Marketing Idea No. 267 – Celebrity Endorsement Vs. Brand Champions

In an ideal world you might argue that contracting a global celebrity and paying him money to promote your brand and utilizing your most loyal and passionate consumers are two different tools altogether and should not be compared. But is it really so, when the objective of both is to use connected and influential human beings to increase the relevance of your brand to an intended target market by using your extremely scarce marketing resources?

There is a lot of debate going on globally about this. One school of thought says finding the most connected individual and paying him to accidentally or purposefully promote your brand is the right way to go. It increases reach and by the sheer popularity of the connected individual it increases the popularity of your brand. The caveat is, the connected individual, simply because he is connected, is sought after by many many other brands and people and by nature he may not be loyal to you or have any real emotional connection with your brand. Therefore what he says or do might have the same credibility of a print ad to intended audience.

The second school of thought strongly advocates using loyal, active and passionate consumers of your brand to somehow reach their constituency by igniting them. These are the people who genuinely have a “thing” for you. So the only challenge is empower them with right tools, right story and of course right reason.

As we evolve from a model of mass marketing to personal marketing, understanding the difference between these two can be crucial to success. In April 2012 a Nielsen Report, “Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages,” reported that 92 percent of consumers around the world say they trust word-of-mouth recommendations from family and friends over all other forms of advertising. While an influencer/celebrity/well connected individual might have a larger audience than the brand champion/passionate voluntary brand follower, the difference is that 92 percent of their audience trusts the voluntary brand champion while only 18 percent trust the influencers when it comes to a recommendation.




Marketing Idea No. 266: Why employees need to be managed?

Since the day when Frederick Winslow Taylor said that we need the principles of scientific management to gain economic efficiency, we are blessed (or cursed) with the word management in our vocabulary. Management by definition says that someone called a cowboy (also known as “manager”) has to manage the herd, drive people towards the common goal of going to eat grass when the sun is out and going back to ranch when the sun is down. Therefore management by essence tells us human beings by themselves cannot be in charge of their own work and left to themselves they will pursue their own self interest and nothing will be achieved.

But since so much of the world has changed thanks to technology and globalization, is it fair to say those assumptions are at best outdated? I mean if human beings need to be managed by a visible force to get the work done, how on earth is wikipedia surviving?

This begs the question, left unmanaged, why employees dont do any work? After all they are paid a salary to do the work and on top of it, earns a bonus or commission to get it done decently. The reason is not the need to push people or guide people through managers, and definitely the trick is not in the carrot and stick approach. Thats where most organizations get it wrong. In independent research studies conducted in both MIT, LSE and many other different institutions confirm that when it comes to complex organizational/executive work of 21st century, higher incentive leads to lower performance. Thats a thought that has been championed by Daniel Pink and Dan Ariely for a better part of 6-8 years now.

The truth lies like many things in the human nature. Us human beings by nature want to do things that we enjoy. And we enjoy things which have 3 things: a purpose, our control over it and what we usually like as a person. Its unfortunate that so much of management practices and money is devoured into compensation and benefit program re-thinking, but none is paying any real attention to the most fundamental problem.

Is the nature of the jobs we are creating by nature appealing to the people who we want to hire to do them?

By re-thinking and re-designing our jobs, dare i say we eliminate two fundamental problems of organizations: Motivation of workforce and Office politics.