10 Ads that just might make you Cry

imagesIn a world of big data, we tend to forget that Advertising is half art, and half science.  While I respect analytics, I also admire instincts.  As Brand Leaders, we are after growth and profit for our brands.  Yes, advertising should persuade, sell or create an idea in the consumers mind.   But for the most Beloved Brands, it also should connect and create a bond with consumers.  Because that bond gives the brand power, not just with the very consumers it connects with, but the retailers, suppliers or against the competitors.  And from that power, it can drive stronger share, command a price premium or enter new categories, all leading to higher growth and profits.  Here are some ads that create a nice bond with their consumers, and each of them tightly connected to what the brand does for the consumer.

 
Budweiser “Trainer”

The most popular Super Bowl ad this year was the “Puppy” spot, but if you ask me, it pales in comparison to this spot.  Nicely told story.

Sick Kids Hospital

One of the best hospitals for children in the world, Sick Kids does a good job in using “quiet” as an attention grabber.  I was busy in another room when I first heard this song and it made me go into our TV room to see what the ad was.  Sometimes we re-do songs to make them sound exactly the same, but sometimes it can be even more powerful to re-do them in a unique way. 

John Lewis “Christmas 2011”

Every Christmas, British retailer John Lewis has been releasing campaigns around Christmas.  To me, this one is the best, especially the ending. John Lewis is an employee-owned retailer, with a very unique culture that delivers on the brand.  To read more on John Lewis, follow this link:  John Lewis story

Google Super Bowl 2010 “Parisian”

If you’re a sucker for a good romantic comedy, this should work on you.The irony of Google, is they have done some of the best Ads this century–most notably the Google Parisian spot, which they aired during the Super Bowl a few years ago.  That spot was deeply engaging, showing how much we rely on Google in our lives.   I love this spot.  There’s quite a few good google ads out there.  If you want to see more….ummm….just google them.

Thai Insurance “Deaf Dad”

A very beautifully told story about a teenage daughter who maybe struggles to understand what her dad offers and doesn’t offer.  While overly dramatic, it brings a nice sweet twist in the end.

Canadian Tire “Bike Ad”

We can all remember our first bike and how special it is. In Canada, Canadian Tire was that store, prior to Wal-Mart entering the market.  Sadly, Canadian Tire can no longer deliver on this promise, because it now resembles Wal-Mart–no longer where you go for your first bike, but rather a place to buy Tide when it’s on sale.

Budweiser 9/11 Tribute (2002)

Even after all these years, this one might bring a tear to your eye. Only a few months after the tragedy of 9/11, as it pre-occupied our minds, this ad takes the American icons of Budweiser and the Clydesdales marching through the streets of America and gives a nice salute to NYC.

 
Bell “Dieppe”

 

It’s a bit dated now, but back in the mid 90s we were still excited we could call from anywhere.  I’ve been to that beach in Dieppe and it does command such intense feelings.  While this is just an ad, I do wish that utilities would try harder to connect with consumers at every stage of the consumer’s buying journey.  We see many tributes to the soldiers, but this one unique thanks one who served long ago.  

Pfizer

A beautiful little spot that leads you to think the ad is about a juvenile delinquent, when really it’s a good kid doing something nice for his sister. 

Google India “Happy Birthday”

Here is a new Google ad where there is no English at all and yet the story is easy to follow.  If you want, you can turn on the Closed Captioning by hitting the tiny CC button at the bottom right of the video.  I watched it without understanding one word that was spoken and I was able to follow along.  And i cried.

Hopefully a few of these spots made you cry.  And if you need cheering up now, here’s 5 ads that might give you a bit of a chuckle.  5 Ads that will make you burst out laughing

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That was not the Best Super Bowl…for ads either

superbowl-2014-logoWell, we know from the start that was not the best game.  I would say the half time show was great and hopefully Bruno Mars gained some new fans around the world.  But for those of us watching the TV ads, they weren’t that good.  There were quite a few mediocre ones, and a few copy cats of their own campaigns but not as good as the prior year ads.  I’m a big fan of Advertising, so trust me I wanted to like them more than I did. There just wasn’t an ad that we’ll talk about for five years, not like the Betty White Snickers ad or the Dodge Farmer Ad.  If you liked the ads better than I did, feel free to tell me which ones and why.

Here are the best ones:

Coke “America”

I really liked the Coke ad.  It’s quiet, but I think it stands out among all the gag style ads where brands appear to be trying too hard.  It has sparked some controversy on-line with a few people objecting to “America the Beautiful” being sung in various languages. But Coke is as global of a company as you can find.  So this not only speaks to Americans but all those around the world looking at Coke as being that link to America.  I’d give this a solid A, mainly because I think it takes guts to do this ad.

 

Doritos “Finger” 

This is a very good ad, fitting with the personality of the brand, and a cute gag that is sure to make us all laugh. It also involves the brand nicely.  I’d give it an A-.  It’s cute, but we might not remember this one a year from now.

 

Heinz “Bottle”

It’s great to see Heinz make a move onto the big stage.  They’ve struggled the past few decades, once we figured out their taste could be duplicated. But this really ties in perfectly to the heritage of the brand, and even given a new modern twist.  It’s cute and let’s give it a nice B+.

 

Budweiser “Puppy”

This one seems to be winning all the on-line votes for best ad, that might be indicative that there was nothing great. I might be over-thinking this one, but doesn’t it seem a lot like last year’s Budweiser spot where the horse kept running back to the owner.  While last year’s brought a tear to my eye, this one just made me smile. I’m going a solid B.

 

Here’s last year’s Budweiser ad.  Don’t you think it’s similar, and better. Still makes me cry.

Budweiser “Home Coming”

This was pretty good, just not amazing. I’m not sure it tugged at the heart enough.  Feels like we’ve seen others over the years that were better. I’d give it a solid B.

 

The rest of the ads were C’s and D’s, maybe a few F’s.  Here’s to a better game for next year, and better ads.  I realize we aren’t going to get Dodge “Farmer”.  To me, this is one of our best ads of the century so far. Here’s what an A+ looks like.

 

Here’s to next year’s game.  May it bring better football and better ads.


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The love and tradition behind the Starbucks Red Cups

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If you have been into a Starbucks the last few weeks, you’ll certainly feel the magic of the holiday season.   Every Starbucks feels well-decorated but never over stated.   You can smell peppermint and ginger as soon as you walk in.  If you want to add some flavor to your regular Latte, you can go for a Caramel Brûlé, Eggnog or Peppermint.  And if you want to try one of the Christmas deserts, there’s Gingerbread loafs, Frosted Snowman cookies or the Cranberry Bliss Bar.  Better yet, have you had one of those incredible Peppermint Brownie Cake Pops?  

And of course, there is the Starbucks Red Cup.

As the red cups arrived at Starbucks as early as November 1st, you could see the Facebook posts and my 15 year-old daughter was “SO EXCITED” count down(her words)  But it is such a great understated brand cue for Starbucks to link into the holiday season.  They are in year 10 of the cups, and it’s become something we now connect with the modern day world of Christmas.  

When you look on-line, you’ll see how big these little red cups are.  There is a website dedicated to the countdown.  And of course there are tons of tweets about the Red Cups, every time a consumer has one for the first time, signalling their excitement to all their network. That’s tons of free media.  

Starbucks is a Beloved Brand

In the consumer’s mind, brands sit on a Brand Love Curve, with brands going from Indifferent to Like It to Love It and finally becoming a Beloved Brand for Life.  At the Beloved stage, demand becomes desire, needs become cravings, thinking is replaced with feelings.  Consumers become outspoken fans.  It’s this connection that helps drive power for your brand: power versus competitors, versus customers, versus suppliers and even versus the same consumers you’re connected with.  The farther along the curve, the more power for the brand.  It’s important that you understand where your brand sits on the Love Curve and begin figuring out how to move it along towards becoming a Beloved Brand.love-curve-detailed

When you reach the Beloved stage like Starbucks, it becomes all about the experience and the magical moments you can create.  While you can continue to attack yourself before others can attack you, it’s also about maintaining the love by creating a bit of magic to surprise and delight your most loyal consumers.  For a brand that taps into routine, having a regular set of drinks and desserts around Christmas gives the consumers some festive favorites to liven up the routine a little bit.  Being a life ritual each and every day gets even bigger when you become a tradition each Christmas.

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From a pure business point of view, Christmas starts November 1st all the way to December 31st, which means that one-sixth of the year, you are in red cups.  After 10 years of red cups, Starbucks fully understands how the simple gesture connects with consumers and how it links Starbucks to one of those holiday traditions.  

“When the cups turns red at Starbucks, that’s one of the first cues that the holidays are upon us. The emotional connection that our store partners (employees) have when they open that first box of the red cups and start using them that first day, and the emotional connection they see from their customers, that’s what we strive for. They see that surprise and excitement: ‘Oh, the red cups are at Starbucks!”

– Terry Davenport, Senior Vice President, Global Brand

On top of that Starbucks now has captured the entire calendar with specials around Valentines, St Patty’s day, Easter, Summer Drinks and Halloween (personally, I love the pumpkin stuff).

To stay in the holiday spirit, you can read up on how John Lewis has been using Christmas ads for the past 5 years to really connect with the consumer.  Click on this to get to the article:   John Lewis Christmas ads

Hope you are ready for the Holidays and that your brand results have been strong this year

Do you want to be an amazing Brand Leader?  We can help you.  

Read more on how to utilize our Brand Leadership Learning Center where you will receive training in all aspects of marketing whether that’s strategic thinking, brand plans, creative briefs, brand positioning, analytical skills or how to judge advertising.  We can customize a program that is right for you or your team.  We can work in person, over the phone or through Skype.  Ask us how we can help you. 

email-Logo copyABOUT BELOVED BRANDS INC.:  At Beloved Brands, we are only focused on making brands better and making brand leaders better.Our motivation is that we love knowing we were part of helping someone to unleash their full potential.  We promise to challenge you to Think Different.  gr bbi picWe believe the thinking that got you here, will not get you where you want to go.  Our President and Chief Marketing Officer, Graham Robertson is a brand leader at heart, who loves everything about brands.  He comes with 20 years of experience at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke, where he was always able to find and drive growth.  Graham has won numerous new product and advertising awards. Graham brings his experience to your table, strong on leadership and facilitation at very high levels and training of Brand Leaders around the world.  To reach out directly, email me at graham.robertson@beloved-brands.com or follow on Twitter @grayrobertson1

At Beloved Brands, we love to see Brand Leaders reach their full potential.  Here are the most popular article “How to” articles.  We can offer specific training programs dedicated to each topic.  Click on any of these most read articles:

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Captivating Ad about Working Women rivals Dove’s “Real Beauty”

pantene.jpg.CROP.promo-mediumlargeA new ad from the Pantene in the Philippines is making its way around social media, with a message that compliments and even rivals the powerful messages of Dove’s “Real Beauty”.  The ad takes on the stereotyping labels that women face in the work place.

I’ve been a huge fan of the Dove campaign, about “real beauty” because they have created a huge idea that is worth loving.  doveThe creativity of the work breaks through the clutter with insights that make women stop and say “that is exactly how I feel”.  I’m always trying to push Brand Leaders to go more emotional and push for a big huge idea their brand can stand behind.  It’s always too easy for the Brand Leader to stay 100% logical, to put in claims and side-by-side demos and playing it safe.  But in the words of Marianne Williamson:  “Your playing small does not serve the world.”

This new Pantene spot has entered into the same space, but more focused on the work place and the image women need to fight.  It’s less about “inner” beauty and more about the “outer” stereotypes.

As a husband to a very successful career woman, I love this.  And as the father of a 15 year-old daughter, this has hope that women continue to break through against the stereotypes put on them.  

“Be Strong and Shine”

If you like this story…

You might also enjoy reading about brands that are using consumer insight as the basis of their advertising.  So many Brand Leaders think your job is to represent the brand to the consumer.  What if you were to represent the consumer to the brand?   Would your work look different?  Click on this story to read more:   5 Great Ads Based on a Unique Consumer Insight

And if you want to know how to write a better creative brief, here’s a simple step by step process to help you.  Click on this story to read more:  How to write an Effective Creative Brief

Do you want to be an amazing Brand Leader?  We can help you.  

Read more on how to utilize our Brand Leadership Learning Center where you will receive training in all aspects of marketing whether that’s strategic thinking, brand plans, creative briefs, brand positioning, analytical skills or how to judge advertising.  We can customize a program that is right for you or your team.  We can work in person, over the phone or through Skype.  Ask us how we can help you. 

email-Logo copyABOUT BELOVED BRANDS INC.:  At Beloved Brands, we are only focused on making brands better and making brand leaders better.Our motivation is that we love knowing we were part of helping someone to unleash their full potential.  We promise to challenge you to Think Different.  gr bbi picWe believe the thinking that got you here, will not get you where you want to go.  Our President and Chief Marketing Officer, Graham Robertson is a brand leader at heart, who loves everything about brands.  He comes with 20 years of experience at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke, where he was always able to find and drive growth.  Graham has won numerous new product and advertising awards. Graham brings his experience to your table, strong on leadership and facilitation at very high levels and training of Brand Leaders around the world.  To reach out directly, email me at graham.robertson@beloved-brands.com or follow on Twitter @grayrobertson1

At Beloved Brands, we love to see Brand Leaders reach their full potential.  Here are the most popular article “How to” articles.  We can offer specific training programs dedicated to each topic.  Click on any of these most read articles:

Ask Beloved Brands to help train you on Advertising that will help you to be a better brand leader.

The most Beloved Ads of 2013, with story-telling dominating the list.

Slide1As I watched all the great ads this year, I kept getting goose bumps and a few tears….not as many laughs as other years.  The biggest trend I see is the power of story telling with long ads that have the potential to be shared with friends through social media vehicles like Facebook and Twitter.  Even on this Beloved Brands blog, the google ad from India, has been viewed by 250,000 people and counting.  

I know Brand Leaders are still stuck on the 30 second ad, showing it with a frequency that drives consideration and purchase intention of your brand.  For many brands, that still is the primary method.  Let these story telling ads challenge your thinking though, and maybe inspire you to dip your toe into this area, or if the thought takes you further, jump into the deep end.  You don’t have to be Nike or Apple to tell stories.  You can see a brand like Dodge, likely considered by many as a mid-of-the-road brand and they’ve made the idea of farmers to be inspiration and a celebrated part of America.  

Here are the most Beloved Ads for 2013  

Dodge “God Made a Farmer”

Paul Henry’s voice is chilling.  The photography is brilliant.  It’s beautiful.  This is a Super Bowl ad, that doesn’t look like a Super Bowl ad.  The use of quiet is a great device to arrest your audience, especially when things are loud.  The specific call out of farmers is a focus I love, with no worry it will alienate the non-farmers.    This spot just screams “America”.  In my view, this is one of the best ads of the century so far.

Google India “Re Union”

This powerful ad has gone viral making people around the world cry, whether on a subway, at work or at your home computer.  A very simple story of a lost friendship.  Google has done an amazing job with advertising like the Parisian spot a few years ago.  The power for Google is showing how much we rely on Google for everyday things in life.

Dove “Drafting Board”

Dove’s real beauty campaign has taken the simple bar of soap and created a brand that stands up for Women.   This powerful video (more than an ad) tells the story of how women see their flaws more than others do.   It’s a great inspiring and challenging message.

Budweiser “Baby Clydesdale”

One more Super Bowl ad for you, and another very powerful yet simple story of raising a horse.   The horse running back to his trainer brings a sweet tear to your eye.

Sick Kids Hospital “You Got It”

I’m from Toronto, and while the current news is dominated by Mayor Rob Ford, I want to remind you that Toronto is also home to Sick Kids Hospital, one of the world’s best children’s hospitals in the world.   Like the Dodge ad, this ad uses a quiet arresting song to capture attention.  I was in the kitchen when this ad first came on and the song brought me to the TV.

Volvo Trucks

A very simple stunt, beautifully shot and aligned to what the brand stands for:  safety.  This captured tons of news attention and passing through social media.

John Lewis “Bear and the Hare”

Year after year, UK retailer John Lewis has created amazing Christmas ads. This  cute story will capture the imagination of children and the retailer has linked in the “Bear and the Hare” story by selling the books in store and creating an on-line tool to send Christmas cards to your friends.

K Mart “Ship My Pants”

I put this in with mixed reasons.  It’s a fantastic ad, highly creative and I know it is universally well-loved.  But it’s for the wrong retailer against a bad strategy.  I’m a bit tired of people saying “that ad will make me shop at K Mart”.  No it won’t.  Because when you get there, you’ll find a store not delivering the expected experience and bad quality pants that you won’t want shipped.  On top of that, it’s now 2013 and on-line shipping is pretty common among all retailers so there’s no real point of difference here.  If this was 1997 for L.L. Bean, maybe the ad would work.  But it’s cute and people like cute.  So enjoy.

Bud Light “Ramsay”

I’m a passionate football fan, and these ads are so insightful to the football fan.  The idea that we would put up with something we hate, like Ramsay” just to make sure we win is a great ad.   Bud Light has done quite a few of these ads to keep them fresh.  These are quiet little ads, likely won’t win any awards, might not sell that much more beer, but it’s a great tool to keep Bud Light as a part of the game.

True Move “Giving”

This ad from Thailand has gone viral around the world.  Another great story that makes people share.

Apple “Camera”

Interestingly enough, while Samsung and every other smart phone company were yelling, Apple was whispering.  This very quiet ad, might have flown under the radar, but it’s just a perfect demonstration of how we FEEL about our phone.  And how it is now such a part of our lives. 

If you think we missed one or a few of your favourites from this year, post them below.  

Do you want to be an amazing Brand Leader?  We can help you.  

Read more on how to utilize our Brand Leadership Learning Center where you will receive training in all aspects of marketing whether that’s strategic thinking, brand plans, creative briefs, brand positioning, analytical skills or how to judge advertising.  We can customize a program that is right for you or your team.  We can work in person, over the phone or through Skype.  Ask us how we can help you. 

email-Logo copyABOUT BELOVED BRANDS INC.:  At Beloved Brands, we are only focused on making brands better and making brand leaders better.Our motivation is that we love knowing we were part of helping someone to unleash their full potential.  We promise to challenge you to Think Different.  gr bbi picWe believe the thinking that got you here, will not get you where you want to go.  Our President and Chief Marketing Officer, Graham Robertson is a brand leader at heart, who loves everything about brands.  He comes with 20 years of experience at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke, where he was always able to find and drive growth.  Graham has won numerous new product and advertising awards. Graham brings his experience to your table, strong on leadership and facilitation at very high levels and training of Brand Leaders around the world.  To reach out directly, email me at graham.robertson@beloved-brands.com or follow on Twitter @grayrobertson1

At Beloved Brands, we love to see Brand Leaders reach their full potential.  Here are the most popular article “How to” articles.  We can offer specific training programs dedicated to each topic.  Click on any of these most read articles:

Ask Beloved Brands to help train you to be a better brand leader.

Are retailers messing up “Black Friday”?

black-thursdayFor the past 20 years, it has been a tradition for families to plan out their fridays by hitting the malls, the day after thanksgiving.  For us too lazy to get up at 5am, it’s been fun to watch on TV to see doors opening with screaming people trampling each other trying to get to those door crasher specials.  

It’s a huge day of travel, this year threatened by snow storms, it’s a huge day for turkeys, football and cookies.  But, most of all, Thanksgiving itself is a sacred time for families.

So this year, major retailers including Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and Sears will be opening on Thanksgiving Day.  This won’t mean a jump in revenues it just means revenues will be brought forward one day.  Yes, retailers have this belief that it’s a constant dog-fight for sales, and if one my competitor gets a leg-up, that means a loss to me.  

Retailers are facing such pressure during these economic times so I’m somewhat sympathetic.  Margins are shrinking and many retailers basically make or break their year during Thanksgiving and New Years.  So I can understand the temptation.  

Before we get into the ethical part of opening, let’s look logically at   profit the 8 ways a brand can make more profit:  1) increasing prices 2) getting consumers to trade up 3) lowering your cost of goods 4) lowering your marketing costs 5) stealing other users 6) getting users to use more 7) entering new categories and 8) getting new users.  I realize it’s all about stealing other users.  But if both competitors blink and open at 8pm on Thanksgiving, no one really wins over the consumer.  The only thing I see her is a slight increase in the costs of increased wages and store opening costs.  Net net, no one really wins.  

So at the year end, no retailer will really be saying “we had a great year because we opened on Thanksgiving Day”.Slide1

But come on guys, while your press releases are saying you’re really just “catering to consumer demand”, I don’t buy it. I’d rather see all Americans sitting around the dinner table and watching football with family and friends.  

If families are your main target market, you should be making a big deal out of the fact that you are closed so that all employees can spend time with their families.  That’s a great way to establish love for your brand.  My Hope is the Retailers Announcer Early that they will be closed on Thanksgiving 2014

To all our American Friends, I want to wish you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving

 

 

To read more about how the love for a brand creates more power and profits:

 

email-Logo copyABOUT BELOVED BRANDS INC.:  At Beloved Brands, we are only focused on making brands better and making brand leaders better.Our motivation is that we love knowing we were part of helping someone to unleash their full potential.  We promise to challenge you to Think Different.  gr bbi picWe believe the thinking that got you here, will not get you where you want to go.  Our President and Chief Marketing Officer, Graham Robertson is a brand leader at heart, who loves everything about brands.  He comes with 20 years of experience at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke, where he was always able to find and drive growth.  Graham has won numerous new product and advertising awards. Graham brings his experience to your table, strong on leadership and facilitation at very high levels and training of Brand Leaders around the world.  To reach out directly, email me at graham.robertson@beloved-brands.com or follow on Twitter @grayrobertson1

 

At Beloved Brands, we love to see Brand Leaders reach their full potential.  Here are the most popular article “How to” articles.  We can offer specific training programs dedicated to each topic.  Click on any of these most read articles:

Ask Beloved Brands to help you uncover the love and power on your brand or ask how we can help train you to be a better brand leader.

 

Have your say: Is this Holiday ad cute or offensive?

Most ads at Christmas are warm, loving story-telling moments that tug at your heart-strings. And along comes this ad from Joe Boxer and K-Mart which at first blush appears to be relatively cute and harmless.  It’s not that offensive, until of course, you link it to the sacred time of year:  Christmas.  

 

 

It sure stands out, and it has tremendous sharing capabilities with over 12 Million views on-line already.  But to show how polarizing this ad is, the Ad tracking shows it scores extremely high on attention, but very low on relevance.  It scored extremely high in the “dislike” category, however at the same time it scored very high on “likeable”.

This appears part of K-Mart’s shock value advertising they are using this year, following up on “Ship My Pants” ad below.

 

Brands really only have four choices:  better, different, cheaper or not around for very long. Both of these ads are cute ads, but neither really says why you would ever choose K-Mart.  Slide1I’m sure the ad industry likes them.  But you can get free shipping of lousy pants at many stores these days.  And Joe Boxer has pretty good distribution across most chains.

So aside from the shock value of these ads, is there really anything sustaining for K-Mart?  In Canada, there was a store called Zellers that used the same shock value style ads.  They just went bankrupt.

I’d mark this down as to a bad and confused creative brief, with a client more intent on seeing advertising as fun than effective. 

Have your say:  Will the new K-Mart ad drive more sales or not?

If you like this story…

If you’re in the holiday spirit, you might like to see how John Lewis of the UK has handled their Christmas ads the past 5 years.  They likely even jump out more than this K-Mart ad, while tugging traditionally at your heart strings.  New John Lewis Christmas ad

You might also enjoy reading about brands that are using consumer insight as the basis of their advertising.  So many Brand Leaders think your job is to represent the brand to the consumer.  What if you were to represent the consumer to the brand?   Would your work look different?  Click on this story to read more:   5 Great Ads Based on a Unique Consumer Insight

And if you want to know how to write a better creative brief, here’s a simple step by step process to help you.  Click on this story to read more:  How to write an Effective Creative Brief

To see a training presentation on getting Better Advertising

email-Logo copyABOUT BELOVED BRANDS INC.:  At Beloved Brands, we are only focused on making brands better and making brand leaders better.Our motivation is that we love knowing we were part of helping someone to unleash their full potential.  We promise to challenge you to Think Different.  gr bbi picWe believe the thinking that got you here, will not get you where you want to go.  Our President and Chief Marketing Officer, Graham Robertson is a brand leader at heart, who loves everything about brands.  He comes with 20 years of experience at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke, where he was always able to find and drive growth.  Graham has won numerous new product and advertising awards. Graham brings his experience to your table, strong on leadership and facilitation at very high levels and training of Brand Leaders around the world.  To reach out directly, email me at graham.robertson@beloved-brands.com or follow on Twitter @grayrobertson1

At Beloved Brands, we love to see Brand Leaders reach their full potential.  Here are the most popular article “How to” articles.  We can offer specific training programs dedicated to each topic.  Click on any of these most read articles:

Ask Beloved Brands to help train you on Advertising that will help you to be a better brand leader.

New Google Ad will make you cry, without understanding a word that is said

I remember this old P&G advertising guy who always said “you know you have a good spot if you can turn the sound off and still get the ad”.  Try that one time and see if it works because it’s very hard.  

Here is a new Google ad where there is no English at all and yet the story is easy to follow.  If you want, you can turn on the Closed Captioning by hitting the tiny CC button at the bottom right of the video.  I watched it without understanding one word that was spoken and I was able to follow along.  And i cried. 

The ad is beautifully shot, and feels more like a mini-movie than a TV ad.  Well, it is 3 minutes and 32 seconds.  They stay authentic to the culture, with great visuals, music and language.  The story is simple–about two friends who have not seen other since their childhoods. 

The ad shows how much we rely on Google for looking up, finding, tracking  or just checking any little thing that makes our lives just a little bit easier.  Slide1It captures our attention, getting millions of likes already as it’s being passed around social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.  it involves the brand throughout without too much branding.  The tears generated at the end makes you want to pass it on, so they can experience what you just did.  Well done.  

The irony of Google, is they have done some of the best Ads this century–most notably the Google Parisian spot, which they aired during the Super Bowl a few years ago.  That spot was deeply engaging, showing how much we rely on Google in our lives.  I love this spot. 

If you like this story…

You might also enjoy reading about brands that are using consumer insight as the basis of their advertising.  So many Brand Leaders think your job is to represent the brand to the consumer.  What if you were to represent the consumer to the brand?   Would your work look different?  Click on this story to read more:   5 Great Ads Based on a Unique Consumer Insight

And if you want to know how to write a better creative brief, here’s a simple step by step process to help you.  Click on this story to read more:  How to write an Effective Creative Brief

Do you want to be an amazing Brand Leader?  We can help you.  

Read more on how to utilize our Brand Leadership Learning Center where you will receive training in all aspects of marketing whether that’s strategic thinking, brand plans, creative briefs, brand positioning, analytical skills or how to judge advertising.  We can customize a program that is right for you or your team.  We can work in person, over the phone or through Skype.  Ask us how we can help you. 

email-Logo copyABOUT BELOVED BRANDS INC.:  At Beloved Brands, we are only focused on making brands better and making brand leaders better.Our motivation is that we love knowing we were part of helping someone to unleash their full potential.  We promise to challenge you to Think Different.  gr bbi picWe believe the thinking that got you here, will not get you where you want to go.  Our President and Chief Marketing Officer, Graham Robertson is a brand leader at heart, who loves everything about brands.  He comes with 20 years of experience at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke, where he was always able to find and drive growth.  Graham has won numerous new product and advertising awards. Graham brings his experience to your table, strong on leadership and facilitation at very high levels and training of Brand Leaders around the world.  To reach out directly, email me at graham.robertson@beloved-brands.com or follow on Twitter @grayrobertson1

At Beloved Brands, we love to see Brand Leaders reach their full potential.  Here are the most popular article “How to” articles.  We can offer specific training programs dedicated to each topic.  Click on any of these most read articles:

Ask Beloved Brands to help train you on Advertising that will help you to be a better brand leader.

New John Lewis Christmas Ad (2013), from the company that does the Best Christmas ads

John Lewis, Christmas 2013

They use beautiful music, a movie-like storyline that demonstrates the beauty of gift giving, stretched out over 90 seconds.    No words are needed to tell the story.  They are not loaded with so much branding that they would turn you off before inviting you in.  The John Lewis ads take you on a journey with a slight twist at the end as they tug at the heart and bring a reminder of what the season is all about:  the gift of Giving. 

Here is the one for 2013, that is a whopping 2 minutes and 10 seconds that was launched on-line before TV.  It’s already enjoyed tons of free media in the UK.  Here it is:

This year’s ad has 3 million YouTube hits already after the first two days (still early Nov) and you can likely expect it to reach 25 million by Christmas.  John Lewis has taken the ad on-line selling the book “The Bear and the Hare” or get a chance to design a Christmas card that can be shared with friends.

johnlewis xmas card

The John Lewis Christmas Series

John Lewis has been doing these Christmas ads for years now.  People, including myself, are now starting to look for them.  I know when you run a long running campaign, it takes a lot of creativity to keep it going.  It has a nice song and a twist at the end.  My only complaint is that they are moving away from what first gave me goose bumps. 

For me best one was 2011, about the boy who couldn’t wait for Christmas

This is also a great one from 2010

And you can see the one from 2009.

Last year’s 2012 John Lewis Christmas ad was a bit different.  A bit too dark for me, a bit disconnected from the John Lewis brand or the campaign.  While a nice story, I think it’s a miss.  

Have your Say

My fav is 2011, but all are great and well loved.  Now is your chance to vote for which of the John Lewis ads is your favorite.  

 

I can’t wait for next year’s ad
If you like this story…

A new Ad from Apple will likely bring a tear to your eye.  In this spot, a teen appears to be constantly hanging onto to his iPhone and from there, the magic happens.  New Apple Holiday Ad will bring a tear to your eye

You might also enjoy reading about brands that are using consumer insight as the basis of their advertising.  So many Brand Leaders think your job is to represent the brand to the consumer.  What if you were to represent the consumer to the brand?   Would your work look different?  Click on this story to read more:   5 Great Ads Based on a Unique Consumer Insight

And if you want to know how to write a better creative brief, here’s a simple step by step process to help you.  Click on this story to read more:  How to write an Effective Creative Brief

Do you want to be an amazing Brand Leader?  We can help you.  

Read more on how to utilize our Brand Leadership Learning Center where you will receive training in all aspects of marketing whether that’s strategic thinking, brand plans, creative briefs, brand positioning, analytical skills or how to judge advertising.  We can customize a program that is right for you or your team.  We can work in person, over the phone or through Skype.  Ask us how we can help you. 

email-Logo copyABOUT BELOVED BRANDS INC.:  At Beloved Brands, we are only focused on making brands better and making brand leaders better.Our motivation is that we love knowing we were part of helping someone to unleash their full potential.  We promise to challenge you to Think Different.  gr bbi picWe believe the thinking that got you here, will not get you where you want to go.  Our President and Chief Marketing Officer, Graham Robertson is a brand leader at heart, who loves everything about brands.  He comes with 20 years of experience at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke, where he was always able to find and drive growth.  Graham has won numerous new product and advertising awards. Graham brings his experience to your table, strong on leadership and facilitation at very high levels and training of Brand Leaders around the world.  To reach out directly, email me at graham.robertson@beloved-brands.com or follow on Twitter @grayrobertson1

 

At Beloved Brands, we love to see Brand Leaders reach their full potential.  Here are the most popular article “How to” articles.  We can offer specific training programs dedicated to each topic.  Click on any of these most read articles:

Ask Beloved Brands to help train you on Advertising that will help you to be a better brand leader.

Has Mayor Rob Ford destroyed the Toronto brand?

Toronto the Good

I’m from Toronto, but I’m not really from here, if you know what I mean.  It seems most people in Toronto are from some place else.  That’s what makes it such a great place to live.  It’s visibly impossible to tell the tourists from the locals.  Toronto is a beautiful collection of cultural pockets, Italian, Greek, Jamaican, Chinese, South Asian, Brazilian, Jewish, Korean and everyone else woven throughout the city. If you love multiculturalism, Toronto is the place to be.  I love it. 

0704prideToronto has a vibrant LGBT community, with one of the world’s largest Gay Pride parades.  Our premier (equal to a governor in the US) is a lesbian and yet her sexual orientation didn’t really make the news cycle, before or after she came into office.  Isn’t that a healthy sign of a modern day world?

The hot political issues you hear in other parts of the world won’t be discussed at the lunch table in Toronto.  No one really talks about gay marriage, free healthcare, abortion and gun control.  We’ve implemented  solutions and kinda moved on past these issues.  Gay Marriage has been legal since 2003, Healthcare has been free since the 1950s, Politicians never talk about abortion anymore and in most provinces it’s fully funded under the healthcare laws.  We think guns are a problem, because that’s a big issue for us, but in reality, Toronto only has 50 murders per year compared to 500+ in Chicago (same sized cities).   

Toronto is different.  Toronto is very modern.  Toronto is good.   ‘Toronto the Good’ is one of the city’s many nicknames, first used in 1888 when there was a campaign for moral purification.”  Toronto is a fairly pure city.  

It would be safe to say that Rob Ford is a far cry from purification and not likely a fitting leader of “Toronto the Good”. 

So what is Toronto’s brand?  

Toronto is a well respected city, some love it, but almost all like it.  People see all the good, whether it’s multiculturalism or the fairly liberal virtues of the city we offer.  And clean comes up every time.

As for the Toronto tag line, I’m not sure we have one.  I’ve never heard one.   We have some good shopping, good collection of live theatre, a noteworthy ballet and a solid film festival.  We have the greatest hockey team on earth that last won in 1967.  We had the tallest structure (not building) in the world and maybe top 3 now.  We are close to Niagara Falls, a short two hours away.

Wow, who the heck are we?  

Here goes:  Toronto is a nice place to live.  

There I said it.  I’m sorry.  That’s really what the Toronto brand is all about.   We aren’t sexy, fun, wild or insane.  We are nice.  Polite.  Friendly.  Comfortable.  Courteous.  Safe.  And Clean.  

We are a nice place to live.  Embrace it.  

I guess that’s why Toronto never makes the US news.

Enter Stage Left:  Mayor Rob Ford

Well, this week Toronto finally got its wish.  We made the US news. 

hi-rob-ford-interactive-852For those who don’t know, Rob Ford, Toronto’s infamous mayor has admitted that yes, he smoked Crack last summer, but it was likely during one of his many drunken stupors.  His words.  It’s re-assuring that at least we know he was too drunk to remember.

Toronto has finally made the US news cycle and we are on every late night TV show.  I was watching Jimmy Kimmel last night and he just said “Rob Ford” without even saying “Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford”.  Wow, we have hit the big time.  We are famous finally.  Embrace this Toronto.  

Here is Toronto’s seven minutes of fame on the Daily Show with John Stewart.  Tourism Toronto could not afford this coverage.  

 

So what’s the damage to the Toronto brand?  

First of all, what’s the damage to the Rob Ford brand?  None.  People in Toronto have known Ford was like this for a long time.  So this is not really new to us.  Just good comedy.  Even back last year there was a fun list of 21 things about Rob Ford that will get a good chuckle.  “The 21 Things to Know About Rob Ford” New York Magazine   

There are contrasting Rob Ford poll numbers floating around that could give him room to repair this.  On the positive side, his job approval rating is up 5% compared to before the crisis.  But 60% of the people are saying he should resign.  So if he can find a way to put this behind him and create some “comeback story”, then his core supporters could help him to stay in office.  Check himself into re-hab, lose 30 pounds and come out a changed man.  Just follow the Bill Clinton playbook.

Good brands have to be either better or different.  In the high taxed political world of Toronto and Canada, Rob Ford occupies a very unique message in Toronto, that of “lower taxes”.  He’s almost the wrong guy with the right message.  If someone comes along with a “lower taxes” message but in a much refined image, then Rob Ford could be ousted.  No longer unique.  

As for the Toronto brand, I think it’s relatively safe.  I know local people are “embarrassed” and ranting on Facebook about what a disgrace this is to Toronto.  It won’t really damage the city.   Toronto has such a squeaky clean image, this will fade into the news cycle and won’t come back to haunt us.  In the last 20 years, we’ve seen so many politicians do some pretty bad stuff that we are long past that.   Nobody equates the bad behavior back to where they are from.  

With or without Rob Ford, Toronto will always be “Toronto the Good”

 

 

To read more about Beloved Brands

 

 

email-Logo copyABOUT BELOVED BRANDS INC.:  At Beloved Brands, we are only focused on making brands better and making brand leaders better.Our motivation is that we love knowing we were part of helping someone to unleash their full potential.  We promise to challenge you to Think Different.  gr bbi picWe believe the thinking that got you here, will not get you where you want to go.  Our President and Chief Marketing Officer, Graham Robertson is a brand leader at heart, who loves everything about brands.  He comes with 20 years of experience at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke, where he was always able to find and drive growth.  Graham has won numerous new product and advertising awards. Graham brings his experience to your table, strong on leadership and facilitation at very high levels and training of Brand Leaders around the world.  To reach out directly, email me at graham.robertson@beloved-brands.com or follow on Twitter @grayrobertson1

 

At Beloved Brands, we love to see Brand Leaders reach their full potential.  Here are the most popular article “How to” articles.  We can offer specific training programs dedicated to each topic.  Click on any of these most read articles:

Ask Beloved Brands to run a workshop to find your brand positioning or ask how we can help train you to be a better brand leader.

Is BBM 2.0 a really smart move or really stupid move by Blackberry?

bbmIf you missed it, the big news in the world of teens is the resurgence of the BBM brand.

And to me as a marketer, it has me baffled.  Back in the day, Yogi Berra was famous for saying things that at first glance were very stupid, but after you thought about them a little longer you started to wonder if they were genius.  (“No one goes there anymore because it’s too crowded” or “The future aint what it used to be” or “never answer anonymous letter”)  So I’ve spent 48 hours wracking my brain on this one and I’m still remain highly confused by it.  Mind you, I was confused by BBM the first time.

What is BBM?

BBM stands for BlackBerry Messenger.  Back in 2006-2010, Blackberry was the phone of choice for business people.  Remember the term “crackberry”? One of the small services was BlackBerry Messenger that allowed you to send a direct message to another BlackBerry owner, faster than texting and you wouldn’t be charged by your carrier.   All you need was the other person’s PIN (Personal Identification Number).

It didn’t take long for teenagers to figure this out, and all of a sudden Blackberry quickly became the phone of choice for teenagers.  All of a sudden Blackberry shifted their target from “corporate VPs” to cool teenagers.  I think BBM 1.0 was a mistake for Blackberry as it took their eye off their true focus:  advanced phone and email technology for business leaders.  They lost their B2B stranglehold, they stopped innovating and then all of a sudden they were leapfrogged by both Apple and Android. Maybe in hindsight, it would have been smarter for Blackberry to sell the BBM technology and it’s membership to a brand more focused on the teen market.

Today, arguably, Blackberry is near death.  The people who have Blackberry Phones are those at the end of their 3-year plan or working for a company that doesn’t believe in trading up.  Blackberry, which once traded at $130 share price is now down at $8.  They’ve spent years trying to get back in the technology game and their latest launch would best be described as OK.   They are trying to sell the company–whether the brand has equity or just the sum of the Blackberry parts.  In fact, this past month Blackberry had to take out this ad:

bb ad

As the BlackBerry phones died, so did BBM, replaced by iChat, Kik, Snap Chat and any other tool the kids can find.  That is, until this week, when BBM for iPhone and BBM for Android launched, gaining 10 Million immediate customers as well at a pace of 500,000 per hour.  All over social media sites, such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, kids are listing their PIN so they can connect with each other.

BBM is a loved Brand

There’s a lot of pent-up love and Nostalgia for the BBM brand.  When you are 17, trust me, 2010 is the “good ole days”.  They all have such fondness for BBM as where they first became addicted to their phone.  

In reality, kids are turning to any new social media site where they can hide from their parents.  Once they found all their parents on Facebook, they ditched it for Twitter.  Maybe, they have figured out that Mom is now reading all your tweets and figuring out where you were at 3 in the morning.  The good news about BBM is that unless you have my PIN, you won’t be able to see what I’m doing.  As of this week, BBM is the new hang out for kids.

Why BBM makes sense:  BBM is clearly a BlackBerry Asset

Blackberry only really exists for one purpose:  to be sold at a higher asking price than today’s stock market price.  They are so boxed-in, there is really no way out.  So, they either need cash now, or at the least, an added source of revenue streams in the future.  Since they can’t find more cash by selling phones, maybe BBM represents an added source of revenue in the future.

BBM is free to consumers, but will turn a profit through a combination of marketing and advertising through some yet-to-be-launched features, such as BBM Channels which will allow users to amass followers and share content as well as allow BlackBerry to tailor and target ads towards individual users.  (sounds like Facebook)  Video and voice chatting services for BBM, which are currently available to BlackBerry users only, is also coming soon to the Apple and Android platforms “within months”

So now for Blackberry, BBM could quickly become an asset that might attract a new buyer to the company.   You would be buying the latest chat technology rage plus access to a concentrated list of millions of passionate consumers.

Why BBM DOESN’T make sense:  What Business is Blackberry in?

Every great brand understands what business they are in–matching up what they do really well with the consumer demand in the marketplace.  There are so many reasons that would make BBM out of scope.

    • BlackBerry doesn’t really understand teens.  Whether they understand corporate consumers still, is another question.  But that’s where they should be focused.  This fickle teen market will just drive you insane.  
    • BlackBerry is not a software or app company.  They are a device company, and they can’t take their eye off what’s next in the device business.  Even if they don’t get the next big thing to market, at least they can convince a new prospective owner they can.  
    • BlackBerry doesn’t know how to sell advertising space.  Selling advertising is a complete pain in the ass.  Does Blackberry really want to get into that?  Not only have social media sites struggled to sell advertising, mobile apps have struggled even more.  
    • Focus your efforts on finding a new owner. All that seems to be left is find a new owner.  Maybe BBM opens up the door to being bought by big social media players (Google or Facebook) but then they’d be stuck with everything else.  

So what’s next then?   Maybe just wait a few more weeks or months and package up the BBM assets and sell them off.

What is your take on BBM 2.0?  Crazy or Brilliant?

To read more on How to Think Strategically, read the presentation below:

 

email-Logo copy

ABOUT BELOVED BRANDS INC.:  At Beloved Brands, we are only focused on making brands better and making brand leaders better.Our motivation is that we love knowing we were part of helping someone to unleash their full potential.  We promise to challenge you to Think Different.  We believe the thinking that got you here, will not get you where you want to go.  grOur President and Chief Marketing Officer, Graham Robertson is a brand leader at heart, who loves everything about brands.  He comes with 20 years of experience at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke, where he was always able to find and drive growth.  Graham has won numerous new product and advertising awards. Graham brings his experience to your table, strong on leadership and facilitation at very high levels and training of Brand Leaders around the world.  To reach out directly, email me at graham.robertson@beloved-brands.com or follow on Twitter @grayrobertson1

 

At Beloved Brands, we love to see Brand Leaders reach their full potential.  Here are the most popular article “How to” articles.  We can offer specific training programs dedicated to each topic.  Click on any of these most read articles:

Ask Beloved Brands to run a workshop to create a Brand Strategic Road Map or ask how we can help train you to be a better brand leader.

AMC: Transformation from a sleepy Movie Channel to brilliant Production House

imagesFor years, AMC has always been that channel that showed the classic movies my mom used to love.  AMC stands for American Movie Classics and for the first part of their history, they stayed true to that vision with great thrillers, cowboy movies, and dramas from the 1940s and 1950s.  But like most cable TV channels, AMC seems to have meandered away from their original intent.  When you figure A&E (Arts and Entertainment) shows “Storage Wars” and “Duck Dynasty” (not exactly Arts), TLC (The Learning Channel) shows “Honey Boo Boo” and “Alaskan Women Looking for Love” (both shows seem to be the opposite of Learning), we can see how these channels move to where the money can be found.  These feel like complete sell-outs, going against the original vision of the channels.  

AMC hits the Wall in 2002

So when AMC hit that wall where they weren’t generating enough funding, you could have expected them to sell out like those other channels.  But AMC went the other way, making the decision in to start producing original programming–and not just your average shows.   mad-men-1AMC has produced three TV series that have been ground-breaking, high risk and equally high quality in the writing, production and acting.  Mad Men, started in 2007, was the first AMC show to break through and has won numerous awards, capturing an urban audience.  Then Breaking Bad hit in 2008, capturing a broader audience, a complex story line, high character development against a back drop of crystal meth.  And the third hit, The Walking Dead, started in 2010, has a more niche audience but is quickly broadening as word spreads among the youthful audience.  All three shows are truly beloved TV shows, regarded as the best dramas of this generation.  

AMC has quickly become the Miramax of TV, where you start to think of it as a trusted entity of quality production.  So when new shows come, like “Low Winter Sun” or “Better Call Saul” (the spin-off from Breaking Bad), we might be willing to give them a look based on the credibility they’ve earned from the other shows.  

The connectivity to a show like Breaking Bad is insane. On IMBD, the third last episode of Breaking Bad scored a weighted average score of 10/10 with 96% of the 32,000 people giving it a score of 10. Given how numbers work, where it’s hard to get people to agree on anything, that’s crazy.  But the peak of Breaking Bad has now come at the end of the show, and AMC needs to use that momentum to drive new programming back into the brand.  

So where does AMC go next?

But, since a Brand can only occupy one part of our brain, the AMC brand needs to figure out what it wants to be when it grows up.  These new shows are making AMC famous, but can’t fill in the complete schedule yet.  We can now see that AMC has made the decision to dial-up the movie half to fit in with the shows at least.  No more “Three Stooges” but rather movies that fit the “Breaking Bad” type audience with movies such as The Godfather, Lord of the Rings and The Italian Job on the schedule.  This will keep the demographic tighter for both the audience and selling advertising space.  No more ads for walk in shower and more ads for Call of Duty.  

Slide1

If we look at the 5 connections of a Beloved Brand, we see that AMC has done a good job on all 5 connections and has a real point of momentum in the market–both with consumers who watch the shows and the internal Hollywood community who produce the shows.  But now the pressure of the Brand has to go internally to take the revenue and fame of the AMC brand to drive even greater original programming.  Leverage the good will among the hollywood community to get writers, directors and actors to commit to wanting to be part of AMC brand.  The Hollywood community knows that if you’re part of a Miramax project, it increases your possibility for an Oscar.  AMC has the chance to own the Emmy’s in the same way.  But now that Breaking Bad is done, Mad Men is nearing an end and Walking Dead is at its peak, now is the time to drive that freshness index for new shows to keep the momentum of this new AMC brand going strong.  A continual stream of innovation is not easy–it must come from the culture and operations of the brand.  

So,what’s Next for AMC?

 

To read more about how the love for a brand creates more power and profits:

 

email-Logo copyABOUT BELOVED BRANDS INC.:  At Beloved Brands, we are only focused on making brands better and making brand leaders better.Our motivation is that we love knowing we were part of helping someone to unleash their full potential.  We promise to challenge you to Think Different.  We believe the thinking that got you here, will not get you where you want to go.  grOur President and Chief Marketing Officer, Graham Robertson is a brand leader at heart, who loves everything about brands.  He comes with 20 years of experience at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke, where he was always able to find and drive growth.  Graham has won numerous new product and advertising awards. Graham brings his experience to your table, strong on leadership and facilitation at very high levels and training of Brand Leaders around the world.  To reach out directly, email me at graham.robertson@beloved-brands.com or follow on Twitter @grayrobertson1

 

At Beloved Brands, we love to see Brand Leaders reach their full potential.  Here are the most popular article “How to” articles.  We can offer specific training programs dedicated to each topic.  Click on any of these most read articles:

Ask Beloved Brands to help you find more love for your brand or ask how we can help train you to be a better brand leader.

Is Samsung a beloved brand? Not quite, but it’s really likeable.

Samsung is a classic product-driven brand, but has struggled to reach that next level where it becomes an idea brand.  I know the first thing people will say:  Does it matter if they love Samsung?  Well, my argument is that the more beloved the brand, the more power it can command and the more profit it can generate.  Profit has to matter, right?  

I like Samsung Products a lot!  But there’s not Brand Idea

Samsung-LogoSamsung has amazing products.  The TV’s are fantastic, high quality good designs and good prices.  The laundry products appear to be best in class, going beyond LG.   And the Samsung phones are amazing–leading Android technology with many consumers saying they are ahead of Apple.  The leading market share backs that up.  

But what’s the unifying idea behind Samsung?   Has Samsung created such a following that their most loyal consumers wouldn’t even look at another competitor?  Would they follow Samsung into a new category just because they buy into the brand?  Does Samsung elicit that crazed passion we see in Apple consumers?  This week, Apple launched a pretty good new phone, and we saw the usual line ups, running consumers and even a fight this time.  

There are enough Apple haters, but are they Samsung lovers?  

Samsung tried last year to go head-to-head with the Apple brand by mocking Apple, which tapped nicely into those who are sick of Apple and their fan club.  But there was very little in the ad that made us love Samsung.  

The problem for Samsung is they keep talking features and not benefits.  Even in that ad above, the only thing you take away is you can share song lists and you get a bigger screen.  There’s no talk of benefits, either rational or emotional.  In a technology battle, features are easy to duplicate but benefits are harder to replicate.  And the ad has no real brand idea, likely because the folks at Samsung don’t seem to know what their brand idea is.  

Where is Samsung on the Brand Love Curve?

In the consumer’s mind, brands sit on a hypothetical Brand Love Curve, with brands going from Indifferent to Like It to Love It and finally becoming a Beloved Brand for Life.  Knowing where you on the curve allows you to understand how much connectivity and power your brand has in the marketplace.


At the Beloved stage, demand becomes desire, needs become cravings, thinking is replaced with feelings.  Consumers become outspoken fans.  It’s this connection that helps drive power for your brand: power versus competitors, versus customers, versus suppliers and even versus the same consumers you’re connected with.  And with that power, you can generate more profit for your brand–through higher prices, lower cost, new categories or market share.  It’s important that brands understand where they sit on the Love Curve and begin figuring out how to move it along towards becoming a more Beloved Brand.  

While filled with fantastic products, the Samsung brand feels stuck at “Like It”.  Part of what separates “Like” from “Love” is the lack of the emotional connection.  When consumers start feeling more and thinking less, it shifts the discussion from just the product features to connecting to the brand idea.  slide1

The question that has to be bugging Samsung is How loyal and passionate is the Samsung consumer base?  If Samsung loses the technological advantage behind Android (which is slightly out of their control) then will they lose their customer base as well?  The head-to-head comparison with Apple might have Samsung winning on share, but Apple’s brand love still generates profit margins almost 4x that of Samsung.  And when Apple launches a new phone, we see line ups, people running to get into the store and even a reported fist fight in line.  Samsung would die for the connectivity with their consumer base and die for those margins.

Most beloved brands are based on an idea worth loving

It is the idea that connects the Brand with consumers.  And under the Brand Idea are 5 sources of connectivity that help connect the brand with consumers and drive Brand Love, including

      1. brand promise
      2. strategic choices you make
      3. brand’s ability to tell their story
      4. freshness of the product or service
      5. overall experience and impressions it leaves with you.  

Everyone wants to debate what makes a great brand–whether it’s the product, the advertising, the experience or through consumers.  It is not just one or the other–it’s the collective connection of all these things that make a brand beloved.  

Looking at those 5 connections, Samsung promises high quality, modern products at a good price.  And they deliver.  They do a great job on product freshness–especially in TVs and most recently phones and appliances.  But that’s where Samsung gets stuck:  they are just a promise and a product.  They fail on the Samsung story where we can’t see a unifying brand idea to help tell a consistent story across the Samsung brand.  And once we see them start turning their features into benefits for the consumer, we’ll start to see Samsung control the end experience for that consumer.  All beloved brands create an experience beyond the product, and it’s that experience that keeps consumers loyal and engaged with the brand.  

Samsung could learn from Apple

The Apple brand idea is all about simplicity.  The people at Apple take the technology out of the technology to make it so simple that everyone can be part of the future.  They align all their new products to this promise, whether it’s iPhones, Mac Books or iPads.  Apple lines up the story through advertising, social media and the use of key influencers.  And the retail stores deliver the experience of simplicity.

Slide1

Samsung could also learn from the now famous Steve Jobs quote that you  “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way”.  If Samsung were to get into the shoes of the consumer and see the world through their eyes, they might start talking benefits, they might find a brand idea that unifies all the Samsung product lines and they might find that experience to take Samsung to the next level.

Hey Samsung:  Stop being just the “next best product feature” and find a brand idea to build around.    

 

For a presentation on how to write a Positioning Statement, follow:

 

 

email-Logo copyABOUT BELOVED BRANDS INC.:  At Beloved Brands, we are only focused on making brands better and making brand leaders better.Our motivation is that we love knowing we were part of helping someone to unleash their full potential.  We promise to challenge you to Think Different.  We believe the thinking that got you here, will not get you where you want to go.  grOur President and Chief Marketing Officer, Graham Robertson is a brand leader at heart, who loves everything about brands.  He comes with 20 years of experience at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke, where he was always able to find and drive growth.  Graham has won numerous new product and advertising awards. Graham brings his experience to your table, strong on leadership and facilitation at very high levels and training of Brand Leaders around the world.  To reach out directly, email me at graham.robertson@beloved-brands.com or follow on Twitter @grayrobertson1

 

At Beloved Brands, we love to see Brand Leaders reach their full potential.  Here are the most popular article “How to” articles.  We can offer specific training programs dedicated to each topic.  Click on any of these most read articles:

Ask Beloved Brands to run a workshop to find your brand positioning or ask how we can help train you to be a better brand leader.

Best Tourism Ads on the Planet

Ad_Newfoundland_240x240As we hit the fall, it’s a great time to be thinking about vacations.  Here are some of the Best Tourism ads from around the world.  Too many Tourism spots use a montage of clips against a cute wholesome song and put on a cheery tag line that says very little and offends very few.  Most tourism ads all look the sam.  The challenge for tourism groups is the number of constituents they must please really inhibits the risk taking that would push for greatness. 

Here’s a few of my favourites.   Feel free to add others.    

Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada

This ad captures the pure beauty of Newfoundland, a province on the east coast of Canada.  Pure desolate and rugged beauty.  This campaign  enticed me to go to Newfoundland and it did not disappoint.  Best photos you’ll ever come back with.  I’d go in the summer though, as it can be rather chilly (even then).

 

India

This campaign does a great job in capturing the diversity that India has to offer.  “Incredible India” 

 

New Zealand

New Zealand borrows the richness of the Lord of the Rings to showcase the diversity of New Zealand.  I was lucky enough to film a TV ad in New Zealand.  

Air France

I love when ‘quiet’ is used to capture attention.  Without showing classic montage of clips, this spot offers the beauty of ballet and a style that just screams France.

 
South Africa

Showing a bit of the personality of South Africa mixed in with soccer to showcase the World Cup of Soccer.  

Las Vegas

And of course, after Vegas tried for decades to promote the “good” Vegas for family fun, they finally nailed it when they went the other way and said “it’s a bit naughty” with “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”.

Tell me an Ad that influenced you to take a vacation.  

To see How to to Get Better Advertising, click below:

email-Logo copyABOUT BELOVED BRANDS INC.:  At Beloved Brands, we are only focused on making brands better and making brand leaders better.Our motivation is that we love knowing we were part of helping someone to unleash their full potential.  We promise to challenge you to Think Different.  We believe the thinking that got you here, will not get you where you want to go.  grOur President and Chief Marketing Officer, Graham Robertson is a brand leader at heart, who loves everything about brands.  He comes with 20 years of experience at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke, where he was always able to find and drive growth.  Graham has won numerous new product and advertising awards. Graham brings his experience to your table, strong on leadership and facilitation at very high levels and training of Brand Leaders around the world.  To reach out directly, email me at graham.robertson@beloved-brands.com or follow on Twitter @grayrobertson1

 

At Beloved Brands, we love to see Brand Leaders reach their full potential.  Here are the most popular article “How to” articles.  We can offer specific training programs dedicated to each topic.  Click on any of these most read articles:

 
Ask Beloved Brands to run a workshop to find your brand positioning or ask how we can help train you to be a better brand leader.

The Microsoft Tablet Disaster was so easy to Predict

bgr-surface-red-touch-coverWell, that was quick.  Nine months ago, Microsoft made a big deal about getting into the Tablet business. And now nine months later, Microsoft is writing off $900 Million worth of Tablets that have been occupying a warehouse.   Not only the major write off, but now that the outlook and confusion of what’s next for Microsoft looms, the stock price dropped 10%, losing $30 Billion in market value.  Ouch.  

I hate being right!!!  I just hate it. The reason I hate it, is because it seems like the obvious should be obvious to everyone.  This tablet launch just had disaster screaming all over it.  Sometimes the answers are so obvious, yet people are blinded by not asking the right question.  They just go ahead with wrong answers. For Microsoft, they missed a bunch of right questions?  

Q: What business are we in?   
A: We do software really well.  Especially when we are in a monopolistic position.  We kinda suck at hardware.  Did you see what we did on Zune?  That wasn’t pretty.   

Q: Do we have a leap-frog technology? Is the Microsoft Surface product better, different or cheaper?  
A: Not really different.  It’s like a really nice iPad with a very bad and cheap plastic lid. And better?  Well it is better than a tablet, which people use for fun.  But it’s nowhere near a Macbook Air which people use for work.  So we’re better than one and worse than the other.  We’re a bit confused but we hope the consumer gets it.  And we are going to charge a significant premium, because we are Microsoft and we always do.   So I guess it’s not really better, cheaper or different.  But, we have lots of resources and stores of our own.  Well, not a lot of stores, and they aren’t very crowded.  But we hope this does well? 

Q: Will it be pretty easy to communicate the point of difference?
A:  Not really easy.  We are going to do ads with geeky people dancing and closing the lid. A lot.  People might think they are laptops.  But we’ll press the screen so they know it’s like their iPad, only it has a lid.  We won’t try to out-cool Apple.  We’ll try to be cool, as in “the coolest kid in the Science club” kind of cool.

Q: Apple is already on their 4th tablet and likely has 3 years of incremental innovation in the pipeline?  Samsung Galaxy is an amazing product and they are killing it on cool innovation.  Do we have any R&D innovation beyond the initial launch?    
A:  No.  Is that a problem?  

Q: If we are so good at software, and the world has moved to Apps, which is sort of like software, why don’t we take all our energy and expertise in the software business and start applying that to Apps?  
A:  Wow, that’s a good question, but we’ve already ordered the plastic lids for the Tablets.  Why don’t we do both.  But truth be told, we kinda suck at Apps.    

These questions would have allowed us to look at the vision, promise, strategy, story, freshness and culture that would showcase how ill prepared Microsoft was for the Surface launch. Here’s an example of how a brand like Special K uses the promise, story, freshness, and culture to help guide their brand.

Slide1

Answering these 5 questions also helps to map out the Microsoft Brand Strategy Road Map.   It might also highlight how wrong the surface is to the overall Microsoft brand. Here’s an example of what the Brand Strategy Road Map looks like.

Slide1

 

Predicting Disaster Was Pretty Easy

In the spirit of predicting this disaster, I wrote a story last June on the how the Microsoft Surface would be a disaster.  Like I said, I hate being right.  Click on the story below:  

Why Does Microsoft Keep Copying Apple?

At the time, the response i got back was 50/50, with half of the people criticizing the Microsoft Surface launch and the other half criticizing me for criticizing the Surface launch.  I always figure 50/50 is a good ratio to stir the pot.  But, I was starting to think I might be going overboard on being an Apple lover.  Here’s a summary of my view.

Getting into the Tablet Business Feels like Zune

Getting into hardware is a big gamble and not something that fits with Microsoft’s strengths.  To be a success, you either have to be better, different or cheaper and this feels like none of those.  Just like the Zune, it feels as though they are late and aren’t really offering anything that’s a game-changer to the category.  Like most categories at the stage where tablets are, until someone really shakes it up, the next few years are likely all about constant small innovation, new news each year with Apple leading the way on the high-end and Samsung’s cost innovation will likely squeeze Microsoft right out of the category.  The analysts are so excited by the launch that the MSFT stock price is down 1.3%.

The Best Strategic Answers Start with the Best Strategic Questions

 

To read more on How to Write a Brand Plan, read the presentation below:

email-Logo copyABOUT BELOVED BRANDS INC.:  At Beloved Brands, we are only focused on making brands better and making brand leaders better.Our motivation is that we love knowing we were part of helping someone to unleash their full potential.  We promise to challenge you to Think Different.  We believe the thinking that got you here, will not get you where you want to go.  grOur President and Chief Marketing Officer, Graham Robertson is a brand leader at heart, who loves everything about brands.  He comes with 20 years of experience at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke, where he was always able to find and drive growth.  Graham has won numerous new product and advertising awards. Graham brings his experience to your table, strong on leadership and facilitation at very high levels and training of Brand Leaders around the world.  To reach out directly, email me at graham.robertson@beloved-brands.com or follow on Twitter @grayrobertson1

 

At Beloved Brands, we love to see Brand Leaders reach their full potential.  Here are the most popular article “How to” articles.  We can offer specific training programs dedicated to each topic.  Click on any of these most read articles:

Ask Beloved Brands to run a workshop to find your brand positioning or ask how we can help train you to be a better brand leader.

World Vision TV Ads: Do you think these are highly effective or disgusting?

9765065_origIt’s obvious that World Vision does amazing work.  And it’s an incredibly important cause.  In fact, my wife and I have been donating to World Vision for the past 15 year.  But these ads are very disturbing to me.   I’m not sure the tone of these ads convey what I’m supporting.  Yes, they are arresting and will capture attention, but it feels like the attempt at shock value humor could turn consumers away rather than connect with the cause.  

world_visionLike any charity the goal should to raise more money to support the cause and related work.  These ads are likely trying to raise more money from those who already support the cause.  While the ad community will love the creativity of the ads, I’m worried the tone is wrong and will cause even less donations.  Not more.  

Creatively, do you make people feel really bad about the problem, or do you make people feel good about the progress you are making? 

Here are the two Ads

 

 

I do not like these at all.  The tone feels way off.  What’s your view?  
Poll: Will these ads raise MORE or LESS money for World Vision?

 

 

Follow me on twitter @grayrobertson1

 

To read more about how the love for a brand creates more power and profits:

 
Other Stories You Might Like
  1. How to Write a Creative Brief.  The creative brief really comes out of two sources, the brand positioning statement and the advertising strategy that should come from the brand plan.  To read how to write a Creative Brief, click on this hyperlink:  How to Write a Creative Brief
  2. How to Write a Brand Plan:  The positioning statement helps frame what the brand is all about.  However, the brand plan starts to make choices on how you’re going to make the most of that promise.  Follow this hyperlink to read more on writing a Brand Plan:  How to Write a Brand Plan
  3. Consumer Insights:  To get richer depth on the consumer, read the following story by clicking on the hyper link:  Everything Starts and Ends with the Consumer in Mind

 

Brand LeadershipI run the Brand Leader Learning Center,  with programs on a variety of topics that are all designed to make better Brand Leaders.  To read more on how the Learning Center can help you as a Brand Leader click here:   Brand Leadership Learning Center

 

Pick your Social Media vehicle and follow us by clicking on the icon below

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To reach out directly, email me at graham.robertson@beloved-brands.com

About Graham Robertson: The reason why I started Beloved Brands Inc. is to help brands realize their full potential value by generating more love for the brand.   I only do two things:  1) Make Brands Better or 2) Make Brand Leaders Better.  I have a reputation as someone who can find growth where others can’t, whether that’s on a turnaround, re-positioning, new launch or a sustaining high growth.  And I love to make Brand Leaders better by sharing my knowledge.  Im a marketer at heart, who loves everything about brands.  My background includes 20 years of CPG marketing at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke.  My promise to you is that I will get your brand and your team in a better position for future growth. Add me on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/grahamrobertson1 so we can stay connected.

A Powerful Vision Story: Dan O’Brien, US Olympian

dan-obrien-javelinAs a brand consultant, the biggest area where I see brands struggling is on the crafting a Vision Statement.  Most don’t have one, and those that do have these long convoluted statements that don’t really say anything.  Everyone adds their own two cents and it’s no longer a vision.  Pretty soon, your attempt at a vision looks more like a local bi-law explaining where you can fish, land your airplane and display real estate signs all in one statement.  

Let’s look at the story of Dan O’Brien:  He was a U.S. track and field super star back in the 1990s.  He competed in the Decathlon and won pretty much everything: World Champion, Olympic Champion, US Champion and World Record Holder that would stand for 10 years–a life time in the track and field world.  

Dan O’Brien

Even though he met tremendous success in his track career, it didn’t really get off to a great start.  O’Brien went to the University of Idaho on a track scholarship. He struggled with classes, excelled at partying, lost the scholarship and flunked out.  “I was just not prepared for what it took academically,” he recalls. “I’d get so far behind, I’d just give up.”  O’Brien went to work as a cabinetmaker in Moscow, Idaho. He fell into debt, kited checks and wound up in jail wearing a blue jumpsuit and flip-flops. Later, there was a DUI arrest.  He was clearly at rock bottom, and needed some inspiration to get himself out.  

At his lowest point, O’Brien  attended a decathlon clinic run by MILT CAMPBELL, the 1956 Olympic gold medalist, who asked each decathlete whether he had written his goals on a piece of paper and placed it his wallets. O’Brien said he immediately went to his room and wrote “9,000 points” on one side of a small piece of paper and “world’s greatest athlete” on the other.  “I wouldn’t have achieved what I have if I hadn’t set those goals,” he said. “I was a floater and as soon as I set solid goals, I could achieve what I wanted.”  With 9,000 points that would be the clear world record holder for decades to come.  World’s Greatest Athlete was always given to the reigning world champion of the Decathlon.  He kept that paper with him as inspiration and direction.  He didn’t know, but he had written a Vision Statement.  As he climbed out of his struggles, he went to a Junior College, starting to compete again.  He then started to compete on the world stage, keeping that note in his pocket.  By 1991, he won the World Championships Decathlon completing half of his Vision Statement.  His career was moving full steam ahead.  

In 1992, he was now at the US Qualifying event to get into the Barcelona Olympics.  As the current reigning world champion, it was natural that the US Olympic team was relying on O’Brien to make the team and bring home Gold for the Americans.  Same with TV networks, sponsors and event organizers.  Everyone had created all this hype of Dan vs Dave, in reference to the growing rivalry with Dave Johnson who was also a world-class Decathlete.  

eVCXAt the Qualifying meet for the US Team, O’Brien was in first place after 7 of the 10 events, looking as a shoe-in for the team.  But then came the high jump.  O’Brien made what seemed like an odd choice of going for a higher height than he needed to and he never cleared the bar after the required number of attempts.  He went from 1st place to 15th and missed qualifying for the Games.  People were stunned and confused.  Why would he go for the higher height, instead of settling for something that would keep him in contention to qualify.   Well, it comes back to the second part of his vision statement: 9,000 points.    Based on where he stood after 7 events, Dan’s calculations showed that he could only get to 9,000 points if he made the higher jump.  Yes, high risk, high reward but it was in line with his Vision.  Dan didn’t have “Olympic Champion” on his little piece of paper.  

Not qualifying for the games was a bit of a disaster for Reebok who had put all their money into O’Brien.  The US Olympic team was mad, fans were upset and NBC was furious.  But Dan kept pushing towards that dream of 9,000 points.  Only 3 months after the Barcelona Olympics, O’Brien set a world record of 8,860 points, a record that would stand for a decade.  And in 1996, he would go on and win Olympic Gold for his country.  

Why I love this story so much?   First, if you put everything in your vision statement it gets so watered down.  He could have put a laundry list, including Olympic Champion, Millions in endorsements, make tons of money and win every event.  But then it would just be he achieved 3 out of 5 things on his list.  But he decided to focus on what motivated him.  While you might wish he won the 1992 Olympic Gold, it wasn’t on his piece of paper.  He left off what wasn’t important and stuck to it.  You should do the same and you’ll find your vision statement offers you both focus and inspiration.  

A good vision should scare you a little bit and it should excite you a lot.  

A vision should open your mind up.  It should challenge your thinking.  Stretch you to think of things not immediately within reach.  

When Dan O’Brien looks back on his career, we can see how that little piece of paper drove him.  The fact that he’ll never reach his dream score of 9,000 points in decathlon rubs like a blister: “I came up short because I set the goal too low,” O’Brien says, grinning. “If I had tried to make 9,200, I might have got the 9,000.”

So how can you use this story to challenge yourself and your team to ask:  what’s would be on your piece of paper?

Does a Vision Statement Pay Out?

Companies that have Vision Statements have a better sense of where they are going.  And the proof is there that it pays off for companies with a Vision.

  • Harvard Study across 20 industries looking at businesses showed that companies with Vision Statements saw their revenue grew more than four times faster; job creation was seven times higher; their stock price grew 12 times faster; and profit performance was 750% higher.
  • Newsweek looked at 1000 companies with Vision Statements had an average return on stockholder equity of 16.1%, while firms without them had only a 7.9% average return.
  • “Built to Last” showed that for companies with Vision Statements, that a $1 investment in 1926 would have returned $6,350 compared to only a return of $950 for comparable companies without a Vision.
The Vision and Mission help to Frame the Overall Brand Plan

Think of the Vision as the End in Mind Achievement towards your purpose.  What do you want the brand to become?  Think 10 years out: if you became this one thing, you would know that you are successful.  Ideally it is Qualitative (yet grounded in something) and quantitative (measurable)  It should be motivating and enticing to get people focused.   It should be personal and speak to why you get up in the morning—why you got into this business.

When I’m consulting, I pick a day 10 years from now and “so you wake up that morning and tell me what your brand is like for you to be happy”.  I normally ask this 5-10 times so that we start to get really rich answers.  This stretches the mind a bit.  The first 5 answers tend to be corporate BS that people thing they should say.  The problem with the corporate line is it won’t inspire you, it won’t challenge you and it won’t push you to exceeding it.  Case in point, my son was in grade 9, and his teacher asked everyone to write down what they hoped to get in the class.  He put 55%.  I asked why and he said “because I like to over-achieve”.  All laughing aside, you need goals that will push you just a little harder.   

Things that Make a Good vision: 
  1. Easy for employees and partners to understand and rally around
  2. Think about something that can last 5-10 years or more
  3. Balance between aspiration (stretch) and reality (achievement)
  4. It’s ok to embed a financial ($x) or share position (#1) element into it as long as it’s important for framing the vision.
The watch outs for vision statements:
  1. It’s not a positioning statement.  Almost positioning neutral  Let the positioning come out in the strategy.
  2. Make sure we haven’t achieved it already.  If you are #1, then don’t put “be #1”.
  3. Don’t put strategic statements.  Vision answers “where could we be” rather than “how can we get there”
  4. Try to be single-minded:  Tighten it up and don’t include everything!!   Can you say it in an elevator.  Can you actually remember it?  Can you yell it at a Sales meeting?
Ask yourself “Where Do you Want to be in 10 Years?” over and over until you see an inspiration.  

 

Follow me on Twitter at @grayrobertson1

 

To read more on How to Write a Brand Plan, read the presentation below:

 
  
Other Stories You Might Like
  1. How to Write a Creative Brief.  The creative brief really comes out of two sources, the brand positioning statement and the advertising strategy that should come from the brand plan.  To read how to write a Creative Brief, click on this hyperlink:  How to Write a Creative Brief
  2. How to Write a Brand Positioning Statement.  Before you even get into the creative brief, you should be looking at target, benefits and reason to believe.   To read how to write a Brand Positioning Statement, click on this hyperlink:  How to Write an Effective Brand Positioning Statement
  3. Turning Brand Love into Power and Profits:  The positioning statement sets up the promise that kick starts the connection between the brand and consumer.  There are four other factors that connect:  brand strategy, communication, innovation and experience.   The connectivity is a source of power that can be leveraged into deeper profitability.  To read more click on the hyper link:  Love = Power = Profits 

Brand LeadershipI run the Brand Leader Learning Center,  with programs on a variety of topics that are all designed to make better Brand Leaders.  To read more on how the Learning Center can help you as a Brand Leader click here:   Brand Leadership Learning Center

Pick your Social Media vehicle and follow us by clicking on the icon below

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To reach out directly, email me at graham.robertson@beloved-brands.com

About Graham Robertson: The reason why I started Beloved Brands Inc. is to help brands realize their full potential value by generating more love for the brand.   I only do two things:  1) Make Brands Better or 2) Make Brand Leaders Better.  I have a reputation as someone who can find growth where others can’t, whether that’s on a turnaround, re-positioning, new launch or a sustaining high growth.  And I love to make Brand Leaders better by sharing my knowledge.  Im a marketer at heart, who loves everything about brands.  My background includes 20 years of CPG marketing at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke.  My promise to you is that I will get your brand and your team in a better position for future growth. Add me on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/grahamrobertson1 so we can stay connected.

Can McDonald’s win the Coffee War? Not a chance.

Without a doubt, if there was a Marketing Hall of Fame, McDonald’s would be a first ballot inductee along with Disney, Apple, Nike and Coke.  But, can they win on Coffee.  Whenever I’m in front of an audience, I name a brand and say give me the first word that pops in your mind.   When I say McDonald’s, I get about 30 different answers–kids, Ronald, Fries, Big Mac, family, etc.  I end up facilitating at the front of the room like it’s a brainstorming session.  When I say the word Volvo, about 90% of the audience smiles and says “Safety” like they’ve passed their Calculus final.  

But here I sit, undercover at your local McDonald’s.  This Mcdee’s has been remodelled as many have to be more of a “cafe”.  There’s a little bit of wood, a fake fireplace, two giant screen TV’s, acoustic music playing and some funkier chairs.  But it’s just after noon here, and there’s about 40 people in the “cafe”.  Here’s my current estimate:  14 high school students,  8 college students, a construction crew of 4 guys in bright vests, 6 toddlers, 6 moms, 2 women “having coffee” and me.  

One other odd observation.   I have a great view of the entire restaurant right now.   AND I CAN’T SEE THE GOLDEN ARCHES ANYWHERE.  Isn’t that one of the most recognizable logos ever?  This feels odd, so let me get a closer look and go over to the counter.  It must be somewhere.  Here’s a photo of the front counter:  can you see it? Ok, no arches.  

photo

Can McDonald’s Beat Starbucks?  

Let’s use the model below that looks at the five connections a brand has to make and compare McDonald’s to Starbucks.

Slide1

Brand Promise:  McDonald’s offers a really good tasting cup of coffee.  In blind taste tastes, McDonald’s wins.  Starbucks offers an escape from your busy hectic life.  You can  order in Italian (Grande), the cool 23-year-old college kid knows your name and what you drink, you can sit in luxurious leather chairs, along with other people also trying to escape their busy lives, you can have an amazing Scone or cookie and you can have a cup of coffee.  OK, you can tell I’m being sarcastic.  But are you starting to get that people aren’t going to Starbucks just for the coffee?  It’s an experience, not a product.  Let’s go 1-0 for Starbucks.  

Strategy:  McDonald’s caters to every demographic from 2 years old having their kids meal and playing in the play land for hours to college students wanting a Big Mac on the way to the bar at 11pm and grandmothers having a coffee and a muffin at 10:15am. They have something for everyone.  And now coffee.   Starbucks specializes in coffee, with a trained barista that can customize your favorite latte.  Barista’s are usually so proud of their experience at Starbucks, they proudly display it on their resumes.  To show their commitment to the Barista experience, Starbucks systematically closed down every Starbucks for a day to ensure everyone was making it right. I’m going 2-0 for Starbucks.  

Story:  I have to give it to McDonald’s.  They launched a great outdoor campaign absolutely slamming Starbucks with the Fourbucks is Dumb.  UnknownI loved it.  But here I sit in a McDonald’s and the price of a latte is $3.29.  You’re right McDonald’s.  It’s not four bucks.  It’s 3.29.  I get to save 71 cents to sit with screaming toddlers and depressed teenagers that look at you funny.  And Starbucks has a few ads here and there, but advertising isn’t really their thing.  Every time that your friend says “let’s meet at Starbucks” it’s an ad controlled by word of mouth.  Most recently, Starbucks has started to slowly and quietly dominate the social media space.  Tough call, but word of mouth endorsements from friends always beats a billboard, even if it’s a great billboard.  I’m going 3-0 Starbucks.  

Freshness and Innovation:  McDonald’s has done something very smart with free coffee for a week or even up to 15 days a few years ago.  They are leading with their strength.  However, the menu is small.  It’s still early for them, but they need to show a bit of experience.  But Starbucks has created some amazing deserts over the last few years and has had a lot of success behind their most recent blonde launch.  Let’s give this one to Starbucks and it’s now 4-0.  

Experience:  Sorry, let me just take a break here.  My butt is really killing me from sitting on these plastic chairs.  The teenagers are complaining about the Math exam they just wrote and one of the toddlers just threw her fries at her mom and is now rolling around on the floor screaming.  And Starbucks is an escape from all this.  Thank god.  I have teens at home.  I went through the toddler stage.  And my limbs could use a nice comfortable chair right about now.  I’m going 5-0 Starbucks.    

Here’s the thing.  I’ve never had a cup of coffee in my life.  And yet, I go to Starbucks about 40 times a year, mainly to meet up with friends.  And I love it.  Out of these 5 connections, the most important to me seems to be the experience.  The coffee has to be good.  But the experience has to be exceptional. And the McDonald’s experience which I’m living right now is certainly lacking.  I can’t even hear the acoustic music.  God I need some peace and quiet.    

The original question I asked was “Can McDonald’s Win the Coffee War?”.  They’ll steal share, just by sheer traffic already going through their stores.  But, I’m changing the question to “Does McDonald’s know what’s important to Coffee Drinkers?”

And please put back the arches.  Never be embarrassed of who you really are.  

 

Follow me on twitter @GrayRobertson1

 

For a presentation on how to write a Positioning Statement, follow:

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  2. How to Write a Brand Positioning Statement.  Before you even get into the creative brief, you should be looking at target, benefits and reason to believe.   To read how to write a Brand Positioning Statement, click on this hyperlink:  How to Write an Effective Brand Positioning Statement
  3. Turning Brand Love into Power and Profits:  The positioning statement sets up the promise that kick starts the connection between the brand and consumer.  There are four other factors that connect:  brand strategy, communication, innovation and experience.   The connectivity is a source of power that can be leveraged into deeper profitability.  To read more click on the hyper link:  Love = Power = Profits 

Brand LeadershipI run the Brand Leader Learning Center,  with programs on a variety of topics that are all designed to make better Brand Leaders.  To read more on how the Learning Center can help you as a Brand Leader click here:   Brand Leadership Learning Center

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About Graham Robertson: The reason why I started Beloved Brands Inc. is to help brands realize their full potential value by generating more love for the brand.   I only do two things:  1) Make Brands Better or 2) Make Brand Leaders Better.  I have a reputation as someone who can find growth where others can’t, whether that’s on a turnaround, re-positioning, new launch or a sustaining high growth.  And I love to make Brand Leaders better by sharing my knowledge.  Im a marketer at heart, who loves everything about brands.  My background includes 20 years of CPG marketing at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke.  My promise to you is that I will get your brand and your team in a better position for future growth. Add me on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/grahamrobertson1 so we can stay connected.

The new Burger War: 5 Guys vs In-N-Out

s-FIVE-GUYS-BURGER-largeWhen I was a kid, after my hockey practices, my mom and I used to go to Burger King.  It became a tradition.   What did i like the best?   It was nice and quiet, compared to the crowded noisy McDonald’s right across the street.  No lines, no one taking up great seat locations and almost zen.  Today, there’s a new Burger War brewing:  5 Guys versus In-N-Out Burger.  Who will win?

Who has the Better Burger?

I know there’s lots of debate out there.  Let’s dispel the myth here: they are almost the same burger.  They take a high quality ground chuck, and squish it firmly onto the grill which locks in the flavor and creates a juicy burger. 250px-InnoutOremIt’s a much higher quality meat than McDonald’s and much juicier in the end due to the cooking technique.  The only difference is 5 Guys burger feels like the burger actually breaks apart more which could make it feel less fast-food and In-N-Out feels very neatly stacked.  VERDICT:  Tie

Fries versus Shakes

If the burger is a relative tie, then what else you got.  5 Guys wins on fries and In-N-Out wins on Shakes.  Unknown-3I’m a big fries fan, and 5 Guys does have pretty darn good addicting fries.   They give you enough that you likely won’t finish them.  The In-N-Out fries (except for Animal Fries) are a little bit nondescript and boring.  In terms of shakes, the In-N-Out shakes are legendary, whereas 5 Guys is completely missing out by not even having a shake.   Verdict:  Tie, pick your poison and likely only have it once in a while.  

Who has better Atmosphere?

I have to say, neither is very cool at all.  In-N-Out had the plastic feel of a McDonald’s, with booths that are too small to fit those that can eat a double-double.   imagesThe hats on the employees are cute, giving it a 50’s diner feel.  And 5 Guys atmosphere feels like a Costco.  Dusty floors, crappy little tables and chairs.  Plus, do we really need 50 signs per restaurant telling us how great you are.  What you’re doing is opening up the door to local establishments finding a niche against both of these with a cooler pub-like atmosphere.  Verdict:  one bad tie.  

So the overall product is a tie.  

Where does In-N-Out Burger win?

Clearly as I’ve heard from the fans, In-N-Out does a great job engaging with their consumers.  The secret menu and the secret sauce, the traditions of the double-double and the “animal fries” all help create a “club” filled with brand fans who will take on anyone that knocks their brand.  images-1There’s a slight difference in who each attracts.  In-N-Out’s menu items are generally less expensive — the chain is most popular with young men ages 18 to 24 with an income of less than $70,000 a year, according to NPD. By contrast, Five Guys patrons are generally 25 to 50 years old, with an income of more than $100,000.  In-N-Out seems to have a more engaged consumer base that it can leverage as 5 Guys is now into the Southern California market ready to do battle right in the backyard of In-N-Out.

Where does 5 Guys win?

5 Guys has been much more aggressive.  They have pursued winning on reviews and lists that can help drive awareness for the brand.  In 2010, they won the Zagat best burger.   They’ve aggressively gone after celebrities such as Shaq and Obama.  Unknown-1And most of all, they are winning on location, location and even more location.  At this point, In-N-Out is stuck as a West Coast brand, in California, Arizona and Nevada with only 280 locations.  And 5 Guys is everywhere, with 1000+ locations, fairly national and even in Canada.  They are clearly following the McDonald’s real estate strategy by trying to be everywhere.  The other area where 5 Guys wins is pricing.  I’m a marketer, so the more price you can command the better.  For relatively the same burger, 5 Guys charges twice what In-N-Out charges.  In this current stagnant economy, people are proving they’d rather pay for an amazing quality burger than a cheap steak.  It feels like In-N-Out is leaving money on the table with the prices that are just slightly above the McDonald’s price points.  

So who will win?  

At this point the clear winner will be 5 Guys.  Unknown-2Just like McDonald’s versus Burger King in the original burger war, it’s not as much about the burger itself but about the aggressive pursuit of real estate.  Unless In-N-Out wakes up, takes all that brand love they’ve generated among their fans and they go on an 5-year big expansion, they’ll be relegated to a regional brand we only visit on our road trips to California. 

5 Guys Is Quickly Becoming the Upscale Answer to McDonald’s

 

A vote and a shout out for Local still.  At this premium burger price range, and with boring atmospheres in both Five Guys and In-N-Out restaurants, they are keeping the door open for local burger places to stay alive. If you’re ever in my home town of Toronto, Craft Burger (now Big Smoke) on King Street offers a very unique burger and feel.  Hand made, aged cheddar giving it a slightly different feel and the fries are great.   Allen’s on the Danforth has an amazing quality beef and the best outdoor patio around.  Burger’s Priest in Toronto has almost completely copied In-N-Out with lots of mysterious schtick, including the Secret Menu.  It’s fun.  I’m sure you’ve got your own local place.  Here’s to local.  

 

To read more about how the love for a brand creates more power and profits:

 
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  1. How to Write a Creative Brief.  The creative brief really comes out of two sources, the brand positioning statement and the advertising strategy that should come from the brand plan.  To read how to write a Creative Brief, click on this hyperlink:  How to Write a Creative Brief
  2. How to Write a Brand Plan:  The positioning statement helps frame what the brand is all about.  However, the brand plan starts to make choices on how you’re going to make the most of that promise.  Follow this hyperlink to read more on writing a Brand Plan:  How to Write a Brand Plan
  3. Consumer Insights:  To get richer depth on the consumer, read the following story by clicking on the hyper link:  Everything Starts and Ends with the Consumer in Mind

 

Brand LeadershipI run the Brand Leader Learning Center,  with programs on a variety of topics that are all designed to make better Brand Leaders.  To read more on how the Learning Center can help you as a Brand Leader click here:   Brand Leadership Learning Center

 

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About Graham Robertson: The reason why I started Beloved Brands Inc. is to help brands realize their full potential value by generating more love for the brand.   I only do two things:  1) Make Brands Better or 2) Make Brand Leaders Better.  I have a reputation as someone who can find growth where others can’t, whether that’s on a turnaround, re-positioning, new launch or a sustaining high growth.  And I love to make Brand Leaders better by sharing my knowledge.  Im a marketer at heart, who loves everything about brands.  My background includes 20 years of CPG marketing at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke.  My promise to you is that I will get your brand and your team in a better position for future growth. Add me on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/grahamrobertson1 so we can stay connected.

10 Annoying Things that give Marketers a Bad Reputation. STOP IT!

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I’m a marketer at heart.  In terms of career, it’s all I know and all I am.  I claim to love everything about marketing.   Well, nearly everything.  Here are 10 things i despise and even more importantly I believe give us marketers a bad reputation.  As Mike Ditka would say “STOP IT”.

  1. The price of popcorn at the Movie Theatre.  At the grocery store, a single bag of Orville’s popcorn goes for 29 cents a bag.  Yet at the movie theatre, it costs $5.99.  I get that the movie is using popcorn to cover the overhead.  But it really is blatantly treating your consumer like a hostage.  “Combos” (popcorn plus pop or candy) are even worse.  At my theatre, one night while I was 9th in line, I added them up and there is zero savings.   So I asked the kid at the front.  And the answer the poor kid had to give was “the combos are more convenience than savings”.   Wow.
  2. Freight and PDI on a New Car.  If you’ve ever bought a car, you have to pay something called freight and PDI.  It’s really an admin fee for shipping and preparing the car.   What’s frustrating is the negotiation process in buying a car.  This is just one more tool at the disposal of the sales people.  I know Saturn tried the “no price negotiation” strategy and it backfired.  Negotiations with so many moving parts can be a brutal experience.  And many times, you start off day 1 with such a negative experience that you’re mad at the brand. Why would you want that?
  3. That’s not all, if you call now…’   Yes, telemarketing is a necessary evil of the marketing game.  I’m not a fan.  shamwow-ad-tbiThe worst line ever invented is “that’s not all”.  That just means we’ve taken this low-cost item we’re trying to sell you and give you a second one for free.  But the rip-off is the “you just pay the shipping and handling” line.  You’re likely paying an extra $8=10 in shipping and handling, where the company makes a huge profit on that amount.  It’s never double the price to ship two items in the same parcel.  And the handling?   I wish these guys would stop preying on the defense-less consumer.  These techniques make us look bad.
  4. 100% Money Back Warranty…’except for’:   Last year, I decided to buy a Toshiba Ultrabook, as it was slightly cheaper than the Mac version.  While the Toshiba was a bit flimsy, I decided to buy the 3 year extra service plan from Best Buy.  I was told “don’t worry, this warranty covers everything, and while it’s being repaired, we’ll even give you a loaner version”.  I figured OK, I”m covered.  Six months in, the flimsy screen caught up to me and all of a sudden I couldn’t see anything.   Confidently, I took it back to Best Buy.  They gave me a loaner and a week later said “we can fix it, but the cost to you will be $400”  I said “but I have the full warranty”.  And they said “yes, but the warranty does not cover software, hardware or battery”.  HUH?   What else is there?   There is nothing else but software, hardware or battery to a computer.  Anyway, I bought the Mac.  No wonder Apple does so well in an industry like this.
  5. Paying $3 for headphones on the Airplane.   I know pretty much every airline is nearly bankrupt.  And I’d never invest a penny into an airline.  But the shift to charging the consumer for everything seems like the wrong way to go.  There have to be more creative ways than charging $3 for headphones.  I was recently on a flight that cost me $1700, which makes that headphone fee about 0.18% of the overall price.  Is it really making a dent in the balance sheet of your airline?  Or is giving the consumer a small token a bad thing?
  6. Email Lists you didn’t know you signed up for.  I manage my email as best I can.  For about 2 months now, I’m getting weekly Hilton Honors email blasts.  UnknownI finally un-subscribed.  Some of the un-subscribes are easy.  But others are painful with 3 or 4 steps to confirm I really want to un-subscribe and I’m not “mistaken”.  Email marketing is just the new form of junk mail.  I guess it works for 3% of customers so to get the money from those guys, let’s bug the 97% of customers who don’t want emails cluttering up their inbox.  Let’s make it so hard to tick off that “no email thank you” box that we can annoy our most loyal consumers.
  7. Paying more for a large hot tea versus a Small:  There are 3 component costs in hot tea.  The cup, the bag and the water.  The only thing that changes with a larger size is more water.  Any chance to rip-off the consumer.
  8. 3-year Cell Phone Contracts: When the technology changes every six months and you’re teenager drops (or throws) their phone at least once a week, having that long contract feels like a prison sentence.  I get the whole it’s the only way we can cover the cost.  But it puts all these phone companies into a position where they get the sale but lose the customer’s loyalty.  it’s not a way to build a long-term love affair but rather a growing hatred for one another.
  9. Gas Price Games.  I want one simple rule for gas prices.  You have to set them on the first day of the month and leave that price the entire month.   Have you ever noticed that the price of gas goes up immediately at the start of a crisis–in anticipation of prices going up.  So a hurricane hits, prices jump up that day just in case the oil industry is affected.  Not because it’s been affected.  Just in case.  Yet the prices don’t come down in anticipation of the world crisis ending,
  10. Call Center Cold Calls at home.  Even worse than junk email cluttering up my inbox are the phone calls coming from overseas.  I’ve signed up for the “Do Not Call”, but I guess the loophole is to now call from overseas.  You’re in the middle of cooking dinner and the phone rings.   And there is some 7 second delay before someone says “Hi Mr Robertson”.

These 10 things are very common to most consumers causing great frustration but also lack of respect for the marketing profession.  And yes, it is a profession.  What are the things about marketing that annoy you and damage our reputation?

How do we Get these guys to “Stop It”?

To read more about how the love for a brand creates more power and profits:

email-Logo copyABOUT BELOVED BRANDS INC.:  At Beloved Brands, we are only focused on making brands better and making brand leaders better.Our motivation is that we love knowing we were part of helping someone to unleash their full potential.  We promise to challenge you to Think Different.  We believe the thinking that got you here, will not get you where you want to go.  grOur President and Chief Marketing Officer, Graham Robertson is a brand leader at heart, who loves everything about brands.  He comes with 20 years of experience at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke, where he was always able to find and drive growth.  Graham has won numerous new product and advertising awards. Graham brings his experience to your table, strong on leadership and facilitation at very high levels and training of Brand Leaders around the world.  To reach out directly, email me at graham.robertson@beloved-brands.com or follow on Twitter @grayrobertson1

 

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