Points of View

The Power of Storytelling

Stories are the reason we stay awake late to finish a book, watch a movie or binge watch on Netflix. Stories engage us like little else. So why do we not see more stories used in advertising? If done right, storytelling can make your communications more engaging, more impactful, and more motivating. For the purposes of advertising, however, not any story will do. It takes skill and thought to make a story an effective creative tool for your brand.

How Brands Really Grow

Audi, Chipotle, sports clothing brand Under Armour, Japanese water brand, I Lohas, and the iconic iPhone. What do these brands have in common? All five enjoyed strong market share growth during the recent recession, and each one gained share at the expense of their competition. Unlike McDonald’s, Aldi or Amazon, which also grew, the others are not well known for offering low prices. So how did they grow share? They took what made them different from the competition and made it meaningful and salient to a wider audience.

The Digital Blind Spots That Jeopardize Your Brand

Digital is often considered the most measurable medium, but quantity of digital metrics does not equate to quality of measurement. Many digital blind spots prevent brands from fully anticipating or measuring the response to their campaigns. Ignoring these blind spots may jeopardize your brand's overall success.

Why the Need for Pre-Testing has Never Been Greater

Today a smart media strategy is a necessity—but without effective creative it doesn't matter how well the ad is delivered. Today’s on-demand pre-testing solutions provide a fast and cost-effective means to ensure that the creative deployed is as effective as possible, helping to improve return on investment when time and budget are tight.

Escaping the Silos

Advertising is most successful when it is designed to achieve a specific task, but the battle of media belief systems often undermines ad effectiveness. To get the most from media budgets, advertisers must align media strategies around their advertising goals.

Africa Leads the World into the Future of Market Research

As the growth in mobile communications brings about a revolution in market research, it is the vast continent of Africa that is leading the way. Though some may be reticent to adopt mobile solutions, the advantages are too big for African researchers to ignore.

Breaking Out of the 30-Second Box

The long and short of developing engaging video for your brand in a multiscreen world.

Cannes Lions: Creative and Effective?

The Cannes Lions demonstrate that creativity and effectiveness can go hand-in-hand.

The Keys to Brand Success

Strong brands drive financial performance by ensuring that the most motivating brand associations influence purchase behavior. Multi-sensory cues ensure people recognize brands and respond positively. Knowing what makes your brand recognizable and triggers the most motivating impressions is critical to maximizing your brand’s full potential.

The Problems with Global Ads (Especially for the Little Guy)

As the great Canadian folk singer Joni Mitchell wrote: I’ve looked at life from both sides now.  When I was a smaller-market Client Researcher for two multinational CPG manufacturers in Canada, I was often pressured to forgo local creative and adopt global creative platforms to save on production and keep strategies aligned.  Now, as a smaller-market Research Consultant, I am often the one who encourages clients to determine where they can happily leverage global creative efficiencies instead of producing local ads.

Command a Price Premium for Profitable Growth

Everyone knows how to generate more sales—all you have to do is drop your price and sales are likely to increase. While price promotions can increase short-term sales volumes, the long-term consequences of training consumers to expect cheaper prices are dire—margins suffer and investing in advertising and innovation becomes harder and harder.

Liberating Research: A Manifesto for Change

In a previous Point of View, How Big Data Liberates Research, author, Bill Pink argued that big data is not replacing research—it is liberating it. Being liberated from generating a new survey for each new learning occasion, ongoing big-data assets can be leveraged for many topics, allowing subsequent primary research to go deeper and fill in the gaps. Instead of relying on bloated surveys, researchers should keep surveys short and focused on those variables that they are ideally suited for, resulting in better data quality.

The Disappearing Iceberg

It has become a mantra: “Recent learning from cognitive science is challenging long-held assumptions of the market research industry.” And the mantra is true—but not in the way most people think. The typical assumption is that new research into fast, instinctive processing supports the idea that people’s considered responses to survey questions are just the tip of the iceberg—that the bulk of the meaning that brands hold for people is below the surface.

Marketers: What’s “App” with Your Brand?

Angry Birds, Candy Crush, Words With Friends—if you’ve not played them, you’ve likely heard of them. These games had their beginnings as mobile apps but over time have built themselves into strong brands. Angry Birds even went on to expand into a multibillion-dollar franchise. And now, established brands are creating apps too. You might be surprised at how many there are; among the 2013 BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands, 89 brands have designed and launched an app, and some have produced more than one.

Dare to Be Different

Being different is scary. In marketing, trying something different is really scary. Nobody wants to be the marketer that messes up a multimillion-dollar brand. It’s easier to play it safe, relying on what has worked before or for others. That must be why I’ve often heard from clients that there is a certain way to advertise in their category—for example, TV ads for men’s razors must start with a 10-second story, continue with a 15-second product demo, and end with a 5-second joke. “This is how we must advertise in order to succeed,” they say.

Measuring Long-Term Ad Effects: A Meaningfully Different Approach

At the recent Australian Effie Awards, the judges decided not to give an award in the Long-Term Effects category. Journalist Rosie Baker, who found it worrying that there wasn’t any work worthy of a long-term award, wrote an opinion piece in which she said: “The pressure to deliver instant results means that people are hobbled in their ability to look long term. It’s difficult to look long term when the axe falls after two poor quarters. But by not looking longer term, the industry is doing itself a disservice, and it is a hard cycle to break.”

Innovations in Branding: Pedaling from Talking to Doing

This is no time for branding as usual. Consumers have developed immunity to traditional marketing tactics—they fast-forward through TV commercials, block online ads, and overlook outdoor displays as they attend to their smartphones. A brand whose basic marketing strategy relies solely on conventional methods is unlikely to survive, let alone thrive, in today’s crowded and competitive categories.

Ad Research Faces the Future

Ad researchers should be forgiven for feeling a little beaten up in recent years. In the face of compelling evidence from the cognitive sciences that points to a less rational, less idealized consumer than conventional economics has assumed, they acknowledged the need to measure emotion and other “fast” reactions as well as people’s “slow” or more considered responses.

How Big Data Liberates Research

There is a tidal wave of conversation about big data. The conversations range from simply defining what big data means, to the business applications of big data, to the societal implications of living in a big data environment. A quick Google search on “big data” provided 1.66 billion results, and I’m sure that number has increased since I wrote this Point of View.

Digital Is Powerful. Handle with Care.

Billions of dollars are spent on digital marketing each year, and for good reason. Digital media has enormous power to reach and influence people. Over 2 billion people—about one-third of the global population—now access the Internet. Facebook alone reaches one-seventh of the world’s population. Smartphones are the dominant means by which people surf the web in India.

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