Cultivating more consumers who buy more, more often, & tell their friends!
Sometimes a product is actually better than its brand. It’s physical product performance is greater than its reputation in the marketplace. In those instances, a brand can literally hold sales back.
One of the most powerful consumer marketing laws is that once brand identity is firmly established, it can be extremely difficult to change - particularly for the better. As with people, first impressions can be lasting! Take Reebok, for example. They have had major presence in professional sports for decades, yet still struggle to overcome their original positioning as a more fashion oriented lifestyle brand. It’s why Lexus, Infiniti, and Acura were created; to allow Toyota, Nissan, and Honda to sell upscale luxury cars that their base brands could not support.
Case in point, recently I noticed a new silver sedan on the side of the road. It had sophisticated, “Euro” lines and from a distance appeared to be a high-end, luxury vehicle. From afar, if someone had told me it was a new Jaguar or even an Aston Martin, I would have had no reason not to believe them.
I love cars, have owned more than my fair share in my adult life, so my curiosity was peaked. As I walked closer to see what it was, I had an interesting reaction. The closer I got, and the more of the lines and details I noticed, the more impressed I was. This, until I noticed the Hyundai nameplate in the rear. At that point, for better or worse, it was like letting the air out of a balloon of excitement and expectations! I felt a tangible and significant…Continue
Posted by Michael B. Moore on May 17, 2015 at 10:00am
Frequently, a relatively simple adjustment to one’s perspective can have a dramatic impact on productivity. For example, in leadership, embracing a service orientation toward employees can mean all the difference in the world to inspiring top performance.
In consumer marketing, there’s a similarly small but powerful adjustment that can also yield tremendous results.
In brand management, it's so easy to get stuck in the weeds; to become fixated on executing the myriad of moving parts required to build a brand. Doing this risks losing sight of a fundamental human insight at the very core of what drives consumer business.
It’s critically important to understand that - without regard to whatever you’re selling - in the end, all consumer marketers are really in the experience business!
Let me explain.
Our interactions (with people, things, etc.) form experiences.
Our experiences create emotions.
Emotions form a sort of psychological frame around the memory of our experiences.
The greater the emotional impact - the bigger the frame around our experiences - and the more memorable those experiences are.
Posted by Michael B. Moore on April 23, 2015 at 8:30am
Scientists say that the human brain processes the element of surprise in a way that amplifies the underlying emotion of the experience 4X greater than normal. So, something that is typically experienced as “good”, becomes four times better if it comes as a surprise. The same works in the negative. If someone experiences a negative interaction that is a surprise, the overall feeling of it is four times worse than if expected.
So, whether its good or bad, if we are surprised by something, we are hardwired to process that experience four times as deeply as ordinary.
As brand builders, without regard to whatever we’re selling, it's important to remember that we’re really in the experience business. Brands create experiences. People remember and create emotional connections to those experiences. Figuring out ways to inject surprise into our brand can be a way to "supercharge" our marketing.
In essence, this insight can be used as a powerful way to “hack” your marketing to create even more compelling experiences and stronger consumer connections.
Think about how to plant little “Easter Eggs” here and there throughout the brand experience. The surprise aspect of doing that could help to meaningfully bond consumers to your brand - creating greater brand equity, loyalty, and ultimately consumption. It creates more bang for every marketing buck!
There are plenty of ways to approach this. Some have put messages under their bottle caps or on their clothing tags. Maybe its what Cracker Jack was after with the toy in the box.…Continue
Posted by Michael B. Moore on April 2, 2015 at 5:30pm
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 have very different results. 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 globally like Coke does. 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…Continue
Posted by Michael B. Moore on March 27, 2015 at 9:30pm
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…Continue
Posted by Michael B. Moore on March 17, 2015 at 3:30pm
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…Continue
Posted by Michael B. Moore on March 9, 2015 at 8:30pm