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Recent Blog Posts


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

If media is like Humpty Dumpty how do you build your brand?

Rob Norman’s presentation at the DCMO Summit was everything you would expect from the Chief Digital Officer of GroupM Global: challenging, informative and funny. However, I suspect that what will stick in my mind is the image of media as Humpty Dumpty, and media guys as all the king’s men trying to put it back together again. 

As Rob stated in his presentation, it is too late to bemoan the fact that the old media model is broken, digital media have smashed it to bits and it is never coming back together again. TV may be as healthy as ever ...

0 Comments


Monday, April 14, 2014

Even cheaper brands need to differentiate

Thanks to Phil Herr, who suggested I read the Harvard Business Review (HBR) blog post by Denise Lee Yohn, titled, “Don’t Settle for Being an ‘-er Brand.’” 

In a nutshell, Yohn suggests that any brand that defines itself by comparison to another – small-er, bigg-er, thinn-er, light-er, fast-er, sexi-er – is unlikely to be viable in the long term. Great brands, she proposes, have no reference point but themselves. 

I am sure that Yohn is right. Cheap-er brands might have a viable future provided their business model is set up to deliver great value on a consistent basis. Even ...

posted in Brands | 0 Comments


Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Facebook confesses it needs TV

Susan Hickey recently sent me a link to an article in AdAge titled, “Yes, Facebook Ads Can Be More Effective Than TV. In France.” However, in a fascinating change of direction from that implied by the headline, the article ends with a quote suggesting that Facebook would not have achieved the results it did without TV. So what gives? 

The brief article details the results of a Coca-Cola campaign that utilized TV and Facebook ads. The results were reported as follows: 

“As measured by Kantar Worldpanel, every euro spent on Facebook returned 2.74 euros in additional Coke sales. That was ...

posted in Media, Digital | 2 Comments


Monday, April 07, 2014

Make it describable

I honestly can’t remember how I came to see this video. It features Katy Woodrow-Hill, the head of planning at Dare, describing her top four tips on becoming a 'doing' brand. But I thought the ideas were well worth repeating here.  

I have amended the order in which the tips are given for what I hope is a good reason. One of the biggest mistakes that marketers make is to focus on what they want to do or say without connecting it to the brand’s purpose, the difference the brand is intended to make in people’s lives. You ...

posted in Brands | 1 Comments


Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Does making exciting ads reduce risk?

Sir John Hegarty, founder of ad agency BBH, scolded marketers at the Global Marketer Conference in Sydney for subjugating creativity to process and procurement.   

In his speech, Hegarty suggested that a desire for surety is holding back creativity and stated: 

You all want it to be a science, to get the equation right and go home, but selling stuff has never been a science, it's about persuasion and it's an art

Hegarty went on to suggest that creativity doesn’t have to translate into risky advertising, suggesting that risky advertising was completely stupid. He claimed: 

I don’t like risk ...

posted in Creative | 3 Comments


Monday, March 31, 2014

Multiscreening “stacking” as ad avoidance

Millward Brown has just launched its annual AdReaction study, with this year’s study looking at marketing in a multiscreen world. In today’s blog post my colleague, John Svendsen, Global Brand Director Media, discusses multiscreen use and whether or not stacking is a distraction from TV advertising. 

Multiscreening “stacking” as ad avoidance

By John Svendsen, Global Brand Director, Media

It would be easy to think that the increase in ownership and use of laptops, smartphones and tablets is a cause for concern for TV advertisers. After all, these devices distract people from TV advertising, don’t they? The AdReaction: Marketing in a ...

posted in Digital | 11 Comments


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

True service requires aligning company and customer goals

Today it seems that every brand hankers to be a service brand. Faced with unrelenting competition and the need to differentiate themselves if they are not to be commoditized, many product brands are trying to add an element of service to their offer. The end result might not be the one they hope for.

Unfortunately, it is the nature of the beast that service brands find it far more difficult to offer a consistent experience than product brands. On average in BrandZ, 11 percent of people report that they are not very satisfied with service brands, compared to only 3 ...

posted in Brands | 2 Comments


Monday, March 24, 2014

The brand iceberg: a tired and misleading metaphor

You are sitting in a pitch for using neuroscience techniques in market research. Up goes the PowerPoint slide with a cross-section of an iceberg showing that the majority of the ice is hidden below the water line. The image is accompanied by the claim that 95 percent of brain processing occurs below the level of consciousness. Obviously you need to dig below the surface to get to people’s true beliefs and motivations. 

There is just one small problem with this pitch. Both the image and the claim are hopelessly misleading and do the world of neuromarketing no favors at all. ...

posted in Research | 4 Comments


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Happy Birthday, Facebook

Digital technology is a fast-paced world. Brands like Encarta, Alta Vista and MySpace have had their day and all but disappeared. The age of digital companies might better be measured in dog years than human years. On that basis, Facebook celebrated its 10th birthday last month, which in dog years is the equivalent of 50 years old; and that feels appropriate to the company’s status. Facebook is the grown-up of social media and it might be showing its age. 

Yes, Facebook is still growing. Facebook’s Q4 earnings report shows the network has over 1.2 billion active monthly users worldwide. The ...

posted in Brands, Digital | 1 Comments


Monday, March 17, 2014

Exceedingly good slogans

Last week, Charles Foster sent me a link to a news article announcing the potential demise of a time-honored slogan. Writing in the UK’s The Telegraph, Andrew Cave suggested that Mr. Kipling might no longer use the slogan “exceedingly good cakes.” To any self-respecting Brit, this is horrifying. What is the world coming to?

News of the famous slogan’s demise, however, was greatly exaggerated. In spite of the story being covered in numerous media outlets, Mr. Kipling recently announced that “Mr. Kipling does not do rumours, but he does make exceedingly good cakes.” Phew! Keep calm and carry on ...

posted in Brands, Creative | 7 Comments


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