online marketing psychology

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!

August 23, 2010

Who does your branding really reach?

macbook pro branding selective

Take a good look at the picture above.

How would you feel about owning one of these?

Would owning a Macbook make you feel more creative, expressive and cool?

Classical consumer behavior is based on that assumption. People buy brands because of the associations that come with it, associations they like to communicate to the outside world.

This is still true. But in a new research concludes that this is not true for everybody.

Turns out that there are two types of people:
  • Entity theorists who believe personal qualities are fixed and direct effort won't change them
  • Incremental theorists  who believe that they can improve themselves only through hard work and learning
The first type is a lot a lot more receptive to branding. As they can't change things themselves, they might rely on external factors, such as brands, to change them.

When I found this out a question came up:
What percentage of the population falls into which category?
You don't want to waste money trying to build your brand to people who aren't influenced by it. Are there other ways to drive their buying decsions? Are they more receptive to promtion or prices?

More news on the upcoming paper.

August 20, 2010

Meanwhile in the Netherlands

Although it is very close to Belgium and they speak the same language, there are many ways in which the Netherlands is different.

The country has always interested me, a big part because of the language. They interact in a more direct way and make playful use of the language. This is also reflected in their marketing efforts. Throw in a high level of care and attention to things like signs and information display, something I always enjoy, makes a trip across the border something special!

Some things I noticed on my last trip:

An ice cream store that carries the logo of Unilever's Heartbrand.
Customers put together their own Swirl, a combination of different kinds of ice cream and toppings such as chocolate or fresh fruit. The products available in these stores are a limited to the soft-ice offerings of the Heartbrand.

Swirls Ola Holland heartbrand retail concept stores
It seems that Unilever has build up a lot retail expertise when it comes to ice cream stores. Its other brand, Ben & Jerry is also succesful with its stores. Other projects such as Bertoli stores haven't worked.
Such retail stores for already established brands can work in two ways.
The first one is to raise the brand awareness among customers. Seeing it this way the stores can even operate at a small loss because they support the sales in the supermarket, a form of advertising you may call it.
And on the other hand it can be seen as a  full-sized business, being independent and profitable.
And it seems like the Swirl's concept follows the second option. The brand has more than 125 locations spread around in Europe, Israel and Indonesia.

While walking around I came across a travel agency that had a logo I was familiar with but not a brand name.
Turns out that the logo works as an umbrella brand with different company name in each country, very similar to the Heartbrand!
The brand was created by Interbrand and is used in 16 countries. They came up with this brand to help the integration of all the different travel services that TUI AG (the mother company) offers.
"Based on the developed vision (“World of TUI is the most beautiful time of the year”) and mission (“Putting a smile on people’s faces”), a universally understood symbol was created for the new “World of TUI” umbrella brand: a smile."
In Belgium it is now as Jetair, in the UK as Thomson among others. And in NL, it is Arka (nice way to make the logo more dutch, by putting it white on an orange background).