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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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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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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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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.

Sandy_City_Gov_Building

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.

sandy_now

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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Brand Marketing – SodaStream And Scarlett Johansson Make A Splash

How can a small company compete against industry giants?  The best way is to make a lot of noise. This year, one of the smallest advertisers on the Super Bowl is attracting lots of attention as it strives to break through against Coke and Pepsi.

SodaStream (NASDAQ: SODA) has had a bumpy ride over the past year.  The $562mm (FY2013 preliminary revenues) Israeli company makes in-home carbonators that allow consumers to transform tap water into sparkling water or soft drinks.   Sodastream has already made significant inroads in Europe (the company estimates that it has 19% household penetration in Finland, 9% in the Czech Republic and 6% in France), and has a small-but-dedicated following in the U.S.

Last year’s Super Bowl helped SodaStream achieve a threshold level of awareness, particularly when its aggressive Super Bowl spot was rejected by CBS (an edited version ultimately aired during the big game).

This year’s spot is tamer, but it has attracted even more attention.  Not only was it again banned from the big game, but the choice of Scarlett Johansson has attracted both positive and negative attention.  For the moment, though, it’s helping tiny SodaStream gain enough attention to make a big investment pay off.

And it can’t come a moment too soon …

Challenging 2013 Results

SodaStream’s revenue growth for 2013 was around 30%, which sounds great until you consider the 50% growth the company experienced in 2012.  The preliminary 2013 earnings report undercut analyst estimates by $5mm and sent shares tumbling by 20% in mid-January.

“We failed to deliver our profit targets and are disappointed in our fourth quarter performance,” CEO Daniel Birnbaum wrote in the earnings release. “These preliminary results reflect a challenging holiday selling season in the U.S. and several factors, mostly from the second half of the quarter that negatively impacted our gross margin.”

Translating this into marketing language, Birnbaum is suggesting that the company many have discounted heavily to increase market penetration and that the results were not what the company had hoped.

scarlett-johansson

Using Rejection To Gain Acceptance

And yet, from a brand standpoint, SodaStream has made some smart moves in the past few years.

Around four years ago, the company created an art installation that dramatized the empty soda bottle waste created by a single family.  Thirty of these installations travelled around the world until 2012, when a South African installation attracted the attention of the local Coca-Cola bottler, which issued a cease-and-desist letter to SodaStream.  Instead of desisting, SodaStream fought back, and got lots of mainstream media attention with an environmental version of the David & Goliath story.

brand marketing

Also in 2012, the brand forged a partnership with legendary adman Alex Bogusky, who had collaborated with the Center for Science in the Public Interest to launch a spot attacking soft drinks called “Real Bears”.

Bogusky created a hard-hitting, environmentally themed spot for SodaStream which was banned in the UK and then rejected from the Super Bowl last year.

That rejection helped the SodaStream get noticed during the Super Bowl last year.

An Unexpected Sponsorship

SodaStream planned to pursue a more conventional path for its second Super Bowl appearance this year.  A chance encounter changed the strategy.  SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum described it to me this way:

I’m sitting in my office in Tel Aviv and we get a phone call that there’s an American in Paris looking to find a gas replacement for her soda maker.  I contacted my Paris office and I asked them to get the replacement to this consumer.  A week later I get a handwritten thank-you note from S.J.  It turns out S.J. was Scarlett Johannsen.  She drinks only sparkling water from SodaStream and travels with it wherever she goes, etc. She just loves the brand.  We were on a path to do a different commercial for the Super Bowl, but when this happened we changed directions.

Birnbaum previously worked on celebrity sponsorships for Nike, so he had a very clear idea of the potential risks and rewards of engaging a celebrity for SodaStream.  Unlike the typical paid endorser, however, Johansson was already a brand enthusiast.  She travels with a SodaStream and has bought them for her friends and relatives. The Johansson partnership quickly propelled SodaStream into the limelight of the SuperBowl, getting breathless coverage from celebrity media outlets.

SodaStream also managed to engineer another mini-scandal that helped goose the coverage: rejection of its proposed Super Bowl ad from Fox.  Here’s the spot they submitted, which has just been released online today:

Three words caused the rejection: “Sorry, Coke and Pepsi.”  So the SodaStream spot that actually runs on the Super Bowl won’t call out the competition.  But the rejection has created news.

Unexpected Problems

The Johansson partnership also created an unexpected controversy, because of Johansson’s status as an Oxfam ambassador since 2005.  Oxfam supports the BDS movement, which boycotts businesses in the Israeli settlements/occupied territories.  SodaStream has a manufacturing facility in the settlement of Maale Adumim with 1300 employees.  The boycott supporters used Johansson’s partnership with SodaStream to push Oxfam to drop her – and to make headlines.

BDS calls SodaStream “part and parcel of this system of oppression“.  Birnbaum counters: “we are part of the Palestinian economy and we’re employing 500 Palestinians who support families and we pay them Israeli wages and give them health insurance.  There can be no peace without jobs.”

Oxfam for its part says this:

Oxfam believes that businesses that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support. Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.We have been engaged in dialogue with Scarlett Johansson and she has now expressed her position in a statement, including stressing her pride in her past work with Oxfam. Oxfam is now considering the implications of her new statement and what it means for Ms. Johansson’s role as an Oxfam global ambassador.

Meanwhile, Ms. Johansson issued a statement over the weekend, affirming her commitment to SodaStream:

I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine … SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights.

The question of what will actually create peace in the Mideast is thankfully beyond the scope of this column, but it’s clear that this controversy holds some danger for SodaStream.  Until the Johansson partnership raised the profile of this issue, it was not headline news for SodaStream. Now it has generated headlines in mainstream news and disapproving commentary from some of the New York media.

SodaStream has most often been cast as the spunky upstart in media stories of the past few years, so this is the first time the company has found itself on the wrong end of a media narrative. It’s too early to tell whether this story will fizzle away or take hold and cause real problems for the Israeli soda maker.  But it is already a concern in the U.S. because the very small community where this story is gaining traction overlaps with the strongest supporters of the brand.

If the story fades, SodaStream can move on unhindered.  If it gains momentum however, SodaStream may need to decide whether it feels more passionately about its environmental mission or its approach to the Israeli/Palestinian question.

Can SodaStream Break Through?

Looking past the controversy, can the Johansson partnership and a second Super Bowl spot can help SodaStream break through?  On one hand, the company has gotten lucky again: they’ve kept themselves in the news throughout the coverage of Super Bowl advertising building up to the game itself.  They’ve already generated millions of impressions that will lead to new users. It’s still a short spot during a long game, and the creative itself probably won’t break through.  So we’ll have to wait until Sunday to see whether the viral effect propels SodaStream through the uprights.

The brand needs to ensure that the issues being raised by Oxfam and BDI don’t take hold in the US. SodaStream has one clear mission as a brand: to present an environmentally friendly, less expensive alternative to Coca-Cola and Pepsi.  Its single-minded goal should be to force Coke and Pepsi to make their branded drinks available on its machines.  Anything that distracts from this mission dilutes SodaStream’s strength.

Author: David Vinjamuri
source: forbes.com/sites/davidvinjamuri/2014/01/27/sodastream-and-scarlett-johansson-make-a-splash


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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


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Top New Year’s Resolutions for Brands

2014  branding resolution being more human

Resolutions abound this time of year. Do a quick Google search for “New Year’s Resolution” and you’ll find lists upon lists packed full with headlines like, “Top Ten Resolutions For Women on the Run,” “7 New Year Resolutions That Take 5 Seconds or Less!” or, my personal favorite, the “New Years Resolution Generator.”

(I used the generator…apparently this year I will “get jiggy wit it.” For fun, try it here.)

New Year’s resolutions are not a modern invention. The Babylonians celebrated the New Year with a 12-day festival called Akitu that marked the Spring harvest yield (in March, not January). During Akitu, special rituals that affirmed humanity’s covenant (resolutions) with the gods were performed. The Romans brought in the New Year with public ceremonies, oath-taking and temple sacrifices to honor the gods and goddesses. Rome originally celebrated this during March, much like Babylon, to honor Mars, the god of war. As Romans became less war-like, they switched from March to January to honor Janus, a god of home and hearth.

Psychologically, humans are hardwired to recognize new beginnings that offer us a fresh start and clean slate. A New Year’s resolution gives us a natural way to prepare for change and to fire up for the shifts we intend to make.

This applies not only on an individual level, but on a collective level as well. Collectively, it is important and healthy for us to recognize new beginnings and take advantage of a fresh start and clean slate. That’s why I believe it’s important for brands to make New Year’s resolutions.

(**One caveat: Given the fact that most New Year’s resolutions fail, I urge you to think of a resolution as a realistic, intention-driven aim that defines the direction in which you are choosing to move. There is no set timeline, due date or deadline to achieve, but rather a focus to introduce and connect with.)

So, in this year of the horse, here are some starting points for your brand’s New Year’s resolution:

1. Resolve To Get Outside of Your Building.
Planning, strategizing, devising, outlining, meeting, scheming and calculating are probably the majority of your activities as a steward of your brand. But they uniquely keep you trapped inside your building and worse, take you away from physical proximity to the people that matter the most – your customers.

That’s why I say, get outside of your building, get outside of your meetings, planning, and board rooms and get in contact with customers. Yes, that actually means interacting in a relational way with your audience. This isn’t a promotional tool. It isn’t a PR stunt. It isn’t a trade show. In fact, it isn’t about you at all! It’s about them. Be quiet, listen, relate, learn and observe. For 2014, brands that focus on getting outside of their buildings and in contact with their customers will thrive.

2. Resolve To Be More Human.
At the heart of your brand is a living, breathing relationship that will evolve as you grow, pivot and evolve. Your brand has to have the flexibility to grow with you. Otherwise it becomes obsolete. The answer isn’t to simply begin a new process, wholesale, once again. Instead, the answer lies in how you approach your brand from the start.

Become more human. Relate in a humanly way. Shirk the process and embrace the humanity within your brand. For 2014, brands that focus on becoming more human will thrive.

3. Resolve To Create More Dynamic Artifacts.
Artifacts are anything that “live” in the real world and point back to the relationship you share with your audience. Most artifacts are static, meaning, they are one-dimensional, immobile and passive expressions of your brand. Logos, color schemes, billboards and TV commercials are static. Stop putting so much trust in your static artifacts! The challenge is to create dynamic artifacts.

Dynamic artifacts are interactive, activating and magnetic expressions of your brand that invite your customers to join in rather than observe. And the best dynamic artifacts take into account all five of our senses. Don’t worry about the longevity of these artifacts, worry about the remarkability of them. What does a dynamic expression of your brand that engages all five human senses look like? I don’t know, but I’m willing to bet it’d be pretty amazing. For 2014, brands that focus on creating remarkable, dynamic artifacts will thrive.

4. Resolve To Be Delightful, Not Disruptive.
Being disruptive isn’t a strategy. In fact, it’s an anti-strategy. Shock and awe brands fail to sustain their connection with real people because people don’t connect with disruption, they connect with delight. Think about it. Do you want to be disrupted by a brand? Or would you rather be delighted? Which one of the “d” words draws you in?

Delight is about finding spaces beyond your brand promise to create joy and surprise. The point is to define the moment of delight and align your brand to release it to your audience. For 2014, brands that focus on fostering delight, not disruption, will thrive.

5. Resolve To Free Your Story.
Stories are powerful. They have the power to engage, delight and relate to your audience in a way that creates traction in the marketplace. Yet, we often segment out our story to a narrow aspect of our overall brand experience. This is a big mistake. Your story is the single most powerful and distinguishing asset you own. Stop burying your story in mission statements, brand promises, messaging matrixes and vision statements.

Get intimately in touch with your story. Start with the WHY, and align everything back to it. Set your story free from the confines of structure and process, and allow it room to breathe, grow and become meaningful once again. For 2014, brands that focus on freeing their story will thrive.

The Spirit of the Horse
2014 is the Year of the Horse in the Chinese Zodiac. The spirit of the horse is recognized to be our ethos – making unremitting efforts to improve oneself. It is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able. If you are able to shift your focus to becoming more human, getting outside your building, creating dynamic artifacts, being delightful and freeing your story, 2014 is sure to be an energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able year.

Author Jeremiah Gardner
Original source: brandingmagazine.com