Marketing Idea No. 120 – The power of the “Rumor” mill

Its common knowledge that word of mouth is THE undisputed tool for brand building, if not now, it will be sometime in the middle of the unpredictable yet very near future. What is uncommon is using it for real right now. And thats just what has been happening. If you dont believe what you are hearing, maybe you are hearing too much of billo’s rumors! Or may be, you need to check out their facebookgroup at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=6469863003

Well the power of rumor in brand building is evident in this award winning project. The group, consisting of 4 students from NSU has created a rumor phenomenon, while they were preparing for a local competition called “Inter University Promologic 2007”. In the process, they gave birth to a facebook group consisting only of rumors! Currently the group has 482 members who are in it for the rumors and rumors only!

Just ponder for a second. Isnt it quite obvious? Doesnt our ancient tag of “hujugeye” jaty shows us that our brand builders should have thought about it a lot earlier?

Rumors are just a powerful form of word of mouth, just like buzz or recommendations. But digging deep, it has some unruly characteristics that makes it more powerful than the conventional word of mouth wisdom.

1. Rumors are as unpredictable as the path of a maelstrom. Its like an arrow that has been shot. Once you create its path, you can never control it.

2. Rumors spread faster than any other form of word of mouth – simply because the “sin” tag attached to it. Its wrong to spread rumor, that makes it more likely that it will be spreading in record time.

3. Rumors can never be traced back to the origin. That is why its a fantastic tool for brand builders because once they drop a rumour bomb among the mass, they can just sit and enjoy. No one’s gonna point the finger at you with much proof to back it up.

Unintentional rumours has helped brands or created overnight sensations out of them. But the time has come when we pull the reins of this unpredictable horse and use rumours as a calculated means to maximize your brand stickiness.

Marketing Idea No. 119 – Can Baily Road accomodate a shoe shop?

We have all heard about geographical segmentation, but that usually deals with a BIG geographical area. But what if we take into account small sections of the cities? Is there enough in it to pay particular attention to location for different marketing decisions?

Well for starters, its nothing new. There is a particular reason why we find popular Fast Food shops in Dhanmondi and Gulshan areas only. There is a reason why the same item costs different in Uttara then in Mirpur in the same chain shop. Thats locational attributes playing a role.

But what i really want to put on the table starts with a question.

Are we taking maximum advantage from different locational advantages that we find ourselves in?

Let me follow it up with another question.

If one area is popular for one particular item (like Mirpur for Benarasi saree, Nilkhet for books) should a new business dealing with that particular item open up in that area or somewhere else?

Well the answer to the first question is a simple “No”. We are suffering way to much from “me-too” syndrome even when it comes to where we will set up our business.  If not, we would have seen private universities springing up in Bogra and Shylet, a Coffee World outlet in Chittagong and a Fast food chain opening up all over the nation. But none of that is happening, is it? Guilty as charged!

But the answer of the second question is a little bit complicated. If the location of the business does not provide any direct locational benefit (Like Nilkhet is very close to Dhaka University. So it makes a lot sense to establish a Photocopy machine shop in that place even though there are quite a few one already), then it makes no sense to open up a business in a location where already there are similar businesses.

But quite incredibly, thats what we see time and again. That is why its really amazing when we cannot find a single decent fast food shop in Mirpur, no HSBC ATM machine in Shantinagor – Baily Road area (Although there are 3 ATM booths in Gulshan alone), no tehari or biriani store in Baridhara – Banani region….and the list goes on!

Just by targetting a particular area / location with a particular business which is not available in that area, profitable businesses can be created. Somehow this simple truth eluded all of us. 

Marketing Idea No. 118 – Brand Archetypes

An archetype is a generic, idealized model of a person, object, or concept from which similar instances are derived, copied, patterned, or emulated. Its most famous proponent is swiss psychologist Carl Jung who used “Archetypes” to explain personality. According to him, no matter from which society legends or characters are created from, at the end they all share some common characteristics.

His archetype research was put into action later from Hollywood (Joseph campbell introduced this line of thinking to his scriptwriters who used it to create the immortal characters of Star Wars) to advertising (Leo Burnett used the archetypes to create the iconic Marlboro Man).

Taking inspiration from that line of thinking, brands are often considered as persons to make brands look and feel real enough so that customers can connect and interact with a brand just like they bond with a human being. And hence we arrive at “Brand archetypes” – the latest “in” thing in branding.

What is this brand archetype and how can it help create strong and unique brands?

Well if you strip everything down from a strong brand, at its heart lies a story – which distinguishes itself from all other brands. These archetypes help you create or hold on to that story. These archetypes are stereotypes and represents the commonly held characteristics that any brand should possess. If your brand resembles any of these, then you know you are in right track.

To know about the archetypes and its details, as well to check whats your archetype, go and visit www.brand.com/arche

Marketing Idea No. 117 – Tie your employee benefit to customer benefit

Upton Sinclair once said,

“You can’t make somebody understand something if their salary depends upon them not understanding it”.

I will go one better. I would say all our preachings of “Superior Customer Service” and “Fantastic Brand Experience” are all thin air, if the performance of the brand is not tied up with the day to day performance of an employee of that brand.

Let me say that again. What your employees do is basically culminates in what your brand will stand for. As simple as that. Knowing that, how many of us work in companies where our compensation truly rewards those who work hard for greater brand experience?

We give sales commission. But isnt making the target a totally company thingy? Where in that big equation does the customer fit? Does he give a dime knowing whether you have met your sales quota?

We give performance bonus. But isnt that dependent on company revenue and market share? Can your customer really give a damn about whether you met your revenue target or not?

Again we live and die by the sword claiming that we exist for customers. But in reality we work for our paycheck. And our paycheck has nothing to do with how satisfied our customers are. Let me repeat…absolutely nothing to do with HOW SATISFIED OUR CUSTOMERS ARE!

Now this is alarming hypocrisy. And one company who can teach us all that is Cisco. This Internet giant brand compensates all his employees solely based on one thing – the index representing the customer satisfaction. The more satisfied the customers are the more the employees get. Simple.

Can anybody point out a better brand model than that?

Marketing Idea No. 116 – Can we make formulas in branding?

Over the years we had a love affair with formulas, be it the ones we mastered for maths exams or the ones we thought will get us through the day in crunching calculus. Its pure science at its best. But can something as common sensical, beautiful yet unpredictable as branding can be tied into a formula?

Well we can try. In fact tying the reigns of some of the aspects of branding can be an effective way to make the branding sermon be heard by the mass. Because mass is always interested in putting things in logical order, in black and white. And thats one of the reasons why we have found maths and calculus to be easy to understand, but branding to be “undecipherable”.

Although i do not recommend brand formulas for the advanced understanding, the following formulas can be very handing for anyone who eants to understand the basic stuffs.

1. Brand = P + C ( Where P stands for a “Promise” of a benefit that can help us “Choose” anything)

2. Brand  = Body + Soul ( Where Body stands for the functional benefits and Soul sgtands for the emotional benefits of the brand)

3. Brand = P + D * S (Where P = Positioning, D= differentiation and S= Sustainable)

These are not scientific formulas. But through such practice, we can actually make branding appear simple and even more importantly….DOABLE. 

Marketing Idea No. 115 – Can you be really frank about your product, even if it has side-effects?

What do you do to launch a brand in the super-competitive, brand-saturated North American market? The pharmaceutical industry itself is mega-competitive globally. But within the sector lies the ultra-competitive diet product category. In the United States there are more that 3,000 brands vying for supremacy in this line. GlaxoSmithKline, the world’s second largest pharmaceutical company, went into the fray with a revolutionary product – but what product doesn’t claim to be revolutionary?

Naming the product ‘Alli’, GSK adopted an unusual strategy, focusing the campaign on the side-effects of the product. They did this, not because pharmaceutical companies are legally bound to do so, but to communicate the fact that, to avoid these side-effects, consumers need to use the product in a particular way. So, the campaign was about educating consumers rather than traditional promotion. Not only did GSK release a best-selling diet book about Alli, but the product itself contained more than 300 pages of interesting reading material about weight loss and how to achieve it successfully and healthily.

In contrast to many diet products, Alli’s communication was frank, transparent and personal. A $100 million campaign made some use of TV, but favored targeted, relevant online one-to-one education. Even the Alli online presence that focused on the core topic of weight loss downgraded the presence of the Alli brand, by modestly including a short byline at the bottom of the page. And, taking individual consumer communication to a new level, GSK has now taken over an entire New York City building to house Alli’s education mission. Alli’s showroom offers welcome, support and education to its users. In short, the brand is all about education.

Written by Martin Lindstrom and taken from www.martinlindstrom.com

Marketing idea No. 114 – Create mystique and secrecy

Does your brand have a secret ingredient?

It always pays to create mystery around your brand. Dont think so? Check the examples

1. Coca Cola and its “Merchandise 7x” is one of the 100 year old brand secrets locked up in a bank in Atalanta. Still everyone wonders, what coke is really made off…

2. Kentucky Fried Chicken thrives on the original 11 herbs and ingredients that Colonell used to make his chicken. Till date, its a well appetising secret.

How about the secrecy regarding the launch of I-Phone or I-Mac? How about the hoopla around whats gonna happen at the end of Harry Potter book 7? Who will die and who will be spared…the big mystery! How about the new movie that will be launched by J.J. Abrams (Writer of mega hit series “Lost”), where everyone knows its this big movie…but no one knows what its name is and what its about!!!

Secrecy is in. And if you have a way to create secret cults, rituals, mysteries to align with your brand….now is as good a time as any.

What you need is a damn good story for which everyone will go ga ga….