Got a taste of Rob Walker's new Book The Desire Code in Brand Week - some excerpts
If brands and logos are mere symbols, empty of meaning, then choosing among clothing lines—or anything—becomes a largely rational affair. There are probably four, or maybe four and a half, factors to consider. One, of course, is price. Another is convenience. A third is quality. The fourth rational factor, I think it's fair to say, is pleasure. The half factor is ethics-
His point was that "most products are invisible," as is most marketing, and this means things must be made "remarkable" if they are to have a chance to succeed.
The Pretty Good Problem is even more acute at Magic than it is in the pages of Consumer Reports or, possibly, the picturesque pastures of France. The more narrow the range of actual differences in commodity attributes, the more important it becomes to create a different kind of value—one that transcends the merely material. This is the goal of branding.
The marketing community, already dealing with a slumping economy and an increasingly consumer-controlled media marketplace, must confront another new reality: The face of the American consumer is changing dramatically.
Very powerful account planning information
"Precision targeting in the future will rely more heavily on ethnographic research into the culture, beliefs and activities of target consumer groups"
Google could be superseded, says web inventor The next generation of web technology is likely to be far more powerful than the current crop, Tim Berners-Lee said
Google may eventually be displaced as the pre-eminent brand on the internet by a company that harnesses the power of next-generation web technology, the inventor of the World Wide Web has said.
The search giant had developed an extremely effective way of searching for pages on the internet, Tim Berners-Lee said, but that ability paled in comparison to what could be achieved on the "web of the future", which he said would allow any piece of information — such as a photo or a bank statement — to be linked to any other.
Mr Berners-Lee said that in the same way, the "current craze" for social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace would eventually be superseded by networks that connected all types of things — not just people — thanks to a ground-breaking technology known as the "semantic web".
The semantic web is the term used by the computer and internet industry to describe the next phase of the web's development, and essentially involves building web-based connectivity into any piece of data — not just a web page — so that it can "communicate" with other information.
"It's about creating a seamless web of all the data in your life."
One example frequently given is of typing a street address which, if it had "semantic data" built into it, would link directly to a map showing its location, dispensing with the need to go to a site like Google `maps, type in the address, get the link and paste it into a document or e-mail.
The challenge, experts say, is in finding a way to represent all data so that when it is connected to the web, links to other relevant information can be recognised and established — a bit like the process known as "tagging". One expected application is in the pharmaceutical industry, where previously unconnected pieces of research into a drug or disease, say, could be brought together and assimilated.
Mr Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web in 1989 while a fellow at CERN, the European Organsation for Nuclear Research in Switzerland, would not be drawn on the type of application that the "Google of the future" would develop, but said it would likely be a type of "mega-mash-up", where information is taken from one place and made useful in another context using the web.
In its lawsuit, Subway contends that the consumer videos - which were posted at a site Quiznos set up called meatnomeat.com, as well as on iFilm - contained "literally false statements" and depicted Subway in a "disparaging manner."
If Subway wins, advertisers and media companies may find themselves liable for false advertising claims made by consumers who participate in their contests.
Branding Expert Alan Siegel on the Importance of Digital Voice
In the 1980’s, branding guru Alan Siegel, Chairman of Siegel+Gale, introduced the concept of “Corporate Voice” to create communications programs that unified a company's diverse exposures and built a distinctive, focused, coherent identity that would rise against all background noise.
Today “Corporate Voice” has morphed into “Digital Voice,” and, says Alan Siegel: “Very few companies, large or small, know how to create a compelling voice that speaks equally across all of their communications, both digital and traditional.There are way more losers out there on the digital battlefield than there are winners.”
Why? “Many companies know they need a bigger digital presence, but are afraid to move forward with distinctive force because of legal issues. Others, often big brands, have developed impressive online presences over the years. But as they have grown, they get seduced by technology, and the voices they use in the digital world and the traditional world have moved further apart,” says Siegel.
Some of the winners include: North Face, Nike, The New York Times, Netflix, Apple, and Prudential. Some of the losers are: CNN, Blockbuster, Network Solutions, and myspace.com.
Says Siegel, successful Digital Voices must:
+Honor the increasing individualization of the consumer audience.
+Move from one-way communications to building a two-way conversation, or dialogue, with their constituents, opening the doors for users to give positive and negative feedback, and even deciding what new products they would like to see in the future.
+Respond to the need for personalization, flexibility, and simplicity expressed by their customers.
+Put into place and train people who can instantly respond to inaccurate, damaging rumors and speculation flying around the Internet.
+Convert their communications and marketing programs to the rapidly expanding and evolving digital platforms.
+Integrate social media as part of their overall communications strategy.
+Reflect the organization’s brand identity, positioning, and values.
Sadly, the power of technology to support and enable sophisticated marketing measurement has not been very well exploited. In fact,most softwa re vendors and business intelligence tool vendors are still focused on single domain solutions that, while delive ring marketing guidance in a limited or specific area , perpetuate a fragmented approach .
Forward Thinking Organizations
• Strive for clean and complete historical data on marketing results
• Match strategy and tactics to financial performance metrics
• Creatively enhance development, planning and deployment in conjunction with marketing, sales and client service efforts
• Explore and use sophisticated experimental designs (for testing)
• Leverage robust, technology-driven campaign and communication management tools
• Collect timely data on marketing investments, in real time, if possible
• Use statistical prediction, classification and ROI optimization techniques
• Reach for a new level of marketing planning precision that truly mirrors the reality
Senior analyst Jill Aldort of the Yankee Group calls "mobile social networking a hot market with lukewarm potential." She says just 8 percent of adult mobile phone owners in the U.S. regularly access mobile social-networking services, rising to 20 percent in 2011. From subscription, browsing and messaging fees, Aldort says, U.S. carriers will take in about $1.5 billion in 2011, up from about $560 million this year. "That's not a big number."
For all its promise, mobile social networking "is where the Internet was in 1994," says Tristan Louis, an analyst at TNL.net.
In many respects, mobile is a natural extension of the PC social-networking experience. Only phones provide the immediacy not typically possible on a PC. "I think it's going to be more pre-emptive, more spontaneous," says Padmasree Warrior, Motorola's chief technology officer.
Interesting article on the effectiveness of online advertising and click through rates from Business Week
The truth about online ads is that precious few people actually click on them. And the percentage of people who respond to common "banner ads," the ubiquitous interactive posters that run in fixed places on sites, is shrinking steadily. The so-called click-through rate for those ads on major Web destinations such as Yahoo! (YHOO ), Microsoft (MSFT ), and AOL (TWX ) declined from 0.75% to 0.27% during 2006, according to Eyeblaster, a New York-based online ad serving and monitoring firm. It says that last March the average click rate on standard banner ads across the whole Web was 0.2%. This reflects a surge in new ads and Web pages, fueled by the rise in social networks.
But as responsiveness declines, ad targeting grows more attractive. Marketers see increases of 30% to 300% in click rates when ads are customized based on criteria such as the location, content of Web pages visited, or information researched on search engines. Kevin Lee, co-founder of search marketing firm Didit, says: "Targeting will come in to rescue all forms of digital advertising."