Branding: Rise. Wash. And Repeat.

Branding. Every company seems to be going through a rebranding campaign. Marketing specialists can’t stop talking about brand.  I don’t want to add the plethora of inaccurate information or participate in spreading these murky perceptions of brand. I’m here to set it right. Companies that have a true grasp of brand and its positioning can embedded these key concepts into their marketing communication strategies. If implemented correctly, it can become what the women at Warschawski call a “Rinse. Wash. And Repeat” cycle.  It becomes a virtuous cycle, building brand strength over and over.

Brand Is Not Your Tagline And Brand Is Not Your Logo

Brand Is Not Your Tagline And It's Not Your Logo

This should have been tattooed on my forehead while at Warschawski. Taglines and logos are important supporting elements of your brand. Brand is the basic emotional experience that you want consumers to have each time they come in contact with your company, product, or service. Let’s take a look at service, specifically customer service. Excellent customer service is rare. Our daily encounter with businesses as customers is usually mediocre or poor. Excellent service is exceeding the customers’ expectations and giving them an experience of a lifetime. Companies are giving control to customers by creating dialogue via social media platforms. Scott Stratten, President of Un-Marketing, says,

Everyone is a marketer and everyone is marketing.


But no one talks about “meh” customer service.  By giving them an experience (or a story), customers are inclined to share their pleasant encounter with others. Remember stories are sticky. See my previous blog post Sticky Ideas Brings SUCCESS: Creating Unforgettable Advertisement Ideas that Stick for more sticky ideas.

Know. Like. Trust.

Customers believe information from people that they know, like, and trust.  By spreading their story, others might be more likely to try the company’s services for themselves. Make a mistake and there can be a brand disconnect. Your loyal customers might forgive you the first time, but companies should act as if every interaction is a first encounter. Like a first date, first impressions are crucial how people perceive your company, service, or product. However, even with the increase of companies leveraging social media as part of their integrated marketing communications campaign, the average person doesn’t believe news from social media platforms compared to other means of newsgathering mediums.

Edelman's 2011 Trust Barometer®Above is a chart from Edelman’s 2011 Trust Barometer®, the annual survey that gauges attitudes about the state of trust in business, government, NGOs and media across 23 countries. If we look closer at the numbers above, social media only accounts for 5% of first new source. Watch the short video overview on the key findings from the President and CEO, Richard Edelman.

 

Steve Rebul, Director of Insight at Digital Edelman, highlights an important point in the video below dealing with brand. Search engines are no longer just search engines but reputation engines.

 

Whether passionate customers, bloggers, or creditable media outlets establish your brand reputation, well-planned marketing communications campaigns have what I call by-product PR opportunities. These built-in public relations campaigns complement your marketing program and even further reinforce your brand in online or traditional print publications.

Rinse. Wash. And Repeat.

You have established your brand, developed a marketing program (that consistent with your brand values), and have a strong built-in public relations campaigns so now just Rinse. Wash. And Repeat. and watch your brand strength grow.

What is your favorite campaign that has illustrated the “Rinse. Wash. And Repeat” brand cycle?

Advertisements

Social Media Marketing: Return of Investment or Return of ObjectiveMarketing and communication departments are getting their hands dirty with social media. The pressure to justify and measure the advantages of social media marketing is beginning to rise. Marketers often hear upper management ask that one question: What is the ROI of social media?  But the real question should be what is the return of objective?

Objectives. Objectives. Objectives.

We have seen companies jump into social media marketing because it’s THE THING. It’s not pretty.  But it’s time to start doing social media because it’s effective, not because it’s cool. Your objectives should determine what technologies to use to accomplish your marketing goals, not vice versa.

POST

My college professor, Dr. John Guiniven, warned his students not to jump the tactics/tools (social media) before determining their specific marketing and communication objectives. We seem to get too excited that social media is a cure-all to our marketing and communication problems. Above is the Forrester’s Four Step Approach to the Social Strategy. It’s a simple yet genius POST acronym that will help get you back on track.

ROI or ROO?

Financial metrics are just one way to evaluate social marketing programs. Social media can bring a variety of advantages to organizations, both for short and long-term success. To accurately asses the impact of their social media marketing efforts, marketers must align their objectives, metrics, targets, and strategies with a “balanced scorecard“.

Social Media Balance Scorecard

A balance scorecard brings other perspectives into focus, not solely measured on financial metrics.  Dr. Robert S. Kaplan and Dr. David P. Norton’s, The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action, is a wonderful book that explains that an effective social media marketing balanced scorecard considers metrics from four different perspectives:


  • Financial: Has revenue or profit increased or costs decreased?
  • Digital: Has the company enhanced its owned and earned digital assets?
  • Brand: Have consumer attitudes about the brand improved?
  • Risk Management: Is the organization better prepared to note and respond to attacks or problems that affect reputation?

I recently read an analogy that said direct marketing is like getting the consumer wet by directing a hose and spraying water on him or her; brand marketing is a fog that constantly envelopes the consumer and gets them damp over time. You can measure the water coming out of a hose, but how do you measure fog? To properly assess your social media marketing programs, other perspectives must be accounted for when determining short and long-term success.

Now, think about the potential success when you have a clear understanding of what your company brand is from the beginning. Talk about powerful marketing. I will go a little deeper in branding in a PR stand point in my next post. Until then, take care.

Related Articles

Warschawski

After an amazing and intense internship at Warschawski, I am BACK. But before I dive back into my marketing and PR posts, I wanted to share my great experience that helped me mature my marketing and PR skills.

A Little Background Info

Warschawski is a full service branding, PR, marketing, advertising and interactive agency in Baltimore, Maryland. It was named “U.S. Small Agency of the Year” four of the past five years and has won over 200 marketing communications awards in the last ten years. I was lucky enough to work for an agency that has been ranked one of the “20 Best U.S. Agencies to Work For” the last nine years in a row. With such an impressive track record, I knew there were high expectations joining a team of rock stars.

The W Experience

Right off the bat, I knew that every Warschawski team member was a BRAND expert and had clearly mastered the art marketing and public relations. The guru that trained his army to become these brand warriors was the main man himself, Mr. David Warschawski.

David is the simply the real deal. I recently was able to attend one of his seminars on how to successfully use social media in an integrated marketing communications strategy to help companies achieve their business goals and reinforce their brand. I will be expanding on some of the basic ideas in future posts. Stay Tuned!

Mission: Grow.

While interning at Warschawski as an Assistant Associate (AA), I played an important role working on client accounts, learned how and why strategic decisions are made, and actively participated in brainstorming sessions for clients. I worked on a variety of accounts, ranging from a tree top adventure company to a luxury high-end mattress company. One advantage of working at the W, I was able to get the experience and expertise of a large firm but have the personalized mentorship of a boutique agency.

My main focus during the AA program was to develop my media relation skills. DONE AND DONE. I was able to generate news and obtain media coverage that increased name recognition, credibility, and visibility for clients. While at the W, I established strong working relationships with key editors, producers, and reporters. I will be posting links to these placements in the near future.

BrandMaPR

When I wasn’t pitching to different media outlets, I was learning how to create communication campaigns that brings clarity to a company’s brand.  These integrated campaigns combine marketing strategies with PR, advertising, and creative and interactive design. Warschawski’s brand-centric and business goal-oriented model, BrandMaPR© (pronounced brand-mapper), helped me understand how companies can positively impact their bottom line and ultimately move their target audience to action. I’m only scratching the surface of an extremely intricate process. Visit W’s website for more information on their BrandMaPR© model.

So Was It Worth it?

Absolutely. Even though traffic was horrible at times (particularly my eight-hour commute during a snow storm), my experience at Warschawski was worth every minute. It was worth the average 3.75-hour commute each day, the $100 dollar gas bill each week, and the 2,480 miles I put on my car each month traveling.  Yes. I’m crazy… crazy about Warschawski. Thank you to everyone at the W. I will miss you all.

Made to Stick: SUCCESSEvery Super Bowl season, I look forward to watching the big game but even more in watching the commercials.  We all remember those great TV advertisements that seem to just stick in our minds, but why? What makes an idea sticky, that’s the hundred million dollar question that every ad agencies wants to know. Dan and Chip Heath, authors of Made to Stick, have the answers why some ideas survive and others die. The acronym SUCCES: simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and stories.  The acronym its self is simple (of course) but lets break down each important component that makes an idea sticky.

SIMPLE

Being simple is about getting down to the core idea and finding that core idea. The authors use a great example by the Commander’s Intent (CI) that lets the extreme detailed plans of foot soldiers not to forget the basic mission assigned, do what’s necessary to complete the mission.  When we learn to prioritize our ideas to the essential core idea, it leaves a clear focus and objective to accomplish.

The short story of “Names, Names, Names” is another great example of how a newspaper has found its core belief. Their focus was on amount of local names the newspaper to increase circulation. People loved seeing the names of people they know and their own name inside the newspaper. Therefore, Dun North Carolina newspaper has pushed for local names ever since they discovered this sticky idea, becoming the leader for readership with 112 percent. SO think SIMPLE and get to the core idea.

UNEXPECTED

To get people to remember an event or idea, people need to be disrupted from their normal schema. For Example, a flight attendant making quick unexpected joke about the disco lights on the floor to exit the plane will catch everyone’s attention because it’s not a part of the normal routine. Another way to grab and hold persons’ attention is by surprise. The Buckle Up…Always commercial by the Ad council is sticky because it shows how to disrupt the normal schema about driving safety in neighborhoods. When a car comes flying into the side of the minivan AND BOOM! It highlights the idea that accidents can happen everywhere, even in your quiet neighborhood. This shocking event makes us remember to always buckle up. The commercial was successful in sending its message. UNEXPECTED, got it?

CONCRETE

Sticky ideas are concrete. I remember learning addition and subtraction math problems by using concrete images like apples. This has been the success story for Japan in why their students are more advanced in mathematics.  The Nature Conservancy, or TNC, has also caught on in using sticky ideas in their environment project to save land. Their goal was to save two million acres. WOW, that’s a lot of land, specially to most public and private businesses wanting to help conserve the rare land by donating money. So they began to split this idea in tangible and reachable goals so they didn’t overwhelm businesses. They redesign their goals into a more realistic look in saving acreage in terms called landscapes. The new objective was to save five landscapes. Eventually over time, TNC protected all two million acres of land. Landscapes were the new type of measurement that allowed TNC to be successful in accomplishing their goals.

Concrete ideas can also work in explaining complex ideas like racial discrimination to elementary school students. By breaking down abstract ideas like  racial discrimination and transforming them into concrete idea like blue-eyed brown-eyed kids activities,  children can make better sense of the information.

CREDIBLE

Today, everyone wants proof to know if products work. To make people believe in your idea, it must be credible. Two scientists, Warren and Marshall experience this first hand in their discovery that bacteria caused ulcers in the stomach. A simple action of taking antibiotics and bismuth would cure the pain but that was not enough to make the medical world believe. Being interns in training, their credible wasn’t established.

Winning the credibility of others is a fight against personal learning and social relationships that have been crafts over years of life experiences.

It takes great amount work to persuade a person with a new message. Celebrities that match our own morals are great sources of credibility, like Oprah and her book club. Once Oprah has your novel on her list, it’s a bestseller a week later. People idolize Oprah and respect her decisions. Her fans naturally think “If Oprah likes it, I must like it too.”

EMOTIONAL

Sticky ideas play on our emotions. We are human and hate to see others struggle. Most charities you see on TV focus on one personal story, usually a cute malnourished girl. We have all seen her cute face. We are more likely to make that idea stick to help out the little girl when they play on own human emotions. Again, being overwhelmed by the scale of the problem might make a person feel their contribution is meaningless. But if you tap into just one individual story, it gives hope us the idea that one person can affect other people’s lives.

The Philip Morris’ anti-smoking advertisements started the Truth campaign.

These commercials were stuck in our mind because they were emotional (and concrete). Instead of acting rebellious against The Man by smoking, Truth campaign made tobacco companies the new Man. Advertisers associated emotions that already existed and transferred them on the tobacco companies.

STORIES

Everyone likes a good story. They can either motivate us to act or provide knowledge about how to act. But the bottom line is stories make people act and can transfer messages through entertainment. Instead of using a dry email to send message about a copier error, people could tell the story of the Xerox repairman and mystery code that led two men on a wild goose chase around the office…Weird but within the story holds the message.

People want to be entertained NOT giving instructions. Stories are successful because they subtly transfer a message in an entertaining way.

Sticky ideas = S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Advertisers can have a long effective frequency of viewers by using these sticky suggestions. Ideas should have a primary focus and simple core. Get rid of all the non-essentials. Ideas should break out of own normal schemas for idea to be more memorable. Ideas should be concrete and in context that people can understand. Ideas have to be from a trusting source. Credibility is crucial in persuading people of your message. Ideas must make people care. Emotional ideas are effective because they make us feel and want to act. Finally, stories make us informed and take action while still being entertained. The message is not lost in the story but is highlighted through the interesting account.

What is your favorite sticky idea you know?

For more sticky ideas, visit heathbrothers.com

Related Articles

Transparency Thickens the Skins

For years Daniel Snyder, owner of the NFL Washington Redskins team, has been absolutely loath by fans…well until recently. Seen by many as a well-off business man that knows little about football and more about ticket sales, sat down with Hogs Heaven blogger Ken Meringolo and Kevin Ewoldt for a tough Q&A. But can a Q&A restore a NFL owner’s image? Team Snyder is back in D.C.

After the first part of the interview with HH, I started asking myself: Is Dan Snyder actually like us more than we thought. Is he an average joe, Redskin lover, Sunday tailgating-griller kind of guy? The recent interview reminded Redskin fans that he is human. Not a blood sucking biz man. The Snyder-opoly that is taking place with the lots of land around the FedEx Field are being used to maximize tailgating experience, one of Dan’s precious memories when he was young Redskin fan. The interview hit Snyder with all the hard questions that needed to be answered. Sounds like Snyder’s is keeping the Skin fans at heart and not the ROI sheet.

With his new coaching staff, veteran quarter back, and rejuvenated  spirits of the other players; Snyder’s smartest business decision for Washington Redskins is his new hands-off ownership approach. Being praised by his best additions to the roster, GM Bruce Allen and head coach Mike Shanahan, Snyder gains respect from all pigskin lovers. Owners of NFL team can cripple their chance of success. The perfect example of this toxic relationship is owner Al Davis and Oakland Raiders franchise. But that’s a different story. Now Snyder is letting the football experts do what they do best, lead their team to the playoffs and brings Lombardi trophies back to the District!

With heart-felt apologies, detailed explanations of past mistakes and short sight failures, the fans might actually start forgiving Snyder for the dismal football season last year. Snyder’s interview was just what he needed. A rally of fans for Team Snyder.  Through transparency came authenticity, the basic by-product of communication that can change the attitudes of worst disgruntled hog lovers.