Tag Archives: branding

branding - AZ Business Magazine April 2008

5 tips for building a brand in 2015

For the past seventy years, business branding has been largely guided by principles developed in the 1950s and 1960s, when there were only three television networks, messaging through advertising was easy to control, and information flowed from a few “trusted” news sources to millions of people.

This one-to-many model of information flow has been upended since the advent of the Internet and social media. Now, information flows in millions of different directions at once—to, from, and by people all over the globe—in an all-to-all free-for-all for eyeballs and market share. Some of the well-established rules of branding still apply in this new, hyper-connected environment. But that doesn’t change the fact that building and differentiating a brand is harder than ever and will only prove even tougher in 2015.

In the coming year, the technological connectedness of everyone on Earth will reach a level never before experienced by humanity. The old rules don’t apply in this world. New rules must be developed.

Here are a few to start with:

BE WORTHY OF YOUR CUSTOMER’S TRUST
At its core, effective branding is about a consistent connection between a company, its products, and its promise to customers. No matter what physical product or service you sell, your true product is trust. On the Internet, trust in a brand can be destroyed in an instant, so safeguarding it is of paramount importance. The good news for serious brands is that, because the Internet is so full of scams, half-truths, and outright lies, people will continue to look to brands as a trusted resource. Earn their trust—then work every day, as hard as you can, to keep it.

DON’T JUST AVOID EVIL—DO GOOD
Google’s infamous tag line, “Don’t be evil” is not the same thing as “Do be good”—and the latter is a much better motto to live by. Young people, particularly Millennials and the generation after them, Digital Natives, like their consumption to reflect their values. More often than not, they make buying decisions based on what certain brands stand for, whether it’s environmental friendliness (Prius), fair-wage pay (Costco), LGBT equality (Kellogg), sustainable energy (3M), or whatever. Spin will only get you so far, though—at some point it has to be backed up by honest, well-intentioned action. The world is full of cheaters and liars. Don’t be one of them.

FEWER MEMES, MORE ME
Because messaging can no longer be controlled by the messenger, brands have had to figure out how to get customers themselves to spread the word. One of the most effective ways to do this is through a “meme” that grabs people’s imagination—such as the Ice Bucket Challenge—and goes viral. Modern marketers spend a great deal of time trying to figure out how to create successful memes. Some work, but most don’t, because the nature of memes is that they are spontaneous and unpredictable.

So-called meme-marketing is still in its infancy, but it is already giving way to a more me-oriented form of messaging: the sort of super-targeted, hyper-personalized messaging that is becoming possible with the convergence of Big Data, artificial intelligence, and ubiquitous mobile and personal devices of all kinds. There will always be a place on the Internet for absurd humor, but Big Data allows companies to understand and connect with each individual customer in ever more intimate ways. In turn, each of those customers has unprecedented control over the messages they receive. Memes may work for a long time to come, but more “me” is what people really want. Learn how to give it to them.

COMFORT THE AFFLICTED
The speed of technological and cultural change people are experiencing today isn’t just mind-boggling—it’s disorienting and, for some people, quite scary. The world they used to know is disappearing, and the world that is replacing it isn’t always reassuring. Time-tested brands can often serve as psychological anchors in turbulent times. People are creatures of habit, and they seek out comfort, particularly when they are uncomfortable. Brands that can provide that comfort (Campbell’s, L.L. Bean), or serve as signposts to a better future (Charles Schwab, Apple) will continue to attract loyal customers even as the retail marketplace continues to fragment and choices multiply. Sometimes, the tried and true is the only thing people will try.

SHARE, DON’T SELL
All social-media platforms in existence today rely upon one basic principle: people like to share. Brands, too, can benefit from sharing—but many are still too focused on selling. Sharing, for brands, means connecting customers with information, ideas, and resources that can help customers improve their lives. The “selling” is done by associating the brand with related networks of information that may or may not have much to do with the brand’s products. The term of art for this approach is “curated content,” but it’s really about offering help to people in ways that don’t feel like a direct sales pitch—because they aren’t. They’re just useful pieces of information that you gave them, with no strings attached—and for that, they will remember you, all the way into 2016.

Owen Shapiro is the author of Brand Shift: The Future of Brands and Marketing. Shapiro is a market researcher, strategist and speaker and spent more than 30 years in customer insights and market strategy. He has a career-long interest in helping launch innovative start-up companies, several of which have become well-known brands, including Staples, PetSmart, Sports Authority, Ulta and Five Below.

bloomquist

Experts: Keep branding simple even in the era of social media

Got milk? The swoosh stripe. The Aflac duck. Kleenex. Successful branding effectively uses a name, term, design, symbol, or even a musical jingle to distinguish a product or service from those of other sellers.

“Brands are sincere, distinct and consistent,” says David Eichler, creative director and founder of David and Sam PR. “Brands are by definition, built over time. A brand is a promise kept to its consumer, over and over.”

Kristin Bloomquist, executive vice president and general manager of Cramer-Krasselt Phoenix, has a simple way to define good branding: “Branding is a popularity contest and the brand with the most friends wins.”

While it’s common sense to think that effective branding will lead to an increase in business, experts point to several critical things to remember when a company tries to build an effective branding campaign.

“First, it’s important to understand that while there’s a time and place for a specific branding campaign, effective branding should be an ongoing effort for every organization,” says Christine Olivas, director of client services for Off Madison Ave + SpinSix.
“How and when to communicate the company’s values shouldn’t be a one-time outreach.”

However, Olivas says there are times when a branding campaign makes sense:
• When you are looking to change perceptions in the marketplace.
• When a new product or service is launching.
• Or, when you are introducing yourself to a particular market or segment.

“In these instances, it is important to consider how to make an impact while ensuring that the subsequent marketing and operational efforts can continue to support and sustain the awareness you’re creating,” she stresses. “The last thing you want is to have a campaign that drives, say, tons of buzz in the social space but to not have an ongoing social media strategy that will continue the conversation when the blitz is over. You should also have an obsessive eye on visual consistency. If you are launching a brand campaign, make sure the look and feel aligns with your core identity so as not to create confusion in the marketplace.”

While Olivas touched on the impact of social media on 21st-century branding, there is no denying that it’s changed the way companies market themselves.

“Social media is like a two-way megaphone for brands,” Eichler says. “Consumers are now empowered to share their experiences — positive and negative — and brands have the ability not only to convey their brand’s attributes, but reinforce them by how they interact with their customers. Especially when someone is disappointed with their experience with the brand.”

That ability for consumers to immediately engage is why successful brands need to have depth to their brand story and relevant reasons for people to want to engage, according to Bob Case, The Lavidge Company’s chief creative officer and creative director.

“Setting up a Pinterest account and a Facebook page aren’t effective unless you have a reason for having them,” Case says, “a strategy for how you want to shape the message and a plan for the unplanned — negative responses, etc.).”

Case says his best advice when creating a brand is to keep the message simple.

“Advertising is expensive, which can lead to companies trying to sell everything about their products and services in every message,” he says. “What’s the ONE thing you want people to know? It should be devastatingly difficult to build your campaigns because of what you leave out.”

EXPERTS’ BEST BRANDING

Here are some of the Valley’s best marketing experts’ picks for the best branding efforts:

Kristin Bloomquist, executive vice president and general manager of Cramer-Krasselt Phoenix: Corona does a terrific job of reaching into its authentic heritage and creating a world that represents the feeling of a tropical vacation, an escape to the beach, to a place of a warm sun, gentle breezes and sand between your toes. Corona’s consistent brand imagery has become an iconic symbol of the Corona brand, driving case sales in excess of $120 million to become the No. 1 imported beer in the nation.

David Eichler, creative director and founder of David and Sam PR: “The one that comes to mind, given the time of year is the NFL. In the 45 years of Super Bowls, the league has masterfully overtaken all other American sports in sales, merchandising, ad revenue and fan loyalty. They are savvy in how they have positioned themselves as vested in communities and causes.”

Isabelle Jazo, vice president of brand strategy at E.B. Lane: “Apple’s brand archetype is “Revolutionary.” The brand associates itself with thought leaders, artists and people in history that changed the rules of the game … Apple’s marketing certainly gets people’s attention, but the customer experience is what makes the branding phenomenal.”

Bob Case, The Lavidge Company’s chief creative officer and creative director: “I’d go with Nike. Not for any single campaign, but for their overall brand. They are a vibrant, living brand that re-invents itself without losing its core truth. It’s relevant, serious, fun, humorous, inspirational — in truth, a well-rounded robust story.”

Christine Olivas, director of client services for Off Madison Ave + SpinSix: “The best example of a brand that has become an experience is Zappos, an online retailer. From day one, the company has embraced service as a differentiator, but service isn’t just defined as a helpful customer service representative. Instead, the company has extended its friendly and fun approach to doing business across all internal and external communications.”

87588741

FDA picks Riester for anti-smoking campaign

Adweek has reported that the FDA has picked six agencies — including Phoenix-based Riester, which has previously been involved in youth tobacco prevention advertising — to work on a new anti-smoking initiative, which together have a spend ceiling of $390 million over the next five years. Ending a bidding process that began in September 2011, Grey, Mullen, Draftfcb, Campbell-Ewald, American Legacy Foundation and Riester were chosen for the task.

The group of agencies will now be given assignments or will submit proposals in a competitive scenario.

The focus of the program will target teens with the aim of preventing smoking or getting them to stop while they’re still young. Unlike other more mass-market anti-smoking campaigns, the FDA, which has regulatory oversight of the tobacco industry, doesn’t want to demonize tobacco, sources said. Rather, the marketing will present a more positive image of life without tobacco.

LightRailQuestion

C-K Unveils Branding Campaign For Arizona Science Center

Have you ever wondered how one car can tie up traffic for miles or what causes that one wobbly wheel on a shopping cart? Arizona Science Center has the answers as it launches its new branding campaign – Never stop wondering.

Created pro-bono by Cramer-Krasselt, Never stop wondering is designed to ignite interest in science and stimulate the innate curiosity within people of all ages well beyond the confines of a classroom or museum by posing fun, thought-provoking questions about everyday things, places and scenarios. The campaign’s innovation is that the messages are incorporated into the medium in which they are presented. Appearing in unexpected places, including building rooftops, sidewalks and bathroom stalls, the questions will prompt people to find out more about the world around them.

The campaign launched on August 6 throughout the Valley, including display boards at shopping centers, on grocery carts at supermarkets and even Phoenix headquarters of major companies, many of which have volunteered their own space to help further the reach of the campaign. To date, sponsors include the Arizona Diamondbacks, APS and Desert Ridge Marketplace.

“Never stop wondering challenges Arizonans to be curious, ask questions and seek out answers about the workings of the world around them,” said Chevy Humphrey, president and CEO of Arizona Science Center. “The campaign brings to life our mission of inspiring, educating and entertaining people of all ages about science and reinforces our role as a vital resource for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education.”

Most of the advertising will include a Quick Response (QR) code that will guide smartphone users to easy-to-understand video clips and text answers on Arizona Science Center’s website. Questions include everyday head-scratchers such as “Why do scary movies give you goose bumps?”, “How does the light rail stays on its tracks?” and “Why does your stomach growl when you’re hungry?”

“We are surrounded by technology and natural phenomena, yet many of us may not understand how or why these things work or occur,” said Ian Barry, SVP/executive creative director, C-K Phoenix. “By posing questions we’ve all pondered, we immediately engage with people and give them an approachable and fun way to experience science. Never stop wondering encourages people to reconsider the role of science in their lives and ultimately discover more at Arizona Science Center.”

“We are immensely grateful for the many generous corporate sponsors that will help share this inspirational message,” said Humphrey. “Ultimately, Arizona Science Center hopes to inspire a new generation to become leaders and innovators in science and technology.”

In addition to traditional and guerilla advertising, Arizona Science Center will host an ongoing series of experiments where Arizonans of all ages will have the chance to summon up their inner scientist and have a hand in seeing science first-hand. Details about the inaugural large-scale experiment will be announced later this month.

consumer behavior

Consumer Behavior Sparks Ideas For New Products, Expanding Markets

Marketing turns something old into something new: Consumer behavior sparks ideas for new products, expanding markets.


Introducing a new product to market can take years of research and expense. Or it can be as simple as taking something already in existence and marketing it for a different purpose. Creating or discovering a whole new use or new market for a product can be all you need to generate increased sales and growth. Observing consumer behavior is often the catalyst for new ideas.

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal outlines Hidden Valley Foods’ plan to expand its market penetration for its premier product, Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing. By repositioning the ever-popular salad dressing as the “new ketchup,” the company believes it can expand its market share and increase revenue. Updating the recipe to make the dressing thicker and creamier in order to stay atop a burger and creating new packaging and labeling, the new version will be called Hidden Valley for Everything. The company will introduce the product to the restaurant industry and grocery sales as soon as they finalize the recipe, so it can safely remain on the table as a nonperishable item, like ketchup and mustard.

The idea for repositioning the top selling salad dressing came about when a company executive observed his daughter pouring it over her salmon dinner. While ranch dressing is said to be “the most often used salad dressing in the U.S.,” the executive saw his daughter’s behavior as an opportunity to expand to a new area. Research shows that 15 percent of ranch dressing consumers use it on something other than salad, which supports the company’s move to make a play for market share in the condiment category.

Similarly, when Google learned that its customers were enjoying Google Translate more for its musical attributes than to translate words and phrases, the company saw a demand for this service with a new purpose. Customers type in a string of consonants as English for the system to translate into German, and then the computer “speaks” the phrase in rhythmic beat. The result is music to the user’s ears.

Then there is Starbucks’ CEO, Howard Schultz, who was recently credited with reviving the business by introducing a variety of new products and services. One of those ideas is a light roast coffee — a first for the coffeehouse chain that built its business on rich, dark roast flavors. When the company’s market research uncovered that “40 percent of U.S. coffee drinkers prefer a lighter, milder roast,” the product development team went to work creating their new Blonde roast.

Business owners and managers at small companies can learn from these industry leaders. Watching and listening to your consumers can often uncover the potential for new sources of revenue. Conduct a review of current products and services and think about how you might promote them to a different target market or how they may be utilized differently. By repositioning or refocusing your marketing, the potential for growth can be accomplished by just looking at the situation from a new perspective.

For more information on observing consumer behavior, or marketingworx and its services, visit www.marketingworxpr.com.

branding - AZ Business Magazine April 2008

Branding: The Mark Of Excellence

Companies need to build trust to build a successful brand

Great brands are made, not born. Ask any marketing expert and they’ll tell you that it takes a lot of hard work to build the recognition and trust necessary to create an indelible brand for a product or company.

“Really and truly that is what a brand is — trust,” says Nancy Stephens, an associate professor of marketing at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “When I see your brand mark on your service or your product, that tells me, ‘Yes, I know that company, I’ve had great experiences there every time, I know I can trust it. If it’s different, I don’t know if I can trust it, but maybe I can give it a try and I’ll see if I can.’”

The Valley is home to major companies that have dealt with significant branding issues over the last decade. The first, and most high profile, came about as the result of America West Airlines’ merger with US Airways in 2005. Almost overnight, a brand that had been ubiquitous in Arizona disappeared.

“It was a difficult decision to give up the America West name for us, because it was just so well-known and, we’d like to think, well-loved within the Valley and also certain communities like Las Vegas where we have another hub,” says Michelle Mohr, a spokeswoman for US Airways.

Eventually, of course, America West took on the US Airways name because company executives felt it better captured the more national and global direction the airliner was heading toward. Not unexpectedly, the name change created confusion among customers.

“We had logistical issues,” Mohr says. “US Airways had their ticket terminals in Terminal 2 in (Sky Harbor International Airport) and America West had theirs in Terminal 4. For some flights, you had to go to Terminal 2, for some you needed to come to Terminal 4. And then we had two separate ticket counters because there were two separate reservation systems at the airline. That could be rather confusing and frustrating to a customer.”

In the end, Stephens says the test for any company re-branding itself is how customers will react — and how the company will respond.

“(Changing a brand) is not an ideal thing to do and it’s an expensive thing to do because you’re going to have to send a message to a very crowded market that says, ‘We were that, now we’re this,’ ” she says. “I would not hammer with the media money until you have the experience down right, because then you get killed. Because if you say, ‘We’re still the same great company and we really care about you, and it’s going to be efficient and our employees are going to be very nice to you,’ and it’s not that way, then all your media money works against you.”

Another longtime Arizona company that is in the process of re-branding itself is the former Phelps Dodge. Louisiana-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold acquired Phelps Dodge in 2006. Despite the radical name change, Stephens says Freeport-McMoRan has different branding challenges than those faced by a retail customer-fueled corporation. Freeport-McMoran is a business-to-business company, but it still has constituents in the form of suppliers, buyers, investors and even the communities in which the old Phelps Dodge made its mark.

Another branding challenge companies’ face is when they take steps to change the look or even the name of a product. Locally, the Shamrock Foods Company decided to change things up in 1994 by creating the Shamrock Farms line of products, revamping its packaging and adding an illustrated “spokescow” named Roxie. It was a daring move for a company that had been around since 1922 in an industry not known for generating much excitement.

“They have taken a really boring, old product and made it pretty exciting with this new packaging,” Stephens says.

Sandy Kelly, director of marketing for Shamrock Farms, admits shaking things up was exactly what the company had in mind.

“It was a real pivotal turning point for the business overall and for the brand,” Kelly says. “We really looked at what was going on and how other consumer packaged goods brands went to market, and what we realized was that the dairy industry has typically been more commodity driven and there isn’t a lot of branding going on nationally. So we wanted to be different.”

Kelly adds that consumer focus groups continue to say they love Roxie, and as a result, the bovine has become the cornerstone of the company’s marketing campaign. In 1998, in an effort to take on soft drinks, Shamrock made some noise again by introducing milk in single-serve bottles instead of the traditional carton. The single-serve bottles are available across the country, including at 21,000 Subway locations. Just recently, Subway launched a milk mustache television ad featuring the company’s spokesman, Jared, holding a single-serve bottle of Shamrock Farms milk.

Also, the company has launched a new line of organic milk and emphasizes that it does not use the synthetic hormone rBST on its dairy cows.

While the company continues to update and add to its brand, it hasn’t lost sight of what makes a brand successful.

“We use the saying: ‘Tradition meets innovation,’” Kelly says. “We have a lot of trust built up with our consumer, but at the same time, we’ve been able to stay relevant with the needs of today, which is a challenge, especially in the dairy category. We’ve been able to have that trust, we’ve been able to build that trust.”

For more information regarding these companies visit:

wpcarey.asu.edu
fcx.com
shamrockfarms.net
usairways.com