Category Archives: Branding Your Brand

Are you a political news addict? Here’s how “the addiction” engages the audience.

CNN news I am a political news addict, and I’m trying to kick the habit. There I admitted it. News addiction? I did some research – and here’s the most powerful drug ever: the visceral gut feelings of outrage relieved by the most powerful emotions of all . . . the thrill of your tribe’s victory over its enemy and the ultimate triumph of good over evil. Movies and TV shows use that psychological formula to engage the audience – so why the news?
Because it’s done for ratings: The outcomes of news debates are carefully fixed by the producers – whether you watch CNBC, CNN or Fox news – it’s fixed so the home team has the best chance to win. That keeps viewers coming back again and again, which means more advertising dollars. How to apply that addiction to social media marketing? Stay tuned, it’s a little later in this blog.
Neuroscience has known for years that “news junkies” or “political junkies” were in fact addicts… junkies …who got their addictive dopamine hit from the emotional roller coaster of unbridled outrage followed by the dopamine releasing experience derived from the thrill of watching the victory over your ideological enemy tribe.
Does your product appeal to everyone? Does your product have an enemy you can identify? Can you target a specific demographic that can emotionally side with your product versus your competitions product or service? Can you develop a tribe-like addiction to your services or products?
Are you or your client are willing to play an aggressive role, like a politician or news channel, and possibly at the expense of “your brand?”  If so, then just maybe you can create addicts to your services or products. I’m not condoning the approach, just engaging news addicts …

How technology lowers our productivity and provides “short-burst” branding opportunities in social media.

Social media marketing

Have you noticed in the past few years how much shorter the lines are now at the grocery store, traffic light, doctor’s office, and restaurants?  Or, do the lines just seem shorter because you are now secretly enjoy waiting so you can browse Facebook, messages, emails or Twitter, with the thought, “What will I get?” When we unlock our smartphones, we subconsciously crave for variable rewards or something to occupy our minds. This yearning for variable rewards makes us refresh social media feeds and email inboxes – repeatedly.

social mediaHere’s an effect you may not have been aware of: According to neurological scientists, 10 minutes on social media can raise oxytocin levels by up to 13 percent, (a generosity-trust chemical in our brains). That’s a hormonal spike equal to what some people experience on their wedding day! People of all ages are addicted to the euphoria effect of their smartphones.

social media marketingPeople use their smartphones everywhere. In elevators, for instance,  I’ve seen people miss getting off their intended floors because of checking Facebook postings.  It’s the norm to use smartphones as we wait at banks, gas stations and even Starbucks.

Does social media technology decrease productivity or are we simply filling what was empty non-productive spaces in our lives?

social media marketing smart phonesIn a world where we brag about 24/7 connectivity, our phones keep buzzing. But we rarely receive calls. Social media notifications, useless emails, and instant messages have made us ‘multitaskers’.

But multitasking reduces our productivity by up to 40 percent. Each time we are interrupted, it takes us several minutes to refocus. Before those refocus minutes are up, we get distracted again. Is it not surprising that these are the least productive times in the history of mankind?

trump tweets

This social media phenomena  also provides opportunities for short-burst marketing and re-branding. The most famous re-branding person of our time? Donald Trump. He uses Twitter to “re-brand” his adversaries. It use to be, “Don’t judge people by what they say about themselves, but by what they say about others.” That still may be true for some, but unfortunately social media has made many believers in stories people want to hear or hope to believe.  Social media can now quickly cast false and deceptive re-branding of people and companies.

As a marketer, please consider taking the truth-road.  Check Snopes, PolitiFact or other “fact checking” websites before passing along juicy tidbits that could falsely re-brand companies, products or people that worked so hard to create value in their brands.

Why is the Sony Xperia phone ad so bad?

Sony’s ad is slick and well produced, but does it communicate its value to the consumer? No! When I watched the commercial, the main actor looks like a hit-man stalking a ballerina and getting ready to take her out. When the video shows a single ballerina dancing in the darkness be tracked by a phone-type device and the voice over asks, “Can you feel it — the power — all in your hands — trust the power”,  I realized it wasn’t just a phone but a targeting device for a drone. Does the Sony Xperia have more advanced and useful technology than the iPhone?  How would I know from that commercial?

Sony mentions these two features; curved glass and seamless metal. Ok, so show me – I didn’t see anything curved and was the closeup of a metal rectangle rising up from a brushed steel plate the high tech-desk of the hit man or his phone? And Sony never did tell me why those two features have value to me.  The art direction of the ad is so overproduced with effects, that I don’t know what the Sony phone’s camera can or can’t do. It seems it can shoot a ballerina jumping in midair and cowboys riding on horses, but what percentage of their target audience is shooting ballerinas and horses? And  what about all the other video effects in the ad, can it do those too? Sony creatives need to take a lesson from Apple and focus on the value to the user of what makes their phone useful and how it can improve their customer’s life experiences. Sony, listen up, you are not selling beer where you can get all creative and sell just your phone’s image, but you need to create an emotional connection with your customers that communicates how your phone can change people’s lives.

My New Year Message …

NewYear2016-Gary

The New Year marks a time for reflecting on the past year and contemplating what we learned from the last 365 days to make the coming year even better. Yes, it’s a time to celebrate past success, but it’s also a time for bold moves and fresh starts. It’s a time for dreams and friendships both old and new. It’s an opportune time to raise a toast to those who share your business success and those who cherish your personal happiness and hopes for the future.

The New Year marks a new beginning. New people to meet, new adventures to enjoy, and new memories to create. Here’s wishing you the gift of peace and prosperity throughout 2016, and wishing you a Happy New Year!

Storyscape; Explaining this marketing trend and my 6 basic principles for marketing success.

“Storyscape” is a coined term for the latest alternative to traditional advertising and media plans by getting the consumer more involved in the “brand’s world” through various media channels. Create a world for the consumer using StoryscapeThe consumer wants to feel like a part of a story and think, “wow, that is cool” about the brand. The concept is to build a brand story that builds an emotional association that inspires the consumer’s behavior. That is the key, creating an emotional connection between the consumer and the product. Apple products are a perfect example of that – their customers have an emotional connection, a story to tell about their iPhone or iPad and how it changed their lives, which compels them as devoted customers to share their experience with like-minded people.

That said, there should be one strategy – versus a strategy for social, a strategy for events, a strategy for digital, and a strategy for public relations – there should be just one cohesive plan for all, Strategic thinkingand it’s directed by the big idea that organizes those activities. I ask my customers, “what’s your purpose?” Today’s customer wants to be able to connect to brands they trust, believe, feel are authentic, fill their needs and are able to take part like they are part of the company’s culture. They want to feel they connect with the company, like a friend, and are proud to say they are loyal supporter and part of the brand’s story.

So how is that type of marketing accomplished? It’s about creating a world or landscape of ideas that could be physical, virtual, emotional, and more than likely it’s all of those things. For Storyscape strategyexample a Storyscape for selling a new house; baking chocolate cookies in a model home’s oven for visitors so it has a nice homey smell, the website touts your model dream house and has free cookies when you visit, offer a recipe for the cookies in a blog and on Pinterest so that a story or idea for engaging the consumer crosses all media platforms. That way the consumer looking for a house creates their world or story about that experience at all marketing touch points – so they not only experience a world they helped create, but they also tell a story about their experience.

The social media world changes so quickly. The traditional media plan keeps different media in separate boxes with target dates – where as we need to be more fluid and to think about how the different media interact and affect each other, as well as being affected by an event that causes a rippling effect throughout the media plan. The key difference with Storyscape, it’s designed to give the consumer control over which marketing connection points they wish to be engaged with and then encouraged them to interact across those channels — all supported by an organized idea and not the marketer choosing, based on analytics and data, which channels might be more efficient to reach them.

It’s a more organic or worldly version of a customer testimonial. In traditional marketing, the marketer writes the customer testimonial Customer-testimonialso it fits the needs of the marketing plan and gets the customer to signoff on it or tweak it for approval. The hope is that it resonates on one particular level with other consumers. Where as Storyscape opens up the world to all possibilites, so when the consumer’s exposed to the “idea” – they have an experience in the world they helped create that is a life-changing and they are willing to share it with other like-minded people.

The marketing industry is famous for creating new trends. Keep in mind, every couple of years a marketing person coins a phrase for a “new” approach to marketing, sells a bunch of books and it becomes the latest defacto marketing tool to be used. A year  later, another marketing approach is the latest thing to do.

Marketing trendsRegardless of the latest marketing trend or coined name, it has been my experience for marketing to have been effective for the last 10-15 years –and going forward, it has these 6 basic principles:

1. Understand what the customer wants or needs,
2. provide a logical and emotional dialogue so the consumer has the information they need to help them make a decision,
3. give them plenty of opportunities for that exposure,
4. make sure customers feel connected to the brand’s world and product,
5. provide them with easy access (distribution points) to purchasing the product and,
6. after the sale, make the customer feel special and part of the brand’s family.

 

5 Social Media Marketing Trends for 2015

social media analytics

 Use advanced analytics for your website and social media platforms

My social media marketing predictions for 2015 should be your resolutions …

1. Digging Deeper into Data. Using advanced analytics for your website and social media platforms is key in knowing what to write about as well as knowing your visitor’s likes, shares, engagements, demographics, etc. Making the most of your metrics will help you identify the right prospects and pinpoint the right offers at the right time.

2. Eliminate Advertising-based Content. Over and over again I see companies writing blogs that are just product descriptions and – essentially just a landing-place to copy and paste content from data sheets. Write to your customer’s needs, not just what you are selling. Content Marketing is all about providing content that has value to consumers. It can offer practical information, tell a touching story, or be outrageously hilarious. It should forge emotional connections that nudge people toward the business that rolls out the content. Make your content stand out in 2015 by performing thorough keyword research, present new information, offer something innovative, and distribute it to your customer base effectively.

3. Being Candid and Honest. Zig Ziglar once said, “Honesty and integrity are by far the most important assets of an entrepreneur.” TTransparencyhe same principle rings true for current marketing trends. The best brands will give an accurate and real-time picture of what they are doing in the interest of the consumer, at any given time.

4. Social Media Connections. Your target customers have some traits in common, but that doesn’t mean that they all are the same entity. People want to feel they are part of a group, crave connection, and participate with others of like-mind. Consumers buy from friends – companies can be perceived as a friend by sounding more personal in their writing styles. When you are writing, talk to your customers and future clients like each one really matters, because they do.  
Personal Social media marketing 5. Personalization. One way to send personal messages is via triggered emails. When a customer joins your rewards program or signs up for your newsletter, send a warm welcome. You can even include a special freebie or stellar discount. On your customers’ special dates, such as birthdays – send a friendly greeting. These automated messages can make recipients feel that you care about them.


No one can say for certain what the future holds, but the current direction of marketing shows that the above trends will impact marketing in 2015. Expect marketing to move strongly in a digital direction and focus on transparency, technology, personalization, and quality.