R[E]D – Research : Emotion : Design

A Brand Research and Development Strategy Firm


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Understanding, the Bridge Builder Between a Company and Its Audience

Pulling from logo warehouses or crowdsourcing design may sound tremendously appealing for filling in the blank spot on the top of your letterhead.

You want something trendy and cool, even if it’s just to check off a task on your to-do list.

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It doesn’t make sense for a company to use a logo that has an immense lack of understanding. A logo alone isn’t the solution to developing a strong brand. Strength comes from understanding company culture, which is a giant part of a larger brand strategy. Understanding provides an opportunity to develop cohesive and consistent messaging. This requires customization, knowledge and skill. RED has acquired all the skills needed to build you a solid foundation that is not hollow and inauthentic.

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Brand “Concept Testing” try Pretotyping in a Pop-up

Fruit-of-the-loom-pretotyping

Fruit of the Loom is ‘Pretotyping in a Pop-up’ to Concept Test Premium Brand

Shoreditch, London – home of hip.  That’s where t-shirt brand Fruit of the Loom is concept testing (or ‘pretotyping*’ to use the jargon) a new premium brand – ‘Seek No Further‘.

Pretotyping: Testing the initial appeal and actual usage of a potential new product by simulating its core experience with the smallest possible investment of time and money.

Pretotyping In a Pop-up = Awesome Concept Testing

Renting an unused retail space just for four months, Fruit of the Loom is testing for consumer appeal with a very limited run of garments. There’s one in Shoreditch, and one in Berlin – and a pop-up website.

This is concept testing done right – there’s a world of difference between seeing words on a page and experiencing the product – so could pop-up + pretotyping be the future of concept testing?

pretotyping

Author / Paul Marsden
Source / brandgenetics.com


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Major Digital Marketing Changes From The Last 12 Months, Are You Keeping Up?

Last year I wrote a Year in Review article that mainly focused on Facebook: 20 Changes Facebook Made In 2012 That Impacted Marketers. I mentioned, “Facebook was all about refinement in 2012.” If “refinement” was the word of 2012, “streamlined” was the word of 2013.

And this year I want to focus on the broader options that social marketers have at their disposable now.

An influx of new top tier social networks spread user attention thin in 2012 and required a renewed emphasis on key features and functionality.

In 2012, Facebook was on top of the mountain.

It was still the 800-pound gorilla in 2013, but a variety of other networks took their shots at prominence and deserve our attention as well.

Here are the top social media changes and trends introduced in 2013 and the last 12 months.

The Growth of Short Video

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Twitter started the year off with the launch of Vine, a mobile service that lets you capture and share short looping videos. Twitter noted on its blog that, “the brevity of videos on Vine (6 seconds or less) inspired creativity. Now that you can easily capture motion and sound.”

Vine saw 403% growth between the first and third quarters of 2013, making it the fastest-growing app of the year. And then Instagram launched video…

Instagram added fifteen-second video functionality on June 20. The number of Vine video links shared to Twitter dropped nearly 40 percent that day. Vine sharing on Twitter continued to drop over the following week, resulting in a roughly 70 percent drop from the nearly three million links shared on June 15. Instagram jumped on the video hype by announcing sponsored ads on October 3.

Facebook learned from the success of Instagram’s video ad integration by rolling out auto-play video ads on December 17, 2013. According to Facebook, the social network began testing auto-play video ads in September and the changes resulted in a more than 10 percent increase in video views, likes, shares and comments.

 

Twitter Jumpstarts Monetization

Twitter-IPO

In 2012, Facebook’s IPO helped fuel an increased focus on revenue generation. Following a similar course in 2013 Twitter launched their IPO and subsequently increased advertising options.

On May 22, Twitter introduced Lead Generation Cards to help B2B brands drive highly qualified leads. According to Twitter, “These cards makes it easy for users to express interest in what your brand offers. Users can easily and securely share their email address with a business without leaving Twitter or having to fill out a cumbersome form. When someone expands your Tweet, they see a description of the offer and a call to action. Their name, @username, and email address are already pre-filled within the Card. The user simply clicks a button to send this information directly (and securely) to you.”

Twitter also integrated previews of photos and Vine videos directly into users’ streams on October 29. Users see more of the photo or play the video by tapping the preview.

As a result of Twitter’s focus on advertising, the platform saw a 22 percent increase in small business usage.

Pinterest Gets “Rich”

Rich-Pins

Pinterest helped marketers answer the question, “What are people pinning from my websites?” by launching Web Analytics for verified business accounts on March 12. The free Web Analytics platform helped marketers see Pinterest metrics in categories including Site Metrics, Most Recent, Most Pinned and Most Clicked.

Pinterest introduced Rich Pins on May 20. Instead of linking back to the pin’s origin, each new Rich Pin provides users additional information about that item aimed to better put them in a position to make a purchase. There are three different types of Rich Pins, each with its own unique set of characteristics and opportunities for brands: Product, Recipes, and Movies.

For items like clothes and furniture, the new Product pins offer real time pricing, availability, and where to buy the item. Recipe pins allow brands to provide information like cook time, ingredients, and servings to help foodies and food bloggers create new creations using branded pins. Movie pins contain content ratings, cast members, and more designed to provide a new layer of information about these movies.

On September 19, Pinterest announced it would roll out Promoted Pins as its first advertising product with select partners. Promoted Pins allow businesses to insert pins into search results and category feeds similar to sponsored advertising options offered by social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Promoted Pins started to appear in users’ feeds in early October.

LinkedIn Grows as a Content Portal

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LinkedIn expanded its business offerings through the launch of Showcase Pages on November 18. Showcase Pages are dedicated content hubs enabling businesses to extend their Company Page presence, effectively segmenting audiences and enabling businesses to deliver the best message to the right audiences. Somewhat similar to LinkedIn s existing company pages, Showcase Pages are designed to give individual brands and business units within corporations the ability to create their own segmented marketing channels on LinkedIn.

In order to amplify the reach of its marketers messaging, LinkedIn continued 2013 2s sponsored advertising trend by rolling out Sponsored Updates on July 22. Sponsored Updates appear in a native format as a natural part of a target audience s feed and can be used to promote thought leadership content, to generate leads, or even as a PR tool.

Facebook Redesigns its News Feed

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On March 7, Facebook revealed a News Feed redesign that featured larger visuals, a mobile-first user interface and more opportunities to filter by specific types of content.

The changes made good photos look even better in the News Feed, but also made lousy photos look even worse — reemphasizing a need for marketers to invest in quality imagery.

Facebook Focuses On Quality Images, Not Marketing Images

Facebook’s 20% Rule required text to appear on less than 20% of Cover Photos (and Promoted Posts), another attempt by Facebook at ensuring a quality visual experience for its users.

Not all features made it to December though. Facebook quickly backed away from automatically placing image captions and descriptions on top of photo page posts, preferring to keep text and image separate in the News Feed.

Facebook Page Tweaks

Facebook continued its redesign the following month with a new layout for Pages. The new Pages layout changes included a simplified look, easier ways to connect with businesses and streamlined page management.

Facebook Loosened Contest Rules

With a greater push for mobile and more real-time content, Facebook simplified its contest promotion guidelines. Its new set of rules allowed pages to run contests in the news feed without a third party application, ask people to submit answers in exchange for chances to win a prize, and to use Likes as a method of entrance into a contest.

 

Facebook Became A Mobile Social Network

In 2012, Sheryl Sandberg predicted a future of more ads in Facebook’s mobile News feed… and she was right. Facebook’s mobile-first emphasis in 2013 resulted in more users embracing the social network on the go. 54% more users logged into Facebook on a daily basis in Q3 2013 as did in Q3 2012, an increase from 329 million to 507 million in one year.

Mobile-only users doubled during that same time span, from 126 million in 2012 to 254 million in 2013. Significantly more user activity results in significantly more mobile advertising inventory available for marketers.

 

Confidence In The Newsfeed Wained

While mobile users swarmed to Facebook in droves, not all marketers were thrilled with the social network’s changes. A set of late 2013 News Feed algorithm changes resulted in an extreme drop in organic reach for many Pages, as much as 44 percent in many cases. The algorithm changes were intended to place more relevant news stories into the News Feed, especially from sites that Facebook deemed as “high quality” sources.

Facebook did little to quell marketer concerns when it put out an announcement recommending that they could make up the difference in reach with advertising.

Facebook Ads Got Simpler (Kind Of) And Better

To further emphasize this, Facebook rolled out a series of ad changes in 2013, eliminating at least 13 ad units and increasing ad-targeting opportunities.

Marketers told Facebook that its ad products were too complicated and redundant, which led to Sponsored Stories shifting from a stand-alone product to integration into most ads, which would “automatically add social context to boost performance.”

Facebook added Partner Categories to connect together online and offline user data. Partner categories use data from select third parties, including Acxiom, Datalogix, and Epsilon, to target ads to more categories of people.

For example, a local car dealership could show ads to people likely in the market for a new car who live near their dealership. Facebook also simplified Interest Targeting by combining Precise Interest and Broad Categories into a single step, making it easier to select the audience most relevant to what’s being advertised.

Advertisers looking to target customers who considered a purchase on their site but didn’t complete the transaction gained a new Facebook alternative to FBX in October. The new retargeting tool, “website and mobile app custom audiences,” works when marketers affix tracking software to their websites and create corresponding custom audiences based on user activity data.

Search Got Easier on Facebook

Facebook started 2013 with a bang by announcing its long-awaited advanced search product, Graph Search.

Graph Search provided users the opportunity to easily search and examine trillions of relationships that live within Facebook’s ecosystem. Facebook also added support for searchable hashtags in June, thereby acting as a new connective thread for users to share their thoughts to a larger audience on social networks.

Graph Search has a lot of potential and is just the beginning of opening up the massive amount of social connection data that Facebook controls, and charges for. We can’t wait for LinkedIn to do the same.

Author / Ryan Cohn
Source / socialfresh.com


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Brand Marketing Strategy | Put Your Money Where the Growth Is

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Many political conversations today focus on the rapid, immense multicultural population growth in America. However, what about the business implications? How much does an increasingly diverse America effect direct marketers? Quite a bit, actually, according to a recent report from Geoscape.

Geoscape, a business information and services company, found that 88% of America’s population growth is composed of African American, Asian, and Hispanic consumers; particularly Hispanics, who comprise about 18% of the total U.S. population.  Hispanics are the fastest growing segment, having grown 11% since the 2010 census to more than 56 million. Multicultural groups now account for 35% of the American population.

“Some companies just aren’t bringing this growth into focus,” says Geoscape CEO César Melgoza. “Companies that aren’t prioritizing this growth are essentially investing is flat or shrinking markets. That’s probably not acceptable to their constituents,” he says. This leaves marketers with an interesting challenge, or rather, opportunity; one that has little to do with political correctness and everything to do with furthering business growth.

Many businesses struggle with prioritizing or realizing a multicultural marketing strategy. Here, Melgoza offers seven tips that will help keep marketers and their organizations remain relevant to the ever-changing face of their target consumers.

1.       Understand the level of urgency

“Understand that business is about growth and growth is multicultural. If you invest heavily in general markets, then that may not be the best use of budget.”

2.       Measure everything

“Start with a benchmark. Identify your penetration into a segment now, monitor that penetration, and use that data to improve it.

3.       Build a robust business case

“Link this growth with what the company is doing now to differentiate itself and use it to plan how the company will continue to differentiate itself in the future.”

4.       Develop a sound strategy

“Walmart is an example of a company that absolutely cannot ignore multicultural marketing. They know their growth is coming from these segments and they’ve positioned their company and products around this.”

5.       Address all touchpoints in the operation.

“It’s not just about marketing communication, or having cool ads. Develop all channels. How is the call center experience and does it direct consumers to where they need to go? Does the in-store experience match what’s been advertised? Does the product itself match what’s been advertised?”

6.       Scale these efforts according to the opportunity

“Sure, your multicultural efforts are great in Austin, but what about everywhere else? Businesses like Kroger are scaling multicultural marketing across their retail network because they’ve seen how successful it is.”

7.       Evangelize the organization

“A lot of the people resistant to this type of change are middle management. The executives get it. The stockholders get it. Some people may think this is a political or ‘do-good’ issue. They may not understand that their growth hangs on this. You need to grow, and growth is multicultural.”

Author / Perry Simpson
Source / dmnews.com


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How People Discover New Brands

The most effective method for brand discovery remains articles published in mainstream media outlets, according to a recent report by GlobalWebIndex.

However, consumers are increasingly engaging with this content in digital form, rather than finding it in print.

Asked how they discover new brands, products, or services, 47% of 16-24 year-olds and 45% of 55-65 year-olds cited articles posted on the websites of newspapers and magazines. That’s nearly double the number (20% and 27%, respectively) who discover brands via articles published in the print versions of newspapers and magazines.

After newspaper and magazine articles published on the Web, the next most common method for discovering new brands is recommendations from real-life friends. Consumer comments on message boards is third, and results from search engines is fourth.

Advertisements and celebrity endorsements land in the middle of the pack, as do recommendations from digital friends and blogger reviews.

The least common method for finding new brands is via deals on group buying websites, such as Groupon.

brand-discovery-gwi-2013

Author / Ayaz Nanji
Source / marketingprofs.com


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Millennials and Brands | Millennials Are a Mystifying Generation

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Image courtesy of adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Millennials, individuals aged 18 to 33, are a less religious, home buying, bank hating, selfie loving, liberal and mystifying generation. Just when it seems as though the millennials are figured out, a new selfie is posted, or a political choice is made, and people are left scratching their heads.

Millennials are less religious than previous generations. In fact, almost two-thirds of millennials would not classify themselves as religious. This may be related to the marrying trend of millennials, with only one in four millennials being married.

Millennials are buying homes, and this is changing things up for real estate agents who are not used to the millennials’ ways. 79 percent of first-time home buyers last year were millennials. Some real estate agents find their new young adult costumers to be a little mystifying. Millennials prefer texting, while real estate agents would rather pick up a phone, or have a face to face meeting.

Another mystifying fact about the millennial generation; they are against banks. In fact, they think that banking will be so different in five years that banks will no longer be necessary. In a poll of 10,000 millennials done by Scratch, banks made up four of the top ten most hated brands. Three-quarters of the millennials polled feel that they would be more interested in financial services that were offered by companies such as Apple, PayPal, Square, Amazon, and Google. What does this mean for banks? They need to step it up and figure out how to please millennials.

Who loves a selfie more than a millennial? Millennials are two times more likely to have shared a selfie than any other generation. Just a glance at Facebook or Instagram will show how obvious this is. This does not mean that millennials are self-absorbed though, a surprisingly high percentage, 63 percent, feel that it is their duty to take care of an aging parent. So while the millennial generation may be mystifying, they are a caring generation.

How do millennials identify themselves politically? Half of the millennial population are political independents. They are more likely to vote liberally than conservatively. Only 31 percent of millennials even feel that there is a significant difference between Republican and Democratic parties.

Millennials love technology, so it might be surprising to learn that 50 percent of households without televisions are millennial households. They do however watch programs on their mobile devices.

Millennials are on the lookout for a bargain, and are educated on how to get the best deal. 31 percent of all millennials shopping money is spent on deals.

What does all of this mean? It means that things are going to have to change. As millennials grow into adulthood and venture out more into the world, businesses are going to have to adapt in order to better appeal to millennials. Real estate agents and mortgage companies may have to be innovative with new practices. Companies may need to find a way to work out great deals, and perhaps post them on social media with a few selfies. Banks, especially, need a major overhaul in order to stay competitive with the millennial market.

Millennials might be a mystifying generation to some, but they are the generation of the future. They will make and demand changes. A better understanding of what makes up their generation will help everyone navigate these new changes.

Original Opinion / Ashley Campbell
Source / guardianlv, Forbes, CBS News, Philly.com, Fast Company, The Week, PBS Newshour


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Meet Merel Bekking, A Designer Who’s Secretly A Scientist

Borrowing techniques from neuroscience. Bekking measured how users brains responded to basic design elements. The results might surprise you.

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Dutch designer Merel Bekking says she likes to “crawl inside the skin of a different specialist” for every project she does. Take InvesteRing, conceived during the economic crisis, which required Bekking to become a bit of a commodities expert. She created rings with two euros worth of a commodity, such as corn, that could be dispensed from a vending machine that cost two euros. The ring that comes out is a miniature investment, its value changing ever so slightly with the price of corn.

It’s the sort of empirical approach more often identified with scientists than artists, and Bekking proudly refers to herself as a “research-based” designer. “Every project I needed to gather as much information as I could about the subject,” she tells Co.Design. “Talk to people, try things out, read a lot. If I want to design something in a discipline I don’t know anything about, I need do to a lot of research to make a convincing design.”

Bekking’s latest project takes her scientific style to a whole new level. With the help of neuroscientist Steven Scholte from the Neurensics firm, Bekking recruited 20 people to a laboratory and slipped them inside an MRI scanner. She had cooked up a rudimentary neuroimaging study: to measure how their brains responded to various basic design elements.

To do that required two steps. First, participants looked at a series of paintings with various themes. Some of the works (like a Goya or a Caravaggio) portrayed violence. Others depicted simple social activities or food. Still others were erotic in nature. The goal was for the research team to capture a baseline portrait of each brain’s response to certain emotions, shapes, colors, and materials.

“On paper, the subjects preferred wood. In the scanner, they preferred red plastic.”

For the next step, Bekking and company fed participants a new set of roughly 250 images showing an assortment of design elements. There were five different textures, 10 colors, and eight shapes–each flashed without any additional context. By comparing the two scans, Scholte determined each brain’s true feelings toward the design elements. Outside the scanner, Bekking also asked participants to indicate which elements they thought they enjoyed most.

The results–depicted in an infographic (below) that’s been making the Internet rounds–took Bekking by surprise. The design elements that participants said they liked outside the scanner were not the same ones their brains seemed to like inside it. On paper, they preferred wooden material, the color blue, and round shapes. In the scanner, however, they betrayed a preference for red, organically shaped plastics.

bekking-infographic

“People are prone to give socially desired answers,” Bekking says, “or don’t really quite know what they like.”

Now, as pure behavioral science, the simple study would never pass peer review. No reference is made to other imaging research showing that people’s brains do, in fact, love curvy design. And deciphering the meaning behind brain activity is far from cut and dry; an active area could indicate an aversion to a certain design element just as easily as it could indicate an affection (as one U.S. neuroscientist pointed out to Motherboard).

But by the artistic metric of inspiration the research worked, with the results giving Bekking the idea for her next project. She plans to create a series of household objects with elements favored by the brains she scanned–perhaps a red chair, a plastic table, an organic vase, and so on–and present them in April during the famous Milan furniture fair Salon del Mobile. She’s eager to see how people will respond to designs their brains suggest they like but which their voices suggest they don’t.

Of course, the designer in Bekking understands that context should matter when it comes to style elements; that something red, plastic, and organic might look nice in one situation but not in another. So if it happens that people don’t like the brain-based items Bekking creates, that won’t bother her. “You do research on a subject and you have to make conclusions based on the data you have,” she says. A true scientist couldn’t have put it better.

Author: Eric Jaffe

Source: Fast Company