Repetition: Is It Worth It?

Thursday, 18 June 2009, 12:31 | Category : Uncategorized
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Prashant Malaviya suggested in the June issue of the University of Chicago Journal of Consumer Research (subscription required) that people familiar with the subject of an advertisement are likely to elaborate on it in their minds relationally. That is, they think of it in terms of other products or services in the field and then move on with their lives. They take little or no action in response to the ad.

repititionOther people might also elaborate on specific features of the product. A summary of the Chicago Journal article in Science Daily suggests that people who elaborate both on specific features and on relating to other products in the same category respond better to the ad. The article suggests that repeating ads in trade magazines whose readers are all knowledgeable about the particular “trade” might not be effective.

On the other hand, repetitive ads are effective if the readers are elaborating in their minds on both specific features of the product and relationally to other products.

For example, you see an ad about a camera. It boasts of an extraordinary filter that removes blemishes from portraits (specific feature elaboration). And the ad also says that the camera is priced to compete with other cameras (relational elaboration). Repetition of this ad in the same publication might be more effective.

The Science Daily article does not explain how Malaviya reached these conclusions. Or what to do about them except for cutting back on repetitive ads in trade pubs.

Hmmm. Who knew?

Posted by Harry

Three Mysteries

Thursday, 4 October 2007, 11:55 | Category : Uncategorized
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In a blog post meant for free-lancers, Dave Navarro suggests that most don’t know the answers to the following questions:

  1. Why Do You Enjoy Being My Customer?
  2. What Else Do You Wish My Business Did?
  3. Who should you tell about my business?

It’s not just free-lancer who cannot answer these questions. It’s many, many businesses. And many of those that can provide answers have not amalgamated the information with their marketing strategy.

Those Darned Emotions

Friday, 17 August 2007, 12:07 | Category : Uncategorized
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People often weigh buying decisions on how they anticipate they will feel about the purchase after they’ve done it.

A recent study by researchers at University College London found that people almost always misinterpret how they are going to feel and consequently go on to make poor decisions.

The job of brand is to see to it that customers anticipate positive emotional experiences and are rewarded by having positive emotional experiences after they have bought.

Harry Chittenden

How To Get Consumers To Pay Attention to Your Ads

Wednesday, 8 August 2007, 12:08 | Category : Uncategorized
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Again researchers are showing us anew what common sense has said all along. People pay attention to stuff if they already have an interest.

A new study by researchers from the Netherlands and the University of Michigan used eye tracking and timing equipment to measure what really got subjects attention. The answer: their attention went to where their interests lay.

What is the lesson here for us trying to market our brands? It’s to find channels of communication that have the greatest access to people who we know are interested in our product.

Old school: spend heavily in mass media, broadcast your message to as many eyeballs as possible and hope for the best.

New school: narrow your communications channels to those outlets where you are most likely to find customers actually interested in your product.

Posted by Harry Chittenden

The 65/35 Rule and Hoping-for-the-Best

Thursday, 7 June 2007, 12:18 | Category : Uncategorized
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A small chain of specialty restaurants has discovered that most of its new customers (65 percent of them) come from word of mouth. The rest are a result of the owner’s advertising campaign.

Question: To get more business, should the owner invest more in advertising to reach customers who have not yet heard of him or invest in promoting more word of mouth?

The best answer is to invest in word of mouth. The math is simple. Let’s say you expect to increase business in each sector by 10 percent. That means that you’ll get 6.5 new customers per 100 if you invest in the WOM sector and only 3.5 new customers if you invest in the hope-for-the-best mass advertising.

Surprisingly, hoping to find new markets, many owners opt for the hope-for-the-best tactic and throw money at the 35 percent. However, mass media advertising is really expensive. These owners invest with the odds stacked against them from the beginning.

On the other hand, reaching an established customer base is relatively cheap and the return potential nearly double the hope-for-the-best. And you can’t beat word of mouth.

How do you stimulate WOM? Let’s think: customer discounts; targeted sponsorships; giveaways; birthday specials; strategic partnerships; it’s endless. It’s called customer retention and it’s almost always cheaper than advertising for new customers.

Posted by Harry Chittenden

All You Need to Know (about marketing, PR, advertising and branding)

Wednesday, 30 May 2007, 12:58 | Category : Uncategorized
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Image courtesy of Neutron, LLC.

I don’t know what else there is to know.

This brilliance from Marty Neumeier’s book, Zag. I’m buying it today!

A Great Book in 162 Slides

Wednesday, 30 May 2007, 12:33 | Category : Uncategorized
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Here is another act of brilliance from Marty Neumeir. This slide show is visually outlines his classic book,
Minding the Brand Gap. Click through the slides and learn the three big questions about focus every brand
should answer along with the five disciplines of brand building.

Posted by Harry Chittenden

Elevator Speeches and InstaBranding

Thursday, 24 May 2007, 13:03 | Category : Uncategorized
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We are all familiar with the “elevator speech,” those carefully crafted sentences that organically relay important messages about our business. Sometimes we work so hard to craft them, we forget about the main message. Ourselves. Our audience is going to pay much more attention to our personal brand than the elevator speech, no matter how eloquent. Here are four simple, but often overlooked elements of personal branding that will make your elevator speech resonate.070524dsc_0057

1. How do you look? Appropriateness is the obvious guideline here. Make sure you have on the right clothes and are appropriately groomed for the occasion. Otherwise, the dissonance in your brand will kill your message.

2. How do you smell? I think that the best place to be is in the center of the spectrum, odorless. If you stink, that’s a no-duh turn off. If you are drenched in cologne, you might impress some people, but you run the risk of offending others. Why take the chance?

3. Practice the speech so that it’s completely you. Change the words to fit your personality. Actors do it all the time. The last thing you want to do is recite.

4. Engage your listeners. Don’t preach. Share. If your speech sounds too much like a commercial, fix it to sound like more like you are sharing information. Use stories or be like a journalist and get put information in a quote. (”I have a customer who wants us to train her husband in being on time…”)

Ultimately, you are the message. You are being instabranded no matter what. Do your best to make sure that your audience is building the right kind of mind space about your personal brand.

Posted by Harry Chittenden

Chunks and Instinct

Monday, 26 February 2007, 13:08 | Category : Uncategorized
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I recently saved a couple of articles on current thinking in psychology. While neither is on branding, they both demonstrate first how brands are constructed in the mind and secondly how the mind uses brands to make decisions.

Scientific American published an extensive article by Phillip E. Ross called “The Expert Mind.” The theme of the article is that experts, like chess masters, are mostly made, not born. They gain their expertise through “effortful” study. In other words they are highly motivated to learn a highly complex subject.

100975395_d247615e27_mRoss surmises that the mind learns in “chunks.” Chunks are big identifiable collections of information that the mind can calculate in a single stroke rather than deal with each individual piece of information separately. He cites this example:

Take the sentence “Mary had a little lamb.” The number of information chunks in this sentence depends on one’s knowledge of the poem and the English language. For most native speakers of English, the sentence is part of a much larger chunk, the familiar poem. For someone who knows English but not the poem, the sentence is a single, self-contained chunk. For someone who has memorized the words but not their meaning, the sentence is five chunks, and it is 18 chunks for someone who knows the letters but not the words.

Isn’t one of our goals in branding to do what we can to organize for the customer the information about the brand into a usable, attractive chunk. Couldn’t you characterize “favorable impression in the customer’s mind” as a happy chunk?

When the customer is ready to make a decision about the brand, he takes the chunk from his memory and brings it to his conscience mind for analysis. Right? Well, probably not.
Johnjoe McFadden in Guardian says that the conscience mind rarely gets involved with complicated decisions.

He tells of an experiment in which an experimenter named Libet asked subjects

…to perform a simple task, eg wiggle their little finger, at a time of their own choosing, and measured accompanying brain activity. Surprisingly, Libet could detect brain activity that predicted imminent finger wiggling nearly half a second before the subjects were aware they had decided to wiggle their finger!

We think that we make decisions when in fact the decision has already been made by our subconscious! The mind, faced with a decision, withdraws the chunks it needs, makes the decision and then shares it with the conscience mind.

Moreover, each time a customer has an encounter with the brand the chunk is modified to accommodate for the new experience.

Branding lesson: know what the brand’s chunk is and then work hard to make coherent, attractive contributions to your customer’s chunk, both in marketing and more important in serving his or her needs.

Brand Voice

Thursday, 14 December 2006, 13:06 | Category : Uncategorized
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Brand voice is one more way your brand is distinctive.
While designers and art directors are thinking about how your brand looks, copywriters are thinking about how it sounds. How does your brand express itself? Is it hip and sassy? Or more erudite? Formal or casual? Folksy or uptown?

Voice helps reveal – and reinforce – the personality of your brand. Ensuring your voice is consistent throughout your company is akin to staying “in character.” You expect the Queen of England to speak a certain way, much as you would expect a pop princess to have another way of expressing herself.
Your voice should always be true to your brand.

The voice of your brand is, quite literally, the manner in which your phones are answered. The tone of your advertising. The way your sales force interacts with customers. The attitude your literature takes. How your CEO speaks to the press. Inflection, style, vocabulary choice and even punctuation all are part of your voice, and convey more than just the content of the words themselves.
Listen to your own brand voice in its many iterations around your company. Is it appropriate? Is it distinctive? Is it consistent?

Imagine the language, the tone, the style and attitude a cell phone company would use in a web banner aimed at college students … compared to what a pacemaker manufacturer would use in a journal advertorial aimed at surgeons.
That’s brand voice.