Sunday, October 31, 2010

A brain in love by Helen Fisher - TED talk



For my first 34 years I worked with marketing, PR, market research and communication, but I made a little career change 3 years ago to become a guide for singles and people wanting to improve their relationships. As a Love Coach I have realised that romance and relationships, love and lust, have lots in common with marketing. This talk is one way to put it...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wollies and Coles imperialists on the food and wine market - take over everything

Private labels are to become more popular, predicts market research company IBISWorld. Sales of the cheaper copies grew during the financial downturn and “shows no sign of turning sour”. Today they account for nearly one quarter of Australia’s $70 billion grocery market, and are set to climb above 30% in the next five years.
In certain sectors, such as dairy, private label growth has been dramatic, with private label milk sales rising from 25% of supermarket milk sales in 1999 to a massive 52% 2009.
“This is due to the common perception that branded products are not necessarily of a higher quality within specific segments of the supermarket, particularly the dairy aisle”, says General Manager (Australia) Robert Bryant in a press release. “The same applies to other staples such as eggs, flour and sugar.”
The biggest growth area was own-brand wine sales. IBISWorld forecasts private labels will account for more than 10% of the Australian wine market by 2013 and sales of private label beers in this country will double over the next three years.
Private labels are most popular with Australia’s low-income families, accounting more than 30% of their grocery bill.
Large brands need to watch out and make sure their brands are long term connected to the market, so people don´t consider them replaceable, but as a part of the family. Even if the economy is back on track and global luxury market has returned to where it was before GFC, consumers are disloyal and independent. They are not going to pay more because you tell them to. This goes for both low-income and high-income households.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Would ads have killed Facebook? - we have a love-hate relationship with commercials

I went to see "Social Network" last night and it´s fabulous, I loved every minute of the interesting story of how Facebook was born. One of the issues crucial to the FB success was advertising. Mark´s partner wanted to earn money quickly by putting ads on the site, but Mark refused, claiming ads were not cool, and that they would kill FB.

Advertising is a part of our world. We love it. We hate it. When Good Guys start singing I want to throw something heavy on the TV, but when I see McDonalds new ad where businessmen start playing, I stop and stare - and smile.

Some say we see more than 10 000 advertising messages a day, attacking our senses. In a broader sense, we are approached by 11 million bits of information every second, while our conscious brain only can handle 40 of those.

20% of the Swedish consumers put up a "no junk" sign on their mailbox, but direct mail just represent a small part of all ads, and it´s naive to think you can get away. Today marketers try to reach us with buzz marketing, undercover marketing, guerilla marketing, pop-up-stores, bars hidden in anonymous alleys, word-of-mouth marketing and product placement. The next thing is neuromarketing, trying to figure out how to reach the senses to bypass our thoughts and go straight into the brain system.

We are for sure influenced by what we hear or read. In a study from North Carolina, people were asked which issues they thought were the most important today and they answered the same issues that had been discussed in the local media during the same period.

Researchers have also found that when they show brief pics (16 milliseconds) of smiling people, the viewer want a larger amount of a drink and are willing to pay twice as much for is than when they view an angry face (from Martin Lindstroms amazing book Buyology).

Ads may not always be the coolest thing, and perhaps they would have damaged Facebook. Ads are like people - some are nerds, some are cool. For a brand it is crucial to make them fit the market and engage to achieve a long term connection. When you understand your market and the world your people live in, you will see their emotional needs and create a campaign that matches them, satisfies them. I believe in grassroot sourced marketing rather than award-hungry marketing. Creative ideas rather than following the latest trends. Them rather than you.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

How to make people fall in love with your brand - and why....

A brand wants to evoke good feelings within the customer, because when it does, it is more likely to get a long term loving relationship with the market. Love is money!
Several studies have shown that an emotional approach will bring more business to brands. The authors Hamish Pringle and Peter Field studied data from 1400 case studies of successful advertising campaigns, in their book “Brand Immortality” and found hard proof for this theory.
When they compared the profitability boost of campaigns that relied primarily on emotional appeal with those that used rational persuasion and information, there was a clear bias for emotional values. Campaigns with purely emotional content performed about twice as well as those with only rational content (31 percent versus 16 percent), and a little better than those that mixed emotional and rational content (31 percent versus 26 percent). (Picture from http://www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog/ absolutely fabulous blog...)
According to another study made in a supermarket, three out of four customers bought drinks based on how they felt about the brand, rather than how the drink actually tasted. The quality of the product and other concrete factors had much less influence than people’s emotional attachment to their product as a brand. Jon Morris, president of Adsam, the research company who conducted the study concludes: “Emotions are twice as important as “facts” in the process by which people make buying decisions.”
Studies from the research company Millward Brown prove that emotional ads both make us more aware of a brand and more involved in its message. Emotionally powerful ads that people like are more memorable, and when an ad is memorable and emotional it generates more sales. Ads that people like are almost twice as likely to see a sales effect, compared to ads that people don´t like.
psst... Much more in my book Love Branding. Buy it from http://www.love-branding.com/

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Art, colours, hawaii - are smiles back in style?

The fashion scene is getting ready for Summer, this year dressing up in Hawaii style shirts, bold colours and artistic patterns inspired by floaty Monet style paintings. When one of the coolest guys here in my hood walked in wearing a Hawaii shirt yesterday it was obvious that the culture is changing - we are getting ready to play.

A few years ago Bratz dolls replaced Barbie as a favourite for young girls, since the kids no longer wanted the smiling role model but rather wanted to identify themselves with a pouting "cool" doll. To smile has been seen as quite nerdy for a while; it is considered high status to look unconcerned in a corner, and a bit wicked to jump around in joy. Rappers, hip hop artist and rockstars strike an aggressive pose and smiling was something they did in the 80´s. When I needed pictures of big smiles I looked through the magazines I had at home, but no luck... No one is showing their teeth anymore. To cheesy, I assume.

But a playful childish mood on the runways is perhaps a sign of change. Are smiles back in fashion? Can the orange, red, blue and yellow in the shops be a signal? Let´s hope so. I like a good smile, and I believe the grumpy trend is the base for the huge increase in depression. A smile will set you free...  

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Love for instant coffee is fading, replaced by café coffee both home and away

More than 4 out of 5 cups of coffee consumed in Australia are made out of instant coffee, and 6 out of 7 are consumed at home (or office). Aussies loooove their Nescafé, Vittoria and Moccona, and sipping them in the backyard.

But this is changing. The biggest growth in coffee is coming from out-of-home consumption with more and more consumers adopting the idea of café culture, according to Datamonitor in their report “Hot drinks in Australia to 2013″.

Australians prefer their coffee with milk. We also prefer to sit back and spend hours drinking coffee in a cafés making it a place for leisure and business gathering, before grabbing a cup and leave, which is why the US coffee chain, Starbucks attempt to copy the US model in Australia was unsuccessful.

Datamonitor has noticed a strong demand for high quality roast and ground coffee also in the at-home coffee consumption as consumers are seeking to find the quality and taste of cafés’ coffee at home as well.

In the tea category, consumers are showing increasing interest towards specialty tea segments such as green tea and herbal tea due to its perceived health & wellness benefits.

Datamonitor predicts the Australian hot drinks market to be in the order of A$ 1.5 billion over the next 5 years.

There is a growing interesting market for milk, coffees and cafés. In Sweden I did lots of work for the dairy farmers on the area of coffee, since it´s such a huge part of their sales.

But a warning sign for you! Don´t just look at the rational part of this trend. People don´t go to cafés just because the coffee is of higher quality. They do it because they get more than coffee. In studies I found astrong sense of being cared for, when a professional barrista spent time making every cup instead of just pouring hot water over a few beans.

Also, when brands match their product with people´s need of experiences we will see cafés of different styles, offering more than just a cuppa. In my first-stop-in-the-morning-café Skinny Dip in Bondi Beach everyone knows everyone and it´s like a little universe in itself. Right now the local MP is standing there in his dodgy t-shirt waiting for coffee, and passing by was the book publisher in a rush to get the papers. The local plumber and painter just left, getting replaced by the girl off to the office in pencil skirt and the couple in their jogging outfits. This kind of coffee shop offers not just a large soy latte, but a family. Definitely customer love.

And that is what people expect in the future, that is what makes a brand stick out from the crowd and get that mysterious connection that true love is.

Top-list, coffee consumed (kg per person and year):
1.Finland  12
2.Norway 9.9
3.Iceland 9.0
4.Denmark 8.7
5.Netherlands 8.4

Monday, October 25, 2010

Russia is cleaning up - president steps up against Putin

There is change happening in Russia. President Dmitry Medvedev who became the president in 2008 with his old mentor Vladimir Putin still lingering around, being the true leader, has asserted his independence when giving the Mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov – and a culture of corruption - the boot.
An opinionated journalist wrote in the Moscow Times: "For the past decade Russia has been producing massive corruption, successfully turning top government officials and well-connected entrepreneurs into Forbes A-list billionaires. The political system was tightly and rigidly interlinked with this officially sanctioned sleaze. If such an important, huge link in the corrupt chain as the city of Moscow is tinkered with, the entire state edifice might come tumbling down."

But now he is gone, and the Deep Purple loving president Medvedev is getting support from Putin´s old allies and Medvedev is showing his muscles, making the presidential election 2012 less predictable. The president does not seem willing to make space for Putin or be a puppet for him if he chooses to retire. Bad news for the old president! Probably good news for the world.
With Medvedev in power – and without Putin peeking over his shoulder – we can expect a new kind of Russia. The younger president talks about institutions, infrastructure, innovation and investment and about becoming a member of the World Trade Organization.
Still, Russia is supporting regimes like Venezuela and Iran, hence men like Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but the latest contracts on nuclear power stations were signed by Putin and not Medvedev. Subtle difference, but still...
Should FMCG brands in Australia or Sweden bother about this power struggle at all? What has this have to do with consumer trends and insights? Well. Russia was seen as up and coming – part of the BRIC countries – a few years ago, but today all light is on China and the corruption has been a repellent for businesses in Russia.
I believe things can happen fast if Medvedev plays his cards well. This has been going on for a while, and when the scale tips, it tips... 142 million Russians can make an impact and be a lucrative market for brands (even if 1,354,370,754 Chinese definitely is a larger number of consumers)...
Get ready for change within the next year though.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rich Chinese don´t want the Western brands to look Western

China is becoming the world`s third-largest consumer market, worth $2.3 trillion by 2025 (according to McKinsey, reported in Newsweek, others say China is soon to be No 2 in the world). Consumer spending have risen 15 % a year over the past 2 years. Asia has surpassed Europe in terms of the number of wealthy citizens. (America still in first place.)

The Chinese already buy more cars and televisions than anyone else, and they are No 2 when it comes to PC sales. Sales of Jewellery is up 25 % a year, cosmetics up with 20% and luxury automobiles up 50 %.

The new rich and going-to-be rich Chinese consumers are not simply accepting to buy copies of what rich consumers in West are buying, no they are demanding luxury goods that are tailored especially to them. China wants to be seen for the unique culture it is, and brands who wish to succeed need to understand the values and beliefs of Asians, and not assume they wish to be just like us.
Many large brands are becoming humble, adapting to the market they are in.
Hermes recently opened a boutique in Shanghai for its new Chinese brand Shang Xai. There are Ming-style chairs, eggshell porcelain bowls and jewellery inspired by unusual Chinese collectible baubels, such as teapots. Materials used are zitan wood, lacquer and Mongolian cashmere – all very luxurious and local.
BMW has introduced a China-only limited version of its muscly M3, called the Tiger, which is named for the 2010 Chinese New Year and features fiery orange-and-black coloring.
French fashion house Chloe will launch a Chinese version of its Marcie handbag in red, which is the lucky color in China.  
Estée Lauder and Lancome are developing or buying cosmetic brands specifically for the Chinese market.
Levi Strauss has rolled out a jeans brand, Denizen, with slimmer cuts and more localized styles to appeal to the Asian middle-class. It is interesting to see that Levi´s are marketing the new brand to one the values of Asian countries: unity and togetherness. From the website “dENiZEN™ has another great meaning too: the idea of someone who frequents a particular place, the idea of belonging to a community of friends and family.”

China Insigths report from McKinsey https://solutions.mckinsey.com/insightschina/_SiteNote/WWW/GetFile.aspx?uri=:/insightschina/default/en-us/aboutus/news/Files/wp2055036759/McKinsey

Friday, October 22, 2010

Trend: get your friends to copy your purchase

The new hot thing is Group buying. Sites like Groupon sell for discounts if you get your friends to “group” together to buy a product or service. They even sell surgery in bulk!! Similar sites: LivingSocial and YouSwoop. Read about it in Newsweek this week.

Turn your customers into Cupids through loyalty programs

If you don´t already have a loyalty program – get one! In fact, after reading this study I will start one for my Love Coaching business today, especially for my YouTube viewers!
Research from Us based Colloquy Research shows that people who are members of a Reward Program are 70 % more likely to “actively recommending” a product, service or brand than the general population. 68 % of those who get to this level of engagement (called WOM champions in the study) will recommend a program sponsor’s brand within a year. They will be like Cupids, shooting arrows all over the place!
If you can get customers who are loyal and spreading the word about your brand, you have created an atmosphere of love which will lead to emotional connection and sales.
As we know, a loved one needs some special treatment; a partner must feel as if you care a little more about him than about all the others. When they feel valued, they will give value in return, just as Dale Carnegie taught us in his wonderful book "How to make friends and influence people". (well it´s in the Bible as well of course)
The reason for becoming an active member in a loyalty program were:
          To tell manufacturers what I think
          To get smart about products/services
          To be the first to discover new items
          To get free product samples
          To share my opinions with others
How is your program going to meet these needs? Want to know more about how to make people fall in love with your brand? Check: http://www.love-branding.com/

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Emotionomics - awesome book

Watch a video with Dan Hill, author of Emotionomics. On how to create emotional connections: http://feedroom.businessweek.com/index.jsp?fr_story=63bef5b71b8cd4ebe416cc3d7c523134d61162e4

Are young people getting over shallow Facebook chats?

A new study (ok, here we go again... :) of 16-30 year olds shows that music is no longer what defines young people - today young people look to friends to validate who they are, what they consume and what’s important in life. It is the first time since Lifelounge started their data collecting that music is no longer number One.

When it comes to marketing the study says they young ones want nuance over noise. They prefer subtle messages they themselves can explore, discover and unearth.
Researchers have noticed a new trend: the need to pause and absorb. Young people are finding ways to balance their connected lives with more organic, offline forms of entertainment like reading a book, dinner parties, movies and going to the gallery. Multitasking has intensified in recent years; people regularly spend their time Facebook-ing, cruising Twitter, texting friends and downloading music while catching a glimpse of what’s on the box. But maybe this is why they now seem to crave “single-minded experiences” as opposed to “multi-minded experiences”.
It´s a new search for depth we can see here - or is it? I would have loved to take a deeper look at the values behind “friends means more than music” to make the statistics more meaningful, but assume it means that we are heavily influenced peer-to-peer rather than from above. Or is “from friends” actually “from above”? Are young people still watching the cool kids and following their moves? Wasn´t this actually the case when music was the main influencer as well?
Most people simply want to fit in to be loved... And while the frontrunners have always found new bands, they are now the ones blogging, writing about their life on Facebook walls, showing the followers how to dress and act, what to like and do.
What can brands learn from this? Follow closely what the cool kids are doing. Use word-of-mouth marketing. Create contest where people get involved in the brand. Meet them when they are pausing rather when multi-tasking.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How to do research to get innovation - and not just another piece of statistics

“Innovation that starts with what people want leads to incremental improvement of products, not to breakthrough innovation.” says Italian academic Roberto Verganti, author of Design-Driven Innovation (Harvard Business press)

In media we often read "research shows" or "according to research" - and yeah, I use research to write my blogs too! But the key to make all the data useful and meaningful for a company is to combine studies, to make sense of a huge amount of data collected through time and by different firms and brands, for different reasons.

A brand that rocks up at a research firm and orders a quant or qual study should not rely on just those figures. If the researchers are not humble enough to also bring in knowledge from other sources you´re in trouble. Questions get certain answers depending on how they are asked, and I always keep an archive, collecting all the various studies, to feel the nuanses. People say a lot of stuff, and sometimes you need to dig through the words to find the meaning...

Australia´s level of innovation is definitely slowing down (according to research lol), and I believe more senior executives should start meditating, listening to their gut - and back up their intuition with a large stack of wisdom.

Or as Janine Allis, founder of Boost Juice says: "Back up your instincts with customer research and take a calculated risk."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

iphone App concert with Atomic Tom - ok, apple is cool...

"The best thing about our future is that it comes only one day at a time" Abraham Lincoln

Shopping differences between men and women

GFC or not, he average wealth per adult in Australia has tripled to $US 321,000 in the past 10 years, according to a report from Credit Suisse. We are getting richer, step by step, and shops should look closer into their target market to know how to make them spend their dollars.

Boston Consulting Group reported in July 2010 that women control 31% of wealth in Australia, which makes it interesting to have a look at female and male shopping behavior.

Research from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania ("Men Buy, Women Shop" 2007) show that men and women act differently when shopping.

Men tend to be more utilitarian when they hit the malls and shopping centers. It's a mission. Get in. Get what's needed. Get out. Quickly.

Women, on the other hand, generally like to look around, talk to sales associates and experience the shopping. They walk around, smell perfume, touch clothes, dab on cosmetics. They want attention and they want direction.

Women´s No. 1 issue was not being able to find help when they needed it. One in three women who were so miffed by the issue that they said they would never go back to the store again. A whopping 47% of those women said they had been ignored would never go back to that store, while men were more forgiving. Only 22% of those men who had been snubbed considered it a lifelong negative mark.

Men's biggest headache was parking. One in three said they hated not finding parking close to the store entrance. But very few of them said they would desert the store forever because of it.

Men ditch stores, too, but their biggest reason to do so is when products are out of stock. Of those men who complained, 43% said they would never shop at those stores again; only 16% of women cited that as a reason to stay away.

More figures from the study:
- Some people did go back to stores they vowed never to return to -- less than one-third-- but it took them close to a year to do so.

- Both men and women told questioners that they really appreciated a "lack of pressure" when store employees were willing to let them shop at their own pace.

- The younger the shopper, the more likely a customer was to ditch a store for poor service. The pickiest of all groups were men 18 years old to 35 years old.

- Women and men both are four times more likely to relay a good-news experience than a bad one.

The part about men and women is from an excellent article published here: MarketWatch.

Service is important. People buy based on feelings rather than practical rational arguments. If they get a good experience, and not just a good product, they are more likely to like a shop. How is your brand working on these issues? Don´t just focus on product development - getting your staff to create a loving atmosphere is just as important. If you want people to fall in love with your brand - and spend that rising wealth, you need to know what they are like.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Internet on airplanes - Singapore Airlines start next year

From early next year travellers on Singapore Airlines will be able to use wi-fi and mobile phones during flights.

Not sure it´s a good trend... Imaging a couple of hundred people chatting on the phone and recieving text messages when all you want to do is to take a nap. My 30 hr flights back to Sweden will not be with Singapore Airlines, that´s for sure.

Consumer insights - the key to your success



If the video is not visible, just click on the white surface and it will appear... Magic :)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

If Julia closes the window it will be even harder to breathe

Last night at dinner we discussed how different Australian and Swedish workplaces are.
I am interviewing for jobs and mentioned that I so far had only met one set of bosses that I found strong, inspiring and confident. Everyone else seemed scared of standing up for their ideas in front of the client, which I find odd since it´s a consultancy´s role to kick their clients in the right direction.
We came to the consclusion that Swedish people are more outspoken and courageous because we have started our career in a world without hierarchies and with strong protection against being fired for tiny issues. Opinons are welcome and respected.
Here, I feel like an elephant sometimes, saying what I think and feel. And I always have to wonder what on earth people are really thinking behind their smiling surfaces.  Australians are hard to trust.
For example, a study showed that 92 % of Australians believe that child abuse is serious, but less than 50 % would contact authorities if they knew a child was being abused. Only one in three would contact the police. 87 % said they would ”mind their own business” and 48 % would not report it bc they might be wrong.
The study doesn´t reveal whether people would knock on their neighbours door and tell them off, but my own ”research” says ”no”. Australia is an interesting country to study though, with its many cultures living next to each other. 1 in 4 are born somewhere else in the world. We are all so different, living in our bubbles - Vietnames in one suburb and Greeks in another.
If Australia is going to survive long term it has to be more innovative, and get skilled staff from overseas, and if that is going to be a positive productive experience we all need cultural training, to understand and respect each other.
I think this is the trend. Unless Julia closes the window... in which case it´s going to be even harder to breathe - we all know what happens with a room when there is no fresh air...

Friday, October 15, 2010

GFC put an end to the shopping culture

Uk based The Trend Bible talks about the increasing importance of experiences as a social trend. The team has noticed a shift in consumer mindset to a new social mood which relies less on consuming (but not for ‘green’ reasons) and more on what experience a product can bring.
“This new shift has had some fundamental implications, most of which have been exaggerated due to the recession, such as the activity of ‘shopping’ as a pastime is in decline, as we start to think about how else to spend our time.
The challenge for retailers as we start to emerge from the recession is going to be  encouraging people to go back to the shops, when they’ve been spending time learning new crafts, educating themselves, spending quality time with loved ones and even finding new hobbies.
The rise in visitors to art galleries, museums and at farmers markets in the UK is evidence of this shift towards a change in leisure activities.”
Perhaps this shift will mean the GFC was a blessing in disguise, actually putting us on the right track – towards happiness. A study by psychologists at Cornell University in New York, found that experiences, such as travelling to new places, going to dinner with friends, or taking the kids to a carnival, are more rewarding to us than material possessions.
The study discovered that experiences are so effective at making us happy because we truly ''own'' them because they become integrated into our lives and help shape our personalities. "Stuff", on the other hand, can only be possessed and does not become a part of us in a meaningful way. It degrades in time whereas experiences are transformed into memories and appreciated for a lifetime.
Read more about how to be happy in my upcoming book The Joy Gym.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Aussies don´t want to recommend products and brands no more

Not even half of Aussie consumers would recommend a brand to a friend, according to The APAC Consumer Experience Marketing Study, by Epsilon.
For brands this is a shame, since recommendations from friends, family and product reviews were according to the study the most influential sources of information to consumers when making a purchase decision.
Marketing through friends is efficient when reaching customers, but it seems like the reason this channel is not working is that people don´t think the products they have bought are worth recommending. When asked about the top 20 Australian retailers (by annualised revenue) only 35% of customers were very satisfied with their purchase.
Why is this? I would like to have known whether this is because of the product itself or because of the way a person is treated in the shop or after the purchase. Where in the process are the large brands failing? Where does the valuable ambassador for the brand – the person who has actually bought something – feel unsatisfied?
Also, how eager are people to anti-market...? If they are unhappy with a brand - will they tell their mates? Word of mouth is powerful!
Brands can keep on hunting for new consumers and target groups, but the better way to make long term profit is to keep those you´ve already got happy. Like in a marriage… Why search new dates all the time when you can get true quality love at home if you just understand your spouse?
Other findings: Brand websites were amongst the most popular place for Australian consumers to gather information and email was the most preferred channel for receiving information.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The older age groups are back to uni

Unis are seeing an older crowd enter the benches. Between 2000 and 2008 the higher education sector recorded a 70% surge in students between 50 and 59 years old. The increase across all age groups was 29%.
When the older age groups are growing, and retiring when still youngish at heart and head, we will see a new life circle. Re-learning, re-making yourself, re-thinking... Old dogs can learn new tricks!
This is an opportunity for the higher educational sector of course, but also for all kinds of learning centres - evening classes, volunteering groups, reading circles. 50 + is no longer a sleepy bunch, no they are ambitious and excited. Go help them have fun!

The heart is our shopping guide - emotional marketing is king

I bought a new computer the other day, and wow, tech companies like Harvey Norman are living in a completely different world! It is impossible to find a laptop that is marketed for me as a user (or female?). All they sell is "GB, i5, 2 Duo, GHZ, RAM, processor, hard drive..." and they could as well speak Greek. 

I´m a heavy computer user, but I have no idea how my loved one really functions underneath. I just want it to be strong, light and small. It´s like with a boyfriend - you don´t go and get a blood test to see his levels. You simply keep an eye on his abs and the shine in his eyes to get a feeling of how he is like (as a person...). 
In my book Love Branding I present lots of research on emotional branding/marketing and the power of reaching a person´s heart, and not just catch their eyes. If you can touch a customer emotionally, and not just influence with rational arguments, you are much more powerful when delivering your message. That´s just how the brain works. We make choices from what we feel – not what we think.
Brands that awaken positive emotions within us become our buddies, and the best way to get customer love is to really know what the customer wants deep down, and satisfy those needs. It´s never going to be a certain hard drive – but rather peace of mind. It´s not 500 GB – it´s absence of hassle. Don´t sell us things; sell emotions!

When the Advertising Research Foundation and American Assn. of Advertising Agencies, have measured consumers' emotional responses to TV advertising they found that stories
were very effective when creating emotional responses. A campaign like Bud's iconic "Whassup" registered more powerfully with consumers than Miller Lite low-carb ads that essentially just said, "We're better than the other guys." Why? Because Bud told a story about friends connected by a special greeting.

Ad research firm Gallup-Robinson, Pennington, N.J., found that an ad which showed a little girl's sadness and anxiety melt away into a soft smile once she was given a bowl of soup, generated 80% purchase intent.
In my book I present plenty of more examples and science that speaks loud and clear, saying our heart is our guide when it comes to purchases. But some ad agencies are still resisting. In 2007 Mark Truss, director of brand intelligence at JWT, New York, said to Brandweek that the storytelling theory is correct, but the industry still lacks a way to prove it. "Without the tools to measure and link back to business metrics, marketers and advertisers are not going to embrace [this approach]."
Brands may go for the safe left-brain arguments for a little while longer, but when they finally accept that the right-brain arguments will always win, there is no other way.
As for my laptop… Sure it´s a great machine, but now I´ll spend the week screaming, trying to make it work, getting programs in, training it to know my passwords, spending endless time calling support service all over the world. My old programs are not allowed to be used again, nothing works! If I sound a little grumpy in the next few days, you know why… :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

More common that teenage girls have sex against their will

Teenagers are getting more sexually active and it´s happening fast, according to a new study from La Trobe University. Between 2002 and 2008 the number of girls in Year 12 (17-18 years old) who have had sex with more than three partners doubled. When it comes to Year 12 boys the number increased from 16 to almost 40%.

The percentage of girls Year 12 who have lost their virginity rose from 46 to 61% between 2002 and 2008, and a quarter of the Year 10 students (15-16 years of age) have had sex.

Most worrying is that the amount of young girls who have ever had unwanted sex rose from 26 to 40%, which indicates that the higher sexual activity is connected with emotional pain... The girls say the reason they had sex against their will, mainly was because their partner wanted to, or they themselves were too drunk - which can be explained by the fact that 60 % of Year 12 girls have experienced three or more binge drinking sessions the last two weeks.

Sex is getting less culturally prophane and magical - but probably more enjoyable at the same time. Our culture is not as strict anymore when it comes to rules around sex - which opens up for a culture where sex can be for pleasure and fun, and less something you hide behind a bedroom door.

It seems in the surveys that this is a bad thing... But who did research on what married women throughout time had to deal with, when drunk husband came home and did whatever and when women were not sttrong with their own education and independence?

My theory is that women are allowed to enjoy sex nowadays, to a higher degree than ever. The trend is that young girls have opinions and dare to find out what they like in bed, and to ask for it. Of course not all of them do, but I think that is the development. Now they feel the tingle but get so drunk they can´t turn it into something good...

The blurry area of "unwanted sex" is nothing new; it is not the trend here. Especially not when both parties now drink like mad and both can wake up the next morning and have regrets. It´s not like the unwanted sex women had 50+ years ago, putting up with it... Who surveyed their situation? Who talked about that?

What should schools and parents do? Not stop young people from having sex, but teaching boundaries and how to make those moments "wanted". Both girls and boys get aroused, and the best we can do is to direct that energy into something positive. Trying to stop the force with celibacy is hard... The trend is that sex is getting more equal and common. Less forbidden, no longer pleasurable just for men!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Are you Neo Dissident or Emo Human?

Balance and natural seems to be the interior trends up and coming, according to Cosmosworlds. Have a look, click here.

And when it comes to fashion 2011, these are the words to follow:

Story 1: TINY PLEASURE
Consumer group: THE EMO HUMANS
SENSITIVE - ROMANTIC - POETIC - TIMELESS - SPIRITUAL

Story 2:
ELITIST ELEGANCE
Consumer group: THE PRECIOUS UBER
CHARISMATIC - OFF BEAT - SEDUCER - PRECIOUS - AESTHETIC


Story 3: COLOR THERAPY
Consumer group: THE COOL CITIZENS
FRUGALITY - SIMPLICITY - JOY - SHARING - DURABILITY

Story 4:
EXOTIC JUNK
Consumer group: THE NEO DISSIDENTS
WILD - ANTI ESTABLISHMENT - NEO PIRATES - DISOBEDIENT - DAZZLING

For full stories: http://www.cosmoworlds.com/trends/trends-2011-ciff_fashion_trends-tiny_pleasures-06092010.htm 

If you are about to start a company this year...

Why not try landscaping? According to IBISWorld, the five businesses that had the best potential 2011 are:
1. Accounting
2. Housing construction
3. Landscaping
4. Plumbing
5. Take-away food

I would do take away. Healthy cross over food, maybe Swedish, Spanish, French influenced, with both protein and veggies. Why not "meat and veg" - apparently the most popular dinner in Australia.

In my hood I have to choose from thai, pizza, thai., thai, thai, pizza, pizza and Hungry Jacks - but no girl want to be caught with a HJ bag...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sleeping is the new trend - energy drinks are history when sleeping is back in style

I love the new sleep pods at Virgin Active Health Clubs (introduced next month). Not that I´ve tried them, but it´s such an interesting trend. I´ve talked before about that people don´t really need Mother, Red Bull or other up-keepers, but rather more sleep. The only reason we need energy boosts as drinks and pills is that we don´t get enough sleep. And the best solution is... sleep!

Galaxy Research has found that the average Australian worker sleeps just 6 hrs a night, which leads to 43% having arrived late to work because they slept in and 19% having dozed off during a meeting.

To that you can add that hangover cost businesses $453 million every year, according to a study.
Also consider a report from Gallup Consulting that suggests that around 80% of people in Australian workplaces are not “fully engaged at work”. The study goes on to say this has a substantial impact on national productivity, costing businesses over $33 billion a year.
And a study by University of Sydney showed that people who slept less than 5 hrs a night were three times more likely to become psychologically distressed in the next year.
Lots of reasons for companies to send their staff to the sleep pods... I am also looking for White Sheep - the anti-energy drink for people who find it hard to relax and fall asleep :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Micro values - quick judgements - The New Intolerance

A month ago Stephanie Rice was officially slaughted after tweeting "Suck on that f--gots.Probs the best game I've ever seen!! Well done boys." She had been on a rugby game and was excited. She is 22. She is gen Y and use a language to come with it, but her comment was considered "anti-gay".

Hmm. I went to a gay soccer game on the weekend, honoring the first soccer player who came out of the closet, and I must say the language wasn´t very nice there either... :)

Anyway, sometimes we say things that when taken out of their context and put into another, sound bad. People have different ways of expressing themselves. Depending on age, cultural background and gender we have different "accents" - vocabulary, and energy changes when moving between groups. But this is no longer tolerated...

We live in a society that has become harsh. On one hand more people can blurb out whatever negativity they are thinking at the moment - in a tweet, a blog post or a comment on YoutTube. On the other hand we are so scared of each other because of this, that we dismiss people based on tiny incidences. We are quick to both react, act and judge. We kick them first, before they kick us!

I think it is a result of the world coming sort of closer together and us losing our sense of community and humanity. Through "social" networking like Twitter, Facebook and through urbanization, we are now in each others faces all the time and the pool of potential friends, work colleagues and lovers seem endless. It´s all anonymous, as we were replaceable items on a supermarket shelf.

You can ditch guys on dating sites like they were annoying flies, based on them wearing the wrong shirt or misspelling a word. You can say no to a job seeker based on a micro event a year ago because you think you have millions of others to choose from. You can officially slaughter a swimmer making an innocent comment, just because the value of every human being seem to decrease the more people we connect with.

This is what it all comes down to. The value of a single individual is decreasing. We think we can treat each other however, hiding behind our computers and text messages. We are unprotected against others, writing about us, posting things on our blogs, tagging us in unflattering photos on Facebook, and at the same time protected against eye contact, digging into our conscience, when we do the same to them.

I´m no saint either. We are all in this together, in the trend towards intolerance and an increased level of fear. Who can you trust? Who do you love? Who are you?

In this terrified world is where brands find their consumers. Protect them against the world of anger, make them look like they are safely photoshopped, and give them a voice - and you get their love.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Friends direct us to our favourite brands?

What is the key to loyal customers? Every company wants returning consumers, because once we are hooked on a brand, we stay and buy more.

But what is just as important is that loyal consumers will spread the word, telling their friends about their experience, giving the a brand even more loyal consumers, buying even more... 

A new report from Nielsen shows that preferred product and price are the most important factors when buying health and beauty products, which makes sense. But consider how we get hooked in the first place; how does a brand become "preferred"?... 58% of consumers said in the study they bought products based on personal recommendations.

Personal recommendations open the door! According to a study made at Henley Centre, 90% trust their spouse when it comes to consumer products. 82% trust their friends and 69% trust their work colleagues.

Ads are not as strong when it comes to influencing people. Only 27% trust manufacturers/retailers. 14% trust advertisers and just 8% trust celebrities.

Brands become preferred after first being introduced by buddies (or by low price), and this is why companies like Australian Soup and Swedish Pronto are getting more work. They use "word of mouth" marketing, or buzz marketing, to help brands get fans. Very powerful. Very smart.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The smartphone is our new mini dog

Who needs a cute mini dog when you have an iphone?

36% of Australians now own a smart phone device, according to a new report from Telstra. We are also using our favourites a lot.
- One in five admitted to using their smart phones to surf the net while driving.
- Half of the users surf in bed
- Almost one in four smart phone owners visit social networking sites including Facebook on their mobiles more than on a computer.
- 10% are more likely to do their online banking from their phone than on their PC
According to another study of Stanford University students, 25% of smartphone users think the machine ”felt like an extension of their brain or body”. 3 % had named their iphone, 9 % were patting it, 8 % have been thinking that "their iPod was jealous of their iPhone".

Smart phone ownership is expected to grow to more than half the Australian mobile population within 12 months, according to the Telstra report.
Where shall this end? It´s definitely important for brands to think of creating websites that are good to visit and log into through the phone. Think of that the customer now will meet the brand´s site while on the street, on the bus, so the emotional connection must come easily. Go straight to the reptile brain? Lots of colour, strong pictures, short texts? 
What I want? A thinner phone that fits my hand (I´m a girl!), an iphone I can use even if I have long nails (I´m a girl), a special rain cover so I don´t ruin it while on a run, the heart symbol on Blackberrys! Ah well... human needs. Now coffee :)