Tag Archives: Brands & Marketing

Which came first the egg or the credit card?

I’m often surprised by how many times I’ve been asked by friends & clients to help them name a business or service, as they believe, once they have the name sorted, everything else will fall into place, but this isn’t the best way to do it (but it can work sometimes). What comes first the product or the name? (when I say product I’m referring to your company, services, products), hopefully you will say the product.

Depending on how you market yourself, ie your company name explaining what you do as a company may be vital, or it may be irrelevant. eg Kwik-Print informs you that they’re a printers and they’re quick, while the name MacDonalds has nothing to do with fast food. You should try avoiding negative connotations within the name, and if you’re using a descriptive name you need to get to the point, plus whatever you end up with it should be as memorable as possible or even unforgettable.  Of course you can break all the rules and end up with a name that’s descriptive, an oxymoron, has negative connotations yet still unforgettable. I own no paper™, it has the word “no” in the name (can’t get much more negative than that!), it’s descriptive yet an oxymoron, as it says exactly what we don’t do as a company, we don’t do anything that involves using paper, yet it’s unforgettable.

So if you agree that the product comes first, then surely the next step is, defining your goals, your service offerings, your branding etc well, not exactly, the most important aspect of your business, no matter what industry you’re in, it’s your customers, without them you don’t have a business, plain and simple, so what your customers get out of your product is key to everything. The more you can make your name about what they want & not what you do, the better. Here’s an example, if the benefits for you customers is to help them in their day to day lives and to help them achieve new goals etc, then you’re obviously having a positive affect on them. So, you should be focusing your naming efforts on the outcome for your clients and not on you & your services. You should be looking at the positive results of your service, not the service itself, your audience & customers will only be interested in the results, so that’s where you need to hook them.

Here’s a list of things you should consider before finalising your name and in this order as well.
Your Mission
Your Vision
Your Core Values
Your Unique Selling Point
Your Emotional Selling Point
Your Brand
Your Tagline / Strapline
Your Identity
Your name (Yeah sorry about that, but it’s way down here!)
Your Logo

Briefly, your mission sets the goal for your organisation, it’s purpose. Your vision is more personal and motivational, a driver to help you fulfill your mission. Your core values are the very essence of what you or your company stand for, strip away everything else and the core values remain, they will be your compass in good times and bad times. Before I move on it’s important to understand the importance of this. Your values become the very glue that holds your company together, your values are things you either know already or discover, you can’t invent them or fake them. Plus they must not be confused with your service offering (ie Disney’s core purpose is to make people happy, not build theme parks or make cartoons). Your unique selling point is what makes you different from the competition. The emotional selling point is how customers will feel about using you or your service. Your Brand is your promise, it reflects your Core Values, but note your brand is what your customers think & perceive about you, it’s what they walk away with, it’s important that you live up to your promises and deliver them. Your tagline, supports your brand, it says in words what you can’t necessarily express with a picture or icon. Your identity is the visual element that supports your brand & it’s message (note that, audio, smell, taste & touch are elements to some companies/products identity & brand). Then we get to the the name & eventually your logo.

Of course you can always ignore this entirely, and just come up with a name that has absolutely nothing to do with your product, then market the hell out of it. Egg did it with their credit card & bank services, it’s not unforgettable, but it’s certainly memorable, plus it’s been very successful. Of course marketing alone won’t make your business a success, it’s your customers that make your business a success, so focus your efforts on your customers, as they’re the best viral marketing campaign you can ever have, remember, make your business viral, not your marketing.

Defining a Fan

A short film exploring the roles of fan culture and their importance to brands.

Personally I think Aaron Bogucki nails the definition of a fan by saying “A fan is someone that finds something so inspirational that they alter their lifestyle to support it”

An important takeaway is that big brands need to respect that for someone to be a real fan and possible advocate, they need to do so freely and without pressure or coercion.

created by we are amplify

Is 2011 The New 1984?

It was broadcast just once during the 1984 Super Bowl, but that’s all it needed, as when Ridley Scott directed Apple’s iconic and multi-award winning 1984 advert, he created an advert that captured the very essence of what Apple was at that time. The underdog, fighting against the tyranny of the corporate machine, hoping to bring choice to the consumer. Jump forward 27yrs, the tables have turned, Apple have without doubt become their nemesis of years gone by (they are now the world’s 2nd largest company in value terms!)

I’ve been an Apple user for 25yrs (since 1986), I’ve bought more Macs than I care to remember (probably more than a 100 if I include my businesses and employees), yes I’ve got several iPods laying around the house on shelves and in drawers, Time Capsules, an Air Express connected to my music centre, a Mac Mini under my TV (no Apple TV), a couple of iPhones and of course an iPad… so yes I’ve bought heavily into the Apple eco-system over the years. I’m not one of those Mac is better than PC bores, each to their own is what I say, I’ve made my choice… the better informed one of course.

Although they’re not the first to do so, even Apple did it themselves by adding an iPod to the woman to launch the iPod, plus see DoubleTwist’s Choice video below… but Motorola’s Xoom advert that aired during yesterdays’ Super Bowl and parodies Apple’s 1984 advert, by turning it on Apple becoming the very thing they poked fun at originally, is very clever, or is it? As a longstanding Apple user, yes I understand the sad truth that Apple has changed, and not for the better… plus I’ve seen the original advert, but most of the white ear bud wearing iDrones won’t have, these guys are blindly buying into the iOS platform (you only have to see the last video below for a parody of that), these guys will likely miss the subtlety of the advert, or worse still, they may take offence at being portrayed as iDrones?

Either way, it made me smile when I saw the advert, but it won’t make me run out to buy a Xoom

Original Apple Advert

Motorola Xoom

iPod Version

DoubleTwist Parody announcing Choice

iPhone 4 vs HTC Evo AKA I would like an iPhone 4

The Verizon Waltz

It wasn’t long ago that Verizon were parodying Apple’s “There’s an App for That” adverts, in order to gain subscribers from AT&T to their own network, but it appears the two network giants have made up and become friends in their latest joint advert! Or maybe they’re both worried about the latest T-Mobile advert, which highlights how both of their networks are somewhat lacklustre in comparison!

Speed Cameras Are Good!

Last Year I posted about the Volkswagon campaign named The Fun Theory, I just read on Digital Buzz that the campaign has since gone on to win the Cannes Cyber Grand Prix for a digitally led integrated campaign, which it won along side Nike’s “Chalk Bot” who took the award for the other digital solutions / digital channels category in the Cyber section.

The Fun Theory was all about generating interest in Volkswagen’s Blue Motion technologies that deliver the same great car performance with reduced environmental impact, and to do this, they found an insight around how “fun” could change human behavior for the better, and this formed The Fun Theory, a campaign that spawned over 700 user generated Fun Theory initiatives along with a number of big viral hits that generated over 20 million YouTube views, with one rushing past 12 million views alone!

Below is the 2009-2010 winner

I Say Potato, You Say Potarto

How most entrepreneurs initially present their idea to a Venture Capitalist.

Me Me Me!
2 mins
Introduction: why they’re amazing
5 mins
The Problem: why everyone else is wrong (why they’re amazing)
15 mins
My Solution: passionately explaining their solution in depth (why they’re amazing)
5 mins
Capital Expenditure: whiz through what they will spend the money on
2 mins
The Plan: Blue sky 5 year plan on how the business will grow exponentially

Then they wonder why it didn’t work. The ask, “is it because they didn’t explain their vision clearly enough? mmmm, surely not… it must be because the VC is short sighted and doesn’t like or understand their idea?” So, the entrepreneur asks how can they get the VC to be as passionate about their idea, as once they do, surely they’ll invest?

It won’t work and they won’t (except in rare occasions), they’re only investing with the entrepreneur for one reason, to make money! They’re not interested in the problem, or the solution, or what the entrepreneur does, so the entrepreneur shouldn’t waste their time and effort trying to get the VC interested. The entrepreneur has to think like the VC! so if you’re presenting to a VC here’s the way to do it.

Show Me The Money!
5 mins
ROI: What is their return and when will they receive it
10 mins
Capital Expenditure: How much investment you need, time frame, phases and why
10 mins
Risk Assessment: Company structure, detailing assets, IP, tangibles etc
2 mins
The Idea: The product
2 mins
You: Your background and history, contact details

This doesn’t only work on VC’s, try this approach with your next client presentation, get all the guess work, the money & nitty gritty details out of the way at the beginning, then show them where there money is being invested, that way you’ll know right from the start whether you’re wasting your time or not, and if they’re really interested they’ll extend the meeting to talk through your ideas.

Will This Advertising Idea Ever Fly

To promote their exhibition stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Eichborn the publisher with the fly prepared 200 flies with an ultra light banner. The banner was attached with natural wax. After a short time the banner dropped off by itself. And the flies were not harmed.

The concept is certainly remarkable, if not unforgettable, but whether those experiencing this viral campaign remember the company name as well or just the fact that they saw flies with adverts attached to them is another question?

I first saw this on the Unionversity website

Fun Feels Good

I saw this on Jodi’s Blog the other day and thought what a brilliant way of showing how approaching an issue in a new or fun way can have terrific results by engaging the user in a visceral experience (see Anne’s blog for more on that). What’s also interesting is that this is entirely a marketing exercise by Volkswagon.

more info at The Fun Theory

Did You Know, Shift Happens

As I’m a bit of a closet statistics junkie & as these videos have been bouncing around the web for the past 2-3 years, I thought I’d compile a post with some of the best.

Did You Know? 3.0 (Official Video) -2009 Edition

Did You Know 4.0

Did You Know 4.0 (Convergence)

The Social Media Revolution Fad

Did You Know 2.0 (SHIFT 2008 Edit)

Associated Media vs Social Media

I don’t think the term “Social Media” is applicable anymore, fair enough it evolved from the early online community sites, but the term now encompasses virtually all manner of web 2.0, blogs, data aggregation services etc, most of which have nothing to do with being social, so it’s much more than a way to connect and send messages and hence be social with your friends.

Plus there’s the so called “Social Media Expert”, but ask yourself, how can someone say they’re an expert in something that is so vast and is evolving and changing so rapidly that it’s almost impossible to keep up. To be a SME is a paradox “The more I know, the more I realise I know nothing”

So I prefer to talk around associated media, or associated connections, as I see the real future of the “Social Media Revolution” will be the leveraging of connections, and not merely connecting you to your friends and what they’re saying but to your “combined” wealth of information, utilising smart connections, connections that are associated to you and what you’re looking for… so rather than you looking for information, it finds you, now that’s a revolution worth talking about!

Comic Strip of a Social Media Expert

The Social Media Revolution Fad

As I’ve re-quoted before “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital“ Aaron Levenstein

This video makes compelling reading/watching, but read between the lines, there’s more to this than meets the eye, major changes are unfolding in the social media environment, information/data/ID aggregation is becoming the new hot potato, the shift is about linking you to the stuff you want to know in a transparent & convenient way.

For more info & a list of quotes & stats go to the socialnomics blog

Also check out a brilliant and ballsy presentation by Marta Kagan entitled What the F**K is Social Media: One Year Later

Also note Marta doesn’t use the that annoying Social Media Expert moniker, she calls herself a Bonafide Marketing Genius, now that’s a great job title! (as long as you live up to it of course, although reading her blog, it looks like she does)

Organic Fusion Engineer

I dislike job titles (especially inflated ones), I never use one myself, your actions define what you do for a living, not your business card.

If you excel at your work, you won’t require a job title, you probably won’t need business cards either, as everyone will already know what you do & who you are, as you’ll be the person they’re talking about & respect, the person they go to when they need things done really well.

There are times you can put an inflated job title to good use, when you want something to talk about or set yourself apart from the rest of your field, Organic Fusion Engineer is a fun job title I saw on a carpenters business card, I used him because he was recommended, and I’ll always remember the work he did, but I’ll never forget his job title!