Avoid Botching Exposure: No, we still don’t know BDO

BDO, a global accounting, business and financial consultancy, is wasting millions of dollars on its current advertising campaign, “People who know, know BDO.” In their advertising, they could tell you who they are, but they don’t. They could tell you what problems they solve for you, but they don’t.    They could tell their target audience when to contact them and why, but, alas, they don’t.  It’s painful to see such a great introductory opportunity go to waste.

Rather, they do tell you that the people who already are aware of them and know what they do (presumably anyone but the audience) are knowledgeable.     So they are talking only to people who already understand and use their services.     This is a great example of everything you don’t want to do in your advertising.

Sadly, they repeat the strategic vagueness on their website as well (At least the campaign is consistent).BDO

To avoid this, take these simple steps:

1.   Clarify your brand proposition – Who are you, what problem(s) do you solve, who is your target audience, and why are you superior and unique.
2.   Determine your advertising goal – Are you trying to attract new users?  (like BDO is attempting, but failing to do)  Convince current customers to buy/select/consume your brand more frequently?   Are you trying to improve your brand image?    If you are not clear about the purpose of your advertising (or any marketing investment), you can count on meandering advertising, unless your marketing partners are clairvoyant.
3.   Assess your advertising from the consumer’s perspective – What do they know about you now?  What do you want them to know about you after they have been exposed to your message?    Make sure you are giving them a persuasive message, in their language, based on what you know from your consumer research.     Again, BDO makes a common error of crafting advertising based on their internally focused, prideful self-assessment.     It’s a missed opportunity to tell potential customers of who they are, why they’re a superior service, and how they will solve the customer’s problems.
4.  Pre-test your advertising – There are several great advertising effectiveness evaluation methods, including MSW ARS and IPSOS ASI, that will give you unbiased, quantitative and credible feedback on if your advertising campaign is persuasive and has achieved your marketing goals.    These are small investments that can be done while the campaign is in the idea phase, prior to wasting money on producing or airing ads that do little to grow your business, or even may do harm.

Ad Bowl 2012: Return to Sanity

While there were no must-see, spectacular ads last night, there were many excellent ads that were well worth the $3.5 million investment for the ad time, pre- and post-game public relations and social media legs.      Super Bowl advertisers returned to their senses with strategically sound brand communications that focused on persuading consumers to buy one return-on-investment, rather than misguided attempts to win on entertainment and humor.   Doritos, Oikos, Skechers, H&M and most of the car ads, just to name a few, had their brands central to the storyline (vs. prop ‘afterthought’) and told engaging stories about the quest for the brand.

Special groans for Chevrolet’s dark and tasteless Silverado apocalypse ad.     Visuals of tragic wreckage, in which the guy in the Ford perished.    Disgusting and a terrible statement, if any, about the brand.

Here are the winners (and worst) from three marketing mavens – USAToday‘s AdMeter (panel popularity) and  USAToday’s Facebook AdMeter (FB popularity), Mullen and Radian6’s Brand Bowl (twitter volume and sentiment), and us (effectiveness).

USA Today – AdMeter                              

Best:
1.   Doritos (dog bribes cat owner)


2.   Volkswagen (dog gets fit, Star Wars)
3.   Skechers (dog in sneakers wins race)
4.   Doritos (sling baby)
5.   M&M/Mars (Mrs. Brown)

Worst:  GE (turbine workers make energy)
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The Chobani brand Yogurt Coup: Reinvent the Category

We applaud Chobani‘s explosion to +$900 million in annual sales since its 2007 startup by attacking the yogurt category with a truly differentiated and superior brand.    Not only have they catapulted to stardom, they’ve even beat the brilliant, entrenched competitors, like Yoplait (General Mills) and Dannon.    They’re among the elite brands, like WhiteStrips, Swiffer, Apple, and Dyson who invent and dominate new category segments by reinventing their category.   

First, Chobani designed a much better product.    Their CEO and founder, Hamdi Ulukaya, thought American yogurt was horrible and developed a premium, Greek-style yogurt, which is thicker, creamier, more protein, less sweet, and has a healthier perception.   They challenged many of the conventional approaches of what product design seemed to drive the category.

They also rethought pricing and price/value.   Continue reading

7 Musts for Profitable New Products

1. Delight your target consumer
DO focus on creating items that truly solve your target consumer’s needs and points-of-pain
DO meet and exceed their needs
DO create fans, not just customers
DON’T focus on internal issues
Can you precisely define your target market and what motivates them?
√ Does 50% of your target audience say they definitely or probably would buy your product?

2. Make sure it’s profitable early
DO screen ideas for profit potential at the idea stage
DO rework ideas early to address any profitability issues
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Brand Authenticity: Tiger’s Tailspin

Brands must be authentic.    Great brands, like people, create positive enduring relationships based on their credibility and consistency.      While brands have always needed to continuously earn their esteem, social media now makes brand authenticity a mandate.     All eyes are watching your brand, and missteps are reported globally in an instant.    Keep it simple.    Make your brand authentic.

Lack of authenticity is what’s driving the unprecedented demise of the Tiger Woods brand.   His ‘brand truth’ is dramatically different from the carefully honed aspirational brand image.    And it was that faux brand image and esteem that made brand Tiger so ideal for corporate sponsorships.     Incessant media coverage and its exponential visibility in the blogosphere unearthed the size of brand Tiger’s lack of authenticity.     Post-media frenzy, his champion credentials will remain, but the ‘wonderful man’ imagery has been unveiled as a sham.      Brand Tiger’s demise is an extreme, but illustrative example, of the danger of lack of brand authenticity.     Last week, AT&T joined the growing list of multi-million dollar sponsors who really had no choice but to stop aligning their brand with Tiger Woods.    The financial value of the Tiger Woods brand is a fraction of what it was just a month ago.     Continue reading

Swine Flu: CDC’s Brand Coup?!

As we all wash our hands for the 89th time today, you have to admire the Center for Disease Control‘s effective branding and positioning of the Swine Flu. Really, swine fluwould the threat of an obscure H1N1 virus sufficiently capture our attention or become a media darling? ‘Swine flu brand’ has gained exceptionally high consumer awareness in a short time, reinforced awareness with frequent and relevant messages, generated buzz and driven preventive activity. Amazing, given that medical professionals are still sorting through the validity of this flu’s unique severity. Continue reading

Gee Gatorade, what are you selling?

Good marketing fundamental: be clear. If consumers understand what you are selling and what it can do for them, they can buy some from you. Common sense, right? The problem with common sense is, sometimes it’s not that common. The new, incomprehensible “What’s G?” campaign for Gatorade violates this basic rule.

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