What Marketers can learn from #RoyalWedding, Twitter & #cnntv

Its 4.53 AM CST (10.53 in London) and I've just been woken up by wife's alarm as she dashes to the tv and logs into facebook, while I remain in bed and bleary eyed fumble for my phone and  onto twitter.

The royal wedding proves that when you have a remarkable event and a motivated community people will connect and participate. This ranges from the truly devastating events in Japan, uprisings and political upheavals in the middle east and Africa and well yes who designed Kate Middleton's dress.

Right now the top 10 trending topics (aka brands) are of course all British including #BuckinghamPalace #ClarenceHouse #Royal Wedding and...... #Cnntv !!!???

So, despite the fact it's a (pardon the pun) Royal Flush, CNN have mastered the art and science of motivating their global audience of (consumers) to act, and simply use a hashtag. To be honest, I was expecting to see BBC.

I'm surprised at my own behavior, as well as the masterstroke of CNN. It goes to show that brands which understand their equity and consumer will thrive in this diverse new media web 2.0 age.......

Now ive woken up a bit I'm off to see that dress live...

Stop press.......Its BBC America on the TV....British marketers may once again rejoice.

Marshall Headphones - watch out Bose

In a 'sea of sameness'  - and dominated by plastic see through packaging,  the possession of a distinctive brand equity will help you win.

The genius move by Marshall Headphones is to hide their product in a brown cubed box design.... that provokes instant curiosity. 
My compulsion  to discover - and open the box proved insatiable. Although I like my Bose, I really want these as well! Marshall simply oozes lovemarks status. 


Unusual Suspects

Which brands did you instantly recognize in this Identity Parade? (police lineup to my US readers!)..... proudly on display at one of the worlds busiest airports.

Not being able to control your brand message is a pretty hard concept to accept.  So it must be nauseating for Coca Cola and Volvic to have their brand equity subverted and be cast as prime suspects at airport security checkpoints....Perhaps it pays to be mediocre after all !


#YearInReview - Brand Curious: most read posts of 2010

 In case you missed some of them,  here are your favourite posts this year:

  1. a review of the must have social media marketing book Wikipedia + Mentor + Superpower = #micromktg
  2. My unshakable relationship with a coffee brand Loyalty beyond reason = Nespresso
  3. Product innovation of the year candidate ?? Free #Summermash IPhone Bumper
  4. The catwalk comes to the nappy (diaper) category the war of nappies
  5. A simple and effective brand refresh  How to refresh brand equity without alienating your audience
  6. Comeback brand of the year  How #oldspice rescued 30' ads
  7. The best Christmas ad bar none this year Hyundai vs #Pamplamoose = outlandish soundclash
  8. A must read marketing rant The trouble with swatting flies
  9. Delightful US (football) world cup coverage ESPN world cup so far so good
  10. Hmmm.... already out of date Twitter tips ! Twitter 101 smart twips and top links

How #OldSpice Rescued 30' ads

Old Spice has set new standards for  viral video making and delivered amazing stats stats yet the current YouTube campaign is under scrutiny due to  poor product sales...Leading to the inimitable question - does advertising work ? and is this campaign truly effective ? Here are 4 reasons why I salute Wieden and Kennedy + the folks at P and G, (also shared on the beancast  in response to topics for their podcast on 7/18).

1. Creativity and Context are powerful
I'm intrigued as to why a sales decline on the brand or product  satisfaction/relevance comments are thrown at Old Spice. As a marketer, I simply watch in wonderment at the magnificence of this phase of the campaign. It is truly immense on an insight, engagement, creative, intelligence, and context level. All this originating from the allegedly dead 30' ad !

2. Paying into the brand Equity
There should be no criticism from a brand or marketing perspective. If the campaign delivers against the brand equity and measures that were set - then bravo to all. I feel that effectiveness should be measured in a way that explicitly seeks to capture all benefits to the brand, irrespective of sales or market share change.
  • For example, lets quickly look at this from the Sales department perspective - they can now call their retail partners in the full confidence that their brand has been elevated, eulogised and is front page news. The call or visit will run smoother, the promo plan will be seen more favourably, the orders will be placed more promptly.

  • Now Imagine being the Old Spice brand management folks who are now able to show metrics that are transparent to product development, design, finance, customer services....they can now more easily demonstrate the value they can add, they can show engagement growth, viewers, new prospects, influence change, brand image improvement etc etc.

3. Marketing Innovation does NOT require a new product
For me the best part of all this is that it has happened on a low tech commodity product (compressed fragranced air). Clearly highly creative people re-envisioned the way to look at the category and how to communicate WITHOUT needing a new product ......sometimes we just might too quickly seek comfort in new products, when often there is a world of opportunity to simply stop, think and act differently.

4. Raising the Bar
The challenge has been set to every brand mananger and marketing/ad agency out there. What are you doing to get a consumer to care about your brand, that doesn't involve the easy option of maintaining the status quo or doing the same old thing?

That's the kind of challenge that makes me LOVE what I do.

Disclosure - despite being a former P and G employee, yet a competetitor deodorant brand user, the thoughts here are without any predetermined bias for or against Old spice.  

SuperBowl 44 Ads - The first Top 5 winners

So here we go....

1. MOST LIKELY TO DRIVE CONSIDERATION: HomeAway.com ! Never heard of them before, and now I have 'binged' them (c'mon google is getting all the attention) !
2. MOST FUNNY: Car Max/Doritos - great use of humour and making the drama about the product benefit that consumers love them for.
3. MOST ON EQUITY: VW – totally on their US equity with an irreverent attempt to bring alive their relevance. The use of Stevie and Tracy Morgan was the twist you weren’t expecting that left a little twinkle in the eye. I would love to see this aired in Germany - its just so different they wouldn’t have a clue.
4. MOST TALKED ABOUT: Google, clearly a grown up ad going for the “mega brand”/”epic “ ad – that would elevate their brand as market leader.
- I felt I knew where the story was going and where it was going to end – so the question for me is authenticity Was it really authentic ?
5. MOST EFFECTIVE PLACEMENT: Doritos (Gym) 30 sec ad after a Saints Interception you deserve that piece of luck if you go after so many spots.
Your comments please.

Its ok to be 'Good Enough'

So I finally relented, and tried Starbucks Via today. Over the last 5 years my pallet has adapted to love only Espresso based coffee, but that was not an available option at an event I attended today.

Out of curiosity I tried Via instead of the brewed Coffee option, and was stunned to find it so drinkable. So much so that I was tempted enough to have a refill - an unexpected positive experience. Yet it wasn't really so unexpected, because they keep telling me it tastes better than brewed coffee...but that just was not believable until now.
For sceptics of Via like myself they could have done much more to get me to try it, to provoke me out of my apathy/rejection.
But how ? As I follow Starbucks on Twitter, they could have sent me a DM or @ message, and I wouldn't have minded that, because I'm enough of a fan to follow them. If they had incentivized me I probably would have driven to a store flashed my Iphone app and tried a free sample, but they didn't.
Ultimately they had my permission to change my mind because I had already reached out to them through my Twitter follow and my Iphone app, but in the end they got me by accident.
I struggle with the fact that by only delivering a 'good enough' (according to me) product they managed to change my perception and make me an advocate. I also struggle with how Starbucks is re-framing its coffee Equity. Do they stand for great tasting coffee or good enough coffee ? Do they stand for a great experience or more frequent good enough experiences ? I think you know which one to choose here ...right ?

Billboard.com – how to refresh brand equity without alienating your consumers

As a music fan one of the sites I visit almost on a daily basis is billboard with core brand equity elements of the 'authority', and 'champion' of the music industry. It’s a great portal for sales and shipment data, charts, news, reviews and general music industry gossip. So on Saturday when I logged in – I was surprised to see a radical site redesign. Granted the old site was tired and driven by banner ad’s, but was easy to navigate and content rich.

A New Business Model

With focus on downloading music (via lala.com), I sense a change of business model – to actively generate user revenue and return visits vs. the ad driven model.

Is it the same brand?
I’m not sure that I like the new ‘MySpace’ feel which undermines the ‘authority’ brand value. The brand clearly needs to evolve and perhaps has succeeded - I have already opened a www.Lala.com account and downloaded music (by Alexi Murdoch).

Marketing works !

This could prove to be a classic marketing case study where a brand:
a) Reinvents itself by refreshing its equity - but not straying too far (simply by adding ‘first choice’) as an additional equity element
b) Ensures it understand how to engage and retain consumers
c) Drives the top and bottom line

Bravo to the marketing folks at Billboard.