Branding, advertising, logo design, packaging design – these have now become spectator sports. Everyone’s a consumer of something, everyone sees ads, and they all have an opinion about what you have created. Everyone can say something. But it’s who you listen to that matter. Did they say anything substantial?
Some people will remain forever where they are or regress. Never progress. Not that they are stupid or anything. On the contrary, they are well read and learn a lot. Problem is they do not internalize what they learn and start to apply it. Whether it is someone accumulating properties or a business owner deciding on the brand’s future. They think they are open but they are not. They think they know but truly they do not. No matter how much you try to educate them. They may accept the lessons but they will never apply it. They will never […]
First clear the mess in your head. There are too many to-do lists floating in your head. Personal lists, work list, family list, hobby list, favours list, questions lists, things to buy list, long term dreams list, short term dreams list, financial lists, lists of lists. Park 30 minutes aside and have all these written down on ONE sheet of paper. If you really park time aside, 30 minutes may not even be enough. But once you commit to sitting down, you will likely spend more time doing the lists. Make a clear list and visit it often. Can you […]
Everyone wants to make their jobs easy. No one wants to do difficult things. If your boss employed you to do the easy stuff then anyone else can replace you. Oh, but you do not want to be replaced. If everyone tries to escape from the difficult tasks and you volunteered for it, then you are providing value. You are difficult to be replaced. Look for the difficult things that can be done in your role. Find that hard to sell product and sell the crap out of it. You are in the company to do the tough jobs. You […]
Sometimes you feel the weight of the world is on your shoulders. At other times, you feel you can single-handedly lift the world. Life’s like that. A little bit of each. In between these times, how you respond determines how strong you can get. How do you lift yourself?
The big brands that you admire are careful about the quality and quantity of the mediums that they use. That does not mean they do not occasionally experiment with and take risks with lesser known mediums. It just means they are calculated about their moves and limit their mistakes. They do not get over excited over the media person’s pitch or their mom-in-law touting how she was influenced by a particular medium. What made you think it is good?
If you cannot take your work pressures, you won’t last very long in your position. If you release that pressure on your colleagues and suppliers, your career in the company will be shortened. There are of course those who are rude and impolite who lasts a long time in companies. But last I read, stress causes chronic diseases. How nasty can you be?
Marketers know they need to disrupt the market to get a foothold. To be noticed. To sell their wares. One of the most challenging jobs of the marketers is to disrupt their own attitudes and beliefs. Instead of sticking to the tried and tested, to venture into an unknown – that’s where disruption resides. Are you one to maintain order?
“All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgarize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level.” – Bill Bernbach Whose interest do you have at heart?
Today we reach the first 1000th blog entry. We started this blog a little over 4 years ago and said we would do it every working day. We were a little surprised that we have reached this figure already. It didn’t seem that tough to write 1000 blog entries. I am not showing off. I am going to be selfish. I am writing this blog as a reminder for myself. I like to think it is important to start. And it is important to keep walking. In a world of speed, slow seems to be vulgar. But slow is precisely […]
Above-the-line, below-the-line, through-the-line, online. All these are mediums to get your message to your consumer. There are many choices and a combination of these will deliver the best results. There is no need to choose one over the other. You can use different mediums to compound on the effect of the other. Don’t be too biased to certain media choices. Just because you aren’t familiar with it doesn’t mean they cannot deliver to your goals. Are you the right fit?
One easy way your brand can look big is to start advertising above-the-line (mass media like newspapers, radio, TV) consistently. It sounds old fashion. It will also make your campaigns in other mediums more noticeable. How trendy can you get?
Be logical. Park emotions aside. Look at the facts and figures. Sprinkle some past experiences. Don’t let emotions get in the way of your decision making in order to be consistent. How emotional are you?
I am beginning to think branding is an all or nothing activity. And I hate absolutes. You can’t say you want a big brand but you only want to do posters and shelf-talkers and perhaps run a small campaign a year when you can afford to spend quadruple the amount. If you believe, go all out. Are you a true convert?
Sure, keep track of your campaigns to evaluate their effectiveness. But if you keep track of every single detail and keep asking for reports every other day then you are missing the bigger picture. If you are doing that, you are not in control of the campaign. The campaign is controlling you. How much do you need to know?
For newbie marketers, when you enter into a new market a new category, it’s best that you learn the key category motivators and consumer insights. Know your way around these and you have an advantage over your peers. Of course, you already know these. Would you care to learn?
You can ask the consultants who have done real in the trenches work. You can ask friends who are fellow marketers. But there are going to be times when both these groups of people don’t know crap. They have a different budget and deal with a different management. Your brand is the best case study. Try some things, see if it works, make adjustments, try again. Honestly, how do you think other brands got there? They try stuff. What did you try?
Sometimes we see smaller brands trying to do too much in their quest to be successful. What they should really be doing is to learn to master a few things that is manageable. Then progressively load from there. Doing too much too fast will just make you crash. How do you crash?
If you apply whatever that you know now like a religious doctrine, then you run the risk of looking like a fool when it stops to work. Know that what works for you now may not work in the future. Be open to other ideas. Are you dogmatic?
Pick up a few principles of marketing. Keep a few promotional ideas that work. Truly understand the good basic social media concepts that you have applied. Mix and match according to the current context and use it often. What else is new?
Sure, do your research, read all the marketing books and case studies you want. Then commit to act upon what you have learned so you can gain experience and benefit from experience. Without real experience you won’t know what works and what does not work. Do you know what really works?
Don’t do hard sell ads. Don’t do soft sell ads. Do loads of consumer relevant and interesting ads. Only relevant and interesting ads connect. Learn to know what isn’t working for you and stop doing it. How do you do it?
If you are new to branding and marketing, perhaps you should start conservatively. Look for things that have always worked with the bigger brands. Things they have done consistently over the years and mirror that. Don’t fall into the fad trap. What has always worked?
Only if you have attended to the bigger stuff. Attend to the obvious things that can make or break your brand, like your product, your distribution, your price. Worry about the lack of distribution rather than the fonts in your brochure. Did you miss the bigger picture?
If your knowledge of branding and marketing is limited to reading your friend’s social media posts, it’s time to stop saying “I want my brand to be like XXX(fill in your brand of the month here).” There is only so much information a 400 word article can give you. Unless you are that brand, don’t do what the article said the brand did. Are you day dreaming?
You are not destined to be trapped in the decisions made by your predecessors. Yes, there may be effort involved in undoing some of the things you feel aren’t working for your brand. But it can be done. It just involves work and yes it can be stressful. But you are definitely not stuck and have to live with it. If you can do something about it, then you need not live with it. If you prefer not to do something about it, then live with it without bitching. Can you change your life?
Branding is an integrated game. In that I mean, it is not just external factors that influences your work as a manager to build a strong brand. Internal factors sometimes play an even bigger role. And often, it is out of your power orbit to do anything about these factors. Oh, it could be a weak supply chain, management that doesn’t believe in branding too much, you know those sorts of things. But you need not compound on these weaknesses. Work your way around them and balance it off with what you CAN do. What can work for you?
It’s great that what you have been doing is working for you. If what you are doing is working, learn to ignore trends. Trends can blind you and complicate things. Rely on the experience you have gathered to guide your vision. Can it blur your vision?
If what you have learned through experience and applied is not working it is time to stop. That is pretty patent. But you need that reminder. Don’t be so attached to your habits that you continue to do what you do even when it is not working. You are a manager, not a cult leader. Is it misplaced faith?
If you look hard enough there will always be studies and cases that can support the strategy you want to believe. But if your strategy doesn’t work, it means you believed in the wrong thing. Something is wrong. Either your analyses or your application is wrong. If that is the case, be open to other ideas even if it contradicts what you know. Learn, apply, and evolve. How open-minded are you?
The fresher you are to the branding game the better it is for you to learn up the basics and principles. Not just because they work, but for you to later learn which to bend and which to break according to the environment your brand exists. Until you know the rules and principles of the game, you will be doing the wrong thing. Do you know the basic principles?
If you are a marketing person, don’t be so self conscious about the activities that you are going to do. Make the best decision that you can with the information that you have. Then jump. There will always be uncertainties; there will always be a chance of failure. Awesomeness awaits when you overcome that perceived fear. Are you ready to jump?
There are marketing activities that you will keep repeating. Why? Because you found the formula. And because you have the formula it becomes easy. Learn to do some harder stuff. Start to do stuff that makes you nervous. That’s how you become better. Would you prefer challenges?
Budget cuts? Buy some ads that don’t require huge budgets. Soft market? An excellent time to look for opportunities to tap into; which you otherwise won’t look at when things are rosy. Keep your brand activities going. Make marketing activities a habit. Don’t stop. That’s how you become big and strong. Do you want to be big?
Are you committed to branding and marketing for the rest of your brand’s life? Small minded marketers look for every damn excuse not to spend any money on marketing activities. Increase in raw material costs, sliding sales, a soft market, it’s the rainy season. Strong brands will carry on their marketing activities come hell or high water. Are you prepared with reasons?
When the markets gets tough, push harder. Invest, kick in more because the rest will find it tough. When they find it tough, they will cut, they will hibernate. Your extra push will steal their market share. Do you mind the extra work?
Traditional media, online media, contests, promotions, events are things you integrate to give your brand more exposure. Mix them up well and your brand grows. Mix them up well with some investment intensity in relation to your category, your brand will hypertrophy. Some people believe this is just big spending. These people have small brands. How small are they?
Is your head fill with ideas you want to do for your brand that you have not executed? Probably unsure if you they are right or which to execute first. It’s time to call in the experts. Better yet, call us. Do you need help?
Many have built big brands with all sorts of strategies and beliefs. The common thread in all these strategies is – they invest behind their brand. They invest time, people (expertise), and money to build their brand. Spending behind your brand works. Don’t spend too much finding out what doesn’t work. Are you spending wrongly?
The reason why certain things are not recommended for your brand or done for your brand yet is probably because there is a time and place for everything. Effective campaigns can come in many forms, it can use one medium, and it can use an integration of mediums. It can be online, it can be traditional media. It can be an event, it can be a contest. It can be a one ad campaign; it can be a series of branded content. It can be a CSR program; it can be what your sticky dreams tell you. If you stay […]
Brands that look strong do a lot more things that makes it strong than figuring out what is a cheaper and faster way to get there. You would think someone would have figured out the answer long ago if the answer existed. Have you tried the tried and tested?
The stronger your brand is, the easier it is to make it even stronger. A strong brand is expensive to build. If you have a brand, but it is not strong, it takes a lot more money and effort. The important thing is to take the ‘pain’ and get on the first step. You, of course, already know that. How can you get stronger?
A healthy level of brand awareness promotes sales. If you work on getting higher levels of awareness for your brand, the sales will go up naturally. That is assuming you got all your distribution, pricing and product quality right. At a healthy level of awareness, a sales promotion – whether it is cents off, contest or purchase with purchase – works off that level. It’s like a booster shot in your vaccine. Your booster shot doesn’t work because there is nothing to boost. Didn’t think of that, did you? Have you got the steps right?
Events, promotions, contests, advertising, social media and all forms of communication aren’t mutually exclusive. All can increase awareness, jack up sales and make your brand stronger. The winning brands get the concoction right. What’s in your combo meal?
The best prescription for branding is a mega dose of FOCUS. Focus on one thing your brand stands for, focus on one target market, focus on a key message, and make focus your key focus. Stop being greedy. Do you lack focus?
Always choose a combination of mediums according to your campaign objectives. Some mediums you choose for quantitative reasons, others for qualitative reasons. Never just on one. Being dogmatic means you get very efficient, but not necessarily effective. What’s on the ála carte menu?
In your brand plans, balance the long term awareness sustaining campaigns with short intense bursts of promotions. Excite your fans. Done right, this would pique not just your brand awareness but sales too. Are short intense bursts better?
The average marketer (no, the average sales person) thinks “I need to increase sales” and runs off to do a sales promotion. Here, have a free this, there get some cents off. A better solution? Branding consistently on the long-term, a sprinkle of sales-promotion here and there. What is it that you do?
Branding isn’t fun if you think about the money, time and effort you need to put in. Done right it will more than reward you for your efforts in years to come. Conviction and consistency brings lifelong rewards. You can always buy fun later. Do you like money?