brand loyalty is rarely more than having first dibs


flick by programwitch

I was wearing Carhartt jeans the other day. Also a Carhartt shirt and a Carhartt jacket. Am I a big Carhartt fan? Well I’ve got a few shirts yes, I’ve got one jacket and one pair of jeans. I wouldn’t call me brand loyal, but I wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking that.

Without repeating all that’s been said about the concept of brand loyalty and it being contrasted and questioned, even disproven, in Byron Sharps book How brands grow, I’ll add my two cents, and it’s really just a way of thinking about it.

“Brand loyalty is having first dibs”

That’s what it comes down to, and little more than that. I’m not loyal to Carhartt, but I’ll swing by their store in search of a new pair of jeans before any other, if convenient enough. They have the first chance of maintaining their track record, but it takes little for me to walk out and into another store. We tend to equate, or define, loyalty with the latter part; it taking little for me to walk out and the fact that loyalty should be about me not easily doing that. But it’s more about the former; a brand simply having first dibs. We’re looking for a bit too much in the loyalty concept. If first dibs is what we equate with brand loyalty, we have the research and data to back it up, as opposed to over inflated wishes for loyalty beyond reason.

The fact that it’s more about first dibs, and little more, means the pressure is on the brand to continue to satisfy me. And that’s brand loyalty seen from the other end.

a friendly poke at CMOs over at Forbes

I t’s creativity award times and the best advertising (although the advertising part was dropped from the award description this year – thank you) is being scrutinized down in Cannes. There are many different points of views on creativity but I think there’s only two sides and one is wrong. If awards is the end you’re aiming for – you’re way off. If you view it as a good gauging tool for the business effects you tried to achieve – no worries.

Here’s a short piece I wrote for the Forbes CMO network the other day, on the subject but not for Cannes reasons.

A couple of weeks ago I had lunch with an at-the-time hopefully future client. We had shared some early thoughts on how to help their brand grab a substantial share of the very competitive market they are in. One representative said we had to forgive him for being very skeptical of an industry that “only wants to win awards.” He didn’t express this in a disrespectful way leaving me the chance to respond, and there is a very good response indeed.

We know that advertising works. But we also know a great deal more about what type of advertising works and why. Many advertising greats, often equipped with acute observational skills coupled with a large dose of empathy, always knew this. Obviously it would only pass as ‘being pretty sure’, whereas now we know that creativity really matters in business.

No one buys an ad. I should hope. You invest in better business results and advertising is a means to that end. It drives short- and long-term results. The two are tightly linked, and one might argue there’s not one without the other. We know increasingly more about why this is, thanks to an increasing amount of research on advertising effectiveness. CMOs, agencies – marketeers in general – should keep a keen eye on this, because otherwise we’ll never know if all we bought was an ad.

This is very well described and exemplified in ‘The link between creativity and effectiveness’, published by the IPA in 2010 (you can find the report here). In fact creatively rewarded campaigns are on average 11 times more effective than less creative campaigns.

Pretty good news for anyone responsible for investing in better business results. And pretty interesting to then look at one’s own advertising, and analyze and reflect.

So far so good. But based on my subjective experience, I find it a bit strange that you meet so few CMOs, heads of marketing or advertising, who actually know about these things. Especially in a B2B context, which isn’t as different from consumer as many people would have you think.

Why is this?

Shouldn’t this be as prioritised in clients’ organisations as it is in agencies?

And on that subject I read another Forbes piece on client’s views on awards, and it doesn’t exactly help me calm down. I mean, what can you say about the following reasoning by a CMO?

While the benefits for the agency from winning awards, what’s in it for the client? I was shocked recently when the CMO of a top, nationally recognized company, one that has won many awards over the years, told me that he believed that he is entitled to pay his agency a lower fee because the agency benefits financially from his award-winning account by picking up other accounts.

My marketer friend wondered why the agency could be leveraging the awards to win new business, while the client gets no financial benefit from those awards.

Being entitled to pay the agency less is another matter and I don’t think I’d be able to behave had I been there. But the second part about not getting any financial benefit is equally upsetting. Because like I wrote, it shows how very little some of these people know about the stuff they should know a great deal about.

Obviously it isn’t a clear cut case. Not all award winners have proven very effective and there’s a lot of bullshit “hey look how cool things we dream up” examples that understandably adds to some skeptics’ opinions on creative awards. But damnit we have to arrive at some basic level, general knowledge around creativity and business effects in the suit world soon. It’s upsetting if not even ridiculous.

it’s more fun to run the scull

As usual some really great work from Nike. Even though we’ve seen the idea and the mechanics before, it doesn’t make it less good, engaging and effective for the people activated. And I love the offline/online aspects of ideas like this. A physical run turns digital graffiti turns t-shirt.

Aqvia advertising running in Sweden

Aqvia – Churchhill from Gyro Scandinavia on Vimeo.

The commercials for Aqvia is running in Sweden at the time of writing. I’m part of the team behind it so I’m biased, but I love the feeling in all of them. And the voice belongs to Harry Potter’s hat…

The objective is to sell more gas and the machines is essentially a means to do that in a consumer market. But that doesn’t means it’s a case of quick and dirty manufacturing. Quite the opposite, as AGA has great heritage in stoves (now owned by another legal entity in Great Britain) and more importantly Scandinavian design.

I’ve had the chance of digging into the home appliances category/ies and in this case Sodastream is the main competitor. This Israeli company were pushing the last wave of bubble makers, around when I was 7 and everybody wanted to make their own coca-cola. They now have such a majority stake of the market you wouldn’t believe it. Touch competition.

The positon we found, although it’s fairly clear given the quality and aesthetics of the product, is about a well designed home, conscious decisions about interior design and objects. The kitchen is a good place to look when figuring out what kind of design sense the person living there has. Sodastream machines are for families where the kids make coca-cola, finger paint the walls and spray ketchup in the roof just before football practice, stressing mom out.

we won gold, by opening a bordello

OK, some self promotion. Sorry. We just won gold in the Swedish Effectiveness Awards (100wattarn), in the public awareness category, for opening a bordello. 1 in 13 Swedish men buy sex. Scary right? We live in liberal times and that goes for attitudes to prostitution as well. It’s a touch discussion to take and it’s not at all clear cut. I don’t want the state to tell me what I can and cannot do, but the problem is that when you look into it, see the statistics, talk to the people within the police and other institutions such as anti-trafficking units etc, you start to see some really disturbing “back sides”.

What happens is that organized crime gets involved. The demand for women is high so trafficking is the only way to secure distribution. Trafficking is the 2nd largest income for organized crime, right after drugs. You want prostitution? You will have to accept trafficking. That’s how it works.

With very limited funds we needed to get people to react, reflect and hopefully change their attitudes. There’s one arena where you can do that if you hit home, or completely disappear if you miss. In Almedalen – a place where all the politicians, PR people and organizations with a civic agenda meet for one week. An opportunity, and a great risk. Here’s the story:

Bordellen i Almedalen from Gyro Scandinavia on Vimeo.

Swedish only, sorry.

Did we manage to make something out of the opportunity? Yep, we were awarded “media factor of the week” making the greatest impact, got a 7 minute section on national news, live news coverage called “the duel of the bordello” and so on. People reacted and attitudes shifted. Only problem is; you need to keep going at it because the liberals still don’t get the trafficking connection it seems, and attitudes are fragile.

rob campbell on ideas

The discussion about ideas vs. ad ideas has been going on for a while. Not amongst everyone in the industry, far from it unfortunately, but many. Although Rob’s presentation didn’t contain completely new stuff, It’s about the most exciting. I thoroughly loved it and the fact that he weaved it all together. To one edible little 30 minute fortune cookie. And did it in a very amusing and clear way. I hope I present like that. Plus that moped idea is right on, and makes you wonder “what’s been going on before that”? The answer being that we think of products as we’ve always done. Not from the user’s (people) perspective and its context (culture).

stop thinking campaign

I recently did a presentation, with 3 colleagues of mine, for Ericsson employees. Marcom people. It was about storytelling and we basically talked about both uncontrolled and controlled storries. The magnificant campaign for Halo 3 is incredible storytelling of course. Controlled, directed and well thought trought. We all love it, who in the industry doesn’t?

Another aspect of storytelling, or perhaps rather story creating, is uncontrolled. I mean social media, free media. Facebook groups that hate or love your brand for example. Your story is being told/created/added to right there. Get over it. Presentations on slideshare – spreading uncontrolled. Everything is getting more and more transparant and that transparancy will have/has had implications down to product development and quality. Support and contact etc. WoM weighs heavier than any traditional advertising. If you want thumbs up, create a good product. The thumbs up will come, via free media channels and real people. This is not an ad campaign, but it drives sales and brand liking or whatever you want to call it. Clients have a hard time getting that. I mean really getting it.

Now I met with a couple of guys today (one of which was Piers Fawkes who was in stockholm, so we had a quick likemind get together; nice to meet you). I’m going to make the long story short – they have a great idea, soon on the market, that scans blogs and analyses the posts, and posts linking in to posts, from a psychographic perspective. I can’t explain, but fucking awesome. The amount of research that I, and other planners, need to do to get the info they presented is heaps! And it takes time! It was a bit like motivequest but another step, if I’m not mistaken.

Now in order to have an incentive to stop thinking campaigns, I think this tool (and others that will come) is the tracking/measurement that’s lacking. And the research community, that’s talking about what research methods to use in the future will like it. They’re talking about it but not much is happening.

On another note; I wonder how the meaning of the word “friend” will change now that we befriend people online but also defriend them for different reasons. All of a sudden friend is not just connected to an actual person and face as it used to be (or dog or whatever, but flesh and blood anyway). Maybe not at all and I should stop wondering about dumb ass stuff like that.

pre-testing advertising

I’m not a big fan of pre testing advertising. However, biking to work the other day it struck me that there are some cases where you can really benefit from it. Riding like a mad man, all of a sudden there are 3 guys in yello shirts in the middle of the lane trying to hit me with something. I feared for my life. They’re students who have had too much to drink, now they’re picking a fight!!?? Not at all. It’s some company (didn’t have time to see which) handing out “free juice in the morning” to people passing by. Pre-testing would have shown that not a single bicyclist stand a chanse to 1 – get the message and 2 – grab the bag with the juice inside. As a matter of fact, pre testing isn’t necessary here either, I take it back. Anyone understands that handing out juice to people riding to work isn’t going to work. Maybe not the typical pre-testing but still.