Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Don´t talk just about yourself on dates - or in your marketing

People who go on dates and try to score by talking about how fabulous they are seldom get a second date. You are much better off by listening and asking questions, putting the light on the other person. The same goes for brands.

A study presented in the book “Influence - The psychology of persuasion” by Robert Cialdini, showed the importance of asking and listening to your customers. Some residents were called up and asked to accept that people from a charity would come to their house to sell cookies. When the callers just asked in a neutral way, 18 percent said yes to the request, but when the caller started out by asking “How are you feeling this evening?” and waited for the response before going into the actual sales pitch, 32 percent said yes! They were also twice as likely to purchase cookies.  

To care can be to really see your customers´ needs – which is not always ‘cookies’. According  to Dale Carnegie, three out of four of all the people we will ever meet are hungry and thirsty for sympathy. “Give it to them, and they will love you.”

My book Love Branding is filled with these kind of eye- and heart-opening studies.
And for Love advice... check http://www.thelovecoach.info/ or www.youtube.com/carolinlovecoach

Monday, November 29, 2010

Market to the subconscious mind by being real

Marketers need to be aware of that consumers are not only taking in what you say to them. No, they sense the whole brand package. People will notice if your brand is not authentic, and if you are trying to fake and be someone that you are not.

Malcolm Gladwell presents an interesting study in his book “Blink”, proving the wisdom of our mysterious and smart sub conscious mind.

A group of people were given two decks of cards, one blue and one red. The cards in the blue deck were “better” than the cards in the red deck, but it took the people in the study 80 cards to become aware of this. The funny thing is, however, that after ten cards they had already started sweating and changed their behaviour, choosing more cards from the blue deck than the red. They knew without knowing.

Make sure your brand speaks the same language in all channels and behave in the similar way. Nobody likes a person who says "I love you" and then starts judging, yelling or ignoring you. The same goes with brands. Know who you are, so you can be who you are.

At http://www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog/ you will find knowlede on how to reach deep into people´s mind.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bring the stove to the pot - Elextrolux Design Lab takes us to the future

Sometimes I wonder: What happened with the "vacuuming shoes"?? Electrolux was working on the prototype for these excellent shoes for easy cleaning a couple of years ago. But I still drag the clumsy old thingie around - instead of flying around the living room in these hot clogs. Ah well... all these inventions! Will they ever make their way into our lives? I do belive that this years winner of Electrolux design lab´s competition - "the snail", invented by Peter Alwin from National Institute of Design in India - might actually be in my kitchen in a few years.

"The Snail is a portable heating and cooking device based on magnetic induction processes. Such is the size and versatility of the Snail, it can be stuck directly on to a pot, a pan, a mug etc. to heat the contents.This reduces the amount of space required for conventional cooking whilst adding portability to the process. Powered by a high density sugar crystal battery, the Snail converts the energy from the sugar, heating up a coil to conduct the magnetic induction process to the utensil. Integrated sensors detect the food type being heated so as to automatically adjust the time and temperature. A simple touch sensitive display with interface helps to monitor the process."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

What are your customers craving? Deep inside

You can have everything in life you want, if you help enough other people get what they want. Zig Ziglar
Great marketers know that to be succesful you need to see yourself not serving the brand, but the customer. When you you’re your market inside and out, what they desire in terms of materialistic values and in emotions, you can give them what they truly want.
People´s desire is most times about getting a feeling, and not a product. From Dan Hill´s book Emotionomics: “The emotional part of the brain is larger than the rational part and so the entire brain processes more emotive than cognitive activity. Moreover, the degree to which signals run from the emotional brain to the rational brain outnumber those running the opposite direction by a ratio of ten to one.”
When we buy a new jacket, we may argue that it´s because we are cold or that the jacket has five useful pockets and is in a color that matches the rest of our wardrobe – but let´s face it, most people want the new jacket because they think it will make them loved, accepted and fit in to their peer group.
“Advertising that creates a positive emotional response performs better than that which does not – a fact repeatedly borne out by tracking studies the world over.” Nigel Harris, Millward Brown
How can you help other people get what they want? Beyond what they know they want…
Am I getting YOU what you want in my blogs? Do you find them useful or just rubbish? J Tell me, I want you to learn and get eureka moments that brings you success and peace of mind.

Friday, November 26, 2010

We spend less time with real people - and it´s making us sick

A study from Roy Morgan Australia show that we are spending more time on the computer, and less time entertaining family and friends. If this development continues, it can be a health problem for us all, as real social relationships are a basic need and a source of happiness.

In a review of 148 studies on the topic, researchers found that people with adequate social relationships were 50% more likely to be alive after a follow up period of 8 years than socially isolated people.
Being socially disconnected – as in having few good friends or strong family relationships – was found to be equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes per day or to heavy drinking. It was also twice as bad as being obese.
It is also important to have different types of friends. People with diverse social networks get fewer colds than those with small social circles. A study in 2004 found that people reporting only one-to-three types of relationships had more than four times the risk of frequent colds than people with six or more types of relationships.
Lonely New Yorkers are using rent-a-friend escort agencies like Rentafriend.com to get buddies. Others check the online dating sites. Still online, but at least with the aim to meet irl.
Go and meet a buddy today! Hug someone. Doctor´s order...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Population up up up - is your brand prepared?

The planet has a population of 6.5 billion people today, and in 2030 there will be another 1.7 billion around. In 2050 we are supposed to be 9.3 billion. That means that in just 40 years the population has grown with over 40% from now.
This will of course affect the world in various ways. Statisticians show that by 2030, the world will have to produce 45 % more food than it does now. In 2050 at least 70% more. (which makes me wonder if they are expecting us to eat much more per person?)
The food production will also have another structure. The developing world turn from cereal-based diet to more expensive protein and fat, so there will be more meat produced. And what about water? Water demand in India and China are 20% greater than water supply.
What will the changes mean to your brand? To your industry? Apart from growth in quantity, how should your business plan change in quality, in structure? Most of the population growth will take place in India, China and similar countries, but could this still force you to make changes.
We are not going to run out on resources though; no need to start collecting cans to put in the garage. My good old friend Johan Norberg is a defender of global capitalism, and has shown that people have an amazing ability to change with change. There is no set amount of value in the world, but our creative minds will come up with ideas and ways to handle a new situation, and increase the value. We are not fighting about a limited space or cake to share; we will simply be smarter and bake more cake.
“Everything changes, nothing remains without change” Buddha
“You only lose what you cling to” Buddha

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Love Branding - reviewed by Roger Dooley in Neuromarketing blog

One of my favourite bloggers Roger Dooley has reviewed my book Love Branding: http://www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog/articles/love-branding.htm

"One might expect a book comparing brand relationships to human love would be full of fluffy anecdotes about romantic misadventures and speculative analogies to brand building. While there are indeed a few love coaching stories sprinkled around the book, they aren’t the main emphasis. In fact, Dahlman populates this slender (182pp) but interesting volume with over a hundred end-noted citations as well as her own branding observations from both personal experience and consulting gigs. Long-time Neuromarketing readers will find some of the research to be familiar, but Dahlman provides her own insights and “brand love” perspective."

"Love Branding, published privately in Australia, hasn’t received much attention. That’s too bad. Even if one finds the analogy to human love a bit of a stretch, the references and branding examples that Dahlman has collected are highly worthwhile."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Say "Buy this BECAUSE..." and you will sell

Thrilling research presented in Robert Cialdini´s book Influence:

We are more likely to get our way if we present a reason. Social psychologist at Harvard, Ellen Langer asked a small favor of people waiting in line to use a library copying machine. “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use he Xerox machine because I´m in a rush?” The effectiveness of this request-plus-reason was nearly total. 94% of those asked let her skip ahead of them in line.

Compare this success rate to the results when she made the request only: Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine”. Under those circumstances, only 60% of those asked complied.

Her third type of request used the word “because” and then adding nothing new, merely restated the obvious. “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies.” 93% agreed to this - even if she actually didn´t state any reason.

Sometimes marketing is as simple as saying "Buy this, because you should buy it"...

Monday, November 22, 2010

What is a "Woman" in ad land? Pure as in Pure Blond ads?

What is a woman? "The Man" is often a topic in advertising - McDonalds, Old Spice, VB for example - but where is the debate about women? This is how "she" is presented:

Fun - This morning I watched a commercial showing a bunch of ladies go crazy about a new tampon - ironic of course but still.
Mona Lisa - Females often look mysterious in beauty ads - no big smiles, just a Mona Lisa face and massive eye lashes.
Mum - We also have the Mummy of course, skinny and warm, caring for kids. Fully dressed.
Sex bomb - The hot minx is often pictured in perfume ads, with wet hair and lips...
Career lady - Only in ads for glasses
Sporty - selling deodorant

And we have the PURE woman. Dressed in white, blond and seen in ads for beer, often accompanied by some dodgy dudes. See the latest Pure Blond ad:

When I wrote the book "The Guy Guide" where I interviewed hundreds of guys about their view on women, relationships, love and dating, I discovered how important guys think it is that a woman is feminine. Girls acting like guys were a no-no. Swearing, smoking and farting was just NOT cool. She should not be too sexual either, and the sex bomb ads are never directed towards men, but always selling products for women.

Is ad land full of blokey blokes? What is a real Woman? Do women care about difining that at all? Just asking. I will keep my eyes on the topic. Can someone make a study please? :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Online marketing trend: Local-personal-mobile-social

Online marketing will be more LOCAL, PERSONAL, MOBILE and SOCIAL in the future, according to the experts at MIXX Conference in New York, reported by Paul Fisher from IAB in AdNews.

Local: GPS tracks us down and guides us where we are. "Hyper-local" is next.
Personal: Our behaviour is getting tracked and we get talked to as individuals. Growth in DM.
Mobile: Tablets are making everything come more handy. We skip the laptop and go straight to the mobile.
Social: Ads will be socially enabled, allowing people to comment, forward or re-post.

This is all in line with our reduced respect for authority and from-above-messages. Marketers need to re-think the classic media mix and try to meet people where we hang out - not on the TV screen. Curiosity and creativity necessary as well as sensitivity and respect.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

"I love magazines" campaign cute but hardly groundbreaking

A couple of months ago ACP magazines launched a new campaign with the tagline "I love magazines". Managing directo Phil Scott commented: “We are extremely proud of the creative passion that has gone into this ground-breaking campaign."

I love LOVE, and I think the campaign is happy and positive, which inself is proven to attract customers, but groundbreaking...? When I talk about Love branding, lots of people say "Ah, yeah I saw that campaign that speaks about how we love"... Honda, jeans, NY, lamb, Priceline, logistics....etc

But a heart in a print ad will not give you love, just as a fancy romantic dinner won´t get you married. Saying "I love you" or even worse "You will love me" is not the way to reach people´s heart, whethere they are dates or customers.

True love in both romance and business comes from small gestures, micro signals of love: driving someone to dance class or serving tea in the morning, giving a hug when your partner feels down and going that extra mile - without shouting about it - is love and leads to love. If a brand simply brags about being love, that will not give more love. That will make it look narcissistic.

Talking about love in an ad is not groundbreaking. Some of the brands that have done it: McDonalds, UPS, Priceline, Honda, Gloria Jeans, Uncle Toby´s, Mecca, Tim Tams, IKEA, Toohey, Cole´s, Rubi shoes...

Magazines get love for being a great companion when relaxing, having time off, trying to keep track on trends to be able to fit in... I don´t love them because someone else loves them, especially not the CEO of a media agency who earns his dollars from mags... Do you?

Wedding in the garden the new trend

Preferred place to get married (data from Australian Marriage Celebrants):

38% Garden
25% Church
20% Beach
7% Vineyard
3% Boat

Church is obviously not the place to go anymore...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Westpac gets love by giving love

May I present an excellent example of emotional branding/love branding: Westpac!
As a small business owner I am concerned about money and paperwork. It´s a lot to learn and fear of making mistakes can stop people from entering the business world - and make their dreams come true – or even worse, make dreams crash when administration is not in order and the whole new shiny business crashes. It happens to most of them actually. 50% in the first year, 95% in the first five...  
Westpac has realised the way to compete about business is not to lower fees or raise interest rates – it is easing fear. Creating a state of calm, peace of mind.
The bank hasn´t gone as far as saying this is what it does, but I assume that´s the strategist´s idea behind introducing 200 new business branches and offering classes in financial management and succession planning, among other topics. Business bankers are also given 12 weeks training before they start seeing clients (up from 4 weeks).
CBA has also stepped up on meeting people with a new phone line, open 24 hrs a day.
Westpac and Commonwealth share first place as the best-performing big banks in terms of business customer´s satisfaction.

When you treat people like friends and care for their feelings, they will love you back....
Facts: The big four banks dominate lending to small businesses in Australia (sums up to 90%).
NAB 26%
Westpac 25%
Commonwealth Bank 24%
ANZ 15%

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Serve the consumer chocolate and they will spend more

If you are on a budget – avoid eating chocolate! Researchers at Florida university of Miami asked a group of people to eat a chocolate truffle and withheld chocolate from another group. Then they gave both groups a shopping list of expensive items. Those who had eaten chocolate were more likely to covet pricey items than those who were chocolate-free.
“The explanation is simple”, says assistant professor Juliano Laran, who co-authored the study. “Indulging in one domain (such as food) of your life encourages a general goal to have pleasure – which leads to further indulgence in other areas.”
For brand strategists this is useful information... If you serve people a treat, they will turn into customers! Add to this the rule of reciprocation, the idea that people feel they need to return a favor given. This is karma for brands, brilliantly presented in Robert B. Cialdinis book "Influence" or Dale Carnegie´s "How to win friends and influence people".
Note to shop owners - I prefer Lindt chili chocolate... :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kate Perry leads us to Ganesh but X factor stars still God believers - what´s the future like?

Aussies have a special relationship with the creator. 22% of the Australians are worried about having a Minister who does not believe in God, according to a new report from Roy Morgan. 9% would worry if he or she was catholic. 
Last night Mahogany was voted out from X factor and one of the girls thanked her family etc for their success, but ended the speech by thanking God. The same thing happened last week when Luke & Joe was voted out. They thanked GOD.
Australians might not go to church – only 19% of Australians say they go to church on a monthly basis – but they are for sure somehow having a backup plan with God. Only 18% of the Australian population stated that they had no religion in the 2001 Census.
Having a religion does not always mean believing in God though. A Salvation Army study from 2006 showed that 49 % believe in God, 34% are unsure and only 17% atheists . 6.1% are Buddhists , 5% are connected to Islam and 4.3% to Hinduism.
On the other hand, 42% believe definitely or possibly in astrology.... Which means almost as many who believe in God believe in horoscopes. Which matches the new trend where people are interested in new age medicine. Which means people are open for mystery today. Culture, moulded by church, is losing its grip of the individual.    
Compared to my homeland Sweden, Australia is very religious. We had a singer who in 1983 thanked God for her talent on national television when winning a contest, and people were outraged!! Well, that´s the socialistic mentality.
In Australia, it seems like the number of believers outside the traditional church are growing. It seems like the mega churches, like Hillsong, are growing. Individuality and rationality, consumerism and materialism are working against the fluffy God believing business, but when sales of alternative health care are up and Kate Perry is getting married in front of Ganesh instead of God, those are signs too.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A talking spoon got me through the job interview - Emotional needs more important than practical ones

It is easy to be loved by your customers. Just give them something they really, deep down want (they might not even know they want it)!

A week ago I went to a job interview and before the meeting I sat down at a café to gather my thoughts. I was both nervous and excited about the amazing job, so my heart was pounding. I ordered a coffee while waiting, and it was served on a plate with the spoon in the picture. Can you see the smiling face? Brilliant!

The thing is I didn´t actually order coffee because I wanted a caffeine kick or a hot drink. My needs were not materialistic, but purely emotional, subconscious. I was at the café to think, prepare and get into the right head space - which is why this spoon was much more valuable to my needs than a soy latte ever will be. It was exactly what I needed - a cheerful spoon telling me it would all be good, just take it easy and have fun; it´s when you work in joy you get into flow and perform  to your peak, Sister! (ok, I might have read a lot into it but you get the picture, lol...)

People don´t buy Mulberry bags because they need a bag. We don´t buy fancy books because we are dying to read them. We don´t go binge shopping because we need more shoes or ear rings or gold clubs.

People buy things to find an emotional outcome. Happiness. High status. A sense of calm. Or maybe support before a job interview...

Research has also shown that we give more tip if the waitress draws a smiley face on the bill, wo the smiling spoon is definitely a winner!   

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Online shopping in numbers

Last week – just in time for Christmas – shopping giant David Jones opened the doors to their new online shop. This is a sign of changing shopping behaviour
Australians are set to spend $26.86 billion online by the end of 2010, according to a study presented in BRW November 11-17 issue.  This is a huge difference from the $12 billion the same magazine in August said we shopped online. Does anyone know?
Anyway. In the fresh report from Forrester and The Leading Edge, it is told us that 9% of all retail purchases are done online, and according to a study from RightNow, presented in October (also BRW), 8 out of 10 Australians have bought something online during the last year.  
We don´t just shop on the computer of course. Australians also make 1.9 billion visits to shopping centres each year (on average twice a week), claims Shopping centre council of Australia and directional insights.
What is the prediction for the future? I assume sales online will grow when people get comfortable with it and shops are getting better. When what you have shopped online comes shipped in a nice package, quickly delivered and when any complaints are handled well, our comfort one will start including online shops, especially if prices are attractive. People are time-poor and computer savvy. But at the same time we are emotional human beings affected by what we touch, smell and sense, and unless onine stores see that and meet that need, they will not build long term connections to their consumers.
I haven´t found any recent research on the emotional reasons for buying online. Do you know?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Baby boomers are best reached with pictures

In times when brands wish to reach baby boomers, it is useful to know that as we age, we are more likely than ever to be influenced by pictures. The word-oriented left hemisphere of the brain overloads more easily when older, but the right hemisphere’s ability to process visual images holds steady. Emotional, visual, subjective appeals that play to older people’s rich network of long-term memories and associations are truly effective. (from Emotionomics)
Your brand´s image is a key to success. A study where the researcher had used fMRI scanners to discover people´s reactions, presented showed that strong brands activated a network of cortical areas and areas involved in positive emotional processing and associated with self-identification and rewards. In short, when we see a brand we recognize, our brain evokes positive emotions. Brands that people were not as familiar with, started instead a negative brain reaction. Weak brands showed higher levels of activation in areas of working memory and negative emotional response.
This indicates that awareness in itself actually can be of value. Still, high awareness should never be the final goal for a brand. Involvement, engagement and love is what leads to sale. But a great exposed logo and a visual campaign is definitely a first date. Especially around the rich baby boomers.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The coolest websites according to the young digital advertising experts

Last night I went to a seminar on trends in marketing, arranged for the younger generations of advertisers in Sydney (Youngblood). The event was hosted by Adam Ferrier, consumer psychologist from Naked Communications and guest speakers were Tim Burrowes rrom Mumbrella, Gual Barwell from Contagious and Julian Cole from TCO.
Most of the discussion evolved around digital. The consumers and their needs were mentioned quickly by Adam but not at all on the radar for the young blokes, but I assume they discover the new fascinating websites and possibilities, while marketers need to take this further, add with insights and mould it all into something useful for brands when connecting with people.

Some of the cool sites the guys were talking about were: http://www.4chan.com/ (watch there Lolcats, Chocolate Rain and Rich Roll), http://www.thevine.com.au/, http://knowyourmeme.com/. Shareability is the key, you find fun things and share the experience. Apparently humanising animals is also a key to engagement (the cat in the pic is my lovely ragdoll Cocos chilling on the couch). Hmm. Have a look at the sites!

Interaction with the consumer on Internet is important. At this point, the sites mentioned are unknown for most of us, and even if they are raved about in certain groups (of computer geeks :), the viral marketing strategies need to get grounded to be efficient. Awareness and fun is not enough - you need to sell as well. The trick is to combine a strong understanding of people with a sense for business and come up with ways of using the mysterious www to inspire consumers. Millward Brown has presented a little more down to earth video on this. Link

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What is a Hipster nowadays?

According to Cleo a “hipster” is a person associated with thick-rimmed specs, art school, skinny jeans, obscure references, plaid shirts and Vice Mag. Cleo claims “the hype around hipster types has pretty much reached saturation point – it´s as overplayed as Animal Collective and as silly as those ironic moustaches. Frankly, we no longer care…”
But marketers care… The design agency Josephmark is looking for Hipsters for a project:

“Can you put on a pretentious, bored, nonchalant, AMERICAN accent? Think Hipster. Record your vocal chords and send them through. You will be paid in hugs, glory and cash. Some of the lines will be:
“People think I’m rude because I don’t respond to them… but it’s just because I have nothing to say to them.”
“Sometime I just put my headphones on without listening to any music, just so people won’t want to talk to me.”
“I only eat organic produce. It’s better for me, and for the planet.”
“Yeah, I just spent the whole afternoon making these little animals badges out of found pieces of felt and ribbon.”
“I’m thinking of getting a tattoo of the word “helvetica” on my chest, but use Arial as the font… because it’s ironic.”
“Check out this case I got for my iphone. It’s made of wood right? But then it’s coated in plastic and painted to look like fake wood.”
Still not sure what a Hipster is? Cleo is presenting all the things a Hipster has or do: Eye-grazing fringe, Oversized sweater, Self-hemmed vintage dress, Pigeon-toe pose, Hippie headband, Stockings, Zines, Fixie (bicycle), Polaroids, Clear wayfarers, Vegan food, Record player, Lace-ups, Hatred of Ed Hardy, Canvas book bag, Mixtapes, Left-wing t-shirt, Calculator watch, Asahi beer, DJ, Muso, Crafty minx, Un-kept hair, Skinny scarf, Designer blazer, Fingerless gloves and Fair-trade coffee.
Does it sound like you? Then, give the design agency a call...
Are you a brand, selling products? Ask how you are meeting the hipsters? Should you? I don´t have numbers of how many they are, but I have a feel they will lead all the others quite soon. They are curious and left-centred, leaders.
Wikipedia: Hipster is a slang term that first appeared in the 1940s, and was reincarnated in the 1990s and 2000s often to describe types of young, recently settled urban middle class adults and older teenagers with interests in non-mainstream fashion and culture, particularly alternative music, indie rock, independent film, magazines such as Vice and Clash.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Facebook at the office - Like or Unlike?

Companies are struggling with how to tackle the fact that their employees now has a private life on the computer.
I went to a meeting a few weeks ago with a research agency, and was told by one of the managers that he did NOT accept that his staff checked their Facebook during work hours. I´ve also met up with some ad agencies whose staff was encouraged to tweet, blog, facebook and check in on Foursquare every time they moved away from their desk.
It´s interesting how different the approach to social media is, and how big the gap is between those researching target groups and those creating the messages is. The population is definitely relating to the new media landscape in a huge range of ways. Some are scared, some are curious. Some think it´s stupid to have more than 1,000 friends on Facebook, others think it´s the future.
Employers are trying to find a way to handle the new way of communicating. More than half of the companies in the Us have banned the use of social networking sites such as twitter and facebook in the office. According to Nucleus Research, 77% of workers who have a FB account use it during working hours, and productivity drops 1.5% at companies that allows their employees full access.
This talks against having people logging into their social media sites, but other research draws another picture. A study by University of Melbourne found that staff that was allowed on social networking sites for less than 20 min a day were more productive than those who weren´t.
Facts from The Week.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Agency anarchy - Media, advertising, communication stumbling over each other

A new Nielsen study shows that 36% of Australians accessed Internet through their phone in the previous 30 days. Change is rapid; numbers are expected to climb to 50% over next year.
For brands and communication strategists the most important statistics from the study is that more and more people are watching video content online. 75% of Australians watched video on their computer at least once the previous 30 days and 26% watched clips on the mobile.
Ad agencies love their TV commercials, so that is still what most times pops out of the pitch process, but is this a stubborn way of thinking when trying to connect brands with people in a time when we are influenced everywhere and nowhere, and when people are doing their best to avoid junk, watching YouTube instead of Channel 7? Is turning a brief into a broadcasted spot simply what ad agencies have done before, what feels comfortable and safe, and what brings in the big bucks...
The “dance space” is not defined anymore when it comes to marketing and communication. Media agencies and advertising agencies win the same awards, everyone is tapping into each other´s areas and they are all stepping on toes. Agencies are expanding and narrowing and broadening their offer. Who is doing what? With whom? Why, when, how? It´s like “Gossip Girls” where the script writers are short of ideas, letting all the characters sleep with each others.
Yeah, it´s a mess really, but a very liberating and exciting mess. Creative agencies are no longer trapped in one way of executing brilliant ideas. They can spread their wings, and even if that means they will fly into some other bird also spreading her wings, only great ideas and projects can come out of this.
Boxes are comfortable, but they are like North Koreans dancing for their Leader. Not much innovation comes out of that.... Welcome to the new chaos. I´m loving it. Are you?

Monday, November 8, 2010

TREND: Media is now for tribes connected through short and sweet news

A friend told me he had been to Borders to read some magazines, and found four glossy publications on trains. FOUR!!

Hundred years ago you could rather easily become an expert on things, because the amount of information to absorb was limited. Thinkers like Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) was both a mathematician, historian, philosopher, social critic and logician. And further back in history Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC), student of Plato, was definitely multi tasking. His writings covered physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology.

Imagine if Aristotle had needed to read FOUR magazines on trains, and another couple of thousands on various topics ranging from fashion to psychology to sports.

Still... inspite of us having such a massive amount of choices, isn´t it incredible how much common knowledge there is? People who live in a certain area seem to get drawn to the same type of media and get excited and engaged in the news presented there. I see now how all the Swedes are going nuts about a new book about our king. My old friends from politics have all been completely focused on the Us mid- term election according to their Facebook status updates. And tribes adoring trains probably find four magazines on trains not being enough. 

Our media consumption is tribal. It defines us and connects us, ¨puts us into boxes and make us feel safe. By knowing what people in your tribe or community know, you feel like you fit in, and you can relax. It´s all about getting a sense of being loved. Protected.

The larger the world becomes, the narrower the tribes. We can be nerds on any subject and yet find a group of others, just as obsessed about shoestrings, fox terriers or tax cuts. At the same time the need to know the exact same as you in the larger community is becoming more important.

But to be able to small talk with all these people who are tribalising themselves into becoming like aliens to others, you need to also have a broader mindset, being able to talk about the latest news, which makes those news shorter and more exposed. 

In a study from North Carolina, people were asked about which issues they thought were the most important today. They answered the same issues that had been discussed in the local media during the same period.

Maybe this is why we are getting short and sweet updates from tv screens everywhere nowadays. Elevators, buses and even at gas stations. Get the 5 headlines while filling your car up. Great. Ready to go home and read about trains...  

Sunday, November 7, 2010

It´s pay rise time! Underpaid Australians are getting grumpy

Australians will be asking for a pay rise very soon, at it has to be big, otherwise they will be frustrated...  Wages as a part of national income fell nearly 2% over the last 12 months, productivity has increased by 1% and profit share of national income increased by nearly 2 %. This means that wages part of national income is at its lowest point for 40 years, writes BRW (data from ABS).
In short: People work harder, get paid less for hard work, while companies are cashing in. Company profits up 27.5% over the past year while wages for the private sector are only up with 2.7%, according to Australian Council of Trade Unions. Add to that the fact that 63% now have a higher education, compared to 49% ten years ago.
We know that a lot of employees have been unhappy with where they are for a while. According to a study from May 2010, conducted by OfficeTeam, 56% of employees have been in their current job for less than two years but thinking of calling it quits.
Productivity in Australia is still low compared to other similar countries, which may cause a problem a decade ahead (OECD has given us a warning), and I am not claiming that the way to go is to pay people because they deserve it, based on what is fair or unfair, and that they otherwise will start riots (ah well, unlikely in Australia, more common among French or Chinese workers, Aussies go surfing and build up their anger within). More money is not making people happy.  

So employers... you will need to open the wallet, but most importantly, have a look at this video where Daniel Pink gives a TED talk on motivation:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

50´s - Women are going back to the stove?

The Mad Men fever has led to a trend in 50´s style (the TV series is set in 1960-63, but anyway...). Fashion mags talk about thin waists, bouncy skirts and matching shoes and handbag. Interior design magazines like Vogue Living talk about "ladylike florals, soft pastels and retro-mod shapes".

Unfortunately the gender roles also seems to have been influenced by the new love for the past. I found it shocking to watch "Social Network" and how the guys and girls interact. Feminist movements took respect for women and female intelligence a fair bit, but now it all seems to move backwards into history. The movie shows gen y and z, the smartest of them all studying at Harvard, the coolest tech kids of all creating Facebook. Modern, aware, on time. But their view of women sucks! 

In one scene, the boys are talking about what each of them are supposed to do in the new company, and the boys get roles, but the girls are not even asked for a contribution. They are simply there as "girls". Facebook itself was a result of Mark Zuckenberg being unlucky in love, and throughout the film we get to see women being alluring and half nude toys, while men are achievers. 

Just like in Mad Men, it is harder for women than it is for men to get recognition, and I am afraid this will spread.

In 2010 36 women have been appointed to S&P/ASX 200 boards, compared with only 10 in 2009 and 10% of company board positions are now held by women. But is this relevant, if inequality is in the heart of the Australian businesses?
In family businesses, representing 70% of small businesses in Australia, sons are five times more likely than daughters to succeed their fathers in family businesses. Only 5.9 % of business owners involve their daughters in the business.
I believe one of the reasons behind this is that women have been shy to put forward feminine energy, instead copying the male version, hence losing their natural pondus. Many women believe femininity equals "weak" and "soft", afraid of tapping into the Goddess energy, the Mother Earth style strength that we could use to take over the world - or at least get our fair share of it...
That 50´s are back in style is not because men are dickheads, but because women are, not respecting themselves. We treat ourselves badly. Girls still take their bra´s off, but not for the same reason as they did 1968 in the early stages of feminism...
Don Draper: Let me ask you something, what do woman want?
Roger Sterling: Who cares?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Who cares if the customers THINK you rock...

Emotional branding is a concept that has been only half accepted in the business environment, but that deserve a lot more attention.
When I speak about my concept “Love Branding”, adding my insights on romantic relationship building to the area of emotional branding, men in suits tend to giggle nervously. Ad execs and CEO´s are for sure curious about how to create an emotional connection with their customers, but they are still resisting, anxiously looking for ROI and ways to measure the power of love.
It is a shame that so many brands miss out on the enormous strength that lies in bringing feelings into the marketing mix. Today, many are comfortable with asking consumers “What do you think of my products?” but is that question relevant at all? Does it bring valuable knowledge that makes hearts beat?
According to Dan Hill in his excellent book “Emotionomics”, the three universal qualities that characterize emotions are:
A feeling component – physical sensation
A thinking component – conscious
An action component – reaction
Thoughts are on the other hand not action-oriented. You can have a thought without reacting on it or doing something about it. An emotion is harder to control and keep within.
70% of all purchase decisions are made in the shop. People decide within seconds which of the multiple choices to pick. Scientists say that designers have on average .06 seconds to make an impression on a shopper in the grocery aisle. True emotions are like butterflies – they have an onset, a peak and typically fade in a matter of seconds.
And they steer us, emotions are energy in motion. “A thought is about arriving at a judgment. Emotions are more like spontaneous events that unfold inside us”, writes Hill.
Some claim research is useless, and that brands should use brain scanners instead, to figure out what people like, dislike and buy. But is it even feasible to really understand people or could we simply give up? We are irrational and strange, unpredictable and crazy. No survey in the world can capture the mystery of mankind. All we can do is to be humble, absorb multiple sources of information. And stop listening too much to what people think. People can sit there and think you are awesome, but if they don´t move, your brand won´t either.
The wanted outcome of marketing is not to match a consumer with a product, but to make a product help a consumer to reach her dreams. Your brand is just a tool on her journey. "Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction." Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Nobody will love you just because you put a heart on your forehead

This is NOT Love Branding. You will not make people fall in love with your brand by just putting a heart in your ad and talking about love. Just as a person will not love you just because you say they should... Actions speak louder than words. If you don´t show love in the daily interaction with the customers, it doesn´t matter how much love you say you have.

30 million bachelors in China? OMG

Today, China is where companies go when they want to produce their products cheap and efficient. Chinese workers with great work ethics have been producing our books and clothes for a while now. But is this about to change? Workers are starting to protest against long hours and low pay. Death from over work kills an estimated 600,000 people in China each year. Most of them factory worker. People are getting mad.
Upon this, China´s one-child policy that was introduced in September 1980, is affecting the future workforce and culture. The preference for sons over daughters means that an average of 120 Chinese boys is now born for every 100 girls. In rural areas there are now 135 boys for every 100 girls.
The result? By 2020, there could be 20-30 million bachelors in China unable to find a mate! This has already lead to prostitution and human trafficking is rising dramatically, with women smuggled from Burma, North Korea and the poorer parts of China to be sold as wives and domestic help.
There will soon be less people working than in need of care, and an ageing workforce, who is no longer willing to work like dogs for next to nothing.
Who is the winner? I guess nobody. This is a typical example of political paternalism going horribly wrong. When people with power try to go against nature and force things out of place, things will change beyond what was intended. Just look at Israel, created from above, now a disabled body in pain...
Who is the loser? 1. Chinese men, unable to find love. 2. Chinese women (and Burmese...) being used like dolls, bought like slaves. 3. Western Companies who will need to find a new sweatshop. 4. Us consumers, having to pay more. 5. The Chinese economy, in need of a new type of structure and income source.
China is a world power based on population and growth, and we will be affected. Exactly how is yet to be defined; I will keep my eyes open for you J.
Thanks to The Week for some of the facts!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Who will get married in the future? And at what age? And why?

Three of my girlfriends are planning their weddings at the moment, but overall, fewer of us are getting married, and people marry at an older age.

The delay is of course a result of people living longer, hence stretch the years of being “youth”. For example I celebrated Melbourne Cup yesterday with a bunch of single “around 40´s” with no intentions to settle down... That´s the story in the urban world.

The lower number of marriages might be explained with a cultural change stepping away from religion and towards independence and freedom to live together before having a ring on the finger.

Today we have the choice to live however we please, and for brands, finding “target groups” is becoming less about age than about lifestyle, why is the decrease in marriages actually isn´t very interesting for me... When you as a marketer wish to meet its consumer, understand their movements and values, you need more specific and sensitive data than what ABS can contribute with. Statistics is a part of the mix when analysing, but far from everything.

I will still present some numbers explaining Australian marriages (old of course since ABS works in turtle speed...):
-          In 2007, there were 116,322 marriages registered, representing a small increase of 2,100 (1.8%) from 2006. This is the highest number of marriages registered in a single year since 1990.
-          The median age of people married in 2007 was 31.6 years for males and 29.3 years for females. Since 1988, the median age at marriage has increased by 3.8 years for males and 3.9 years for females.
-          The median age of people getting married for the first time is slightly lower than the total median age. In 2007 the median age of males married for the first time was 29.6 years, and 27.6 years for females. By comparison, in 1988 the median age at first marriage was 26.1 years for males and 24.0 years for females.
-          Of the 116,322 couples who registered a marriage in 2007, 76.8% indicated that they had lived together prior to registering their marriage.

We still believe in love though, don´t we?