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Best New Thinking Winner 2010

Brand Delivery

This is a topline introduction to some of the concepts and tools I have developed or have in progress on the brand as Experience. If you don’t understand what the Brand as Experience means then I suggest you click through to the New Playing Field for Planners page and it will explain what I mean by it and how this facet of the brand fits with the others.

In advertising, account planners spend most of their time working out how to change the way people think and feel. But if you work in design, sales promotion, new media, direct marketing and events marketing then you need to be able to change the way people behave. You may find the page on Changing Behaviour useful because it introduces some of the key concepts. On this page I want to provide some tools and ideas for you to start to think about delivering the brand as experience.

I have developed a presentation on this aimed in particular at advertising planners so if you want me to present this to your planning department give me a call.


 Touchpoints with the brand

 Scripted behaviour

 Inductive learning

 Watch what people do

Touchpoints with the brand

It is worth working out all the contact points a brand has with it’s customers. It doesn’t only happen when people buy stuff. Nor when they see ads. But every point is an opportunity for the brand to make a difference.

The example is automotive but has wider relevance because it shows the key stages where communications could be important. The point is that not every stage is relevant but these are the points of access where if you did communicate customers would be particularly receptive.

For example to launch the Honda Accord: at the servicing stage we found leaving a cassette hanging from the mirror a perfect way (and it fit with the creative idea of the campaign) to get to Accord customers. It got us 10-15 minutes uninterrupted drive time where you could play off the car the owner was actually driving. And it got to a sight more drivers than the mailings using the oh so effective customer database!!!

Timeline Qualitative Media Planning

Mass marketing is over. But it takes a long time to drain the poison out of our systems. Look for quality of the contact. Coverage is important but more important than frequency is the perceived importance of the channel and the amount of time people are prepared to give to it. I brainstormed this on Sun Alliance 10 years ago with the media planner but never got around to graphing it. Don’t take the numbers as gospel. That’s not the point. What we’re looking for is how many bodies we get and how important a particular action is to them. If you want to get really complicated you could look at how much time they would allocate to each! Which is why I added the Z axis though I haven’t changed the data to adapt. But treat it as a conceptual tool. How would the Z axis look if we put data in?

What we’re measuring here is depth of involvement. Hit a home run here by getting the right tone or making it easier and you’ll stand out and clean up!



Purchase Funnels

Another example from automotive. Pipelines are a critical way to look at the efficiency of the sales process. What proportion of buyers consider you at the outset and by the end of the process how many do you get to buy. Different shaped funnesl indicate different marketing strategies. Choose the wrong one for your size in the market and you’ll be in real trouble. Small players get low consideration but convert almost everyone. Large players get lots of consideration but cherry pick the real prospects. In the middle ground you can get killed if you can’t learn how to cherry pick when inevitably your conversion rate starts to fall off. I use the funnel model to size the different stages and to assign costs before layering mechanics and messages. The result is a clear understanding of the potential returns. I have this in calculator form and will add it to the website soon for people to have a play! SO once you have the numbers then work out your allowables for moving people up the funnel

Leveraging non involvement

Most marketing communications is taken on board when consumers are paying little or no attention. So what do we do? Shout and wave our arms around to attract attention? Or automate brand interactions so they don’t have to think about it. This is where scripts come into play. Essential for sales promotion, loyalty programmes and the web. Easyjet, Amazon, Starbucks , Direct Line, Tesco have made it easier to say yes and follow the script than to sit down and make a decision.

Brands as programmers

If your top 20% of customers are willing to pay you attention then what are you going to do about it? You can educate them. You can entertain them. But for goodness sake don’t just try to sell them stuff they don’t want. That way you begin to undermine the whole relationship. John Grant’s brilliant book After Image covers the whole area of knowledge and mentoring as the new battleground for brands. We have an interview with John Grant about the book plus a free chapter to download. You want to create new ways to involve customers. Ultimately you want them to use you as the editor to filter media and products and offers. And they will. If they trust you and like you.

Brands as experience creators

Drayton Bird once gave a brilliant example of a winery whose customers were so loyal that they paid to go to the winery for the weekend to make the product, stay over and get taught how to appreciate it – and still bought case loads of the stuff without wondering why they were paying for all of this. Brands ought to create experiences for customers because customers will cheerfully pay top dollar for such experiences and it invariably turns them into advocates who sell more product. You can still go to Germany, get put up in a swanky Frankfurt hotel, collect a Mercedes, get a personal introduction at the factory and drive it home and you will get a discount. But don’t get confused. You’re the one doing them a favour.

Contact strategies have become much more sophisticated. Video game design allows the whole environment to change in response to where the character is. It’s only a matter of time before marketing programmes follow suit. The Nokia Game is a rollicking adventure forcing users to swap networks, watch TV at certain times and visit certain websites. Pure entertainment. Pure induction. Which is why we need to write branded adventure games for our customers. And get them to pay for them!

One of the reasons agencies don’t get into this is that they’re still fixated on mass communications. And getting paid to go larging it across a national audience. Believe me if you get your financial structures right you can make a killing



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