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Do Brands Matter?

September 3, 2014 Leave a comment

What value is there in a brand? Do brands matter?

There have been a lot discussions of late questioning the value of brands. Personally, I think these have mostly come from people who don’t understand brands.

An article in The Economist recently raised this topic. Despite that research indicates brands account for more than 30% of the stockmarket value of companies of the S&P 500. Still, poo-poo the importance.

Has the Internet lowered brand values? Are brands just “shortcuts” for people to buy products. Or do some products really have more value based on their brand.

To learn more about the what many of today’s business pundits are saying, check out this article from The Economist.

http://www.economist.com/news/business/21614150-brands-are-most-valuable-assets-many-companies-possess-no-one-agrees-how-much-they

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Categories: branding, Buzz Link, marketing

Do Clients and Customers Like Your Marketing?

When Sally Field won her Oscar back in 1988, she proclaimed, “You like me, you really like me.” It wasn’t an ego thing, it was a revelation. She was sincerely surprised to see acceptance of her work as an actress. And in doing so, she continued to develop as an actress, and arguably one of the more recognizable actresses of our time.

How does that apply to advertising and marketing? It applies very directly!

Several research studies in the past decade have shined new light on the importance of “likeability” of advertisements. In one study in 2005 by Hermie, Lanckriet, Lansloot and Peeters, it was determined that up to 80% of an ad’s memorability is tied to it’s likeability.

Think about that…if they like you, they are more apt to remember you…and if they remember you, at least you’ve got a shot at making a sale.

In related research, Sutherland and Sylvester conducted research that positively links likeability and persuasion.

What can we all do to make advertising more likeable, and thereby more persuasive and more memorable? Erik du Plessis, in his book The Advertised Mind,  postulates a model called the COMMAP, which identifies six areas that can affect likeability.

These areas that affect likeability include:

  • Entertainment
  • Empathy
  • Relevant News
  • Familiarity
  • Confusion
  • Alienatio

It is important to note that the first three, entertainment, empathy, and relevant news, are things that we should strive for. Familiarity (defined by du Plessis as being over-saturated in the market, confusion, and alienation, are three things that we should reduce

Do people like your ads? Maybe it’s time you asked the question, “Do people like us?” Your ads might have something to do with the answer.

Listen To Brian Hemsworth Talk Marketing On Stars of PR Radio

Rakowitz-show

Brian Hemsworth, marketing professional and author of this blog will be interviewed by Cindy Rakowitz Thursday on the Stars of PR radio show. They’ll be discussing Southern California Professional Magazine, marketing, and a whole bunch of related topics.

Cindy is the CEO of Blackman Rakowitz Public Relations, and is  a highly respected, award- winning executive with years of experience in crisis management, branding and marketing. Rakowitz contributes as an expert analyst to several news organizations. She is the co-author of the new book Emergency Public Relations, Crisis Management in a 3.0 World and is currently enjoying her speaking tour.

The show is broadcast live at 7:00 am Pacific Time on VoiceAmerica internet radio. Click here for more info: http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/971/stars-of-pr.

Why Advertising Has A Brand Problem

I am convinced of it—advertising has a brand problem.

Discussion after discussion, meeting after meeting, experience after experience, it keeps coming back to me: advertising is losing the war.

With big agencies, and big accounts, and big budgets, the word ‘advertising’ is still okay. But in small to mid-sized business, saying ‘advertising’ in conversation makes you sound like you’re completely out of touch with today.

The CEOs, managing partners, and presidents of today’s businesses and organizations don’t like advertising. It’s been drilled into their heads that it doesn’t work, or at least a big part of it doesn’t. That can be argued, but that’s for another blog post.

What can’t be argued (well) is that our terms have changed. Today’s executive is much more interested in ‘marketing’. Now the classic definition puts advertising as one activity under the marketing umbrella, but that’s beside the point. That’s not how corporate America is using the term.

Marketing is now loosely defined as everything to promote your product or service EXCEPT advertising. It’s about social media, personal selling, networking, PR, sales promotion, trade promotion, events, and ‘engagement’. It’s not about advertising.

The C-suite has been misguided, I will give you that. In the push for ‘accountability’ in marketing and advertising expenditures, traditional advertising has been pushed aside by the Internet for its incredible measurements and metrics. With the web, we know who is visiting our sites and opening our emails. When know when the did it, for how long, and where they clicked. And if a purchase action occurred, we can point our finger right to the action and know how, where and why.

Tradition advertising doesn’t offer those luxuries. It’s much harder to track—not impossible, but harder. CEOs want numbers…or better put, CFOs are pushing CEOs to want numbers.

Here’s the catch: just because its harder to measure doesn’t mean it isn’t working.

To add to the challenges of advertising accountability, we now have to worry about the perception of the whole concept.

Since the economic downturn of 2008, my students at Pepperdine University have learned that it is far easier to get ‘marketing’ jobs than ‘advertising’ jobs. And that, my friends, is a classic brand problem.

Advertising and branding luminaries Stuart and Bob Sanders years ago drilled into my head that branding problems are not always (or even often) from real circumstances. They are from perceptions. And the good news is those perceptions can be altered.

So I challenge you marketing folk to watch your use of the terms of this profession, and measure the results on the faces of your clients. If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself talking more about ‘integrated marketing’ efforts, and less about ‘advertising campaigns.’

New Social Network for Live Events

Crowdseye screen grab

Hey everyone, here’s a cool new social media platform that focuses on live events. It’s in beta right now, but you can be one of the testers. It’s free, just go to Crowdseye.com and sign in.

They just had a really successful test at SXSW, and are planning on the big launch for Coachella. When you post pics, video or comments, you’re entered into Crowdseye.com challenges, and you can win stuff.

Check it out, and let me know what you think.

Marketing Makes A Comeback!

Marketing is making a comeback, and so am I. For the past 9 months, I’ve been actively blogging, but not under my own name. I was hired by several others to become their online voice. I’ve learned a lot new and exciting bits of marketing information which I plan to share with you over the coming months.

I chose take a rest from my own blog, but that’s over. I’m back to blogging on marketing and branding topics, and now in my own voice, and under my own name. While I will still consult with others on their blog efforts, I will not do it at the cost of my own blog ever again!

So, with that, please stay tuned for my upcoming posts, including commentary on the success and failures of social media, the marketing winners of this recession, and who the marketing thought leaders should be following.

It’s good to be back home!

What Attorneys Should Learn About Marketing From The Apple iPad

Apple iPad Marketing

Photo courtesy Apple Computer

What does the Apple iPad have to do with legal marketing? A lot.

Apple introduced the iPad in the spring of this year (2010). It came with modest applause from Mac fans; boo’s and jeers from the PC world. It wasn’t a full computer. It was, in essence, a giant iTouch. Most just simply said, “Why?”

That why was not a real question, but a rhetorical one. Those who didn’t “get it” simply assumed it would go away. An Apple failure.

But that didn’t happen.

First week sales were a few hundred thousand. It took a bit longer to hit one million in sales. PC fans assumed sales would fall off after the first blush.

But that didn’t happen, either.

In its first 80 days, the iPad sold 3 million units. Not too shabby. Pretty sure more PC manufacturers would jump at that. As would most phone manufacturers. Or any manufacturers of anything, for that matter.

Oh, and during this time, Apple also launced the new iPhone 4. As of this writing, 1.7 million in sales…in just 5 days. Not bad.

What about the attorney’s and their marketing lesson?

I consult with a lot of attorneys, accountants, financial professionals, and other professional service providers. The competition for lawyers is intense, and they’re diving into marketing like kids jumping in a pool on a hot summer’s day.

As much as attorneys have learned to “build a case” in law, they, as a group, don’t do the same in marketing. I find that all too often they look a quick fix, a silver bullet, or a miracle advertisement. “Just tell me which ad is the best, because I only want to run the one that brings in business.” (Real quote.) That’s like us saying, “Just use the defense that gets me off the hook, because I only want the one that guarantees the jury aquits me.”

Here’s three things I’ve learned to say when speaking on marketing to groups of lawyers.

1) Brands are built step by step over time. How you answer your phone, if you answer your phone, or what your voice mail sounds like—they’re all a part of your brand. Every experience your clients receive in working with you builds (or tears down) your brand. And it never ends. Your brand as an attorney is never done.

2) Don’t worry if everybody doesn’t “get it” right away. Marketing attorneys and law firms is about marketing expectations. When people don’t have the need for your services, they won’t hear much. Keep the message simple. Focus on being different, and being memorable. But when a potential client needs your services, they’re like patients in the emergency room: they want to know that there’s someone around to make things better. That’s what your brand needs to tell them, that you can help make things better.

3) First, be good at what you do. Then get people to understand what you do. Apple, in my opinion, didn’t do a great job of explaining what the iPad was for in the pre-launch marketing. Was it a tablet? A computer? A big “apps” screen? Apple’s first concern was doing their job of making a good piece of equipment that worked well. And they did that. Next came explaining it. How did Apple do that? They simply launched it. I bet their research showed that once in people’s hands, they’d love iPads. Every person I know with one was in love within five minutes of booting it up. Apple didn’t need to “sell”, they needed consumers to “experience” the iPad.

Three million units later, I’d say its working.

It’s been said that iPads are lousy for productivity. Why? Because as soon as you bring one to a meeting, everyone wants to play with it.

I know one attorney, a big PC guy, who was into music. He determined that an iPod was the best MP3 player and got one. A while later, he decided to get an iPhone, because his Blackberry just didn’t do all he wanted. Once he got that, he decided he wanted an Apple laptop for work. And yes, when the iPad came out, he got one of those, too. PC user, to Apple evangelist in 3 months flat!

I asked him which he used in court. His answer? “All three. I line them up. My laptop has all my files and notes. and my iPad has my case and presentation on it.”

“What about your phone?” I asked.

“That’s for calling home when court is in recess!”

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