Thursday, August 30, 2007

General Mills Will L'eggo Frozen Waffles

Strangled to death due to lack of marketing support or representative of the fact that General Mills never really figured out what motivates consumers about its products - the waffle business is now roadkill at General Mills. How can a breakfast company not know how to sell breakfast and address consumer's real consumption driver's. It wasn't price. It wasn't taste and it wasn't convenience. The truth is the marketer, its research, brand knowledge and advertising agency never looked beyond what they already knew. To borrow a line from Sci-Fi movie Dune, "You mean many had tried and failed? No. Many had tried and died." Incumbent knowledge sources did not have the answers. So why the allegiance?

No one quits when they're making money. Executives jump ship, CEOs jettison brands and switch agencies when the price of success - new learning - gets too high. LAZY. General Mills threw out the baby with the bathwater here. Watch the gears turn now as they divest the rest of the refrigerated/frozen dough business they've yet to figure out. Another solid case of lack of clear leadership by those who injected themselves into the business but did not do any consumer homework. Rather than double consumption and the size of the business they shot from the hip and missed a $1.6 billion target. Remember your job description? Grow the business. Under Mill's tutelage the business went from robust appendage to shriveled member. You couldn't have poured the syrup and missed the plate any better GM. And this was an easy business for novice marketers. Hate to see what they do on intermediate or difficult trails.

Note to management: Speed costs money. Positioning is the highest octane fuel. How fast do you want to go?

Belén Amatriain Corbi Joins Calle + Company

Joining the telecommunications and internet practice with a management career spanning over 25 years, Ms Belén Amatriain is the Executive Chairman of Telefónica Publicidad e Información S.A. (TPI), the leading company in the Spanish and Portuguese language directory market. Mrs Amatriain is a marketing and advertising specialist and joined TPI in 1997. After several positions in the company, she became Managing Director prior to TPI's flotation on the Spanish stock market in 1999. One year later, she became member of the Board and Executive Chairman of the company. Mrs Amatriain has led the profound transformation of the company which includes the implementation of the company's strategy on the Internet, the revamping of the publishing product, and the launching of new telephone information services. Mrs Amatriain Corbi has been a member of the recent committee of experts set up by the Spanish ministry of Science & Technology to study and propose an action plan for the development of the Information Society in Spain. Her work in the committee earned her the distinction of Spain's Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit.

Fear of Public Speaking

Public speaking is the number one fear in America. Public speaking is more feared than death and taxes. So how good are the people at your agency at public speaking? How good are the art directors and copywriters that speak for your brand? How good are you? Could you stand in the front of a Home Depot store for a day and hand out flyers saying, "Welcome to Home Depot. Can I help you find something in the store today?" Or would it be beneath you? Uncomfortable? Boring? If rejection didn't get you, your inability to maintain a great attitude would. So if agency people can't speak to people one-on-one, face-to-face, how could they possibly be good at connecting and relating to millions? They can't read faces. They can't mirror emotions. They have no experience. So when it comes time to write an ad, they can't look inside themselves and say, "Ah ha! I've seen that person before." Utilizing interpretations of markets and segments from studies and customer satisfaction surveys become a joke.

The nation's top breakfast cereal brand is probably Kellogg's Corn Flakes. I believe market share is around 6%. I believe the market share has always hovered around that number. Can you imagine how high market share might rise if Kellogg Corn Flake's Marketing Director went door-to-door, introducing the product to consumers again for the very first time? Oh, wait, that campaign was for Frosted Flakes. I digress. The campaign was a poor substitute anyway.

I can guarantee that if the staff of your agency, or Kellogg's Marketing Diretor took your product door-to-door every weekend, knocking on doors and developing the ability to actually TALK to consumers about your products your sales would soar. Now, the executives would reject the notion at first. Imagine dropping 10 or 12 of them off in some neighboorhood and expecting every one of them to speak with 150 to 200 people that hot summer day. Certainly they had something better to do that day that work at making themselves more empathic and better communicators. That's something they didn't learn when going to school. It takes life experience. And you can't gain that behind a desk or focus group mirror. If that were the job description 98% of them would quit. They'd be too embarrassed. It would be beneath them. The few that remained would persevere, getting better week by week. And after 6 months you'd have a crack team of people able to spontaneously connect and relate with just about anyone. What a great agency training program!
In addition to Martin's accomplishments in product positioning strategy and new product development, Martin Calle trains outsourced sales forces for Fortune 500 companies. Clients include Staples, Starbucks, UPS, AT&T, Verizon FIOS, Coca-Cola's Groupe Danone and more whose sales and market share have soared as a result of his training system. Contact Martin for Speaking Engagements and amazing stories from the street.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Down with Technorati

As sure as the Berlin Wall and Iron Curtain came tumbling down, I'm out to topple TECHNORATI for a long and loosing battle of providing incorrect link counts and false authority rankings. I'll link to you if you link to me. My new category under which you will be posted is TOPPLE TECHNORATI. Look for it in my sidebar.

Crispin Porter & Bogusky Seeks TiVo Answers

Well what an admission that people skip over their ads. Wouldn't it be better if they just did the homework required to learn how to create ads people wanted to watch? They inject themselves into the equation and end up creating ads we skip over. There are so many examples like this. If McKinsey consultants had the answers, then why does their consumer practice web site admit that despite solid balance sheets client revenues are down and executives wonder where the growth will come from? If you fire an advertising agency, isn't that admitting that in all these years you've never really found out what motivates consumers about your products? The truth stares you in the face, but you look past it for solutions elsewhere. We are truly blind. You know, not doing this homework and shooting from the creative hip is the same reason this agency parted ways with ConAgra and Orville Redenbacher.

Calle Creativity Summit - New York, New York - November, 9-11, 2007 - Host Cat Deeley

American Idol presenter Cat Deeley will host Calle & Company's 10th Annual Creativity Summit in New York November 9-11, 2007. Director of Differentiation Strategy Martin Calle says attendance has grown every year. Invitations closed August 29 and the event is sold out.

This year the conference will focus on product differentiation and why CEOs are more likely to jettison a brand or ad agency than look in-depth at the product to find brand boosting product-based marketing solutions to take the business to the next level.

CEOs chase consumer ears and eyeballs, they promote lavishly, but the anchors, the product's features and benefits can only take the business so far. The goal of the conference will be to present attendees with solution strategies. To illustrate, Martin said that M&Ms started out as a hard shelled candy. Nobody wanted it until Rooser Reeves found a more abstract under pinning; "they melt in your mouth, not in your hand." Martin says answers like this are so obvious, they're not obvious. Advertisers no longer think that way, substituting a product's reason-for-being with :30 seconds of buzz du jour dialogue. And advertising has taken a tumble. Martin says, "My grandfather had a farm. My dad had a garden. I have a can opener."

Breakouts will cover Multi-Dimensional Creativity® - a linking process that creates the conversation of creativity in consumer minds, Abstract Dimensioning® - the critical mass of connected thought that becomes available when stimulated into existance through the use of custom-created proactive materials. Question-based or Quantitative Marketing - pitfalls and poor traditions of gathering and measuring data, establishing Perceptual Monolpolies® - the lost ad process and more. A complete calendar of events is available from Calle & Company.

Multi-Dimensional Creativity®

Through the years marketers have told me their advertising agencies provide Multi-Dimensional Creativity without asking what it really is. And you know what they say about making assumptions. When you assume you make an ass of u and me.

Multi-Dimensional Creativity ® is a linking process that creates the conversation of creativity in consumer minds, the critical mass of connected thought that is not available until stimulated into existance through the use of custom-created product potentials creative materials. This proven consumer-creative processes sees possibilities before they become obvious.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

PR Licensining Debate Ends Here

My comments are attached to the posting on David Reich's blog: my 2 cents. Read.

Visa Revamps Life Takes Visa Campaign

Wishful thinking.

McCann-Erickson's slogan is "The Truth Well Told." But they are not Visa's agency. Remember Dudley Moore's campaign for Volvo? "They're boxy but they're good."? Well here's a new potential future truth. Due to fallout from the continuing credit crunch caused by habitually over extended Americans, Visa has decided to revamp its "Life Takes Visa" campaign. The new campaign's tagline will be "My Credit Addiction."
My father invented The Green Card for American Express shortly after America went off the gold standard. That's when Americans never spent more money than they actually had. He called it the green card because he said it gave people "permission to live beyond their means. Just like A VISA!" The copy cats haven't fallen very far from the tree in all these years. In a carefully crafted well executed plot to grow the economy credit wielding retail consumers are the new serf. Dark Ages revisited anyone? Thanks Lee. Nice word play. Never have so many fallen so suceptible to the truth of so few.

Friday, August 17, 2007

If Imus Comes Back, Some Advertisers Are Likely to Follow

Buyers Mixed About Possible Return, but Say Sponsors Could Give Him Another Chance

He's great fly paper if you're a marketer into chasing consumer ears and eyeballs.

Chrysler Appoints Its First CMO

Lexus Marketing VP Deborah Meyer Gets Nod as Carmaker's New CEO May Slash Ad Budget

She'll be selling today and tomorrow's vehicles with yesterday's positioning strategies. The silent killer of more CMOs every year than any other cause of death. They never even see it coming. Those who want her business will pat her on the back. Those who know will tell her the truth.

Mattel Hopes to Reassure Parents With Print Ads

Toy Maker Buys Space in WSJ, Others Pubs After Second Recall in Two Weeks
How about finding some real "product-based" "selling solutions" to these marketing problems. The last time I confronted such a crisis I created Tylenol Gelcaps for McNeil to end the cyanide tampering issue and address consumer's real concerns forever. Utilizing the media was not a sufficient bandage then, and it may not be now. People want to see investment in real solutions. That way the door will not be left open for a "next time."

Integrated Marketing is a gun filled with blanks

Blaspheme. Blasphemer. Heretic. But in reality, integrated marketing over yhe years has grown to become a product or brand's life support system, artificially sustaining life until someone pulls the plug by switching agencies, jettisoning or divesting the brand to others who will go through the same process. Integrated marketing dulls the senses and slows the pulse, deadening the marketer's awareness to the fact that in all of these years, no one has actually figured out what consumers find most compelling that best differentiates the product or brand. It couldn't be advertising, because far more advertising is forgotten than remembered. It could't be integrated marketing. Reliance on integrated marketing is an adiction to the artificial life support system.

General Mills History Repeats Itself

Not long ago THE BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS lost. Positioning the brand as non-descript and generic "WHOLE GRAIN" rather than race-winning "WHOLE WHEAT" caused the brand to become delisted at major chain grocery and drug stores across America. But it reduced costs to employ non-descript whole grain. Now General Mills is rolling out the same campaign again, only last time it was one brand. Now it is all. Investors. You do the math. By repositioning Wheaties as WHOLE WHEAT again, I increased Wheaties distribution 24% and won Advertising Age Magazine's Annual Award as The Year's Best Repositioned Brand.

The Gaurdian of Product Differentiation

The Calle School for Product Intelligence
Guardian of Product Differentiation

Subject: Product-based selling-solutions solve all marketing problems

(Los Angeles) - You can’t power up brands with advertising if they’ve been fed a consistent diet of day-old-data-salad[1] for years. You need our Disruptive Consumer Intelligence®.

Switching agencies won’t power up your brands. It just needlessly upsets people who were doing their best when what they really needed was the knowledge to take your business to the next level. Switching agencies also won’t power up your brands because agencies don’t want you to have better ideas. Crafty Chairmen realize that Clio’s are the glass beads that impress. There’s no need for substance when bling will suffice. Agency execs know that if you actually had better ideas, you could then sell more of your product for less money. And what advertising agency wants that? But the truth is, if you switch agencies the required homework will still go undone. Who wants to pay for homework? It’s hard enough just to get clients to approve production budgets. Penny wise and pound foolish, brands subsist, year-after-year, on meager diets of day-old-data-salad.

Consequently, you don’t have to look far to find marketers who shoot from the hip and don’t do their homework. That’s what sent Crispin Porter + Bogusky to detention when they hit their dead end with ConAgra. Don’t act surprised. Not doing your homework is wide spread. You don't do it either. “There are plenty of smart, talented, successful people who are able to take their business only so far because of the limitations of their vision and leadership.”

Switching agencies, jettisoning brands, constant promotions, licensing, products unpopular in the face of changing consumer preference, the need for product placement, the ceaseless media pursuit of consumer ears and eyeballs and more are all signs that your company does not know what truly motivates consumers about your products. How much more profitable would your company be if it could get your brands off the artificial life support that has kept them going the past thirty years? In all that time, your company has not figured it out. We can differentiate your product so that consumers come looking for you. Schedule a meeting. Find out more. Reply today

[1] Day-old-data-salad is made with any combination of gathered and measured data.