Monday, February 28, 2011

Are you sure it is a creative challenge?




Yes, we understand. Your brief wants us to increase sales by 54% in 12 months. You have admitted the features in your brand are commoditized. It’s all the Chinese’s fault. They can manufacture every feature you slap on your brand at half the price and ship double your speed. 

Ok, we understand. You don’t really know what your competitive advantage is and now you want us to give you a competitive advantage. Via communications. Nice.

You tell us it’s a creative challenge. Or you say, “It’s a challenge for the agency.”

Of course it’s a challenge.

It’s a challenge like asking me to lead my platoon into well armed hostile territory. With banal intel. In broad daylight. With no air support.

Set us up to succeed. Because when we succeed, you succeed.

Is your brand’s life teetering on how hard you work your brief every time?

Friday, February 25, 2011

What’s your 2% plan?




The group that buys you but no one else. Doggedly for the past 20 years? That small group that evangelises you without being paid or being called brand ambassadors?

If you have a database, great. It’s there. If you have a customer service number? Great. She will likely call to let you know how to improve your services. Speak at length. Give comments on your site. You may not know her. But Sarah the telephonist? She’s on the first name basis with her and maybe a hundred others like her.

Your brand has a 2% crowd that does this. They are on your CRM programme but they deserve more than a CRM programme. A CRM programme is for the 20%. 

The 2% plan? That’s for the ultra special. Do you know who they are? Figure out how to find them? Go on, find them and give them something without asking for anything back. They have given you more than you know.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Have you thought of a better spin?




Digging into the past can reveal a host of treasures. It can crystalise opportunities that can be resurfaced. It can even show you what has worked before. Now, that’s cool. Just like fashion. Eventually it will come back and be happening again right?

Right.

But only certain things work that way. A lot of others? If you bring it back, usually people have a word for it. Vintage.

So, unless you want your brand to be known as vintage, bring back that old way of how it was advertised. For Paris sake, put a new spin on it. Otherwise, only my mom would buy it. Once. Probably for nostalgic reasons.

There is a time to revisit; there is a time to drop it

How have you detached today?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Would you bear to murder your brand name?




Sure. You like descriptive words. I know. I like it too. I get it. But descriptive doesn’t mean good. Descriptive doesn’t mean you do not need to build meaning around it. In fact, descriptive can be bad. So bad, you might as well murder it before you have too much heart invested in it.

That brand name of yours that is descriptive? You like it because it helps you describe what you are selling. It short-cuts your brand building, initially. There is instant recognition. People know what it does. “Skrew-drifer” tell me it screws something, nice. Then what happens?

You become successful. You are running three shifts to ship that super brand of yours. Then my friends Ah Kheong in Kepong, Ah Thai in Taiping and Pak Long in Parit Sulong will want part of the action. And they can do it for half the price too. They will hop on the glory of your brand name you built with heart.

You will be spending time doing your mortal combat on them in the courts and with lawyer letters.  Here’s the dark news, you will have a tough time. Precisely because it is too descriptive. Ah Kheong will use a similar mark to your brand name and says he is just describing his product. He has a good defense for his passing off action.

Here, stick a dagger into the descriptive brand name you just conjured would you?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How elegant is your math?



Every so often you may want to start a promotion of sorts. Or a discount. Or a contest. Thing is, before you do this, pull out that calculator and knock those numbers out. What is your objective for doing that contest? How much do you have? What can you achieve? What is the participation rate?

You laugh thinking this is not you. But walk around the hypermarket today or drop by the nearest 7-11, look at the contests out there. They offer prizes so tiny it is not even worth an iota of effort for consumers to fill in the forms. They are so tiny, the printing costs probably outweighs the total value of contest prizes.

If you are going to spend energy and effort to run a contest, at least give it some money muscle so it can get you that 2% return rate. At least, when you work out the cost of capturing the data, assuming there are no duplicates it’s worth it.

It’s the same for other things you are doing for your business. Whether it is the free spots the media owner is giving you or the actual sales you plan to achieve in a year.

Math is very elegant. It’s scientific art, it’s artistic science. If you work it, it can show you magic.

What numbers have you juiced today?

Monday, February 21, 2011

How many smiles did your brand measure today?




Personally, when you donate money to a charity, do you feel better about yourself? Do you take a picture of yourself making that donation? When you bring your child to drop stuff at the recycling center, do you load it on your Facebook? To tell the world this is what you did? Likelihood? 2%.

Can your company do corporate social responsibility like how you take responsibility for what is right? Not for how many column inch of publicity you can get? When you do that it corrupts the word responsibility.

It’s like saying to the world, I feed my kids. Of course you do. You are expected to do that as a parent. As a company you are held responsible for your actions and many more. If in your corporate heart you feel you need to do, then do it. Not because, “This is great, we can tell the world we are green, green is the trend, let’s take pictures and have our PR agency send it out.”

Photo opps and newspaper column inches as an end to corporate social responsibility is advertising.

What if, the measurement of the success of your CSR programme is the happiness the orphans feel being ferried in the bus you refurbished and repaired quietly? What if, you measured your CSR programme success by the number of healthy earthquake victims because of the antibiotics and vitamins you sent over? You do this because you know it is a responsibility. And responsibility? We do quietly. Even when no one is watching.

Ponder, how many lives did your brand change for the better today?