Monthly Archives: October 2012

Credible Marketing – Really?

Sit and watch TV these days and be inundated by commercials for the big retailers … and once again they’ve got an equally similar, and equally non-differentiated positioning, and the big question is “is this credible”?

“Woolworths-the fresh food people”

“There’s no freshness like Coles”

Confused? Surprised? Bored? Uninspired?

I watched these ads on TV tonight and wondered, ‘do 2 competitors, operating in what is best described basically as a duopoly add to, or dilute the “fresh” message when they’re both yelling it from the rafters?’

Does the fact that Woolies were “the fresh food people” for years, under Roger Corbett’s reign, and then left that message behind, add to, or dilute their message the 2nd time around???

And what of their constant hammering on about low, low prices, and ‘down down, deeper and down’? Did they finally discover that price reductions, while good for wallets, did nothing for the brand? No surprise there!

There is no equity driving strong and sustainable brands evolving from severe price reductions. It is also THE most easily imitable strategy known to the marketplace. The other lesson- if you both do it, then it’s no longer anything other than the cost of entry for any given market.

So ponder the significance of price for yourselves and your business. Of course, it is critical that you have a price that reflects your offering, which is sustainable for consumers in your market, but it should also represent the value that you bring to the end user of your product or service.

Avoid the retailer’s dilemma of ending up in a downward spiral where price is just an expected place and recognize, as they have, that you need something else that is the true benefit of a consumer buying your goods.

The ‘watch out’ is that you don’t want to be a brand with the same strategy and proposition as your main competitor.

In my opinion, Coles and Woolworths have no credibility for fresh now. They both say it, yet they both have reputations for importing, freezing and thawing products, and no matter how much they try and tell us that is not the case, their credibility is shot.

Their issue is that they both say it in the same way. Neither has found an interesting or inspiring way to deliver the message that would add to their point of difference and make consumers reconsider their choice. Has either retailer managed to sway you from their competitor to them based on their current fruit and veggie fresh messages? That they come from the Australian land-wow, that’s new!? I doubt it.

Be aware of what your competitors are doing, but please focus on what consumers want, and understand the dynamics of your users and their needs. Don’t be like these guys who are maniacally focused on what each other is doing, and little else.

In the end it comes back to 4 age-old marketing requirements…be clear, be differentiated, be interesting and be real!

Brands Need Social Currency

In a world where one of the only things you control is your reputation, the same can be said about your brand’s reputation.

However, in a world where your reputation can be built over time, yet trashed in a minute, understanding some ins and outs related to “social currency” in our confusing social world is critical.

Social currency derives from the social capital theory put forward by Pierre Bourdieu where social capital results in:

  • increasing one’s sense of community,
  • granting access to information and knowledge,
  • helping to form one’s identity,
  • and providing status and recognition.

These concepts now apply to brand building in a social media context.

In the world of social media branding, it is all about the way people share their knowledge, views, interactions and experiences about brands with each other.

It is about creating a sense of community between consumers, customers and brands.

In this way, it has the same fundamental principles as branding has had since it’s original definition; the difference is that the means for creating that community of opinions has altered to include the vast array of social media that people today use for voicing and collaborating about brands.

If the traditional model of brand marketing was centred around the key principles of positioning, targeting, and messaging, the model of building social currency is centered oninteraction, collaboration, conversation, and co-creation.

I like to say we have moved from mass communication to mass collaboration. Consumers now co-create your content and help you produce, evolve, alter and even understand your brand better.

Social Currency is the extent to which people share the brand or information about the brand as part of their everyday social life at home or at work.

It is neither a product feature, nor a communications or PR campaign that is completely managed by any one company. From this perspective, social currency is a far more delicate asset to build, nurture and maintain than is brand equity.

Social currency is a means, not the end; nor is it just about buzz or conversation. Rather, it is about creating meaningful experiences around the brand.

It is therefore crucial that you acknowledge the social currency or make up of your brand and nurture, respect and refine it to fit with an ever-changing consumer mindset.

So how might you do it for your brand?

Think about:

  • Advocacy-build a community of advocates
  • Information-source it, respect it, utilize it
  • Context-give your brand context in the real world of your consumers

But remember that social isn’t for everyone.

You can create social currency through cultivation of a sense of community, by strengthening consumer interaction, and by providing value to the community.

In the end, your brand’s social currency and the trust it engenders develops from the credible experiences that your consumers have in the context of their daily life.

If social media is the way for your brand, then you need to use social currency to build a gravitational field that keeps your consumers orbiting around your brand.

Tip No. 5 Marketing to Small Business Owners

The ‘one size fits all’ method doesn’t work when it comes to connecting with small business owners.

Many of us within the ABN need to attract and engage with other small businesses and their owners. Marketing to such a unique audience requires some diverse thinking and a reduction in the grandeur of the usual marketing formats we discuss, especially for those of us who herald from bigger corporations and brands.

Small business owners are busy. They wear many hats and are often generalists in many areas.

Areas on which to focus that help small business owners notice you have to do with:

1) How your service helps the business owner stand out, in other words promotion?- do you have a means by which they can grow their customer base and their profits?

2) How your service helps the business owner find new customers – what do you offer that adds value to them and provides a resource or skill they don’t have internally?

Understanding that a large percentage of small businesses with less than five employees don’t have a website, you have to think about how to best reach these business owners as well. While they may not have a website, they do subscribe to industry trade journals, meet with peers and use online services to stay competitive. Even though they might not be on the bleeding edge of technology adoption, as they are busy running their company, small businesses definitely look to find new ways of reaching customers.

Introducing your products and services through targeted ad placement is one approach for connecting with this group, another is providing useful information that helps a small business owner stay competitive. Become a champion of this group – provide resources and participate in the conversation where small business owners are.

So what can you quickly do to connect to the SMB audience? Here are a few sites where small businesses are actively present:

o Manta (www.manta.com)- allows for specialized/targeted advertising to small businesses and decision makers by revenue, employee size, industry, etc

o LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) – allows for finding business professionals by industry

o Present.ly (www.presently.com) – allows individuals within a company to post short, frequent updates that are tracked or “followed” by others. Unlike Twitter, it provides a secure and private way to share updates among members of a company, without them being visible to the general public

o TalkBizNow (www.talkbiznow.com) – allows networking while visualizing the small-world phenomenon by displaying how each member is connected to any other member

 

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