Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Brands telling us we love them - is that really brand love...?

From my book Love Branding:

"We have all met people who talk about nothing but themselves, who just brag and nervously present a range of information about how fabulously interesting they are. Without asking one single question about you they probably make assumptions about your life as well, analyzing you without knowing much.

Brands that don’t pay attention to the true needs of their customers will fail just in the same way as those egocentric people do. The egocentric single won´t get a second date, and neither will your brand if it´s too full of itself. When a brand goes out and shouts, “I’m unique, pick me,” without paying attention to their customers or the world these customers live in, the brand will lose our interest – and our money. I’ve met hundreds of entrepreneurs who only talk about who they are, not about what they can do for the customer, or how they can please the market. It’s me-centric and inefficient.

Keep your ear to the ground and listen to what your customers want; consumer insights are necessary if you want to reach success with your business. You might have a fantastic product, but if it´s the product that is in the centre and not the user, you will still fail.

“The only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.”  Dale Carnegie

Two examples of this are the TV commercials for Weber barbeques, in which a customer repeatedly says, “I love my Q,” and the campaign for the Mitsubishi in which couples talk about their appreciation of the car´s features by saying: “I love my Lancer”. Another example of an egocentric lover on the brand scene is Honda, who has a fan club at Facebook, talking about how people love the brand:

When creating fan pages, Twitter accounts, or talking about how the customers are already in love with a brand, you may initially draw in those who are closely connected to the brand, but will you get more new customers coming? To some degree this approach will gain referrals, since the brand is top of our mind and the ads remind people about their brand love, but if the customers are not actually receiving love in their interaction with the brand, the brand is in serious trouble.

Don´t just focus on THEIR love for YOU, but also show you care for every customer by giving, giving, giving. Don´t open a fan page on Facebook just to market yourself. Open a page to serve.

A brand like the Australian icon Tim Tam, which is genuinely loved by a lot of Australians, can get away with a special love Tim Tam edition. The brand is loved because it delivers something people like – tasty chocolate biscuits – and it´s probably also connecting to customers´ childhood memories, patriotic values, and other positive emotions. By adding some ‘love’ you can make customers aware of their love for a brand, but if Tim Tam had been a new brand I doubt that love hearts would have made any difference.

Cashing in on the work done in the past – such as building customer loyalty and admiration through delivery of good products and emotional value – can work for a while. Honda, Tim Tam or McDonalds customers can play along and say “yes, thanks for reminding me of my love for you,” but the approach has flaws:

-          You are not creating NEW love or MORE love because you are not giving more value.
-          The customer may feel used. The brand is egocentric and wants to be told it is loved, but for the customer that might feel like the relationship is out of balance; then your brand loses the love that was once there."

Monday, May 30, 2011

Are you going to Cannes Lion? I can´t wait....

I´ve just decided to go to Cannes Lion!! http://www.canneslions.com/ Are you going? Which seminars, events, parties and people do you recommend I should be inspired by (like teh dude in the photo...)? Should we meet up?

I can´t wait to learn from the best, meet intelligent colleagues and indulge in nerdy knowledge. YAY!

And... if you know of any good accomodation, me and a friend are looking.

By the way, are you with me on this new movement...?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Baby boomers are out of here - leaving the work force, with nobody to fill the gap

Demographer Bernard Salt´s new book "The Big Tilt" is out! It tells us that from this year, there will be a fundamental shift in the demography of Australia. More people will now exit rather than enter the workforce. The first group of baby boomers are retiring and they are not being replaced.

Other industrialised nations are similarly affected by an ageing workforce, most notably France, Germany and South Korea. The big tilt impact on Australia, Canada and New Zealand has been modified or at least delayed by immigration, although eventually the boomers retire and the tilting process is set in motion. The same logic applies to the US, although in that market the immigration factor is augmented by a strong birthrate and especially among the Latino and African-American communities.

Salt says "any moderation of the migrant intake needs to take into account the fact boomers are set to retire en masse. And the moderation needs to be scaled-in over a decade to enable the economy and the worker base to readjust."

"The Big Tilt changes everything. It means that what we have come to expect from life in a world of rising consumption, tax and workers will get that much harder in a world of shrinking consumption and tax."

Ouch. Seems like we have tough times ahead...

The Big Tilt: What Happens When the Boomers Bust and Xers and Ys Inherit the Earth by Bernard Salt is published today (Hardie Grant, $29.95).

Article with all the numbers...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Don´t bully your customers to action.

If you want tip, don´t put up a jar where you insult people like this one, especially not if the note is so dirty it makes you hesitate ordering food ...


Do you have to go to Adschools to create great ads?

Strategy in advertising is not rocket science. It is not a complicated, mysterious route to brand success that can only be taught by Miami Ad School or Adschool or VCU Brandcenter. Strategic planning is mainly about having a true understanding about human beings, faaaar beyond statistics, Roy Morgan and even psychological research, and about understanding the brand you market faaaar beyond it´s USP and mission statements.

Strategic planning of champions is being a cupid for brands, finding an honest and real connection between rational and emotional needs within people, and the product or service that you are selling. From facts, you reach insights, that gives you keys that open hearts. Easy! The skill needed is to be able to make sense of it all, capture the essence and sense the right direction.

Many believe strategic planning in creative agencies is something you can be taught from agency land alone. But if you only learn from others in the same field, you will live your strategy life in a tiny little box and limit your thinking.

The Facebook site "Life.Then Strategy" asked people to name the best strategy books, and all of the titles suggested were about advertising strategy (see list below). Nothing wrong with that, but if you ONLY read about your little niche you will never be able to capture the consumer´s heart. I believe planners will reach another level if they start reading more about sociology, psychology, history and pop culture. When you read novels, magazines about fashion, boats or economics, and not just BandT and Marketing magazine, you will bring life into your strategies and see people more as humans than customers. Your thinking will be mature and free, instead of trapped in the adland prison.

"Agency experience" is somehow important to understand the process, the agency lingo, the way to please a client by using the right ROI promises and case studies, but if an agency wants to create creative work - how can it allow itself to just living in a box? Big ideas grow in an environment that is nutricious and where new air is constantly let in through the window. Audacious agencies create big ideas. Those who simply open their door for the agency trained will experience entropy, a low quality energy.

Bring in spice, open for life, let the unexpected in - see what kind of magic that can lead to.

What do you think? Am I right or wrong? Am I simply being self promoting my wicked cv, or do I have a point? Do you have experiences? Tell me :)

A Master Class in Brand Planning: The Timeless Works of Stephen King
Truth, Lies, and Advertising by Jon Steel.
Marketing 3.0 - Kotler
Beyond the Disurption - Jean-Marie Dru,
Tribes - Seth Godin
Cognitive Surplus - Clay Shirky,
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
‎"Rework" by 37signals
Positioning - Al Ries
A prayer for Owen Meany by John Irvin.
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die Chip Heath (Author), Dan Heath (Author)... great book

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Intelligence Group`s Trend School: Oh, I wish I was in NY June 8th!!

This is a little free advertisment for a seminar I really would like to attend!!

IG's Trend School is Coming Up!
Learn about the latest young consumer trends and stay ahead of what’s next

Did you know that…
Beard oil is the latest in men’s grooming?
Brukup is experiencing a global revival?
Type-ins are the newest social activity?
If our queries left you with more questions of your own, Trend School can provide the answers.  Today’s fast changing, digitally driven landscape makes it difficult for even the most plugged-in to stay current with the latest social and cultural movements. Join us on June 8th at the Soho House in New York and June 16th at CAA in Los Angeles from 9 AM to 5 PM  as we help get you up to speed,identifying not only what is happening with young consumers, but why. Trend School is an immersive, interactive daylong session, breaking down emerging entertainment, technology, fashion, lifestyle, and marketing trends and offering participants the opportunity to interact with panels of both Gen Y trendsetters and industry experts. (YouTube star Philip DeFranco will be one of our featured insider guests at the LA session.) Highlighting the latest research and insights from our Spring 2011 Cassandra Report, we’ll explain how:

- The art of narrative is capturing the ear of engaged audiences, manifesting a new macro trend called STORYTALES.
- UPTIME has replaced the concept of downtime, where leisure is no longer a passive activity but one of active participation and self-improvement.
- A new class of AMPROS, or “amateur professionals,” are becoming the go-to authorities in their respective fields, ranging from athletes to stylists and self-taught chefs.
To inquire about cost and further details for the Los Angeles and New York sessions, please contact Alina Goncalves at agoncalves@intelg.com.

Read this online at trendcentral.com

The future of technology according to Ross Dawson

The lovely Ross Dawson is interviewed by Sky News on all those things I don´t know much about - technology.... I´m such a girl and cloud computing and such makes me yawn a little, so I am happy that great thinkers like Ross researches and explains it well :)


I Do find augmented reality somehow exciting though. Imagine what you can do... Here is a little explanation:

Another Sydney based tech futurist is Craig Rispin, a wonderful and insightful man. His site: http://www.futuretrendsgroup.com/blog/

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rory Sutherland on TED - Ads don´t sell products, but perceptions of products

I believe that if you want to be awesome at what you do, listen to those who are, so I asked a friend who his strategy role model is. He quickly replied "Rory Sutherland", so I decided to re-watch his TED talk that I remember I lazily flicked through a couple of years ago, and I "Like".

About the talk: "Advertising adds value to a product by changing our perception, rather than the product itself. Rory Sutherland makes the daring assertion that a change in perceived value can be just as satisfying as what we consider “real” value -- and his conclusion has interesting consequences for how we look at life."

Pst, don´t miss TEDx on Saturday in Sydney! http://tedxsydney.com/

If you are at a café without your head phones, here is the talk in writing...
This is my first time at TED. Normally, as an advertising man, I actually speak at TED Evil, which is TED's secret sister organization -- the one that pays all the bills. It's held every two years in Burma. And I particularly remember a really good speech by Kim Jong Il on how to get teens smoking again. (Laughter)

But, actually, it's suddenly come to me after years working in the business, that what we create in advertising, which is intangible value -- you might call it perceived value, you might call it badge value, subjective value, intangible value of some kind -- gets rather a bad rap. If you think about it, if you want to live in a world in the future where there are fewer material goods, you basically have two choices. You can either live in a world which is poorer, which people in general don't like. Or you can live in a world where actually intangible value constitutes a greater part of overall value, that actually intangible value, in many ways is a very, very fine substitute for using up labor or limited resources in the creation of things.

Here is one example. This is a train which goes from London to Paris. The question was given to a bunch of engineers, about 15 years ago, "How do we make the journey to Paris better?" And they came up with a very good engineering solution, which was to spend six billion pounds building completely new tracks from London to the coast, and knocking about 40 minutes off a three-and-half-hour journey time. Now, call me Mister Picky. I'm just an ad man ... ... but it strikes me as a slightly unimaginative way of improving a train journey merely to make it shorter. Now what is the hedonic opportunity cost on spending six billion pounds on those railway tracks?

Here is my naive advertising man's suggestion. What you should in fact do is employ all of the world's top male and female supermodels, pay them to walk the length of the train, handing out free Chateau Petrus for the entire duration of the journey. (Laughter) (Applause) Now, you'll still have about three billion pounds left in change, and people will ask for the trains to be slowed down. (Laughter)

Now, here is another naive advertising man's question again. And this shows that engineers, medical people, scientific people, have an obsession with solving the problems of reality, when actually most problems, once you reach a basic level of wealth in society, most problems are actually problems of perception. So I'll ask you another question. What on earth is wrong with placebos? The seem fantastic to me. They cost very little to develop. They work extraordinarily well. They have no side effects, or if they do, they're imaginary, so you can safely ignore them. (Laughter)

So I was discussing this. And I actually went to the Marginal Revolution blog by Tyler Cowen. I don't know if anybody knows it. Someone was actually suggesting that you can take this concept further, and actually produce placebo education. The point is that education doesn't actually work by teaching you things. It actually works by giving you the impression that you've had a very good education, which gives you an insane sense of unwarranted self confidence, which then makes you very, very successful in later life. So, welcome to Oxford, ladies and gentlemen. (Laughter) (Applause)

But, actually, the point of placebo education is interesting. How many problems of life can be solved actually by tinkering with perception, rather than that tedious, hardworking and messy business of actually trying to change reality? Here's a great example from history. I've heard this attributed to several other kings, but doing a bit of historical research it seems to be Fredrick the Great. Fredrick the Great of Prussia was very very keen for the Germans to adopt the potato, and to eat it. Because he realized that if you had two sources of carbohydrate, wheat and potatoes, you get less price volatility in bread. And you get a far lower risk of famine, because you actually had two crops to fall back on, not one.

The only problem is: potatoes, if you think about it, look pretty disgusting. And also, 18th century Prussians ate very, very few vegetables -- rather like contemporary Scottish people. (Laughter) So, actually, he tried making it compulsory. The Prussian peasantry said, "We can't even get the dogs to eat these damn things. They are absolutely disgusting and they're good for nothing." There are even records of people being executed for refusing to grow potatoes.

So he tried plan B. He tried the marketing solution, which is he declared the potato as a royal vegetable. And none but the royal family could consume it. And he planted it in a royal potato patch, with guards who had instructions to guard over it, night and day, but with secret instructions not to guard it very well. (Laughter) Now 18th century peasants know that there is one pretty safe rule in life, which is if something is worth guarding, it's worth stealing. Before long, there was a massive underground potato-growing operation in Germany. What he'd effectively done is he'd re-branded the potato. It was an absolute masterpiece.

I told this story and a gentleman from Turkey came up to me and said, "Very, very good marketer, Fredrick the Great. But not a patch on Ataturk." Ataturk, rather like Nicolas Sarkozy, was very keen to discourage the wearing of a veil, in Turkey, to modernize it. Now, boring people would have just simply banned the veil. But that would have ended up with a lot of awful kickback and a hell of a lot of resistance. Ataturk was a lateral thinker. He made it compulsory for prostitutes to wear the veil. (Laughter) (Applause)

I can't verify that fully. But it does not matter. There is your environmental problem solved, by the way, guys: All convicted child molesters have to drive a Porsche Cayenne. (Laughter) What Ataturk realized actually is two very fundamental things. Which is that, actually, first one, all value is actually relative. All value is perceived value.

For those of you who don't speak Spanish, jugo de naranja -- it's actually the Spanish for "orange juice." Because actually it's not the dollar. It's actually the peso in Buenos Aires. Very clever Buenos Aires street vendors decided to practice price discrimination to the detriment to any passing gringo tourists. As an advertising man, I have to admire that.

But the first thing this all shows is that all value is subjective. Second point is that persuasion is often better than compulsion. These funny signs that flash your speed at you, some of the new ones, on the bottom right, now actually show a smiley face or a frowny face, to act as an emotional trigger. What's fascinating about these signs is they cost about 10 percent of the running cost of a conventional speed camera. But they prevent twice as many accidents. So, the bizarre thing which is baffling to conventional, classically trained economists, is that a weird little smiley face has a better effect on changing your behavior than the threat of a £60 fine and three penalty points.

Tiny little behavioral economics detail: in Italy, penalty points go backwards. You start with 12 and they take them away. Because the found that loss aversion is a more powerful influence on people's behavior. In Britain we tend to feel, "Whoa! Got another three!" Not so in Italy.

Another fantastic case of creating intangible value to replace actual or material value, which remember, is what, after all, the environmental movement needs to be about: This, again, is from Prussia, from, I think, about 1812, 1813. The wealthy Prussians, to help in war against the French, were encouraged to give in all their jewelry. And it was replaced with replica jewelry made of cast iron. Here's one: "Gold gab ich für Eisen, 1813." The interesting thing is that for 50 years hence, the highest status jewelry you could wear in Prussia wasn't made of gold or diamonds. It was made of cast iron. Because actually, never mind the actual intrinsic value of having gold jewelry. This actually had symbolic value, badge value. It said that your family had made a great sacrifice in the past.

So, the modern equivalent would of course be this. (Laughter) But, actually, there is a thing, just as there are Veblen goods, where the value of the good depends on it being expensive and rare -- there are opposite kind of things where actually the value in them depends on them being ubiquitous, classless and minimalistic.

If you think about it, Shakerism was a proto-environmental movement. Adam Smith talks about 18th century America where the prohibition against visible displays of wealth was so great, it was almost a block in the economy in New England, because even wealthy farmers could find nothing to spend their money on, without incurring the displeasure of their neighbors. It's perfectly possible to create these social pressures which lead to more egalitarian societies.

What's also interesting, if you look at products that have a high component of what you might call messaging value, a high component of intangible value, versus their intrinsic value: They are often quite egalitarian. In terms of dress, denim is perhaps the perfect example of something which replaces material value with symbolic value. Coca-Cola. A bunch of you may be a load of pinkos, and you may not like the Coca-Cola company. But it's worth remembering Andy Warhol's point about Coke. What Warhol said about Coke is, he said, "What I really like about Coca-Cola is the president of the United States can't get a better Coke than the bum on the corner of the street." Now, that is, actually, when you think about it, we take it for granted -- it's actually a remarkable achievement, to produce something that's so democratic.

Now, we basically have to change our views slightly. There is a basic view that real value involves making things, involves labor. It involves engineering. It involves limited raw materials. And that what we add on top is kind of false. It's a fake version. And there is a reason for some suspicion and uncertainly about it. It patently veers toward propaganda. However, what we do have now is a much more variegated media ecosystem in which to kind of create this kind of value. And it's much fairer.

When I grew up, this was basically the media environment of my childhood as translated into food. You had a monopoly supplier. On the left, you have Rupert Murdoch, or the BBC. (Laughter) And on your right you have a dependent public which is pathetically grateful for anything you give it. (Laughter)

Nowadays, the user is actually involved. This is actually what's called, in the digital world, "user-generated content." Although it's called agriculture, in the world of food. (Laughter) This is actually called a mash-up, where you take content that someone else has produced and you do something new with it. In the world of food we call it cooking. This is food 2.0, which is food you produce for the purpose of sharing it with other people. This is mobile food. British are very good at that. Fish and chips in newspaper, the Cornish Pastie, the pie, the sandwich. We invented the whole lot of them. We're not very good at food in general. Italians do great food, but it's not very portable, generally. (Laughter)

I only learned this the other day. The Earl of Sandwich didn't invent the sandwich. He actually invented the toasty. But then, the Earl of Toasty would be a ridiculous name. (Laughter)

Finally, we have contextual communication. Now, the reason I show you Pernod -- it's only one example. Every country has a contextual alcoholic drink. In France it's Pernod. It tastes great within the borders of that country. But absolute shite if you take it anywhere else. (Laughter) Unicum in Hungary, for example. The Greeks have actually managed to produce something called Retsina, which even tastes shite when you're in Greece. (Laughter)

But so much communication now is contextual that the capacity for actually nudging people, for giving them better information -- B.J. Fogg, at the University of Stanford, makes the point that actually the mobile phone is -- He's invented the phrase, "persuasive technologies." He believes the mobile phone, by being location-specific, contextual, timely and immediate, is simply the greatest persuasive technology device ever invented.

Now, if we have all these tools at our disposal, we simply have to ask the question, and Thaler and Sunstein have, of how we can use these more intelligently. I'll give you one example. If you had a large red button of this kind, on the wall of your home, and every time you pressed it it saved 50 dollars for you, put 50 dollars into your pension, you would save a lot more. The reason is that the interface fundamentally determines the behavior. Okay?

Now, marketing has done a very very good job of creating opportunities for impulse buying. Yet we've never created the opportunity for impulse saving. If you did this, more people would save more. It's simply a question of changing the interface by which people make decisions. And the very nature of the decisions changes. Obviously, I don't want people to do this, because as an advertising man I tend to regard saving as just consumerism needlessly postponed. (Laughter) But if anybody did want to do that, that's the kind of thing we need to be thinking about, actually: fundamental opportunities to change human behavior.

Now, I've got an example here from Canada. There was a young intern at Ogilvy Canada called Hunter Somerville, who was working in improv in Toronto, and got a part-time job in advertising, and was given the job of advertising Shreddies. Now this is the most perfect case of creating intangible added value, without changing the product in the slightest. Shreddies is a strange, square, whole-grain cereal, only available in New Zealand, Canada and Britain. It's Kraft's peculiar way of rewarding loyalty to the crown. (Laughter) In working out how you could relaunch Shreddies, he came up with this.

Video: (Buzzer) Man: Shreddies is supposed to be square. (Laughter)

Woman: Have any of these diamond shapes gone out? (Laughter)

Voiceover: New Diamond Shreddies cereal. Same 100 percent whole-grain wheat in a delicious diamond shape. (Applause)

Rory Sutherland: I'm not sure this isn't the most perfect example of intangible value creation. All it requires is photons, neurons, and a great idea to create this thing. I would say it's a work of genius. But, naturally, you can't do this kind of thing without a little bit of market research.

Man: So, Shreddies is actually producing a new product, which is something very exciting for them. So they are introducing new Diamond Shreddies. (Laughter) So I just want to get your first impressions when you see that, when you see the Diamond Shreddies box there. (Laughter)

Woman: Weren't they square?

Woman #2: I'm a little bit confused. Woman #3: They look like the squares to me.

Man: They -- Yeah, it's all in the appearance. But it's kind of like flipping a six or a nine like a six. If you flip it over it looks like a nine. But a six is very different from a nine.

Woman # 3: Or an "M" and a "W". Man: An "M" and a "W", exactly.

Man #2: [unclear] You just looked like you turned it on its end. But when you see it like that it's more interesting looking.

Man: Just try both of them. Take a square one there, first. (Laughter) Man: Which one did you prefer? Man #2: The first one.

Man: The first one? (Laughter)

Rory Sutherland: Now, naturally, a debate raged. There were conservative elements in Canada, unsurprisingly, who actually resented this intrusion. So, eventually, the manufacturers actually arrived at a compromise, which was the combo pack. (Laughter) (Applause) (Laughter)

If you think it's funny, bear in mind there is an organization called the American Institute of Wine Economics, which actually does extensive research into perception of things, and discovers that except for among perhaps five or ten percent of the most knowledgeable people, there is no correlation between quality and enjoyment in wine, except when you tell the people how expensive it is, in which case they tend to enjoy the more expensive stuff more. So drink your wine blind in the future.

But this is both hysterically funny -- but I think an important philosophical point, which is, going forward, we need more of this kind of value. We need to spend more time appreciating what already exists, and less time agonizing over what else we can do.

Two quotations to more or less end with. One of them is, "Poetry is when you make new things familiar and familiar things new." Which isn't a bad definition of what our job is, to help people appreciate what is unfamiliar, but also to gain a greater appreciation, and place a far higher value on those things which are already existing. There is some evidence, by the way, that things like social networking help do that. Because they help people share news. They give badge value to everyday little trivial activities. So they actually reduce the need for actually spending great money on display, and increase the kind of third-party enjoyment you can get from the smallest, simplest things in life. Which is magic.

The second one is the second G.K. Chesterton quote of this session, which is, "We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders," which I think for anybody involved in technology, is perfectly true. And a final thing: When you place a value on things like health, love, sex and other things, and learn to place a material value on what you've previously discounted for being merely intangible, a thing not seen, you realize you're much much wealthier than you ever imagined. Thank you very much indeed. (Applause)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Is the green movement dead? Well, if you don´t nurture a garden, it will turn...

According to LSN Global, Customers are giving up on cleaning products that brand themselves as "eco friendly". Sales of Clorox, Greenworks and other green cleaning products from big brands have dropped over the last few years.

Perhaps it is a money issue. Almost half of the respondents to a survey from Australian Centre for Retail studies say they would pay 5-10 % extra for green products. But 36% wouldn´t pay a cent more. And those who say they will... are they just saying that to feel better about themselves while responding...? When you are in the shop, that´s when your "goodness" is put to the test.

So is the movement Al Gore won the Nobel prize for already over, after less than a decade?

I believe people forget fast. We get distracted. We listen to other campaigns, other people, other messages, and the "green" part of us get weakened. We know even big strong brands like McDonalds and Coke constantly need to re-inform us about their existence and importance to our happiness. Just like in the world of romance, every relationship needs to get worked on, and the green movement kind of forgot about that.

Monday, May 23, 2011

That some brands answer when you tweet your anger is not WOW - they have got a cyber gun pointed at them!

This morning I read an article at Techcrunch by Paul Carr about how wonderful Twitter is because you can get in touch with brands who - wow - respond to you by tweet after ignoring you big time on call centres and the likes. 
But seriously, if a brand´s customer service department fail badly and the customer suddenly get help when shouting out her anger and disappointment on Social Media, this is not kindness by the brand... The company only helps when getting a cyber gun against their head, right...? When customers have the power to spread the word to other consumers or potential ones, the brand will see the danger in this and act "kind". Huh... But good branding is to treat people good and respectful in the first place. Reply to their requests, avoid queues at your call centre and KILL robot voices like Vodafone´s Lara who seem to suffer from severe hearing problems...
You see. People talk in real life too.
Paul writes:  
"The stories of good and bad Twitter service continue to arrive in my inbox – I’ve had just over 100 now – but more than enough time has passed for the first of two promised updates.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the vast majority of stories fell on the negative side of the fence but, just to demonstrate that not everyone sucks, let’s start with the happy endings. So to speak.

The first is from Dell customer Jeremy Perkins who writes…
“I actually want to share a success story. Almost two years ago I brought a customized Dell PC which was eligible for a free Win 7 upgrade. After filling out the info on the upgrade site I never got any information on shipping well past the time frame and calling tech support got no answers. Venting on Twitter a dell rep contacted me and then sent me a dm for my info. Two hours later I had the information on when my disc was shipping and her sincere apologies. Talk about efficiency!”
One point for Dell. And so on to ‘Maggie’ who has nothing by praise for ClearlyContacts…
“Fortunately, I have been on the receiving end of good customer service on Twitter. @ClearlyContacts replies promptly and can access customer order information. They were able to give me updated tracking information for my order and also send me an email (to the email address tied to my account). There seems to be two set people (who identify themselves by their initials) who run the Twitter and Facebook accounts. So there’s one example where Twitter and Facebook is used for efficient CSR. Their customer service number is usually very busy.”
Excellent. Next up, PC Tools customer, Kellie Brown…
“Responding to your post on TC about lousy customer service through social media. In a nutshell, I wholeheartedly agree that most companies use of social media as a customer service tool is a complete ruse. It’s only when people with any kind of following complain that responses are given – even then, the results are questionable.
Anyway, one company I did have a positive experience with was PC Tools (an internet security company owned by Symantec). Whoever runs their social media actually does a fantastic job of responding to customer complaints, accelerating requests, and doesn’t leave customers hanging. Albeit, there are plenty of complaints as they evoke auto-renewals of the subscription (my issue that was resolved, through Facebook, no less).
I’ve since gotten rid of Facebook, but this is one company that is doing something right – and has clearly allotted for the occasional backlash that companies can see when using social media.”
Well done, PC Tools. And well done too Office Depot whose social media reps went above and beyond for Martin Kalfatovic…
“Had an issue with Office Depot; posted on Twitter, they got back to me during a weekend; send me an email contact high up in customer service; got an apology from the store manager, regional manager and offer to have a phone conversation with store manager to further discuss the issue. I probably could have had some financial remuneration if I wanted to actually talk with the manager, but I was happy enough with the response to my comments.”
Nova Spivack explains how a solid social media team can make the difference between a good break-up and a bad one…
“My Lenovo Thinkpad was a lemon. After a series of unfortunate hardware issues it finally crashed, along with a portion of my data. After emailing Lenovo for weeks and bouncing from one clueless rep to another, I finally began loudly complaining on Twitter. This message worked. I got a response from Lenovo online, and was quickly connected to a rep who finally was able able to help me resolve the issue and I rescued my data, and they offered to refund my money.
I gave a positive tweet to the rep who finally helped me, here. This is an example of a social media team that actually seems to be helping. Actually they work better than Lenovo’s actual support team. I still switched to Mac, I’m fed up with Windows, and done with Lenovo, but at least I don’t hate them. It’s the difference between a good breakup and a bad one.”
A similar story from Red Envelope, courtesy of Andy Garlikov…
“I got an issue with Red Envelope resolved via Twitter. A pair of slippers I got as a birthday gift from my wife from them just fell apart a couple months after their 12-mo warranty ran out. Not sorta wore out… the soles practically dissolved. Phone reps and supervisors were unhelpful, unbending and, eventually, rude. I took it to Twitter. One post. Didn’t even get as far as posting a pic. Got a message from someone there asking to help, giving me a name and #. When I didn’t call them quickly as I’d planned, they followed up again. When i called, the rep who left the message promptly replaced the slippers, even including the monogramming.
They deserve credit for not just using the svc to find disaffected customers, but for relentless follow-up!”
Finally, over in the UK, Bill Glover got a little extra help from the Halifax…
“I had the opposite experience to that with your hotel WiFi when I tweeted about not being able to pay a cheque into a branch of Halifax bank in the UK. Not only did they jump on Twitter to help, they provided information, timescales and a contact in the branch I could ask for on my next visit. There is hope out there. Some companies get it right.”
The article link: http://techcrunch.com/2011/05/22/toothless-social-media-reps-update-pt-1-the-good-guys/

Sunday, May 22, 2011

"Start looking at news as a process, not a pristine, finished product"

This article is about the need of curators in media by Mathew Ingham. http://gigaom.com/2011/05/20/future-of-media-curation-verification-and-news-as-a-process/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+OmMalik+%28GigaOM%3A+Tech%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

I found it interesting how Ingham talk in his article about the need to start looking at news as a process and not as a pristine, finished product. I think it´s the same with brands. You don´t build a brand and then it´s done - the brand will change and move and surprise you, depending on what is happening in the world, how people interpret it and how other brands position themselves. No brand agency should spend thousands of hours defining a brand, because they will need to do it all over again in a week.

Build a strong core, and find passion, purpose and pride. But logos, relationship and looks will change, just as people constantly change. We move house, get wrinkles and lose boyfriends. We win the lottery and even if we try capturing the present by botoxing and holding on to people and things really tight, nothing will ever be still. The world is vibrating, shaking, living. You better dance!

Follow Mathew on Twitter @mathewi

Cool video that opens for possibilities - reverse anger by BBC/Red Bee Media

I really like the idea of making an emotional video in reverse, as if you could "undo" your impulses, angry outbursts or temporary stupidity... They could have done this video stronger and really amplified the point, but it´s a cool clip:

Client BBC
  • Agency Red Bee Media

  • Production Crossroads Films UK

  • Country United Kingdom
  • Saturday, May 21, 2011

    Leo Burnett is my new Hero

    I met a strategist colleague at Leo Burnett yesterday and got curious about a huge selection of apples - real one and ones made of wood or glass. What about the apples, I asked, and my friend told me that Leo Burnett started his business during the big depression (1935 actually) and to help people he always offered visitors a box of apples.


    He was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

    In Adland by James P Othmer I found some beautiful quotes from this hero:

    "Steep yourself in your subject, work like hell, and love, honor and obey your hunches."

    "Anyone who thinks that people can be fooled or pushed around has an inaccurate and pretty low estimation of people  and won´t do very well in advertising."

    "Good advertising doesn´t just circulate information. It penetrates the public mind with desires and beliefs."


    Leo Burnett Sydney is run by the lovely Todd Sampson who I am sure has a heart just as big.  http://www.leoburnett.com.au/Sydney

    Friday, May 20, 2011

    Why strategic planners should use Soren Kierkegard more than Roy Morgan - Philosophy is a planning tool

    I met up with some advertising people last night and mentioned that I like to use politics, sociology, science, psychology and philosophy when building strategies, and one guy choked his free wine! "Philosophy!!!??" He thought that was a stupid idea considering how stupid "people" are.


    After reading the fabulous and interesting little book "adland" by James P Othmer and getting more and more experience from advertising (people, culture, projects) I certainly feel there is room for improvement in the way the industry connect brands and customers, and the improvement will happen in the area of respect. When you respect people your campaigns will no longer be idea driven, but driven by strategy and insights.

    When we as strategists go beyond the dull and stiff Roy Morgan and Radian6 data and stop being stuck to models, we can see people as the beautiful and mysterious individuals they are. I believe a lot of ad staff feel guilt because they are selling stuff, and maybe they feel they are manipulating the market into getting more things they don´t need. 

    I believe the relationship between brands and buyers can be loving and meaningful, and I like to see myself as a cupid for brands, shooting arrows that brings people and things together. When you truly understand people and their needs you will discover a place where a product or service will satisfy a deep yerning, and when doing so changing people´s lives. 

    "Using philosopy" doesn´t mean I will suggest ads with pretentious complicated messages, but that you use the insights and revalations the great thinkers through time has revealed. For example, existentialism and great minds like Kierkegard and Sartre can bring us a deep feeling for the fears of freedom.

    This little study is interesting and related. Let people meet, not brands and consumers. It´s people. Like you and me.

    "While consumers find lots of advertising annoying, they actually like posters displayed in malls -- especially if it is a photo that includes a human face. A new study from EYE, a mall media specialist, found that even the second time shoppers passed a display, 47.8% took a second look. To some degree, everybody looked at the ads and there didn't seem to be any fatigue, which means having multiple placements in the mall makes good sense for raising brand awareness." http://www.eyecorp.com.au/

    Also Mindlab conducts eye tracking studies linked to EEG brain activity. In all of our their studies it's clear that people look at faces. www.themindlab.co.uk

    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    How to turn a digital mess into a digital success - Aveda case study

    I found this interesting case study on “How Aveda Avoided a Social Promotion Backlash” in emarketer.com. It shows how an ill working app causing a “crisis” can be transformed into a social media success story. Honesty and generousity lead to 30% sales increase and a couple of hundred Likes on Facebook. (well, who doesn´t fancy a freebie...?)
    The story:
    Aveda had three objectives in implementing its Smooth Infusion Sampling App on Facebook:
    • Drive trial of its Smooth Infusion products
    • Increase the number of “likes” to Aveda’s Facebook page.
    • Drive new users throughout the year to purchase the Smooth Infusion line. Aveda undertook a major advertising and promotional push in stores and salons to support the line twice during the year-long focus.
    The brand launched a sampling app on its Facebook page on a Friday afternoon. Consumers had to go to a specific tab, could view a product video to learn more about the product, click to order the sample and enter their name and shipping address. The first 5,000 people who entered were to receive a confirmation screen that indicated they would receive a sample pack scheduled to arrive within four weeks. Because Aveda wanted to bring new customers to the page, it made a one-day Facebook ad buy consisting of display ads and keywords. The sampling program was promoted via the ad buy that brought people to the tab.

    “We knew from watching other brands run similar sampling apps that we didn’t want to disappoint people who didn’t make it into the first 5,000, so made sure we had an offer that guests could redeem in stores or salons after we ran out of the 5,000 samples.”

    —Rachael Ostrom, executive director of consumer engagement, Aveda, in an interview with eMarketer

    Things didn’t go exactly as planned, however. The app continued to confirm samples would be sent far past the initial 5,000 entrants. And worse, after Aveda shut down the app, a glitch with Facebook prevented the company from discovering who the first 5,000 participants had been.

    Aveda alerted participants that an error occurred, informing them that it didn’t know who the first 5,000 people were and therefore didn’t know who to mail the samples to.The brand informed participants that it would relaunch the app on Tuesday, December 21, and would give away 20,000 trio packs. After the 20,000, they shut off the app and people were served a screen that informed them that they didn’t make the cut-off, but invited them to come into an Aveda store or salon nearby to receive a trio pack.

    In addition, if anyone came to the Facebook page and commented that they were in the first 5,000 and didn’t make it in the new 20,000 group, Aveda invited them to call customer relations to get a trio pack shipped to them.

    “We set up a long note explaining what had happened. We even linked to the Facebook Producer page where the error was discussed. We were completely open with what had happened,” Ostrom explained.

    Despite the glitch, Aveda garnered 52,000 new “likes” over the course of the five-day period, representing a 50% increase to the existing count.
    Aveda also experienced a 30.5% sales lift for Style Prep products year-over-year as of January 2011, and sales continue to increase in Aveda’s ongoing fiscal year. Ostrom qualified the sales lift: “We don’t necessarily have a way to isolate the impact of this program alone because it was the combined effect of using print advertising, other digital programs and a sampling app,” adding that Aveda has had significant activity during the entire year around the line.

    Aveda was concerned that its negative tonal sentiment would increase significantly in December 2010. This proved not to be the case: In December, the brand achieved its highest positive tonal sentiment since launching a Facebook page in July 2009. In addition, as of April 21, 2011, Aveda reported 202,104 “likes.”

    Key Takeaways
    Aveda learned not to launch a sampling app on a Friday—if there’s a glitch on a Monday, at least the troops are in the office to handle it. However, Ostrom notes Aveda was able to leverage an advantage: “We had an offer that could be redeemed in stores and in salons for anyone who experienced a problem. Having offline outlets for fulfillment was important in this case.”

    Ostrom recommends that marketers ensure that their team monitors the back-end mechanics closely so if there is a glitch, they can catch it instantly with the first five or 10 people who opt in.

    Transparency was critically important in a case like this one. “We were just completely transparent but it was hard because on Saturday, we didn’t really know what to tell people. People weren’t thrilled about it,” Ostrom recalled. Aveda also had a staffer responding to questions all weekend.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    What we Like is not the same as what we like - how to go from feeling to action

    Trendcentral.com reports in their today´s newsletter about the new "gratitude trend", small signs that prove that we now are ready to say thank you for all that is good, instead of being obsessed by disasters.

    One example:
    365 Grateful: A forthcoming documentary from Australian mother/daughter filmmakers Toni Powell and Hailey Bartholomew, 365 Grateful is an “exploration of the power of gratitude.” In 2008, Bartholomew embarked on a personal journey of gratitude by taking a Polaroid photo of one thing for which she was grateful every day. This experiment in positive psychology proved astoundingly effective in helping her ease feelings of depression. Upon sharing her first Polaroid project on Flickr, the exercise became a viral sensation, inspiring others to do the same. 365 Grateful will profile these people, their tales of thankfulness, and how this positive energy can spread to improve lives.

    I fond a similar project here: http://audiobooks.gs/mp3/365-yous-year-simple-act-daily-gratitude-changed/bkhype000088

    This is Social Media at its best, when it spreads good energy to many! But the Facebook site has just a couple of thousands of Likers (fewer than the planking site...) so go ahead and like! http://www.facebook.com/365Grateful?sk=wall.

    To put this in perspective, 51,233 people like the Nivea Australia site, 941 like Quantas and 60,114 people like Virgin Australia. Are people really much more in like of Nivea than a happiness project that changes lives?

    Let´s just conclude it is all about reasons to act, rather than level of likeness. You can be positive to something without clicking Like! (yeah, it is TRUE) Many like brands just because they get a chance to win a prize or as in the case of Nivea, become a "tester" (= get free stuff). Awareness and feelings are sometimes useless for brands - it´s all about how you transform these positive values to action! When your Facebook page interacts with its viewers and gives them a reason, you will make them express the Like they might feel inside.

    Reasons to act (click Like)

    - win a prize
    - play a game
    - get free thing
    - get tips and advice
    - connect with other fans
    - get bargains
    - reminders of how much you like
    - seeing how influencers like
    - start with a small question where the answer is yes (if you do so, people get in the "yes" mood)

    Remember that 44% will Unlike if you over post...

    Good reads on positive psychology:
    Masaru Emoto Messages in Water
    Martin Seligman Learned Optimism
    Tal-Ben Shahar Happier
    Dalai Lama Art of Happiness

    And watch my love & happiness videos on www.youtube.com/carolinlovecoach :)  

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    Word of mouth is not built on trust - planking is the proof of that

    A few days ago a boy died while "planking" - an activity whose popularity is due to social media and word of mouth. Normally normal people started to lay down straight over uncomfortable things and spread the photos of doing this over Internet.

    Eeeh. I´m in my late 30´s and I kind of don´t get this, but the Facebook site was said to have 16,000 members (I only find one with 1,332 likes) and the death of a 20 year old will most likely attract more users, however crazy that might sound.

    Word of mouth and social media is powerful in creating these kind of movements. Meaningless like the planking, world changing like the ones in Middle East earlier this year.

    The times when people listened to advertisers and nodded "yes sir Don Draper" are over. We might on a subconscious level be easily influenced by all the "impressions" we are attacked by during the days but it´s recommendations by friends that count. Word-of-mouth experts lift this issue, as do social media marketers and digital strategists.

    And yes, people prefer advice peer to peer. When I worked with a bank it became clear in my research that people rather went to their parents for advice on super annuation than to the suited up bank staff. What was more interesting was that this was NOT a trust issue...

    The reason they listened to mums and dads instead of Barbara who lives in Bank World was that they felt too much guilt when speaking to an authority of the bank. They felt judged, uncomfortable and "naked". Suddenly all their responsibilites came out in the open and the bank person who just like a personal trainer makes you feel like SHIT if you don´t go to the gym every day and live on organic spinach was too intimidating. Trust, sure, they probably knew lots, but the barriers were found elsewhere.

    Social media spreads the word, but we listen to word of mouth for many reasons. Sometimes because we trust our buddies, sometimes because we fear authorities, sometimes because we want to be like everybody else. The planking movement is not built on "trust".

    Does it matter if we change the way we see this? Maybe. It will probably change the way you campaign if you understand people´s drivers. It´s up to you to discover; I´m just challenging and questioning :)

    More info on planking: http://www.couriermail.com.au/lifestyle/planking-not-illegal-but-police-warn-internet-pranksters-could-face-charges-of-trespass/story-e6frer4f-1226055142247