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Archive for July, 2014

EMERGING MARKETING LITERATURE

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

 

For eons, the Marketing discipline (and its practitioners) has been subjected to mockery over being ‘fluffy’ and ‘unaccountable’. Despite being masked under the guise of “Commerce” at University, we were still subjected to judgment from friends studying Law, Science, Veterinarian studies (everyone except those studying the Arts basically).

Marketing is, indeed, subjective and creative (which is part of the reason it is unashamedly fun) but we are starting to see an injection of science amongst the art that is worth paying attention to. Case in point is the emergence of literature suggesting that we can apply research to better help us understand (irrational) Consumer Behaviour and Marketing laws more broadly. At the forefront of this is Bryon Sharp’s “How Brands Grow” and various individuals spruiking Behavioural Economics (BE) including Dan Ariely.

A few BE examples relevant to marketing (and of interest) are Relativity and Decision Paralysis.

Research has proven that the introduction of a decoy option will sway you to choose an alternative option that you may not have otherwise considered (Relativity). A well-known real world example of this in action comes from The Economist. Potential customers were given two subscription offers – an ‘online only’ subscription for $56, and an ‘online + print’ subscription for $125. Consumers preferred the first option ($56), although the second option ($125) was preferable to the publishers. They then introduced a third decoy option, that they knew nobody would prefer – $125 for print only. As expected no one chose the third option, but an overwhelming majority now chose the second option ($125 for online + print)! The introduction of this third option made option #2 look very attractive – they were getting online version for free now.

Decision Paralysis is the proven theory that a reduction in the number of options available to consumers will actually increase sales. Being an indecisive individual myself, I can readily relate to this one, but it is more widespread than just for people of my ilk. Faced with too many options, people are simply unable to evaluate at all, and consequently don’t buy. The human brain in innately lazy and does not like processing too much information (cognitive load). This seems highly relevant for manufacturers who can be tempted to launch a plethora of flavours, varieties and pack sizes in a retail environment.

What about applications to media specifically? When I learnt that BE could solve the age old question of whether the left hand or right hand page were most effective, I was impressed. The answer is the right hand page, because most people are right handed so most brains find it easier to process information on the right. Accordingly, consumers value that information more highly than that contained on the left (cortical relief).

And then there’s Byron Sharpe’s “How Brands Grow” which refutes consumer segmentation, consumer loyalty, brand differentiation and basically anything else theoretically learnt at university and beyond. It’s a good reality check that consumers perceive very little differentiation between competing brands and buy out of convenience and habit.

Some areas of the aforementioned research are easy to apply to our daily working output to assist clients and most importantly, are really interesting, thought provoking and inspiring. Clearly, some are commonsense, others spruik slightly controversial notions. Regardless of personal opinions, anything that encourages us to further examine current marketing and media beliefs can only be a good thing. Happy reading!

A Strategist’s Application to Cleo’s Agency Bachelor of the Year

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Have you ever wondered what motivates people to enter into competitions such as Cleo’s Agency Bachelor of the Year Award? I did. I also wondered why some people are considered more ‘eligible’ than others and if some marketing principles could be applied to get a competitive advantage for those of us who are ‘eligibly’ challenged.

As a budding strategist, research underpins a lot of what I do. When faced with a business problem, research and data are to form a strong strategic direction. Simple, right? Well herein you will get an idea of the thought process involved in applying for the Agency Bachelor of the Year Award and what happens when use you some principles too literally.

First, one must become aware of the award. In this case a companywide email from a colleague stating that I should enter. Why me? Does this person hate me? Or worse, does this person have the hots for me? In any case it’s awkward and I want nothing to do with it.

But curiosity gets the better of everyone and I click on the link. There it is: “The Cleo Agency Bachelor of the Year Award”. What kind of tool would nominate himself for this? Why on God’s green Earth would anyone put themselves through this? Wait, did they just say a $5000 cash prize? I’m listening.

My colleagues volunteer to fill out my details. Surely these ‘friends’ of mine have work to do. I am however, flattered with the attention so I look more into what’s involved in the application process. What if they’re just being supportive and egging me on like Fran (The Nanny) Drescher’s loving mother would encourage her to enter X-Factor? It’s going to be a total train wreck. My friends are resolute and the $5000 is worth it. So I continue.

If I’m going to win the 5000 beans I need to be smart about my application. I decide to support my responses with the use of research based on objective and empirical evidence to ensure I choose the ‘right’ answers in order to make it through the application process.

I move to the application page.

Step 1: Upload a photo of yourself from the waist up. I hardly upload photos on social media, now I’m supposed to upload a pic so people can judge me? I suddenly realise that I had a Tinder account. Yes but at least Tinder is anonymous and judgement is more or less contained to people within the app. Besides, nobody cares what Tinder people think anyway- they’re not real people. Then I do a double take at the photo criteria- “from the waist up”. From the waist up? Do they expect a photo of me eating dinner? Or perhaps they would like one of those strategically, intentionally and obviously cropped photos that are ever present on Facebook? For some inspiration I look to the photo they have suggested (last year’s winner pictured below). Is this dude’s photo professional? And how can I possibly get a tan in July? I come to the realisation that I’m doing exactly what I expect people will do to me: judge. I decide to be mature about the situation and not think about judgement. This is just like Tinder; if they swipe left I’ll never know.

I need to upload a photo that appeals to everyone. In this instance I use Google 2013 search trends as a bench mark for what people find interesting. The top five topics searched in 2013 were:

1) Paul Walker

2) Cory Monteith

3) Royal Baby

4) iPhone5s

5) North Korea

Then I decide to incorporate all five of these search terms in the one photo. The likelihood of this idea actually working is about as likely as me having a beer with any one of the three names in that list. Surely the judges will love this? What can be more appealing than a bloke with the five hottest topics of 2013? This photo is ridiculous, but sometimes you’ve got to give the people what they want.

Step 2: Fill This Out. I thought this section was simple enough until I came upon the comment boxes.

• ‘I should be Cleo Bachelor of the Year 2014 because…’

• To impress a girl on a date I would…

• My life motto is…

If I was to tell the truth these would be my responses:

I should be Cleo Bachelor of the Year 2014 because…

• …I am broke and need $5000. Cha-ching.

• …it will help me score chicks. It probably won’t.

• …it will annoy my ex-girlfriends. Definitely won’t.

To impress a girl on a date I would…

• …tell her I really, really want her to pay for my dinner. She’ll be super impressed with my outspoken honesty, right?

My life motto is…

• …Really? Who has a life motto?! It must be a trick question where if you answer this space then you’re automatically rejected. God I hope someone says YOLO. Or even YOLO’s Latin equivalent –Carpe Diem.

But telling the truth doesn’t get you anywhere in the noughties. I did my research and this is how I answered:

‘I should be CLEO Bachelor of the Year 2014 because…’

• …I was TIME magazine Person of the Year in 2006. I was the 2006 Person of the Year because I anonymously contributed millions of bits of content to the internet. And since then the amount of content I have contributed to the internet has gone up exponentially.

This may seem far-fetched but it is most definitely true. Surely the judges cannot overlook someone who has been the International Person of the Year and uses it as a reason for this section.

To impress a girl on a date I would…

• …smile, make eye contact, have fresh smelling breath, have a good tone of voice, wear smart clothes and I would do all this in the first twelve minutes of meeting her. That is my answer.

The judges of this CLEO Award cannot argue with my response. Research in the UK found that in order for a man to impress a woman on a date, he must adhere to these criteria and do it quickly. The perfect answer. Because a woman’s mind is made up within the first 12 minutes, I could do all of that 12 minutes before the football starts then get to watching the game. The perfect date.

My life motto is…

• “…be as significant as Jesus, Napoleon, Muhammad, William Shakespeare and Abraham Lincoln.”

Again the judges cannot argue with this. They better not. These five blokes were rated by TIME Magazine to literally be the five most significant people in the history of the world. If someone’s life motto is to be as great as the combined weight of the five most significant people in history what life motto can top that? Perhaps be as great as the top six most significant people in history?

To wrap up, the probability of this application making it through is about the same as your favourite Game of Thrones character being alive at the end of the book –low. Nonetheless you’ve been given an idea as to what goes through a media strategist’s mind when applying for such a thing. More importantly, you will find that as important as research and data are, when it’s manipulated and squeezed into context, you will look like Australia’s most eligible idiot. In a photo wearing a flanny with five ridiculously pasted images on it.

 

Battle of the Sportswear Giants

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Every four years, teams from 32 nations around the globe, face off for one of the world’s greatest sporting spectacles, The FIFA World Cup. It is estimated that 3.2 billion people watch at least some of the world cup and an estimated 530 million tune in to watch the final. It is a massive spectacle that is second to none and is also attributed to be the biggest marketing and branding platform in the world. The sheer size of this marketing and branding platform means that many brands are jumping on board and competing in their own championship battle against each other, everyone wants to cash in on the huge spectacle that is the World Cup. This year’s sponsors include a number of brands such as McDonalds, Coca Cola, Sony, Hyundai and Castrol to name a few, however one of the biggest battles that is taking place off the field and has been for many years is the great battle between the world’s largest sportswear giants Nike and Adidas.

Adidas is the official sponsor of the FIFA world cup for 2014 and has been since 1970 and just last year Adidas extended their sponsorship agreement to the year 2030. Nike, who are more of an unofficial sponsor of the World Cup, appear to be raging the battle and taking the ball deep into the opponents half, winning all possession and running rings around their competition. At the moment Nike is the biggest sportswear company with an estimated 25 billon US dollars revenue and a 17% share of the market. Adidas is trailing behind with an estimated 20 billion US dollar revenue and 12% market share. In regards to soccer alone, Nike and Adidas comprise around 70% of the market share, Adidas had around 2.4 billion in soccer revenue in 2013 and Nike were behind with 1.9 billion, this market is definitely worth fighting for, for both parties.

The World Cup has always been a part of the Adidas life blood and its sponsorship of the World Cup will not be given up without a fight. Adidas largely became famous through the world cup event and while they may be losing other sporting territory to their competitors, soccer is the one territory they won’t give up easily. Adidas has been a part of soccer since its inception, while Nike was somewhat born out of the World Cup and only really started to venture into this territory in 1994. It is said that Nike wants soccer, but Adidas needs it.

Nike continues to gain market share and is somewhat out doing Adidas in this year’s World Cup, leading the way with its positive brand affinity through well executed social media activity, that is married beautifully with the most up to date content of the world cup and its 10 team sponsorships, which is one more than what their rivals have. Let’s not forget that it is also all about the shoes and Nike have signed six of the ten most marketable players compared to Adidas with only three. Nike is somewhat undermining the official status of Adidas with their shoe sponsoring, for example, the German team are wearing the Adidas kit, though nine of the country’s top players are wearing Nike boots.

Nike is certainly looking as though it will take out the top spot in the 2014 World Cup, though it is not over until the final whistle is blown. Sponsorship is a very powerful marketing tool, but brands need to sweat their sponsorship properties to ensure that they are covering all possible territory, or a competitor will sneak in and take a share, as Nike has done here.

One thing for sure is that we look forward to the battle between these two sports giants raging on when they meet again in Russia in 2018.

 

Why Jimmy Fallon wins at marketing, life, the internet, everything…

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Jimmy Fallon is basically the king of the internet, and maybe even the world. Since taking over The Tonight Show from Jay Leno in February this year he continues to go from strength to strength. In his first week as host, Fallon gathered more than 10.4 million total viewers — the biggest overall audience for the program since Johnny Carson hosted in 1992. Although it is important to note Fallon’s success and following started long before then. From Saturday Night Live, a bunch of movie and TV appearances, to a five year stint hosting Late Night, Jimmy Fallon hasn’t built his hilarious empire overnight. Still, it has been in recent years that Jimmy has risen to global fame and now has centre stage on a show (and more importantly content) that not only gets people wetting their pants with laughter but creates conversation, starts trends and engages audiences around the world.

Whilst the list of what brands and agencies can learn from Fallon is long and continually evolving, here are a few consistencies we’ve seen from Fallon over the years that are worth taking note of:

1. Be personable

“On ‘Late Night,’ it’s like we’re all in on the joke. That’s what I wanted it to be. I’m not doing something sneaky. Inside jokes, I don’t like those. We can all ride together, and everyone’s on the same thing going, ‘Aha, I know where you’re going here.’”Jimmy Fallon 

Jimmy comes across like he is just like one of “us”. He likes what we like, he laughs at what we laugh at, and he makes you feel like he’s an old friend. This works with guests and audiences alike. You get the feeling guests want to appear on his show rather than the standard scripted interviews they partake in. Jimmy has a genuine nature, you see him get excited to meet his idols, rather than just another interview he has to do.

When we see our favourite celebrities laughing and playing with others, it makes them seem more relatable. And if that’s anything to go by then Jimmy is extremely relatable, as most of his guests spend more time laughing than speaking. He also involves his audience in a way that makes them feel like they are in on the joke.

 

2. Embrace social channels

I’m on so late I’m definitely the last seconds of anyone’s attention. So I just want to give them something dumb to laugh at, so they go, ‘That’s funny,’ then fall asleep.Jimmy Fallon

Jimmy Fallon has seen such viral success on the internet because he shares a love for the stuff the internet shares. And who doesn’t love the internet?! With over 13million followers on his own Twitter account and already over 1.3million on his Tonight Show account, Jimmy has the scale to widely share content and drive social conversation. He built up those followings by being active in the social space. He relies on Twitter to source content for his show, with his custom hastags often trending as audiences send in their own hilarious anecdotes.

He also knows that the internet is the place where a large portion of his audience engage with his content, not TV. The Tonight Show ‘s social channels feature content tailor-made for an audience who doesn’t watch late night network television, but who will laugh at a clip on YouTube or re-blog a goofy caption GIF on Tumblr.

All you have to do is go to YouTube and search Jimmy Fallon to see that his clips bring in views at the tens of millions.

3. Create moments

“I didn’t act like I was there. I just got into the story.” – Jimmy Fallon

So back to those tens of millions of views that Jimmy’s YouTube clips can bring in. Each night on The Late Show, Fallon creates moments or events that are unique, stupidly funny and at times completely ridiculous. From skits to songs, on his own or with celebrity guests, the show is made up of individual pieces of content that all have the ability to become the latest moment or event that goes viral online.

From the History of Rap, to his recreations of top songs with his house band The Roots, the list of moments that Fallon creates are endless. These original, viral gems create the proverbial water cooler conversation on the internet week after week.

4. Don’t take yourself too seriously, have fun with it

“’Have fun’ is my message. Be silly. You’re allowed to be silly. There’s nothing wrong with it.” – Jimmy Fallon

People appreciate brands that don’t put themselves on a pedestal. A large part of Jimmy’s charm is that he is a bit of a goof.

He involves his audiences in games on stage, he comes up with ridiculous challenges to take on A-list celebrities (What’s in my Box?, Lip Sync competitions, Beer Pong… the list goes on) and he really does seem to have the best time doing it. Whether he is the butt of the joke or laughing along with a guest or audience member, Fallon doesn’t take himself too seriously.

5. Be relevant

“Thank you… Apple, for adding a camera to the iPod Nano. Now it’s just like the iPhone except it can’t make calls. So basically, it’s just like the iPhone.” – Jimmy Fallon 

Let’s get one thing clear, Fallon is knocking on 40’s door. He’s not a Gen Y, a millennial or any other term you might use for the “young” people of today. Despite his age Fallon connects with a broad audience, including that hard to capture 18-35 audience, through a set of shared values that he has incorporated into The Tonight Show. He is acutely in-tune with what is “going on”, from pop culture, web memes, and the Buzzfeed-y ’90s nostalgia that resonates with anyone who likes a LOL. Further from the social success we mentioned earlier, Jimmy reaches his audience with content that is funny, interesting, weird, authentic, and shareable to a generation of people that not only appreciate that kind of content but will amplify it through conversation and sharing.

Know your audience and know what they want to see.