R[E]D – Research : Emotion : Design

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Millennials and Brands | Millennials Are a Mystifying Generation

millennial

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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Entering the Participation Age of Branding

The-New-Definition-of-Brand-Value_Header-header

The tectonic plates that underpin our marketplace are in the midst of a large shift…and brands should be paying attention. As the Millennial Generation quickly becomes the primary force in consumer spending, our marketplace is shifting from a transaction based economy to a participation based economy.

The primary thought-currency no longer has a commoditized value, but instead, a perceived value. Customers base decisions on an entirely different set of criteria:  They don’t just want to buy your brand, they want to be a part of it.

To quote the great Bob Dylan, “The Times They Are a-Changin.’”

The Transaction Model

In the transaction model, brand value was defined in transactional terms. The formula looked something like this:

The-Transactional-Brand-Value-Model

This model told us that the functional benefits of our product or service were of primary concern to the end user. In short, utility was king.

This type of thinking spawned a primarily interruptive style of brand development. After all, when consumers are faced with a direct apples to apples (A to A) choice, the squeakiest, loudest, most present and most disruptive voice wins. Brands were rushing to interrupt potential customers to prove the utility and benefit of their offering. All of this utility proofing geared toward one objective — the transaction.

Brand value, as a result, was defined by converting interruption into transaction. The “proof is in the pudding” thinking cemented itself at the core of brand development —great branding created transaction. As the economic landscape shifts, the interruption to transaction model is becoming obsolete.

The Participation Model

As Seth Godin put it, “Relying too much on proof distracts you from the real mission–which is emotional connection…Selling to people who actually want to hear from you is more effective than interrupting strangers who don’t.”

In the participation model, brand value is defined in relational terms. The Participation model looks something like this:

The-Participative-Brand-Value-Model

This type of thinking tells us that functional benefits and emotional benefits are amplified by our willingness to include our customer in the experience. Participation represents an invitation. An invitation for co-creation, co-responsibility and co-delight. Participation gears toward one objective —the experience.

The direct apple to apple (A to A) comparison becomes an experiential comparison: Apple experience to apple experience (AE to AE). It looks beyond interruption and way beyond transaction. In the participation model, great branding invites participation.

Jeff Fromm summed it up well by saying, “Millennials want to co-create the products and services you sell, the customer journey and the marketing and social media.”

A Case Study For Participation: Apple

(Yes, I know it’s trite to use Apple as a case study, but in this instance, this really is the best example.)

Just this year, Apple unseated Coca-Cola’s 13 year run as the world’s most valuable brand in Interbrand’s coveted annual “World’s Most Valuable Brands” list.

This can’t solely be attributed to truly disruptive tech releases. In fact, from 2007-2008 (the release of the iPhone), Apple’s brand value ranking only jumped 9 slots (from 33rd to 24th). So what took Apple’s brand value from $13,583m to $98,316m in 5 years? A potent combination of the rise of the participation economy and the fact that Apple’s core promise is participation.

Think about it, their entire model is centered around the invitation of participation. Participation from independent third parties (apps, hacks, media); participation from partner industries (music publishing, cellular carriers, media producers); and, most of all, participation from their customers.

Apple exemplifies the participation model by placing participation at the nexus of everything it does.

Beyond The Transaction

How are you moving beyond the transaction? How are you being participation-minded? How does your brand’s co-relationship deepen and grow before and after you make a sale.

If your brand development and sales funnel end at transaction, it’s time to start thinking about the participation model.

Author / Jeremiah Gardner
Source / Branding Magazine


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FDA redesigns nutrition labels to reflect how Americans actually eat

nutrition_facts

For the first time in 20 years, the FDA has proposed changes to its Nutrition Facts food labels. In the FDA’s new designs, several important food stats have been enlarged, and some have even been recalculated in accordance with the actual serving sizes Americans eat today, The New York Times reports. “This is a big deal, and it’s going to make a big difference for families all across this country,” said First Lady Michelle Obama in the FDA’s proposal.

Most noticeably, the calorie count of a food item has been super-sized, which should make scanning labels while shopping a lot easier for dieters. The Servings Per Container line has also been enlarged, as has the methodology used to calculate these servings. 20-ounce bottles of soda would be counted as one single serving, instead of 2.5 smaller servings. On ice cream cartons, half-cup servings will be increased to a full cup to reflect how much ice cream people generally eat. Serving size updates are only being proposed on 17 percent of the approximately 150 categories of packaged food monitored by the FDA, the Times reports. Today’s serving-sized guidelines were put into place back in 1994.

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The FDA’s old labels (left) and new labels (right)

Also updated are a left-justified Daily Value column that makes parsing numbers simpler, and an Added Sugars section right below Sugars meant to highlight one of the leading causes of obesity in America, according to the FDA’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The FDA seems to be hoping that food companies will cut down on manufacturing added sugars just like they did with Trans Fats when they were first denoted on labels few years ago. “Calories from Fat” has been notably removed, “because research shows the type of fat is more important than the amount,” the FDA says. Lastly, the labels would make Vitamin D and Potassium counts mandatory, while Vitamins A and C would be optional.

The FDA’s deputy commissioner of foods Michael Taylor estimates that the transition would cost about $2 billion and two years to carry out, but could provide $30 billion in health benefits long-term. “Things like the size of a muffin have changed so dramatically,” said FDA commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg. “It is important that the information on the nutrition fact labels reflect the realities in the world today.”

Source:
The New York Times FDA

By Ellis Hamburger

photo credit: jpalinsad360 via photopin cc


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How to improve your current advertising strategy

Advertising is a complex process; the idea is to build a creative that connects with potential buyers. It must be creative while staying grounded in the real world. It is expensive, so it has to produce measurable results. It must be conventional, yet imaginative. Companies are increasingly under financial strain and the result is the advertising business is in trouble worldwide. Agencies are becoming heavily dependent on their campaigns being led by metric this is zapping the creativity from today’s campaigns and fewer ads produce the desired result. Thus, new ideas are needed.

simple

photo credit: josemanuelerre via photopin cc

Be simple

Your Ads must work in an increasingly noisy world. Too much new information is being exchanged. The key to standing out is being simple – this is not easy nor as instantly admired as being complex. Yet, a good ad must be simple, though not stupid – and it must be subjective enough to be credible.

Be Consistent

Consistency builds brand equity or loyalty among all audiences. Nurture customers by keeping them interested in your brand’s activities and development. To maintain your message consistency, the same team that helps build the brand should approve the ads.

Be ‘Salesy’

Advertising has many functions, including selling. But what exactly should be sold? Often ads place too much emphasis on building products, not brands. The result is that too many products have similar brand values. This produces confusion. To break this cycle, ask: What does the advertising want to achieve? Who should be targeted? How can the goal be achieved?

emotional

photo credit: COMΛS via photopin cc

Be Emotional

Research shows that people make decisions based on emotions, political beliefs, spiritual leanings and, least of all, rational factors. However, most ads mistakenly are very rational and only stress product benefits, not the emotional aspects of buying. To build the idea of the brand, sell the emotions around it. This makes for stronger campaigns. The challenge is to find the right emotion.

Be Experienced

The most powerful advertising creativity stems from actual experience and culture. Sometimes one culture’s perspective resonates with a client and a product, and that eventually creates ripple effects worldwide.

Be Relevant

To get noticed, ads must be more interesting than their surroundings. Great ads must make an impact, but they also must be accountable for the emotions they create. Strong ads should be likeable, meaningful and relevant.  The dominant theme in developing good relevant ads is to focus on the human truths associated with using the product or service.

Be Humorous

Humor is powerful; it can help make people actually like a product. Most ads are rational and present a product’s benefits. But logic is not as powerful as laughter. Humor, which should be based on truth, comes from actually observing ordinary people. Being contradictory is one way to create humorous situations.

humorous-disruptive

photo credit: Arturo de Albornoz via photopin cc

Be Disruptive

Big idea stems from a dramatic change in conditions, a vision, a revolution in approach or thought that creates something new. To produce a creative disruption, follow a three-step process. First, identify the company’s conventional thinking and the basic assumptions behind its operations. Next examine the components of the brand. Then comes the challenge: find the right disruption, the one that can actually benefit the company’s position. This disruption can serve as the platform for a new vision or challenge a brand category or market.

Be Nice

The culture of a creative organization provides the framework for its output. A sick organization will not produce great work. Confident agencies generate good work, since they nurture creativity even in a viciously competitive and subjective industry. Those characteristics do not normally foster support and co-operation, so avoid them. Seek inspiration from talented people and support their efforts. Be a team player.

Original post by: Patrick Murphy
source: siliconcloud.com


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Apps have grown into being an integral part of your brand | A Collection of Beautiful App Icons

When you’re designing an iPhone, Android or other mobile app – it’s easy to spend all your time focusing on the UI and the software itself, and then leave the app icon to last. It’s important to remember, however, that the app icon will be seen more often than the app itself. It’s on the user’s home screen, and may well be seen many times throughout the day. The app icon in this respect becomes an integral part of your brand – almost like your logo – as it’s what comes to define your app.

Creating a beautifully designed app icon often takes time and energy – and I’d recommend putting in as much time as you would with a logo. Despite it’s small size, it has a big impact and deserves to be crafted carefully. Beautifully designed app icons can take on any form or style – from elegant black and white icons to colourful and brash, but one thing to keep in mind is that simpler is often better. A simple and uncluttered icon can be easier to digest than a busy, visually noisy icon – especially because it’ll be displayed amongst a collection of other icons and will need to stand out and be instantly recognisable.

To help give you some inspiration, I wanted to bring together a collection of some fresh, interesting, innovating and beautifully designed app icons. Some of these designs fall on the side of minimalism, while others are more intricate – but each one of these designs has a certain charm and personality behind them, and each would look at home on even the most design-focused user’s phone. Hopefully these app icons will give you something to think about for the next time you need to create an icon, and that you’ll find some designs here that you love. I’d love to know what you think, so please do be sure to leave a comment below.

01-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1375719-ICON-Real-Estate-App-Etagi

02-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1379640-Camera-App-Icon

03-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1350588-Pencil-app-icon

04-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1366476-Epiclist-iOS-icon

05-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1355973-Drop-Ios

06-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1354776-Cleaner-Icon

07-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1361891-Xnphoto

08-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1343908-Wood-Chat

09-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1371619-Redeem-App-Icon

10-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1376544-Website-iOS-Icon

11-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1368848-Applisky-Icon

12-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1375551-Mug-iOS-Icon

13-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1317031-Watching-you

14-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1332621-ReadGloss-iPhone-App-Icon

15-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1357283-Speed-Limit-Radar

16-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1345574-Sound-Circle-Icon

17-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1318983-Mutual-Icon

18-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1355050-CoinFeed

19-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1352116-Temp-Clock-Icon

20-app

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1336311-Book-Tracker

Author: Ricardo Nunes
Original source: twoimpulse.com/zenith/design/collection-beautiful-app-icons

 


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Logo design|The Beatles’ drop-T logo

Although it was never shown on The Beatles’ original UK albums, The Beatles’ famous ‘drop-T’ logo was a familiar sight throughout the group’s early years.

It adorned Ringo Starr’s drum kit from 1963, has since endured as The Beatles’ official marque, and was registered as a trademark by Apple Corps in the 1990s. But how did it come about?

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Ivor Arbiter was born in Balham, south London, in 1929. He repaired saxophones, worked as a part time drummer, and in the late 1950s opened the specialist music shop Drum City on Shaftesbury Avenue. It was the first drums-only store in London.

The store, modelled on the US idea of an outlet just for drums, became a popular destination for jazz drummers. He also opened Sound City, a guitar shop where The Beatles bought much of their equipment from 1963.

The drop-T logo came about almost by accident. In April 1963 Ringo and Brian Epstein entered Drum City to find a replacement for Starr’s Premier kit.

I had a phone call from the shop to say that someone called Brian Epstein was there with a drummer. Here was this drummer, Ringo, Schmingo, whatever his name was. At that time I certainly hadn’t heard of the Beatles. Every band was going to be big in those days!

Ivor Arbiter

At first they asked for an all-black kit, but Ringo changed his mind after seeing a swatch of Ludwig’s new oyster black pearl finish on Arbiter’s desk. When told that it was only available on Ludwig drums, his mind was made up. “That’s what I want,” he told Arbiter, who fortunately had a £238 Ludwig Downbeat kit with the finish in stock.

Epstein didn’t want to pay for the drums, but Arbiter refused to let him have them for nothing. They negotiated, and eventually Arbiter agreed to trade the drums in return for his battered old Premier kit.

Arbiter told Epstein he wanted Ludwig’s name to appear on the bass drum head, as he’d recently begun a distribution deal with the company. Epstein agreed, but asked for The Beatles’ name on it too.

On the spot Arbiter designed the famous drop-T logo, hastily sketched onto a scrap of paper. The capital B and dropped T were to emphasise the word ‘beat’. Drum City was paid £5 for arranging the artwork, which was painted onto the drum head by Eddie Stokes, a local sign writer.

On Sunday May 12 1963 Ringo took delivery of his new Ludwig kit. The drums, along with new Paiste cymbals, were driven up by Drum City’s Gerry Evans, who delivered them to the Alpha Television Studios in Birmingham, where The Beatles were appearing on Thank Your Lucky Stars.

The kit had a 20 inch bass drum, 12×8 tom-tom, 14×14 floor tom, and a non-standard Ludwig Jazz Festival wooden snare.

I took his old Premier drum kit from him and brought it back to the store. We renovated it in our workshop, and then sold it. I ripped off the bit of material from the bass drum head where he’d handwritten the Beatles’ name and threw it away. It was a terrible drum kit. It wasn’t old: he’d only had it six months or a year. But it was a brown finish, one of the worst finishes that Premier ever did… I don’t know why he got it in the first place, really. No wonder he wanted to change it. Anyway, we cleaned it up and sold it off the same week – and very, very cheaply. It would most likely be a collector’s item if we still had it today.

Gerry Evans
Beatles Gear, Andy Babiu

By the end of 1963 the Ludwig sticker on the bass head was flaking away from all the carrying from show to show. It was taken back to Drum City, where Stokes repainted the Ludwig logo, slightly larger than before.

This original drum head was last seen in public at The Beatles’ run of appearances at Paris’ Olympia Theatre, which ended on 4 February 1964. Ringo Starr is rumoured to still own the original drum head, along with the Ludwig kit.

DROP-T DRUM HEAD NUMBER TWO

Starr used seven different drop-T bass drum heads between 1963 and 1967, each with a slightly different logo.

Following Ivor Arbiter’s original, the second drop-T head is commonly known as the Sullivan Head, as it was the one used during The Beatles’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on 9 February 1964.

drop-t-logo-02

In January 1964, while The Beatles were preparing for their first US trip, Ivor Arbiter was asked to prepare a second bass drum head. Once again Eddie Stokes painted the logo, this time onto a 20″ Remo Weather King skin.

Drum City was an authorised dealer of Remo heads, whose distinctive logo was a small crown situated at the top of the head near the rim.

For the second head, Stokes painted The Beatles’ logo much larger, spanning the entire skin from edge to edge. A wider typeface was also used.

Rather than shipping Starr’s drums to America, a new drum kit was purchased for him to play there; only the snare and cymbals were brought over, as well as head number two. Manny’s Music Store in Manhattan delivered the kit, to which the head was attached, just before the taping of their historic appearances for Ed Sullivan.

The second skin was used throughout The Beatles’ first US tour, including three Ed Sullivan shoots, two Carnegie Hall concerts and their live US début at the Washington Coliseum. During the tour a scratch, most likely caused by a hi-hat cymbal being packed in the same case, ran from the letter B through to the A.

The new drums were sent to EMI Studios in Abbey Road after the first US tour. The head was not seen again in public until it was auctioned at Sotheby’s in London 1984. It was sold to George Wilkins, an Australian restaurateur, before being sold once more 10 years later at Sotheby’s, where it was purchased by collector Russ Lease.

DROP-T DRUM HEAD NUMBER THREE

The Beatles began recording and filming A Hard Day’s Night almost immediately after returning from America. It was decided that a brand new bass drum head would be needed for their film début.

Once again a Remo Weather Master was chosen, onto which a logo was hand-painted by Eddie Stokes. This time the group’s name was narrower than on the Ed Sullivan head. The Ludwig logo, too, was different: the L extended below the subsequent letters.

drop-t-logo-03

This third head was used throughout filming, and was used during The Beatles’ appearance at the New Musical Express Annual Poll Winners’ All-Star Concert on 26 April 1964.

Afterwards it was seen just once more in public, during the You’re Going To Lose That Girl recording studio sequence in the Help! film. The scene was filmed on 30 April 1965.

Head number three has never appeared at auction, suggesting that, after the kit was sawn around by Clang in the film, it was never recovered from the store room under the studio floor.

DROP-T DRUM HEAD NUMBER FOUR

On the morning of 31 May 1964, prior to a live appearance at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London, Ringo Starr took delivery of a new Ludwig kit, which included his first 22″ bass drum. A new head was therefore required, and Eddie Stokes once again painted the group’s logo onto a Remo Weather King.

This time around, Stokes’ lettering was similar to that on the original head. The Ludwig logo was also painted on.

drop-t-logo-04

The drums and head were used exclusively for all The Beatles’ appearances from 31 May 1964 through to 1 August 1965, when they appeared on the Blackpool Night Out television show. Aside from the studio scene in Help!, Starr never again went back to his two 20″ kits.

DROP-T DRUM HEAD NUMBER FIVE

In August 1965 The Beatles returned to New York for the start of their US tour. Ringo Starr unveiled his fourth and final black pearl Ludwig drum kit, along with a fifth head – a 22″ Remo Weather Master.

This time a Ludwig sticker was used instead of a painted logo. It was placed at a slight angle, with the letters on the right slightly higher than those on the left. The Beatles’ logo featured a fatter typeface than on previous versions.

drop-t-logo-05-580x473

The fifth head first appeared in public on 14 August 1965, the day before their triumphant first concert at New York’s Shea Stadium. The Beatles recorded their fourth Ed Sullivan Show appearance in Manhattan, though the recording wasn’t screened until 12 September.

The kit and head were used throughout the group’s 1965 US tour.

DROP-T DRUM HEAD NUMBER SIX

The Music Of Lennon & McCartney was a UK TV special filmed on 1 and 2 November 1965. As The Beatles were in the middle of recording Rubber Soul at the time, Ringo Starr used his first 22″ Ludwig kit, along with a sixth drop-T logo.

drop-t-logo-06

This logo was used on every live and film appearance up until Magical Mystery Tour in 1967. It was also used during the Sgt Pepper sessions.

The sixth skin was used during the rehearsals for Our World, the worldwide satellite link-up for which The Beatles wrote and performed All You Need Is Love. However, prior to the live transmission, the drum head was replaced by the orange and red skin later seen in the Magical Mystery Tour film.

The logo returned for the Hello, Goodbye promo film, although it hasn’t been seen since the footage was shot at the Savile Theatre, London, on 10 November 1967. It disappeared after being stored in an annexe to Abbey Road’s studio three in early 1968.

Ringo’s drum with the Beatles skin on it was left in there, and I remember thinking how attractive to a collector that particular item would be. Strangely enough – and I plead not guilty on this – we came in one day and someone had neatly trimmed the skin out of the drum frame, So someone somewhere has got the original Beatles skin that came out of Starr’s drum kit. After that they used the red-painted skin with ‘Love’ in yellow, rather than bother to get another Beatles skin, because they obviously weren’t going to be appearing on stage any more.

Brian Gibson, studio engineer
Beatles Gear, Andy Babiuk

DROP-T DRUM HEAD NUMBER SEVEN

The final drop-T logo was seen in public very briefly, at the beginning of the Let It Be film, being carried by Mal Evans. The head – again, a 22″ Remo Weather Master, with Ludwig sticker – was intended for Ringo Starr’s maple-finish Hollywood drum kit used during the shoot in January 1969.

drop-t-logo-07_01-580x423

However, it was unusual at the time for a front head to be used on Starr’s bass drum in the studio, to give greater flexibility in recording and dampening. As a result, the head was never attached to the drum, nor was it played by Starr.

The Let It Be head was put up for auction in September 1988 by George Peckham of The Fourmost, who had worked for Apple in 1969. Peckham claimed that John Lennon had given him the item. However, it failed to reach its reserve price and remained unsold.

The head was eventually sold by Sotheby’s in August 1992 to an anonymous bidder. It is believed to have remained in private ownership.

drop-t-logo-07_03

Original Source: beatlesbible.com/features/drop-t-logo


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Why Winning Brands Balance Long-Term Value with Short-Term Business Gain

weight_machines

Body builders and gym rats are fond of a mantra-like motivational phrase – “no pain, no gain” – that can be equally applied to the approach smart marketers take in keeping their brands fit. Successful marketers are well aware that consistent investments in their brand equities (the pain, as it were) can deliver future business gains. The tension comes from the need to deliver consistent profitability in every financial quarter and not merely to boost awareness and attribute ratings over the long haul. To do both, it takes a truly healthy brand and a wise marketer who understands the levers to pull in balancing this dynamic effectively.

When a healthy brand and a wise marketer come together, consistent investments in long-term brand value can be made efficiently, thus creating the virtuous cycle that pays bottom-line benefits, as well. What once seemed like an impossible ambition has now become a widespread and expected business imperative. I’ll elaborate.

The increased focus on short-term profitability has come into new light as the US economy emerges from recession into recovery. Cautious investors, especially the fund managers and bankers driving the stock market, have become both more discriminating and less patient with their investments. As a result, public companies are under greater scrutiny to deliver sustained, profitable revenue growth each quarter and, therefore, from the C-suite down to the cube farm, corporate targets have become imperatives. There is a justifiable lack of patience, or call it tolerance, for focusing solely on the long-range plan.

And unfortunately for brand managers, creating long-term brand equity can be at odds with generating immediate cash flow. It is tempting for a young marketer, especially one who knows he will be rotated to a different brand in a few months, to focus on the bottom line in order to secure a bigger bonus, rather than to invest in winning the hearts and minds of consumers two years out. In fact, the pendulum has swung so far from the “head-in-the-clouds” marketers of old, so motivated by creating beautiful films and winning awards, that it’s worth appreciating those marketers making bold choices to keep their equity in good stead for the future fitness of their brand.

One of the most extreme examples of bold decision-making in the interest of long-term brand health is the recent decision of a wine brand to sit out an entire vintage (and a year worth of sales) because it felt that that season’s grapes were not of sufficient quality to produce a product worthy of their brand name. Chateau d’Yquem is one of the most valuable, sought-after Bordeaux wines, and likely the most famous brand of sweet wine in the world. Their reputation has garnered a cultish following among well-heeled wine enthusiasts around the globe. Unfortunately, the 2012 growing season was so poor that Chateau d’Yquem’s grapes did not fully ripen. As a result, the company took a tough stance in favor of the brand: If it could not make a great product from those grapes, then it would make no product that year. While Chateau d’Yquem might release stocks of prior vintages to ensure cash flow, the overall decision was for huge short-term “pain” to protect and promote long-term equity gain.

Few brands have the financial freedom to sit out a year, but as an extreme case we can learn and be inspired by the position taken at Chateau d’Yquem. To be clear, their decision was a marketing investment. Within the world of CPG, we should be reminded that even the most famous brands – from Coca-Cola to Tide to Dove – continue to invest heavily in the value of their brands, when it might be tempting to drop more dollars to the bottom line. The winning formula is to generate awareness, affinity and preference via inspiring brand mixes delivered consistently and efficiently.

brand_touchpoints

A brand that stands for something meaningful and can deliver that message through every touch-point, every pack, even every business decision, is positioned well for long-term health. Delivering this message consistently over time reduces churn, consumer confusion and, more importantly, the cost of marketing investments, which benefits the bottom line. It’s a virtuous cycle – perhaps in the same way that consistent trips to the gym make each workout a bit easier and the cumulative effort all the more effective.

Author Bruce Levinson
source: brandingmagazine.com/2014/01/18/winning-brands-balance-long-term-value-short-term-business-gain