Category Archives: Brand

Feedback

Positive feedback equals recognition, reward, motivation and satisfaction.

On the other hand, negative feedback means something’s wrong.  The current method or strategy isn’t working.  The plan isn’t rolling out.  A new course needs to be charted.

One hears a lot about positive feedback and the need to feel “loved”.  Articles abound that theorise the need for positive reinforcement as a route to engaged staff and teams.
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“Come fly with me…”

Being remarkable and memorable involves deliberate steps.

Change the scheme.
Alter the mood.
Interrupt the routine.
Be unexpected.

Need an illustration and example? Watch how this (now famous) airline steward does just that during the usually mundane cabin announcement before the tragic experience that’s air travel in the now times.

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A marketing tip from Agent J

There’s a scene in the movie MIB that offers a valuable piece of insight.

When Officer Edwards (Will Smith’s character) of the NYPD turns up for his MIB recruitment interview, the competition is hot. The best of the best (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines) are all in the room vying for a single position in the MIB.

The recruits face a series of tests (or two, so a short series).

Edwards gets the job.

Why not one of the highly-educated, combat-experienced and government-trained members of the military elite?
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I’m on a horse…

Old Spice’s Man Your Man Could Smell Like won big at Cannes and must surely go down as one of the best ads ever made.  Russel Howcroft was right when, on a recent Gruen Transfer episode he said that it was an entirely new idea and that’s why it was so good.

Here’s that winning ad, along with another in the series in case you thought the first was too good to be repeated.

Apart from being an original idea, the reasons these ads are so good is hard to pin down, which in-itself is part of their appeal (the ability to analyse something is harder when it makes you smile as broadly as these do).  The fact that it’s a one-shot ad, the unexpectedness of what happens during that 30-second piece of film, the surprising climax, the writing (which is brilliant) or the perfectly-cast, strategically-intrinsic talent (and his perfect delivery of a sharp, idea-rich script) are all elements that combine together to deliver advertising gold.

That the idea works to engage fans, position the brand and spread awareness like a grass-fire is without question and so whether it works to sell the product will be measured by how much, not if.

One insight is in how Old Spice have continued with a brand campaign that started years ago, maintaining core elements and refreshing it beautifully with the new Man your Man could smell like campaign.  It proves that it’s possible to refresh a brand and in fact make it even stronger without de-stabilising its position by tearing away at its heart.

Take a look at this ad from a few years ago (again, one of a series), which includes – among other things – the now almost certainly recognisable whistle (triggering memory), along with the unexpectedness and surprise of the current campaign.

On the current ads alone, I’m certain that this strategy would’ve been a raging success and besides, how do you follow up on something so good?

Well it seems they have and the other great insight is in how the campaign has been followed up, extended and strengthened so that now, not only are fans who saw the ad still talking about it, they’re now engaging with the brand via an equally well executed digital strategy.

The Man your Man could smell like is, although brilliantly personified by Isaiah Mustafa, a character.  He’s a creation born of the creative idea and while not the brand is the perfect charcterisation of a) the man your man could smell like and b) the man you could be like if using Old Spice.

That hasn’t stopped Old Spice putting The Man on Twitter and Facebook though, linking through to a YouTube channel and having him post video responses to questions he posed by followers.

The responses, predictably, are written and delivered with the same sharpness as the ads. The idea that The Man is waiting in front of a HD digicam, waiting for tweets and wall posts so he can record a response is a temptation too big to ignore for many of the fans. The level of interactivity going on here is unbelievable (as I write, the Twitter account has almost 30,000 followers in a day and a thousand of those were added just now) and each one of these interactions makes the brand more memorable.

Brands often fail on delivering promises.  If The Man’s promise is anything to go by then Old Spice are true because there’s an ever-growing number of video responses stacking up, all personally addressed to the questioner by The Man.

Before this latest tactic I was wondering if it was unreasonable to think that Old Spice might be objectifying men with The Man ads, given the current debate over the objectification of women in advertising.

For the record, I never thought they did (and wouldn’t have cared anyway) though now I am certain that this strategy should go down in the casebook of how to do integrated marketing, truly engage with your fans and get it right.

Go here and start picking up tips @OldSpice.

“Made ya look” marketing

That’s a term I use to describe marketing done by (mostly) small businesses using footpath characters.

It’s when you’re driving along and, almost out of the blue, you see a gorilla, or a Santa, or a horse, or just a couple of guys wearing sandwich boards, waving their hands, maybe holding a sign up and almost pleading for your attention.

Today I was making good time on the road when, out of the blue, there’s Big Bird waving like a mad thing and holding up a sign for the lighting shop he was standing right out front of.  Wasn’t a great Big Bird, might not even have been Big Bird, but that’s what I saw.  Gave them a honk (it was something like 30 degrees and I felt sorry for him or her in that suit), got an acknowledging wave and then continued on.

Are they relevent to the business?  Mostly not, except maybe for Santa around Christmas time.  Do you see the sign and the business name?  Mostly, unless they’ve used the wrong gauge permanent marker.  Can you help looking though?  Definitely not and that’s my point.

See if Big Bird hadn’t been standing out front of that light shop, I wouldn’t have bat an eyelid.

Big Bird got my attention though and next time I’m thinking about buying lights, I’ll be remembering that spot, because Big Bird made me look.

If you don’t have a “made ya look” in your marketing arsenal, you’d better go find it or create it.  Or else you risk losing out  in the memorability stakes.

Inspiration is right in front or behind you

Inspiration is one of those things that’s always looked right on through or around.

Sometimes it’s our rational left brains brains that get in the way, dismissing it as folly almost as quickly as it’s discovered.  Sometimes it’s the simple distraction of other tasks that need doing.  In marketing communications & strategy, that often translates as trying the same thing over and over, because it’s familiar or had good outcomes in the past.  In business it can be doing things easy that cost less and have outcomes equally as boring or the same as your competitors or worse still, taking expedient shortcuts in creating memorable customer experiences.

Inspiration can create the most unique differences in a brand, a marketing strategy or tactic, or the way a new venture is created and yet, for all there is in the world it’s all too often missed.  It needn’t be so hard; all that’s needed is an open and inquiring mind.

I read a fantastic example of drawing inspiration from the most unlikely place just today in an article on the new Toyota sports car concept unveiled at the 2009 Tokyo auto show.  Evidently, the chief engineer has admitted that the colour for the car was inspired by a Japanese monkey’s bum.

Now who knows what lead a chief engineer to look on in amazement at a monkey’s butt and think that it’d be a good colour for a car, even to provide the pop for a concept car.  Or the pitch he made when asked by the top brass before sign-off “so, what inspired that colour?”

None of that’s the point though.

The point is that, no matter how well-hidden it is or how far removed from what you thought you were looking for, inspiration can come from anywhere if you keep an open mind.