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Brand Media Strategy (chapters 8 & 9) and Groundswell (chapters 7-9)
Jessy Hutchinson & Lilli Lopez

In chapter eight of Brand Media Strategy, Young (2010) examines receptivity tactics and the different platforms that allow for receptive messaging. Young gave a personal example where Saatchi & Saatchi New York came up with an effective media strategy for Tide laundry. The campaign placed ads in “points of dirt” to ensure their audience thought of Tide whenever they were faced with a dirty situation or environment (p. 128). Receptivity is achieved at the “moment of aperture” when consumers are in the right mind-set to think about the product category (p. 131).

As Young stated, “technology platforms are quickly bringing this (receptivity) planning into this decade” (p. 128). “Rather than simply advertise, we use media to build content that entertains and immerses those influencers. The experience has to be authentic and interesting” (p. 137). The experience is a huge factor in the receptivity of a message. Online platforms pose new opportunity for brands to use online and interactive media as a touch point in conjunction with events/POS Guerrilla (see fig. 9.4, p. 157).

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Lilli: The first marketing strategy that comes to mind is through music festivals. I’ve been to several music festivals and, aside from the awesome live music, my favorite part of these events is all the free stuff. At every major music festival, big brands sponsor parts of the event. At Austin City Limits Music Festival in 2011, some of the sponsors on site were Honda and Google Plus. Honda had their latest Civic model on site where festival-goers could sit inside and get their pictures taken. In exchange for signing up for a mailing list, Honda representatives gave photo booth participants a bandana featuring their pictures screen printed on the giveaway. Honda paid to be there and though they can’t give out the actual product they’re promoting, they gave a tangible reminder to their consumers. Across the festival grounds, Google Plus paid to host a private lounge party for attendees to relax in an air-conditioned space on Google colored beanbags. While inside, Google Plus reps helped people create their personal Google+ accounts. Every time someone left that tent, they walked out wearing promotional Google Plus Wayfarer-style sunglasses and a new Google+ account. People started asking each other where they got their sunglasses or bandanas, which created a constant flow of visitors for these brands. This event marketing strategy deserves at +1! Here is an article that outlines paid, owned and earned media through event marketing: http://www.inc.com/guides/201102/new-rules-of-event-marketing.html

Advertising may be losing its effectiveness now, as consumers are targeted with more and more paid media messages. According to Li and Bernoff (2011), companies can increase the spread of positive word-of-mouth by locating their most enthusiastic customers encouraging them to speak about the company. Consumers are more interested in hearing about other people’s personal experiences, and trust these first-hand accounts more than a brand’s carefully crafted image. Podnar and Javernik (2012) refer to “word of mouse,” using the internet to spread word-of-mouth more quickly and across geographic boundaries (p. 147). They state that word-of-mouth can influence a range of consumer behaviors, from brand awareness to brand choice to purchase behavior. Although you cannot fake word-of-mouth, according to Li and Bernoff, you can encourage it. Citing Christiansen and Tax (2000), Podnar and Javernik believe that “companies should encourage consumers to talk about their positive experiences immediately if they want to maximize the effect of positive word of mouth” (p. 164). Although Apple recently received some negative word-of-mouth due to problems with the new iPhone maps app, sales of the new phone have not slowed down: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57525319-37/apple-maps-snafu-isnt-hurting-iphone-5-sales-say-analysts/

The website Kickstarter is built on the idea that positive word-of-mouth will inspire others and lead them to donate money to interesting projects. If someone wants to embark upon a creative project but do not have the required funding, they can create a profile on the Kickstarter website, listing their funding goal and a deadline. With the help of press, blogs, social media, and word-of-mouth, artists can spread the word about their project.

Jessy: Chapter seven of Groundswell discusses the possibility of building a community around a company’s groundswell. This community does not have to focus specifically on a product, and instead could form around a problem consumers experience. Li and Bernoff also mention the groundswell’s ability to support itself. They describe the groundswell as “a fantastic support system” (p. 157). This system enables people to connect and care for one another. Chapter eight provided the example of CarePages, a journaling website that allows people to update friends and family members on serious medical conditions. Several other websites also assist in the coordination of caring for loved ones during an injury or illness. My family used the website Caring Bridge after my brother was involved in a serious motorcycle accident. This site operates in a manner similar to CarePages. Caring Bridge allowed us to provide updates over the span of a year to many people regarding Matt’s multiple surgeries.  Take Them a Meal is an online scheduling system that organizes meal donations for those that are unable to cook for themselves. My parents recently received a month of meals from close friends after my mother underwent a mastectomy. They received email reminders several times a week, letting them know who would be dropping off a meal and even what food they’d receive.

Companies may choose to create support forums, wikis, or Q&A forums for their customers. Other times, it may be smart for a company to join an existing site to promote their brand. Areas of the groundswell attract like-minded people. Music fans come together on sites like Grooveshark and Spotify to share albums and playlists. Brands can use Spotify to both express their personality and connect with consumers. Companies can share playlists that fit well with their brand. Spotify users can share these playlists with friends on social networking sites. In an article on the Forbes website, David Clarke provides a simple formula: “brand experiences + content that people want = happy and engaged consumers” (Clarke, 2012, para. 6). Clarke encourages brands to create experiences that consumers will value, will actively seek out, and incorporate into their daily lives. He contrasts intrusive audio ads with interesting branded playlists…which is more attractive to consumers?

Chapter nine of Groundswell focuses on gathering feedback from the groundswell. Embracing the groundswell allows companies to gain information from consumers, including their wants, ideas, complaints, and praise. But the book makes the distinction between having consumers create an ad for a company and truly inviting them to participate in product innovation. Ad contests are short-term projects that don’t deepen the relationship between consumers and companies. Brabham (2012) defines crowdsourcing as “an emerging problem-solving model that leverages the collective intelligence of online communities for specific purposes” (p. 307). Brabham examined the Federal Transit Administration’s use of crowdsourcing in 2009 to obtain new ideas from the public for transit planning, noting the power and value of collective intelligence. “That’s what accelerates innovation—starting a conversation with your customers and using your skills to understand and exploit their knowledge” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 194).

Take a look at this crowdsourcing infographic: http://www.rigatuso.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Crowdsourcing-Umbrella-infographic.jpg

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References

Brabham, D. C. (2012). Motivations for participation in a crowdsourcing application to improve public engagement in transit planning. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 40(3), 307-328. doi:10.1080/00909882.2012.693940

Christiansen, T., & Tax, S. T. (2000). Measuring word of mouth: The questions of who and when? Journal of Marketing Communications, 6, 185–199.

Clarke, D. (2012, June 12). Spotify is helping brand managers change their tune. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/onmarketing/2012/06/12/spotify-is-helping-brand-managers-change-their-tune/

Lagorio, C. (2011, February 9). The new rules of event marketing. Retrieved from http://www.inc.com/guides/201102/new-rules-of-event-marketing.html

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.

Podnar, K., & Javernik, P. (2012). The effect of word of mouth on consumers’ attitudes toward products and their purchase probability. Journal of Promotion Management, 18(2), 145-168. doi:10.1080/10496491.2012.668426

Young, A. (2010). Brand media strategy: Integrated communications planning in the digital era. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

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