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BRANDE : Advertising

March 21, 2016

Stars and Cars: Escapism as a Marketing Method

You’re watching TV and the voiceover stops you in your tracks. Its grit and resonant tone are so distinctive you know without seeing a face that it’s Christopher Walken touting the vehicle. Walken is an actor known for his unique roles; a man who is as far from cookie cutter as you can get (think:  The Deer Hunter or Pulp Fiction.) So it’s no leap of faith that the Kia Optima is anything but basic, and will enable some fortunate driver to stand apart from the pack.

huracan-lp580-2_hook_1000x1000 In 2014 it was another star who was Kia pitchman in a Super Bowl ad—Pierce Brosnan,  who counts James Bond among his daring, fast-paced investigative roles. Bond is slick,  sexy, always navigating a challenge and facing an open road; exactly why cars and stars  are such a perfect marketing match.

According to a 2007 post in iMedia Connection “They are both selling the same dream:  escapism. Part of the lure of buying a new car is that your vehicle will transport you from your hum-drum reality.”

Take for example the recent set of commercials featuring Matthew McConaughey. We watch him don his tux and slick his hair, checking his dimples in the mirror. He’s grooming for a date with the most significant person, could be his supermodel wife or the Queen of England. All we know for sure is what transports him there: his dark and sleek car. Like the actor, the Lincoln MK series is lean and elegant, with a distinctive grille.

And who can forget Ricardo Montalban? The Mexican-American actor passed away in 2009 but his sexy voice and the way he stroked the soft Corinthian leather of that Chrysler have eternal allure. Readers who weren’t around in 1979 can experience these commercials on YouTube.

When it comes to stars and cars certainly both exude sexuality, and both evoke speed and living dangerously. As branding experts, though, we know nothing is universal and much hinges on the particular brand of car. Some have maverick appeal while others are pure and family-focused ─ like the Subaru which has a golden retriever clan as their spokesmen. The demographic of the buyer is another consideration, and a good reason for using 45-60 year old legends to market luxury cars.

Take a moment to think about your business as if it were a car: what brand hallmarks would it have and who could best speak for them? We’d be happy to help you explore.

December 23, 2013

The Most Popular Blog Posts of 2013

As 2012 comes to a close, let’s take a look back at the year’s most popular blog posts. The topics range from telling your brand story to embracing new technologies to engaging your employees. I hope these articles will help you become an employer of choice and attract top talent — and avoid some of the biggest social media mistakes. 

Here are the BrandeBlog’s six most-read posts of 2013.

Employer Branding: Recruiters Help You Tell the Right Story

One of the biggest recruiting trends of 2014 is employer branding: the promise your company makes to its employees. And one of the biggest trends in marketing is brand storytelling: the use of content and experiences to bring your brand to life. Combining these trends can bring a powerful presence to your talent acquisition. Here’s how to do it.

How to Become an Employer of Choice
A recent Gallup study found that only 47% of American workers are completely satisfied with their jobs. A MarketTools study found that 21% of employees had applied to another job in the past six months. Clearly, many employees are ready to look elsewhere for the next step in their careers. To attract the best of these workers — and make your current employees stay with you, follow these steps to become an employer of choice. 

Create Goodwill for Your Small Business with Community Involvement

For any small business to succeed, it must build goodwill with the surrounding community. You can have Facebook fans or catalogue customers all over the world, placing orders by phone and email, but if locals aren’t walking in the door, you’re doomed. Branding your business as a “hometown hero” can make a huge impression on your customer base and serve as an important differentiator in the marketplace.

Build an Employer Brand Fortress by Integrating with Your Corporate Brand

One question that gets asked in every employer branding workshop we hold is, “Where does our employer brand fit with our corporate brand?” Some companies create an employer brand slogan that lives only within recruiting or HR. That’s often against best practice, as it has no bearing on a true employer value proposition. A strong EVP is based on the unique elements of your culture and workplace, resonates with the people you would like more of, and integrates with the same value proposition to your consumer base. Integrating the two brands isn’t always easy, but it’s crucial to success.

Social Media PR Disasters: Applebee’s Wild Night
If it’s true that you can learn more from failure than from success, then there’s a lot to learn from Applebee’s mysterious midnight meltdown. After the restaurant chain’s controversial firing of a waitress, critics took to Applebee’s Facebook page to complain. In the early hours of Saturday, February 2, someone from Applebee’s tried to fight back. What happened next is a perfect example of what not to do in a PR crisis.

Recruiting with Google Glass
Google’s new wearable technology may change recruiting forever. Why? Because, as the economy improves and the competition for talent increases, Google Glass will allow organizations to show a job listing and a corporate culture instead of telling. From talent acquisition to employer branding, here’s how this amazing visual device can be used to engage job-seekers in several new and exciting ways.

What do these posts’ popularity tell us? That there a lot of people with an interest in  and a need for  social media trends, marketing, and branding. As it so happens, they are also specialties of ours! 
Want to be more popular to job-seekers, employees, and customer? Put Brandemix on your to-do list for 2014.

Thanks for reading and happy holidays.

August 14, 2013

Brandemix Bonus Reel: Improving the Customer Experience


How can retailers improve the customer experience — before and after the customer visits the store? Jason Ginsburg explains.

October 7, 2012

The Great Debate: Demographics or Psychographics

Since the early days of Madison Avenue advertising, demographics have helped advertisers  kind-of sort-of pinpoint the types of consumers that might be interested in purchasing their products or services by such segments as age, income, location or education. 

But now big media, including news networks like NBC News, and are focusing on something that could potentially provide much more value for advertisers, and provide much more relevant advertising to consumers: psychographics.

The idea behind the shift is such: Though demographics help content producers and advertisers define particular spectrums in terms of those that are more likely to be able to purchase particular products, they don’t necessarily focus on things like aspirations, attitudes, or perhaps most importantly, intent.   


So, are demographics dead?
Can we – advertisers – truly divorce ourselves from something that has long been the way to target advertising? Are demographics still as important as they once were?
Take, for example, Nielsen TV ratings which has often caught flak from audiences and advertisers alike for relying on things like demographics and impressions in order to determine the value of advertising in the increasingly-disrupted medium that is TV. It may be foolish to rely on half-century old ways of targeting consumers when, in just the past decade alone, the way we consume information has begun changing at an alarming rate. 
But Nielsen, too, seems to have realized that, joining forces with Catalina Marketing in order to more effectively target their advertising initiatives through psychographics.   
Research on the subject of demographics from Catalina Marketingindicates that as little of 15% of brand advertisements — that’s 15 cents on the dollar — are targeted towards the consumers that account for 80 percent of a brand’s sales!
Which means that it might be time for a paradigm shift. Especially when you consider the wide number of massive online networks and free advertising tools that make performing psychographic research much easier. 
But ultimately, whether you target based on demographics or psychographics, marketers must still focus on the messages that they are broadcasting to their target audiences. 
 And that’s where brand comes in.  : ) 
September 13, 2011

Campus Recruiting? Remember, It’s One Big Brand.

In honor of back to school time, let’s check out what’s new on campus. I’ve long-advised clients who desire to keep ahead of the technology curve to follow the trends in campus student enrollment. Now there’s another reason to head back to school.

If your responsible for your company’s campus recruiting efforts, Natasha Singer’s recent article for the New York Times is a must-read. The story highlights ways companies are using student Brand Ambassadors to promote products and services, and generate loyalty via social media, in-store events, and on-campus buzz.

Traditional marketing efforts like print advertising and TV spots are yielding fewer and fewer tangible results, but did you know that this fall, an estimated 10,000 American college students will be working on hundreds of campuses as Brand Ambassadors?

By illustration, Singer’s article cites efforts from three American Eagle student marketers who solicited 50 volunteers to take part in a move-in event at the University of North Carolina. Wearing A.E. Move-In Crew T-shirts, they helped with lifting boxes, handing out swag, and creating a welcoming branded experience for new arrivals, as just one of AE’s 50-campus events.

Target opened up its wallets for a freshman welcome dinner, and its doors for a private late-night shopping experience, complete with DJs and dancing through the aisles.

Mr. Youth, a youth marketing agency, published its list of brands who were best at communicating with freshmen. They included Nike (design your own shoes), Xbox (engage, connect and compete with your friends), and of course Apple (‘nuf said.)

So advice to the campus recruiting teams: Plan together and plan ahead.

Check in with your marketing department and find out if they are launching any guerilla marketing events on the college campuses. If yes, get in on it. If no, this is where you can shine. Help them plan something and then work together (isn’t that a great concept) to promote a seamless brand experience from consumer through employee. Give them the list of your target schools (you have that right?) and start there.
Work to infuse an employer value proposition that is aligned with the consumer value proposition into all your messages, and don’t sound like anyone else.
Make sure you’re careers site has been recently refreshed, is up-to-date and mobile friendly (QR tags are optional), and your social media sites are integrated with your career/jobs information.

Remember: the brands that swim together,win together.