Points of View

Advertiser, Forget the PC, Pick Up the Phone

It has been predicted that by 2008 more people around the world will access the Internet by using their mobile phones than by using computers. While this may already be the case in Japan, other countries such as the United States lag far behind. Will the mobile phone really come to dominate the PC, and if it does, what are the implications for advertising?

Out-Of-Home But Not Out-Of-Place

Marketers are returning to the great outdoors. Frustrated by the declining ability of television to deliver mass reach that is cost-effective, advertisers are putting renewed emphasis on reaching people when they're away from home. Out-of-home media companies are encouraging this trend, offering new ad formats while touting out-of-home as the "unavoidable" medium. But is the 24/7 coverage offered by out-of-home really the simple answer to reaching consumers on the move?

What Makes an Iconic Brand?

Brands are an accepted part of our daily lives. But some brands seem to transcend their product or service categories to become part of the popular culture. What distinguishes these iconic brands from the rest of the pack, and what can marketers learn from them?

The Logic of Search: Has it Clicked Yet?

To many online marketers, search seems like the ultimate direct response medium. It allows them to reach people who are actively shopping for a product or service, and marketers rightly believe that if they successfully engage people at this point in the process, they are one step closer to closing the sale. But is there more to search than just converting an active shopper into a purchaser?

What Price a Strong Brand?

As the world of brands becomes ever more cluttered and competitive, the marketer's task of building and maintaining strong brands becomes increasingly difficult. Senior management wants concrete evidence of return on marketing investment. Yet the challenge of demonstrating a brand's true value is complex. What proof do we have that strong brands really provide a financial benefit to brand owners and shareholders?

Engaging Consumers’ Brains: The Latest Learning

Marketers are fascinated with cognitive neuroscience, and understandably so. New brain imaging techniques seem to promise access to deeper insights into how people think about brands and what motivates their purchases. But more valuable to marketers than any brain-imaging tool are the advances neuroscience has provided in our understanding of how the brain works. In light of this new knowledge, they may choose to reconsider and refine their approaches to advertising and brandbuilding.

Viral Marketing

It's hard to resist an offer to get something for nothing, even if our better judgment suggests "you get what you pay for." Could it be the irresistible appeal of a free lunch, combined with envy at the success achieved by a few notable viral marketing campaigns, that is behind advertisers' current rush of interest in viral marketing? Or is viral really the next big innovation in online marketing?

Crisis Management: Is a New Prescription Needed?

Strong brands are built on experience and trust. Product issues that threaten consumer safety put these brand foundations in jeopardy. The way in which Johnson & Johnson responded to the Tylenol poisonings in 1982 is widely held, even today, as a model response to crisis. But is the playbook used by Johnson & Johnson more than a generation ago still adequate for brands facing crisis in the Internet age?

Branded Content: More Than Just Showing Up

Woody Allen is reputed to have said, "Eighty percent of success is showing up." Unfortunately this cannot be taken for granted in the world of branded content, even though many brands pay for the privilege of showing up in movies, TV programs and video games. How can marketers maximize the value of these appearances for their brands?

The Promise of Online Video

The sellers of online video advertising are singing its praises and extolling its virtues, promising a more engaged audience for online video compared to a relatively passive one for TV. But have we actually reached the tipping point when budgets shift from TV to online? And how can marketers best utilize this emerging media?

Celebrity Power: Can Less Be More?

The use of celebrities in advertising, always a popular practice, has been on the rise in recent years, and the trend shows no sign of abating. Yet the risks undertaken by advertisers pursuing this approach seem bigger than ever, as fame and infamy can spread in a matter of days or even hours through cyberspace. Is it still safe to steer brands by the stars?

A Framework for Thinking About Online Advertising

Online advertising has been with us for 12 years now. As the medium has evolved over time, people have tried to define it as one big idea – from Web sites, communities, display ads, and email, to search, blogs, video, and social networking. While the hot topics keep changing, marketers have struggled with the bigger picture, which is how they should understand and use the online channel and how they can assess the results.

Consumer Generated Content: Make Friends, Don't Pitch Them

The latest evolution of the Internet has empowered people on an unprecedented scale, both to express themselves and to connect with others. At the nexus of connectivity and creativity are sites like YouTube, MySpace, and LiveJournal, which allow users to share videos, pictures, and ideas, sometimes accompanied by a great deal of personal information. These forums attract a lot of eyeballs but do they offer opportunities for marketers to build their brands?

Taking Gaming to the Next Level

Humans are hard-wired for play. Throughout our lives, we play games to relax, to have fun, and to temporarily escape from the pressures of daily life. Game-based marketing holds great potential for marketers seeking to build their brands, but success will come only to those who play by the rules.

Mobile Marketing: Making a Good Connection

Though the practice of mobile marketing is still in its infancy, the budding channel carries outsized expectations. But the ability to reach people anytime, anywhere, must be weighed carefully against the potential for irritating people and damaging brand relationships. How can marketers harness the power of this nascent medium to drive growth for their brands?

Making the Most of the Moment of Truth

In every CPG/FMCG category, the point of purchase is the critical moment of truth when a consumer facing a shelf of competing brands makes a decision to part with hardearned money for just one of them. But the best efforts of brand marketers to influence that decision are often diluted by in-store activities designed to drive volume. What mix of activities will best drive sales and profit over the long term?

Brands in China: Devalued or Déjà vu?

The last few years have seen intense competition among brands in many product and service categories in China. Foreign brands, faced with the twin challenges of extending their footprint beyond the major cities and fending off local competition, have resorted to lowering prices to drive sales. Lower prices have been good for consumers, but tough on margins. What does the future hold for brands in China—profit, or commoditization?

Word of Mouth

Spurred on by the realization that no advertising can match the impact of an unsolicited testimonial, marketers around the world are seeking ways to leverage Word of Mouth. But if marketers go too far in trying to manipulate Word of Mouth, they risk not only negating the benefit but turning it against their brand. So how do you effectively leverage the power of personal recommendation to build a brand?

Neuromarketing: Beyond the Buzz

It is every market researcher's dream: an objective view of consumers' innermost thoughts, unobscured by the confounding influences of interviewer and question biases and respondent post-rationalization. That is the promise of "neuromarketing," an emerging discipline which uses neuroscience techniques to understand consumers' responses to brands and marketing. So how does the reality match up to the promise?

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad DVR

The advent of the Digital Video Recorder (DVR) – known as the Personal Video Recorder or PVR in many countries – has caused a significant stir in the world of marketing. Increased consumer control over the traditional advertising medium of choice will have significant implications for both media planning and creative execution. How will TV advertisers need to adjust to deal with time-shifting and fast-forwarding?

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