Blood Is Thicker Than Water.
But Motor Oil Is Thicker Than Blood.
With anything on wheels, it’s not about going from A to B. It’s not about the destination or the journey. It’s about forming a relationship with your most loyal customer base and treating it as what it is: a brotherhood.
Blood is thicker than water. But motor oil is thicker than blood.
Enthusiasts are the epicenter of any automotive or automotive-related brand. Tires, parts, racing, restoration — anything aftermarket, from rear bumpers to subwoofers. It’s a love that runs deeper for this segment than for most any other consumer category.
In the past, enthusiasts could only congregate at local or regional events. Now, because of the Internet, enthusiasts can congregate online. And that congregation can number in the hundreds of thousands. Their social networks rival any on the planet.
Marketers need to acknowledge their presence and accept this core not as mere customers, but as part of the company. The enthusiasts need to define the culture for the brand. They need to have a say in product development. They need to create a real and genuine dialogue with management.
Failure to acknowledge them in these roles is tantamount to setting their church on fire, even if the deed to that church belongs to you.
Leveraging them as one of your greatest assets is something we do on a regular basis.
An Emotional Promise Over Must-Have Features
How does a consumer-electronics brand stand out in an industry that moves so fast it has its own law? Technological leadership is fleeting. Version 1.0 will give way to 2.0, 3.0 and on and on. To succeed long term, your brand needs to stand for something. And standing for something does not mean creating and recreating a laundry list of must-have features.
Technology can be empowering, inspiring, entertaining, life changing, as electronics have become a centerpiece of our daily lives. But it’s not about the gadget, but what the gadget allows you to do with your life.
Your brand, not your product, needs to fulfill an emotional promise to your consumer. Is it opening up a universe of vital information? Is it recreating experiences so real, it’s as if you’ve been transported to another world? Is it bringing music that reaches deep into your soul? Is it about discovering the artist in yourself? Is it creating memories? Or holding onto them?
Moreover, the industry landscape itself is changing by the day. Because of media and data convergence, different categories within CE are crashing into each other. Development models, retailers and product categories are shifting. Weathering these shifts will depend on finding the right strategic promise and delivering it with consistency of product and message.
In the end, it’s not about wires, glass, chips and metal, but about heartfelt emotions.
The Great Equalizer: The Web
Getting in-store distribution has never been harder. Getting good shelf space has never been more expensive. Getting noticed among the Procter & Gambles of the world and their advertising war chests has never been more daunting.
Yet there has never been a better time to launch a consumer-packaged-good product than right now.
Can’t get into Walmart? Try Amazon. Can’t afford to reach a mass audience with a network TV commercial? Find your audience one-on-one on Facebook. Can’t influence shelf space? Connect with influencers online.
If your product solves a problem for a specific group of people, you can always find those people online. Connect with them. Help them. Inform them. Communicate with them. Create culture with them and for them. Sell to them. And then leverage them to sell to others.
Playing David as a challenger brand, you can win at the game that Goliaths can’t play. When marketing, it’s not only about paid media, it’s about owned, and most importantly, earned. Don’t outspend your competition. Out-care them.
There has never been a better time than now.
Create A Platform For Consistent Engagement
At one end of the gaming spectrum, we see titles becoming more immersive and cinematic, fulfilling the genre’s longstanding ambition to stand beside novels and movies with compelling narratives and genuine drama. At the other end of the spectrum, mobile games have returned gaming to its roots as quick, casual fun with broad appeal.
While advertising is important, it’s one element of successful game marketing. And it’s expensive. Building awareness is something of a volume game, as marketers seek the most efficient ways to generate meaningful impressions.
Games used to have a short lifespan. They were launched, played, and then set aside. If a game was successful, its sequel would emerge a few years later, but the process of building awareness and interest for the next release would often involve starting from scratch.
The current opportunity is to take game titles and turn them into perennial platforms with consistent levels of audience engagement, transforming the interest generated by big game launches into a channel that marketers can own in perpetuity.
The channel becomes a vein of marketing gold with paid, owned and earned media. We know that vein, having mined it for many.
Complexity That Knows No Rival
Peter Drucker, renowned management consultant, claims that managing a large urban hospital is the most challenging management assignment he has encountered. Given that, is there an industry that needs the power of coherent branding more than health care does?
The landscape for today’s successful health-care facility is vast and complex. Successful management and growth of a health-care facility goes well beyond smiling patients and bed counts.
It can involve prioritizing and message-managing multiple centers of excellence. It involves doctor support, recognition and even recruitment. It involves possible alliances with other providers who have their own brand to promulgate and may want some of your market share. It needs a social-media strategy, driven by content development from the facility’s own physicians and lead administrators. It involves insurance-provider wrangling and enrollment-period campaigns with local employers. It may involve long-term capital-campaign development as campuses expand. And always, it involves reputation management in the surrounding community.
And, last but not least, it does involve meaningful messaging around individual patient health care.
Today, that messaging world is fraught with generic sameness. Disciplined, strategic branding can wrangle the complex landscape and inform the hospital’s positioning and messaging in a differentiated way.
That’s not easy. But, we’ve done just that for a number of health-care clients.
Whether it’s television, music, movies or videogames, the most popular entertainment has one thing in common: people can’t stop talking about it.
Think for a second. What influenced you to see the last movie you saw? To start watching that new program on cable? Download that last album? Or pick up that new book?
Statistics show it was likely based on what a movie critic said (“two thumbs way up!”), the chatter around the water cooler (“Did you see what happened on ‘Mad Men’ last night?”) or the latest post on a friend’s Facebook page (“‘Game of Thrones’ rocks my world!”)
As marketers of media and entertainment, you have to get people talking. And to get people talking, you have to infiltrate pop culture and start the conversation yourself. Sometimes this means igniting controversy. Doing things that defy conventional marketing wisdom to capture attention.
Because media and entertainment aren’t like food or water. It’s not about need. It’s all about want.
So whatever the strategy, our primary mission with clients in M/E is to use paid media to generate earned media. With extensive experience in this category, we’ve concocted many different plotlines with the very same ending in mind: ignite WOM.
Mining The Soul
The knee-jerk reaction by most cause marketers is to build awareness of a particular issue, its effect on an individual and the populace at large.
What we’ve found in dealing with issues like hunger, homelessness, foster care and tobacco addiction is that it’s not a lack of awareness, but a case of PSA fatigue. Consumers are bombarded with hundreds of messages a day. The last thing they want to think about is the problems of others. The bigger the problem, the more consumers tune it out. They all have problems of their own they’re trying hard to forget.
Consequently, marketing for the public good is often much more difficult than marketing a laundry detergent or a discount airline. Cause apathy is rampant today.
Strategic insight is key to overcoming this apathy. Insight is necessary to humanize a problem, finding an impactful expression in individual terms, no matter the scale. Be it global nutrition or spreading compassion throughout the world.
Because the issues are not pretty or pleasant, you have to go deeper into a consumer’s soul. This is best achieved by thorough and exhaustive qualitative research. It’s not about numbers. It’s about what’s in someone’s heart.
The human truth — the one insight — is the thing we value most, because in that insight is the answer. To everything.
The Disenfranchised Franchisee
Since the dawning of the drive-in, store operators have had a beef with corporate. Whether it’s arguing over the ad-fund contribution rate or resisting a system-wide price promotion, the relationship between franchisees and corporate is an all-too-familiar struggle in restaurant land.
Add to this struggle the job of creating ads and you quickly get a genuine case of heartburn. Luckily, we’ve learned how to take the heat and stay in the kitchen by following a five-step recipe that serves up positive comps and good food karma:
When it comes to food-service marketing, we’re like marriage counselors. It all comes down to building strong relationships, which in turn drives traffic, increases average check and improves comp-store sales.
Give our recipe a try.
Retail is no longer the redheaded stepchild of the marketing world
Retail is finally getting the respect it deserves.
Smart marketers are finally realizing the power of an integrated, well-thought-out retail presence. It is, after all, the one brand vehicle that can deliver what no other can: a sale.
WDCW works hard to develop brand strategies, creative and digital solutions that work as well below-the-line as they do above it.
The idea is to take your brand down to street level and collapse the distance between your customer and the cash register.
Fueling The Fanatic
Over the last decade, sports has become one of the biggest and most lucrative businesses on the planet. Unfortunately, as the category has grown, so has the chasm between the average fan and his or her favorite athletes.
And while sports is often marketed in the same way as other products, it is profoundly different in that people genuinely want to participate in the discussion and the advertising. It’s all about being a fan.
Remember, “fan” comes from “fanatic.” Extreme or excessive enthusiasm or zeal. Undying devotion. In short, insanity (as in Linsanity).
Consequently, the most successful sports marketers bridge the gap between the fan and the teams, athletes and activities he or she loves. It’s about finding the right combination of insights, digital engagements, socially-driven programs and paid-media campaigns to light the fire of any fan.
You just have to give them the content to share with their buddies, the ammunition to taunt rival fans and the opportunity to play a role in your marketing concept. Whether it’s motivating 114,000 people in 48 hours to vote on your Facebook app or getting the U.S. president to attend the World Cup, properly motivated fans can help you pull off some amazing feats.
You just need to make a little extra room for them on your team.
In The Tech World, Brand Loyalty Is An Oxymoron
Building loyalty in the tech category is no easy task. In fact, we’d suggest that tech loyalty is an oxymoron. Customers like choice. And with the ubiquitous upgrade 10.X, form-factor shift and feature-set fashions, the tech world is built for choice.
The good news: tech companies live on product change. The bad news: tech companies wither away when all they do is focus on product features.
People engage with technology for what it does, but they stick with tech brands because of an emotional connection. If there’s one true tech principle, it’s that rational arguments sell product, but emotional promises create loyalty.
You have a brand image with customers whether you choose to develop one or not. If you do not, you are not in control of your most important asset — customers are.
Brand defies the rational. Brand defies engineering. But brand raises you a level. Or two. It’s a fact that the tech companies with the most brand equity consistently have higher stock prices (i.e., Apple and Microsoft).
Are you a tech brand searching for a way to keep customers in the fold? Think more like a marketing guru. And less like a nerdy engineer.
We can help you do just that.