Blog Posts

The Strategy of Image Advertising

Image advertising can be one of the most powerful tools in all of marketing. Beyond simply telling what a product does, image ads encourage consumers to actually feel more about a brand. And it is in those feelings that meaningful brand equity, loyalty, and consumption growth can be best stimulated.

But, like any challenge requiring a tool, you've got to be sure to use the correct tool, and then to use it correctly. An advertising approach that works well for one brand, might be woefully inappropriate for another; even a competitive brand in the same category. One brand might employ an approach that is perceived as an inspiring piece of brand advocacy. Another brand can try the same tack and it could fall squarely on its face. Such is the case comparing recent image ads from Coca-Cola and Cadillac.

 

Coca-Cola is one of the few truly global brands. Sure there are lots of companies that sell around the world, but few that seem to be found in quite so many nooks and crannies everywhere like Coke is. This ad, Together, celebrates the universality of the Coca-Cola experience: the diversity of its consumers, its red bottle cap, and that they are all brought together - both literally and figuratively - by the iconic shape of its bottle. All of this forms a warm, emotionally resonant package that reinforces the ‘feel good’ aspect of the brand.

 

In contrast, I recently wrote about Cadillac’s new image commercials. The company has meaningfully upgraded its fleet's performance and has launched a campaign to…

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Posted by Michael B. Moore on March 27, 2015 at 9:30pm

This Johnson's Ad Is 'So Much More'!

Against a sea of mediocre advertising all around, this Johnson’s 30 second spot stands out as refreshingly strong work! In an ad world seemingly dominated by advertising either inappropriately fixated on features and benefits, or way-out creative ideas disconnected from the brand, it’s great to see a beautifully shot and written ad that is strategic, puts the brand’s best foot forward, and burnishes the emotional value of its product.

 

The key driver of this spot is its emotional power. Being a ‘good parent’ is probably the most important job that most adults ever have. There is almost limitless anxiety and energy to nurture and develop one’s child in ways that give them the greatest advantages in life. As such, being able to successfully address this “anxiety” creates enormous emotional upside. If you can offer a brand experience that helps a parent feel like s/he’s doing a great job as a parent, then you will earn enormous emotional/brand equity.

This Johnson’s ad brilliantly and beautifully leverages this emotional dynamic. It enables their consumers to not just give their child a good bath, but also to nurture and enrich them in ways that stimulates their growth and development. Johnson’s will get your child clean - and “so much more!”

 

Technically, the ad delivers really strongly on all of the elements of great…

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Posted by Michael B. Moore on March 17, 2015 at 3:30pm

Cadillac and the Reinvention of American Luxury

An Open (and Friendly)  Letter To Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen

 

Dear Mr. de Nysschen:

 

There seems to be lots going on at Cadillac. New president. New CMO. New headquarters. New cars. New tagline. New campaign. It's all very exciting from both a consumer and business perspective.

 

As a consumer, I’m a Cadillac fan. I enjoy how the cars have developed. I also pull for Cadillac as an American (underdog) brand competing in a sea of established international nameplates.

 

As a brand strategy consultant who, in the past, has built brands and led companies, I also resonate with the business challenges that you seem to be tackling. One of my favorite quotes is, “to get different results you have to do things differently”. I’m guessing the spirit of that axiom is driving large parts of your day-to-day strategy!

 

I also know that leading corporate change can be excruciatingly difficult. Managing internal hurdles may occasionally seem even more complex than the external, consumer and competitive oriented ones. For example, although your move to NYC may be about imbuing the brand with certain strategic attributes, there may also be some organizational and cultural benefits to being in fresh digs out of HQ.

 

That said, after studying the new Cadillac advertising, reading a few articles about the brand’s resurgence, and seeing your recent…

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Posted by Michael B. Moore on March 9, 2015 at 8:30pm

Reebok: "Be More Human"? No, Be More Strategic.

Here's the new positioning and advertising from Reebok with the tagline - "Be More Human".

Reebok is attempting to rise from the ashes; to rebuild themselves in the sports footwear/apparel marketplace. This new campaign and positioning is an ambitious stab at contemporary relevance.  

It doesn't work.

The positioning and creative are far too much of a thematic/identity stretch from where they've been. This renders the advertising not credible. One can argue whether this is a strategic place for them to want to take the Reebok brand, but today, it's just too far of a leap. It's quite unbelievable to be from them.

Brand positioning is about owning emotional real estate in consumers' minds. It empowers a strategic message, look & feel that, when combined with product interaction, communicates the overall identity of a brand. 

Choosing one's target consumers is a business decision. (You fish where the fish are.) But what you communicate to them is 100% consumer-insight driven brand strategy. Messaging must uniquely address their relevant needs, solving a meaningful problem for them in a way that stimulates consumption. In the end, if done well, the brand experience offers a way for consumers to actually become who they aspire to be - which gets them coming back for more and more!

But, once your positioning is established - it's pretty much set in stone. Once consumers have a clear sense of who you are, it can be extremely difficult to change that. Dramatically evolving a positioning means getting consumers to…

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Posted by Michael B. Moore on January 28, 2015 at 10:00pm

Will You Take The Blue or Red Pill of Brand Strategy?

If you’ve spent any time on this blog you know that my “thing” is helping companies leverage the rich power of human emotions to build stronger, more profitable brands. Doing so can create legions of emotionally connected consumers who buy more, more often, and tell their friends! And isn’t that the point?

 

I’ve recently written about Samsung Mobile and how they are dramatically underperforming their potential by simply marketing features and benefits; by ignoring important tenets of brand strategy and consumer behavior that can inject enormous power into their marketing.

 

To review, here’s the “math”:

 

  • Every interaction with a product creates an experience.

 

  • Every experience creates feelings.

 

  • Feelings & emotions are the “stuff” of memories; they are what stick with us and inform our preferences and behaviors.

It’s not what something does. It’s how it impacts your life. It’s the emotions that it generates. (Tweet this!)

So many companies get caught up focusing their advertising around what they do and not how what they do makes people feel. I get it. Companies are proud about what they do well. But to be most successful - like the biggest and most profitable global brands -…

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Posted by Michael B. Moore on January 14, 2015 at 8:00am

Innovation in the Cola Wars

The carbonated soft drink (CSD) business is reeling. Volume at both Coke and Pepsi has dropped for years and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Most point to two causal factors. One, “sodas” have become a prime PR target of the health movement against high calorie, unhealthy food and drinks. Second, soft drinks have lost significant business over the years to waters, teas, and energy drinks. Consumers have many more options and freely avail themselves of them.

 

While there’s no question that these are key factors, both are actually derivative of a more fundamental brand strategy issue. CSD’s have (somewhat passively) allowed themselves to be repositioned in negative ways by competitive interests. It’s largely marketing - or the lack thereof - that has hurt the soft drink business. Despite the billions spent marketing to them in this category, young people now just don’t think that colas are cool. Where Coke and Pepsi have been staples of the American diet for generations, millennials today favor more contemporary products that they see as more for them.

 

While, of course, there are health related realities about the category, health has never been a determining factor of the success of a product. We consume all manner of things that we know aren’t good for us; some that we know will even kill us. Yet we buy nevertheless.

 

Consider guns. Even amidst the horrific mass shootings and the tsunami of negative publicity from gun deaths that logically should have deeply hurt gun sales, over the last 20 years that business has grown dramatically. The industry doesn’t track total gun sales, but insiders suggest a close proxy…

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Posted by Michael B. Moore on January 6, 2015 at 3:30pm

 
 
 

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