The Amazon Effect

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When was the last time you bought something online without checking the reviews? Hopefully never.

When it comes to a brands credibility today, it’s primarily based on what our peers think. And authenticity, while important to have as a brand, is unfortunately not number one. We call this ‘The Amazon Effect’, and it’s not just impacting the e-commerce world.

“Trust” comes from the number of stars that appear next to a product, making the marketing message less and less important to shoppers. Brands can make all the claims they want, but at the end of the day, consumers find comfort in knowing their peers approve, rather than the brand itself. (Makes sense to us)

While this effect hasn’t completely made its way into retail, it’s not too far off. We, as consumers, typically shop online for convenience, and get peace of mind that we are getting “the best” value for our dollar based purely on opinion. A far stretch from the traditional tactics that beautiful package design and catchy headlines have delivered for years.

What’s interesting to us is that retailers have not fully adopted this tactic. Why aren’t we seeing a star rating when walking down the aisle of a Whole Foods, Target or Best Buy? Wouldn’t this make shopping easier? We think so. Just imagine a new 65″ TV with a four-star customer rating graphic on the box or shelf — ugly, but effective.

With all of this in mind, it reinforces the boxes we need to check as marketers. While we have no control over customer reviews, we should be sure to capitalize on them when they are in our favor, as it will only result in more clicks, buys and grabs off the digital and analog shelf.

Thanks for reading, and let us know how we can help you leverage these insights.

Is your brand capable of creating a symphony?

FullSizeRender (1)Allora (and so)… just got back from a few weeks in Italy, and needless to say, I’m inspired. Not just from the wonderful foods, historical sights and work-to-live disposition of everyone there — but from the symphony this charming country composed and allowed me to enjoy. Let’s try a fun little exercise to see if I can immerse you even further. It may just inspire you for the day…

  • First open and play the following symphony from Antonio Vivaldi
  • Now imagine you are walking the small, charming, water-filled streets of Venice (think gondolas, stone bridges, street markets and little old Italian women in floral dresses)…
  • As you navigate through the streets, you pass everything from a fish market where seafood is brought in daily from local fishermen — to a bakery where “pane” (that’s bread) is being stretched and placed into ovens — and a cafe where espressos are being consumed by the liters. (Such a beautiful, and stressless vision isn’t it?)
  • Allora we have Italy!!!! So beautifully synchronized for the world to enjoy.

Now what if we were to do the same for the brands we work on today? Would we be able to visually recreate such an experience in our minds? Would it all align and transcend us like the above exercise (hopefully) did?

As you go about your day, consider trying this with your team/brand using all of your marketing assets. See what comes of it. Is there a melody you’d envelop them in? I believe this will inspire you to think about your brand in a more sensorial way. And maybe, just maybe, you can create a symphony for your customers to enjoy as well.

Why storytelling is key to a brand’s lifecycle

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Everyone’s talking storytelling, Really?
You can easily fall into the great storytelling abyss today. Or, you can provoke, inspire and cause your target to stop in their tracks, and leave them intrigued. Wanting to hear more. Do more. And find out more.

For openers try thinking of it in terms of a screenplay. One where you lay out the plot and (use a great insight to) surprise, delight or even challenge the targets current perception of the category or your brand’s place therein. Then do your “big number” and close with access and availability. Some brands totally get it. Do it consistently right…

  • In automotive TESLA does it and is backed up with orders for its new popularly priced car.
  • IBM’s Watson is playing this out beautifully in category after category. Smart and sure footed.
  • In spirits, Jack Daniels tells their authenticity story with down home reality. Inspiring, real and timeless – just like their brand.

So ask yourself, is your brand telling a story? And if so, is it dynamic enough to provoke a reaction from your audience? Is it insightful and relevant? And does it keep them coming back for more?

What Sparks Our Fire? Coming up with compelling and exciting brand screenplays that will last a lifetime.

 

The Head Down Revolution

Woman on city street looking at smartphone

If you live in a major metro market, then you know what it’s like to walk down the street and see 90% of the people with their heads down buried in their phone. I was one of those people, until I found myself standing in the middle of the street in Manhattan writing a text and nearly getting hit by a taxi. From that point on, I made sure that I was always looking up. But I am definitely in the minority. And this post is not about the safety, or lack thereof, when it comes to texting. It’s about how marketers can capitalize on this Head Down Revolution.

According to Statista, the U.S. mobile phone penetration has reached 81%, representing 223 million consumers. And those consumers spend an average of 4.7 hours per day glued to their smartphones. More importantly, is the role that texting now plays in our everyday lives, especially when it comes to marketing. For an eye-opening example, texts have a 99% open rate compared to 20% for email*. Pretty amazing, huh? Now I imagine that smartphones are currently in the midst of fine tuning their hardware to introduce features that can block such correspondence. But who knows when that will come?

So until that day, marketers have a humongous opportunity to take advantage and focus their outbound efforts on the behaviors of the smartphone user. A behavior that is now second nature, and while receiving a text from a brand may seem like a nuisance at first, it is certainly less of one than an email. Also, if you’re sending info or content that isn’t selling, but more serving them something of value, then you’re more likely to be able to maintain that dialogue.

And isn’t a dialogue what we want? It opens the door, and leads to traffic. And when you have enough traffic, ultimately it will lead to transactions. It’s this approach to marketing, partnered with the aforementioned tactics, that can build the awareness and engagement you’re looking for.

Now how about a little “social experiment”: The next time you’re walking down the street, take note of how many people’s’ heads are down. It truly is a sight to see. Just think, those eyes could be engaged in your brands message. And if the message is “timed” to when your customer is in the market for a new product, it becomes relevant and timely — a very powerful combination.

*Credits: Jack Loechner — Editor of The Center for Media Research; SinglePoint; Statista

I think I trust you…

HTSAF_iThinkiA survey* was recently released with two startling statistics that revealed 42% of consumers found brands less trustworthy today, while 48% believed brands can have a positive impact on the world. Now those are two opposite sides of the spectrum if we ever saw one. But more importantly, how do we bridge this interesting divide?

After going through some thoughts about politics they touched on the most interesting path: Understanding the culture of your target consumer and effectively tapping into it remain key. So, building your brand and its identity around a cultural insight is paramount. Find it. Inspire and positively provoke your target with it. Then craft and design your creative campaign around it.

Lastly, be relentless in searching out these cultural insights. Remember, insights are not facts. They are something you discover about your brand or consumers that no one else can own. They belong to you. So say “NO” to the obvious. Reject the ordinary. And, initiate around the extraordinary. So who’s bridging this gap today, you ask? Here are a few off the top of our heads:

  • Subaru — Recognition for LGBT campaign
  • Tesla — Being forthright about their mistakes, and fixing them
  • Chick-fil-A — Authentic and plain spoken
  • Dove — Authenticity and respect through their  “Love the skin you’re in” campaign

What Sparks Our Fire? Waking up everyday searching for insights that emotionally connect brands with consumers.

*The ‘Truth About America’ report from McCann