Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Allianz and P&O Cruises both say AAAAAA - Ooooooops

Yesterday I spotted a new TVC from P&O Cruises where a girl simply says "aaaaaa" during the whole 30 sec, in response to all the choices she has at the cruise ship. The ad is kind of cute, and the "aaaa" sticks out and creates interest, but when played during the same period as the ad from insurance company Allianz is showing people saying "aaaaaa" in response to disasters in their life, the P&O Cruises ad loses its appeal. Anyone who has seen the Allianz TV ad will think the girl on the cruise ship is in deep trouble... Unfortunately I can´t find the cruise ship ad online, but here is the insurance one:


Flat hair and Lady Gagais make up - Latest looks from trendcentral

Trendcentral reports about the latest looks. It seems like hair styling brands have a tough future ahead. I´ve seen the messy, un-styled hair in hyper trendy Bondi beach for a few years but now the street trends are moving up on the ladder and that will hit the hair color market. Make up brands on the other hand can expect a bright few years ahead. Lady Gaga has shifted the way we look at face decorations, and it´s getting more playful and odd. This is what writes: 

Cat’s Meow: The cat eye—that thin flick of black at the corner of the lid—first appeared on spring ’12 runways. It’s returned for fall, but with a twist: the brighter and more outrageous the color, the better. At Anna Sui, the winged lines were cobalt blue; at 3.1 Phillip Lim, red; at VPL, chartreuse; at Narciso Rodriguez, orange. Those who did stick with black took a deconstructed approach. There was just an inky smudge on the outer edges of the eyes at Erdem, making it look like the liner was floating. Mary Katrantzou and Altuzarra also showed a disjointed cat eye, with the geometric lines on both sides of the lid.

The Skinny: If the 2000s were the decade of big hair—think Amy Winehouse and Snooki—then the 2010s may be the era of follicle deflation. In New York, the downtown labels went low-key. At Rag & Bone, Altuzarra, Alexander Wang, and Proenza Schouler, the keyword was “real girl,” with models looking like they didn’t bother getting their tresses styled beforehand. Instead of the usual aggressively sleek ’dos, Cushnie et Ochs paired toned-down, center-parted waves with sexy dresses. Similarly, at Christopher Kane, texture replaced volume. Paul Hanlon, the stylist at Proenza Schouler, described it as “skinny hair,” pointing to Kate Moss—the icon of the decade before big hair—as his inspiration.
Read this online at

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Why we love our carousel life - believing we are steering

I love reading the daily horoscope from Jonathan Cainer. Not because I really think the stars are influencing my day, but because he has such an interesting way of expressing deep insights. Like today:

"My young grandchildren have a favourite theme park ride. They each get to sit in a little car with a steering wheel to turn and a horn to honk. They feel as if they are in control of their vehicle. Only they aren't, of course. The whole thing is being pulled along a track. For them, ignorance is bliss." 


From time to time you meet people who believe they are in control. They say they would never follow the norm; NO, they are their own boss and do what they choose. 

Sigh. Living in a culture is living in chains. It´s having to adapt. It´s being influenced. It´s to follow. 

You can most likely decide on the level, the degree, the amount of freedom you want and dare to have within the cultural prison - but only really brave and probably very nutty people do exactly what they please. Would we even be able to have a unique individual "want" after being brought up surrounded by others? 

Some break out of the normality peak on the Bell curve and become punk rockers or hippies - but they too find their tribe, their own track with little cars and fake steering wheels. Others start companies instead of being employed. And there are people who by nature question everything (and I´m most likely one of them - which is a bit of a burden I must admit). 

But most people like to sit in the little car with a steering wheel to turn and a horn to honk. A life with the others, honking along - because is bliss. Ignorant? Hell yeah. But bliss. 

I envy them. 

For us as marketers it´s important to understand that most people we market to are travelling around life in little cars along a track, with no need to get out. And to still respect them (us). Their (our) needs are to fit in, to be loved, to be normal. Don´t frown upon that. Love. Always love.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Sometimes life seems challenging. Small things are big things. You lose a pitch or get rejected by a boy. You get stuck in traffic or your son asks you for money again. You can´t get a job or you have a pimple. Small things stir up our feelings, our fears, our insecurities. But every time it happens, I try to remember the poem Invictus that gave Nelson Mandela hope during all those years. 

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul. 

William Ernest Henley

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The prettiest Lego is not perfect according to adults

PSFK presented in their newsletter today this glorious building: 

Church Built Out Of Giant LEGO Blocks [Video]


(By Yi Chen)
The Abondantus Gigantus was a temporary chapel constructed last year as part of the Grenswerk Festival in Enschede, Netherlands. The church could be mistaken for a children’s playhouse as it’s built using colorful construction bricks that resemble toy LEGO blocks. The concrete building material is Legioblock, which is often used to build walls and industrial buildings. These concrete blocks can be interconnected and stacked on top of each other just like the toy building blocks.
Designers Michiel de Wit and Filip Jonker commented that, “The odd scale of the church invites the viewer to become aware of the things we take for granted and to observe them once again, more closely, and to either let go or accept. The church appeals to sentiments for renewed sense of community.”
Watch the video below to see how the 65-foot toy-like chapel was constructed:"

You can build magnificent things out of Lego, but for kids it´s probably more fun to simply use their imagination and build the buildings of their dreams, whether they look like something real or not. I love this ad (someone says it is from 1981, when girls did not have to look like princesses...): 

Talking of princesses, Sweden got a new one delivered the other day :) Her name is Estelle and she is the result of our crown princess Victoria marrying her personal trainer! 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Street ads in Bondi Beach

Sometimes the best, most creative marketing is not the ads that too endless meetings and millions of dollars to produce, but those little ideas, those small gestures. These are two funny cultural observations I made in Bondi Beach:

People are superstitious because they are lazy? How does this affect your marketing strategy?

Now you might think I´m a freak, haha, but last night I went to a spiritual meeting to participate in a “sacred ceremony to cut energetic cords from past relationships”. The meeting was held by a lady I met a few years back at a conference, so I thought I´d test it out. Why not? :)

We were asked to put a sparkling thing on the table during the session, and this item would then be “blessed” by the angels entering the room during meditation. I have a glittery cover for my iphone so I put it there to be infused with good luck and energy from the sky (or something...). Whatever comes into my phone is now a “sign”.

You might laugh, but these things are used by many to make decisions in life; a lot of people are superstitious; a huge bunch of us don´t just rely on facts and data but on star signs and mystery.

I believe this is closely connected to the psychologist Daniel Kahneman´s theories on intuition, and that our mind by default is trying to take shortcuts to avoid spending energy finding out facts. When the brain knows too much it´s harder to make a confident decision; the less you need to consider, the more sure you can feel, which is comforting – so you prefer to be lazy and uninformed, and to base your opinions on random feelings instead of facts. Superstition is the easy way out. No information gathering needed – just throw a coin or consult your horoscope!

According to a study in New Woman from 2006, 6 out of 10 Australians can’t start their day without checking their star sign. 6 out of 10 Australians know the star sign of their pet, and 35 % of NSW readers check their horoscope before having sex with a new partner. Time magazine wrote around the same time that 1 in 5 British adults regularly throw coins into wishing wells and fountains.

Richard Wiseman, the British psychologist and author of Quirkology and Luck Factor, has studied superstition, and the results of his research is not uplifting for me and my blessed phone... These are his words:

“In 1996, the Gallup Organization asked 1,000 Americans whether they were superstitious. 53 percent of people said that they were at least a little superstitious, and 25 percent admitted to being somewhat or very superstitious. Another survey revealed that 72 percent of the public said that they possessed at least one good luck charm.

Superstitious beliefs and behaviors have been passed down from generation to generation. Our parents told us about them and we will pass them on to our children. But why do they persist? I believe that the answer lies in the power of luck. Throughout history, people have recognized that good and bad luck can transform lives. A few seconds of ill fortune can lay waste years of striving, and moments of good luck can save an enormous amount of hard work. Superstition represents people’s attempts to control and enhance this most elusive of factors. And the enduring nature of these superstitions beliefs and behaviors reflects the extent of people’s desire to find ways of increasing their good luck. In short, superstitions were created, and have survived, because they promise that most elusive of holy grails – a way of enhancing good fortune. There is just one problem. Superstition doesn’t work. 

Several researchers have also tested the validity of these age-old beliefs and found them wanting. My favorite experiment into the topic was a rather strange study conducted by high school student (and member of the New York Skeptics) Mark Levin. In some countries, a black cat crossing your path is seen as lucky, in other countries it is seen as unlucky. Levin wanted to discover whether people’s luck really changed when a black cat crossed their path. To find out, he asked two people to try their luck at a simple coin tossing game. Next, a black cat was encouraged to walk across their path, and the participants then played the coin tossing game a second time. As a “control” condition, 

Levin also repeated the experiment using a white, rather than a black, cat. After much coin tossing and cat crossing, Levin concluded that neither the black or white cat had any effect on participants’ luck. Also, skeptics have regularly staged events in which they have broken well-known superstitions, such as walking under ladders and smashing mirrors – all have survived the ordeals intact. 

A few years ago I decided to put the power of lucky charms to the test by empirically evaluating the actual effect that they have on people’s luck, lives, and happiness. I asked a group of volunteers to complete various standardized questionnaires measuring their levels of life satisfaction, happiness, and luck. Next, they were asked to carry a lucky charm with them and to monitor the effect that it had on their lives. The charms had been purchased from a New Age center and promised to enhance good fortune, wealth, and happiness. After a few weeks everyone in the group was asked to indicate the effect that the charms had had on their lives. Overall, there was absolutely no effect in terms of how satisfied they were with their lives, how happy they were, or how lucky they felt. Interestingly, a few participants thought that they had been especially unlucky, and seemed somewhat relieved that they could now return the charms.” 

What do you think? How can this change the way you work today? Is your brain lazy too? Can you adapt to your target audience´s superstitious minds?

I believe in healthy intuition, based on research. When you have stored a lot of data in your brain, your feelings (or psychic gift) can help you analyse this and draw conclusions beyond logic. If there are only a few random bits and pieces in your information bank, the conclusions will be incorrect, but if you have done your homework, a bit of mystery can help you trust your instincts.

I will curiously observe my phone today. What kind of "signs" will come...? Move to Sweden? London? Stay in Sydney? Write another book? Leave it all and get a job in a café? Dear phone, suprise me! lol

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Love advice for brands: If you want to get married - don´t dress for a one night stand.

The classic purchase funnel goes: awareness, opinion, consideration, purchase, loyalty (and then back again I guess...) My version is based on another area of life, close to our heart, to illustrate that the relationship between a successful brand and consumer is really like a Relationship. Not a brief encounter, not a fling, not a long-distance relationship.

Sometimes you come across brand managers whose ultimate goal is "awareness". Or, nowadays in the time of social media, marketing directors also ask you to increase the numbers of Facebook Likes, which they often call "involvement", but is mainly a way to measure awareness...

If you were looking for a boyfriend and all you wanted was to catch their eye you could simply wear a very short skirt or a deep cleavage - even if this would most likely be contra productive...

Hmm. It always upsets me when brands ask for so little, and I would never settle with giving them "awareness". In reality, anyone can easily make people aware. Just do really weird stuff:

If you saw these people, you would be aware of them, wouldn´t you? But would you fancy them? Would you go out with them? Would you marry them? I´m sure they are all awesome and very likeable, but I´m sure you get the point... To only ask the agency to create "awareness" is to ask for scrubs.

You want consumers to like you long term. You want them to have a clear image in their head of what you stand for and what you can offer them. You want the money spent on a campaign today to generate sales a year ahead. You want more!

I know it´s tough times and all companies want quick results, and sometimes the brand manager is only there temporarily and wish to shine with an awareness campaign that leads to a quick sales peak - and nobody is really there to see what happened in 6 month or 12. Too far away - let the next brand manager take that ball...

But I´m just saying... If all you want to be happily married, don´t aim for a one night stand.

What to shop for next - knit, leather and black/blue

From who has been at the NY fashion week. 
"While some attendees grumbled about boring shows and uninspired collections, a trove of unusually wearable clothes were on display for fall 2012 at New York Fashion Week. Call it the Kate Middleton effect, but no longer are designers catering to just their most cutting-edge customers. Instead, anyone with a cable knit or a closet stocked with leather can join in.

Closely Knit: Despite this year’s mild winter, designers didn’t shy away from featuring snow-ready wares. Indeed, it was the humble cable knit sweater that provided the biggest surprise during New York Fashion Week. Derek Lam paired his with red carpet-worthy skirts, dressing up the traditionally dowdy wardrobe staple, while Yigal Azrouël’s exaggerated knit links and chains were used to create discreet cut-outs (and, perhaps a bit of circulation should it get too hot). At 3.1 Phillip Lim, the sweater was worn upside down, and seemingly inside-out, adding a post-modernist twist. But few designers paid homage to the iconic pattern like Tommy Hilfiger, who showed a trompe l’oeil cable knit dress.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dolce & Gangbanga - PLEASE adland, stop creating a crap culture

This ad is... absolutely out of line! I saw it for the first time today but I think it is from early last year sometime.

Please adland, can we NOT make these kind of ads?? We have a responsibility. Ads are still making impact of the culture, even if everything is about consumers making the content and engaging with online ads and apps nowadays. Print ads are still all over the mags and consumed, watched and they are forming values.

Please adland.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Move your body to think - Daniel Kahneman gives us they key to the consumer´s heart

Daniel Kahneman writes in his “Thinking, fast and slow” about the fascinating concept of “associative activation”:

"Ideas that have been evoked trigger many other ideas. Each element in the brain is connected, and they support and strengthen each other. A word can evoke memories, which evoke emotions, which in turn evoke facial expressions and other reactions like general tensing up or avoidance tendency. These reactions intensify the feelings to which they are linked, and the emotion in turn reinforces compatible ideas. All this happens quickly and at once, yielding a self-reinforcing pattern of cognitive, emotional and physical responses that is both diverse and integrated."  

This explains why you can smile to be happy or “fake it til you make it”. If you when going into a meeting feel a little nervous, the worst you can do is to give in to that idea and think “I´m nervous, OMG my body is shaking”, because this will only make you more nervous! Instead you should tell your body and mind “I´m confident. I´m good at what I do and have prepared myself well. They will adore me.” You should also make sure you stand straight and balanced, walk with energy and shake hands with strength, looking into people´s eyes. Just by doing this, you will also become more confident, because your brain will believe your lies. It´s easily tricked, your brain... :)

This also explains the power of affirmations, visualisations, positive thinking, of spending more time on solutions than problems and why girls who think “All men are bastards” only meet bastards! We attract what is in our heads; the world is a mirror.

To a marketing strategist this phenomenon is interesting in terms of how you can make people more friendly towards your brands by evoking the right type of memories within. Ask a question that will make them think “yes” and nod their heads and this will open a channel to their brain for the second question: “Would you like to buy _________?” Show pictures in your ads that will awaken strong feelings evoking other positive memories and feelings, that will strengthen the emotional state the consumer is when watching.

Involve and engage through apps or experiential campaigns that puts their bodies in a wanted state, where people are receptive to you. Let them play silly games and feel like children if you sell something that is a “treat”. Let them do puzzles or learn new things if you want them to trust you and purchase bank services or insurance.

It is fascinating how easy it is to be happy. And how great we are at making ourselves worried or sad. So many waste time and energy fretting and calculating, stressing and thinking they are useless. Deep down it is a cry for help, but what happens is that the more you dwell on your flaws and the injustice of life, the worst it will get. You will be a problem magnet.

Or a happiness magnet...

Fake it til you make it, and help your target audience to do so as well. It will increase bottom lines and help you smile!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Why strategic planners are annoying - Kahneman says your brain is lazy

There are several different types of planners, and to describe myself I often use “intuitive”, which for me means I “see” things, I´m good at finding the most important parts in a huge amount of material, and “see” how facts and factors from various worlds can be merged to lift marketing. I “read” people and situations. But I should really use the word “intuitive” with care.

After I´ve started reading Nobel Leureate in economics Daniel Kahneman´s fabulous book “Thinking, fast and slow” I´ve understood that “intuition” can simply be another word for “lazy thinking”. Ooops.

In the book, Kahneman describes how we have two thought systems, one intuitive and one rational (or as we could say: we think with either the heart or the brain). The intuitive system reacts immediately – based on what it knows – and the rational system starts gathering more data to make sure it has what it needs to make a decision. One system thinks fast, the other slow.

According to Kahneman, they are both lazy though... Humans are always trying to take shortcuts, to base our opinions on what comes most easy. But this will mess up our judgements and make us walk in the wrong direction. When we don´t have time (or are hungry), the brain – both the emotional and the rational brain – will try to find quick answers, and in that process make rapid assumptions based on previous learnings, however small the number of experiences is.

To me, this explains why we have so many great marketing campaigns for young people. Most marketers are lazy –because they are time-poor and stressed to come up with something fabulous in seconds. But when young people market to young people they don´t need to do that much research; they have an intuitive understanding already. When those young people have to market to older people though... Perhaps not so good to just turn to your “gut feeling”. I´ve so many times seen first meetings about a pitch for a product targeting Gen X or baby boomers turn into some kind of focus group where all sorts of Gen Y´s are venting their own feelings about the brand. So wrong!!!

Intuition works well when it´s based on a solid ground of knowledge. When you read, absorb, study and are curious about life, and when you have a little bit of life experience, you are more likely to come up with something amazing based on instinct. This is why really great marketers have interests and passions outside work, and hang out with people who don´t work in advertising (spooky, I know, haha).

Make sure you gather impressions from various worlds though. If you are really into art, your “instinct” will always attract you to arty ideas, and if you are hanging out with Northern Beaches girls you will think everyone will react, act, feel, think and be like them. Your subconscious is no Oracle, it is not the almighty God who knows everything about everything. Your brain only absorbs whatever information you have filled yourself with and judges in order with that. Don´t think “gut feeling” is a higher Truth. It´s just your lazy automatic response, the one your brain uses to get away from the challenging task as quickly as possible to keep drinking cocktails in the sun.

Kahneman writes that the brain feels more comfortable the less it knows. When it has too much to digest and consider it will freak out and feel confused, less eager to “run with an idea”. This is why many creative people and suits think I am a little annoying J What a planner do is bringing in wisdom, facts, insights and thoughts. I see things from several angles, I stretch the thinking, I turn it all upside down in the end to see if the ideas can handle it. Sure, I will present patterns and give directions, but I like to inspire all with a big variety of data instead of just giving a one page brief (which I believe only amplifies the lazy mind set). But getting lots can be overwhelming... Sigh. I´m a “thought sparker”, and what Kahneman tells us is that having too many thought in our head is exhausting. Hence a meeting with a strategist can irritate, because it challenges...

I know it would be easier to come up with something fun based on those first intuitive thoughts, but hold your horses! Those who have been around for a while and are heavy consumers of all sorts of information, who meets various types of people, are more likely to answer a pitch in a day and win, because they have a strong base to build intuitive ideas on. Those who are rookies should put some work into research before they get into the ideas generation phase. Anything else will be arrogant.

What is your challenge today? Talk to someone random, someone older or younger? Read a magazine about a topic that does not interest you? Open the newspaper? See an exhibition? Travel to another suburb? Put your lazy thinking and your comfort zone at risk. Time to step up!

I still wish to be "intuitive", but make sure I´m not simply lazy :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Men rule at Cannes Lion 2012

I got an email from Cannes Lion this morning, announcing new world class speakers to present on those massive stages in the south of France in June.

Nine new faces were to tell their stories. All of them men. SIGH. What is wrong with this industry? Are only guys doing and thinking things worthy being spread?

I don´t think the decision to let another nine dudes step up in the spotlight is a plot against women; it is simply a consequence of people not considering how limited our thinking is, and how trained we are in seeing men as "better" and how we instinctively judge individuals based on what box we believe they belong in. Our culture supports men, and both men and women are to blame. We all base our opinions on silly things like tone of voice, how tall someone is or what a person is wearing. This is the root to racism and unfair treatments of humans all over the world, all through history. We put each other in boxes and make quick and lazy assumptions based on fluff.

The fact that all nine new speakers are male is not a conspiracy. But intelligent people with understanding of the power of influence and how subconscious feelings steer people into certain directions, without a piece of logic involved, should know better.

Ignorance is bliss. But it´s also ignorant. The Cannes Lion event management team should be smarter than that.

My blog about the gender discussion at last years Cannes Lion:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Do I build digital strategies? Or strategies that can go viral?

Sometimes clients ask me if I do digital strategy, and it always confuses me. Every strategy – digital or “traditional” – must come from the same source, right?

My main job is to find insights about the brand, the consumer and their relationship with each other, to be able to find keys on how to make people attracted to and eager to purchase a product or service. I will recommend messages, tone of voice, visuals and channels. 

Sometimes the way into a person´s heart is social media. Sometimes an app will make the target go nuts. Sometimes it´s a DM campaign that will lead to sales. To me, “digital” is a channel, a place where people hang out, and that doesn´t need a “digital strategy” of its own.
What agencies really are asking me, is if I know what kind of tools to use. They want me to act like a media agency, having insights on how people feel on various platforms, what demographics are using which sites, and what´s the etiquette on each of them?

I don´t know... but when going through the Facebook sites of different brands I can´t stop yawning. Whoever built them is probably a tech-savvy gen Z intern at the agency, but there are very rarely any deep insights to be spotted behind the strategy, the idea and the actions taken... It is like they don´t respect the target, but rather shout out a message (win, win, win, look at me). Perhaps I´m just too old... 

For fun I googled "digital strategy" and checked out Images... OMG, there are a lot of infographics to be used - and we all love smart art on Power Point, don´t we? Haha. Here is one example. Get it?

Here are some tips on how to create a social media strategy from Nick Shin: (, from an article on Social Media Examiner (I´ve shortened the tips) Makes sense. But it´s not rocket science :)

#1: Determine Your Goals and Objectives
Understand your social media goals and objectives and how they tie into your overall company goals. Keep it Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic/Relevant, and Timely (aka be SMART!).

#2: Research, Research, and Research Some More
Rather than jumping into the social media pool with both feet, do the equivalent of the “splash-water-on-self” maneuver so you know what to expect. Develop a list of social media sites where you can potentially engage with people. The list will most likely start off with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and a few select blogs and forums. Check out each of the social media sites on your list and do additional research to determine relevancy by searching for your brand name, your competitors, and your target keywords.  Listen to what’s out there, identify, and understand your target audience.

#3: Create a Digital Rolodex of Contacts and Content
When social media is done correctly, relationships will build naturally Begin making connections by following the conversation.  You can do this by subscribing to blogs in your industry and by making a list of influencers who are relevant to your business.

#4: Join the Conversation to Develop Relationships
Now it’s time to start making use of all the research you’ve done.  You can start joining the conversation by posting comments on blogs and forums, answering questions on Yahoo! and LinkedIn, joining groups related to your industry. Begin developing relationships by following and friending influencers and those in your industry. 

#5: Strengthen Relationships
It’s easy to hide behind your avatar or profile picture, but face-to-face is incredibly powerful.  Attend offline events related to your industry—not only to strengthen your knowledge base but also to network and strengthen relationships with those you might have conversed with via social media but never met in person. 

#6: Measure Results
  • Improve brand presence across social channels—The measurement goal here is an increase in the number of followers on Twitter, number of fans on Facebook, number of comments, number of times your brand is mentioned in blogs and forums and so on.
  • Increase positive sentiment about your brand—The goal here is to convert the number of positive mentions while taking note of negative mentions.  Has the ratio of positive to negative comments improved?  With the good comes the bad in social media. Get used to it!
  • Develop relationships for future partnership opportunities—This goal is to keep track of those with whom you’ve connected.  For example, if you met a potential speaker for your webinar, include that person into your digital Rolodex.  If a vendor contacts you through your blog, capture that lead and take note.
  • Increase traffic to your website—Keep track of visitors to your website who come from each of your social media sites.  If you’re promoting an event using social media, consider using a unique code to track the campaign.

Measuring social media is a never-ending debate.  What metrics do you use to measure social media?  What objective are you measuring those metrics for?

#7: Analyze, Adapt, and Improve
Your social media strategy doesn’t end with measurement; it goes beyond that.  You need to analyze your social media campaigns, adapt any new findings into your current processes, and improve your efforts. Testing and experimentation will perfect your social media efforts.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why "emotional branding" only works for clear brands

As a specialist in emotional branding, I will always put a lot of time and effort into finding out how a brand can find a way to connect with its consumers on a deep emotional level, and avoid the awkward situation where one part (the brand) brags and talks about itself all the time, expecting the other to be super impressed by default...

When you stand on a stage and talk down to people, hoping they will see you, there is a distance between you... No relationship can last forever if it is not equal and built on respect. To be loved you need to know what the other person love and hate, and what would make him/her happy. You need to ask questions and listen to the answers.

Still so many agencies approach a brief with a little meeting with suits, planners and creatives almost having a little focus group, where everyone shares what they think and feel...

Pst. It´s not about you; you´re most likely a middle class white uni educated and trendy person living in the Eastern Suburbs... Building a campaign on your instincts is simply arrogant.

The best brand-consumer bonds are built on a heart meeting a heart. When the brand knows why it exists (beyond "I want to be rich by manipulating people to buy me") and what it offers people, what kind of problem it solves and how it can enhance the life of the consumer in a broader perspective, it can be successful, which lots of research has proven. And to know what problems you solve, you have to know what problems they have, and how they feel about it.

Many marketing directors know the buzzwords. They know they will create "involvement, engagement and sales success" by "emotionalizing" a brand. But few knows how... They want an emotionally powerful campaign - but even if that in theory is leading to people remembering the ad, it doesn´t work if the "emotion" is not defined. Do you want the target to be happy, sad, concerned, excited, calm, safe or shocked?

I believe the magic happens on a brand definition level, rather than on an advertisement creation level. A brand that has a vague personality, not really knowing what values it stands for, will be hard to market successfully through a TVC. If you don´t know what kind of emotions you wish to evoke in people and why, how can you create ads that are "emotional"?

According to Millward Brown´s paper "Should my advertising stimulate an emotional response?" the best ad combines messages for the heart with messages for the brain. They are both rational and emotional. But there is a difference between small and established brands. Smaller brands should not just sell on emotions - it needs to first build trust with facts and data. Larger, more established brands can on the other hand play with our subconscious feelings, which take the facts into consideration.

This is most likely because the established brands have built a strong base. People know what they stand for, because they have put time and effort into creating a clear brand image. If they hadn´t, they would not be established... Many brands fail before getting big.

In the report from Millward Brown there is lots of stats on how an emotional approach is more effective, and  I do believe this. Your brand needs to be clever though. Just "being emotional" is not enough. Just using the buzz words won´t help.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How to make this day better and love yourself more

Ah, it is Valentines Day, and I´m super busy so for today´s blog post I will borrow some advice from my YouTube channel, on how to improve your personal life and be a happier person. Enjoy :) All videos:

Monday, February 13, 2012

How the new Sydney Mardi Gras logo was born

It´s Valentine´s Day tomorrow, so I´m telling you the story on how the new logo for the Mardi Gras festival was born. Told by Moon Communication, the agency behind the campaign. 

"The naming of Sydney Mardi Gras and creation of its new identity was more than a simple rebranding exercise. It also signalled a new, farther reaching strategy. A more inclusive purpose that holds true to the past and looks the future, appealing to a younger generation that no longer feels pressured to identify themselves by their sexuality.

“By celebrating the power and beauty of diversity, Mardi Gras inspires the world to love one another.”

We helped articulate this bold statement with members of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Organisation, and if any proof was needed of its truth, you only had to witness how we brought it life.

For three weeks the creative breakout area became MardiGrasVille.
All were encouraged to contribute - gay and straight, male and female, old and new, creative and suit - everyone had a go. Images, sketches, scribbles, words, phrases, fonts and colours covered and recovered the walls and floor. Ideas mattered, opinions changed; freedom flourished, banal banished; styles clashed and complemented (as did our creatives). But in the end, the ridiculous gave way to the sublime, and the work of a very talented, young, straight boy from the Shire shone through - James Calpis.
Two hearts, both equal, meeting and kissing to form the infinity symbol. Its simplicity and symmetry says it all without words: love for all time, love for all kind. For some it even whispers of the butterfly that adorned the 1978 poster, the first page in the glorious book of Mardi Gras.

So far, it has been proudly tattooed, colourfully graffitied, endlessly doodled, sculptured in the sands of Bondi, made into a massive mirror-ball, writ large across Centennial Park by huge human kissing-chain; and soon it will festoon the streets of Sydney as the excitement and fun of Mardi Gras once again consumes locals and visitors alike.

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras organisation will continue to run the show, and the parade, festival and parties will always celebrate the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersexual communities. But now everyone who has a message of love to the world is invited and welcome to play a part.    

The GLBTQI communities are diverse and change always has its supporters and detractors. Many have fought long and hard to be recognised and are rightly protective of all that Mardi Gras has achieved. So we created this video to launch the new identity and help convey the reasoning behind this next step on the path towards unquestioned acceptance and equality for all.

How this epic love story will play out in the years to come – who knows? We pray it never ends. But for now, we’re hoping that boy gets boy, girl gets girl, boy gets girl, and they all live happily married ever after.
Author: Michael PickeringMy friend Christofer who is a member of The European Parliament posted this on his website a while back, presenting the legal situation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people in Europe. What colour are you? :)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Make your own drink - the ultimate personalisation reports about the new trend where you not only get your own name on the same old drink, but get to produce your own content.  

In our crowdsourced culture, Gen Ys are accustomed to giving their opinion and seeing it recognized. As such, the trend toward customization has accelerated across multiple categories in recent months. Among the latest to emerge lets consumers customize their beverages of choice in terms of ingredient ratios and flavor profiles, all in the quest for the perfectly personal libation.

WhiskyBlender: In the wake of the (arguably ill-advised) pickleback trend, the whiskey business is thriving. Bourbon is experiencing a boom, and its sister, Scotch—once considered the definitive old guy drink—is seeing a similar comeback. Making the stark blend more accessible to the not-yet-grizzled, Glasgow-based WhiskyBlender’s virtual lab lets customers craft a personalized mix from distinct Scotch flavors. Aficionados and novices alike can choose proportions of smoky, fruity, salty, buttery, nutty, and malty elements, highlighting their favorite tastes and merely hinting at others. Each custom blend receives a unique bottle code, so that customers who strike up flawless proportions can order their favorite alcoholic alchemy again and again. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Latest food trends 2012 from JWT Intelligence. Awesome!

JWT Intelligence delivered a new report in my mail box this morning about food trends, which is always very interesting. Food is so close to our hearts, being a part of our everyday lives - yes, the very seed of life. It creates us, bite by bite, and it both entertains and leads to anxieties. 

I´ve summarized the headlines from the report, but recommend you to read the whole thing. It´s got lots of juicy stuff: vending machines for milk, insects as the new source of protein, coffee subscription services and restaurants fining people who don´t finish their food and then donates the money to Somalia. Very inspiring! :) 

1. Foodie Culture
Yesterday’s gourmand has multiplied into factions of foodies all with  various passions centered around cooking, dining out and eating, eating, eating. A foodie backlash may be under way, but food remains more photographed, analyzed, critiqued and generally obsessed over than it’s ever been

2. Food as the new eco-issue
The environmental impact of our food choices will become a more prominent concern as stakeholders—brands, governments and activist organizations—drive awareness around the issue and rethink what kind of food is sold and how it’s made. As more regions grapple with food shortages and/or spiking costs, smarter practices around food will join the stable of green “best practices.”

3. The devil wears packaging
As the eco spotlight focuses on the environmental costs of packaging, brands will increasingly switch to bottles, boxes and other solutions that reduce, reuse, recycle, remove and renew. The ultimate goal is “cradle-to-cradle” packaging—sustainable from creation to disposal.

4. Health & Wellness
Awareness of good nutritional habits has been steadily rising, even as obesity becomes a more pressing issue—in turn driving governments and health advocates to further push both consumers and brands to adopt healthier ways.

5. Maximum disclosure. Competitive pressures and legal requirements are forcing manufacturers and retailers to take transparency to the max, disclosing more about nutritional data, green credentials, sourcing, social responsibility issues (Fair Trade, etc.) and the people and processes behind the brand.

6. Live a little.
Faced with constant reminders about what to do (exercise more, eat better) and what not to do (overspend, overeat), and fatigued from several years of austerity, consumers will look for ways to live a little without giving up a lot. People have been exercising more self-control, and increasingly they’re looking to let loose once in a while: indulging in sinful things, splurging on treats and at least momentarily escaping from today’s many worries.

7. Navigating the new normal
As the new normal becomes a prolonged normal in the hampered developed world, more brands will open up entry points for extremely cost-sensitive consumers. Marketers will find new opportunities in creating stripped-down offerings, smaller sizes and otherwise more accessible products and services.

8. Getting “smarter”
From phones to fridges, devices are getting “smart,” connecting the real world to the digital world and influencing how we find, eat and make food. More broadly, each step of the way—from shopping to finding recipes and cooking to dining out—is getting “smarter” for those armed with the latest digital tools.

9. All the world´s a game
Increasingly, brands are applying game mechanics (leader boards, leveling, stored value, privileges, superpowers, status indicators, etc.) to non-gaming spaces in an attempt to drive certain actions or behaviors. This is more than brand-sponsored games—consumers are engaging in brand communities, content or campaigns through incentives and rewards modeled on behavioral economics. In food, gamification can help to motivate not only good eating habits (e.g., Foodzy) but also customer creativity and engagement.

10. Screened interactions
More flat surfaces are becoming screens, and more screens are becoming interactive. Increasingly we’ll be touching them, gesturing at them and talking to them. This is opening up novel opportunities to inform, engage and motivate consumers, whether through screens at restaurants, on vending machines and kiosks, or via out-of-home ads.

11. Retail as the third space
Retail spaces are increasingly serving as a “third space” that’s only partly about consumption. Supermarkets and other food-centric outlets are becoming as much about experiences, unique environments and customer service as they are about simply buying goods.

There is a link to download the 128 pages report (lots of great examples and thoughts, not just fluff :):

If you are interested in more trends in the food area, The Hartman Group arranges this web seminar:

Looking Ahead: Ingredient Trends
February 29, 2012, 1 PM Eastern, 10 AM Pacific
Duration: 20 minutes
Register Now!
Melissa Abbott, Director, Culinary Insights
Join us for a free 20-minute webinar as we present an in-depth look at how cultural shifts in health and wellness impact ingredients in many of today’s and tomorrow’s foods and beverages. Gain a better understanding on what shapes consumer perceptions of “healthy food” from organic and natural to functional foods. We’ll show you what’s trending in and what’s trending out. Gain critical insight in distinguishing between the flash-in-the-pan fads from trends with real staying power for the long haul. Going beyond organic, we’ll fast forward into the future of health and wellness to probe what the real problem with gluten is all about. From thought-provoking insights to what it means for business, Melissa helps you navigate Food Culture’s most meaningful and relevant trends.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Brands with ideals outperform others

Millward Browns latest newsletter made me happy with this piece of news:

“The most successful brands and businesses in the world are built around something other than just making profit. They are built around ideals.

Here are bits and pieces from the paper:

The evidence is in Jim Stengel’s new book, Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies. With the help of Millward Brown, Jim identified the 50 brands that ranked highest on both consumer bonding and value creation over the past decade.” In this work, Millward Brown observed that the best businesses are ideals-driven.

“A brand ideal is a higher purpose of a brand or organization, which goes beyond the product or service they sell. Jim explains it this way: “The ideal is the brand’s inspirational reason for being. It explains why the brand exists and the impact it seeks to make in the world. A brand ideal actively aims to improve the quality of people’s lives. It creates a meaningful goal for the brand—a goal that aligns employees and the organization to better serve customers. ” 

For example: Zappos is in the business of delivering happiness. Pampers does not just sell diapers; it cares for the happy, healthy development of babies around the world. IBM’s purpose is to make a smarter planet. Google exists to organize and give access to the information of the world, and Discovery Channel’s ideal is to satisfy curiosity.

A brand ideal is not a mission statement. Mission statements tend to be narrow, business oriented statements such as “Be the leader in customer satisfaction” or “Be the most innovative company.” Mission statements tend to be self-serving and therefore limiting. Ideals, being outward focused, extend beyond the company’s financial interests. Red Bull’s ideal is to uplift mind and body; it exists to energize the world. “To be the #1 energy drink” is probably a mission for the company, yet it is seen as an outcome, not its raison d’être.
The ideal is the brand’s inspirational reason for being. It explains why the brand exists and the impact it seeks to make in the world.

More examples: Method, the household cleaning company, was built on the ideal of inspiring a home revolution to create happy, healthy homes. Every aspect of each product is inspired by the ideal: the non-toxicity, the natural scents, the beautiful ”cosmetic like” packaging. Apple offers the best experience through beauty and simplicity. Chipotle Mexican Grill, another one of our top 50, fulfils its ideal of bringing integrity and taste back to food by inviting patrons to create their own custom dishes using fresh, natural, and locally sourced ingredients.

The best companies align their organizations and culture behind their ideals. By being purposeful (beyond making money and growing market share), they provide a higher meaning to all employees. The ideal provides clarity and intentionality. More importantly, these companies develop systems and processes to stay true to their ideals.

For example, Red Bull has set unique hiring guidelines. They don’t put a priority on hiring people with beverage industry backgrounds; instead they focus on athletes, DJs, and former Red Bull student ambassadors—people who believe in and live the ideal. Even the workplace is designed to be true to the ideal. For example, Red Bull’s London headquarters has skateboard ramps and slides from floor to floor!

Zappos has set up processes that allow employees to be true to the ideal of delivering happiness. Employees do not have quotas or time goals for customer calls. Nor do they adhere to scripts. They are empowered to help customers in need, whatever it takes. There are stories of employees sending flowers to customers in distress and helping customers order pizza in the middle of the night.

The ideal is a core principle inherent in a brand, something that emerges from a company’s DNA. Though such a high-minded concept may seem impractical or lofty, we also have proof that ideals-driven businesses deliver higher performance. We have consumer research data as well as financial data that verifies the power of ideals. Research recently conducted by Millward Brown found that, when asked to name brands that were based on ideals, people mentioned the brands in the Stengel 50 more than other brands.

We also have proof that ideals-driven businesses deliver higher performance. As shown in the chart below, Stengel’s top 50 brands outperformed the market over the past 10 years. An investment in the Stengel 50 would have been 400 percent more profitable than an investment in the S&P 500.

Learn more about the study: Brown: Point of View Ideals: The New Engine of Business Growth 

More on the topic, Simon Sinek´s TED talk about The Golden Circle:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"Target audience" - why demographic targets are useless

I am sitting here in silence this morning, contemplating a piece of news I just got.

I hadn´t seen a man who also goes to my regular café in a while, so I asked the owner what happened to him, and found out he has retired. At 45! Apparently he was one of the lucky bankers who earned a few million dollars a year and now he is out to play. He has two lovely sons, probably 8-10 years old, and he looks so strong and confident, I just assumed he would be older.Sigh. It makes you think, doesn´t it? About how different people´s lives are.

I look at myself, 38 going on 39 this year, just a couple of years younger than him. I bum around like a teenager in Bondi Beach, freelancing in a tough industry, purely out of an enormous love of my work, but earning what I need, no millions a year. I have no kids, just a crazy cat :)

I look at the woman I interviewed during a pitch for an anti-smoking campaign a while back, the woman whose boyfriend left while she was pregnant and who now struggles with both money and self-esteem, who turn to the cigarettes as her sole pleasure. The smoke gives her a little bubble to hide in for a minute when times are tough. A shelter from the pain.

I look at the junior planner, born and bread in a upper-class family North Shore, whose reaction on the story on the smoking lady was "can´t she just go for a run. I go for a run when I´m stressed. Let´s make a campaign where we tell them to go to the gym instead". Sigh.

I look at those who are in love and celebrate 2 year anniversaries according to my Facebook wall, and I look at those who change their relationship status to "single". I look at the fat and the thin, those who are angry and those who smile all day.

And across the street I see the pastor of one of the churches I used to go to (was fascinated by churches for a while...) and he sits there, alone at the café; I know his wife has cancer and the beautiful sparkling woman I used to see next to him in the house of God is now a tiny figure, limited and vanishing. Him too. His faith? I don´t know if he still prays. I hope he does, but understand if he doesn´t.

Some are lucky, some are not. Some get a beer at a trendy pop up bar in the sun, others die in a European cold snap. Some whinge about having a bad hair day, others find out their kid has been thrown down a bridge in a custody battle. Some devote their lives to supporting a president campaign, others design skirts.

"The target"

Today I´m working on a brief where the target is "all Australians between 25 and 55".

It makes me laugh. And cry. And cringe.

All that combines us is Love. Our never ending craving for Love.