Sunday, October 14, 2012

Coca Cola Guerilla Marketing-Colombia

Coca-Cola eases the stress of traffic by creating an outdoor theater in Bogota, Colombia.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Cultivating Your Customer

 BY Nick Sutherland
We have loyalty programs. Then there’s lead nurturing. Along with the many variations of permission marketing. And not to mention, the growing number of social media and app media that is a location -based service. Trying to enhance the customer relationship is not a new idea.  

The problem with how we as marketers, advertisers, businesses and brands approach the customer is the fact that our goal and only goal is to get the sale. In the majority of cases, that’s it. That’s the truth to our pursuits. The be all and end all to our primary objective. Don’t get me wrong , I’m a believer in business. However, we are constantly and continually pursuing a system of acquisition and reacquisition rather than focusing on retention and personal customer growth. For some this is fine. But so much opportunity is left on the table.

In a world of growing competition and at a period that’s becoming increasingly known as the age of the customer, we have to rethink our business models. We have to rethink how we approach, value, enhance and provide a mutually beneficial relationship for both the seller and the buyer. The customer will always make purchases. So why simply settle for the sale? Why not go beyond that one single event? Why not settle for continued sales from the returning customer instead?

Cultivating your customer is by no means an easy process. Like any relationship, it takes some work to make something great. It has to go beyond the mass emails, check-ins, barcode scans and loyalty points programs. It has to be real and it has to be human. It has to be authentic and it has to be meaningful.  
Although social media attempts to create and solve the issue of enhanced relationships, it’s thinking and logic takes on a very traditional approach in more instances than it should.  It’s essence is often removed as a result. Leaving the customer to be felt as if they were removed themselves.

 Yes, we’re all interested in great “deals” and promotions that spike our interest. And that will always work to an extent. But we would always enjoy the personal touch versus being part of the known mass audience. Luckily, technology is making this easier with there being no better time than now to differentiate and make this about you, the customer.

Great customer service has evangelized many brands and businesses. But great customer service is only concerned up to the point of the sale and maybe some assistance after. Who says the relationship has to end there? Regardless of which category and perceived lifetime value a product or service receives. We’ve been led to believe nothing exists beyond the purchase. Though, I’m hardly suggesting a courtesy call. Does the this vicious cycle merely end here? Considering you won’t purchase said item again, right.

Great customer service has had the ability to profoundly impact how we choose where we decide to spend our dollar. So much so that is has become a significant factor in many of the purchasing decisions we make. Now, think of the opportunities that exist should you expand that mentality to the point of the next purchase. After all, many of us will most certainly purchase more than one pair of shoes, continue to be a part of a growing services environment and endlessly entertain our interests.
Customer cultivation could most definitely be interpreted as methods that currently exist.

 That sense and understanding would be flawed. This is not about sending or providing the customer with something in order to prompt another sale. This is about saying thank you. This is about confidently giving the customer something to enjoy with no recourse other than for that something to be enjoyed by the customer.This is about going above and beyond all existing buyer and seller experiences and perceptions. This is about creating a real relationship and a storyboard. 

 Cultivate the customer, your customer. Deliver the happiness they deserve. And watch everything grow.

Monday, September 3, 2012

26 facts about millennials online, social and mobile behaviors

The Online World

1. 93% of those aged 12-29 go online.
2. Seven out of ten teens aged 12- 17 have a computer.
3. Two thirds of those aged 18-29 own a laptop while half own a desktop.
4. 63% of teens internet users go online everyday.
5. 48% of teens aged 14-17 have bought something online. Just under six out of ten girls make online purchases compared to just under half of the boys in the same age group.
6. Nearly seven out of ten 14-17 year-olds get news online about current events.
7. Four out of five aged 12-17 own a game console compared to six out of ten aged 18-29.
8. A quarter of 12-17 year-olds go online via game console.

Social Networking Sites

9. 55% those aged 12-13 go on social networking sites versus 82% of those aged 14-17.
10. Nearly six out of ten 18-29 year-olds have more than one social networking profile more than one site. A number that is increasing year over year.
11. Social networking fatigue: one out of five teens aged 13-17 no longer visits Facebook or is using it less.
12. Social networking abandonment rates with 13-17 year-olds: MySpace at 22%, YouTube and Twitter at 15%, Facebook at 9%.
13. Two thirds of 13-17 year-olds reported decreased Facebook use in last 6 months. Half say the reason is the result of “lost interest” or simply, that “it’s boring.”
14. Decline in online teen activities over last 4 years: everyday messaging to friends is down 5%, sending group messages is down 11%, private messages is down 16%, and posting comments on a friend’s blog is down 24%.
15. Teens are still highly active in commenting on friends pictures (83%) and page or wall (86%)
16. Girls between ages 14-17 use Twitter more (13%) and boys in the same age group (7%).
17. 37% those aged 18-24 post status updates regarding themselves on Twitter and other status updating sites. They also view other updates. Up 19% from two years earlier.
18. Teens in decline towards blogging activity. Since 2006, teens who blog has declined by half from 28% to 14%. Teen commenting on blogs through social networks has also declined from 76% to 52%.
19. Blogging has declined in those aged 18-29 from 24% three years earlier to 15%.

Mobile Phone Activity

20. Two thirds of 18-29 are cell phone internet users.
21. 78% of teens aged 13-17 have a cell phone.
22. Texting has increased 566% with 12-17 year-old over the last 3 years.
23. Eight out of ten of those aged 13-17 send text messages.
24. Over nine out of ten 18-29 year-olds own a cell phone. Up 22% from 5 years earlier.
25. 95% of cell phone owners aged 18-29 send and receive text messages. 93% also take pictures with their cell phones. Highest among any demographic
26. Seven out of ten 18-29 year olds go online via cell phones at least once a day.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Leveraging the millennials

By Nick Sutherland

Millennials are the largest generation in American history. Born between 1978 and 2000, they are 95 million strong, compared to 78 million Baby Boomers. They are independent—politically, socially, and philosophically
Millennials are considerably brand-centric. They love the brand. They love brands. They share brands. They talk brands. They live brands. They speak brands. And they have invested considerable ideological value into them. They have come to represent who they are.

The Millennials are an incredibly interesting and unique set of individuals. At a time of extreme change and transformation, they have been able to adopt, excel and adapt to a rapidly moving fluid environment. And it seems they just about lead every category in one manner or another. Whether those be technological, behavioural or demographic statistics. Driven by dreams, fuelled by connectivity and maintaining an optimistically unprecedented thought process, the millennialness of the Millennials is often left untouched and misunderstood.

This group of individuals exhibit something powerful, different and fresh  Something that should be noted as traditional and conventional societal structures are now being tackled by untraditional and unconventional societal shifts.

Understanding these master multi-taskers wouldn’t be easy by any measure. It’s not merely a notion about taking on multiple tasks at once. Rather, it’s about understanding the multi-dimensional thinking and thought process that actually occurs. It’s about uncovering and bringing to the forefront the different behavioural patterns that are becoming commonplace. This can be accredited to everything the Millennials have been exposed to and the multitude of these aspects that they have incorporated into their daily lives.

It has created a very fluid process and ability to transition between Facebook,Linkedin, Google+, their smart phones, maintaining a series of conversations and just about anything else without significant interruption or setback to the tasks at hand. They have embraced the tools of their environment. They have evolved the environment itself. And they have created a social paradigm that has drastically changed the world from the pre-Facebook and pre-smart phone one no one can remember to what it has become today.

The resulting impact has manifested an extraordinary set of circumstances for the Millennials surroundings. They have become significantly influential to everything and everyone around them. Who’s opinions are heavily weighed and considered. From dictating the purchasing decisions of their parents to the inclinations of social influence and the ability to sway groups of peers with the justifications of their decisions.

This is an age of very savvy adopters.

They have the uncanny ability to spread both the good and the bad. Depending on who you are that could be used to your advantage or determent. They are the savants of our advancing society.

58% of U.S. Millenials said they do research before they buy a vacuum cleaner. Forty-three percent said they won't go to a movie without researching it first. And nearly 1 in 4 Americans said they do research before they buy a bottle of shampoo. Shampoo—the product that once sold bottles by the billions because a pretty model bounced her hair or kids giggled in the tub. But no more.Today's consumers have questions: Does the shampoo work on curly hair? Is it good for swimmers? Was it tested on animals? Are there toxins in it? Are the bottles recyclable…?

In the age of social media, ’brand’ stories are no longer confined to the ‘marketplace’ but are now part of culture, both high and low.

Millennials are avid YouTubers. While 13-17 year-olds represent 21%, 18-34 year-olds represent 36% of YouTube’s viewing audience, combining for a total of 57%. Of which, they had a significant viewing impact to the over 5.7 billion videos were streamed in the US just this past June.
Understanding those habits will be crucial for advertisers as millenials age and eventually have families of their own. That’s something to bear in mind – as do many marketers looking to the next generation for growth.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Brand Building On Social Purpose

By Nick Sutherland

The societal marketing concept calls upon marketers to build social and ethical considerations into their marketing practices. They must balance and juggle the often conflicting criteria of company profits, consumer want satisfaction, and public interest.
Increasingly more organizations are holding themselves to a higher ethical standard considering the overall interests of society in the operations of their day-to-day business, but many of them don’t know how to actually make changes that would improve both business performance and societal impact.

Beyond the transaction/marketing driven model of brand building, enlightened brand owners are building the value of their brands around aligning social good with business good. These organizations realize the foundation of their competitive advantage will be based on a higher purpose --- social good.
In the marketing driven model of brand building, the focus is on awareness and communicating better features of the product. Consumers and customers simply exchanged money for a product. When the performance of the product matched up to customer expectations the brand promise was delivered. End of story.

That’s not good enough for consumers/customers today.
Apple’s  problem  of complicity in the harmful working conditions in the Chinese supplier factories is a recent example of the deeper scrutiny placed on brand owners. Apple’s circumstances makes the point clear --- consumers not only consider the products you make, or the services you provide, they’re also looking carefully at your entire value chain–where your stuff is made, what it’s made from, how it impacts the environment,  the community, who your suppliers are, how well employees are treated. Consumers are scrutinizing the value of brands based on the social good they do in the world.

Brand owners must ask themselves “how can we align our business good with social good”?  The answer to that question needs to come from the very top of the organization, not from marketing or PR departments.
Nielsen’s Global Corporate Citizenship Survey found that 46 percent of global consumers are willing to pay extra for products and services from companies that have implemented programs to give back to society.
Younger consumers tend to be more socially conscious, the research shows. Just over half of those consumers between 15 and 39 years old said they were willing to pay extra for such items, compared with 37 percent of those over 40.

Shoppers outside of the U.S. are leading the social responsibility push. The study revealed a larger percentage of consumers in Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America are willing to pay extra for products and services from socially responsible companies than their North American and European peers.
Environmental sustainability, improvements to science, technology, engineering and math education and the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger topped the list of causes important to socially conscious consumers.

Breaking down the barriers within organizations
The problems start when the CEO hasn't drunk the Kool-Aid and considerations for shareholders and senior management dominate over customers and employees. Far too many companies have set up CSR initiatives simply to provide some window dressing or PR to their corporate story.
The problem gets more complicated because there is much research showing that consumers favor brands that show social responsibility. So the temptation to greenwash is real and brands do the logical thing and try to ride the bandwagon.

Traditionally, the siloed nature of organizations would have one group of people thinking and acting on corporate philanthropy and community, while other groups are developing and marketing products with the greatest margins possible. These functions rarely if ever are coordinated by a vision to maximize social and business good. Business good and social good being “functions” rather a unifying principal of existence.
Enlightened brand owners are breaking down the functional barriers in their organization and converging these interests into a common social purpose driven brand value.

Patagonia Outdoor clothing is extraordinary in this regard. The higher purpose of Patagonia is not to make and market more technically driven outer wear, rather Patagonia’s leadership has aligned their core values and mission around stewardship and sustainability of the planet as a whole. They are a leading voice and advocate for the greater good. This is not a brand strategy, or clever marketing– it’s who they are as an enterprise. It’s the reason their employees come to work every day. It’s also the reason the brand has unquestioned relevant differentiation in their customers minds and competitive advantage at a premium price point in the marketplace. Patagonia is a brand that represents social good and business good as two sides of the same coin.

The deeper principal that brands like Patagonia are based on is simple --- social good is highly valued (relevant) to its customers and drives business performance (competitive advantage). Patagonia then walks the talk every day. For Patagonia, there’s no difference between advocating for greater sustainable and stewardship of the planet and making money.

Cooperate and collaborate with competitors
Companies now face multiple challenges including a struggling economy, an eroding middle class, persistent poverty, and growing environmental damage. As such, companies need to work together to solve problems that are larger than their own self-interest. Such efforts are also a powerful demonstration to their customer community of the brand’s commitment to the well being of others as well as themselves. When companies collaborate they are smarter, faster, and more effective at finding the solutions and often reap unforeseen benefits for their individual brands.

Corporate social responsibility (policy, program or process) is strategic when it yields substantial business-related benefits to the firm, in particular by supporting core business activities and thus contributing to the firm’s effectiveness in accomplishing its mission,” according to Lee Burke and Jeanne Logsdon in  How Corporate Social Responsibility Pays Off.

It does so by emphasizing the new idea that the purpose of corporate social responsibility within firms is for value creation. “The question that is addressed here is: under what conditions does a firm jointly serve its own strategic business interests and the societal interests of its stakeholders,” Burke and Logsdon wrote. In their study, value creation is most prevalent when the following factors are considered:
  • Centrality — closeness of fit to the firm’s mission and objectives;
  • Specificity — ability to capture private benefits by firm;
  • Pro-activity — degree to which the program is planned in anticipation of emerging social trends and in the absence of crises;
  • Voluntarism — the scope for discretionary decision-making and the lack of externally imposed compliance requirements;
  • Visibility — observable, recognizable credit by internal and/or external stakeholders for the firm; and
  • Value creation — identifiable, measurable economic benefits that the firm expects to receive.
Doing good is not good enough.
With these insights brand owners and managers can more easily identify activities of social good that your brand can own in unique and authentic ways.

Doing good is good business.