For the last few years, I have noticed that in the Asian market, more and more emotional ads have been emerging that are truly engaging, memorable, and gives me the feels. Some has outright put me into tears.
Here’s an example from a life insurance company, MetLife:
I can see how you can tie in all those emotions with life insurance. Life insurance can be a very emotional thing.
Here is another example:
Also very touching. Had me to tears. Bernas… what sort of company is that? Do they sell life insurance too? Maybe medical insurance? Guess what? They sell rice. A commercial about rice and I’m balling watching this commercial.
Here’s one last example:
Would you have guessed that TrueMove H is a mobile cellphone company from this commercial?
So the point of all these sad, emotional, inspiring videos. They are great entertainment and provide a lot of value in terms of social marketing, but do any of these videos make you have any sort of brand perceptions about these companies? If you could buy Bernas rice, was that commercial effective for you to buy only Bernas rice? And if TrueMove H was an option as a cell phone carrier here in the United States, would you sign a contract with them?
Last Saturday, Beyoncé unexpectedly posted a premiere of its upcoming album “Lemonade” on Instagram several hours before the release. She had been kept this project as a secret from the public until the last minute. Her surprising announcement was like a huge bomb that detonated all social media platforms and attracted over 70k comments and one million likes merely on Instagram. Many people interpret her action as a marketing ploy, which appeals creating surprises to ignite conversations and attract public attention. Although this announcing strategy cannot take all the credit for the unprecedented buzz generated by the album, admittedly, it’s eye-catchy and full of creation.
It is not the first time that artists adopt this strategy to promote their artworks. And it’s not even the first time Beyoncé releases albums without advance notice. Back to 2013, She almost used the same way debuted her self-titled album. And After that, Drake, A$AP Rocky, Lil Wayne and Miley Cyrus followed this trend.
However, surprises don’t only happen when an artwork is released. Actually, surprise, as a natural buzz creator, has been widely utilized as a marketing tool by many companies. Thus, this kind of marketing is also called “Surprise Marketing” or “Surprise and Delight”, a process that “marketers build the value in the product or service through genuine excitement, anticipation and surprise”. Research has proved that surprise and delight is one of the most effective marketing strategies that can create long-lasting emotions and memories for individuals and further improve consumers’ brand loyalty. This method works because it appeals to human nature that people are “thrill-seekers” who enjoy being exposed to new stimuli. The stimuli can lead people to desired behaviors. In the marketing context, it means purchasing products. Surprise marketing usually appears in the form of providing surprising gifts and treats to consumers. For instance, unexpected coupons, free products or maybe fancier, free trips are all surprise marketing strategies. In this way, marketers embed long-lasting and positive emotions, experience and memories regarding the brand into consumers. And also, such strategies can certainly generate buzz and word-of-mouth at a very low cost.
The above companies’ surprise and delight marketing seems to be different with Beyoncé’s partially because Beyoncé’ s surprise focuses more on a spiritual level rather than the concrete material level. Besides, Beyoncé ’s surprise covered a wider range of people whereas companies’ unexpected rewards can only create very strong influence on people who actually receive the treats. One possible reason can be that Beyoncé, with her influence and fame can be compared to a super popular brand in the business world, maybe like Apple, whose actions can be emotive to the public. Thus, a surprising event or product release can attract enough attention. However, most brands, not too popular or too unheard, don’t have that kind of power. Thus, material encouragements seem to be a more effective and feasible way to implement surprise marketing.
No matter what size the influence scale is or how effective it is, it causes no harm to create some surprises that are much cheaper than advertising. And maybe marketers don’t even spend too much time and effort planning surprises. Just adding some mysteries to their sweepstakes strategy can be a very basic surprise marketing temptation.
Sisario (2016). The value of surprise? For some artists, it’s a springboard to No. 1. Retrieved fromhttp://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/15/business/media/the-value-of-surprise-for-some-artists-its-a-springboard-to-no-1.html?_r=1
I have recently learned about Marketing Automation, named one of the 7 marketing tactics a company should be doing. While I may be late to the game, I can’t help but question if these one stop services are destroying the relationship between company and consumer. Marketing Automation allows a company to pay a service to provide customer analytics, keep a record of website traffic, manage emails, and much more.
IBM owns one of the most popular Marketing Automation services, Silverpop. This service in particular believes through their work can strengthen customer loyalty and create the “perfect customer experience”. I am all for convenience when dealing with companies, but what will happen to the human element in building an empire from the ground up? While this may be a smart tactic for small business’s who do not have the resources to manage all aspects of their growth, does it diminish the mom and pop feel of customer assistance?
Another part of me feels as though Marketing Automation is hitting home for a lot of customers. Many businesses, small and large, aren’t meeting the needs of their consumers who want to be treated right. The automation of marketing campaigns may allow for a business to better serve their customers better through a back seat approach.
Whatever may come from these Marketing Automation services, one thing is for sure; Marketing is only beginning to evolve.
Music festivals, including Lollapalooza, Sasquatch, Coachella, and EDC Las Vegas have attracted sponsors from ever sector, from transportation (Uber) and fashion (H&M) to soft drink (Coca-Cola) and telecommunications (AT&T) (Rubinstein, 2015). According to market research, by the end of 2015 brands will have collectively spent upwards of $1.4 billion, up nearly 5% from the previous year, sponsoring music festivals, venues, and tours in North America (Sherman, 2015). This increased spending will outpace the projected 2015 expenditures in all other property segments, including the sports industry (4.4%), the causes sector (3.7%), and the overall percent increase in sponsorship spending (4%) (“Sponsorship spending on music,” 2015). Jack Flannery, an analyst for the digital marketing agency Rise Interactive, suggests the trend in music and festival sponsorships is largely driven by two key factors: “continued interest in national music festivals and a growing appetite for regional music festivals” (2013, p. 3). Hilary Stout, an editor for the New York Times, offers another reason for this growth: music festivals attract a large millennial audience, the most sought-after generation of consumers by brands (Stout, 2015). With brands from many different sectors flocking to music festivals, and new entrants announced every year, the trend in brand sponsorship begs the question, what makes for an effective music festival-brand partnership? To answer that question, this posts adopts a conceptual framework based on the branding (Dawar & Bagga, 2015) and celebrity endorsement literatures (Till & Busler, 2000).
First, perhaps the simplest definition of a brand is this one: the way consumers currently perceive an organization, product, or service (Dawar & Bagga, 2015). The two-fold goal of branding is to (1) position organizations, products, or services in such a way that they occupy a “distinct and valued place in the mind of the target market” and (2) keep and attract new consumers by promising superior value, as well as by delivering satisfaction (Young, 2014). For example, Electronic Dance Festival, or EDC for short, has become the world’s most popular music festival extravaganza—and one of the world’s biggest festival franchises (e.g., EDC UK, EDC Las Vegas, EDC Japan)—by delivering on its promise to showcase not only “some of the hardest working producers, but [also] a massive playground full of carnival rides, performers, and some amazing art installations” (King, 2015).
Given the importance of brand image, companies need to think strategically about how they create sponsorship deals that are favorable to both parties’ brand image. A useful dimension on which to ensure a successful match between two concepts (e.g., a brand and an endorser) is fit. Fit, also referred to as appropriateness, relatedness, belongingness, or similarity, is “the perceived connection between a brand and an endorser that drives predicted endorser effects” (Till & Busler, 2000, p. 3). Studies suggest that perceived fit between an endorser and brand can significantly impact consumers’ attitudes and purchase intent (Till, Stanley, Priluck, 2008). For example, Till and Busler’s (2000) experiment demonstrates that an athlete, as an endorser for an energy bar, is more effective and more likely to influence consumers’ brand attitudes than an attractive actor. The match-up interaction in this case is undeniable because the athlete has a greater connection with the endorsed product.
The perspective taken here is that when applied to a brand’s endorsement of a music festival, the variable “fit” may play an important role in match-up effects. Specifically, when the image of a brand is congruent with the image of a music festival, match-up interactions should positively impact brand attitude and, conceivably, purchase intent. A case in point is H&M’s recent brand activation at EDC Las Vegas (Glazer, 2015). A pioneering Swedish retailer, H&M has built a powerful brand identity around the following characteristics: youthful, dynamic, and innovative (McIntyre, 2015). This brand image is evidenced in the company’s trendy collection, target demographic (e.g., 15-40 year olds), and seven commitments to sustainability: “Provide fashion for conscious consumers, Be climate smart, Reduce, reuse, recycle, Use natural resources responsibly, Choose and reward responsible partners, Be ethical, and Strengthen communities” (H&M Conscious Foundation, 2010).
Similarly, Coachella, an annual music and arts festival held in Indio, California, has constructed a brand image associated with contemporary pop culture and has become an influential force, setting the tone for trendy, youth cultural styles (Hampp, 2015). Moreover, since partnering with Global Inheritance, a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization that takes action on global issues, Coachella has developed a forward-thinking approach to sustainability (Murphy, 2015). For example, Coachella launched a carpool service for festival goers to reduce CO2 emissions and transformed ordinary recycling bins into works of art in an effort to encourage Coachella attendees to recycle (Murphy, 2015). Hence, when H&M announced that the brand was one of the official sponsors of Coachella 2015, consumers reacted positively. One individual, who commented on this sponsorship online, wrote: “Love that H&M will be at Coachella,” while another person said, “makes sense that a clothing company like H&M would be at Coachella” (Glazer, 2015). H&M teaming up with Coachella likely “[made] sense” to Coachella attendees because in their minds there is a strong associative link, or fit, between both brands.
As more brands pursue sponsorship deals with music festivals, venues, or tours, it will become increasingly difficult for one brand to stand out amidst the clutter. Consequently, businesses that hope to add music festivals to their marketing strategy need to think critically about the value of a such a partnership.
Recently, I had great pleasure reading the #GIRLBOSS written by the CEO of Nasty Gal, Sophia Amoruso. Being one of the most successful business women in the United States, she is now in charge of a $100 million plus online fashion retailer with more than 350 employees. But she is not always lucky. When she was in early twenties, she had been broke, directionless, and working a mediocre day job. This book is about the journey of how she started there and come to where she is today.
1. It isn’t what you do, but how you do it.
In the book, Sophia briefly explains the “business model” she used that brought her success with Nasty Gal when she was first starting off with her eBay vintage shop. Although there were many shops that sold the types of items she sold, hers was more successful for one reason, she put a lot of hard work, effort and thought into each and every item she listed for sale. From finding and styling models to wear the clothes, a good photographer to take the thumbnail shots, to using her knowledge of fashion and style to write awesome listings filled with styling tips, Sophia put effort into each and every aspect of her sale. This is a great lesson to learn because it really doesn’t matter what your job is, or what your business is, if you think about and put real effort into what you do, it will pay off! There is no substitution for hard work, even on the internet!
2. You don’t get what you don’t ask for.
This is a powerful one, especially for women to learn and really understand. I think ladies have a tendency to shy away from asking for things because we don’t want to come off one way or another, but when you boil it down for your business you won’t make any money or get any customers if you don’t ask for the sale or ask for the business. Sophia seemed to get everything she asked for, and while that may not be a fool proof strategy for your business, sometimes asking is the first step to getting what you want.
3. Never live above your means.
As someone who lives in a capitalist society, I witness commercialism and marketing all day every day! Things from food to luxury goods are thrown in your face and to be honest, I often find myself wanting everything I see, but that is no way to live. Sophia really does a nice job explaining that while she was building her business, she was very frugal and almost refused to spend money. Although she doesn’t really analyse this decision much, I believe it had something to do with her previous freegan lifestyle, mixed with a sense of apprehension that at any moment the rug could be pulled from under her and her business could fall apart. At any rate, this is a great lesson for young women (all women, and men too) to learn! You can’t spend money you don’t have, and you shouldn’t spend all the money you earn either. It’s common sense, but I think coming from a nation in massive debt, it’s apparently an important tip we are consistently missing!
4. Find ways to keep your goals in your face so that you’re manifesting magic!
This lesson is one I employ and believe in, whole-heartedly! I do believe in magic, and I believe that magic is something you make for yourself. How? Well, by keeping your goals front in center in your face, as well as hidden strategically within your daily life, you begin to ingrain them into your psyche and over time that results in you actually taking steps and actions to make those goals real. For example, in the book, Sophia talks about making specific goals into short phrases that she would use as her passwords for her computer. Unconsciously, everyday, she would be reaffirming those goals whenever she typed her password. Eventually, those goals in password form became one with her mind and her mind started acting accordingly so that she could achieve the goals. Now, none of this is science of course, that’s what makes it “magic” because it’s unknown. But boy does it work! Give it a try in your own life and see what benefits you reap by making your own dreams come true!
5. Don’t waste your time obsessing over people and things you can’t control.
This is another one of those difficult life lessons to learn, especially for women, whether you run your own business or not! The world is a really big place and there are billions of us living on it. Of course, from time to time, we are going to come across people and things we don’t like, and unfortunately, sometimes these things are unavoidable, as much as we wish we could just run away from them. They may be people or problems right in front of us that we can’t escape, and it’s so easy to fall into the trap of obsessing over them, wasting our own precious time thinking and worrying and guessing about outcomes we aren’t a part of. If we stopped focusing on the things we can’t control and started minding our own business and focusing on our own lives and the things we can control, we could do so much more. I know this is hard, I struggle with it too, but keeping your nose down and focused on your own work and your own life will really yield you so many benefits!
6. Define failure and success on your own terms.
In the book Sophia explains that failure is a concept of our own design. To fail means something different to each person and that definition is something you have established for yourself. When you go into a situation open-minded with the intent to learn and grow and experience something new, there is no failing at that. Letting go of expectations and results that are weighing us down really help us to lighten the load and soar higher. Likewise, success is also something we define for ourselves. If I asked each and every one of you to give me the name of a successful person in the world, I bet I would get more than one name. Why? Because what success looks like and means to each of us is different, so define your own success and redefine failure to something that doesn’t exist!
7. You can’t take back your actions, so be smart about what you do!
My favorite quote from the book was when Sophia wrote “There is no AutoCorrect in life— think before texting the universe.” This was a very powerful message in my opinion because in our digital day and age I think many of us do and say things online and forget that our words and our actions have meaning in the real world. In life, there is no going back, the only option is forward, so it is so important to make sure you are thinking before taking action. Sophia documents some unsavory parts of her history within the book, things she’s done that she isn’t proud of, and these are things she has to live with. We all have things in our past that we wish we hadn’t done, and hopefully if we are lucky, these things didn’t have permanent or ongoing repercussions. Life isn’t easy, it just wasn’t designed to be, so it is very important that if you want to be happy in life and achieve all your goals that you stay focused, learn from your mistakes and try to make as few as possible of the bad kinds as you go along.
What do you think when you hear “Rhode Island”? Do you think of quaint New England towns, maybe of waves upon a rocky beach?
Do you think of anything at all?
If you’re in the latter group, the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation wanted to change that. They announced a $5 million dollar tourism campaign. They hired Milton Glaser, who became famous for designing the “I Heart NY” logo. They even announced a press event to launch the new campaign.
It did not go well.
Viewers immediately noticed that the 2-min commercial included footage from Iceland. (At the :09 second mark, the skateboarder is actually in front the Harpa music hall in Reykjavik.) The backlash on social media (especially Twitter) was swift and brutal.
Beyond such a critical gaffe, many more Rhode Islanders were left puzzled by the rather cryptic tagline. What do they mean “cooler” and “warmer”? The agencies claimed that the tagline was tested considerably amongst different groups of Rhode Islanders, but many remained unconvinced.
Given such fallout, it is no surprise that finger pointing, public apologies, and resignations ensued in due course. The CMO of the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation resigned. The agencies involved agreed to give back a total of $120,000 in taxpayer money, which was used to produce the botched video.
This recent incident was striking to me for one reason: How could they have gone so off-track? Some point to the agencies’ failure to conduct thorough research; others blame the fact that out of state agencies failed to capture what the state is truly like.
If I could hypothesize one reason why the campaign really went wrong, I would suggest that it demonstrates the pitfalls of loving your idea so much it leaves you blind to anything else, both good and bad. In a way, this incident also reminded me of that “Tonopah, Nevada” episode of The Pitch that we watched for class. In that episode, the two men wanted to describe the town as “weird” (if I remember it correctly). However, after testing that idea out with the city council members, they realized that “quirky” was a better fit (especially since “weird” felt offensive to the city council). But at least they listened to such feedback, instead of pushing on with their original idea.
Having gone through our own “big idea” pitches recently for this class, I myself realized how hard it is to keep tweaking and adjusting a big idea based on constant feedback. I think at some point you have to draw the line somewhere, but in Rhode Island’s case, I would argue that they drew that boundary too soon. (And maybe they also should’ve avoided using footage from Iceland in their promo video.)
It will come as no surprise that America is ranked as one of the top countries grappling with obesity, according to data from World Atlas (2016), along with North America being listed as the top continent where the obesity epidemic prevails the most. This issue begs the question what Americans and surrounding countries can do to curtail these high rankings and begin to embrace health and prosperity.
A direct correlation is fast food. While French fries and apple pies are good, not dying is better. McDonalds, Wendy’s In –N-Out Burger, and Jack and the Box provide scrumptious and convenient meals, but at what cost? Moderation is the key to dealing with any vice, even when that vice is food. Unfortunately, there are individuals who can’t control the intake of their fast food transforming what was once a casual vice into a full-blown addiction.
McDonalds has an interesting history with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and company accountability. While the corporation continues to publish annual CSR reports that detail monetary and philanthropic donations, they do little to shift their menu to healthier options and smaller portions (McDonalds, 2016). The company continues to avidly market and produce high caloric options towards kids, attempting to seize a target audience at their most vulnerable beginnings (Reilly,2015).
However the complexities of the fast food industry and accountability are much more nuanced and have been up for discussion for decades. First and foremost, whose responsibility is it to address obesity issues and addictions in America? Is it the fast food corporations? The consumer? The government (Dier,2014)? Additionally, this topic is deeply rooted in issues of economic and class disparities amongst Americans. When you are a single mom struggling to financially put food on the table, quickly feeding your children a meal that costs ten dollars is compelling. Perhaps fast food corporations need to acknowledge these economic disparities and try to address the issues through community discussion and or governmental legislation in the form of smaller sizes or healthier options (p.2).
While this post begs many more questions than it provides answers, I think it continues to be a timely topic for discussion. I would love to hear all of your thoughts on this ongoing and interesting issue.
Dier, A. (2014). Study: It’s Not McDonald’s Fault Our Kids Are Fat. Newser.
For those of you who are not familiar, coolhunting refers to a breed of marketing, where ‘coolhunters’ make observations and predictions on changes of new or existing cultural trends.
The hunt is about finding the source of trends. The idea is that if you know where the source is, you can get a head start on creating a product or selling a product that becomes a part of that trend.
Coolhunting is identifying a certain type of social influence and using it to your advantage.
What is Kickstarter?
The platform allows creators the opportunity to create the universe and the culture that they dream of. These creators are like entrepreneurs, looking to create the product that they see a need or a want for.
Each project is independently created. The creator makes a page, creates the page content, and determines rewards to offer backers. Then they are able to launch and share their product with the Kickstarter community.
Since its initial launch in April of 2009, 104,081 projects have been successfully funded and 11 million people have backed a project.
What does coolhunting have to do with Kickstarter?
Marketers are always searching for trends of consumers.
Kickstarter is interesting (with respect to coolhunting) for the following reasons:
You can see what people are interested in creating. Are there similarities between projects? What is lacking from products already in the market that makes these creators feel moved to create something new?
You have access to a massive pool of consumer data. On Kickstarter you can browse through categories and see which types of products are being sponsored, and how many people within the Kickstarter community are interested in sponsoring a project.
You can identify products that you can create. Maybe you identify a product that people are willing to sponsor, but that could still be improved upon. You get to see where people are headed and skip ahead a step or two.
What do you think?
What do you think about coolhunting on Kickstarter?
How should marketers be taking advantage of coolhunting?
Since it is towards the end of the semester and we’re all killing our brain cells trying to come up with suitable “big ideas” for our brands, this blog post may shed some light on your projects.
At the beginning of 2015, a well-known cosmetic brand named SK II launched its new campaign #ChangeDestiny. It is an empowerment campaign with the messages that we all have the power to make our lives better, and no one and nothing can dictate our lives but us.
From my memory, Sk II used to be labeled as the upscale skin care products for wealthy women. However, as time changes, an increasing number of younger and working women started to use SK II’s products. This younger group of customers has the economic power to treat themselves and the will power to make decisions for themselves.
Since the launch of #ChangeDestiny, SK II has aired a series of storytelling videos. All of these videos tell stories of different people’s life journeys and how they (mostly women) have overcome obstacles.
Recently, SK II added a new video to the series. This video featured a certain group of women that are labeled as “leftover women”. The phrase “leftover women” describes single women over the age of 25. In the documentary-like video, “leftover women” expressed their wishes of becoming independent and confident women, as well as their stresses of being criticized by society and their parents.
The video soon went viral. Along with popularity and high numbers of views came bipolar comments. Some felt inspired by the video to become strong, independent, and confident women, while others disapproved of the using of the phrase “leftover women”. Since all SK II’s previous videos were about one single person’s life and the new video targeted a stereotypical group, controversies have grown tremendously with popularity.
Please watch the attached video (with subtitle turned on) and share your thoughts on SK II’s newest movement.
Developing your personal brand is a topic that has navigated its way in Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and International Association Business Communicator(IABC) chapter meetings. In a recent article, posted by PRSA your brand is how you appear to the world. This seems easy enough to understand, yet when we attempt to build our brands we are lost. I assume, it is because we haven’t found what we are passionate about and do not have knowledge of the target market.
While attending the April IABC meeting, guest speaker Matt Clayman, Director of Client Partnerships at Innovation Protocol stated , “a personal brand needs to be able to have legs and speak to a specific market.”
In my observations on twitter feeds, I began to notice that the industry thought leaders had done a great job of branding themselves. Each of the people who had success, took a topic and commented on posts, engaged in twitter feeds and curated analysis and opinions of their own. For example, @angelgonzlz, he is a fashionista and you feel that brand in everything he posts.
Angel Gonzales, iss a Hollywood stylist/fashionista. His focus on posts and engagement have to do with style and fashion. Frequently he will comment on how celebrities are dressed or what makes for a great on camera look. He takes it a step further and documents his work life as he styles celebrities and news anchors. This strategy has created a brand for himself.
The idea is to take what you love, are good at and develop a brand around it. The brand doesn’t have to be your employers brand, its all about you. If you love technology, then become that tech expert who is commenting about tech devices and what is hot in trends. In the process, according to Lauren Marinigh you will have social consistency and will be looked and it will help you become an expert.
Personally, I think this is the ticket to ensuring you stay relevant and marketable in your career. If you know your category well, and can engage an audience any company would be fortune to employee you. Here is a helpful worksheet to guide you along. Those of you who remember completing the Galup strengths and weakness, and the CISCO personality test can use those attributes to guide your branding process. Not a bad summer project if you ask me.
As the school year ends, let’s all take some time and do our own homework on how to develop your personal brand? Mine would be all about travel, destinations, and hotels—what would yours be? I would love to see what type of experts we have at here at USC.