Saturday, September 29, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Why did Crispin Porter + Bogusky launch the Orville Dedbacher campaign? Because they could.
Think I'm wrong? Check it out. Ask yourself, "What is a category?" Answer: A category is a bunch of brands all hanging out on a street corner all doing and saying the same things about themselves differently. If you were not in the category, or "something else," you wouldn't be IN the category.
Classic example: Folgers vs. Maxwell House
Years ago I was called to Procter & Gamble to assess a new, yet to be aired campaign with the global manager of advertising and market research. He unveiled a character named Mrs. Olson who was going to say, "Drink Mountain Grown Folgers. It's the richest kind." Mountain Grown was supposed to be the support point to the contention that Folgers was the "richest kind of coffee." Asked what I thought I said he and P&G were going to loose their shirts because they were just copying Maxwell House and "good to the last drop" by saying the same thing differently. He scoffed and produced research "proving" that this was a highly differentiating top-two box intent-to-purchase campaign.
So I had to break it down for him and all the suits who need things distilled to one word bullet points for powerpoint presentations.
I said look, you say your are the richest kind. The richest kind of what? COFFEE. What about your coffee is the richest kind? THE FLAVOR and AROMA. So for all the MBAs who need things in one word bullet points you are talking about the SENSORY selling dimension. How do foods and beverages look, touch, taste smell and feel.
Now lets look at Maxwell House. They say they're good to the last drop. What's good to the last drop? The COFFEE. What about the coffee is good to the last drop? THE FLAVOR and AROMA. So Maxwell House is talking about the SENSORY selling dimension too. You can't ever copy the leader and beat them. "You have to identify a different selling dimension that is more resonant and relevant to your audience - which is exactly the kind of homework we do."
He didn't listen. The campaign was launched and at the end of the year and at the end of the money not a single incremental pound of Folgers had been sold. I was called back to P&G, this time by the Division President and company Chairman who commissioned our company to do a little proprietary jargon-laden "homework."
By stimulating consumer minds with hundreds of product potentials, consumers began to talk about ground roast coffee in ways the client and agency had not previously heard. Heavy ground roast coffee consumers (the 20% of the audience that account for 85% of the volume) said that they needed their caffeine in the morning "to work and play well with others." Very Dale Carnegie. At work they consumed caffeine in the morning because product usage helped them "show their bosses they saw things other people miss." (Kind of prophetic) Understanding Monday to Friday consumption we inquired about weekends. Respondents stated that if their spouses or girlfriends tried to get them to do or say something before they had their first cup of caffeine, that would start an argument that would last all weekend. They needed the caffeine "to improve the human condition." The synthesis of all this thought led us to state, "We see, the best part of waking up is caffeine in your cup." The brand group went wild. "You can't sell this as a drug!" So we changed the words to the best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup. And that's how Folgers came to own the morning daypart.
Now THAT'S INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY YOU CAN PROTECT because it "differentiates." Rather than focus on taken for granded cost-of-entry SENSORY parameters no one could protect (of course you have to do and be these things) it became far more profitable and effective to focus on the CONTROL selling dimensions pertinent to heavy ground roast coffee consumers. That's the IP!
And in all these year no other GRC brand caught on until recently when Starbucks finally got it with their "THINK EARLIER" campaign. Also control oriented. Now P&G wants to sell the brand. Maybe they can't find an agency to take the business to the next level. I just believe they need to do new homework. The only thing that's happened is that the product and campaign have matured in their lifecycles once again. The brand really hasn't done any homework since 1982. So what's beyond SENSORY and CONTROL? What is relevant and resonant to their heavy user today? There lay the IP.
Martin Calle is an expert witness in marketing and advertising related Intellectual Property matters. As Chief Differentiation Strategist at Calle & Company Martin is currently writing a book for the holidays called "SEARCH SATISFACTION: Why marketers stop looking for better ideas once they find solutions they like."
Friday, September 21, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
A marketer in your company for example is LOOKING FOR a solution to a problem. And when they find one they feel comfortable with, they look no further. Search satisfaction also aflicts doctors, who when diagnosing problems, stop when they think they have the right answer. Looking no further, they later find they are wrong an uncomfortably higher number of times than you and I would like to admit.
My specialty is positioning brands. I have hit a good many home runs. I have found that brands are like ten speed bikes. They have many gears they never use because search satisfaction stops marketers from doing more homework. There was a Renaissance Period in marketing. People did more digging then. Now we just shoot at commodities from the hip. My grandfather had a farm. My dad had a garden. I have a can opener. So my grandfather was much better at raising brands. Today’s CEOs just jettison brands, managers and agencies - like goals - people abandon their dreams when the price gets too high - when a little homework would have turned that flat C student back into a polished A. Another way to look at this is a way to turn mature earnings businesses back into rapid growth companies or how to reverse the effects of mature product lifecycles. I’d like to trade blogroll links. Can you toss one in my hat? Is that possible?
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
This post was stimulated in response to a CMO strategy article written by Peter Murane, president-founder of BrandJuice, a brand-strategy and innovation consulting firm based in Denver.
Let's just redesign our packaging, labels and delivery systems and call that innovation. Whew! Got that job off my desk. But making the old look new isn't innovation. It's everything above what you are supposed to do that counts.
I heard a saying once. "The first 40 hours a week you work goes for survival. It's everything over that that goes for success." And the sad truth in large companies is, we just see too many 40 hour efforts - even if you do work an 80-hour week.
Positioning strategies and new product breakthroughs are like ten-speed bikes. Most have gears they've never used. And so you fall short. Like the antagonist in that really great funny movie A Knight's Tale with Heath Ledger says, "You have been weighed, measured, and been found wanting."
Innovation stalemate. Or then again, maybe we're over thinking all of this. MAYBE THEY JUST DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO IT.
Back to you oh painters of the Sistine Floor.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
This is not the idea spotting reported in Advertising Age Magazine this week. It is Buick versus Cadillac Revisited.
What has happened here is that Volvo, Arnold and Nitro looked at a slice of one consumer culture (valets are members of a larger Culturally Influential Consumer Group called Walking Actors - people who work in service or information driven industries representing over half of the employed US population today)and found that valets can see the dichotomy between Cadillac and Buick owners; Volvo and Mercedes owners. One owner needs to be seen. The other really doesn't give a rat's ass about what people think. Classic Buick versus Cadillac. Nothing new here and not expected to move the needle. Volvo's just reexpressing all the reasons Greenwich residents have been buying Volvos for years. They're good, but they're boxy. Perception fits the New England work ethic of using up and making do - that's an Audrey Hepburn line.
The TRUTH is, "NO ONE EVER QUITS WHEN THEY'RE MAKING MONEY." Would anyone care to share some of their client's exit strategies? I'll bet the truth is stranger than fiction.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
You don't need neuromarketing to see if consumers lie. The truth is, when you talk to consumers, they can only tell you what they know. And they have been trained by expopsure to your ads and education - the lowest common denominator. In this environment I found after 45 years of consumer inquiry that if you ask consumers questions, you don't get the voice of the consumer, you get the voice of the inquirer through the question being asked - a form of bias that will lead you astray - and consumers wondering what to them seem to be dumb questions. Consumers are suspicious of advertisers, con men and thieves (you). But why bother with questions? As Atticus Finch said in To Kill A Mockingbird, "You can't ask a question you don't already know the answer to." And you only know so much.
So the only alternative is not to map or neuroanalyze brains or to ask consumers questions. The alternative is to stimulate consumer minds with in-depth, comprehensive, product-based written stimulative materials that cause them to think the thoughts they've not had about your products - sparking the creative process in earnest - and determining what really motivates people about your products. The materials prescribed cover product design, packaging, delivery systems, price, quality, image, attitudes, sensory, form, function, usage and over 500 other PRODUCT POTENTIALS or DIMENSIONS we've identified that all go into the perceptual mix.
In 45 years in packaged goods working with the cream of the crop I have found that if you ask consumers no questions they can tell you no lies - but you will know truth - and this is how George Mennen discovered that he should manufacture solid "Speed" stick antiperspirants - still the most popular today. This "question-free" process turned around brands such as Pampers, Folgers, Crisco, Pepto and many others for Procter & Gamble under the reign of 5 Chairman excluding Alan Lafely who is now letting the retailer tail wag the dog. It is also the root of the new product process that created Chunky Soup, Tic Tac Mints, Baked Lays Potato Chips, Cold-filtered Miller Genunine Draft Beer and 100 other code-cracking brands.
So whether it was Al Pacino or Robert DiNero who starred in ANALYZE THIS, analyze this.
You'll be wasting your time by helping neuroscientists make their next car payment. But the old marketers at the top, fearful of loosing their job, will tell new marketers to test anything they want - as long as it's not actually a better idea.
Clients exposed to Calle & Company processes (my company) stopped conducting focus groups years ago. And of course, we set the pace for the other early qualitative and quantitative pioneers. We concluded long ago that focus groups, need segmentation studies, in fact anything that put the consumer under a microscope put the consumer in an artificial environment - and no one performs well as a lab rat. So we stripped away the veneer of information gathering and measurement - in all of its ill-mannered forms - to avoid the pitfalls and poor traditions of question-based research. Our clients ended up hitting far more home runs, and their agencies put more award winning ads on Cannes reels.
Here is some advice I give to my family before we head to Del Mar, Santa Anita or Churchill Downs for the races. Give me the money. Go to the races. When you are done I'll give you your money back and you'll come out ahead. Don't swing. Neuromarketing is a bad pitch.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Expanding the brand's footprint is what Coca-Cola wanted to do, but in terms of identfying future consumption drivers, no consumer ever asked for Coke Blak. Coke offered a solution looking for a problem. Bites a manufacturer in the behind every time. Like Miller offering dry beer. Dry beer's promise, less beer aftertaste. Ever meet a heavy Bud drinker with a problem with the aftertaste of beer. Another solution seeking a problem. A double caf blast...half life=12 months. Starbucks tried the same thing with Pepsi seven years ago. Didn't work either.
Friday, September 07, 2007
Apple's reaction to its angry customers has been swift. Responding to a flood of complaints from early iPhone buyers over a $200 drop in the still-new product's price, Steve Jobs responded by:
1. Recognizing that customers were upset
2. Recognizing that customers had a right to be upset
3. Explaining why Apple chose to drop the price -- and doing so in a way that appears legitimate and honest
4. Offering reparations to early adopters in the form of a $100 credit
No, Jobs didn't satisfy each and every disgruntled iPhone owner but, like JetBlue's response to its meltdown last winter, Apple recognized it had created a potentially big problem with its core customers and took swift and open measures to address it.
Would your company do the same thing or would it try to bury or obfuscate the problem? Not sure? Consider these ideas from Harvard Business Review to brush up on your approach to customer relations:
Want to Perfect Your Company’s Service? Use Behavioral Science
Why Satisfied Customers Defect
Companies and the Customers Who Hate Them
Manage Your Human Sigma
Putting the Service-Profit Chain to Work
You can't please everyone, but...I bought an iPod for my twelve year old daughter two years ago. Cost about $400. After the first year, it stopped working. She had dropped it without its hard case and dented the backing. The hard drive is built right into the backing and the warranty says that if there are any dents the warranty is void.
I tried to reset the machine several times. Frustrated, I made an appointment at an Apple Genius Bar. I was given instructions for resetting the iPod again. It still would not work. I had to buy a new iPod. But I wasn't ready to do that yet. I went online and made another appointment at the genius bar. The only available time was 8:55PM - five minutes before the Apple store here at South Coast Plaza in southern California closes. I went in. Met a different genius.
He fiddled with my iPod, then this is what he did. He said, "You know what?" I said "no." He said, "I'm going to give you another iPod for free." I was stunned, and reiterated that it was out of warranty AND dented. He said Apple didn't see it that way. He said, "At Apple we know people pay a lot for our stuff. We know that these people probably make a lot of money and are probably better than most at taking care of things. So when something goes wrong, we feel it's probably our fault and not their fault." So he went into the back room and returned with a brand new iPod.
At that moment I had rather been indifferent toward whether I used Apples or PCs. But that night I became a convert - and I will give Apple a lot of latitude before I jerk my knee and criticize them. Steve Jobs has been through a lot. And he knows that Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking.
And I experienced all of this through my contact with a 19 year old at one of Steve Jobs stores. Simply amazing.
This also reminds me of a story that circulates around one of my client's, Mercedes-Benz.
The owner of a 1981 Mercedes with 480,000 miles had a turbocharger that went bad. A new turbocharger was about $3,800, more than the value of the car today. But here's what the dealer did. He replaced the turbocharger for free. And the following year, rather than shop around, that Mercedes owner came in and bought a brand new Mercedes. Now that's customer service.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
John, you may look forward to working with global teams to help the brand reach its full potential, but you'll only have about a year, less than the half-life of today's CMO. Joan Blackwood.
The problem with marketing is that anyone can define what is a better idea any which way they can when in reality speed costs money, positioning is the highest octane fuel and marketers today are not skilled at positioning. Oh they can plot it and measure it. But that's usually done by a marketer talking too itself about itself. When they throw it out there in advertising they just hope some of it sticks. Finding what truly motivates customers about your product takes extra-curricula homework. You can't just take what you think you know and shoot from the hip with it. You'll miss.
LET ME RE-QUOTE HOW THIS ARTICLE BEGAN. "The retail trade seems to enjoy more control over the fate of a brand with each passing day."
THAT'S BECAUSE MANUFACTURER'S POSITIONING STRATEGIES STINK
"Years ago, my clients knew exactly what they wanted from in-store, demanded a certain level of performance and got it. Today, there is one brand major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Costco, Best Buy, Target and Safeway care most about -- their own. Marketers are squeezed by an empowered consumer, a controlling retail channel, and, on top of it all, a lack of predictability in the impact media truly delivers.
THAT'S BECAUSE MANUFACTURER'S POSITIONING STRATEGIES STINK. CONSUMERS NO LONGER ENTER STORES WITH A PREDETERMINED BRAND ON THEIR MIND
No wonder they are increasingly focused on return on investment and are zeroing in on where they can best measure results: at the point of sale.
THAT'S BECAUSE MARKETER'S DON'T KNOW HOW TO CREATE A MORE POWERFUL PRODUCT BASED POSITIONING STRATEGY - so they fall back on the easier things they can do. If they had a better positioning strategy, they could spend far less money on all this integrated marketing support stuff.
Positioning is the highest octane fuel. So how fast do you want your brand to go?
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Monday, September 03, 2007
Another CMO shoots from the hip. For Wendy's CMO Ian Rowden it must have taken a lot of brain cells to come up with a Ronald McDonald spokecharacter with a five o'clock shadow. Visual shock jock or creepy molester. If I saw this man in the parking lot, would you want your child to run up an give him a hug?
Who needs differentiation with dignity? According to CMO Rowden embarrassment sells. Everyone likes to stop and stare at an accident. But at what cost? A little intent to purchase bump? Big deal. Ian, ya took the low road even though the ads are pretty funny. You'd do a lot better telling us why we should choose Wendy's over the millions of independent hamburger outlets across the land like Tommy's or Omega Burger.
The daughter of the chain's late founder Dave Thomas publicly slammed the ads in The Wall Street Journal as a personal affront (Melinda Lou Thomas -- better known as Wendy -- auditioned to appear in the new campaign, but Wendy's spokesperson Bob Bertini said consumer response to Ms. Thomas' screen test "was not positive.") Her sister, Pam Farber, also denounced the direction, and according to the Journal, Mr. Thomas' widow, Lorraine, has called for Chief Marketing Officer Ian Rowden's ouster. (Despite numerous attempts, the family couldn't be reached for comment.)
Darren Tristano, exec VP of Technomic, tooting his own horn said his food-industry research group used the Wendy's commercial as an example of the right way to target Generation Y at a recent conference, BUT, we're not certain who appointed them the judge.
By some accounts, Mr. Rowden's job is also in jeopardy. "When you talk to Ian, he says he's a change agent and all change agents eventually need to move on or die on the cross that they are dragging," said one person close to the account. "He talks like a guy soon to be moving on." Mr. Rowden denied he has any plan to leave Wendy's.
I bet Ian ends up writing one of those "How to brand it" books and ends up a consultant. What do you think?
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Was working with Buick and McCann-Erickson on the Buick Regal. It’s principal competitors were/are the Ford Taurus, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry - to better or worse extents these vehicles offer the bread and butter auto segment a nice synthesis of conservatism and sportiness. Their appeal is obvious and proven by their sales. I had the bright idea of debadging a black Regal and showing it at the auto show in Germany. I made an agreement with Porshe to test the vehicle as a German entry by Porshe into the mid sized US car market. People FLIPPED. European owners of Audi, BMW, Mercedes; Japanese owners of Acura, Lexus, Infiniti couldn’t wait to get their hands on one. People were writing us advance checks we had to decline at the show. With blacked out windows the car was a sleek runway and runaway success. Paula Travenia was head of Buick Communications at the time. Maria Shoemaker was in charge of strategy. Where the Regal only sold 40,000 units per year (including units going to rental fleets) versus rivals Toyota, Camry and Taurus sold 1.2 million each - quantification for the debadged Porshe-impersonating Regal revealed a domestic market of 800,000 units! And this was top flight top two box intent to purchase of 97%! All people wanted was for us to name the car MUNICH - and please use italics. We were stunned. Upon returning to the states McCann unleashed the entirely forgettable “Regal. Its a fine line between sport and sedan.” ad series with a Pierce Brosnan type driver. No consumer ever asked for one of these. And the character or “brand character” as GM calls it on their positioning statements was totally out of synch - unbelievable. The campaign died as did the Regal soon thereafter. Did the refs or players get payed to throw the game? We’ll never know. But it sure does seem strange that car marketers don’t know how to sell cars, once again proving that portholes remain potholes at Buick. Oh well, at least more of their ads are forgotten than remembered. That'sablessing - for now at least - until they again figure out how to connect and relate with consumers. You'd figure that after 50 years of selling vehicles they'd know what motivates people about their products. Guess not. Darn brand heritage styling queues keep getting in the way too. They like 'em, but we don't.
Saturday, September 01, 2007
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