Thursday, January 29, 2009
Brand Keys has always focused on measuring ROI. We do it predictively and next week we’ll be presenting at the World Advertising Research Center’s Measuring Advertising Performance Conference in London.
Our question – about virtually any advertising, communication or marketing initiative – is “what did it do for the brand?” And as it’s likely that you haven’t missed the war of the tech brands: the Microsoft – Apple Monster Ad Rally with millions upon millions have been spent, the big question is “what was the return on that ad investment?”
To answer that we’ve done what we do best and have assessed how the “Seinfeld-Gates,” “I’m a PC,” and “Mac vs. PC” campaigns have affected loyalty, engagement among PC and Mac users. Most importantly, we are able to correlate these findings to market share.
Whether a Mac or PC user, what all brand managers need are truly consumer-centric metrics that factor in both rational and emotional elements, so critical to any meaningful advertising assessment.
If you are going to be in London on February 4th or 5th insights such as these can help you to refine the tools, practices, and decision-making processes you currently have in place. To book, go to www.warc.com/map2009.
Conferences like these open up many areas for discussion. But one thing that we know for absolutely sure is that brands need measures that test communications against a category engagement-based benchmark, not simply an historic average.
Otherwise your ROI may end up being less-than-average too.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Not all programs are right for all brands - even it happens to be the Super Bowl. Our 7th annual Super Bowl Engagement Survey shows when it comes to ROI, upsets are not limited to the playing field. This year, Denny’s, Hyundai, Budweiser, and Frito-Lay will be the advertisers most likely to get the highest ROI. Advertisers like Cars.com, E*Trade, Pedigree, and Coke – not so much.
Yes, the day-after creative reviews are interesting, and there’s always the ‘Water Cooler Effect’ to count on – chatter on Monday morning. But advertisers need to remember that ‘buzz’ comes in two frequencies: positive and negative. ’Wasn’t that terrible?’ and ‘What were they trying to say?’ never ever appeared in the strategic or creative brief. Clients expect more – or should at $100,000 a second!
The 2009 engagement survey is a national sample of 1,200 men and women, 18 – 65 years of age. The research predictively measures respondents’ reactions to brands within the context of the Super Bowl and the results correlate very, very highly with behavior and are reliable predictors of future brand purchase. Seven plus points guarantee your brand gets a real return on the investment. This year, ROI is predicted to be:
Advertiser “Super Bowl” Return
Bud Light +6
Bridgestone Firestone +5
DreamWorks (Monsters vs. Aliens) +5
Go Daddy.com -3
Universal Pictures (Land of the Lost) +4
Engagement assessments are separate from how many eyeballs were watching. Being emotionally engaged with the brand is vastly different from being entertained. And in today’s economy, a laugh really isn’t an acceptable return on an investment this size!
Thursday, January 22, 2009
The three big domestic automakers are now saying they are working jointly on a new hybrid car. It runs on a combination of state and federal bailout money.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
John F. Kennedy was the first US President to become a brand and understood the power of media and approached it with the strategic and tactical gusto of a new product launch.
What they did not know then – that we know now – is that voter behavior could have been accurately predicted – had they possessed the loyalty and engagement-based research that reveals what consumers really want and what they really expect. Barack Obama took those very insights and turned our most recent election into a different marketplace for a different generation.
Modern politics has always been about the marketing of ideas and personas and images and messages, but the promotion of Brand Obama is a case study of where both the American and global marketplaces have moved. By predictively identifying and then leveraging consumer/voter desires and expectations – for newness, for understanding, for differentiation, and for authenticity in both their society and their President – Barack Obama was able to meaningfully communicate and profitably engage with a broader, more diverse audience.
Worldwide economic tribulations have created massive marketplace paradigm shifts. Branding, generally, and politics, specifically, has moved beyond traditional identity and awareness efforts. An openness to the way consumers communicate with one another, how brands communicate with them, and a recognition of consumer desires for authentic products and solutions, should be valuable indicators for forward-thinking brands and marketers who want to successfully engage and profitably broaden their consumer bases.
It used to be that no one brand could be all things to all consumers. But the marketplace is not static, but as markets and brands change, so too does the consumer (and vice versa). With those changes will come an increased culling of brands, and only brands that can inspire higher levels of engagement within broader consumer bases will survive.
No matter your political affiliations, it is undeniable that over the past decade President Bush represented the value of his base. In President-elect Obama we have a “brand” determined to represent the whole country.
Hail to the brand. Hail to the Chief.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
The title of today’s blog comes from a quotation by Bertrand Russell, and was the inspiration for the title of our new book, The Certainty Principle: How to Guarantee Brand Profits in the Consumer Engagement Marketplace.
This, our second book, was written by Brand Keys founder and president, Robert Passikoff, and EVP, Director of Brand Development, Amy Shea, and has a Foreword by Bob Barocci, president and CEO of the Advertising Research Foundation.
As in our first book, Predicting Market Success, The Certainty Principle provides validated case studies based on leading-indicator loyalty and engagement assessments and actionable insights into how to profitably leverage consumer-generated insights. Real-world examples like Starbucks, Dove, Apple, Coke – even Barack Obama – bring the dynamics of real consumer engagement into sharp relief, and any brand, no matter the size, can profit from the book’s critical insights.
You can read an excerpt here, and if you are interested in a copy of your own, The Certainty Principle was published simultaneously in hardcover and paperback and can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble.com, Powell’s.com, or at select booksellers.
By the way, Mr. Russell was right. Marketers and brands don’t suffer from a lack of data, or even knowledge. What’s missing is certainty—certainty about what consumers really want, otherwise known as their “Ideal.” Certainty about how to differentiate brands, successfully integrate and sequence marketing efforts, and measure ROI. And, most importantly, how to profitably engage the consumer.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
After last Sunday’s NFL game, the Giants became the first No. 1 seeded defending Super Bowl champion to lose their first playoff game. Some fans have suggested that if Plaxico Burress had been on the field, the game would not have gone so badly for the Giants, but that’s not for certain.
What is certain, however, is that when things go badly for well-known brands or celebrity athletes, despite a galaxy of spin-doctors, managers, and lawyers, the situation has negative effects to consumer/fan engagement. And when engagement weakens, so does fan behavior and (shortly thereafter) profits. Always. And you don’t have to look much further than the Giant’s own Plaxico Burress to see the results of when a celebrity shoots himself in the foot, or in his case, the thigh. Burress was suspended after drunkenly shooting himself in the leg with an unlicensed .40-caliber handgun a month ago and it’s possible you won’t see him wearing a Giants’ uniform ever again. And to add insult to injury, that very same fact is likely true for football fans as well.
Since a loss of brand/celebrity equity always results in negative consumer behavior, sales of the Burress No. 17 jersey fell from being one of the best sellers in licensed apparel to virtually no sales at all. Really. No sales at all. Chains like Sports Authority and Modell’s have marked the jersey down from the usual $80 price tag to as low as $19.49, and they still can’t get fans to buy them. Because while fans can’t decide whether an athlete’s contract gets renewed or how much he gets paid, they sure can show their disapproval at the cash register.
So whether you are a brand or a celebrity, keep in mind that a shortfall in engagement affects equity/image and always results in a loss of profits. In Burress’ case, his options seem to be either asking for #86 as his new uniform number, or just reconciling himself that he managed to help end his team’s chances to play in the Super Bowl and his career with a bang!
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Much like the Oldsmobile and 35mm film, the cord that binds the consumer to their traditional landline telephones is fast becoming a thing of the past. A growing number of consumers and businesses are discarding the phones on their desks and kitchen walls and replacing them with cell phones or voice over the internet (VOIP) technology.
This trend is being driven by a combination of land-line vs. cell phone price-value equations, technological advances in PDA/cell phone hardware and software, the cell phone’s increased standing (and use) as an actual “screen” by marketers, and the growing habituation to 24-7 multi-tasking.
Currently there are no national statistics about how many businesses are cutting the cord, but we can report that on the consumer front, nearly 15% of the US population can now only be reached by cell phone. This number is based on our 2009 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index that talks to 26,000 men and women, 18 to 65 years of age, drawn from the 9 US Census regions. Incidence levels spread over 61 categories and 427 brands currently indicate that one in six families have substituted a wireless phone for a landline.
Who’s the beneficiary of this movement? Currently the top-five wireless handset/PDA-like brands being dialed up by loyal consumers are:
For those who doubt the force of this trend, it would be well to heed the words of Sir William Preece, the chief engineer of the British Post Office, who, in 1876, noted, “We have no need of the telephone. We have plenty of messenger boys.”
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Needless to say, last year was difficult for marketers, and early signs all point to the fact that 2009 isn’t going to be any easier. Happily, loyalty and engagement metrics - leading-indicators of what consumers think and, more importantly, how they are going to behave - can act as a brand’s marketing early-warning system.
Having examined these metrics, Brand Keys offers the following nine major trends that will have a direct impact on the success – or failure – of marketing efforts in 2009.
1. Price matters but only if you’re a commodity.
2. Differentiation, meaning, and added-value matters more. And more.
3. Engagement is not a fad. It is the brand objective.
4. Media planning must be more innovative, touch-point focused, and two-way.
5. Brands will have to meaningfully support a sustainable future.
6. Brands will need to identify – and leverage – new values like “customization.”
7. Behavior will finally beat attitude. To know you is not to buy you!
8. Consumer expectations will continue to grow. And grow.
9. Life will need to be simpler for your brand and your customer.
For more detail about each of these trends, we invite you to read our Chief Marketer column, “Nine for '09: Nine Major Loyalty & Engagement Trends for 2009's Brand Marketing Efforts.”
The future may not be what it used to be, but marketers that have loyalty and engagement metrics in place will have a handle on the trends that are going to show up in their offices. And in 2009 that’s more important than ever because to be prepared is half the victory.