This Brand Is Your Brand, This Brand Is My Brand

Dipanjan Chatterjee

In my role as adviser to marketing leaders, I am often met with the question: “How do I figure out if it is better to invest in brand or to invest in something else?” To which I often respond with a perplexed, “Is there anything else?”

Brand is what keeps the lights on in my home and the bar stocked with Bourbon, so you will excuse my brazen partiality. But hear me out. Companies take products and services to market and create experiences for prospects and customers – these are “things” that they manage. Brand is an all-encompassing perception that holistically reflects how these “things” are viewed. When the organizational gods draw their charts, they more often than not drop brand in the domain of marketing. Indeed, there is an umbilical relationship between brand and marketing, but it would be entirely erroneous to view brand as circumscribed by marketing. Anything and anyone that shapes brand perception drives brand.

The brand does not belong to the CMO alone. It belongs to all, from the CEO on-high, to the front-line brand ambassadors. It runs from the fountainhead of marketing through every part of the business, from ritzy show rooms, through distribution warehouses, to IT data centers. If you listen hard, you may hear a Woody Guthrie variant reverberate off cubicle walls: "This brand was made for you and me." This is the anthem for modern marketing.

Read more

Adaptable Teams Prevail Over Mythical Retail End Times

The press continues to highlight bankruptcies and store closings to support a theory that the entire retail market is in a death spiral.  However, neither bankruptcies nor store closings accurately reflect the state of the retail market.  In 2017 we see an actual Wikipedia page dedicated to the ‘retail apocalypse’.  Headlines span the past seven years touting the doom of retail:

Retail Apocalypse Headlines from 2010-2017

 
Bankruptcies Aren’t Proxies For Retail Market Health…
Read more

The State Of Mobile Marketer Tactics 2017

Thomas Husson

I just published a new report to help marketers benchmark the mobile tactics and technologies their B2C marketer peers use and are planning to use in the next 12 months. The key findings are as below:

  • Marketers Misuse Mobile Marketing Tactics

B2C marketers often focus too much on piloting the latest mobile shiny object (see graphic below); unfortunately, they fail to adequately invest in the core mobile touchpoints — like email or search — that most consumers use to engage with brands.

  • Use Mobile To Transform Brand Experiences

Too few marketers think of mobile as an opportunity to transform the brand experience. To truly differentiate themselves, marketers should develop mobile-unique interactions delivering visible value with apps, messaging, and online-to offline tactics.

  • Insights And Constant Optimization Are Key To Unlocking Mobile’s Full Potential

To rethink how mobile could transform the customer journey, marketers should use ethnographic research and journey maps to develop a more holistic vision of their customer behaviors that leverage contextual data. Testing and learning will not be enough — the use of optimization techniques must be systematic.

Clients willing to know more can access the full report here.

Facebook Knows Your Emotions, So What?

James McQuivey

A minor ruckus ensued this week when major media reported that Facebook knows how its users feel. It appears that some believe that the world is therefore coming to a nefarious end. As in, "Lions, and tigers, and emotions, Oh my!"

The specific incident involved an analysis that some of Facebook's team undertook in Australia, the results of which were shared in a private conversation with a potential advertiser down under. The reaction of the major media and many voices online was to immediately panic. The objections were straightforward: a) Facebook is snooping into people's lives and learning things it ought not (in this case, insecure teenagers, which seems all the more troublesome), b) Facebook wants to sell this ill-gotten knowledge to advertisers, and c) Facebook and advertisers are in colusion to commit some kind of terrible maniuplation of humanity.

Read more

The Data Digest: Youth’s Scattered Social Mobile Behaviors

Reineke Reitsma

Recently, I was on a road trip in Morocco with my family, including three teenagers. While my interest in their phone usage at home mostly concentrates on the amount of time they spend on their devices, during the trip I got firsthand insight into how they use their phones. All three of them used it as a lifeline to their friends at home in the Netherlands, but it was amazing to see how each of them does that in a totally different way. My 16-year-old son was primarily “apping” (texting using Whatsapp) with his friends and sending the occasional picture; my 14-year-old daughter was trying to keep her Snapchat “streaks” alive while dealing with bad Wi-Fi signals and long road trips; while my 12-year-old daughter was vlogging all day about everything she encountered and uploading the videos when we had a signal. Part of these differences in behavior can be explained by their characters, but it’s mostly the result of the two-year age gaps between them. Even though they are all in their teens, they grew up with different digital platforms and capabilities.

The Forrester Data Consumer Technographics North American Youth Survey, 2017 (US), also shows this. More than half of US youth use YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook daily. But when we dive a level deeper, we see that the 14 and 15 year olds are more likely to post online than their 16- and 17-year-old peers.

Read more

Back To Basics: How The Most Improved US Auto Insurers Mastered The Mobile Customer Experience

Ellen Carney

The results are in!  Along with my fellow researchers August Du Pont, Mike Chirokas, I  just completed our yearly review of the mobile features offered by leading US auto insurers.[i]   In our fourth year of assessing these essential portable features, these 13 auto insurers achieved an impressive average score of 75 out of 100, seven points higher than our 2015 benchmark, even as we raised the bar in terms of our expected performance of these mobile auto insurance features. 

What were the key takeaways from this year’s study?

  • Geico again leads; Allstate squeezes past USAA by a nose.  With a nearly perfect score of 96 out of 100, Geico retained its lead among the 13 US auto insurers we evaluated. Allstate’s strong mobile capabilities moved it up into second place, a nostril ahead of USAA.
  • Many digital teams have made big improvements.  Nationwide, The Hartford, Esurance, State Farm, and American Family all improved their mobile services substantially.  Leading digital insurance teams are creating more personalized and simplified experiences, and they are providing more guidance to their customers on how to make the most of digital features.
Read more

The Power of Best Practices and Next Practices

Victor Milligan

Most companies have accepted the new market reality: customers are in charge, having digital chops is table stakes, and disruption is becoming normal. 

Although most companies have accepted this reality, they also admit that they are not prepared for it. In our Customer Obsessed Assessment, 62% of companies identified as being behind the power curve addressing current customer demands and an additional 25% are slightly behind where they want to be.

The results are not terribly shocking; there’s a lot of work to do. But it doesn’t make it any less scary once you realize we’re in the early stages of change.

The large-scale market response is still playing out - and the cycle of far-reaching (and sometimes painful) change will be playing out for many years to come. Arguably the large-scale market response is still to come. For example:

  • We have seen early examples of digital disruption in select industries, but have not seen the impact of digital platforms fronted by virtual agents creating havoc for brands to retain or improve their relationship with customers. 
  • We have not seen the impact of industrial platforms reshaping manufacturing processes and unleashing the power of data to the strategic advantage to some – and to the strategic threat to others. 
  • We have not seen the global market impact if CMOs shift major chunks of budget to digital experiences and away from advertising, squeezing the agency market.
Read more

The End of Advertising, The Beginning of Relationships

James McQuivey

Today my colleagues and I publish a bombshell of a report. Titled, "The End of Advertising As We Know It," the report at first glance fits nicely into the current backlash against major publishers and ad networks, including Google and Facebook. Led by P&G Chief Brand Officer, Marc Pritchard, major advertisers like GE and JP Morgan Chase have been reexamining their digital display advertising spend and threatening to cut significant dollars out as they pressure companies like Google and Facebook to provide more transparency and ultimately more standardization into their ad reporting. It all adds up, as we show in an infographic excerpted here, to what feels like a revolt.

All of this is good, necessary, and moving in the right direction for the health of the digital advertising economy. You have to have confidence in what you're buying and right now advertisers don't, for very good reasons. But that is not why we're declaring 2017 the year in which advertising as we know it comes to an end. Something bigger than that is happening. Or should be, if it's not, and that's why we wrote the report. What are we trying to make happen? It's less about the mechanics of advertising and more about a shift consumers are about to go through. Put simply, the end of advertising is coming because interruptions are coming to an end. As I say in the report:

Read more

Fix Your Marketing Measurement Mess: Key Takeaways And What You Can Do

Tina Moffett

A few weeks ago, my colleague Jim Nail and I conducted a “Fix Your Measurement Mess” workshop at the 2017 Consumer Marketing Forum in New York. Our workshop became a great conversation starter for participants to understand and take inventory of their challenges and to recognize priority metrics for their own businesses.

The 4-hour measurement workshop was a hands-on session to deconstruct marketers’ current measurement approach, prioritize and classify metrics, unearth what makes a valuable metric, and identify the triggers marketers need to start, stop, or continue monitoring as they become more measurement savvy. We discussed current measurement maturity across channels, metrics adoption, and baseline capabilities for measurement success. Here are a few things we learned:

  • Marketers are more confident in their metrics. Our workshop participants know the metrics that help them determine campaign success, customer intention, and customer preference. For example, participants thoughtfully conducted deep analysis of understanding how awareness metrics drove customers to the consideration phases. They also discussed the importance of mapping the distance between a metric and a sale to quantify the real value of their metrics.
Read more

Alphabet's Earnings Emphasize A Skewed Value On Monopolies

Shar VanBoskirk

I was speaking with my colleague Fatemeh Khatibloo about the strong Q1 2017 earnings that Alphabet just announced this week (I mean Alphabet the parent company of Google here, not the soup or anything to do with Letter People).  Alphabet revenues are up 29%, due largely to growth in mobile search and video ad sales. And she made a profound observation: that today the success mindset isn't about thriving in a market with a set of worthy competitors.  It is about domination so extreme that you and you alone dictate market trends and there simply is no platform for innovative upstarts.

James Wang of ARK Funding Administration agrees.  He says, Alphabet's Q1 earnings underscore "a macro theme we are seeing in the internet space, which is that the bigger players are getting bigger and the smaller players are treading water or shrinking."

I don't like this.  I don't like this one bit because I'm always a fan of the underdog.  But also because it seems way too risky to tie so much market health to a small number of firms.  And because it creates a socialogical mis-perception of how much is enough.  I'll let you economists out there weigh in here; I'm interested.

And I will simply say that I don't expect Alphabet's advertising growth to continue in a similar habit because:

Read more