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Brand Marketing Strategy | Put Your Money Where the Growth Is

people-group

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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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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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.

bekking-headshot

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


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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.

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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.

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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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Sandy officials use Web resources to keep residents up to date

Enhance The Experience: Fundamental to Branding

At RED, we know that delivering a one-of-a-kind engaging experience is one way to reach customers. But we’ve seen time and again that creating an emotionally-valued experience within them gives us a deeper view into the mindset of the customer. This view reveals the hidden behavioral triggers that motivate their decision making.

See what Nicole Martin, Communications Director for Sandy City, has to say about RED.

It is always a challenge to keep an ever-growing community aware and involved in the goings-on of their city. In the summer of 2013, RED helped Sandy City build a new website that did just that.

SANDY — Decisions being made in the Legislature will impact some laws more than others, and Sandy residents can find out that information on a new website.

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SANDY — Decisions being made in the Legislature will impact some laws more than others, and Sandy residents can find out that information on a new website.As Sandy’s population continues to get bigger, communications between residents and the city government sometimes gets smaller.”It’s so difficult to get information out and receive information back from your citizens. You really work hard at it,” Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan said.Dolan has seen plenty of City Council meetings where there were more councilmen than residents. And yet tough decisions still have to be made.”The biggest failure is communications,” said Nicole Martin, Sandy spokeswoman. “If you’re not communicating, then your residents have no idea what you’re doing.”Although communications with residents is something cities everywhere have a difficult time with, Sandy is trying something not many have tried before.”What’s different about Sandy now is what we call our online information dashboard,” Martin said.

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Sandynow.com is a website. Most cities have websites, Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as old-fashioned newsletters to communicate with residents.But Sandy is bringing all that together with constant updates to let residents know what’s going on. The city is following the legislative session this month to post information affecting its residents.”With today’s technology, it’s not enough for cities to kind of passively communicate and hope their residents are informed,” Martin said.Dolan remembers scrolling through city information on a cable-access TV channel years ago and called the experience “the most boring thing in the world.”He’s amazed at how far technology has come and how it’s so crucial for cities to use it to make sure residents are informed.”It’s getting much better because people are more technologically advanced and this is the way they communicate,” Dolan said.Dolan understands not everyone has the Internet and said newsletters and announcements will still be mailed to residents.

By Alex Cabrero                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=28541824#uKYMlX4fL2TVj5jr.99


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10 Researched Rules Brand Leaders Survive By

RED leader

Branding is a process that is continually ongoing. A brand that is not flaccid cannot be created in an afternoon of decisions regarding your brand identity, messaging, logo, corporate colors, web design, and packaging. Rather, we all know that a successful brand is built from a huge number of logical decisions that grow out of powerful customer research and a brand strategy. If your goal is to own and managing a leading brand you must follow these 10 researched rules brand leaders survive by.

1. Be willing to share! Don’t hold back. People respond kindly to the most generous people so you will be rewarded by your open-sharing policy.

2. Be prepared for serious competition and your new brand strategy. Adjust to your new reality and do it with so much style everyone will think you planned it that way.

3. Be a greater listener than a talker. Brand leaders show they are more interested in learning about your customer’s needs and wants more than explaining their services. Remember, people are interested in telling their story, not necessarily listening to yours, at least not until after they’ve told theirs first.

4. Realize that you need to be a team player. Be confident and get down to business.

5. Use Customer Research. Show that you know and care about them.

6. Be a friend! Always be willing to do better each day so you can help others do better. Apply this to your everyday life and it will never let you down professionally or personally.

7. Be a pursuer of big ideas and dreams. Don’t put them on your shelf to sit year after year. Try them out and see if you can make something of them. You’ll never know if you don’t try.

8. Stand out, be and industry visionary. Steve Jobs was always out in front of his competition and customers and offered something new and different. A capability of coming out with something new served Apple very well as a brand leader for years.

9. Be someone who knows the details. Be known as a person that follows through, finishes every item they start. Every single opportunity that comes your way regardless of how large or small be the one that is determined to tackles it full heartedly.

10. Don’t sit around waiting for an idea or opportunity. Instead, get up and make something happen!

BE THE LEADER!

source: marketcues.com