Recent media reports have commented that despite its long list of awards, the campaign hasn't increased traffic numbers.
This is shortsighted. The environment in which businesses (including tourism) operate is impacted by many factors. The Global Financial Crisis, cited as the worst economic downturn for a century and from which we are only just emerging, has been of particular influence to potential visitors.
The effect of marketing is cumulative. It is not a tap to turn on and off. The best marketing results are gained when companies commit to a focussed, long term consistent effort. Switching off marketing activity - particularly in tough times - gives competitors still marketing an edge; and means substantial future investment in catch up to reestablish the brand, awareness and win back customers lost from ceasing communication with them.
The marketing investment such as TQ's campaign will bring returns in the longer term. The campaign now enters a new phase to capitalise upon the massive publicity and convert interest to sales. It is the long term, consistent effort which will reap rewards.
Rather than only assessing sales (via traffic numbers), the question should also be - what would have happened if no campaign had run? What would the traffic figures been like then?
Two of my favourite business magazines recently devoted their entire issues to sustainability. Increasingly companies are seizing the issue to to garner a competitive edge with consumers.
Whilst marketing might communicate being green as a brand attribute (not core benefit); it struck me (probably idealistically) how wonderful will be the time when green is the organisational norm - and not a unique selling point or source of competitive advantage. There would be no differentiation - all companies would be green.
Until that day - customers' support of green companies and brands will continue to encourage business adoption of policies. However marketing has an important role in communicating how to support our fragile eco system. Indeed, in understanding which companies are green a recent study showed that 50% of people could name an organisation with green credibility (1). Another study showed that although Australian SME's were willing, two thirds were unsure how to action climate change policies. (BRW, October 22, 2009).
For businesses - how to get started?
Reduce your organisation's energy use .. buying the energy your business uses from renewable sources
Add a carbon offsetting option to your billing
Review your suppliers in the value chain and assess their green practices - seek out eco partners
Use recycled stationery and materials for all communications pieces, and sales promotion items
Measure and offset the carbon footprint of your organisation's website. (Visit : Greenserve, CO2Stats.com and GREENMYWEBSITE.COM)
For larger, publicly listed companies - organisations such as Sydney's Interactive Investor provide online reporting including green reports in lieu of paper reports.
Be wary of greenwashing
In an age of authenticity, businesses need to be particularly wary of 'greenwashing' - making claims that cannot be substantiated. To assist, The Australian Association of National Advertisershas introduced a green claims code, for marketers to check their environmental claims. Greenwashing can result in substantial fines (in Australia - up to $ 1.1 million) - but more importantly, organisations will compromise the relationship with their customers and damage their brand.
The following provides some additional resources which may be of assistance:
‘A Brand should strive to own a word in the mind of the consumer’ Ries & Ries
The iSnack 2.0 scandal reminds of several lessons about branding which all businesses can apply.
Where did iSnack 2.0 go wrong?
Simply, the name didn’t engage the customer. Initial engagement occurred via Kraft’s naming competition, but the final selection was made without reference to the majority of their customers. Feedback showed the name held little meaning and was irrelevant to the product.
3 Small Business Brand Name Tips
As Ries & Ries say ..’If you to build a brand ..you must focus your branding efforts
on owning a word in the prospect’s mind. A word that nobody else owns.’
1. To ensure you choose a relevant brand name, firstly think about your product/service,
its core benefit, other attributes and where you want it to sit in the market.
2. Look at the other brands in the market place. How can your name represent your
brand’s values, personality and stand out?
3. Consider your customers. Does the name resonate with them? iSnack 2.0 seemed a gratuitous effort to capture Gen Y’s without reference to their other target audiences. This is dangerous as Gen Y’s particularly are wary of marketing messages. Yet some Gen Y comments overheard included:
‘The ‘i’ is so nineties!’ and ‘Web 2.0 .. we’re heading towards 3 now!’
A Brand is so Much More than a Logo
We have previously written that branding is so much more than your logo. A brand is the customer
experience at every touch point with a business. Everything a business does conveys meaning to its brand and values. To reinforce a brand, it is vital to ensure it is consistently
executed across all communication.
The Process of Branding
The iSnack2.0 example shows how getting the name right requires much thought and consideration, and typically results after a thorough consideration process. For businesses, following this process will avoid costly catch up activity and customer confusion which can inhibit sales.
I received some very sad news recently. One of my very special MBA colleagues had passed away suddenly – at age 42 – leaving behind a beautiful wife and two children under 4 years old.
It will be awhile before I come to terms with the reality that Dean is no longer with us and I can’t imagine what his family are going through. Dean’s passing has stimulated much reflection, particularly how he exemplified so perfectly that in business and in life, it is possible not only to be smart, successful and creative, but to be really nice too.
My first memory of Dean was during the obligatory introductions on the morning of our first workshop. Dean introduced himself as a financial services marketer, who lived in St Kilda (a cool part of Melbourne) and loved music, art and sport.As we listened (and assessed) our new colleagues – I immediately thought: ‘Wow he’s an interesting guy!': well rounded, immediately extremely personable and likeable. These first impressions held true over the ensuing three years of our study – and were simply developed and reinforced.
We all held fairly demanding jobs during our studies, so many Sunday mornings and late week nights were devoted to our syndicate group work. The intensity of our studies, deadlines and lives – facilitated the privilege of getting to know our colleagues quite deeply. Friendships were formed which continue today.
Daniel Goleman’s book ‘Emotional Intelligence’ had just been published and Dean had EI in spades. He was a brilliant chair to our meetings, innovator and mediator. Dean enriched our MBA experience and made it fun. Most of all, Dean inspired each of us to be better people.
They say God only takes the best – and he’s certainly done so in this case. God’s marketing department has a wonderful new angel.
The Australian Consulate is holding a special dinner tonight for Dean in Singapore, Dean and Mandy’s home for the last several years.
We will be thinking of them tonight. Dean – you will be in our hearts always.
I am not proud to admit that I spent some considerable time recently cleaning my bulging inbox. Am too embarrassed to admit the exact number, but rest assured a significant number of emails met their cyber maker. As I ploughed through - intensely committed to getting the unwieldy tool organised - I couldn't help but wonder how it got so out of control in the first place.
The process reminded me of editing major papers at university, when a successful afternoon was marked by the elimination of several thousand words. At that time I learnt how useful it was to establish processes and write succinctly at the outset - rather than investing copious amounts of editing time later. The same principle applies to my burgeoning inbox. It would be beneficial in terms of time and computer efficiency if the emails were filed or deleted as they were received, well before my hardworking computer slowed in protest, creeking under their weight.
The adages “Begin with the end in mind” and “Start out how you wish to continue” remind us of this principle and are applicable to business. Yet unfortunately many businesses start up or continue to operate without a plan, only taking action when the business has run into difficulty and adversely affected.
A good marketing plan is a business’s most cost effective marketing tool. It doesn't need to be cumbersome - indeed it can be presented in a page. But like the time invested in bulging inboxes or shearing words in editing a paper, a plan and its consideration of the market, customers and the shaping of your services to suit, will help avoid ad hoc and unnecessary expenditure in mistimed and ill designed business marketing activities.
Strategic planning is a fundamental business process which will increase the chances of business success – and to get it right from the beginning. Like unattended inboxes, doing it now will save time and money later. Very beneficial!
The Tipping Point as Malcolm Gladwell describes – and as author Iggy Pintado notes in his book Connection Generation – is ‘the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point.’
That point – says Iggy was October 13, 1994 – 15 years ago today – with the publiclaunch of the Netscape Navigator Web browser, providing accessto the wealth of information available on the World Wide Web.Google’s subsequent introduction extended access to that information by enabling specific word and phrase search.
These changes have transformed marketing and business today. A website is the ultimate cost effective marketing tool, extending market reach for businesses, providing a platform to build relationships with customers, brand awareness and communication.
However, although most Australian businesses are online - a little more than half have a website. If your customers are online then you definitely should be. 25% of the world’s population or more than 1.6 billion people are linked to the web.And two thirds of Australian households are now online, making a website, a a key marketing tool, and fundamental to business today.
Netscape is no longer with us. The popularity of Microsoft Internet Explorer and subsequent other browsers, led to its demise - with development ceased in late 2007 and cancellation of technical support in March 2008. It's legacy though is certain to live on.
I have a confession to make. In the world of social media I came to LinkedIn rather late. I've heard LinkedIn described as the 'buttoned down, suited up version' of social media and after working for more than 20 years in corporate environments - was keen to pursue what I felt were more innovative and relaxed forms.
Facebook, Twitter, blogging and LinkedIn are just a few of the social media platforms and as discussed previously, facilitate strategic marketing by enabling engagement with customers in one on one conversations, listening and authenticity. It's all about building relationships. And LinkedIn fosters those - in spades.
* LinkedIn has over 47 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the world.
* A new member joins LinkedIn approximately every second, and about half of all members are from outside the U.S.
*Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are LinkedIn members
Yes it is a slightly more serious form - you post your professional background/resume as a profile and can request recommendations from those with or for whom you’ve worked. But this is just the start - it is so much more! For a Business to Business marketing tool - LinkedIn can be really useful. The following are just five features of LinkedIn relevant to growing your business.
LinkedIn is fantastic way to follow up those connections made at networking events. Instead of forwarding the 'it was nice to meet you' emails, you can connect via LinkedIn and in the process still send a message. The person with whom you’re connecting will immediately receive your background and profile.
LinkedIn has tools enabling to search and identify companies within an industry and location. Extremely useful!
3. Brand Personality
Linked n enables you to connect your twitter and blog feeds. You can attach documents and presentations - and even provide book reviews which provide further insight into you and your brand.
Joining groups of interest on LinkedIn provides a wonderful way to network, expand contacts and cultivate useful information.
Being active on LinkedIn will also help your SEO. You can include your website details on your profile.
So don't be a late LinkedIn bloomer. Start lovin' LinkedIn now. Your business will be glad you did!
You may have heard that Vegemite announced the name of their new product last weekend. The new cheesy concoction is to be known as 'i Snack 2.0'. The name was suggested by a Perth web designer, in a competition and chosen from more than 40,000 others.
Marketing strategists Al and Laura Ries say the 'birth of a brand is achieved with publicity, not advertising' . The media that has ensued has certainly answered that objective.
It remains to be seen whether the name will remain or indeed is part of some publicity activity of a larger plan. Indeed, doubt still exists as to whether Coke's 1985 introduction and subsequent withdrawl of New Coke, was a publicity stunt.
For any business, the brand name decision is key. It seeks to be memorable, own the category and authentically represent the product's values. ‘i Snack 2.0’ doesn’t seem right . Here are some reasons:
Feels like they're trying to cash in on all things ‘ i ’ to win instant cool.But having an ‘i ’ in front of a product doesn’t make it cool. The product itself has to fulfill that promise. The reason iphones, imacs and ipods are cool, are because they are innovative and functional products which live up to their brand promise.
Is ‘i ’ relevant .. ? The ' i ' doesn't seem relevant here. Apple has ownership of the ‘i ’ categories .. and if they introduced a snack to eat while you are on your Iphone or working on your imac ..it would seem a more natural extension.
The name is a mouthful (sorry - bad pun). From twitter: ‘ Seriously? iSnack 2.0 name 4 new Vegemite.' Do you want jam,Vegemite or iSnack 2.0 on your toast? ;-)..’RT @sammutimer: RT @bonniebullock
An ‘ i’ in front of the product doesn’t necessarily give instant access to a younger audience. Younger audiences are known to be more discerning and wary of marketing messages. Any suspected manipulation or exploitation may in fact turn them away.
And just as it is that not only young people use all things ‘i ’, older people might be interested in this new Vegemite product .. after all we’ve lived and experienced the previous one for a long time!
Ries and Ries propose their 21st law of Immutable Branding as the 'Law of Mortality': ‘No brand will live forever. Euthanasia is often the best solution’.