Five companies are slugging it out in what may be the most competitive and unique business battle of all time. It is larger in scale with more at stake than battles in other industries including transportation, energy, and finance.
More remarkable is how different the combatants are from one another. Instead of similar companies competing (Toyota versus General Motors, for example), these companies hail from different business bases: an electronics manufacturer, a lifestyle computing company, an online retailer, a search engine, and a social network. In order: Samsung, Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook. I call them the Fabulous Five.
Through a sea of clutter in the world of advertising, how do you get your message across? One technique is to actively engage the viewer. The Activation Tool invites the prospect to make an immediate action during the encounter with the ad, either in a physical way or mental way. It is particularly useful when you want to: 1. make the target audience aware of a problem, or 2. make the target audience aware of the solution. Consider this print example from the advertising agency Saatchi:
Marketers have such a wide array of social media apps to choose from that it can be overwhelming. Tools such as Go2Web20.net can help sort through the maze and narrow down the search to catergories of apps such as mobile, Facebook, gaming, and so on. But to squeeze more out of social apps, the savvy marketer looks for ways to innovate in a way that supports the brand. For this month's LAB, let's apply the innovation method, SIT, to social media apps as a means of brand building.
This is not the first time we've applied innovation techniques to social media. In the October 2009 LAB, we demontrated how to apply social apps to a large field organization such as a sales force or delivery fleet. The key was using the Task Unification Technique, one of five in the SIT method. To use Task Unification, we take a component of a product, service, system, etc, and we assign an additional "job" to it. For this month's LAB, we will apply the same basic approach to brand building. Imagine you are the brand manager for the billion dollar Febreze® franchise, and you are looking for ways to stretch the brand into eliminating pet odor. Here is how it works.
The rapid adoption of smartphones is changing the landscape of the marketing research industry. Last month’s “Market Research in the Mobile World” conference in Cincinnati highlighted many ways the market research industry is trying to adjust. The industry is evolving from using lengthy printed surveys and personal interviews to instead collecting consumer reactions “in the moment” that are transmitted digitally as it happens. What was once a process of collecting “many answers from few” is becoming a process of collecting “a few answers from the many.” With their trusty appliance in hand, consumers can now share what’s on their mind virtually any part of their day. Not only is data received faster, it is also more reliable by sampling smaller bites from a larger pool.
Perhaps harder than branding is re-branding. Once the market associates your brand with a specific promise, it is difficult to get people to shift over to a newer or more updated meaning. This is especially true for brands that have been around a long time. Take the brand of Canada, for example. It adopted the instantly-recognizable Maple Leaf as its national flag in 1965 over contending choices such the one shown here. Now Canada is re-positioning the brand to update its global image. The new campaign, "Know Canada," makes clever use of the S.I.T. advertising tool called Subtraction.
The tool is one of eight patterns embedded in most innovative commercials. Jacob Goldenberg and his colleagues describe these simple, well-defined design structures in their book, "Cracking the Ad Code," and provide a step-by-step approach to using them.
How do you know if someone is truly innovative? I look for three things. First, does the person have a cognitive process for generating new ideas? Innovation is a skill, not a gift. It can trained and learned like any other skill. So I expect successful innovators to have such training and be able to deploy ideation methods - on demand.
Second, is the person motivated and hopeful about the future? Hope is defined as a positive motivational belief in one's future; the feeling that what is wanted can be had; that events will turn out for the best. Research shows that an employee's sense of hope explains their creative output at work. Hope predicts creativity.
Third, and perhaps most elusive: do they have the innovation senses to know how their efforts will succeed? I call these the Five Senses of Innovation.
Commercials that show the benefits of using the product are likely to be ignored because consumers expect it. The message becomes cliche. If the advertiser shows how the consumer is transformed by using the product, consumers become skeptical. Telling viewers they will become young and adventurous by drinking a soft drink lacks credibility. It is wishful thinking, but unrealistic. The ad is tossed aside.
But show these same product benefits in an extreme, unrealistic way and the advertisement is likely to be more memorable. The message sinks in. That is the goal of the Extreme Consequence Tool. This tool creates ads that show the absurd result of using the product. Over exaggeration of the promise is viewed as clever and credible versus traditional exaggeration.
The Unification Tool is a tricky but effective advertising tool. Unification recruits an existing resource and forces it to carry the advertising message. That resource can come from within the medium itself or within the environment of the medium. In other words, the tool uses an existing component of the medium or of its environment in a way that demonstrates the problem or the promise to be delivered.