A Brand Leader’s View of Social Media

There’s been lots of talk lately about how much marketing and brand management has changed.  I’m not sure it’s changed at all.  As Brand Leaders, we still need to start with the consumer, drive for insights, match up their need states to your brand’s offering and then create a competitive offering that you can own so that no else can.  A great brand has to be either better, different or cheaper.   That still holds true, and we still aren’t at the media decision.

Yes, the media options have changed, but  there is so much more to running a brand than just the media options.  The average consumer now sees 6,000 ads per day, and likely only engages and acts on a few each day.  Not just social media, but every little space to and from work each day.  Media is ubiquitous, making it even more important to choose a media plan that makes sense for your brand.  Before we get into the role of social media for brands, let’s review where Media options fit into the Brand Planning process.   Here’s the fastest 130 word summary of the planning process.

  • We have some long-term thoughts on where the brand can go and the special assignment to get us on our way.   And that helps shape the things we want to achieve with our brand.  To get started, the brand has different options for how to get there
  • We try to find a slice of the population to get them to take an action that makes our brand bigger.   We then find out what to say and how to talk to them to trigger that action we need to re-enforce why we can do it and others can’t.
  • We then create the most motivating stimulus to get them to take action and put it in part of their life where they are most likely to hear it and act on it.

So the media choice is all about finding a part of the Target Market’s life where they are most likely to hear the message and act on it.   As I’ve always looked at media plans from the vantage of the Brand Leader, I’ve always looked at a balance of strategy, media efficiency, the link in with the creative and finally, the mood of the consumer at the time of the media exposure.  So with TV, while day parts matter to the efficiency, the day of the week also matters to the mind and mood of the consumer.  How receptive will they be to your message at the time of exposure?  When I worked on serious healthcare brands that wanted to deliver serious news about the brand, we wanted to own Sunday nights when people’s brains were working full-speed as they get ready for work.  But we would avoid Thursday night when we knew they were thinking about the weekend.  When I worked in confectionery, the reverse was true, as we wanted to own the weekend slots.

So as we look at Social Media and where is their mood and emotional state as they engage certain social media options?   I started with the 8 emotional need states that Hotspex as mapped out:

  1. I seek knowledge
  2. I want to be in control
  3. I want to be myself
  4. I’d like to be comfortable
  5. I feel liked
  6. I want to be noticed
  7. I want to feel free
  8. I feel optimistic

I then mapped out the consumer’s mood and emotional state while they are using the various social media tools.

For instance, when the consumer is seeking knowledge, they might use google, slideshare, wikipedia, TD Ameritrade or Harvard Business Review, depending on what knowledge they seek.   But when they in the mood to be noticed or liked, the same consumer might then choose Facebook, foursquare, meebo, twitter or even Pinterest to express their personality on-line and connect with friends.  The same consumer seeks out various social media tools to fuel their emotional needs at different points of the day. I know at lunch, I sneak away from the seriousness of work and read gossip on People.com or check for sports trades on ESPN.

From a Brand Leaders view, as you try to win with consumers,the first thing to do is  understand where your brand stands emotionally with consumers.   Using the Brand Love Curve, most brands start off at Indifferent, then move to Like It, then to Love It and finally to becoming a Beloved Brand.   Be honest in your evaluation, use data to support your view, because it impacts the mood and emotional feelings of your consumer about your brand.  For instance, at the Indifferent stage, where consumers have little or no opinion, I’d recommend using display ads that create awareness and in places that match up to your brand’s main strategy, positioning and messaging.  You might not want to create a Facebook page that only 17 people like–which re-enforces that consumers are indifferent to your brand.  Last month, I saw a rock quarry with a sign that says “Like Us on Facebook”.  That’s crazy!   Conversely, if you are a Beloved Brand, it becomes more about opinion and less about the pure facts.  Engage on Facebook and twitter to continue the conversation and fuel the love of your consumers, use your popularity in those mediums to influence the feeling of a movement and popularity for your brand.

Whenever I talk to Social Media experts, they rarely talk about anything that involves the consumer.  When I ask about the consumer, they blow me off, as though I don’t really understand Social Media and how powerful it will be in the future.  They tell me I’m old school.   But, regardless, I keep asking about the consumer because that’s what old school marketers are told to do.  I need to know how my consumers interact with the medium because I need to match up the behaviour of my target so that I can get my message to them in a way that matches up with my strategic needs–whether that’s connected to the stage of my brand, any strengths and weaknesses in my brand funnel or a large opportunity in the market that plays into my brand’s natural strengths.  Wait a second, that’s the same thing that great marketers have been doing since the 1920s. So while the execution of media has dramatically changed with the internet, the strategic thinking of really good marketers has not.

So next time you sit with a media expert, as they present ideas ask

  • How does my target consumer use this medium?
  • What is their mood and emotional state when they use that medium?
  • How receptive will they be with my brand’s strategy, positioning and message when they are engaged with that medium?

About Graham Robertson: I’m a marketer at heart, who loves everything about brands. I love great TV ads, I love going into grocery stores on holidays and I love seeing marketers do things I wish I came up with. I’m always eager to talk with marketers about what they want to do. I have walked a mile in your shoes. My background includes CPG marketing at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke. I’m now a marketing consultant helping brands find their love and find growth for their brands. I do executive training and coaching of executives and brand managers, helping on strategy, brand planning, advertising and profitability. I’m the President of Beloved Brands Inc. and can help you find the love for your brand. To read more about Beloved Brands Inc, visithttp://beloved-brands.com/inc/

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BMW Films: Branded Content Light Years ahead of its Time

Twelve Years Ago…

As marketers are abuzz with Content Marketing, my challenge is to push yourselves to do great content you love, not just ok content work you like.  While BMW_logobeing part of the community and targeting unique users is the right strategy, creating bad content might do more damage than good.   It looks cheap.  When you forget to entertain, when you don’t put in the quality in execution, or where your brand is too obviously jammed into a piece of content that has nothing to do with your brand.  When you don’t astonish and delight the consumer, you fall flat.  So, don’t just do content, do content that you and your consumer will love.

In 2001, BMW launched BMW Films, light years ahead of the industry.  While everyone was still worried about producing 30s and 15s and newspaper ads, most brand leaders were still thinking whether they could afford to put 1% of their budgets into the Internet.  From a brand point of view to that point, BMW had always used traditional media like TV and Print to sell their cars.  But they saw that things were changing, especially seeing that the role of the internet on the purchase cycle.  Roughly 85% of BMW purchasers used the Internet before purchasing a BMW.  BMW knew that the average work-hard, play-hard customer was 46 years old, with a median income of about $150,000. Two-thirds were male, married, and had no children.  In general, we see that Brands move along the Love Curve, going from Indifferent to Like It and Love It before becoming that Beloved Brand for Life.  Competitively, BMW had a lot of love but it was still battling traditional rival Mercedes who had the most love of all Luxury Car Brands.  Everyone else was compared to Mercedes.  Also, brands like Lexus and Infiniti were gaining some emotional support from consumers and gaining share.   BMW needed something to show consumers what makes a BMW truly a BMW.   They needed to put their stake in the ground to push to be the Most Beloved Luxury Car brand.  They needed something that the consumer would love and in turn love the BMW brand.

Integrated Content at it’s Best

The idea of BMW Films was to cast the BMW car as a hero into the starring role of a movie, and in fact many movies.   BMW assembled a cast of A-list directors (Guy Richie, Tony Scott, Ang Lee) and A-list actors (Clive Owen Forest Whittiker, Madonna, Mickey Rourke), and developed scripts within the basic framework of having a central character that helped people through difficult circumstances using deft driving skills—in a BMW. The car became the star. Each director who chose a script was then given complete creative control over content and direction, something they would be hard-pressed to find in Hollywood, and something that BMW ordinarily wouldn’t allow if filming a traditional advertisement.

BMW used traditional media with mock movie trailers on TV and on-line advertising to surround their consumer and drive traffic to the website.  The end results were staggering: the series had been viewed over 100 million times in four years and had changed the way products were advertised.   BMW has had a great decade of sales, recently surpassing both Lexus and Mercedes as the #1 luxury brand.

BMW Films was out there.   It took risks, and was an incredible production.   To me, it’s still the benchmark for Content Marketing.  To me, it’s like Bob Beamon surpassing the long jump record by 2 1/2 feet when everyone else was measuring in inches.  It’s like Babe Ruth hitting 60 home runs when the next guy had 17.  The love for a brand normally comes when we love the work we do on that brand.  The love permeates through our work and onto the consumer.  However, if we don’t love the work, how do we expect our consumers to magically love the output of our work and then love our brand?  Not likely.  My challenge to you:  push yourself to love it, don’t just kinda like it.  Don’t settle.

Since BMW Films, I have seen some great viral work like T-Mobile, incredible integrations which make me stare and say “wow, I wish I did that”.  But in the past 10 years I’m yet to say “Now that’s better than BMW Films”.  

Hey Marketing Community!  My challenge to you:  Beat This!!!

 

 

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. 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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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.

People around the World are so addicted to Facebook. And now it’s a Beloved Brand Worth $100 Billion.

Facebook has just announced that it expects to reach a Value of $100 Billion by next year.   That’s incredible. 

Facebook has over 800 million users, so if it were a country, it would be the third biggest country in the world just behind China and India.   Facebook has over 70 languages and 75% of users are outside the U.S.   Facebook has gained 200 million users in 2011, a growth rate of 33%.  For those of you thinking Facebook has hit their peak, forget it.

People love Facebook and can’t get enough of it.  About 50% of those users go on every day and 40% have accessed Facebook through a mobile device.   Users spend an average of 15 hours a month on Facebook, probably more time they spend at the dinner table.   Facebook is not for kids, over 75% of users are over 18, and the fastest growing segment is 55+.   Even my mom is on it, even though she won’t want me giving her age out (I’d get a phone call saying “Did you need to say how old I was).   On average, more than 250 million photos are uploaded per day.  Facebook has truly utilized the addictive nature of us all, looking up statuses, linking in with friends from years ago and randomly clicking “Like” here and there.  We’re all guilty of it, in fact 800 million of us are.

20% of women would give up sex before giving up facebook.

A recent survey in Cosmopolitan Magazine says that 20% of women would give up sex before they’d give up their beloved Facebook.   Mind you, the same survey said 25% of college students would give up sex if they didn’t have to lug around text books, which supports that great pick up line of “Hi Can I carry your books”.

Facebook has turned this phenomena into a money making machine.   Facebook has revenues of $4.2 Billion in 2011, up 114% from last year.   Like most on-line sites, Facebook makes most of their revenue from advertising, all those ads you see down the side of the page.   While not the strongest click-through rates, the sheer girth of reaching 800 million users for 40 hours a month gives Facebook plenty of opportunity for sales.   Facebook has tinkered around with Facebook Points, not yet making it work.  But what Facebook points really are is a currency where you can buy things.   If Facebook will be the biggest “country” one day, it’s a natural step that they would have a currency.   Imagine how addicted we’d be when Black Friday has us all on Facebook trading “Facebook dollars” for a new Coach bag for my wife.

If you've already won Time Person of the Year Award at 27, what's next?

Mark Zuckerberg is still only 27.  He’s finally old enough for a low level manager role at a Fortune 500 company, but they’d still be cautious and put him on a low risk brand assignment.   Maybe that’s because he still looks about 19.   Yet he’s worth $17.5 Billion and he’s already been named Time Magazine Person of the Year.

Wow.

Swagger Wagon: Toyota’s Attempt to Make Mini-Vans Beloved

These spots by Toyota celebrate this new stage of life by allowing parents to laugh at themselves.   And that’s a great device for connecting on an emotional level.   Toyota is selling more than just the van, they’re selling parenting.   Toyota has had a tough go of it, since the recalls of 2009.   But they’ve sustained their relative strong sales, even during the tough economic times—and things like Swagger Wagon are a great example of how maintaining the love of your most loyalty consumers.