Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Why a PULL strategy is better than a PUSH strategy when you want people to change their behavior

Advertising is not about creating awareness. Sometimes clients measure success by how many in the target audience who has SEEN the ad, but that can never be the intention. “Awareness” doesn´t say much about preference, consideration or willingness to take action (dig up the credit card and press the pin). Every marketing strategy must aim for the last step in the purchase funnel – otherwise we are just producing a lot of entertainment, not useful work for the brands we are responsible for.

In 1977 James O. Prochaska of the University of Rhode Island and colleagues developed the transtheoretical model, based on an analysis of different theories of psychotherapy, and it´s really similar to the classic funnel, just presented in a fancier language…
In the Transtheoretical Model, change is a "process involving progress through a series of stages":
·         Precontemplation – "people are not intending to take action in the foreseeable future, and are most likely unaware that their behaviour is problematic"
·         Contemplation – "people are beginning to recognize that their behaviour is problematic, and start to look at the pros and cons of their continued actions"
·         Preparation – "people are intending to take action in the immediate future, and may begin taking small steps towards change”
·         Action – "people have made specific overt modifications in their life style, and positive change has occurred"
·         Maintenance – "people are working to prevent relapse," a stage which can last indefinitely"
·         Termination – "individuals have zero temptation and 100% self-efficacy... they are sure they will not return to their old unhealthy habit as a way of coping”

I would word it: Ignorance, Awareness, Consideration, Action, Liking, Loyalty
But this gives us nothing but a tool to see what level we are on, and where to aim… How to actually make people start giving to charity, care for the environment or give up the lollies is another issue…
I´ve written several articles lately on the power of fun when you wish to change people´s behaviour. Today I want to highlight the power of complimenting.
Psychologists wanted to find out how they could make 5th graders clean up the school yard.
One group of kids were simply told to pick up.
One group got to listen to lectures about the environment and the consequences of not cleaning up.
One group got to hear how great they were at picking up garbage!
25 % of the kids in the first and second group followed the instructions and cleaned up, while a whopping 85% of those who had been complimented did the same.
It´s easy really, still so many leaders, bosses and marketers fail to see this.
Aren´t we all more eager to do well for those who give us a little smile or a thank you? Don´t we all know we work better when we are recognised for what´s good than when we are criticised for what´s bad? Yes.
Research has also shown that doctors who get a little present, no matter how small, before meeting a patient will be more thorough. Bring out the best in people by flattering, encouraging and being warm. Shouting won´t work in the long run.
It´s better to pull than to push, at least to some extent. Feeding egos with too much wowing isn´t going to make people work hard, but a little of both will create great results.
One thing is sure: If your campaign brings in some positivity to the mix, it will get closer to the “termination” state. If you wish to get rid of darkness, turn the lights on! Which is what this campaign definitely has done... Be stunned!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Excellent car ads: Hyundai, Nissan, Volkswagen, Chrysler

Do car ads have to be about the car? Do they have to showcase stylish vehicles swooshing through empty landscapes? Do they have to speak about the technical details and reach the rational part of our brain...? Nah!

These are a few examples of something different
(parts from AdWeek

What if everything ran on gas? Then again, what if everything didn't? Those disparate visions provided the setup and payoff for this bleak, dystopian Nissan Leaf spot by TBWA\ Chiat\Day, which imagined a world in which all our devices, from clock radios to cell phones to dentist drills, guzzle gasoline like cars and spit out choking, noxious fumes. A spare piano score and the endless, dreary putt-putting of little motors provide the soundtrack for some remarkable visuals—a coffee maker yanked to life by a starter rope, a laptop replenished at a gas-filled watercooler, an office full of quietly smoking computers—all depressingly lit in flat green hues. Our antihero, a drone whose glum resignation subtly implicates the viewer in the stained legacy of oil-powered transport, eventually spies an all-electric Leaf across the street—while guiltily filling up his own Chevy Volt (a gasoline-electric hybrid) at a gas station. Roused slightly from his torpor, he nonetheless remains paralyzed and unsmiling as watches the Leaf drive off—a sober ending to one of the year's most darkly memorable spots.

And of course, this funny little thing:

This two-minute Chrysler 200 spot from Wieden + Kennedy, which broke on the Super Bowl in February, won the 2011 Emmy Award for best commercial. It's easy to see why. The year's toughest, proudest, most defiant advertisement, it offered a gritty defense of a city, an industry, and a way of life, single-handedly bringing some of the old swagger back to Detroit and attacking those who would doubt the city's heritage and conviction—or its ability to produce a worldclass luxury vehicle. "What does a town that's been to hell and back know about the finer things in life? Well, I'll tell ya. More than most," says the voiceover, so hardboiled it could have been forged in a factory. Eminem's Oscar-winning "Lose Yourself" begins thumping, as the homegrown rapper appears behind the wheel of a 200. Passing several Detroit landmarks, he stops and walks into the Fox Theatre. Backed by a choir, he points at the camera and says, "This is the Motor City. This is what we do." A tour de force and one of the high points of Super Bowl XLV, the ad wraps on the year's best tagline: "Imported from Detroit."

Agency: Deutsch, Los Angeles • Director: Lance Acord, Park Pictures • Editing: Union • Effects: CO3

Resistance is futile. At 7:33 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, Volkswagen unleashed one of the great crowd-pleasing TV ads of all time on Fox's broadcast of Super Bowl XLV. "The Force," from Deutsch/ LA, ingeniously conceived and perfectly executed, more than lived up to its name. It took two familiar ad themes—kids and Star Wars—and merged them to create that most rare species: a true global (who knows, maybe intergalactic) pop-culture phenomenon. Backed by the imposing sounds of "The Imperial March," a child in a Darth Vader suit roams his suburban home, attempting to bend inanimate objects (and the family dog) to his will with Jedi mind tricks. He fails utterly—until Dad gets home in his Volkswagen Passat. The kid races out to the driveway and focuses all of his metaphysical energy on the midsize sedan. It roars to life obediently—thanks to Dad activating the remote starter from the house. The boy steps back, thunderstruck by his own supernatural powers. The spot's metrics are astounding: 44 million views on YouTube, a reported 6.8 billion impressions worldwide, more than $100 million in earned media—all from such a simple execution. The spot, while visually strong, isn't a wonder of craft or technique. It's a triumph of fun, unadorned storytelling, which clearly goes a long way. Few ads in history have been as charming, as clever, as perfectly paced, or as well loved as this. Simply the best of 2011.

Also read:

Monday, November 28, 2011

If you want someone to give up something, make sure you make the change rewarding.

How do you make people change their behaviour and do something they might find boring or hard? By making it FUN. This video shows how you can attract people to use their seatbelts by rewarding them for doing so:

What is harder though, is to make people STOP doing something. Advertising and marketing is most times about convincing people to ADD on things to their lives, which is easier than convincing people to remove something, because the brain gets attached as soon as it has got it´s hand on something. Once you own it, you value it higher. Once it´s yours, you will defend it.

So how do you make people STOP eating junk? The easiest way is to turn it all around and make them START doing something else. ADD instead of REMOVE. If you want people to stop drinking, make sure you tell them what you will replace this treat with.

This makes it more positive, and we all prefer sunshine before rain.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Turn the boring task into a game and people will gladly do it! - Nestlé Contrex water shines

I found this fabulous case study on the Uk based agency The Lounge Group´s blog:

"The new video for the Nestle Water’s global brand Contrex grabbed our attention this week after it successfully topped the Global Arts Chart, which until a month ago was occupied by Evian’s record-breaking Roller Babies’ 26-month stay.

Paris based Advertising agency Marcel created the video for NestlĂ© with the strapline ‘Slimming doesn’t have to be boring. Contrex, my slimming partner’. Set  on the streets of Paris, the advert shows us a row of pink exercise bikes lined up facing a building. As intrigue builds, users stop and pedal the bikes soon noticing that their cycling efforts are generating pink streams of light which go on to form the neon outline of a male stripper. The neon giant strips off revealing more and more as the women pedal excitedly, holding their attention and showing them how easy it is to burn 2000 calories.

The new video for the Nestle Water’s global brand Contrex grabbed our attention this week after it successfully topped the Global Arts Chart, which until a month ago was occupied...Voices amongst the buzz generated by the clip question the video’s authenticity as a brand experience. And rightly so. The filming is overly slick, the women appear to be acting and one eagle eyed viewer noted that despite the numerous shots of Paris, the building is actually located in Prague.

The premise of the experience is fun and very on brand, but does the staging take away from the desired outcome? I think it is safe to say here at the Lounge we prefer real brand experiences and authentic content!"

Other similar projects on

Saturday, November 26, 2011

If you want people to save and think of the future, you need to shut up their emotional brain and activate their thinking brain

In a study by psychology professor Dan Ariely, people who had read the ten commands from the Bible before doing a test where they had the chance to cheat to get a better result, did not cheat at all, while others who had not read the commands from the Bible did.

This indicates that if you want someone to change behaviour, you could dig up their conscience and their inner moral voice, for them to convince themselves to take action.
I believe there is no such thing as “free will”, rather different voices in a person´s head, and depending on which parts you trigger, you can get different results.
When using market research you can ask questions in a survey and hear the respondents tell you this or that, but the challenge for advertisers is that most of us have contradictory wants, because we want it all! We want to stay fit, but we also want a double choc McFlurry! We want to save our liver, but we also want to have a couple of Coopers with friends. We want one thing NOW and another LATER, and many times these two wants crash...  
A good strategic planner reads between the quant study lines, understanding the complexity and struggle of being human. To get people to change their behaviour, you need to consider the whole picture.
When studying brains fighting the “reward NOW” or “reward LATER” battle, neurobiologists have found that the thinking, rational brain is an expert in telling people they can´t have it... The older, more emotional brain is impulsive and wants to have fun immediately, but the part of our brain developed later in human history, is the “parent” telling the heart to delay gratification, saying: “Hold on a second!!”
Let´s say a person has a choice between for example “buy new shoes today” or “save my cash for later”, a marketer of shoes should wake up her “you are worth it” voices by evoking the emotional part of the brain, make it stronger and louder than the “parent” brain. But if you want people to delay, you have to shut up the impulsive part of people´s brain by waking up their smart and long term thinking part. “Delay” is a behavioural change, but not an action – what you do is to STOP another more impulsive action.
Apparently some of us are naturals in waiting, while others are spontaneous by nature. A government that wants to stop people from over spending, has to find ways to make the “live today” crowd to activate their rational brain. It´s hard, since they have the craving and will refuse to simply be told. Just look at the reactions of the Greek population when the politicians tried to stop the crazy spending... You need to find out what their inner voice is saying, and make people convince themselves, to make them replace their emotional reaction with a rational thought.
When reading the ten commands before doing a test you are activating thoughts. The moral compass will consider other people, and the guilt they may feel later on, and you suppress the temptation to cheat. The power lies in that you are not telling people “stop cheating” but rather awakening “I am better than that”.

Reading tips: Emotionomics by Dan Hill and Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. Also check: 

The study of delayed gratification was presented in Newsweek on Nov 7, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Big ideas are NOT born in workshops - this is why

"Evidence has long shown that getting a group of people to think individually about solutions, and then combining their ideas, can be more productive than getting them to think as a group. Some people are afraid of introducing radical ideas in front of a group and don’t speak up; in other cases, the group is either too small or too big to be effective.

But according to a recently published study, the real problem may be that participants’ get stuck on each others’ ideas. On Monday, the British Psychological Society highlighted a recent study by Nicholas Kohn and Steven Smith, two researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington and Texas A&M University. They asked undergraduate students to contribute ideas for improving Texas A&M, both individually and in collective groups. They shared the ideas on a computer, either in small chat groups or alone, but combined together after the fact. As expected, the “nominal” groups, or those made up of individual ideas that were later pulled together, outperformed the real chat groups, both with the number of ideas and the diversity of them.

Kohn and Smith believed the cause might be due to “cognitive fixation,” or the concept that, when exposed to group members’ ideas, people focused on those and blocked other types of ideas from taking hold. They experimented with this by manipulating the number of ideas participants saw in their chat windows, with some getting a few cues and others getting more. Their hypothesis was right: When exposed to many cues, the undergrads offered up less creative, diverse ideas. The numbers improved when the students were given a five-minute break during the exercise."

I´ve seen this happen in focus groups lots of times. A bunch of strangers sit down to discuss a topic, and at the end when you want to film them individually,they say the same thing! They use the same words, phrases, tone of voice. It´s like the group has come up with a united front and nobody can say something unique or honest anymore. Or... perhaps it´s still honest, maybe they have all convinced each other. Hypnotised each other into being like little North Korean children dancing for the leader in unizon.

Ideas get lost on the way. I´ve many times said something in a meeting without getting any response, to five minute later hear the boss say the exact same thing after which everyone go "yeah, wow, awesome". It´s not about the winning idea, it´s about the idea that wins. Different things. An idea can win because of the person who had it, of when it´s raised in the meeting, of whether people have eaten or not - and so on...

Leaders who look for really mindblowing big ideas know this. Reachers looking for truly behavioural changing insights know this. And we act on it too.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ipad + toys = play mat - SO COOL

Digital is not just digital anymore. The real world and the one in our favourite "tech pets" are meeting. Tangible meets intangible.

Here is one lovely example:

Disney AppMATes: The iPad becomes an interactive play mat when paired with this line of sensor-enabled toys and related apps. Disney has just released the first AppMATe, a Cars-themed app equipped with races, games, and scenic roads for aimless discovery. While the app itself is free, the miniature toy cars required for play cost $20 per two-pack. The iPad recognizes each distinct car as a player “drives” it along the screen, triggering unique narratives and unlocking new features for each character. As far as driving apps go, it’s certainly more fun than those available to grown-ups, and it’s not hard to imagine a multitude of other Disney-themed versions. 

News found at trendcentral.com

Human beings are made to sense - not just to see. We can hear, smell, taste and feel and we are meant to. Our hearts pick up information just as our brains do, and when we are left to interpret the world simply through what we see and to some extent hear, we are missing out on something.

When people speak about information overload, I think it is more about information "over scewed". Our subconscious is not getting the data it needs to understand the world, when it´s simply fed with pictures and words. If you really want to build a bond with your market, step out of the computer, ipad, iphone - and touch them as feeling human beings. A digital strategy is fine, as long as it´s matched with an off-line one. You will be rewarded...

I love how the famous digital game Angry Birds is brought to life by T-mobile.

What does the colour of your car say about you? Next trend: eharmony for the car market?

Did you know that your personality makes you choose a certain colour of your car? Or is it the other way around... Hmm. I recently found some interesting data on how you can tell a person´s personality by checking the colour of their car.

According to research from Pantene Color Insitute, CNW Marketing Research and a NZ crash study:

Those who drive black cars are known to be aggressive, and sometimes even dangerous. They like to be seen as super competent drivers and see their car as an extension of their wilder side and assumed great driving abilities. Unfortunately, the driving skills of those operating black vehicles do not always measure up to their supposedly superior abilities.

Those who drive silver automobiles can come across as the cool, calm, James Bond types, but they may appear aloof as well. For reasons unknown, they too are seen as drivers who are dangerous, although not so much as the drivers of black cars.

For some reason yellow has been known in the past as a colour of cowardliness. In car drivers this would be a rare tendency. Most who purposely buy a yellow car are not the cowardly type, they are usually idealistic and may just like the novelty of such a bright sunshine colour; they are normally quite happy with themselves.

How about blue? Blue car drivers will tend to exhibit traits of strength and be a person who is steadfast and loyal. Blue is known as a calming type of colour, and their drivers are the more cautious types who think issues over more before proceeding.

Green is a popular choice nowadays. There are many beautiful variations of greens, from the metallic teals to the emeralds, and all the way to the virtually fluorescents. Drivers of green automobiles may be thought of as individuals that are concerned about the environment but can this colour can also give the impression that a driver may be envious and jealous. While it may be rare there are some that find the color green associated with hysterical types.

White and cream coloured cars show personalities who lean toward purity, cleanliness and innocence. There are drivers of white vehicles that are status seeking, extrovert drivers as well. These car drivers have traits of self-control and independence. They are normally safe drivers.

Red, especially the candy apple reds, really dress up a vehicle. Those colours exhibit energy, zest for life, activity and vitality. In the past red has been seen as a colour for romance, also for devilishness.

The softer side of red is pink. Usually exhibits personality traits of affection, warmth and gentleness. Pink has a psychological tendency to make one less aggressive.

Gray cars indicate coolness, calm and conservative personality traits. They will only rarely bring out strong emotion. Drivers of gray cars like their work and are dedicated to it.

Is this relevant or just quirky? Are people REALLY spending their hard earned dollars on a car of a certain colour just because they are “innocent” or “active”? Should marketers of cars even bother? Is a strategic planner who brings up the issue of colours insane? Lol.

I think all of this is evidence of cars (or shoes, boats or other things we buy to show off) not being a choice of the brain but one of the heart. Fuel-efficiency, size of the engine or other rational, practical traits of a car are of course of importance – but I am a true believer of that people buy brands to build identity. To tell others who they are. To send the world a signal. “This is ME and I belong to THIS tribe”.

Which means car makers need to have deep understanding of themselves before building their brand strategy. When you know what your brand will bring out in people, you know what kind of people who will see you as a perfect match, who will find that your car feels so comfortable and “right”. Like eharmony for cars and car buyers; the online dating site uses personality tests to find The One - perhaps cars should do the same...

Colour is just one of many factors, and I don´t suggest car marketing managers should go to their boss and say “Hey, let´s only make silver coloured cars!”, but don´t laugh or call the research flippant. This is more important than you think.

The beautiful grass car in the picture is a marketing stunt to celebrate Sony’s commitment to offsetting carbon emissions caused by their corporate travel, they created a living breathing grass car and parked it around various public locations in Sydney, Australia.

Thanks to (your online source of auto insurance, you can get a free quote then proceed all the way through purchasing and printing your policy at the convenience of your desk.) for info. :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

This is why you fail in love (or branding)

Hey, It is Friday, and a very special one. It is 11-11-11 day!! Not sure what it would mean but it sure sounds like it is a "fresh start day", right?

This is why I today skip writing about trends, advertising, branding, marketing or PR, and instead give you some love advice from my charity. Enjoy, spread the word, click "Like" :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Love this idea: Work out and cinema in one! What health brand will do this first?

Cycle-In Cinema: Take a drive-in movie theatre, replace the cars with bikes, and you have UK educational nonprofit Magnificent Revolution’s Cycle-In Cinema. Attendees simply ride to a screening, hook their wheels up to the on-site generators and start pedaling. All of the electricity needed to project the film comes from the kinetic power created by the riders. To ensure that the noise of pedaling doesn’t interfere with movie dialogue, the audio is disseminated through a wireless transmitter and can be played via a mobile phone or FM radio. Overall, this does seem like a far more entertaining way to marry fitness and content than watching whatever’s on the tube at the gym. (trend spotted by

I love new innovations like this. Take a concept - movies - that normally includes naughty treats and guilt, and turn it around to become a way to make exercise more fun. Why has nobody thought about this before?

Another brilliant new campaign is Subways´ "Keep up the good work". Solid strategy and insights on how it feels to be a human being today, getting drawn in all sorts of tempting directions by fast-food chains, chocolate sales, cozy bars... Instead of saying "our sandwiches are healthy, fatfree or have x calories", the headline "Keep up the good work". It puts the light on the consumer, instead of the product. It rewards, instead of adding a "must". It signals joy instead of burdens.

Most campaigns about health are judgmental, aren´t they? There seems to be a lack of understanding of why people choose to eat rubbish food and drink wine. I believe people who work with health - personal trainers, nutritionists or cancer doctors - are so into their own fitness they have forgot how it is to be normal. To them it´s gross to eat chocolate almonds as a replacement for dinner. To them it´s awful to be hungover on a Wednesday morning, not being up to CARPE DIEM. It´s a little black and white... 

Subway AustraliaMost people do a little of both. Some mornings you go for a jog and feel like entering City to Surf. Some days you pig out and all those fat free products stare you in the face, judging you. 

I believe the wrong people market most health products. The people starting a weight loss program are not the once who needs it. Those paying for an anti-drug advertising or marketing campaign are not the users. Girls working in botox salons are most times 22 and think they are immune against wrinkles. 

They will never understand. 

When you wish to change a behaviour as complex as addictions - mental or physical - you have to step out of your own logic. Into theirs. Into what they don´t even know about themselves. That´s where you find the eureka moment that will lead to a campaign that touches the heart.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Is social media the cure for depression - or are we just faking all those smiles, all that OMG I LOVE YOU?

I listened to CMO of Deloitte David Redhill last night at a Dow Jones event, and he told us how their internal communication strategy had successfully used blogs to connect people within the company, and how twitter had helped them in their branding. He showed us several tweets from people who “loved their job”, and he told us how they all collaborated through microblogging and how Deloitte had found the perfect talent within minutes after posting a vacancy online. Hallelujah!  
It makes me wonder how the culture changes when everyone is “forced” to be positive? I say “forced” because of course, staff of Deloitte won´t whinge about low salaries, horrible bosses or workload in public, for their CEO to see. They will more likely tell the world how much they love their job – perhaps in order to please their boss, get a pay rise or make people feel they are Happiness Rich.
I believe happiness is a status symbol today, maybe more so than money. Everyone in the Western world has money, right? But being “happy”? In a society so overwhelmed by choices we are more depressed than ever. So the happiest person wins our admiration. We like happy smiling people; it kind of rubs off.
Social media has changed the way we talk and see life. On Facebook, everyone is so cheerful, so excited about the trips they go to, the views they see or the parties they attend. Our social life on social media is hyper happy.  Nobody posts a photo of themselves on a bad hair day, crying, feeling lonely in front of the telly. No!!! Those photos are quickly deleted – in our head too – and the future generation will see the social media era as the happiest ever. “Wow, they were always smiling, looking stunning, sipping wine on holidays!!!” Nostalgic people will forever look at 2000-2020 as the place to be!
On Twitter, most posts are hunky dory, la-la-la. And when you tweet on your employer´s own site, there is very little chance you will be open about anything that is negative or critical. You might lose your job, and people will find you annoying.
This leads to an interesting question:
-          Is social media making people fake a reality that is hidden underneath?
-          Or is reality changing when we only put the light on the good things in our lives?
Are we suppressing unhappiness or is it vanishing? Is always “pretending” to be happy actually making us feel genuinely better?
Studies have found that we think a wine taste better if we believe it is expensive. We buy more expensive items on a menu if classical music is played in the background. And if we get cuddled, oxytocin is unleashed in our body, our long term memory improves and our urge to shop reduces. Odd, but hey it´s science!
This means there is no “truth”, no objectivity. It´s all in the eye of the beholder. People constantly change. We transform when dancing with circumstances. We mould into the environment like chameleons. We try to fit in, and we do this both consciously and subconsciously.
This is why I believe that when we “fake” being happy, our brain gets so used to being happy and focused on the light events worth tweeting about and posting on Facebook, that we actually get better at being happy.
Happiness is a choice. You can look at any situation from several angles and perceive it differently. For example, you can smash your car and be upset about the car getting damaged – or you can thank God for not being dead. You can walk through any day and see the lovely tasting lunch, the sun, the smiling bus driver – or you can put your head down and worry about the mortgage. It´s up to you! And as with any other muscle, your happiness muscle gets stronger when it´s used.  
I wonder if social media is the ultimate cure for depression? I wonder if Deloitte´s staff is hiding their agony elsewhere, perhaps shouting at their spouses, or if they suddenly say “OMG, I LOVE life”? Is the “Happiness rich” person happy for real – or is she just tweeting?
What do you think?
Some information about social media and brands:
Consumers are spending more time than ever using social media, as demonstrated in the Social Media Report recently published by Nielsen and NM Incite, a Nielsen/McKinsey company.
- 60 percent of consumers researching products through multiple online sources learned about a specific brand or retailer through social networking sites.
- Active social media users are more likely to read product reviews online, and 3 out of 5 create their own reviews of products and services.
- Women are more likely than men to tell others about products that they like (81% of females vs. 72% of males).
- Among those who share their brand experiences through social media, at least 41 percent say they do so to receive discounts.
- When researching products, social media users are likely to trust the recommendations of their friends and family most, and results from Nielsen’s Global Online Survey indicate that 2 out of 3 respondents said they were either highly or somewhat influenced by advertising with a social context.
- 58 percent of social media users say they write product reviews to protect others from bad experiences, and nearly 1 in 4 say they share their negative experiences to “punish companies”.
- 42 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds acknowledging that they expect customer support within 12 hours of a complaint.
- A majority of active social networkers (53%) follow brands.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How to create positive memories of your brand

This fact is hugely interesting for people who create any kind of message to influence others:
What we remember about the pleasurable quality of our past experiences is almost entirely determined by two things: how the experience felt when it was at its peak and how it felt when it ended. (Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize winning psychologist)
Hence, if you wish to make people like you or listen to what you have to say, focus on TWO things.
1.       Create a big WOW moment in your message
2.       End with something pleasant, like a compliment, a nice word, a greeting.
If you want to inform about something negative, make sure your message is presented in a plain way, entwined in other facts, so you avoid a peak, or make the peak as weak as possible. Also make sure to be pleasant in the end.
Thanks for reading, have a lovely day... :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Is our civilisation going under? Many signs of it for sure...

Once again, people are getting seriously concerned about their finances. The latest G20 meeting certainly put the light on what many would have preferred kept in the dark...
There are many signs - big and small - of something huge happening. Here are some of them:
1. Global online consumer confidence fell for the seventh consecutive quarter as confidence in 31 of 56 global markets measured declined, according to third quarter global online consumer confidence findings from Nielsen.
“A recessionary mindset is growing among consumers as more than half say they are currently in a recession—up four percentage points from last quarter and seven points from the start of the year. The result is continued spending restraint for discretionary expenses, which is expected to continue into the next year.”
In the latest round of the survey, conducted August - September 2011, the economy re-emerged as the top concern among 18 percent of online consumers around the globe. The economy last topped concerns in Q4 2010, before it was replaced by worries over increasing food prices in the first half of this year. Job security follows close behind for 14 percent of consumers, rising five percentage points from three months ago. Managing a work/life balance, increasing food prices and concerns about health round out the top five most stressful issues for respondents.
2. Smaller packages. An interesting fact is that the advice normally given about retail in developing countries – to make the packages smaller because people can´t afford to buy a lot at once, even if it´s “3 for 2” – is now becoming the way the west shops too.
3. We are not impulse shopping anymore. Businessweek reports that impulse shopping is on the decline. More people are doing their research online before leaving home, rather than browsing the shelves to find what they want. Less time spent browsing means those unplanned purchases are less likely to happen.
4. Look at your savings account!!!
So should we be seriously worried, or is this just a little dip? We don´t know yet. I don´t want to be negative, but I read an interesting article in Newsweek, where Niall Fergusson pointed out that most big civilizations have broken down quickly. “Here yesterday, gone today”
  •  “In the space of a generation, the vast imperial metropolis of Rome fell into despair”
  •   ”The Ming dynasty´s rule of Chine also fell apart with extraordinary speed in the mid-17th century.
  •  “A more recent and familiar example is the collapse of the Soviet Union.”
  •  “The postcolonial dictatorships of North Africa and the Middle East imploded this year”
Fergusson says "What all these collapsed powers have in common is that the complex social systems that underpinned them suddenly ceased to function. One minute rulers had legitimacy in the eyes of their people; the next day they didn´t."

Friday, November 4, 2011

In branding the small things are the big things

It´s the little things that are the small things.
TVC, brand DNA, fancy reports on what you wish to achieve are BAH if you don´t get the details right.

Like... travelling is nice, but when the shuttle bus company claims you should have been there five minutes before the time you agreed on the day before, and you need to take a taxi instead - with a driver who is talking constantly, smelling bad and adding a few dollars on the meter, "travelling" is suddenly not as enjoyable.

Or when you order the fancy options at McDonalds and they are packaged without the wrap paper, hence all the grease and onion and burger is falling out in your lap and you look like a pig, it doesn´t matter how many TV ads telling me it´s fancy. I don´t look fancy!!

Details count. A brand is not really owned by the trademark, the product, the CEO. It´s common goods, and whoever comes across it creates it. Detail by detail. All a brand manager can do is to carefully craft a brand from inside and out, checking the bits and pieces, making it smooth and likeable. Be authentic. Be what you are.

No shiny logo magic can save a company that is not performing. No PR consultant can successfully sell someone who is a dickhead. It will be revealed in the end...

So what to do? I suggest you write a list of all your brands touch points, and review them. Feel them, touch, smell, look from different angles. Pretend you are your customers experiencing the brand, eating the food, being in their moment. You are not in control of that from your workshop with the ad agency - in the real world people Occupy Brands.

I´m at Sydney international airport right now and the generous is supporting this blog with free wi-fi. Thank you!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Why the mix of female and male energies leads to powerful marketing campaigns

Are women annoying to men in the workplace?
Yesterday I had a brief discussion with a guy on twitter who was asking why women apologize without having done anything wrong. I replied that it may be because women tend to seek harmony and balance, and when “apologizing” we are actually checking what others are thinking, making room for their opinion, kind of saying “it´s ok if you think differently from me”. For women this creates a safe environment for ideas to grow and emotions to be shared.
Another reason to why we don´t shout out our opinion is that we consider nuances and grey zones. We see the details and the emotional complexity, and when a male culture wishes to shorten and sharpen, we see the benefit of telling a story and kind of sending an energy message rather than a headline.
It can sometimes be annoying! I´ve been sitting through endless of hens party planning meetings, where nobody dares to put down the foot and decide; instead everyone says “no, whatever you want”. Among friends we don´t want to be the bitch who is too dominant and pushy. It creates a lovely atmosphere, but can at times be challenging, since you spend so much time pottering around an issue without solving it.
We are different, and we also get judged differently.
Victoria Brescoll and Eric Uhlmann at Northwestern University did three separate studies in 2008 that showed how people accept and even reward men who get angry but view women who lose their temper as less competent.
In all studies, both men and women were shown videos of actors portraying men and women who were ostensibly applying for a job. The participants in the studies were then asked to rate applicants on how much responsibility they should be given, their perceived competence, whether they should be hired, and how much they should get paid.
Both men and women in the reached the same conclusions: Angry men deserved more status, a higher salary, and were expected to be better at the job than angry women.
Source: Psychological Science 19: 268-275 (March 2008)
Men and women can´t behave in the same way and get the same response. A woman who acts “against her nature” will be punished. But the frustrating part is that she can´t be who she is either. When soft and feminine she is often considered weak and blurry. 
In advertising we often work with “creative briefs”. The planner interprets the brief from the client, figuring out what the brand is all about and how it fits into the target´s life, where it can serve and give value. Then (at least in Australia) the strategic planner pens down thoughts on insights, trends and ideas on a one-pager (preferably) and hand this over to the art director and copywriter who interpret this brief and create magic out of it. Tadaaaa!
This way may work for men. But to me with my female brain it´s ridiculous!! Planners spend days reducing their truckloads of research and findings into a concentrated form, fine tuning their briefs into as few words as possible – the Correct Words. Instead of being inspiring, telling stories, giving the creatives a feeling, we are supposed to find the Correct Words that will then turn into a winner in Cannes. Lots get lost.
In Europe this is the old way of working. Today you need to team work, to connect on an emotional level rather than with The Correct Words, and it´s so obvious people are much more complicated than we can ever imagine, that the one-page brief instead is presented as a story – you know like those mind capturing ones that you listen to and leave with a revelation... Aha!! They might be longer than an A4 page, but far more powerful, landing softly deep in our heart.
Men might find it annoying when a women is not “to the point” because he is trained in his peer group to find the Correct Word. A woman find him annoying because she is trained to be softer in her advice, more flexible and open minded. 
I think advertising must move in a female direction. When people no longer believe in authorities you can´t sell slogans, since they are like orders. We must be novelists rather than non-fiction journos.
Mandela is one of the greatest story tellers, which made him a natural leader. 
From the book “Conversations with myself”:
“ In real life we deal not with gods, but with ordinary humans like ourselves; men and women who are full of contradictions, who are stable and fickle, strong and weak, famous and infamous, people in whose bloodstream the muckworm battles daily with potent pesticides.”
“On which aspect one concentrates in judging others will depend on the character of the particular judge. As we judge others so we are judged by others. The suspicious will always be tormented by suspicion, the credulous will ever be ready to lap up everything from those taking advantage of the vulnerable. The vindictive will use the sharp axe instead of the soft feather-duster. But the realist, however shocked and disappointed by the frailties of those he adores, will look at human behaviour from all sides objectively and will concentrate on those qualities in a person that are edifying, which lift your spirit and kindle one´s enthusiasm to live.” 
Don´t judge each other - bring out the best in all. There is no wrong or right, just bits and pieces of both, and when management mixes and matches between the male and female we will get powerful campaigns.
Pst... In this blog post I generalize a lot... I´m male some days too :) I´m sorry if I annoyed you (hahaha...)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Why LG´s event at Bondi Beach today was so plain

As a strategist it can sometimes be an awful experience to see ideas and insights turn into something average – or just awful... That hard working strategic planners have to see their initial thinking develop into a boring campaign is a risk, especially as a freelance, and especially here in Australia when the process is linear – the planner starts, hand over to the creatives and then it goes to the suits – instead of circular – when everyone is closely involved from start to finish, adding their special flavour to the mix. In a linear process the planner has very little to say about the execution.
I just witnessed a disaster and I am sure the planner behind was doing all things right, but the result was still far from ok.
During lunch I went down to Bondi Beach to have a look at an event that LG had promoted on Facebook.
Today Hayden Quinn from Masterchef will be hosting our Life's Good moment winner, Linda Hayward's BBQ outing at Bondi Beach Pavilion, Bondi Beach. If you're in the area, please come and check it out.”

The event time was 12-14 so I walked down at 1 pm, thinking I could learn something about creating experiential campaigns. When googling I found that the event had gotten lots of media coverage, so I expected it to be successful and inspiring.
It was not. I arrived at 1 pm and there is a handful of people sitting around the chefs, so I tried to walk into the little tent to see what was going on. I got stopped immediately by a couple of promotional staff who wondered if I was from the client? I said no. They then told me the event started at 1.30 and I was welcome back then.
HUH??? Why would you advertise an event 12-14 if I´m not allowed to enter until 1.30? There was no one there, and seriously... on a Wednesday around lunch time all you find down Bondi is Chinese tourists and students – everyone who can afford LG are at work!
I thought I was saving the event from the embarrassment of being a complete failure with nobody in the audience, but I instead I was the one who got humiliated when accused of trying to crash the party.
I´ve many times laid out complex strategies and built up ideas with digital components, all sorts of clever marketing details and strict guidelines on how it´s supposed to be executed to fit the brand DNA, just to find the client or the agency have cut the budget, and turned the holistic thinking into nothing. It´s frustrating! When you freelance you can´t be in complete control and inspire all the way. But seeing promotional staff lazing around handing out freebies without being properly trained in brand values, teasing with “free” instead of emotional values, makes me sometimes want to cry or change jobs.
I went back home after being rejected, and I really hope there was more people coming on the appropriate time. I still want them to succeed.
It is really important that the key influencer and creators of a brand are present all the way. Don´t expect those at the far end of the chain to get the brand strategy, the deep values, the emotional message we are trying to send. Don´t let all the work get wasted by not controlling the process from start to finish. It´s easily turned into a chinese whisper, so be firm. Hold tight. And think in circles or spirals. Don´t plan a campaign as if it was a factory from the industrial era.