February 24, 2016
What is a Brand Archetype?
As professionals in this industry, we understand various brands and their specific allure for a consumer. Essentially, there are 20 brand archetypes into which everything can be sorted: from breakfast cereals to talk show hosts. Read my earlier blog post on brand archetypes here.
Politics aside, I thought it would be great fun to look at the recent and current Republicans seeking the presidential nomination through the lens of a brand archetype. Your comments appreciated.
Marco Rubio: The Innocent
Like Mr. Rogers, the innocent is committed to simplicity, and doing the right thing. Rubio wants to bolster education, secure America’s borders and balance the budget. His naivete can be too much at times, such as when he denies climate change. Lysol and Dove are two examples of consumer brand names that suit the innocent.
Trump: The Entertainer
While some of Trump’s speeches are about the old simpler America, he is as much the clown as the traditionalist. He makes faces at the camera, baits news commentators, and slams his competition (e.g. Carly Fiorina’s looks.) Lacking a political background, he is best known for his entertainment holdings–beauty pageants, casinos, and iterations of The Apprentice. A celebrity who suits this category is Jeff Foxworthy and a consumer brand is the Jack in the Box chain.
Ben Carson: The Traditionalist
The traditionalist seeks to restore glory through a return to old fashioned values. Carson, who announced his run at a prayer breakfast full of city pastors, certainly fits in with this archetype. Beyond religion, his conservative views and commitment to family values are as clean and simple as Proctor and Gamble soaps. Other traditionalist brands include Old Spice and Folger’s coffee.
Chris Christie: The Boy Next Door
This brand type is friendly, hardworking, for “regular Joes” — think Walmart or Covergirl cosmetics. Often photographed in khakis and polo shirts, Christie looks like your neighbor out mowing his lawn. And when it comes to issues, he’ll tell you that he wants to lower taxes and take a bite out of crime.
Discover Your Brand Archetype
Brandemix creates brand plans for clients across a wide range of industries. We can analyze your current brand, the archetype it fits into, how to communicate in the write tone of voice and how to leverage that with the right audience. Find out more.
August 12, 2013
No retailer wants to be “just another [your product] store.” But how can you stand out? Every business has at least competitive advantage, some positive quality that sets it apart in the marketplace. For example:
McDonald’s competitive advantage is convenience; a restaurant location is never far away and the food is inexpensive.
Keens Steakhouse’s competitive advantage is quality; its single Manhattan location isn’t convenient, and the prices aren’t low, but it’s consistently ranked as one of the best restaurants in the city.
So how do you determine your store’s competitive advantage?
First, you’ll need market intelligence. That includes discovering what your customers want, what they’re willing to pay, and what needs they have that aren’t being fulfilled. That information can be gathered from studies and trade magazines, or by directly surveying your customers.
Next comes competitive intelligence. What is the competition offering? What is attracting their customers to them instead of you? What are their strengths and weaknesses? These findings will help you determine what separates you from the rest of the marketplace; the positive differences can become your competitive advantages.
|“Investigate” your competition to determine your competitive advantages.
The strongest competitive advantages have these qualities:
Whether it’s unique merchandise or a fun policy (like The Disney Store’s “You break it, you don’t have to buy it” rule), a true advantage must be uncommon among your competitors.
Small differences don’t matter. If your competitive advantage saves customers money or makes their visit more pleasant, they’ll definitely notice.
Hard to Copy
If your competitors can easily duplicate what you’re doing, it won’t remain an advantage for very long.
“Buy One, Get Three Free” would probably result in customers rushing to your store. But then what? An offer like that can’t last long. Make sure your advantage is a true change in policy, procedure, or philosophy, and not a short-term gimmick.
Even if you can’t provide the finest products or the lowest price, there’s one simple and effective way to stand out: the customer experience. That means making the customer feel valued while in the store, handling complaints and returns with ease, and reaching out to the customers afterwards to get their feedback or offer discounts. Studies have shown that our happiest memories are tied to experiences, not possessions, so it’s possible that the experience of buying your products is more important than the products themselves.
|The customer experience includes tech support and customer service, too!
“Simple” doesn’t mean “easy,” however. Creating a great customer experience means training employees differently and offering them incentives for great service. It may mean operational changes to make sure complaints and exchanges are made as hassle-free as possible. It might also mean expanding the job responsibilities of your HR or marketing teams to oversee all these improvements.
How will you when you’ve succeeded? Luckily, it’s easy to measure your store’s competitive advantage. Sales volume, same-store sales, and customer traffic are all straightforward metrics. You may also see more chatter – or at lest more positive chatter – on social networks, as customers share their experiences and write happy reviews.
Your retail store is unique, with advantages over your competitors. Once you discover those advantages, emphasize them, and make them part of your brand, you’ll reap the benefits.
November 7, 2011
, when we advise clients on digital branding, we encourage them to create accounts on the Four Essential Profiles: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. However, a fifth social network may be emerging. According to Alexa
, it recently cracked the top 50 most popular sites in the world, and the top 25 in the US. The site is Tumblr
Tumblr is a free, short-form blogging service that combines the publishing ability of WordPress with the social aspects of Facebook and Twitter. Since Tumblr doesn’t replace these other platforms, anyone can use it, whether or not they have another web presence. In fact, Tumblr’s emphasis on short posts make it attractive to brands who aren’t blogging.
But the service is not without its problems – or its controversy. So should you create a “tumbleblog” in this quickly growing community? It depends on your brand, your audience, and your needs.
Why Your Brand Needs To Be On Tumblr
Easy to set up and easy to use. Yes, even easier than WordPress. The interface is intuitive. It’s no trouble to customize with Tumblr’s variety of themes – or your own, if you know some HTML. You can publish content via email, mobile, or through a bookmarklet in your browser, so you can post new material or share a discovery from anywhere. Tumblr hosts text, photos, video, audio, and links, so if you’re new to social media or don’t have time for elaborate layouts, Tumblr is perfect for you.
Tumblr allows readers to “like” a post, similar to Facebook, or to “reblog” it, similar to a retweet on Twitter. Users can follow other blogs, creating a single content feed like both Facebook and Twitter. Tumblr users love the site’s community, sharing a creative sensibility that you don’t see on other social networks. It’s a great place to engage an involved audience.
According to comScore
, 29% of its users are aged 18-24. 20% are aged 25-34 and 20% are 12-17. And the numbers are growing: from 4.2 million visitors in July 2010 to 13.4 million in July 2011. So if your brand is targeting those age groups, you should stake your claim on Tumblr.
It Hosts Some Big Names
Brands with a lot of assets and content are wildly popular on Tumblr. Fashion brands in particular seem to thrive there, including J. Crew
, Kate Spade
, andAnn Taylor
. In fact, Tumblr hosted a special New York Fashion Week page, sending 20 of its most popular fashion bloggers (such as What I Wore
’s Jessica Quirk) to cover all the major events. Media companies and publishers are also using Tumblr, from Comedy Central
to The Today Show
, and from Rolling Stone
Why Your Brand Doesn’t Need To Be On Tumblr
It Doesn’t Offer Analytics
Tumblr’s dashboard doesn’t include any sort of tracking. How many likes did one of your posts get? How many times was it reblogged? You actually have to go to each of your posts and count the actions by hand. Google Analytics and Site Meter only partly solve the problem because they can’t track Tumblr’s internal links. If you need hard numbers that can be analyzed on a spreadsheet, Tumblr may not be for you.
It’s Not That Social
There are no comments on Tumblr. You can add a sort of semi-comment “note” or reblog someone’s post on your own blog, but you can’t have a real dialogue with visitors or other Tumblr users. Facebook and Twitter, and even Google+, know the importance of conversing and sharing, but Tumblr simply isn’t designed that way. If you want to truly engage your audience, you might find Tumblr disappointing.
It’s Too Young
Almost 70% of Tumbler users are 34 or under, including 20% who are 17 or under. After that, the numbers drop as the ages go up. If your brand is a luxury product or is aimed at middle-aged or senior consumers, Tumblr’s audience simply isn’t there.
It Has Angered Some Big Names
Remember those top fashion Tumblr bloggers covering New York Fashion Week 2011? Tumblr actually charged the designers for coverage
, asking for up to $350,000 for promoted content, even though the bloggers didn’t actually work for Tumblr. Based on an expected one million impressions for the week, this meant a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) of $70, compared to $3 to be featured on the front page of the New York Times website. As I mentioned, Tumblr couldn’t even provide designers with advanced analytics to see if their spend was justified.
Tumblr is simple to use, growing in popularity, and attracting some big brands. It also skews very young, presents problems for marketers, and has some frustrating limitations. Is it right for your brand? That’s up to you. But whether it ends in success or failure, I’m pretty sure the Tumblr story has a long way to go.
For the latest on social media, online recruiting, mobile marketing, and other branding trends, please like BRANDEMiX on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and join our LinkedIn group, Your Digital Brand.
August 1, 2011
As many of you know from my presentations and webinars, I’m always looking for brands that are using social media in innovative ways. I honor these organizations with the name “SoMe Superstars.” PepsiCo, with its brilliant social recruitment marketing, was the most recent winner
Today I’d like to recognize another company that’s interacting with consumers in exciting new ways: Moleskine, the Italy-based maker of fine notebooks and journals. Rather than seeing its products as simply blank books, the company brands itself as embodying creativity, bringing tools to artists, writers, and travelers. To further this branding, Moleskine has created a number of social media channels that celebrate painting, drawing, writing, poetry, and scrapbooking, and encourages users to post their work. The result is a remarkably loyal fan base that consistently uploads and shares new content. In fact, BrandChannel recently declared that “If any brand name seems to be loved by all who come in contact with it, it is Moleskine.”
Here are the three superstar strategies that Moleskine uses to engage with its audience in a branded way:
* Moleskine has profiles on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and Tumblr, each with active communities and lots of user-generated content, from artwork to fiction to videos.
* For “old-fashioned” content, the company runs a blog, Moleskinerie
, that integrates many of its social efforts while also providing unique content.
* Moleskine has just launched a mobile app
that allows users to write or draw on their iPhone or iPad as they would in an actual notebook.
As the New York Times recently reported, Moleskine’s social efforts are immensely successful. 91,000 people are fans of the company’s Facebook page, while 12,000 people follow the company on Twitter. On both Facebook and Flickr, Moleksine encourages its fans to post their sketches, paintings, and collages, creating a community of user-generated content and supportive feedback.
Moleskine’s YouTube channel has 3,800 subscribers and more than 235 videos, both from fans and the company itself. The videos range from actual footage of artists drawing in the books to short films that celebrate the company’s creative spirit. The company also posts videos of its traveling art exhibitions and its workshops, which allow fans to meet and collaborate, making the Moleskine customer base feel even more like a community.
Most companies have a blog, but the Moleskine blog stands out by serving as a companion to its Facebook and Twitter accounts, rather than simply duplicating them. “Tweet” and “Like” buttons atop each post make it easy to share the content on users’ social networks. Moleskine also made the bold decision to stay distinct from the company’s website, giving the brand a platform to focus solely on its community. The blog includes a link to a very cool beta application, myMoleskine, which allows users to upload their own written or visual content, or images from a gallery, and create a virtual notebook, complete with turnable pages.
Even while it embraces its product’s low-tech charm, Moleskine is moving into the modern era with a clever new mobile app. Users choose a Moleskine notebook paper style, create a new “thought,” and then type or draw, using different colors and sizes. These “thoughts” can be geo-tagged, catalogued in different categories, and shared with others through social networks or email.
|Art by Jinho Jung
In speaking to the New York Times, Moleskine America president Marco Beghin said “We let our fans speak for themselves. We wanted to create a relay of stories to become the ambassadors, interpreting the message.” Moleskine knows that its customers are creative and gives them an outlet for them to express themselves.
What can you learn from Moleskine? First, find the positive and compelling aspects of your brand, company, or product. Then learn who your market is and how they relate to those aspects. Finally, find ways of connecting with that market that utilize your strengths and are on-brand.
For fostering creativity in creative ways, I’ve dipped my quill and inscribed Moleskine in the honored list of genuine SoMe Superstars!