online marketing psychology

December 30, 2010

Brand extensions own

Brand extensions own a big percentage of the market. In Brazil about 77% of the products available on the market are brand extensions. I was surprised by this.

Even more surprising was that 95% of the products on the US market are brand extensions. Huge numbers which show that people keep buying famliar names.

This way there are a couple of big brands that take account for the majority of all the products. In Brazil these are: Natura (cosmetics), Sadia (processed meat), Bic, Gillette, Faber Castell and Danoninho (dairy products).

The companies behind these brands follow the same approach. Start off with a good definition of what the mother brand stands for (hopefully!) Then every possible extension is analyzed, how that brand fits into the mind of the consumer and how it affects the mother brands.

For example all of the products with the Bic brand name want to offer a simple, reliable, accessible and well distributed solutions.

Long term success?

But to find a real explanation for this big number of brand extensions, it would be interesting to see how many of these extensions actually stay on the market after a couple of years.

Because of the lowered cost to launch new products, many of them come and go. On the short term the risk isn't that big. But going away too far from the mother brand will damage the reputation.

Probably brands will keep trying to find a balance between extending and their mother brand.
When Parmalat, a Brazilian dairy producer, launched a new line of tomato sauces it didn't stick. So they know that is a bridge too far.
Source: Exame(Portuguese)

77% and 95% also sound like a lot to you? Share your thoughts!

December 26, 2010

The basics of a loyalty program

I've always associated loyalty cards with my mom. Her fist-thick wallet full of cards from every possible shop.

But I have also joined loyalty programs. And with many of them it is hard to see direct rewards from joining such programs.

A supermarket in Rio de Janeiro, Zona Sul, convinced me to get a card just after two visits.

How did they do that?

By showing the immediate benefits that their card would give me. 

A lot of products had two prices: one with the card and one without it.

A bottle of fresh orange juice for example costs 5.99 reals without the card and 4.99 with it. That's almost a 16% discount.

Most products only had one price. But a lot of fresh and a bit more luxurious products like orange juice and cakes and pies had these double prices.

So if you are going to organize a special program, make sure there is an immediate benefit.

And make sure your customers know it. Because many times it is difficult to see how all the points and rewards are tied together.

December 17, 2010

A/B testing on headlines

I've used A/B testing for e-mail newsletters and experimented with it on landing pages. Basically everything can be tested to see which version works better, gets more clicks or converts better.

News site The Huffington Post has been using A/B testing to test headlines for a while now. Their huge traffic gets split for five minutes to decide which headlines has a better click-through rate (CTR).

For lower traffic websites, this will take a bit longer. But even if it takes a week, that best headline will stay on your site and show up in searches, ensuring better results.

Another possibility is to use your newsletter or social media accounts to test which article headlines are more powerful.

But newsletter traffic probably converts a lot better compared to general site traffic, so you might be losing some opportunities there. I would keep headline testing on your site and use e-mail newsletters for better purposes.

It is not that hard to write headlines that attract the attention. But coming up with good titles it is still really hard.

The challenge however is to transform your article, which better be interesting, into a good title. That way people who clicked through from wherever will stay to actually read your article. And they won't feel cheated afterwards!

A/B testing headlines, a good idea? Drop your ideas in the comments!

December 14, 2010

Quiet times

In between finishing my job and moving back from Brazil to Belgium, I'm traveling around a bit.

I got some blog posts scheduled but the general pace will be slower.

Expect to be at full capacity at my new location in between Christmas and New Year.

December 1, 2010

One year of dirty hands marketing

Today I've been writing exactly one year on this blog.

Big thanks to all of you readers, especially those of you who ever dropped a comment, shared a link to my blog or gave me some feedback. You are my motivation to keep posting!

(Although I could do without all those great link building sites who keep emailing me great deals for little money :P)

These occasions are an ideal time to look back and see how things have worked out.


Initial idea: write two times a week about what marketeers really do, focused on Brazil. 

Actual blog: I wrote about Brazil ( Brands of Brazil series among other articles) but felt too limited. So throughout the year I've been covering good marketing from all over the world. A total of 85 articles leaves me short of the two articles a week goal. But let's say I've made that difference up in quality ;)

Top posts

The five most read posts
  1. Brands of Brazil: Natura - 293 visits
  2. Ambev - Brands of Brazil - 264 visits
  3. Brands of Brazil: Brasil Foods - 247 visits
  4. Ice cream: a universal language? - 169 visits
  5. The story of exporting Brahma beer to the world - 148 visits
Not the top five I would have imagined when I was writing the articles.

Most of the traffic to this articles is coming from search engines, especially image searches (include those alt tags!). But apart from the increasing the numbers, this traffic isn't really valuable.

The best traffic: people leaving comments, subscribing or visiting again, comes from inbound links. Other blogs or sites, from real people that care about the stuff I write about.

Meeting more of these people and connecting with them is one of the challenges in the year ahead. So if you are one of them, get in touch! :)

Thanks again for your support and I hope you'll keep visiting this little spot on the net!

November 28, 2010

The importance of focused advertising

Good advice on the importance of focus in advertising from Rosser Reeves, 60s ad men. This single point of focus should be used to secure a spot ino the consumers mind.
Reality campaigns, those that climb the ladder of penetration with the most speed, do not put the consumer in this predicament. Instead, they gather their energies together into a tight coil. They present him with one moving claim or concept which he can easily remember. Like a burning glass, which focuses the rays of the sun into one hot, bright circle, they bring together all the component parts into a single incandescence of their own.
We do not mean that the campaign should not say a dozen things about the product. These can add depth, color, dimension, and persuasiveness. In fact, they are very often the difference between "telling" and "selling."
Head over to Brand Strategy Insider for the full article.

November 27, 2010

Flemish Marketeer of the Year 2010

Johan Van Dyck from brewery Duvel-Moortgat has been selected as the 2010 top marketeer in Flanders.

He is the marketing manager of beer brands such as Duvel, Vedett, Maredsous, La Chouffe, Liefmans and De Koninck.

We here at dirty hands marketing like the choice of a low profile, hands-on marketeer that takes his time to build strong results. And with the beer market shrinking, they have shown strong growth figures in the last couple of years.

So what is the story behind his marketing success?
  • Brewing the highest quality beers possible
  • Building strong brands.
Both elements try to illustrate the authentic character of their products. Part of that strategy is to never discount their products.


Each of the brands has a separate identity.
For the Maredsous brand, an abbey beer, they put the abbey heritage of the brand central. The colors of the abbey together with the text written and signed by the seal of the abbot on the six point label all enforce this.
Maredsous label and bottle branding marketing Duvel Moortgat brewer

If you are working with a brand like Duvel, you have to treat it with respect. 
- Johan Van Dyck

And that shows.

A longer interview with Johan Van Dyck (in Dutch) can be read here(pdf).

November 22, 2010

The horror of holidays


New adventures, different cultures, new countries, different experiences.

Exciting and happy times.

But if you need to book a plane ticket to get to that state of mind, you are not there yet!

Especially if you are used to booking your flights online, like I usually do. Shopping for a book or clothes online is fun, but booking airline tickets online is a horrible experience.

Unusable website layouts, system glitches are the basics for that.

Add to that the absolute mystery of ticket pricing and the hidden costs that pop up towards the end of the transaction and the experience just gets better.

Just at a time when these brands have the opportunity to engage you, to prepare you for the happy experience you'll have on your trip. And more important, to make you come again and spend again .

But all they do is piss you off and leave you with a ripped off feeling.

It is not just the airlines that miss an opportunity. There are also the big travel sites like Expedia or that are failing.

I'm not sure if airlines use referral deals with these travel sites. But lets say airlines would open up their systems. Providing an API, a way for third parties to connect with the airlines, could allow new companies to do create a better environment for these kind of sales, to show how you are different from the competition.

These APIs are used a lot in Internet settings, think Facebook and Twitter. But it can also provide be worth a lot for traditional companies, like Matt Daniels described in his post: What if every company had an API?

But let's not fool anyone. Tickets cost a lot of money. And part of the ambiguity in the pricing is what makes money for the airlines.

Horrible user experiences aside, many people will still buy the cheapest ticket from A to B. A good example can be found with Ryanair, that keeps pissing people of , but continues to grow.

So I can only hope that this will change. Maybe there will be some internet company that can change this.

Can a good brand image help a company in this case? Or does the user just care about prices? I'd love to hear what you think!

November 17, 2010

Creating a brand in politics

Obama was the saviour of The New World. That is the main point the European media made during his election campaign. And despite all the coverage on the content of his campaign, the execution details got lost.

I did not experience the parts that are still getting so much attention two years later. Things like the grassroots movement, people uniting, artists uniting, a new way to collect donations or the use of new media to interact with supporters in a different way.

I also did not witness the role design played in the campaign, that is why I enjoyed coming across the following book:  Designing for Obama by Scott Thomas. He was one of the full-time new media designers on the Obama campaign.

It tells the story of the campaign from a design perspective.

Sol Sender, a designer, was approached by Obama's team to create the logo. After reading Obama's book and absorbing more details he went on to discover what he had to create. Some iterations later, the logo above was born.

Before the author of the book was brought on board, the director of new media had been trying to manage things. There only was the logo and the idea behind it. But this had to be adapted to fit the different parts of the campaign and suit the different media and needs. This meant a lot of work for one man inexperienced with design, and even harder to do this job in a consistent way.

When the campaign got two professional designers on board, the logo and message were transformed into a visual identity. There also was a need to adapt the identity to distinguish but integrate the different parts within the campaign. Initiatives such as Artists for America were different from the official campaign news and the used visuals needed to confirm that.

Creating a consistent image across all these elements was one of the aims in the campaign:
If our designs were all over the map, people would think the same of our message. Our tightly integrated visual strategy strengthened our public image of Obama, and served as a counterweight to the charges of inexperience that other candidates tried to level against him.
The hectic pace of the campaign required good coordination to maintain consistency. Although there were only two people in charge of this job, the movement behind the senator was quick to point out mistakes:
When commenters noticed an inconsistent serif font in our “Veterans for Obama” logo or thought that our use of a rainbow in our Pride logo looked too childish, I could implement changes immediately.
On getting all the other staff members using their fonts: 
To streamline the process, we created a system of elements that used a typographical template to manufacture everything that used type and design. This took the burden of day-to-day redesigning off the shoulders of campaign staffers, and allowed them to concentrate on their individual fields of expertise.
The book offers a nice view on the process of building a brand from the idea to the real execution. Some of the artwork included from the Artist for Obama movement is really amazing.

I just would have liked to more practical of examples of how people were kept inside the brand guidelines, especially with that many different people and organizations involved.

But overall a quick and enjoyable read!

The book is available in a printed version, iPad app or free ebook:

November 11, 2010

A closer look at promotions part 2

photo credit: ICP
When researching promotion for the first part of this post, I came across this interesting story about Pepsi and Coca-cola.

Being arch enemies, you would think that they are at each others throat when it comes to promotions.

Turns out that that is not the case. They alternate their promotions, using a rotation schedule that is more complex than one week Pepsi and the other week on Coke promotion.  One time they will promote a certain type of package, let's say a deal on 24 cans of Coke. Other promotions might involve a price reduction on all their products and another time it might be a new in-store display. One of the reasons behind this strategy is to ensure the promotions don't wear out too easily.

In an American study on this situation it was found that on average, each strong bottler (Coke, Pepsi and RC/7UP) spends between 33% and 47% on promotion. With some deviation that is indeed the whole time.

So why would they all agree to this? If any of the involved parties would diverge from this strategy a series of price cutting would follow, which isn't healthy for anyone. The Prisoners Dilemma.

Another reason is to fight off private label brands. In this example, brand switching is asymmetric, which means the following:
A promotion will convince a certain amount of users to switch from the private label brand to Coke. Now if the private label holds a promotion of its own, a number of users will switch back from Coke to the private label. In the second case however, fewer users will switch back to the private label, that's the asymmetric part of brand switching.
The income effect is a possible explanation. Because of a price decrease, the consumer is now able to buy a higher quality product with the same income. This results in a larger total utility.

Promotion and prices

The price is the most powerful element in the marketing toolbox. A promotion uses a lowered price to make people buy when they were not planning to.

But for consumers that were not aware of the price, organizing a promotion might make them more sensitive about it. And price sensitive customers are not your ideal ones.

People should also be attracted to the brand, not just to the deal they are getting. Sure the promotion is there to convince them. But if you don't reinforce buying again, possibly without the price reduction, people will get used to buying on promotion. And since you don't want to eternally discount your product, that is not a situation you want to be in!

If you are aware of other conspiracy stories within the world of promotion, or have any other thoughts on the subject, please let us know in the comments!

November 8, 2010

A closer look at promotions part 1

After seeing the Burn promo girl at my local deli standing there day after day, I wondered:  does giving a free T-shirt with every 4 energy drinks really help sales?

In my opinion the Burn brand can do a lot better than that, but promotions are an essential part of the marketing mix.

Bill Wood photograph of a promotion. One year of free Kleenex if you buy a Pontiac!
photo credit: ICP
To find out more, I started digging a bit deeper into the world of promotions. This first part will cover some promotion basics and the second one will talk about various promotional effects.

Let's start with a look at some different types of promotions:
  • Price promotions: a price reduction or more product for the same price. Discounts affect your profits and might hurt your brand reputation, especially if your product always seems to be on promotion, so this type should be used with care.
  • Coupons are a different way of discounting, most of the time to a limited audience: people that bought before, people in your mailing list, readers of a certain magazine, etc. Coupons are best used for new products or for products of which sales are slowing down.
  • Gifts with purchase: these are used a lot with subscription-based products such as newspapers and consumer luxuries such as perfumes.
  • Contests: Attaching a possible reward or prize to buying a product might also be an incentive to buy the product.
  • In-store displays: not really a type of promotion. But research has shown that if products look like they are on promotion (putting a lot of product together or putting them on the corner of a supermarket aisle), people think it is on promotion and sales will increase.

To kick up stalling sales: get people to switch from a competitor or convince existing customers to buy more. A nice example of this was the Old Spice campaign. TV advertising and some nice online videos created awareness. And when people walked in the stores, promotions like discounts and coupons were waiting to convince people to buy.

Create brand awareness for new products, and get people to try it out.

Asking customer data in return for a discount can help you get a better understanding on who is buying your product. These data might be used for future campaigns.

Who does what

While less visible, in some industries promotions targeted at distribution channels like retailers, receive higher budgets than promotions directed at the final customer. The aim is to get the channels to stock product, this is called selling into the trade or forward buying. In this case a promotion is a trade off between inventory costs and the size of the discount.

Usually a product manufacturer takes the initiative for a promotion. An exception to that are the deal-of-the-week offers that you can find in many supermarkets. Those discounts are paid for by the retailers and aim to drive traffic to their stores.

Got some more info for this Promotion 101? Please add your thoughts in the comments!

October 26, 2010

Into the city and beyond

The popularity of start to run programs has got people from all over the world off their couches.

But as with most things, after a while it is hard to stay motivated and keep going. An mp3 player or even drawing out your runs on Google maps (personal tip of mine) to track your progress can help.

Take Antwerp, a campaign by Nike that is running in my hometown, helps people stay excited about running in a different way.
Running the same trail over and over again gets boring after a while. By offering runners alternative trails, running will become surprising and motivating again.
Rachel Wouters, Nike
An application on Facebook using Google maps allows users to create their own trails. Already created are trails with exciting sounding names such as the Skull, the Fries, the Diamond, the Dog, and so forth. Afterwards the maps can be printed or imported into a smartphone to help you find the right streets.

To increase awareness about the different trails, posters have been put up all over the city. The posters are equipped with a QR code which when scanned automatically like the trail and share the content on Facebook.

Outdoor poster of the Nike Take Antwerp campaign with a QR code

Nike is committed to making running exciting in other cities as well.

Take STHLM, the campaign running in Stockholm, works a bit different. Each runner is associated with a certain neighborhood of the city.  Whenever they go running, they earn kilometers for their part of town. And a map on the Nike site, shows the competition in real time. With a ranking between the neighborhoods and the individual runners.

I find it a great digital campaign mixed with a lot of user interaction. And it is more profound then clicking a Like button or becoming a follower on Twitter. It gets people out of the house and I think more connected to the Nike brand.

So what can be the possible objectives of a campaign like this? The main objective of the campaign is to associate Nike with running. By doing that the whole product portfolio is promoted. As people perceive Nike stands for innovation in running, a product which integrates running with technology, Nike+, will definitely sell better.

How can you get your hands dirty?

Your marketing should about more than just your product. Sure, your products might not be as cool as Nike's. But one thing you can learn from this is to increase the pie before claiming your piece. Nike is not pushing its products, the main focus is on getting more people to run and to keep them running.

And this has its effects on their brand. The running association is strengthened and maybe even innovation in running.

Are you about more than just your product?

The Facebook page or website offers runners a platform to come together, to engage further. And of course the shop is only one click away.

Do you have a place for to meet with your clients?

October 22, 2010

One World, One Beer?

No matter what place you visit in the world, there are always local beers, the are an essential part of any trip. And seeing people obsess why their beer brand is better than another even more so!

But even when you are in a far away place, there will always be some beer brands that you have heard of. It's all part of the World Domination Strategy from the big brewers.

What does that mean, a truly global beer brand?
Heineken is the number 1 brand around the world. They control 1.3% of the world market ( excluding sales in the Netherlands)
Budweiser has a 0.7% global market share (excluding U.S. sales)
Even though there are huge figures behind those percentages, the market shares aren't that impressive. And they will probably stay that way.

Nevertheless A-B Inbev continues its efforts to roll out Budweiser to different countries.

So while these global brands have cost advantages, the figures above show that the real games is played on a different level, the local one.

AdAge recently took a look at some local approaches by SABMiller:
External validation of Polish reasons to be proud of themselves turns out to be a big thing in Poland. That notion led SABMiller to launch a campaign for its Tyskie brand featuring Czechs lauding the Polish brew and Polish people.
Or check this ad that runs in Romania for Timisoreana beer focusing on the brewing tradition that going back centuries.

In Peru the bottle of the Cusqueña beer resembles stones of an Inca wall "to pay tribute to the elite standard of Inca craftsmanship that continues to this day in every bottle."

There are also some Brazilian companies (not beer but still interesting!) that have discovered the power of being local.

October 18, 2010

A Computer Model for Building Spaghetti Sauce

I'm a Malcolm Gladwell fanboy.

I love how he starts to tell a story and then approaches the same story from a totally different angle. What do mammographies and looking for biological weapons on satelite images have to do with each other for example.

His lastest book, What the Dog Saw is a collection of interesting articles he wrote for The New Yorker.
What the Dog saw book cover by Malcolm Gladwell review
Most of the stories offer you a view into an unknown world. I picked two stories that I really liked, both marketing related: one about marketing research and the other about copywriting.

The Ketchup Conundrum 
A story about  why it isn't enough to make the best ketchup in order to beat Heinz.

Howard Moskowitz, a famous food-testing and market-researcher, knows why. One of his first clients, Pepsi, wanted to find out the right amount of sweetener for their new Diet Pepsi. Previous research showed that anything below eight percent of sweetener wasn't sweet enough and anything above twelve percent too sweet. Moskowitz went out and created cola samples of all the different values lying in between eight and twelve. After the test results came back, the data were inconclusive. Preferences did not lean towards one percentage of sweetener. He then realized that there was no perfect Diet Pepsi, there were perfect Diet Pepsis.

In 1986 Campbell's Soup Company wanted something new for their spaghetti sauce. Their product, Prego, was thicker with diced tomatoes and stuck better to the pasta than the sauce of their competitor, Ragú. But it wasn't selling.

Instead of modifying the sauce like in the Pepsi case, Moskowitz assumed people didn't know what kind of sauce they wanted until it was in front of them. He came up with 45 varieties of sauces. Each with different characteristics such as: spiciness, sweetness, saltiness, thickness, aroma, cost of ingredients, and so forth. These samples were tested by consumers and rated on a hundred-point scale. Results again seemed all over the place but a pattern emerged. Instead of one perfect sauce, consumers could be grouped in three big groups, each with their own favorite sauce: plain, spicy, or extra-chunky. Competitor Prego didn't have this last variety and it turned out to be very successful.

Today a lot of products are available in millions of varieties. This story shows in part how we got to this large number. People are different and want different things. It also illustrates the importance of knowing who your customer is. Instead of a one perfect product for everyone, going into that niche might be a good idea!

You can read the full story here.

True colors
A story about advertising and knowing what women really want.

Shirley Polykoff, copywriter in the 50s, thought women had the right to be blond. In her work for Miss Clairol, a hair dye product that you could use at home, she supported this opinion:

"Does she or doesn't she. Only her hairdresser knows for sure."

To get away from the prejudice that all fake blondes were chorus girls or hookers, their campaign recruited girl next door beauties instead of the stars of the time.

In the 70s, L'Oreal wanted to take on Clairol, which dominated the haircolor market. Their first idea was to focus on the superiority of their product. But at the last minute the campaign got cancelled. This put the adverting agency under pressure to come up with something in a short time. New ideas were all about women coloring their hair to please others, being an object. But one of the copywriters on the campaign didn't agree with this. Ilon Specht:

"I just thought, Fuck you. I sat down and did it, in five minutes. It was very personal. I can recite to you the whole commercial, because I was so angry when I wrote it.” 
Specht sat stock still and lowered her voice: 
“I use the most expensive hair color in the world. Preference, by L’Oréal. It’s not that I care about money. It’s that I care about my hair. It’s not just the color. I expect great color. What’s worth more to me is the way my hair feels. Smooth and silky but with body. It feels good against my neck. Actually, I don’t mind spending more for L’Oréal. Because I’m” 
—and here Specht took her fist and struck her chest— 
“worth it.”

Specht took the emancipation further, it was about the woman itself.

You can read the full story here(pdf).

But there are plenty of other cool stories in the book, go check it out

No time to read books? The archives on Malcolm Gladwell's personal site are also worth it!

October 14, 2010

Energizing advertisement

This print ad for a new Reebok shoe really caught my eye.

Some things I think make it work: contrast between the red and black, the tagline: "the energy drink for your feet", the shoe sole connecting the copy in the two corners and the sole of the shoe that gives the impression of movement.

With two mentions of the shoe sole I think Reebok's point came across: showing off their new sole technology. And maybe to become a bit more hip!

Reebok Reezig shoes sole technology print advertisement

October 3, 2010

The first Belgian I-Ad

This combination of print and an app in this advertisement is really nice and clever idea. 

The advertisement doesn't try to sell a product directly. It targets existing customers of an insurance company to download an app which can help them when they have car trouble.

I found the ad on the dutch blog from Jan de Jonge and it got broken down into this:

Rough estimate of the target of the ad: existing customers of the bank/insurance company Axa + iPhone = 25 000 people. 

For a campaign that cost a good amount of money that aren't that a lot of people.

It could be that the point is to shed the very grey image thats these kind of companies have. To make it look more modern and innovative. The iPhone and cool video will have to help with this. But cool videos aren't always that effective.

Let's say the objective of the company is to become more hip, do you think this is the way to do it?

Please share your opinion in the comments!

September 30, 2010

How B2B marketeers get their hands dirty

The main goal of this blog is to show and try to explain what marketeers are doing. What does a campaign consists of and what does it hope to achieve.

For the latest campaign of B2B marketing agency Velocity they launched a new ebook called B2B Marketing Manifesto. And together with it they disclosed their goals for the whole campaign:

Some business objectives:
  • Drive three new project discussions with existing clients
  • Incite two new business discussions with prospects
  • Improve Google ranking for our chosen keyphrases
And also some metrics:
  • 25 per cent spike in downloads for our thought leadership library
The full details can be found here.  I really liked going over these details and seeing what different elements and metrics they are using.

Defining or at least thinking about goals should be the first step of pretty much everything you do. Bu I do know myself and it is an easy part to skip. That's why I think this list is a good example and it might help to set up a complete online campaign.

The actual material around which the campaign is built is the B2B Marketing Manifesto.

It is a call for new approach to B2B marketing.
The internet has changed the role of the marketeer. It allows quick creation of new campaigns, perfect tracking and precise targeting. And with the ever growing number of ways to get the word out, there are more possibilities than you have time.
Armed with a new skillset (like content marketing, lead nurturing) it is up to you to create marketing that brings something to the table, or entertains people. And that doesn't have to be boring!
But if you are a marketeer of any kind, not just B2B, you’ll find more refreshing ideas and approaches in the rest of the book. And they will be better explained and more beautifully illustrated than my efforts above!

Do you think disclosing your goals and metrics hurts your business?
Or does putting your goals out there force you to reach them?

Please share your opinion in the comments!

September 27, 2010

How Plastic Shoes Got Turned Into Online Stars

At E-mail Marketing Brasil last month in São Paulo, Paulo Pédo Filho, marketing director of  Melissa and Grendene gave some interesting insights into their digital initiatives.

The Melissa brand was founded in 1979. In the 90s, when sales were in a slump, the brand reinvented itself.

From a cheap plastic shoe to a fashion brand. 

This repositioning also meant a change in the distribution, the products were now sold fashion boutiques instead of shoe stores. To make the brand more fashionable, famous designers such as Vivienne Westwood and Jean Paul Gaultier were contracted to design new collections.

In 2001, a virtual store opened up: One of the big advantages of this virtual distribution channel was information.

Information about the brand and its consumers such as average ticket value, best sold products, shopping habits and of course consumer preferences could each the company more quickly. Before the extra level of retail stores made it harder for that information to get back.

Digital strategy

Lojamelissa uses the web in various ways to drive traffic to its store.

Communities on the social networking site Orkut are monitored for conversations about the brand. But the brand does not interact on Orkut, instead they use their official blog to respond or new announcements. But by keeping track of what is said in these groups they know what is on the mind of their consumers.

Blogging is another important element in the strategy. And not just their own company blog. For this year's São Paulo fashion week Melissa invited 120 Brazilian fashion bloggers and  gave them early access to the new collection. This move was well received, helped to spread the word on the new collection and turned these bloggers into more intense brand advocates.

To support temporary actions like promotions they use search advertising and different ways of e-mail marketing.

I liked the presentation of all this information as it gave a good overview of all the different parts and how they were integrated.

September 24, 2010

How Brand Names Help Sell Generic Drugs

A box a Medley generic drugs

Medley is one of the biggest pharceutical companies in Brazil.

Aside from their product line of branded drugs, they also sell generic equivalents of other drugs. With a portfolio of 189 products they dominate this segment. (13 out of 20 generic products sold are made by the company)

How have they got to that top position?

By changing the pharmaceutical business model. Instead of focusing on the creation of new drugs, they bring new generic drugs to Brazil using partnerships with the original developers of the drugs.

The idea behind generic drugs is that they don't have brand name. The name on the package usually is the chemical component inside of the drug.

Sp instead of naming individual products, Medley uses its corporate brand on its products. So even if people don't know the name of the product, but they will surely know or recognize the Medley brand.

At a time when people still aren't completely convinced of generic drugs, a familiar name might be help make the sale.

September 22, 2010

Branding 5000m Under the Sea

President Lula Das Silva of Brazil with the first oil from the subsalt Tupi oil fields off the Brazilian coast

With BP's brand lying shattered on the floor, being an oil company became a lot riskier.

And Petrobras, Brazilian oil giant, is at a crucial point in its history. One where the brand plays an important role.

The discoveries of the huge oil fields off the Brazilian coast had a huge impact on the future of the company and of Brazil. The only problem is that the oil sits deep below sea level, lower than 5000m, under a layer of salt. Exploration and production of this oil is a very new and complex process. Most technology necessary for this type of drilling still has to be developed.

And this development and exploration requires money, lots of it.

In order to get this money Petrobras is planning a new stock offering, the biggest one in business history. It could supply the company with up to $79 billion of fresh cash to develop these oil fields.

This is why they need a strong brand. Their communication focuses a lot of national pride. And there is a reason behind it. The majority shareholder is still the state of Brazil. So in a way Petrobras does equal Brazil, and huge profits can really help move the country and its people forward.

And although the destination of the money from the oil fields is still uncertain, Petrobras is a strong brand, in- and outside of Brazil.

Commercials have hit the screen to convince the Brazilian people to get in on this deal.

And if Brazilians don't come up with the cash, foreign investors will without doubt.

Although environmental concerns exist, they don't get a lot of attention.

The stock offering was delayed from July to September. This might have had something to do with the unfortunate timing of the Deeepwater Horizon accident in April.  But with possible prohibition of deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of mexico, the oil in the Brazilian soil might get more valuable.

What do you think?

Is it about having a strong business case, or does the brand indeed play a strategic role?

September 15, 2010

Norton vs. your computer

Dolph Lundgren versus your unicorn.

If the video doesn't show, find it here.
  • 80s Action hero, check
  • Voice-over, check
  • Battle of good vs evil, check
All the videos in the series combined got over one million views. Not a viral success by Old Spice standards but still not bad for some internet videos.

The videos show how the anti-virus can hold up against some really bad guys.

But as I said before, brand advertising only works on light or nonusers of your product. For the customers that really matter, heavy users that know something about anti-virus scanners, brand advertising is not effective.

They are the ones that will spend the money.

And they are the ones that know what Norton products really are: memory and processor eating programs

So instead of trying to make their product look cool, their focus should be on how they can convince these heavy users that their products are good. They might not be so entertaining or 'viral', but it would be a good decision for the Norton brand.

How about you?

Do you like the approach they take with these videos?
Can they make you forget all previous experiences with Norton products? 

September 11, 2010

How a suitcase full of money and an iPod help sell tea

If you make boring tasks fun, people won't mind doing them. 

How about brand guidelines. Manuals in which companies describe everything related to colors, logo positioning, taglines, appropriate images, etc.

Although it can be an interesting document to flick through, reading and studying every line of it requires a lot more effort. Especially in case it is a big brand. But for people that use the brand every day, knowing these rules and applying them consistently is a pretty important part of the job.

So imagine you are responsible to create a new version of your company's brand guidelines. You can put in many hours to create an interesting and good looking document. But  if you know people won't use it,  you can save a lot of time and money.

This is what happened at Lipton. So for their new brand guidelines they got some outside help. Advertising agency DDB Hongkong was hired to make the whole process more fun and engaging. 

Because of this campaign the knowledge of the Lipton brand is at an all-time high in the Asia Pacific region. And it is not the first time that game elements show their effect in the business world.

How game mechanics made this campaign work

First of all every brand manager got an iPod to play around with. Each of these devices came with a quiz application called Lipton Millionaire. In order to do well in this game, users needed to study the brand using the interactive version of the brand guidelines.

All the quiz results were uploaded to an online leaderboard. This allowed brand managers to compare their scores with those of their colleagues. And this increased competition, encouraging them to do the quiz again and rank higher.

To ensure everybody would keep using it they included a virtual prize for the end winner of the game.

There is no doubt that managers spent more time learning about the brand using these tools.  But the question remains how sustainable an  initiative like this is.

Do you think it works because it fancy and new? Or can it really help people to learn new things?

Please share your opinion in the comments!

September 9, 2010

What do companies spend on Google AdWords?

Ever since we got all those free Google AdWords coupons in the company mailbox, I have been toying around with it.
Our company is active in a small niche of the market with low search volumes. So for a couple hundred dollars we have been able to stay at the top positions for our product searches.

But I was wondering what other companies were doing with the service. So this article on AdAge came in handy to find that out. It talks about the spending of corporations on AdWords in June 2010.
A graph showing Google adwords spend in june 2010 for companies like bp and amazon

AT&T Mobility is with $8 million the top spender. A big part of this budget was used to launch the new iPhone. Other big spenders are Apollo Group (=University of Phoenix), the online travel agency Expedia, eBay and Amazon. They all spent between $4 and $6 million in June. 

These numbers show that the big sites really want to be there when the consumer is looking for a product or service they offer. Like said on the Impact SEO blog:
For a few extra cents(dollars) Amazon can ensure that they are the first advert people see when they search for a product. This can not only lead to a single sale, but help develop repeat customer. An investment in visibility now can provide long-term benefits.

One of the surprises was the big surge in spending of BP, looking to steer the public searches after the oil spill. Before they were spending $57,000 a month and after $3.59 million!
But the main keyword income doesn't come from these giant budgets. The top 10 accounted for just 5% of the Google's income during June.

Graph courtesy of AdAge.

September 6, 2010

My take on E-mail Marketing Brasil 2010

logo of de e-mail marketing brasil brazil in em SP Sao Paulo

"You can't wait passively wait for people to get into your store, you have to take the initiative and use tools like sms and email to activate them."
(Paulo Kendzerski from WBI Brasil)
While I agree on the first part, doing nothing won't get you new business, I have kind of a bad feeling about the second part. It feels a whole lot like he says that you should interrupt people. And with all the tools availible today that isn't the right approach in my mind.

I'd rather go with Seth Godin's advice:
"Marketers should establish a foundation and process where interested people can market to each other. Ignite consumer networks and then get out of the way and let them talk."
(excerpt from Unleashing the idea virus)
So if you can't interrupt and you need people to do the marketing to others, how does e-mail marketing fit in there?

To get a better grasp on that was one of the main reasons why I attended E-Mail Marketing Brasil 2010 in São Paulo. I headed there with a little bit of experience on the subject and was hoping to deepen my knowledge and get some fresh ideas.


A good start was a session by Rodrigo do Almeida from Dinamize. He went step by step on how to setup and email campaigns and some possible pitfalls.

Cool was that there was a lot of attention to improve the success rate of your campaign and how to handle possible "failures".

Track your e-mails to find out what people do with them (open, click, convert). And use information of these interaction for additional actions:
An example: an e-mail campaign with a couple of different offerings in it was sent out by an electronics retailer. The reader was interested and clicked on the TV promo. After arriving on the retailers website, it is unsure what happened but probably he just browsed around a bit. This information, that he clicked on the TV promo, was used a couple of days later to send follow-up e-mail with nothing but TV promos.
These kind of personalization results in a lot higher conversion rates.
A second example by Amazon. After a purchase of a camera, an e-mail was sent with suggestions on accessories of that specific camera model. This creates some sort of intimacy.

Opt-out(or unsubscribers): Instead of having a one-click unsubscribe link in your e-mail, ask for a confirmation, it decreases opt-out rates by 8%. A fact that later was confirmed by David Witthaker. He brought some numbers on how the single click opt-out is getting more and more rare. Today two or three clicks seem to be more common practice. Which recognizes the efforts of marketeers to try and keep people longer.

And this confirmation of unsubscription could follow a different approach. Instead of just confirming the link, you can offer some other possibilities.
  • reduce the frequency of the e-mails
  • change e-mail address
  • offer alternatives for e-mail
inactive email addresses: analyze them, look for a way to reactivate or simply remove them.

spam: Different e-mail providers have different rules on what they consider spam.
An e-mail included an image that linked to an Orkut page, this was considered spam for Hotmail. When the link was changed from an image to a text link, the email got delivered correctly.
An extra handy fact was that 48% of the B2B users read their e-mail on a smartphone (no idea about the country but I'm guessing the US). So including a link from your e-mail to a mobile optimized page might not be a bad idea, as these devices are going to become more popular.

The charming David Witthaker had more interesting information.

Many companies are planning increased investments in e-mail marketing. And a big part from this money will be spent on retention, not prospection of customers. The growing popularity of lead generation and management will play a role in this. E-mail marketing is perfect to manage the leads.

David's company, MarketData, also works with eye-tracking. And he brought some nice videos of this process. One example was an ad about diet products that featured a hot model that was showing a lot of skin.
The results were pretty interesting and were a lot different for women and men:
  • women: fingers, clothes, clothes, brand
  • men: face and breasts, very little title or brand
More eye for the flesh than for the product, borrowed interest, like Stan Lee from the blog brand dna calls it, doesn't really work.

After seeing some examples spread around here and there it was interesting to see two companies talking about their digital strategy.


The marketing director of Melissa/Grendene, Paulo Pédo Filho, brought a lot of interesting information on their e-store

But the main idea is that when sales were down, they repositioned the brand, started the e-store and are now operating on a nice digital strategy. It is a mix of email marketing and social media.

Read my post on the case.

From the case of Marisa I took two things away:
  • use models to show the products, they sell better then just the product photo
  • instead of using random models, use real clients to show your products on your website. They have a word of mouth effect which can be of real value to your website. (traffic!)
An interesting thought to close of the e-commerce part: consumers enter e-stores via product searches. They are looking for a product, not a shop. So the challenge is to be where the search occurs.

Digital trends

To close there was a speaker called Martha Gabriel. Her talk about digital trends was high-speed and filled with examples and books to read. The subject itself is very broad so many different points were touched briefly.

A couple of take-aways:
In Portuguese: pessoas não são, elas estão
Which means that people are different depending on the circumstances. In marketing terms it means that although at home I might be interested in that e-mail about plasma TVs, at work I consider it spam.
The digital evolution allows for a better synchronization between people and communication.
Active presence of the consumer on different channels has to be responded with a receptive experience by the companies.
I picked up a lot of nice things at the conference. But still a couple of things troubled me. I for example heard nothing about the importance of good landing pages.

Another thing was social media.
"You have to be everywhere."
(Alexandre Umberti from e-bit)
I would think that someone that works in a digital agency has experience in advising people on how to get into social media. And being everywhere is in my opinion not a good start. If you spread out your efforts too think on every new digital thing you will waste time and money.

My advice?
See where your customers are and in which channels they interact. Pick the largest one and get your feet wet with that one. Use this experience to get into other social networks afterwards. Remember it's about the communication, not the channel you are in.

September 4, 2010

How concept stores can help build a brand

The Gilette concept store in campo jordao sao paulo of proctor and gamble/div>

Brands start opening shops of their own. And there are a couple of possible reasons for that. I already wrote about efforts use the brand to venture into new business.
A second reason, to use this exposure to increase brand awareness.

In all the cases below the concept is the same: open a store on a high traffic location, fill the shelves with your whole product line, advertise your products to the people and give them coupons that can be redeemed in a supermarket.

These moves create a more personal contact with the customer. Which they hope of course translates in supermarket sales. And this is exactly what's behind the recent efforts of Proctor and Gamble Brasil.

  • During the past holiday period the company opened two concept stores in a São Paulo shopping mall: Beauty Store Pantene and Olay and Gillette Concept Store
  • P&G held an expo in one of the convention centers of São Paulo to show what was new in their portfolio.
  • A Gilette lounge was opened in South-Africa during the World Cup. As official sponsor of the Brazilian selection they wanted to be close to the team.
  • These past events and concept stores seem to have been successful because now P&G plans to open a new concept store in September in a shopping mall of São Paulo. There they will display their whole product portfolio.

One of the main reasons behind all these actions is the launch of three new brands on the Brazilian market: Olay, Head and Shoulders and Naturella. The shops are a way to familiarize the consumer with these brands while on the other hand connecting them with the corporate brand.

September 1, 2010

What great design teaches us about designing for the web

screenshot of the vitsoe page with 606 shelves system designed by dieter rams call to action
Click for full-size
Over at Vitsoe, furniture company they have a good bit of information on design and their products. This in the form of articles or blog posts.

One of the articles is about the 10 principles for good design by Dieter Rams and illustrates every one of them. Of those products only at principle number seven and nine are made by Vitsoe mentioned.

I like the simple call to action that they put on the article. Well integrated into the article.

By the way: both products were designed in the 60s and are still selling like hotcakes. I guess a good product and brand goes a long way!

August 30, 2010

Positioning masterclasses by Ryanair and Apple

Defining what your company or brand stands for is never easy. And it is even harder to communicate this. It requires a lot of experimenting to find the right voice. That's what makes companies that do manage to carve out their position for their brand that much more interesting.

These last weeks I came across two examples that show some crystal clear positioning.


Over at the brand positioning bastion Brand Strategy Insider airline Ryanair was analyzed.
Ryanair’s brand associations centre on three key themes: low-price, no nonsense and aggression.
And these elements show up their communication, especially with a CEO at the helm who is never afraid to make some bold statements.

On Ryanair's advertising:
It starts with advertising. A very special kind of advertising. Usually black and white. Consistently tacky in tone and execution. And always offensive. It could be a picture of a stripper dressed as a schoolgirl announcing “hot fares”.
Before this article I never really thought about Ryanair in the light of a clear brand position. But I guess thats's the point a brand. Getting the message out seemingly without any effort.


The second example comes from an article in the New York Times features a video of a presentation by Steve Jobs. The video was made when Apple is at its deepest point in 1997. He calls for a change in communication of Apples values in this "noisy" world.

Some quotes from the video:

The point is not to tell why they are better than Microsoft. Or that their computers have bigger memory and faster processors.
Big brands don't tell you about their product, they talk about who they are, what they are about.
Where does Apple fit in this world?
At its core is: we believe that people with passion can change the world.

And to communicate these values a campaign was created: "Think Different" by TBWA/Chiat Day. The advertisement is shown at the end of the video above or can be found here.

August 27, 2010

A marketeer's dream job

children playing video games Playstation

Many young boys dream to become a fireman or police officer. After that interests change diverge a bit but for many becoming a creator of video games is also a wish. After all, who wouldn't like to play games all day and get paid for it?

But again years go by in which you become more interested in other things. For me at university they changed to marketing and advertising, which offer a more viable career path.

And learning more about marketing, from communication to pricing, it all comes down to one goal, to influence the behaviour or people. Or to put differently: get people to do what we want.

And while we don't always know why people do the things they do, we do know some tricks we can use.

Imagine the excitement when I saw this presentation by Seth Priebatsch. It is called "The game layer on top of the world" in which he talks about using game elements to make activities more fun.

Sounds nice but does it work? A different question can illustrate this:
Would you be willing to send a twitter update every time you enter any bar, restaurant, gym or other building? No?
These location-based services are hugely popular at the moment. The biggest one, Foursquare, has almost 3 million users. And Facebook just announced this week that they will start a similar service.
What makes these things so successful? Because of the game elements built-in. People do task, earn badges and share them ok Facebook and Twitter.

It is called gamification or funware.

And the most interesting part of all this is that it can be used in non-game environments such as businesses to help achieve goals.
The text editor I'm typing this with for example uses a little circle to track the changes I make each time I save. The more changes I make since the last save, the bigger the indicator circle becomes. What happens next is a strange competition with myself to "score" a big indicator every time I save. As a result I'll type more.
While that example doesn't really seem like a game to you, many services have these small "games" built-in.
That progress bar on LinkedIn for example, which indicates how much percent you have completed your profile. Most of us will be challenged to complete this task and get the progress bar to 100%.
Things have just started rolling in this field, and my brain is working full-time to find new possible applications.

This is definitely not the end and might just as well be the start of a new job!