Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Brand Stamps

I would like to share some words of wisdom with all the tech savvy, non-classically trained social media marketing experts out there, specifically as it relates to branding. The message: “Be like a postage stamp – stick to one thing until you get there” – Margaret Carty

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Marketers are utilizing social media tools to reach their customers enabling them to sustain and build their brand’s reputation. Thanks to the Internet, their ability to reach more consumers globally has increased radically. However, with everyone competing against direct or indirect competitors for consumers’ attention, it is now more important than ever to carefully fine tune your social media strategy. For starters, remember you cannot be all things to all people. Revisit the core essence of your brand, better known as your brand’s DNA, a topic I first addressed in my blog
Luxury Brands Rock Asia.

The DNA of a strong brand is all about two significant components. A perfect example is
Cirque du Soleil:

Code – What does the brand stand for? What is its core promise? Cirque du Soleil is a theatrical circus, absence of animals, but continuous live music and performers, rather than stage hands changing props.

Cue – The sensory signals that capture the attention of consumers. Consequently, credibility is developed over time, thanks to authentic, consistent performance – 19 shows in 40 plus countries on every continent except Antarctica, spanning 26 years.

Somewhere in the branding process, marketers lose their patience/focus. Brand Ego sets in, brand refreshment ensues. Marketers begin deviating from their brand’s core promise. Remember New Coke? I provided a classic case study back in 2009 with

Social media now provides new platforms to refresh brands. A marketer’s dream! I just would caution all the tech savvy social media experts to remain consistent with their brand’s DNA. Cirque du Soleil has taken that approach by developing a YouTube video of their upcoming
2011 Michael Jackson show which they post on Facebook and Twitter. They also use these tools to talk to their tribe, better known as Cirque Club. Over twenty five years they have stuck with their core promise of reinventing the circus – theatrical street performance without the animals.

Brand stamps! Stick to one thing until you get there.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Big Mobile is Watching

Last weekend I read an article in the
NY Times about the advancement of couponing printed from the Internet or sent to mobile phones. Throw in the evolution of geolocation software, your mobile device will enable marketers to profile all your movements. Big Mobile is Watching!

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There are a lot of numbers floating out there about mobile phone usage, but for this blog I am going to focus in on eMarketer indicating that currently 34.5% of mobile phone users access the mobile Internet at least monthly; 50% by 2013. They also reported that two-fifths of smartphone owners reported buying something nonmobile over their phones in the last six months. According to Motorola’s Global Survey of in-store holiday shopping released in January, 51% of consumers tracked over 11 countries, used their mobile phones for in-store shopping – comparison shopping, product information, coupons, etc. The percentage jumped to 64% for Gen Y (ages 18 to 34) shoppers. In February, Target positioned itself as a leader in mobile retail where consumers can now download their gift cards (Target Mobile GiftCards). Other retailers are now following suit by going mobile with their loyalty rewards programs. Last, there is the rise of
Foursquare and other location-based social networking sites that facilitate people to “check in” with each other. Foursquare is a real windfall for marketing savvy Retailers that target and reward “Mayors”, consumers that frequent their locations.

So what am I advocating here? M-Commerce is beginning to rule our lives. Consumer profiling companies are surfacing. They are accumulating mega consumer data based on monitoring your Internet searches via your mobile devices, your geographic Retail preferences (e.g., restaurant and bars you frequent), etc. Your mobile usage is then being coded on the bar code that you eventually swipe from your phone to buy promotional products/services. In the future, with the advancement of geolocation software and the increased marketing knowledge of Retailers, they will touch you every time you are within physical proximity of their location.

As I stated earlier, Big Mobile is Watching. Sounds like the Federal Trade Commission will have its work cut out in the future to tighten online advertising rules.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Let's Move

I first addressed Ms. Obama’s
Let's Move campaign February 28th. Thanks to a recent road trip, I have come to the realization that the First Lady has a long road to travel, but at least she has taken the first steps to educate America on healthier habits (eating and physical activity).

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Let me share with you stop by stop what I witnessed firsthand:

- Campus #1 – Visited a prototype of a new campus C-Store being operated by one of the leading foodservice contract management companies in America. Impressive! It had a separate aisle for organic foods and a refrigerated section for healthier selections like salads, fruit, etc., but both sections paled in comparison to all the snack foods and soda that were being merchandised. My mission was to study the frozen foods section. One out of the four freezer windows had plenty of vegetarian and organic options, but I learned that the most popular items were Bagel Bites (200 calories per 2 piece serving, 50 calories from fat, 4 pieces per package), individual DiGiorno For One frozen pizzas (790 calories, 320 calories from fat) and a box of six White Castle sliders. I wonder what the average college student’s preferred beverage of choice would be for these items. Beer? Sounds like a separate research project.

- Campus #2 – While waiting for my interview, I sat in a campus cafĂ© watching students inhale their food between classes. Read a recent Technomic snacking report that indicated people have increased their snacking and 35% indicated that their snacks were healthier. I must have witnessed the other 65%. I also noticed a table tent promoting the campus’s Burger challenge: a free T-Shirt plus your photo on the campus’s Burger Wall of Fame if you and a friend can clean your plate in 30 minutes – a 13 lb. burger. I wonder if any of the contestants actually ask for a side of French fries.

- At the Marriott Courtyard in the Baltimore harbor, I observed families of four tackle the $10.95 all you can eat breakfast buffet. In the February blog as referenced above, I indicated that if we were going support Ms. Obama’s campaign, it needed to start at home, thus I quoted an American writer: “Parents teach, institutions instruct.” I did not witness any teaching going on in the restaurant of the Marriott, but I will correct myself, parents were on holiday away from home, so they were entitled to a break.

Time for my closing thought. America, we need to start walking the talk if we are ever going to win the war on obesity. Our First Lady has pointed us in the right direction. We need to start taking those baby steps down the long journey ahead.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy Birthday

Today, April 1st, I would like to share with you a unique bio posted on my LinkedIn Boston Marketing Group. An American success story!

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Today is my 50th birthday. I own a successful interactive marketing company located in a cool loft in South Boston. I lead eight awesome teammates. This year will be a record year. We will book over $6 million. I am 24/7 thanks to my iPhone 3GS with 32 GB complete with 217 apps, but I must confess I have not taken a real vacation in four years.

You can follow me on twitter @ admon81. I have 14,511 followers, I follow 2,367. On LinkedIn I have 500+ connections, 814 to be exact and I participate regularly in 16 groups. I have two Facebook accounts; one corporate, one personal. Candidly I have lost count how many friends I have between the two. I have three blogs; one corporate, one family and one film blog. I love film trivia.

I own a mega mansion in Marblehead, 5,100 square feet complete with five bedrooms, four bathrooms, a state of the art kitchen with 2 refrigerators, 16 cabinets and a walk-in pantry. I have a wine cellar stocked with 189 bottles of choice wine, estimated value $10,000. I eat out on average, six days a week.

I have a three car garage; I own three cars – a 2009 Mercedes CL Coupe, a brand new Lexus Luxury Utility GX 10 and a classic, fully restored 1965 Mustang Convertible. I love my Harley, a 2008 Softail® Deluxe 105th Anniversary Edition.

I have been married twice, divorced twice. I have four beautiful children; one in graduate school, one in college, one in Tibet and one in pre-school. They all texted me today :-) Bday Dude.

I am sitting here solo in my favorite Chinese Restaurant in Chinatown. I just ate two plates of my favorite Dim Sum, one order of Lobster Cantonese, one bowl of brown rice and I drank two bottles of Tsingtao beer.

My fortune cookie read: “Get a life.”