigilant)! Suresh Dinakaran is the Chief Storyteller at ISD Global, a brand strategy & creative ideations entity based out of Dubai and Managing Editor, BrandKnew. With over two decades of insights, expertise and experience in building and growing brands across multiple geographies and media platforms.
Forget ROAS, It’s All About ROMI Now
YOUR AD SPEND IS ONLY A FRACTION OF YOUR INVESTMENT. TO FIGURE OUT THE TRUE ROI OF YOUR MARKETING EFFORTS, YOU NEED MORE THAN A VANITY METRIC.
By Alon Tvina
Measuring campaign performance is an integral part of your marketing optimization. Choosing your campaign KPIs can have a huge impact on how you measure and conceive your failure or success. Though visibility and engagement metrics (impressions, CTR, click rate) will help you gauge your reach, return on investment metrics (CPC, cost per conversion, ROAS, ROMI) will help you objectively determine your campaign’s revenue contribution. But how objectively? ROAS—return on ad spend—is ad networks’ preferred metric. It emphasizes the revenue created by the campaigns you run on their networks, while ignoring much of the spend associated with these campaigns. In that respect ROAS is a vanity metric, which may bode well for the ad networks’ goal of enticing you to spend more of your marketing budget with them, but has little to do with the actual success—or lack thereof—of your campaigns. That’s why return on marketing investment (ROMI) is rapidly gaining popularity as a more informative metric that gives you actual insights to fuel your marketing optimization.
What Is Return on Ad Spend? ROAS is the most basic way to calculate how much you’ve earned from your marketing campaign. Here’s how you work it out: You take your sales revenue from the campaign period, and you divide it by how much you spent on ads. For example, if you spent $1,000 on Facebook Ads this month, and your revenue was $10,000, your ROAS would be 10, A tenfold return on investment. Whoop! Simple, huh? The trouble is, it’s vastly oversimplified. As we’ll see in a moment, ROAS can become very misleading for that very reason. Because of its limited scope, it can hardly be thought of as a true ROI metric.
What Is Return on Marketing Investment? ROMI, on the other hand, is a subset of the ROI metric: It doesn’t look at all the spend associated with your business, but at the spend associated with your marketing efforts.
There are two common ways to calculate ROMI—with and without cost of goods sold (COGS), and they can lead to vastly different numbers. In this article, I’m referring to COGS-inclusive ROMI, but your decision should be based on the specifics of your business. The important thing is to stick to one calculation method to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. With or without COGS, ROMI takes into account all of the costs of running your marketing campaign—not just your ad spend. That includes what you pay out for content creation, agency fees, discounts, etc. When considering COGS, ROMI takes into account only the money you have in your pocket from sales—i.e., your profits, not your revenue. You start with the profit margin you make on each item and subtract costs like packing and shipping. Then, bearing all of that in mind, to calculate ROMI, you divide the profits from your marketing campaign by the total cost of running that campaign.
OK, So How Does That Make a Difference? It’s worth mentioning that no matter how you calculate your marketing spend, profitability may not always be your main driver. One such case is awareness campaigns, for which the investment is long-term; there’s no expectation of immediate returns. That said, ROMI still gives you a far more complete and accurate picture of how your marketing campaign performed. To take the earlier example, let’s say that as well as the $1,000 you spent on Facebook ads, you also paid an agency $1,000 to make the ads. And let’s say that the item you are selling is lip liner, and your $10,000 in revenue was made up of 1,000 units sold at $10 each. Those units cost you $5 each, though, so you only make a profit of $5 on each one. Plus, it costs you $2 to package and post (P&P) each unit. What’s more, these sales were all made with the $1 discount code that you gave out in your ads. That means you effectively spent $1,000 on making those sales happen. 1. So the cost of running your campaign was actually $1,000 (ad spend) + $1,000 (content creation) + $1,000 = $3,000 2. And your profit for the period was actually $10,000 (sales income) – $5,000 (cost of the goods) – $2,000 (P&P) = $3,000 3. And so, your ROMI for the campaigns was $3,000/$3,000 = $1 As in: for every $1 you spent on your marketing campaign, you earned… $1.
Why Is ROMI Better? The big problem with ROAS is that it lets the ad network
take credit for all your sales revenue while ignoring any inconvenient costs and calculations that tell a different story. ROMI acts as a much-needed reality check. It tells you what the real returns are on your marketing investment—and it lets you put your ad spend in context: Sure, your Facebook ads might be getting a lot of traction, but if the campaign is flawed in some way, you need to know that before you consider scaling up your ad spend.
How Does All That Work in Practice? Such attention to detail turned out to be hugely important in two campaigns for the snack brand Mattessons Fridge Raiders in 2013 and 2014-2015. For its first campaign, the brand came up with a cool idea. Using Facebook ads that linked through to a longer YouTube video, it crowdsourced ideas for a “snacking device” that would allow people to snack without using their hands—to avoid touching keyboards, phones and so on with greasy fingers. Mattessons’ Facebook campaign generated 120 million ad impressions on Facebook and, during the three months of the campaign, there was a healthy spike in sales. However, they dwindled again once the campaign was over. That was bad news, considering the primary marketing objectives were about long-term growth. Rather than just running more Facebook ads, the company took a good hard look at its ROMI over the period. It figured out that the campaign was too focused on short-term goals rather than deepening people’s connection with the brand. To tackle that issue, it created an AI robot that target consumers could interact with online, and it expanded the campaign to TV ads, all over a seven-month period. Four months after the second campaign was over, net sales were still up 70% and the overall long-term ROMI was 1.87— i.e., a return of $1.87 for every $1 spent. If the company had simply fixated on ROAS, it would still be pouring in money to Facebook ads each month, with diminishing returns!
Final Thoughts Even if your marketing campaigns look like they’re meeting your short-term marketing objectives, it’s crucial to dive in to view every cog in the machine with a critical eye. Perhaps your ad spend really does drive your profits. Maybe your overall marketing campaign is solid but the Facebook ads element of it isn’t really contributing to your success in any meaningful way. Perhaps it’s even creating a huge expense that doesn’t directly translate into sales. Whatever the truth of the matter, you need to be able to analyze it carefully for yourself if you’re going to optimize your spend and boost your marketing ROI over time. ROAS doesn’t let you do that… but ROMI can.
YOU GUYS SUCK! THE DOS AND DONâ€™TS OF COMPARATIVE ADVERTISING By E.J. Schultz
FROM CHICKEN SANDWICH WARS TO ‘CORNGATE,’ TRADING SHOTS WITH RIVAL BRANDS IS ALL THE RAGE. BUT THERE’S A RIGHT AND A WRONG WAY TO GO ABOUT IT The fast-food industry is waging a chicken sandwich war. Bud Light and Coors Light are embroiled in “corngate.” And Kind and Cliff keep trading shots in a snack-bar skirmish over whose ingredients are healthier. These are among the many brand battles raging in what has become a feisty, attackridden marketing environment. While comparative advertising is a tried-and-true tactic, more brands are going at each other’s throats in an attempt to stand out in the increasingly cluttered media environment. Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, suggests marketers are merely part of a larger cultural shift toward more aggressive behavior, including in the political arena. “Our country has become so polarized and so harsh,” he says, which also “affects how brands market themselves.” Whether the marketing attacks are effective has a lot to do with how they are handled. “Consumers say they don’t like comparative or negative ads, but nevertheless they do work,” says Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist who studies younger generations. “Generally, the percentage of people who are turned off by a comparative ad is about equal to the percentage who are positively influenced. There are so many caveats, though.” Below, the do’s and don’ts of comparative advertising:
Be careful when punching down Traditionally, comparison ads work best when the little guy goes after the big guy. Remember the Pepsi Challenge? Or Apple’s classic Mac vs. PC campaign? “The one place where consumers like negativity is when they feel like they’re helping David battle Goliath,” Yarrow says. But lately, brands are breaking this rule. For instance, Bud Light commands more market share than Coors Light and Miller Lite combined, the two brands it has attacked for using corn syrup in their brewing process. Based on sales results, the approach failed. Bud Light store sales were down 7.5 percent year-to-date as of Aug. 3, according to Nielsen data cited by Beer Marketer’s Insights. Yarrow says the corn claim was “ridiculous” because “the comparison centered on a product characteristic that was not central to brand preference or loyalty.” The battle has spilled over into court, where MillerCoors has won some preliminary victories. McDonald’s broke the David-Goliath rule when it went after Burger King, its smaller competitor, with an ad outside a BK restaurant in Belgium that plugged table service it offers that BK does not. BK responded with this zinger of an ad: “Why try to roast when you can’t even flame grill?”
Keep it light The response was a perfect fit for BK’s spunky marketing personality. When attacking, “you want to find ways to do it that fit with your brand but don’t damage the competitive dynamics,” Calkins advises. “If you are not careful, it degenerates into name calling and a level of discussion that doesn’t enhance anyone.” Popeyes is giving a masterclass in how to do it right. The chicken fight started innocently enough when Popeyes in early August tweeted a picture of its new sandwich, saying, “So. Good. Forgot. How. Speak. In. Complete. Sandwiches. I mean, sentences.” After Chick-fil-A tried to get involved by plugging its own sandwich, Popeyes played it cool, merely replying “... y’all good?” Other chains got involved and the back-and-forth generated so much positive attention for Popeyes that it experienced a sandwich shortage. “Popeyes was a huge win. Why? Because they invited users to do the comparing and talking,” Yarrow says. “When they did engage with Chick-fil-A and Wendy’s, it was in response and lighthearted.”
To sue or not to sue? If a brand faces an attack by a competitor, one of the biggest decisions is whether to challenge the claims in court as misleading. Another option is using the self-regulation system put in place by the Council of Better Business Bureaus’ National Advertising Division in which brands can submit claims against each other. Ad lawyer Jeff Greenbaum says marketers who think they have been wronged should start simply by calling their competitor and asking them to change the ad in question. “That works a lot of the time,” he says. “Advertisers should not assume that they need to rush to court,” says Greenbaum, managing partner at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein and Selz.
Don’t live in a glass house If you do go to court to challenge a competitor’s claims, you better make sure your own advertising is aboveboard, says Linda Goldstein, a partner at BakerHostetler. “You have to anticipate that the defendant is going to be looking for counter-claims,” she says. So “you have to take a very careful look at your own advertising and determine whether you might potentially be putting your own claims in jeopardy.”
E.J. Schultz Assistant Managing Editor at Ad Age.
Can the ‘Supercharged’ Consumer Save Retail? By Knowledge@Wharton
At a time when many bricks-and-mortar retailers are going bust, one might question the value that physical stores still bring. But new research from Wharton and Harvard shows that digital retailers opening physical stores can reap valuable benefits. The research paper, “Customer Supercharging in Experiencecentric Channels,” discovered that digital-first retailers that open no-inventory, showroom-only physical stores see appreciably higher sales and much lower rates of returns from customers who visit. Moreover, these customers shop in more categories and are less likely to return higher-end items they ordered. The paper’s authors are Santiago Gallino, Wharton professor of operations, information and decisions, former Wharton marketing professor David Bell, now with Idea Farm Ventures, and Antonio Moreno, professor of business administration at Harvard. Gallino recently spoke to Knowledge@Wharton about their findings. An edited transcript of the conversation follows. Knowledge@Wharton: It’s no secret that offline retailers are struggling, especially as they face competition from digital retailers such as Amazon. But your paper shows that digital
retailers opening physical stores can gain a lot of value. Can you explain? Santiago Gallino: Yes. What we thought was an interesting issue to explore is exactly what you are pointing to — that although we tend to think that online retail is taking over the industry, when we walk around the street, we see that there are still plenty of retail stores and retail businesses that are thriving. We can get the wrong impression that because the landscape is changing, that means the brick-and-mortar presence is going to disappear. Our paper sheds some light on reasons why that might not be the case. Knowledge@Wharton: Your paper also mentions the “supercharged consumer.” Can you tell me who this is? Gallino: Yes. So the way we thought about this is similar to what can happen if you think of human interactions. If you start to connect with someone through Facebook, first you chat, then you get a text message and eventually you make a phone call. … You get together for a coffee, and you see each other. … So all of this improves the relationship, making you closer to each other.
This is a good parallel for what we are thinking when we say that a customer can be supercharged with a visit to a store. Today, many companies have a very strong online presence. Customers interact with them there, and that is all fine. However, if you think of how they can develop a deeper relationship with a company, physical contact … still adds a lot of value.
“Those customers who visit a physical store … they return fewer products.” Knowledge@Wharton: Basically, what you’re saying is that with the addition of a showroom, digital retailers can actually get more out of that consumer — interact more with them and just have a richer relationship overall. Gallino: Yes, that’s correct. From the retailer’s perspective, they can learn more about the customer. They can see who is [shopping] with the customer when he’s buying the product. They can understand and see what types of questions they have in mind, what other products they tend to see — and that’s all valuable and rich information when you want to please the customer and make them come back again. From the customer’s point of view, it’s the same thing. Nowadays, we all are comfortable with navigating a website, understanding what products are offered, but we also think, “It would be nice if I could actually touch this product. It would be nice if I could ask a well-informed sales associate a question, or point me towards another option if the product is out of stock.” I think that those interactions can happen better in a physical context, and companies are looking into that and using that as a tool to have more contact with their customers. Knowledge@Wharton: How did you collect your data? What kinds of people or stores did you survey? What kinds of hypotheses did you start out with? Gallino: Our main hypothesis was to try to explore and understand whether this ‘supercharging’ phenomenon was happening, what is its magnitude, and how we could actually measure it. We were fortunate enough to partner with a digital retail [apparel] brand that opened physical showrooms. They were very open and shared with us every transaction they observed over a long period of time. And the advantage of having a closed ecosystem is that we were able to track customers over time in a very precise way. And so with that transactional level data at the individual customer level, we were able to study what happened for those customers that originated the transactions online but later on moved and decided to visit the physical store. Knowledge@Wharton: What were your findings? Gallino: We were able to support the hypothesis of a supercharging effect. It turns out that those customers who visit a physical store — after that visit, they return fewer products. … They buy more, and not only are they spending more dollars, but they are also purchasing more expensive products.
For example, if a customer bought casual shirts, [after a visit to a store] he would move into buying dress shirts. If he bought just khakis and casual pants before, he will move into buying suits and coats — products that are more involved in the purchase process but also have a higher margin for the retailer. And all this comes with the added benefit that the customer will tend to return less, which as we know is a very big hassle for retailers. Knowledge@Wharton: Is it possible to quantify some of your findings as well? Gallino: These supercharged customers will spend up to 60% more on average on a particular order. They also show up at a higher velocity, so the time between purchases is reduced by 28%. And they tend to buy 20% more categories, so they will expand [their purchases] into new categories. And finally, it’s interesting to see that they also return fewer of the more expensive items — which I think is a double win from the retailer’s perspective.
“These supercharged customers will spend up to 60% more on average on a particular order.” Knowledge@Wharton: Those numbers are really astounding. What lessons can digital-first retailers take from your research? Gallino: One main lesson here is that having a physical presence is very relevant. This is a big opportunity for digital retailers nowadays, because they have become really good at having beautiful websites. It’s very easy to check in and out of their online stores, and that’s all great. However, when they transition into the physical world, they sometimes overlook lessons that have been learned by traditional retailers. In my conversations with them, they realized that there are a lot of learning points they can take from traditional retailers when they are trying to make this transition into the physical world. Knowledge@Wharton: But if digital-first retailers open physical stores, won’t it cost them a lot in overhead, make them increase their prices and defeat the purpose of being digital-first? Gallino: That’s definitely a risk, and that’s why in our paper, we focus on one particular physical presence that I think is very attractive. That is the zero-inventory store. These are not traditional retail stores in the sense that there is no inventory for you to take home. This concept goes directly to your concern, because if I need to run a traditional store, carry inventory, handle a lot of different items – stock-outs can happen, and it’s expensive to have the inventory sitting in the store, anyway. If you move to a format that is completely or partially [inventory-less] but customers can still have the experience, then if you manage that well, you might get the best of both worlds. Knowledge@Wharton: I get your explanation about the zero-inventory stores. When people go in, there’s nothing in stock, but people can actually see and touch the products on display and order at the store, and it will be shipped to them.
But what about the people who like to browse, people who love to shop? Won’t you risk putting off those people? Gallino: Yes, I think that’s a risk. An interesting finding of the paper was that … there were a lot of customers who were willing to go to a showroom knowing that they were not going to be able to take home their product that day. To me, that was surprising. At the same time, this doesn’t negate the fact that some customers are not happy with that setting. And so I think it’s a managerial call of choosing which problem you want to live with. So knowing that you have a set of customers who are not going to come to the showroom because [there’s no product to take home] — that’s definitely possible. But the retailer can decide to use the money it is saving from not carrying inventory [and invest it in improving the customer experience by doing things such as rethinking] the layout of the store, having additional staffing in the store and adding nicer furniture.
“One main lesson here is that having a physical presence is very relevant.” Knowledge@Wharton: Are there any lessons in your research for offline retailers — traditional retailers like department stores, as well as malls themselves? Gallino: One big message is that the physical store is alive and doing well. The question is what do the stores need to look like? What kind of store will the customer want to visit and engage with today? It might not be what it looked like 10 years ago. And so the lesson for them is that some of these more creative solutions like the zero-inventory stores might be a good idea. You can argue, ‘Well, maybe that’s something that they are not going to be comfortable doing,’ and that’s fine. But they don’t need to do it all the way. They can decide that for certain categories or products, they will move into more of a showroom concept. For other products, [or varieties of a
product] they’re going to carry those in the store. To be fair, this is something we’ve seen happening for many years now. What I would argue is that I don’t think this has been done in a more strategic and planned way. It’s more of a concept on how the business was run, but now this research presents the option of how — when you think carefully about the experience and how to engage with the customer and hopefully supercharge the customer — you can do that with new and old tools alike. Knowledge@Wharton: Of course, traditional retailers have opened online stores. Do you think they get the same kind of supercharging effect as digital retailers that open showrooms? Gallino: Many smart retailers have been able to leverage their online store in that way. It’s not just a place where you dump all the possible combinations of your apparel, but it’s a way to keep in touch and share experiences and share pictures and share stories about your products. If you think of the online store in that way, I can see that it is a very useful tool to supercharge customers, too. Knowledge@Wharton: How is your research different from prior literature in this area? What’s new about your research? Gallino: The interesting part that we were able to capture in the paper is to show the magnitude of these supercharging effects, … being able to quantify it and see the magnitude of the effects and all these things that we were discussing. … That is what is really new and interesting here, and I’m hoping that we can follow up with other projects that understand this phenomenon better. Knowledge@Wharton: That sets me up perfectly for my last question, which is, how are you going to follow up this research? Gallino: One issue that we would like to understand is how these effects apply to other retail categories, because I think it’s fair to note that apparel has its own characteristics. It would be interesting to understand how these effects are present or not when you think about electronics or when you think about other big, traditional retail categories that are also relevant.
In an age of abundant choice, why is brand more important than ever? By Maria Barea
Your brand might not be what you think it is, but it’s more important than ever.
What will happen to my status if my friends see me with this product?
Brand isn’t logo. Brand isn’t what’s in your mission statement. And brand is definitely not what your CMO insists it is.
Will it make me feel stupid to pay extra for this?
Your brand is simply a promise. It’s a shortcut that everyone you engage with uses to figure out what to expect. We have no other way to navigate the world. There are too many options and not enough time. Which means that we can’t possibly know what you know or do the research you’ve done. We certainly can’t become chemists and performance analysts. All we can do is make our best choice in the moment, and that choice is based on the promise. Nike has a brand. If Nike opened a hotel, you’d know pretty much what to expect from it. Right now, you’re probably picturing the lobby, or imagining what’s on the wall of the room.
Does the purchase and use of this product help me fit in or stand out? How does the price of this product fit in with my story about money? In rural India, Water Health International has a brand that is the envy of any marketer. They sell fresh water in villages that previously had none. Their product replaces a one-hour walk to a stream for dirty water, water that might make your family sick. Is there any stronger promise a brand can make? This will save you time and save your life, too. It’s worth considering a few things about WHI, though:
Marriott, on the other hand, simply has a logo. If Marriott came out with a line of running shoes, you’d have no clue what to expect (except that they’d probably be boring, and priced just below the highest-end brands).
1. When they arrive in a village, few people adopt the new water right away. It takes months or years. That’s partly because people are skeptical, and also because their story about money, status and tradition doesn’t leave room for making a choice about paying for water.
We can learn a lot about brand from wine, because the experience there is so easily tested. The Journal of Wine Economics has written about this for decades. In one widely quoted study they discovered that in a blind tasting, wine lovers prefer cheaper wine over expensive wine. Obviously, if the same were true in sighted tastings, no one would ever buy expensive wine. Seeing the wine (which is another way of saying, “understanding the brand”) changes the way the wine tastes.
2. WHI won’t sell you water in your own container. Instead, you must buy one of their containers, which is distinctly colored. The ostensible reason is that refilling a contaminated container could very well lead to illness, destroying their promise. The better reason is that as people see more and more of the jerry cans in the village, trust goes up, status goes up and demand goes up as well.
Worth repeating that: Among people with trained palates and a lot of focused attention, awareness of a brand of wine changes the way the wine tastes. This, of course, is true for just about everything we buy. The high-end and the low are probably made in the same factory. Axe has a marketing team that sits right down the row from the folks who market Dove. And Amazon creates an environment for the shopper where everything is just a click away, eliminating geography and convenience from many conversations. What’s a marketer to do? The answer isn’t a fancier ad or a better label or a logo from Michael Beirut. Instead, the path lies in understanding what it even means to make and keep a brand promise. Who’s it for and what’s it for?
3. Which leads to the biggest takeway: Even when you think you might be at the base of Maslow’s hierarchy (what could be more basic than clean water?) action almost always involves higher needs, like belonging and community standing. Because of fifty years of TV, marketers got lazy. We thought our job was pretty pictures and fancy ads. Not true. Our job is change. Our job is to make a promise about how our intervention in the customer’s world will offer them a path toward better. We know you have a choice. There are a ton of ways to get the thing. We sell the thing too. The difference is that our brand, our promise, gives you more than the thing. It gives you the emotional shift you were hoping for all along. SETH GODIN is the author of THIS IS MARKETING, a worldwide bestseller, along with one of the most popular blogs in the world. His 100 day seminar on marketing has had more than 9,000 graduates.
We need a new ‘third way’ to set marketing budgets ZERO-BASED BUDGETING HURTS LONG-TERM BRAND-BUILDING, WHILE ADVERTISING-TO-SALES RATIOS ARE ENTIRELY ARBITRARY. THERE’S A MUCH BETTER, ‘TWO-SPEED’ WAY TO SET MARKETING BUDGETS. By Mark Ritson
“Some may say that it’s not a disaster and thus better than feared – we’re not yet in that camp.” That was the gloomy verdict from Goldman Sachs analyst Ken Goldman as he surveyed the latest results from struggling food giant Kraft Heinz last Thursday. It was another dire week for Kraft Heinz, in a year of dire weeks that has seen the company’s share price fall by a third. Last week, there was more disappointment as Kraft Heinz reported weakened sales, a further write-down of its businesses and an even more gloomy forecast for the rest of the year.
building. When a private equity firm, like 3G, buys a branded business, like Kraft Heinz, there is an initial flush of profit as costs are cut and the company coasts along on the fumes of former marketing investments. But eventually, reduced marketing budgets cause the business to splutter and then dive. The declines in salience and brand equity caused by under-investment manifest in lower revenues, greater pricesensitivity and increased vulnerability to private labels.
With increasing frequency and vehemence, marketers have a particularly negative narrative they like to tell about KraftHeinz and its current predicament. You know how it goes.
Much of the criticism of the private equity approach to brands focuses on one of the sector’s most beloved instruments – zero-based budgeting (ZBB). It has been part of the private equity tool kit from the very beginning.
The company was partly acquired by 3G, a famed private equity firm. The stereotypical private equity firm is all about ensuring a quick and lucrative exit before it will even consider an offer for a business, and that leads to overriding shorttermism. That short-termism runs counter to long-term brand
A firm takes control of a floundering acquisition and immediately subjects it to full ZBB. In what is usually the organisational equivalent of an airport customs search, a company’s expenditures are stripped bare, cavities are examined and everything is pared back.
HOW BUDGETING WORKS
likes the discipline and focus that ZBB provides.
ZBB is not just applied to marketing; it originated in the broader business operations of the White House in the 1970s and has been used to radically rethink almost every aspect of corporate expenditure. But it is a particular anathema for marketing people. That’s partly because most marketers rightly believe in longer-term investment and also because many, quite shamefully, don’t really understand the financial implications of the work they do.
And let’s add another factor into the mix – the usual alternative to ZBB is a total load of cock. I appreciate that more than 90% of companies set their marketing budgets using advertisingto-sales ratios, but the approach is so ridiculously amateur and non-strategic we are almost better off using ouija boards and numerology to derive our marketing budgets for the year ahead.
ZBB has certainly been the straw man for the current plight of Kraft Heinz. It’s rare to read an account of the company and not encounter the budgeting approach being blamed for most of its problems. According to the retail strategy author and speaker Jan Benedict Steenkamp, Kraft Heinz’s “terrible shape” is a direct result of the “chronic under-investment in its iconic brands” driven by “slash-and-burn zero-base budgeting”. Kraft-Heinz CEO, Miguel Patricio, disagrees. He has gone on record to praise the discipline of ZBB and believes that without the approach his company would be in an even worse state. But in a call to discuss his company’s parlous performance last week, Patricio also made it clear that “setting short-term targets publicly won’t be productive as we set and work to deliver against our strategic directions and priorities”. I feel Patricio’s pain here. On the one hand, as a marketer, he knows he needs long-term, incremental brand-building investment to rescue Kraft-Heinz. But on the other hand, he
Never forget the madness behind almost every marketing budget. First, a finance executive looks at the last few years of revenue performance and calculates a compound annual growth rate. Next, that growth rate is applied to this year’s revenues to arrive at an expected sales figure for the year ahead. Finally, an entirely arbitrary percentage of sales is allocated back to marketing.
ARBITRARY RATIOS All the critics of ZBB might want to take a long, hard look at the dominant alternative of advertising-to-sales ratios before they reach for their pitchforks because it makes little, if any, strategic sense. Why should a finance executive who knows nothing of marketing, markets or brands be put in charge of the process? If we already know how much money we will make next year what is the point of marketing and, indeed, the marketing department? We have already booked the number before they even start work.
And what’s with the arbitrary percentages that we apply to sales to derive the marketing budget? Why is it 5% and not 4% or 8% or 2.5%? Nobody knows. And the biggest problem with this derisory approach to budget setting is that all marketing strategy dies before it even begins. We are working backwards from an assumed, bullshit forecast from the very beginning and marketing is simply a cost that companies pay without any proper expectation of impact. Smart marketers realise, early on, that their efforts are fundamentally superfluous because the numbers have already been put in place before they even picked up a marker pen to think through the strategy for the year ahead. Marketing departments are trapped between the short-term rapacity of ZBB and the abstract passivity of the percentageof-sales approach. There has to be a better way. Well I have been working on one and it seems, initially at least, that there is. A few years ago, I read an interesting thought piece by Mark Di Somma about the need for a ‘twospeed’ brand strategy. The article is short and does not go into any detail but it very nicely challenges marketers to combine “what everyone is chatting about or reacting to in the moment” and “how your brand will look to drive and direct a long-term change”. I filed the idea away, next to my dusty algebra knowledge and partial recall of game theory, in the deepest darkest corner of my long-term memory. I also liked the natty image that went with the writing, of a tortoise twinned with a hare as if it were a single beast. Surely this is the ideal totem for a properly run brand plan as we head into the 2020s. I am not as extreme as Di Somma in wanting to combine the immediate and very long-term, but I have been working hard to build a brand plan that would allow a company to combine the rigour and short-term profit focus of ZBB balanced by a longer, brand based approach.
A THIRD WAY TO BUDGET A word on brand planning. It has become a dirty word in marketing. A stupid 800-slide monster built by someone with a global remit but no experience and no idea how to manage a brand. By my own estimation of working with multinational clients, across multiple brands, for multiple years I have now lived 1,000 years of brand planning. And most blow. They are over-complex, over-long, illogical embarrassments filled with pointless models like PEST and SWOT and FKWE (Fuck Knows What Else). But a well-constructed brand plan could cross the chasm between short- and long-term horizons, between massmarketing and target segments, between ZBB and brand building. And in doing so it might just help brands to grow, sustainably. The secret to getting it right is to start with a unified plan that covers past performance, research and segmentation as a single document. But once we get to targeting, the plan essentially breaks into different sub-sections.
There is a section for mass-marketing focused on brandbuilding, which features broader brand positioning and brand codes, and concludes with brand-driven objectives related to funnel stages like consideration or awareness. This section sets annual objectives but is built across multiple years to reach its ultimate objective. It generates some return but usually not enough to wash its face – at least not in the upcoming year of execution. But there is also room for traditional segmentation, targeting and positioning in my two-speed brand plan. For each target segment the plan splits into distinct sections, with each featuring a more product-based positioning statement and followed by very clear short-term SMART objectives for the year ahead. And there are usually several of these targeted sections, as the brand plan balances resources with the need to generate as much short-term return as possible. Finally, the plan comes back together in the form of a unified, zero-based budget. The budget estimates the likely financial performance of the brand if left without any marketing support for the year ahead and then adds, incrementally, all the financial estimates from each of the target segments contained within the plan. Interestingly, as I work on these plans with clients and teach them to executives, it becomes clear how crucial the twospeed ethos is and how difficult it is to pull off. You really have to commit to 50% or 60% of your budget for the longer, slower tactics to deliver on your brand building objectives. And to do that you have to ensure the shorter, faster half of your brand plan really delivers the cash in the upcoming year. To master a two-speed brand plan requires a form of strategic schizophrenia, in which you build brand equity with mass marketing and long-term horizons and then harvest it with entrepreneurial and immediate commercial zeal. And what I like most about these nascent plans that are emerging around me is that they reject the tyranny of ‘or’ and replace it with the generosity of ‘and’. Too often marketers are being forced to choose between short- or long-term. Between the top or the bottom of the funnel. Between performance marketing and brand-building. Or digital versus traditional. What if these, and most of the other choices forced upon marketers, are false ones? What if we could accommodate both within the same strategic approach? What if two speeds gave you more scope and long-term growth than either one or the other? A two-speed brand plan. One that builds the brand while delivering maximal short-term returns. It’s possible. Hell, with a decent brand plan its not even that hard. And if Miguel Patricio wants some help I have just the plan for him and his marketers. Seriously, Miguel, I do feel your pain. I have the solution. Call me. I like beans, man.` Mark Ritson, Professor Mark Ritson is an internationally renowned marketing consultant and teaches marketing and brand management on MBA programs at London Business School, MIT Sloan, the University of Minnesota, Singapore Management University and Melbourne Business School.
Why Being a Celebrity Is Big Business By Knowledge@Wharton
Portuguese soccer great Cristiano Renaldo has 183 million followers on Instagram, making him the most followed celebrity on the social media site in 2019. In fact, Renaldo has more Instagram followers than his native country has people — Portugal’s population stands at a little more than 10 million. His feed is rather banal, with plenty of pictures of family members and him playing soccer, yet fans pore over every shot. The world’s obsession with celebrity culture is the focus of a new book by Sharon Marcus, an English and comparative literature professor at Columbia University.
Knowledge@Wharton: Why did you choose this topic for a book?
The Drama of Celebrity reaches back to the 19th century to show that stardom and the struggles that go along with it are nothing new. Getting to the top is hard enough, but staying there is even tougher. Marcus explains how the most successful celebrities learn to manipulate the media of their day to wrest control from outside forces and shape their own messages. She recently appeared on the Knowledge Wharton radio show on SiriusXM to talk about her book. (Listen to the podcast at the top of this page.)
I think part of what I was interested in is what we’re always interested in regarding celebrities, which is you have an image of someone. It might be very compelling because they’re beautiful or they’re great at sports or they’re charismatic, and you want to know more. That was my introduction to celebrity, and I was always interested in why I and other people were so interested in celebrity.
An edited transcript of the conversation follows.
Sharon Marcus: There’s a personal answer to that question, which is even as a very young child, I was interested in celebrity. As a sign of my future nerdom, I was interested in dead celebrities. Where my friends were talking about David Cassidy or Captain and Tennille or which Charlie’s Angel they liked the best, I was really interested in Elizabeth Taylor and old Hollywood. This was the 1970s, and I was looking back to the 1930s and 1940s.
Then there’s an academic, scholarly answer to that question. My last book was about Victorian England, and I got very interested in Oscar Wilde when I was writing it. The more
I learned about him, the more surprised I was to learn that he started out as a really popular celebrity. What we know about him now is that in his 40s, around 1895, he was put in jail for “gross indecency between men,” which was a crime at the time. What we forget is that when he was in his late 20s, he was famous in the United States and in England for being eccentric. He was kind of like the David Bowie of his time. He had long hair. He wore dandyish, foppish clothes. The question that intrigued me there is, why do we so often reward people who are doing something anti-social? Why are we so fascinated with defiant celebrities who break the rules and who change the norms? Those were the two questions that got me going on this project. Knowledge@Wharton: You focus on the late French actress Sarah Bernhardt. Tell us more about her and how she fits into the book. Marcus: Sarah Bernhardt is somebody that most people confuse with the comedienne and singer Sandra Bernhard, who had a brief moment of mainstream fame when she was kind of, sort of Madonna’s girlfriend back in the day. But Sarah Bernhardt was born in 1844 in France, which was then the theater capital of the world. She became an actress, classically trained in the French National Theatre, which was considered the best in the world. What she did that was so interesting was she established herself as a great actress, truly talented — say, Meryl Streep-level. She also established herself as a fascinating personality, someone who kept exotic pets like a lion, a monkey named Darwin, and so many dogs and so many birds. The other thing she did to establish herself as a personality was get into a lot of fights with her managers to show that she was feisty and independent and had her own mind. She had herself photographed sleeping in a coffin. Just weird. She knew she could get attention by presenting herself as different. The third thing that made her such a great celebrity was that she was a terrific show woman. She had the talent of a Meryl Streep, the bizarreness and boldness of someone like Cardi B, and she was like P.T. Barnum or a great TV showrunner today, or a great publicist. She was her own publicist. She knew that if she had herself photographed sleeping in a coffin, everyone would talk about her. She understood new media and took advantage of them, whether it was the mass newspapers of the day whose circulations were shooting up all the time and attracting more and more readers; or whether it was photography, which was just beginning to become accessible to the average person. When the iPhone became something everyone had, everyone started putting all this content on iPhones. When the photograph became something anyone could buy, everyone who wanted to be famous made sure they were photographed. She also took control of her own career by leaving the French National Theatre at a relatively young age. In her 30s, she went and did a tour of the United States that made her the equivalent of a millionaire at the time. From then on, she leased or bought her own theaters, hired her own fellow actors, chose what roles she would play, sometimes commissioned playwrights to write roles for her and really had a lot of autonomy over her career.
“When the photograph became something anyone could buy, everyone who wanted to be famous made sure they were photographed.” Knowledge@Wharton: Control is a recurring theme in the book. We’re seeing more artists now trying to reclaim their careers after decades of control by big Hollywood studios. Marcus: This is a really interesting point about the history of celebrity from the point of view of the history of business, of economics, of entertainment as an industry. Theater was decentralized. It was very hard to make money in the theater because it was unpredictable who would come, which plays would be successful. But actors in the 19th century, if they were big stars — Sarah Bernhardt, Edwin Booth in the United States, Henry Irving in England — they bought their own theaters and created a kind of personally vertically integrated industry. They were the director. They were the star. They were the creative managers. When film came along, it created a separation between the actors and the producers. The people who put up the capital — Louis B. Mayer, Adolph Zukor — wanted to have some control over their product, and that meant having control over their workers. Those big studio moguls had a bit of a conundrum as entrepreneurs. They knew that stars could guarantee an audience, then as now. People would go to movies because they recognized the actors and liked them. You don’t know if you’re going to like the story; you don’t know anything about the movie except, “Oh, I like Mary Pickford, so I’m going to go see this.” So, they needed stars, and they needed the stars to have names. But the bigger the stars got, the more they wanted to be paid, the more they wanted to decide who they worked with, what movies they made. And they didn’t necessarily have the same canny insight into the market that the producers had. What the producers started doing is taking very young talent and signing young unknowns to highly restrictive, long-term contracts. Marilyn Monroe and Joan Crawford [were] some of the biggest stars, respectively, of the 1950s and 1960s. When they break into the movies, they are young starlets, naive. They don’t really know what’s going on. They have no clout because no one knows who they are. They’re signed to a contract that says, “You’re going to work for the studio for 10 years. We decide what you get paid. We tell you what to do.” Marilyn Monroe, who we think of as kind of naive and babyish, was a shark when it came to negotiating. She got on great with journalists, and she knew how to use them to negotiate with her boss. She said, “No, I don’t want to make that movie. Actually, I want you to pay me more.” Her boss at the time, Harry Cohn at Columbia Studios said, “Yeah, you know what? I’m suspending you.” She said, “I’m going to go marry Joe DiMaggio, the most famous baseball player the moment, and that’s going to get me a lot of publicity, and I’m going to have a chance to talk to the
press. And I’m going to say how sorry I am that I can’t make the movies that I want to make, and that you, Harry Cohn are so mean and a big, bad bully. Then I’m going to go to Korea and entertain 100,000 troops and be all over every newspaper in the United States, entertaining the troops.” Harry Cohn caved. He said, “OK, you don’t have to make the movie you don’t want to make, and I’ll let you make more money. And I’ll give you a higher percentage of the net profits of your next film.” Hollywood as a business model was always about total control. It wasn’t just control of the actors. For decades, Hollywood producers also owned all the theaters and told the theaters what to play. That was in place until there was a lawsuit. It was seen to be too much of a monopoly, and they couldn’t do that anymore.
“Hollywood as a business model was always about total control. It wasn’t just control of the actors.” Knowledge@Wharton: What do you think is leading the shift now that we’re seeing people like Taylor Swift and other artists who are really trying to reclaim a lot of that control by managing their content? In this digital age, it’s not so much about record sales. It’s the downloads. It’s getting people into the big stadiums for the 70,000-seat concerts. Marcus: Exactly. The studio system broke down in the 1960s for a whole bunch of reasons. What a lot of people who study celebrity have said is, “Oh, that was the end of the era of great stardom.” But if, as I’ve done, you take a longer view and really dive more deeply into what was going on in the 19th century, the picture that emerges is that Hollywood was an anomaly. It has never been the case in other periods and in other industries that it was so easy to control the stars. What I argue in my book is that celebrity culture is the constant negotiation between media — and that can be producers, it can be journalists, it can be radio interviews, it can be photographers and celebrities themselves — and the public. No one group controls the narrative. No one group controls the outcome. That’s part of the reason we’re so engaged. We don’t know how it’s going to turn out. A lot of what we see today owes its roots to the 1980s and 1990s, when anybody could get a relatively cheap video camera and take videos of themselves, but there was no way to distribute them to a large number of people. That’s what phones have allowed. What we see today is that celebrities can have much more direct contact with their publics without having to deal with gatekeepers like heritage newspapers. It used to be both the public and celebrities were really limited by a smaller number of gatekeepers, and they’re gone. Now, the problem we have is that it’s hard to know in the public how to find anything that interests us, right? As a celebrity, anybody can have a Twitter account or a YouTube channel, but how are you going to make sure that people come to it? Knowledge@Wharton: But isn’t the public the conduit in that process?
Marcus: That is an interesting way to think about it. We’re used to thinking of the media as the conduit, but I would agree with your way of putting it. It is, in fact, the public that’s the conduit. Because what I also saw by taking this long, historical view is that although we think of the media as making decisions and being in control of who is in the public eye, the media is very responsive to what interests the public. The media is always trying to figure out, “What do people care about?” Sometimes that’s guesswork. Sometimes it’s based on word of mouth. It feels to me like these days the newspapers are following social media more than the other way around. If something blows up on social media, it becomes a news story. To go back to the question you were asking about how celebrities today relate to the producers of media, there was a really interesting example when Apple rolled out Apple Music. They were initially not going to pay the artists because you don’t necessarily have to. Taylor Swift took to some major social media platforms with an open letter to Apple Music. It was a very trenchant, articulate letter. She said, “We don’t ask you for free iPhones, so why are you asking us for free music? I don’t need the money, but I’m writing this on behalf of artists who do.” And Apple Music, like Harry Cohn with Marilyn Monroe, caved because Taylor Swift commands a huge audience and could have gotten millions of people who love music to not sign onto Apple Music. They knew that. She didn’t actually make that threat, but they knew that that could be her next step. That’s an example of a celebrity really driving economic policy of a major, major company.
“No one group controls the narrative. No one group controls the outcome. That’s part of the reason we’re so engaged. We don’t know how it’s going to turn out.” Knowledge@Wharton: You also talk about the social component when a celebrity is well-known, such as boxer Muhammad Ali. In the 1960s, he was an activist, and that drew a lot of positive and negative attention to his fame. Marcus: Social and political. I’ll talk about Muhammad Ali in a second, but look again at Taylor Swift. When we talk about the #MeToo movement, I think a lot of us forget that right before the big story broke with Harvey Weinstein, Taylor Swift was in the news because she sued a photographer who groped her. She sued him for a penny because she was making a point that this wasn’t about money. It was about it not being OK. She was extremely articulate on the stand. Many celebrities have real aplomb dealing with the public. They’re able to improvise. They’re able to be spontaneous but also come off being very calm and collected, which is what you need to do if you’re in the courtroom. And she won. She raised a lot of attention to the ways that even the most famous, supposedly powerful young women are being exploited and mistreated. I think that that was a crucial example of a celebrity using
their media presence and influence for a social and political purpose. Muhammad Ali, as an African American boxer in the 1960s, raised awareness about civil rights, about the Vietnam War. He refused to serve in the Vietnam War well before there was a massive protest movement against the Vietnam War. As a result, he was put in jail during what would have been the height of his boxing career. I think all of that was a great example of how many celebrities go against the grain. They take unpopular positions that then become the norm in many ways. Knowledge@Wharton: Hasn’t that evolved over time? There was a lot of blowback against Muhammad Ali, especially considering that those were his personal beliefs. Now, I think we have a different mindset about looking out for some of the issues that are very important to us, in comparison to what business is looking out for. I think it’s important to note that a lot of the people who are making these moves today are making them for very important reasons, and they shouldn’t be scathed in the media for doing so. Marcus: They shouldn’t be, but at the same time, celebrity thrives on controversy. It’s a long game. In the short term, maybe you’ll be boycotted for taking a position that’s unpopular with at least one segment of the population. But that can also build your audience. It can create loyalty among more people. It can get you more attention. I think that the biggest celebrities are not necessarily cold and calculating and conscious about how celebrity works. But they grasp implicitly and intuitively that you can go farther and become better known taking unpopular positions, instead of being timid and only going with what is safe. Knowledge@Wharton: How has the internet changed the fame dynamic? Marcus: I think what’s really different is how people are able to go on auditions for mass attention via a platform like YouTube. In the old days, if you wanted to reach a large public, you had to audition for an actual play or do a screentest for a studio or cut a demo for a record company. Now, you can just bring it directly to the public. But I don’t think anybody really understands yet why some people on YouTube end up with 10,000 followers and some end up with 1 million and some end up with 3, and they’re all thumbs down.
“What I argue in my book is that celebrity culture is the constant negotiation between media and the public. No one group controls the narrative. No one group controls the outcome.” I would also say here again that we shouldn’t overstate how new this is. In the 19th century, if you go back and read a newspaper, every week there’s some flavor of the week.
There’s some nine-day wonder. Somebody rescued a baby from the train tracks, and they’re famous for three days. If you lived in that moment, you knew their name. But there’s no way that anybody 10 years later would know who they are. Knowledge@Wharton: Let’s go back to Sarah Bernhardt. Was she really one of the first people to get this idea of selfpromotion? Marcus: She understood how to use the newspapers. She would befriend some editors. In other cases, if people published coverage of her that she didn’t like, she would write letters protesting it. Sometimes she sued the papers. Either way, whether the coverage was negative or positive, she kept herself in the news. Speaking of taking social and political positions, she took positions both controversial and popular. During World War I, she traveled in the United States, encouraging the U.S. to join the war and help support France. She would do shows that showed how France was suffering in the war. On that same tour, she visited San Quentin and published an op-ed protesting capital punishment as inhumane. Interestingly, she said at many times that she didn’t really believe women should get the vote. She was never shy about taking a position. One of the ways of thinking about that is it always kept her topical, up to the moment and in the news. Knowledge@Wharton: You also write about Princess Diana, whose celebrity ultimately led to her death. Yet years later, she is still beloved and thought of in such gracious ways. Marcus: I talk about her in the introduction because when I would try to find an example of a celebrity that everyone, including young people, had heard of, Princess Di was somebody that everyone had heard of. They hadn’t heard of Sarah Bernhardt. They were a little hazy on Marilyn Monroe. In terms of today’s celebrities, it’s hard to find someone that everyone has heard of. Princess Di was this universal celebrity. One of the most interesting things that I learned about her when I did more research was a point Tina Brown makes in her biography of Princess Diana, which was that one of the reasons that she was able to become so famous so fast — and even bring herself in some ways to Prince Charles’ attention and maneuver him into marriage — was that she really knew how to work the press. Why? She wasn’t a great mastermind. She read the tabloid press. She had absorbed the tabloid press and soap operas all her life, so she understood how to make herself into a good story. The other thing that the example of Princess Di brings up is that not all celebrities can cope with and manage their celebrity. Someone like Sarah Bernhardt was a celebrity from the 1860s until her death in the 1920s — six decades. For an actress to be that well-known and beloved, even when she’s in her 60s or 70s, that’s really something. But she was someone who had a strong support system and a very strong will and seemed able to handle both her success and the conflicts and scandals and trolling that come with it. Princess Diana — more fragile. Kurt Cobain — more fragile. Amy Winehouse — more fragile. Not everybody can handle it.
Mobile remains a disruptive force for marketers By WARC Staff
Mobile is increasingly seen by marketers in APAC and EMEA to be an effective marketing channel, but as it continues to be a disruptive force across industries it has yet to reach its potential, according to new studies from WARC and the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA). A series of three reports, based on surveys of marketing professionals in the UK, 43 markets across EMEA and 23 markets across APAC, highlights how mobile marketing remains a disruptive force and is expected by many to have an even greater impact in the future. The details vary by region, but 93% to 94% of respondents in each report seeing an impact from mobile marketing, and among these, half or more are seeing major disruption now.
More than a third anticipate mobile marketing will have a bigger impact as they take account of consumer behaviours such as mobile payments. In the UK and EMEA, financial services and leisure & entertainment are seen as the most innovative sectors in mobile; in APAC, however, travel, transport & tourism and retail are ahead.In terms of specific brands, Amazon leads the way in the UK and EMEA while Unilever is seen as the most innovative brand in APAC.The studies cover several other areas as well, including:
Strategy, budgets and integration Most marketers are connecting their mobile strategies to other marketing activities, although those in APAC face problems transferring strategies across countries, as internet penetration and technology adoption varies. UK and EMEA marketers often lack a clear learning strategy. Mobile budgets are growing across each region as is investment in marketing technology.
Tactics and technologies Social media is the most frequently used media channel in all regions. Marketers are focused on mobile web display advertising for this year with EMEA and APAC also using in-
app display mobile advertising, while those in the UK are starting to focus on branded content. Location data is currently the most utilised technology but AI and AR are widely expected to make an impact over the next five years.
Barriers and challenges Post-GDPR, measurement and metrics as well as privacy concerns remain problems for the growth of mobile marketing across the UK. However, EMEA and APAC marketers are also worrying about internal challenges and ad fraud respectively.
What’s Next for the Digital Living Room? By Knowledge@Wharton
Fifteen years ago, Microsoft, Sony, Dell and HP were some of the leading companies jostling for supremacy in the digital living room — where computers, TVs and content came together to deliver home entertainment. Microsoft’s new Xbox 360 console not only played video games, but also DVDs and CDs; it streamed music from MP3 players and connected to the company’s Windows Media Center on PCs. Sony’s TVs, sound systems and computers formed an integrated entertainment hub, while Dell and HP had “media-ready” computers that also acted as content servers in the home. Today, these four players have been overshadowed by Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook. Fueled by a leap in broadband adoption in households and the advent of smartphones, tablets and other devices, the digital living room is no longer a TV-centric area in the home. Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant and connected devices are changing the way people search for and consume content; Google is doing the same thing with Google TV, Google Home and YouTube, as is Apple with its HomePod, Apple TV and Siri. Meanwhile, Facebook has become a source of content for people as they interact within the social media site’s platform. But while the digital living room may look vastly different now, it still isn’t the unified and open ecosystem consumers want. “We’re certainly much further along, but there still isn’t true integration of all the different devices and services,” said Kevin Werbach, Wharton professor of legal studies
and business ethics. True integration, he said, is a digital environment where consumers can link “every device and every piece of content on every service and be able to experience them together.” This quasi-utopia remains out of reach because of competing business interests, Werbach said. Companies race to become the main provider of video and music in the home but also seek to dominate in digital services more broadly to corral consumers into their ecosystem. “The economics make it difficult,” he explained. “For the foreseeable future, it’s going to be this co-opetition (cooperative competition) landscape where it’s never quite in anyone’s interest to give consumers what they want, which is one subscription and one set of devices that give them everything.”
“For the foreseeable future, it’s going to be this … landscape where it’s never quite in anyone’s interest to give consumers what they want, which is one subscription and one set of devices that give them everything.”– Kevin Werbach
Streaming Video Frenzy Back in the mid-2000s, Werbach recalled, the challenge in the digital living room was “hardware systems not talking to each other.” These days, the issue is less about technical ability but rather content fragmentation. For example, he said that while he has access to plenty of good content through his cable provider’s ecosystem, it doesn’t offer everything he wants to watch. “Now that we have all these streaming services, we increasingly have the problem of content not being available across different platforms — and that’s getting worse,” Werbach noted. As more streaming services popped up, content became further siloed. “For a while, if you paid for Netflix, you got most of the stuff you wanted to get. Now there’s Netflix, there’s Amazon, [there’s the upcoming] new Disney service and AT&T/Time Warner [service] and so forth,” Werbach said. “These companies are strategically withholding content from each other to get people to pay for their subscription service.” (Disney and Comcast’s NBC are pulling their most popular content from Netflix to put into their own new video services.) But this move will backfire: “No one wants to pay for six different video services.” That means among the dozens of streaming services, many won’t make it. “At some point, some of the streaming services that are available today will exit the space,” said Wharton marketing professor Josh Eliashberg. He cited several reasons that could lead to their departure, which include the need for big investments in new content development, constraints in capitalizing on other entertainment consumption outlets such as movie theaters, and consumer dissatisfaction with subscriptions to multiple service providers. “These trends are likely to lead to an increase in M&A activities and decrease in the number of major players,” he said. While it’s tough to forecast how many streaming services the market can sustain, Eliashberg believes the major studios — such as Disney, Comcast and AT&T/Time Warner — will stay. These are the studios that have been generating entertainment content for a long time and for which streaming video services represent just “a fraction of their business,” he added. In particular, he sees Disney dominating along with Netflix. “Disney owns and will capitalize, through Disney+, on its franchises and potential for remakes.” As for Netflix, “they don’t only collect useful data on consumers’ preferences and content with global appeal, they also analyze the data effectively and use them to drive creativity.” What Eliashberg sees continuing are the popularity of streaming services, the use of smartphones for entertainment and the decline of pay-TV providers (cable, satellite and telecom TV companies). He also noted that “the increased number of options and payments available for consumers is likely to lead media content providers to aggregate their services.” For example, Comcast customers can access Netflix, YouTube and Pandora without leaving the cable system. He also expects there to be more consumption of augmented and virtual reality content in the home, voice-assistant
platforms playing a major role and “active consumers” sharing reactions to content in real time online.
“Everybody in the household kind of streams content at a rate and quality that’s unthinkable even half a generation ago.”– Peter Fader (User-generated) Content Is King The flip side of content fragmentation is that the digital living room is now more decentralized and fluid. “So much of the digital living room was centered around the television and how we could use technology to interact with the [TV] program,” said Wharton marketing professor Peter Fader. “What we’re seeing now is you go into the living room, there’s plenty of digital, but there’s no [crowding around the] TV. Everyone’s sitting around watching what might pass as TV, just consuming content on their laptops. Very often, you’ll have four different people watching four different programs with their headphones on.” He calls this phenomenon “fragmentation desocialization.” Increased broadband speeds were a major factor in fueling this trend. “Everybody in the household kind of streams content at a rate and quality that’s unthinkable even half a generation ago,” Fader said. “We really can just pump so much content at the same time that there’s no reason why we have to sit around and argue about which channel all of us are going to watch.” He said this ability to watch what one wants brings “greater overall satisfaction,” punctuated by periods of “intermittent sharing” of content worthy of attention before going back to solo viewing. When 5G arrives, which promises wired broadband speeds for mobile, it could “create just all kinds of untethered flexibility [leading] to content forms and distribution mechanisms that we just can’t even imagine right now,” Fader added. But he acknowledged that the promise of true 5G remains “years and years and years away.” (More spectrum needs to be cleared for 5G and extensive infrastructure has to be built for this next-generation wireless protocol to work robustly.) Werbach has a different view. “5G for consumer applications in the home just means more bandwidth, but we already have, generally speaking for most people, enough bandwidth” for current use cases. If virtual and augmented reality applications take off, then 5G will be a major enabler. “But in the near term, 5G is not a game changer for consumer entertainment applications in the home,” he said. “It’s about mobile and ultimately, it’s going to be about the Internet of Things.” Looking ahead, Fader sees user-generated content and activities as a big game changer for the digital living room. “This to me is the biggest unspoken trend,” he said. People are increasingly using video game systems not to play games, but for their avatars to interact in a reality TV show-type of
way. For example, Fader said, around 20 to 30 people are using the video game Grand Theft Auto as a “stage. They’re not necessarily playing the game, but they’re using it as a place to meet … and almost have their own reality show.” But it’s more real since the dialogue is unscripted and no production company is behind it.
“Interpersonal communication may end up increasingly occurring over smaller networks of close friends rather than being broadcast to one’s wider network.”– Shiri Melumad Millions of people watch these players — and choose to do so from any viewpoint, Fader said. As they watch, people are donating money. There are also sidebar chats going on among the viewers. “This is an example of how these technologies and use cases are blending together in ways that we either wouldn’t have anticipated, or where media giants don’t exactly have control over it,” he said. “The main thing is people are just getting control, doing what they want to do and being less beholden to what the content-producing behemoths are telling them to do.”
Winner Take All? Will any one company ever win the digital living room wars? “One view is that this will be a ‘winner-take-all’ contest in which one firm will dominate the home infrastructure, controlling almost everything from entertainment, communication and shopping,” said Shiri Melumad, Wharton marketing
professor. For now, she said, Amazon and Google are vying to be the main provider. But she also said growing concerns over data privacy could result in a more democratic scenario where the market is shared by several companies — some of which might not even currently exist. “Google and Amazon seem to be doing a decent job in this,” added Wharton marketing professor Pinar Yildirim. “Amazon is figuring out the whole ecosystem of connected devices, from bulbs to plugs to other things. When it comes to the connectivity of small devices, and their sale, they have an edge.” However, when it comes to “what controls them, or how to control them at home or via mobile phones, that is more Google or Apple.” Facebook also is a contender. It is developing a cozier virtual place for people to gather, including a real-time group video chat. The social network is “putting greater emphasis on private messaging,” Melumad said. “Interpersonal communication may end up increasingly occurring over smaller networks of close friends rather than being broadcast to one’s wider network.” She said CEO Mark Zuckerberg described it as people communicating more in the “living room than the town square.” Fader, for one, is excited about the current “wild west” of content services. “I think it’s terrific because we’re really letting business models arise and either flourish or die, based on [whether] customers want it and are they willing to pay for it, instead of cramming stuff down our throats, and [laying down] onerous terms for the content creators and the talent behind them. So it’s really great to see just so much diversity of content production and distribution — that’s the real golden age that we’re in.”
Media owner spotlight: The Economist’s approach to brand content in the era of social purpose By Alex Brownsell
Audience expectations around brand purpose are impacting the ways in which publishers work with advertisers, according to The Economist Group’s Mina Seetharaman. To explore the importance of brand purpose as a genuine driver of business performance, The Economist Group launched a survey of over 1,400 executives across more than 100 countries. Nearly a third (31%) of respondents were of C-suite seniority, while 57% work multi-national corporations. The Social Purpose study, launched this summer during Cannes Lions, discovered that 70% of respondents believe it is vital that the company they work for “operates with a social purpose”, and that such credentials will be imperative for recruitment of future talent. However, the majority of those surveyed believe there is a gap between the words and deeds of their employers.
Other key findings include: • Over three-quarters (78%) of respondents agree that too many companies talk about operating with social purpose without investing in long-term initiatives • Only 63% believe that their own company has a strong commitment to social causes • Nearly half (47%) want their employer to take a “more visible” stand on issues impacting society • Millennial and Gen Z respondents were mostly likely (84%) to believe that companies talk rather than act on social purpose • The next generation of employees will actively “seek out” companies that play a greater role in social change, according to 74% of respondents.
55 WARC spoke to Mina Seetharaman, The Economist Group’s EVP, Chief Strategy and Creative Officer, to discuss how marketers should amend their approach, and what the research findings mean for the way in which publishers engage with advertisers.
What motivated The Economist to commission research on brand purpose? This topic isn’t a new one. It’s certainly one that has come up [in] discussion with our own clients for a while now. The conversation has evolved to two places. The first is, yes, [potential] backlash. That backlash grows in the distance between your declared intentions and the authenticity of your actions. If you talk a good game around social purpose but don’t actually act on it, that’s where the backlash is. The other piece is a question – is it purpose or profits, or can it be purpose and profits? Nearly half [48% of respondents] said companies that operate with purpose have a competitive edge over companies that don’t. Half is not insignificant, [but] purpose-driven work is not an excuse for not having a valuable, benefit-driven product in the market. You need both. That’s not to say that you can’t put money towards issues that you care about. If you happen to be a company that believes really strongly in LGBT issues, but you make cell phone chips, there’s no reason [you can’t]. Accenture is a good example of taking a really strong position on LGBT issues, for example, but it’s not specific to its core product offering. They’re consistent about that behaviour in the larger cultural space, and that’s fine. Where people object most is [when companies state], ‘We really stand behind name-anissue,’ and then only come out once a year to hang the flag.
Did the findings largely tally with your expectations, or did any of the results surprise you? I don’t think they were particularly surprising, and they were actually relatively consistent from region to region. Where we saw some of the bigger gaps and disparities was between men and women. Women have a stronger view on some of these things. One example is the idea that it’s important [they] work for a company which operates with social purpose: 68% of male respondents said yes, versus 87% of women. Certainly, as you get younger, people are a little more sceptical around whether or not companies are investing in the long-term [and], personally, I’m not entirely surprised. I think there’s a challenge with short-termism in the marketplace right now. Authentically-driven purpose initiatives don’t yield results within three months. It’s who you are your core, like the ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’ by Dove, and its focus on women’s self-esteem and women’s empowerment. That’s a multi-year, decade-long initiative. That’s just who they now are as a brand.
What are the lessons for brands and marketers? Authenticity is number one. If you’re doing this for a quick gain, or you’re not operating from a position of authenticity, [then] you’re not going to succeed. Number two is whether or not it could be possible to [achieve] purpose and profits. Do they have to be dichotomous? Companies do this in different
ways. Maytag, for example, has a great programme called Care Counts. If you can figure out a way do meaningful work, it doesn’t necessarily have to sacrifice the product that you sell. I always go back to The Lorax, that Dr Seuss story: if The Lorax had been thinking about his own business and its sustainability in the long term, he wouldn’t have chopped down all the trees.
Shouldn’t brands be aware of the likelihood of cynicism from industry, consumers and some employees as well? It’s like anything, right? If you say you’re going to do something, do it. Think of your consumers or employees like friends. If you tell a friend over and over again, ‘We’re going to invest in this, we’re going to do this,’ and you repeatedly don’t do it, your friend stops being your friend over time, or at least they stop believing you. If you say you’re going to make the commitment, make the commitment. With social media, that backlash propagates really quickly. I do think that there is a big difference between an honest mistake and someone being disingenuous. If people feel that you’ve behaved authentically and tried to do the right thing, again, the goodwill derived from a good brand character carries you a lot longer than if you just try to capitalise on an issue.
What does this mean for content brands like The Economist, and the ways in which you work with advertisers? By our very nature, we are a mission-driven company. We were founded in 1843 to protest what we thought were unjust Corn Laws, of all things. It’s not a story that resonates in the same way today, but free trade and an open society is at the core of who we are. When we think about the publication and marketing, The Economist is a kind of ecosystem: something like Open Future, for example, [is based on] the idea that to continue as a civil society, we have to relearn civil discourse. That is at the core of who we are editorially. In terms of how advertisers engage with us, we try and steer our clients towards best practices, especially in the content marketing space. We understand what our audiences will engage with. I have, on occasion, been in meetings where a client has handed me another company’s branded content, and said, ‘Will you do something like this?’ and I say no. They’re shocked [but] everybody draws their line in a different place. I just know that they wouldn’t get very good traction with our readers, because for them that doesn’t feel authentic. We recently released another piece of research called Cracking the Content Code. We analysed about 50 content marketing programmes to better understand how [they] perform. Ultimately, the benefit that you get from working with a publisher brand is that they have a really good understanding of the psychographics of their audience. Our readers expect quality, whether it’s from our editorial team at the newspaper or from our branded teams on the commercial side.
Alex Brownsell, Senior Editor, Media, WARC
To Navigate Advertising Uncertainty, Marketers Must Aim To Maximize Unduplicated Reach By Eric Schmitt
Advertising today is filled with uncertainty. Some of the greatest unknowns revolve around consumers’ rapid adoption of streaming video, enabled by Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and Amazon. This new legion of over-the-top (OTT) streaming video service providers has a variety of business models, all contributing to the disruption. Every aspect of the video and TV media business is in flux – from content creation to distribution, to ad-free subscription viewing. What is certain is streaming’s impact on the TV and digital advertising businesses will be profound, and equilibrium is still a long way off. When confronted with risk and complexity, it often helps to refer to fundamentals. Reach and frequency are two foundational advertising elements that are relevant across the board, from hypertargeted digital ad campaigns to broadcast commercials. Whether you use custom first-party data segments, third-party data sets or your own first-party custom segments, you still need to account for the ad buy. Measuring the penetration of your ad campaign into the target audience segment (reach) and the number of times you made contact (frequency) are key. This data is core to evaluating the return on media spend and the allocation of
ad budgets across channels and platforms. Managing reach is a good place to anchor campaign playbooks and the associated analytic learning agenda. Without reach there is no impression – and therefore no influence, contribution to conversion or other behavior changes. The most memorable creative and compelling offers are for naught if the intended audience never receives the message. On the other hand, an advertiser that achieves 15% more reach than competitors into its target market can expect proportional upside to surface in the bottom line. It’s easy to lose focus on reach metrics when working within the confines of an individual walled garden or publisher platform. From inside the walls the gardens can look beautiful, especially through the lens of bottom-line performance. Ad sellers – especially those that offer interactivity, such as Facebook click-throughs, or visibility to post-campaign behavior, like Amazon purchases, can deploy algorithms that optimize for performance, not reach. This enables remarkable levels of bottom-line return on ad spend, but only within a single audience universe and subject to available inventory against that audience. For most advertisers, the goal is to get a campaign in front
of as many of the target audience as possible, not just the portion that a single publisher or platform reaches. In other words, the goal is to maximize a campaign’s unduplicated reach. But media fragmentation creates hurdles to managing the reach and frequency fundamentals. Multiple sellers, data formats and approaches to identity and audience data integration lead to limited options for reliable, independent measurement. This dynamic plays out across media, but also within individual channels. There is no better example of single channel fragmentation today than OTT. Collectively, OTT accounts for a substantial and rapidly-growing slice of time-spent viewing, especially among young adults. But just try to put together an integrated view of your streaming video advertising – the exercise is akin to working on a 1,000-piece puzzle upside down, with half the pieces missing. The advertising business is adapting to address the challenge of unduplicated reach, but change takes time. The Media Ratings Council’s recently finalized Cross-Media Audience Measurement Standards are a substantial step in the right direction. Likewise, agency holding companies’ acquisitions of data specialists like Dentsu-Merkle, IPG-Acxiom and PublicisEpsilon suggest a future characterized by more standardized, portable audience segments and more sophisticated media performance measurement. In the meantime, there are several things that advertisers can do to get ahead: Take an integrated approach to TV and video advertising: If they haven’t already, advertisers should start to pull together TV, streaming and digital video to coordinate (and unify) budgeting, creative, scheduling, buying and measurement. To begin, they should standardize audience segments as much as practically possible across digital, TV and OTT, and focus on enhancing reach by informing media plans with both TV and digital data. Finally, they should take advantage of data-enabled tactics that allow for ads in one channel,
such as digital, to be targeted specifically at people who were not reached in another channel, such as TV. Focus on the big picture, not just big data: Large scale data sets of audience and ad impression data are critical inputs. Advertisers can’t let technical or measurement constraints paralyze decision making. Directional indicators can provide actionable insight into overall dynamics, including the substantial decline in traditional TV ratings and the growing reach of streaming video into younger audiences. Traditional media-planning techniques like geotargeting and dayparting can be deployed to great effect and applied consistently across broadcast, digital, social and other media. Build a cross-channel advertising culture: Success in a fragmented and uncertain media environment depends on the team. Regardless of how work is divided between agencies and internal resources, advertisers that focus on aligning goals and incentives across TV and digital stand the greatest chance of success. Align incentives and goals to build a multidisciplinary culture that spans media planning, buying and measurement. Fluid translation back and forth between digital and TV concepts is key. It’s also important to master data dialects, from market research to match rates and projections to identity resolution. There is a window of opportunity as streaming video and adfree subscription services roil the media landscape and the industry slowly adapts to new planning and measurement needs. Innovative advertisers who can manage foundational metrics can capture meaningful competitive advantage. Nowhere is this opportunity greater than in the domain of cross-channel video and TV advertising.
Eric Schmitt, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner.
How to Create and Use Infographics for Your Content Marketing IF YOUâ€™RE NOT TAKING ADVANTAGE OF INFOGRAPHICS IN YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY, YOU COULD WELL BE MISSING OUT. INFOGRAPHICS ARE INCREDIBLY EFFECTIVE MARKETING TOOLS. EVEN THE SIMPLEST INFOGRAPHIC COULD DRIVE A THOUSAND POTENTIAL LEADS TO YOUR WEBSITE. By Pawel Tomczyk
This article will explain... 1. How to prepare high-quality, infographics in several simple steps
Infographic Advantages attractive,
2. The benefits of harnessing infographics as a helpful marketing tool in your marketing strategy
Infographics offer a wide range of benefits that you might not have thought of. Among the most important benefits of using infographics are the following: • They’re compelling, visually pleasing, and attractive.
3. The difference between useful and bad infographics, and how to avoid making bad ones
• They’re easy to study, understand, and remember.
4. Infographic trends for the foreseeable future
• They can be great for SEO.
• They generate traffic. • They simplify complex ideas and concepts. • They can easily align with your brand image and so create brand awareness.
How to Prepare an Infographic Creating an infographic that’s both effective and attractive may seem like a difficult task. But it doesn’t have to be. The following steps walk you through the entire process, from planning to publishing:
1. Outline the goals of your infographic Before going crazy thinking about the design, layout, and aesthetics of your infographic, you need to focus on the goal of your infographic. You need to know why you are making it and why it’s essential. By answering those two questions, you’ll avoid getting lost, or creating something that serves no purpose. Determining a goal for your infographic will also help shape your design process.
2. Collect and gather relevant data This step is critical. You need to invest a significant amount of time into research. You can either collect data from thirdparty sources or use original data. All data obtained from third-party sources needs to be appropriately cited. Don’t rush through this step. Ensure that only accurate information gets used.
3. Choose the right design template Now that you have collected all the data and information you need, it’s time to decide how you’re going to present that visually. It’s crucial you choose a template that works explicitly for the type of data or content that you want to display. It’s best to create wireframes that can guide where and how your graphics and text are presented before actually designing the infographic. Doing that will save you a ton of frustration later on.
4. Design your infographic Now it’s time to design your infographic. Plug in all your content and data into the infographic and format it according to your preferences. If you’re not up to it, you can outsource the work and resources to a great designer who can match your design specifications and brand.
Among the signs of a lousy infographic are these: • It isn’t geared toward a specific target audience. • It lacks sufficient and reliable data. • Its design is unoriginal and relies on templates and graphics readily available online for free. • It lacks a clear marketing plan or strategy. • It clumps random elements together, into one area of the infographic. • It uses a tiny font size that’s too hard to read. • It uses unbalanced graphical elements that are distracting and don’t establish a visual flow or hierarchy.
Infographic Trends Interactive Infographics
5. Review Once you have finalized designing your infographic, go through the copy carefully and check for errors. Also, take the time to get some constructive feedback from peers and friends. There is always something that needs correction or modification. Don’t skip this step.
6. Publish and share The final steps are to publish and promote your infographic. If your main concern is to reap the benefits of SEO, post it on your blog with an accompanying article, then share it on social media. You can easily pin the infographic on Pinterest, for example, along with an embed code for visitors to share on their sites and their own blog posts. When sharing on social media, include a link to the original post on your blog. You can also conduct outreach to influencers and ask them to post your infographic with an article (that you or they can write) and a link to your blog post. You can also create a guest post or article on sites related to the topic of the infographic. The key here is value exchange: You’re providing (hopefully) valuable content for their audience, and you’re getting your name out there, together with (hopefully) a dofollow link back to your blog.
Good versus Bad Infographics
Infographics have always been interactive to some extent. However, modern-day infographics are much more interactive than before. Today’s interactive infographics change their overall presentation as you scroll, to match your current position and speed. They make for a richer and more fulfilling experience than traditional infographics.
Dynamic Infographics These types of infographics incorporate a mixture of GIFs and other moving elements. For that reason, they’re more challenging to create than static infographics. However, this type of infographics is gaining more popularity among readers; the dynamic elements capture reader attention and interest and so help them understand the rest of the information quickly.
3D Illustrations A growing number of modern infographics are featuring 3D illustrations, which tend to stand out more than conventional, 2D illustrations. They tend to add depth to infographics and make the design look more realistic, appealing, and engaging. Other Infographic Trends • Micro-infographics • Animated infographics • Infographic-style websites • Hand-drawn-style infographics
Pretty much anyone can create an infographic. However, not everyone can create a high-quality and useful infographic. Among the qualities of a good infographic are these: • It has a simple design. • It establishes a clear sense of order and balance that’s easy on the eyes.
• Integrated third-party content and real-time information
Conclusion Considering the effectiveness and popularity of visual content in marketing today, infographics are more than fancy pieces of content. Designed carefully, they can be effective marketing tools that can drive traffic, help build your brand, and establish your authority in your industry.
• It has a logical and reasonable flow that’s easy to follow. • It has a clean and legible font size for text. • It addresses the needs of the target audience. • It doesn’t bombard or overwhelm readers unnecessary or useless data or information.
Pawel Tomczyk is a digital marketer and the founder of Cyberius, a creative agency he launched in 2016. He’s a fan of blockchain, fintech, and technology in general.
Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator
Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen
By Ryan Holiday
By Donald Miller
I’m a media manipulator. In a world where blogs control and distort the news, my job is to control blogs-as much as any one person can. Why am I giving away these secrets? Because I’m tired of a world where blogs take indirect bribes, marketers help write the news, reckless journalists spread lies, and no one is accountable for any of it. I’m pulling back the curtain because I don’t want anyone else to get blindsided.
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.
Beyond Sizzle: The Next Evolution of Branding By Mona Amodeo
Bigger Than This: How to Turn Any Venture Into an Admired Brand Kindle Edition
Award-winning management strategist Dr. Mona Amodeo brings together the best practices of change management, marketing, and communications to give readers an actionable process for creating brands that matterorganizations that are redefining workplaces, reimagining customer experiences, and creating innovative products and services that are building healthier, more sustainable communities in turn, creating a better world for us all.
By Fabian Geyrhalter, Elaine Pofeldt (Editor)
Upstart!: Visual Identities for Start-Ups and New Businesses
What Branding ISN’T: Have more than a logo, make your brand LEGENDARY.
By Gestalten, Anna Sinofzik Upstart! presents fresh branding ideas for entrepreneurs and designers. To stand out in a land of consumerist plenty, the new generation of small business entrepreneurs has learned to set high design standards. Poised between playfulness and professionalism, their holistic visual identity concepts become an integral part of their core business.
The 23 Commandments of Branding: 23 Proven Branding Strategies to Promote Your Business without Going Broke By Jerome Ford The 23 Commandments of branding will show you how to build and grow your brand without going broke.This book gives you proven techniques that my freelance clients pay me for – on retainer every month.In fact, a client who owns a hair boutique in North Carolina is using these techniques to grow her brand...
In “Bigger Than This,” Geyrhalter analyzes brands that are based on commodity products – watches, socks, shoes, fish – yet they quickly turn into beloved brands. He emphasizes the importance of storytelling, encouraging brands to embrace 8 simple traits these brands showcase and offers specific, actionable commandments that any brand can implement – story, belief, cause, heritage, delight, transparency, solidarity and individuality.
By Andrew J Oleson (Author), Natalie Turner (Designer) Branding is essential to the success of your organization, and it involves many things. In this book, we will tell you what branding ISN’T so you can avoid the unwise and costly errors that we’ve seen organizations make. Knowing what NOT to do is just as important as knowing what to do. These principles are time-tested, and, if executed correctly, will guide you to having more than...
The Power of Licensing: Harnessing Brand Equity By Michael Stone As CEO of Beanstalk, a leading, New York Citybased global brand licensing agency and part of the Omnicom Group (NYSE: OMC), author Michael Stone has worked with companies as diverse as HGTV, the Ford Motor Company, the Coca-Cola Company and AT&T to create highly ambitious and successful strategic licensing and brand extension programs for Beanstalk’s clients. At an increasing pace over the past decade, all types of organizations with strong brands...
Brands in Glass Houses: How to Embrace Transparency and Grow Your Business Through Content Marketing
Building Strong Brands Kindle Edition By David A. Aaker
Brands in Glass Houses shines light on businesses that are revealing themselves authentically, not just as a marketing tactic, but also as a way of doing business. It shows you how to provide interesting content so that customers can connect with your brand on an emotional level...
As industries turn increasingly hostile, it is clear that strong brand-building skills are needed to survive and prosper. In David Aaker’s pathbreaking book, Managing Brand Equity, managers discovered the value of a brand as a strategic asset and a company’s primary source of competitive advantage. Now, in this compelling new work, Aaker uses real brand-building cases from Saturn, General Electric, Kodak, Healthy Choice, McDonald’s...
Overthrow: 10 ways to tell a challenger story Kindle Edition
The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds
By Mark Holden, Malcolm Devoy, Adam Morgan
By Michael Lewis
By Dechay Watts, Debbie Williams, Said Baaghil (Contributor)
Anyone interested in challengers is interested in compression: how do you make a story utterly compelling in a very short space of time? And one of the reasons that the concept of the ‘challenger brand’ has caught on, you might argue, is that it itself does just that: within just two words you surely have all the ingredients of an engaging story – conflict, a protagonist and an adversary, an anticipation of a future event...
Friction: Passion Brands in the Age of Disruption By Jeff Rosenblum, Jordan Berg
Forty years ago, Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky wrote a series of breathtakingly original papers that invented the field of behavioral economics. Led to a new approach to government regulation, and made much of Michael Lewis’s own work possible. In The Undoing Project, Lewis shows how their Nobel Prize–winning theory of the mind altered our perception of reality.
The Automatic Customer: Creating a Subscription Business in Any Industry Kindle Edition
Friction argues that brands don’t simply need clever messages or new, shiny technologies. They need a fundamental change in strategy. Friction provides a system for embracing transparency, engaging audiences, creating evangelists, and unleashing unprecedented growth. The authors of Friction have worked on some of the industry’s most innovative assignments for the world’s most successful brands.
By John Warrillow
Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You Kindle Edition
What Customers Crave: How to Create Relevant and Memorable Experiences at Every Touchpoint Kindle Edition
By John Warrillow, Bo Burlingham (Foreword) According to John Warrillow, the number one mistake entrepreneurs make is to build a business that relies too heavily on them. Thus, when the time comes to sell, buyers aren’t confident that the company-even if it’s profitable-can stand on its own. To illustrate this, Warrillow introduces us to a fictional small business owner named Alex who is struggling to sell his advertising agency.
According to John Warrillow, this emerging subscription economy offers huge opportunities to companies that know how to turn customers into subscribers. Automatic customers are the key to increasing cash flow, igniting growth, and boosting the value of your company.
By Nicholas J. Webb Think you know your customers? You better be more assured than just thinking you do, because your success depends on it! The best companies in the world first research exhaustively what their customers desire, and then they deliver it in memorable and deeply human experiences-resulting in success previously believed to be unachievable.