Small cog hipster trend makes big wheels turning

Fixed Gear bike. Photo by wa.pean


A micro trend can ignite a macro trend, which is the topic for this article. By now, most of us are aware of theories regarding tipping points, early adopters and chasms. What I am going to bring up is how sometimes a big latent trend can ignite through a fad.
My observations are from Sweden. Lately there has been a huge hipster culture micro trend popping up in terms of fixed gear bicycles. By now it is fading away already. It has been with us since 2009 more or less.
Now instead we have a massive classic sport cycle trend in general. It was like a latent lust for bicycles did exist. But it needed a spark to get going. That spark came from hipsters on a retro trip.
The funny side of it is that fixed gear is not just a bike; it’s an attitude and a life style. Which means the identity factor of fixed gear culture is strong. But fixed gear people and normal sport cyclists ride for different reasons.

And even though they do have understanding for each other when it comes to enjoying a bike ride, I believe they have very different views of what is cool.

Sport Cyclist. Photo by Ed Yourdon


But it doesn’t matter. The fixed gear group made sport biking cool again. So the people with 21 gears, full athlete suit and desire to compete against anyone who dare being in the way took their chance.

The well known life cycle and the theory of the chasm. Image borrowed politely from http://www.relativelydigital.com/

This is something we often see with new trends. Old latent trends gets a spark by a group of cool trend setters doing their own thing with it. But the mass will interpret it as now it’s cool to enter… (when trend setters actually seek authenticity by turning to something old and proven). Then, when something jumps from early adopters to early mainstream, it becomes uncool. When you hear someone say – I really feel like a hipster riding a fixie! Then you know the cool factor is dead in the head of the originators, but in the minds of early majority it will take years before they realize that.
By then it has already hit the masses, which in itself holds enough momentum to grow yet further. The early adopters will be one the move to the next thing. Reason? Identity and search of meaning.
So what could you do? Well, if you are into a category that has long since fell asleep. Look for something true in its origin and build on that. You can’t just introduce the old stuff like its new. You will need to innovate on it. This is what we call soft innovation,  I think it was Seth Godin who coined the expression.
I figure latent trend spotting is a true gold mine. But, like always, you need to understand the true value of your target group related to your business. You can’t ask questions or make surveys to find out. So how do you do? Ethnographic market research, worth every penny if you can afford it.
Here are a couple (hypothetic) latent trends out of my head:

  • Windsurfing (just imagine how many old windsurfing boards lay around peoples houses without being used)
  • Golf (same reason as windsurfing)
  • Boot Cut jeans (yeah, I hate them too at the moment)
  • Special kinds of cell phones with few functions just like in the old days. But this time carefully chosen.
  • Old computer games, like Commodore 64.
  • A new beverage ritual. Like beer mixed with champagne.

 
What do you think? It needs something that is true, a behavior, which the majority could easily adopt, something new or distinct that is cool.

GENERATION I: THE FALLACY OF INDIVIDUALITY

It’s time for marketing to stop promising false notions of individuality. 

The fallacy of individuality.

Individuality is overrated. In fact it’s become a distressing, destructive and depressive idea. Earnest psychologists such as Oliver James, author of the Selfish Capitalist, propose and provide evidence, that it actually causes a variety of mental illnesses from anxiety, to isolation to depression. In short it can make you mad. Alain de Botton, this time a philosopher, eloquently described our society as one that champions impossible ideals and puts people in perpetual anxiety over whether they are ‘occupying too modest a rung or are about to fall into a lower one’. Even hard nosed economists have woken up to the fact that the overly simplistic Adam Smith’ principals of the ‘invisible hand’ in business have led to a collective failure of financial systems commonly known now as the ‘the recession’. The ambitions of the few are the cause of the suffering of the many. Regardless of which pet discipline you like: psychology, philosophy or economics it is clear that this business of individuality has gone too far.

As marketers we have to acknowledge our responsibilities.

Naturally, these problems are due to a number of factors; politics, schools, t.v. media etc, however I will discuss how marketing contributes to this mess. Marketing and advertising still continue to play a significant role in the psychological, social and economical implications of selfish capitalism. I believe that it is a particular, type of marketing that is responsible. It probably began with a strategy that eventually became the archetype for many others. It promised individuality, granted permission for humans, who are normally social animals, to become selfish capitalists. It declared that you should: ‘Have it your way’.

Individuality often built on insecurity has been drummed into consumers minds, sunk into their hearts and shoved down their throats for decades … here is a small collection from Wikipedia:
“Have it your way” – Burger King
“You. First” – Banglalink GSM
“Expect great things” – Lucent Technologies
“Expect the world” – New York Times
“Express yourself” – Lavazza Coffee
“How many bars do you have?” – AT&T
“If you don’t get it you don’t get it” Wash. Post
“It’s for you” – BT
“See what you can do” – O2
“Broadcast yourself” – YouTube
“Yours is here” – Dell
“Where do you want to go today” – Microsoft
“Be extraordinary” – E-Trade
“What’s in your wallete” – Capital One
“Accelerate your life” – US Navy
“It could be you” – National Lottery
“Be the first to know” – CNN
“So where the bloody hell are you?” – Tourism Australia
“Thousands of possibilities. Get yours.” Best Buy
“The power to be your best” – Apple
“Live your life” – American Eagle
“Entertainment your way” – SKY
“Hear what you like when you like” Rex Records
“Drive your way” – Hyundai
“Your Airline” – Air India
“Make yourself heard” – Ericsson
“Because you are worth it” – L’Oreal
“Your Fragrance, Your Rules” – Hugo Boss
“You Gotta Have it” – Lisa Frank
“You are the one who’s number one” – Pathmark
“It’s time for U” – UPN

Generation I: A definition.

Marketers have often built this promise of individuality loosely on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. ‘Self-Actualization’ that appears right at the top of this hierarchy is a result of individuals fulfilling their potential. Fine in theory, but has horrible implications when practiced in marketing. The idea that consumers should engage in a relentless race to own and consume products & services that promise selfish individuality have created what I will call Generation I.
Generation I is the ‘Insecure’ generation. For decades marketing has largely used Maslow and other theories of individuality as the basis for setting aspirations and expectations that are generally impossible to match in reality. It has in fact created a viscous circle that played on and fed people’s insecurities as Chuck Palahniuk explained once:

“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need”

My contention is that Generation I is – in reality – far from the self-satisfied, self-proclaimed individual, independent and influential rulers of their cocooned universes. It is an insecure generation that is caught in a perpetual race of trying to keep up with the Joneses and engage in mindless materialism. Of-course some materialism is necessary such as homes, clothing etc but the kind of materialism discussed here is insecurity based. It’s the type that is a response to the enormous pressure in western and developed societies to be an individual. To stand out. To equate one’s progress with their possessions.

Czech Dream
A couple of documentary Czech film makers launched a campaign around a spoof new mega mall in Prague. They’ve literally built an ad campaign promoting the non existent store. The film charted the journey from the ads to thousands of people who’ve come to the store on the launch day. After the collapse of the soviet system and years of lack of western style materialism there was an insatiable appetite. The filmmakers were essentially firing a warning shot, asking the question do we really want this? Should we jump head on into mindless capitalism? On the opening day of the fake store thousands turned up all hoping to buy a new t.v. set or perhaps to fill a deeply set insecurity.

Individuality is the basis for isolation which breeds mental illness.

Plato stated the obvious eons ago, hinting at the dark side of individuality:

“Winners stand alone”

The irony is that even at it’s moment of supposed triumph, individuality becomes isolation. Standing out, is by definition, breaking away from the group and the community. This is even more worrying. Multiplied by millions of marketing messages, un-supervised financial institutions and disappointing politicians, societies become a fragmented collage of highly macho and individualistic dreams. A collection of individual-group-thinkers. The so called triumph of selfish individualistic capitalism becomes society’s collective failure.

The trouble with marketing is that most of it is still stuck in a selfish capitalist mode.

Let’s consider how consumers today are claiming back their rights to be the social animals that they are. The astronomical explosion of social media online in many ways is consumers’ way of claiming their rights to simply connect and belong. To co-create and collaborate, meet and organise themselves and others around them. Technology have not only made them more inter-connected but also inter-dependent.
On an another level research from the Future Foundation has shown that at least in western societies where women have been making great progress into public and professional lives this has resulted in a move towards the more feminine values in culture of sharing, socialising and collaboration.
Meanwhile in ad land, brands are still peddling archaic macho strategies and toxic notions of individuality. Desperately failing to grasp the full implications of what consumers are doing online and where culture is going. They are being autistic in choosing not to hear what consumers are saying which is: ‘thanks we actually want to hang out with our friends if you don’t mind’. Or as a respondent in a group recently told us more aptly:

“I want to be independent like all my friends”

Individuality in a way is only a route to what people need – that’s belonging. Belonging is perhaps the more ‘human’ way of building brands.

The future is co-operative & collaborative – our survival – no less – depends on it.

From the environment, to poverty, from medicine to technology, social systems that are designed to bring people together, brains together and above all collective actions are exactly what we should champion and build in marketing. The reality is that in the wake of the recession the business world needs to look into more co-operative and collaborative forms of progress that go beyond the selfish capitalism of the few to the greater good of the many. The far more interesting model for a better form of capitalism is to think of ways where contribution not mere consumption is the objective. Brands that selfishly existed to make the customers consume more without a further contribution beyond their product are at a grave risk of becoming nothing more than a cost without a care. Some of this thinking is captured in co-opportunity – a new a book by John Grant. In it, he discusses the nature of new types of models where it isn’t communication anymore once you add the social dimension – it is actually a social innovation. The co-operative mentality I am proposing and the actions described by Grant are all indications of what social could mean to brands, it’s not individuality that they promise anymore it’s the genuine actions that demonstrate true commitment to their consumers and society at large. The basis of this commitment is not a fake promise of ‘if you buy this you will be individual’ it is the higher healthier delivery of what people really want and that’s not individuality but rather interdependence.

How can brands be built around interdependence instead of false notions of individuality.

Is it possible to create collective identities where the objective is not the selfish, lonely and impossible illusion of individuality? The answer is yes:
Firstly, the fundamental shift that marketers need to make is that a brand is not an image that could be managed simply by changing the ad campaign. It is an experience. An experience in it’s widest sense of the word. A brand like IKEA is not managed by simply changing the ads it’s a brand that is fundamentally an experience in every aspect from the product to the packaging to what you could do with the product eventually. At it’s core is a social idea – democracy of design – this is translated into every aspect of that brand. It is an ethos, a commitment and an intention to improve the lives of the many people. (for more on my thinking on brand as an experience read this article).
Secondly, brands that build their marketing around bringing people together instead of pushing them apart by encouraging, facilitating a sense of belonging between it’s customers will be better placed to survive in the hyper connected world of today. See box.
Thirdly, it is fundamentally about ‘doing’ not ‘saying’. Delivering the ethos of interdependence has to be something that the brand ‘does’ in order to show that it cares enough about its’ public to do something about it. Brands should be living up to commitments not producing campaigns.

T-Mobile: Life’s for sharing Campaign UK.
In a really competitive telecoms market T-Mobile needed to differentiate beyond price and offers. A strategy was established built on how life is lived live and broadcasted instantly to friends, family and strangers using mobile and web. Telephony was changing how people related to one another. Everything was lived now and shared now.
With this as the backdrop the idea was to create iconic and spontaneous experiences that gel together friends and strangers. The events were designed to be amazing enough to compell audiences to share. DANCE was the first out. An outbreak of spontaneous dance in Liverpool street captured the imagination of those present with random people joining and broadcasting the event on multiple digital media live and as it was happening. This campaign and it’s sibling SING in Trafalger Square were hugely successful for the brand on all metrics. But most importantly it delivered on the brand idea, the consumer reality and the commercial objectives. Above all it was a genuine brand experience that was worth sharing. A good example of the ethos that brands should do not say.
Life’s for Sharing.

What if?

What if we didn’t sell stuff based on a fake sense of individuality and ultimately isolation?
What if we didn’t give consumers the poor substitute of a mental experience instead of a real life one?
What if we didn’t aim to make consumer run towards goals that they can’t achieve and consumerism that feeds nothing except insecurity?
What if we stopped playing on people’s insecurities and started working on building their confidence and self esteem?
What if we stopped telling people have it your way when what really matters is a way for everybody to succeed co-operatively?
This is ultimately not a question of which advertising strategy we should pick, it is a question of can we take our responsibilities seriously enough to ditch toxic notions of individuality and start delivering on inter-dependence.

Great insight requires great creative – even in B2B

I have worked with several B2B brands, and most of them had a very good grasp on what made their customers excited. Others quickly recognized the importance of what I  found out while researching their target markets. Insight seems to come natural to people in B2B markets. Unfortunaltely, I can’t say the same for their grasp of creative execution.
Now, here’s a cautionary tale on the dangers of not being able to make the leap of faith from strategy to execution: You’re in B2B. Everyone you deal with is a pro. They might not buy one of your products every year (because it’s a huge machine that costs $50 000) but they are experienced and know what they want. You also know what they want, because like you’re buyers you’ve lived practically you’re whole life in this business. And what they want is a turbo-charged RX450 compressor powered Rock Combustor that will run 4500 hours or more before requiring maintenance.

Tomas Lundgren

Tomas Lundgren


There are many other firms selling similar machines, cheaper, more expensive, higher powered, etc, but you are the only one who sell such a low-maintenance machine at a reasonable price in the high-power segment. You’ve got your insight into the target audience down pat. If anyone buys this, it’s because they know maintenance is a real drain on the overall budget to keep a machine fleet operational. So, you brief the agency. The agency people nod and take notes and go to work.
They come back with a concept that is visually daring, has a memorable pun in the headline, and really stresses maintenance costs, but it doesn’t show the machine. Instead the image shows a guy dressed in a business suit asleep in a bed (aren’t we supposed to appeal to a male audience here?) with a “dream bubble” above where dollar bills are jumping across a fence. You immediately feel uneasy. This doesn’t look like what your company usually put in its ads. Actually, no one in your industry have ads that look this way. There’s supposed to be a machine in the picture. Or a bikini babe. Or both.
You’re customers are serious people that buy serious, powerful equipment for serious amounts of money. This is not going to work. So you say you like the copy and appreciate that it makes a good, strong point for maintenance cost reduction, but end up giving your great-idea-but-I-don’t-know-if-I-like-this speech to the agency team.
The art director stares at the table. The copy writer says it reinforces the headline that you said was good. The account manager tries to make a case for it, but quickly accepts defeat and takes the team back to the agency to have another go. A week later they arrive again, this time without the art director. It now looks like a typical industry ad, but nice. They’ve used your best product shot and done some quite magical effect in some image processing software and it looks stunning. Your boss is gonna love it. The guys at engineering is going to pin it to the wall and buy you a round. The customers are going to be impressed. This is going to work!
But of course it doesn’t.
Your customers, while not insensitive to the seductive image of a powerful yellow machine in a glowing late afternoon light, are so used to seeing product shots that they just skim over your ad. They are busy worrying about all that money disappearing in maintenance, and actually, they haven’t been able to sleep very well lately because they are going to take serious heat because of that budget running wild. They sure would like to find a low-maintenance machine, but can’t.
Your company still sell it’s quota that year. You even get a little bonus, and you’re very popular with engineering. Everything has worked out fine, just like last year , and the year before that.

Endagskurs som leder till bättre byråsamarbete

Mats Rönne är en av dem som gjort en del utbildningar, både inom Electrolux och nu senast för Skanska, i hur man som annonsör/uppdragsgivare får ut det mesta av sin byrå genom att ge dem rätt förutsättningar. Det betyder i första hand en bra brief men sedan också hur man bedömer och kommenterar de förslag som byrån presenterar.
Nu erbjuder vi ett skräddarsytt kursupplägg där er marknadsavdelning lär sig utveckla effektivare kampanjer under en heldagsövning.

Kursupplägg

En företagsintern kurs blir mer specifik om hur ni uttrycker ert varumärke och deltagarna tar med sig en aktuell projektbrief och använder detta som arbetsmaterial under dagen.
Innehållet bygger på en standardmall för kommunikationsbrief som tar upp det som bör finnas med i underlaget till byrån.
Här är programmet uppdelat på ett antal block:

  • Kommunikationsbriefen – vad är det och varför är den så viktig?
  • Briefen – del 1: Projektets syfte och mål
  • Briefen – del 2: Målgrupp
  • Briefen – del 3: Kommunikationsstrategi, budskap (”single-most-important-benefit”) och support (”reason-to-believe”)
  • Briefen – del 4: Varumärkets positionering, personlighet och tonalitet
  • Briefen – del 5: Kontaktmöjligheter/mediaalternativ
  • Briefen – del 6: ”Måsten” och utvärdering
  • Att briefa byrån – hur blir briefen ”levande”?
  • Respons till byrån – hur stämmer förslaget med briefen?

Inom de flesta av punkterna presenterar vi ett antal teser och checklistor på vad som ska finnas med och hur detta ska presenteras. Lägg därtill ett antal case att diskutera runt och deltagarnas egna briefer som kompletterande diskussionsmaterial.

Målet med kursen

  • Varje deltagare ska ha en bättre förståelse för hur viktig briefen är för kampanjens möjligheter att bli verkligt framgångsrik (och således uppdragsgivarens ansvar för framgången)
  • Få med sig ett antal praktiska verktyg och inte minst ha en bättre brief med sig från dagen än vad man hade med sig i bagaget på morgonen.

Kursdetaljer

Vi har paketerat kursen att gälla internt hos företaget under en arbetsdag från 9-16:00. Det är också möjligt med lokal hos oss.
Finns det önskemål om halvdagsupplägg eller att hålla kursen externt så går det att ordna. Kontakta oss direkt för mer info.

Second hand feeling – feeling what others feel

Ursprungligen publicerat på Inculture. Skrivet av Katarina Graffman.

Watching a beautiful reunion of a wild lion with its former owner brings many people to tears. Laughing at a little kitten or a cute panda sneezing, or the latest; a baby elephant sneezing and scaring itself. These are sweet little youtube-clips that may brighten our day.
There are of course millions – billions maybe?! – other clips that make us laugh, cry, feel sympathy, nauseaus or even disgust. The interesting part is that we get a second hand feeling.
Feelings are what thrive us when we communicate with people. As SvD´s 100 känslor Linda Backman and John Airaksinen explain; when one asks its friend how the weekend was, one wants to know the emotion the weekend gave, not what wine they had for dinner. The feeling is what gives us an explanation we can use and transform into an emotinal bond with ones friend.
But when we watch an emotional clip, the feeling that we get is more a reaction to the reaction of the people in the clip. We can´t feel the sadness that an old man feels while listening to Schumanns Träumerei. Instead we get a second hand feeling – we translate his sadness into our sadness; we borrow his feeling and we feel his feeling.
But which is more real? The authentic feeling or our second hand feeling? Or is both equally real?

Posh Spice och Persil

Posh_Spice1

Jag flaggade nyligen för WARC/IPA konferensen om Measuring Advertising Performance i vår, och rekommenderar den varmt från tidigare erfarenhet. Jag noterar också med stor glädje att i den intressanta talarlistan finns bl.a. åldermannen Jeremy Bullmore, tidigare copywriter och kreativ chef på JWT, legendarisk kolumnist i Campaign (”On the campaign couch”) samt en av de klokaste och mest underhållande skribenterna om marknadsföring och reklam jag har kommit i kontakt med.

För att ge prov på Jeremys klokskap vill jag varmt rekommendera hans anförande på British Brands Group 2001 – fortfarande i mitt tycke bland det bästa som skrivits om varumärken och hur dessa hanteras i företag. Mer av samma vara finns även här.

Mycket nöje!

Inlägget skrivet av Mats Rönne och publicerades ursprungligen på Miccos blogg The Brand-Man http://micco.se/2009/12/posh-spice-och-persil/

Effekt av reklam i modern tid

Creativity_light
Micco skrev nyligen ett inlägg med en del visdom om effektiv reklam från några decennier tillbaka. Det finns också nyare kunskap att tillgå. Ett av de mest grundläggande arbeten har gjorts av (främst) Les Binet på DDB Matrix och Peter Fields, på uppdrag av engelska reklambyråförbundet IPA.
Les och Peter har analyserat samtliga bidrag i reklameffekttävlingen IPA Effectiveness Award. Totalt har de gått igenom närmare 1.000 kampanjer som alla bevisligen har gett – eller överträffat – önskad effekt (annars skulle uppdragsgivaren och byrån naturligtvis inte ha skickat in bidraget till tävlingen). Les och Peter har därefter jämfört hur vinnarna, alltså den reklam som skapat verkligt stora effekter, skiljer sig från övriga bidrag. Det är m.a.o. inte en jämförelse mellan effektiv och ineffektiv reklam, utan mellan fantastiskt effektiv reklam och effektiv reklam; mellan det bästa och det som är riktigt bra.
Jag har haft förmånen att lyssna till Les och Peters slutsatser några gånger, och även hört presentationer från bl.a. Paul Feldwick och Neil Dawson som varit ordförande i juryn för IPA Effectiveness Award, och det finns ett antal återkommande gemensamma nämnare som förenar de allra bästa kampanjerna. Och med utgångspunkt från reklamens ”la créme de la créme” har en analys gjorts av hur olika komponenter påverkar chansen till fantastiskt framgångsrika kampanjer.
Några exempel och slutsatser är:

  1. Fokusera på hårda mål, d.v.s. ekonomiska mål – lönsamhet, prisnivå, försäljning, där vinstmarginal och priselasticitet är de starkaste. 49% av de bästa hade hårda mål i kampanjplanen.
  2. De bästa kampanjerna har flera olika mål – hela skalan från varumärkeskännedom och -preferens till försäljning, marknadsandel och marginal. Ju fler mål desto bättre; med fyra eller fler hårda, tydliga och mätbara mål låg success rate på 76%, jämfört med 28% om bara ett sådant mål fanns.
  3. Flera mjuka mål, d.v.s. kännedom, preferens, etc., ger bättre utfall än få.
  4. Dessutom hjälper det med delmål: Med tre eller fler hårda delmål är success rate 88%.
  5. Den bästa reklamen har inte förtestats. Kampanjer som förtestas har 13% (kvantitativ förtest), respektive 12% (kvalitativ förtest) lägre success rate.
  6. Likeability är bättre än standout som utvärderingsnyckel. Kampanjer som fokuserade på hög likeability hade 7% högre framgångschans än genomsnittet, medan standout gav 5% lägre utfall.
  7. Ekonometriska analyser lönar sig. Kampanjer som analyserats med ekonomentriska modeller var nästan dubbelt så framgångsrika än de som inte analyseras på det här sättet (81% mot 47%).
  8. Kampanjer som bygger på emotionell kommunikation lyckas bättre än rationella kampanjer, framför allt för utmanare på marknaden. De ger bättre utfall inom fler områden och högre lönsamhet, även i vad som kan anses vara rationella produktkategorier.
  9. De flesta fantastiskt framgångsrika kampanjer fokuserar på både ökad lojalitet och nyförsäljning (86% success rate), men det är nyförsäljningen (och enbart den) som ger resultatet i ekonomiskt utfall (82% av fallen).
  10. Kampanjer i flera mediakanaler är effektivare än de som enbart använder en kanal, men marginalnyttan per kanal avtar successivt.

Vill du veta mer kan jag varmt rekommendera IPA’s och WARC’s konferens Measuring Advertising Performance i mars nästa år. Jag har varit där flera gånger och alltid imponerats av kvaliteten på både talare och presentationer, och vårens upplaga verkar inte gå av för hackor.
Inlägget publicerades ursprungligen på Micco Grönholms blogg The Brand-Man http://micco.se/2009/12/reklamkunskap-fran-modern-tid/

Abstrakt musik kräver också noter

Hors d'Oeuvres med getost och päronsylt utskriven av en fabber, en slags 3D printer, som även kan skriva ut en fungerande mobiltelefon. Både varumärken och affärsmodeller ställs inför stora utmaningar i framtiden. Bild: Fab@Home

Hors d'Oeuvres med getost och päronsylt utskriven av en fabber, en slags 3D printer, som även kan skriva ut en fungerande mobiltelefon. Både varumärken och affärsmodeller ställs inför stora utmaningar i framtiden. Bild: Fab@Home


Beteendevetare och ledartyper är framtidens viktigaste affärsutvecklare på marknaden. Frågor som grupptillhörighet, trender, begär eller behov, identitet, kundnytta och status kommer vara de främsta egenskaperna för att lyckas inom B2C. Även inom B2B är detta relevant eftersom beslut till köp i allra högsta grad fattas av vanliga människor.
Sveriges stolthet, Ericsson, behövde större delen av 90-talet att lära sig en dyrköpt läxa: låt inte ingenjörskulturen ta överhanden på produktutveckling och erbjudande. De tappade ett enormt försprång till Nokia som idag är så mycket större än SonyEricsson att det knappt är värt att jämföra. Saab är ett annat tragiskt exempel på samma snedvridning av prioriteringar. Den ingenjörskunskap som vi odlar i Sverige är fantastisk, men den löser inte alla problem, framförallt inte idag. Se det såhär: Det är inget fel på Saabs bilar, tvärtom. Problemet ligger i att de inte har lyckats beröra människor genom deras kommunikation. Saabs marknadsföring uppfattas som tråkig och, ännu värre: perfekt. Varumärken som bara visar upp sina bra sidor blir tråkiga, platta och saknar story. Tänk dig själv, Stålmannen utan kryptonit. När varumärket blir asexuellt, blir upplevelsen av produkten detsamma. Och det råder inga ingenjörer i världen någon bot på.
Lägg därtill att varumärkesvärdering är på väg att ISO-standardiseras. Branschen kommer äntligen att mätas i kronor och ören utifrån gemensamt bestämda premisser. Marknadsföring har, lyckligtvis, aldrig varit någon exakt vetenskap och ingen lyckas äga den. Inte ens Google. Jag säger lyckligtvis, eftersom det innebär att effektiv marknadsföring ständigt är möjlig. Det är därför så stora möjligheter att förändra saker alltid står för dörren. Vad detta innebär är att varumärken kommer att få större plats på agendan i ledningsrummen och man kommer begära resultat på ett helt nytt sätt.
I en nära framtid ligger också helt nya typer av utmaningar. För B2C industrin är Fab@Home Fabber, en 3D skrivare som skriver ut fungerande objekt, ett exempel på ny typ av konkurrens. Redan idag kan du skriva ut ett batteri och en ficklampa var för sig genom Fab@Home. Om du sedan sätter i batteriet i ficklampan så kan du tända den. Jo, det är sant. Fab@Home är inte ensamma, RepRap är ett annat företag som gör exakt samma sak. RepRap har en payoff som säger någonting om morgondagens konkurrens — Wealth without money… Googles Chris DiBona ska ha sagt: — Tänk dig RepRap som ett Kina på ditt skrivbord. Målet för företaget är att det ska bli lika vanligt med Fabbers i folks hem, som det är med bläckstråleskrivare idag. Det borde inte vara så svårt, med tanke på att dessa skrivare kan kopiera sig själva, något företaget redan lyckats med. På sikt är det alltså möjligt för dig och mig att ladda ner egna ritningar på, säg en mobiltelefon, och skriva ut den hemma.
Vad har nu detta med Saab och ingenjörskultur att göra, eller Ericssons historiska tapp mot Nokia? Jo, precis som Internet egentligen uppfanns av den engelska forskaren Tim Berners-Lee 1989, så är det knappast han personligen som gjort nätet så framgångsrikt och nyttigt för oss vanliga människor. Det var aldrig hans avsikt heller. Det är marknaden, människor, som själva är de bästa utvecklarna för att skapa nytta med hjälp av den teknik som vi erbjuds. Iphone är ju ett lysande exempel på hur denna insikt omvandlats till pluspoäng för varumärket. Vad vore en iPhone utan de appar (program) som vem som helst kan ta fram och lägga in i Itunes store för nedladdning? Lyckas du hitta, till skillnad från Saab och Ericsson, områden där du kan involvera dina kunder i utvecklingen av dina produkter eller erbjudanden, så öppnar sig extremt spännande möjligheter till effektiv marknadsföring. Och då pratar vi inte bara annonser.
Samtidigt krävs ett mycket genomtänkt koncept för att människor ska kunna ta din produkt, varumärke och anpassa till sin egen fördel, situation och identitet. Det är svårt, men med en strukturerad process går det att genomföra.
Mark Addicks på General Mills har uttryckt det så bra — We try to turn our brand into their brand. (Tack Dan Landin för hänvisningen). Det är här morgondagens marknadsföringsmöjligheter finns och det är här beteendevetarna kommer in i bilden. Ingenjörer i all ära, men deras produktutveckling måste börja bygga på insikter om hur marknaden/människor faktiskt fungerar. Så ställ dig själv frågan: hur snabbt kan du koppla in beteendevetare inför nästa fas av produktutveckling?
Av Robert Dysell, Agent på PlannerFed.

Experience before perception?

Saher Sidhom

Saher Sidhom


By saher sidhom, sahersidhom@googlemail.com

Question

Are experiences more effective in changing behaviour than other marketing approaches that aim to change perception?

Answer:

“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” Confucius 500 BC

Introduction

This is a paper in the response to the question: Are experiences more effective in changing behaviour? As I set out to answer this question, purely out of curiousity, I discovered many arguments in favour and these were from many diverse fields. However, they all seem to arrive at a similar conclusion. Yes experience by far is better and is more efficient at changing behaviour than the classical thinking of aiming to change people’s perceptions and attitudes first before they change behaviour.

The social argument. The rise of first hand culture reframing trust & talkability.

In the past a brand was seen as a ‘short cut’ to decision making. People chose a brand because they identified with it and it acted as the ultimate key to choice whether emotional or rational. Today, this job is largely performed by Google. People use other people’s experiences as a proxy for making choice. Driven by technology, distrust in brands and disappointment in authority in general. Online provides the sum of all human experience in any field and particularly for brands. This gives birth to what others have called first hand culture. People choose to make up their own minds based on first hand experiences, either their own, that of other people and or even the brand’s own staff in the case of service brands. The implication for brands in two words is that of talkability & trust. If the people who had an experience with the brand – any experience – report on it, rant about it or hopefully rave about it that experience will be recorded, tagged, rated, clouded and reviewed online. This live constantly updatable record of people’s experiences with the brand makes a brand utterly vulnerable to whatever is being said about it. In a world where your brand is what people say it is – no brand owner can stand by the sidelines and have a silent opinion or ‘no comment’ or at least offer a counter positive experience to address the volatile online public. And no, advertising cannot do this job anymore. But experiences can. Because they all end up online not the ads. It’s online where first opinion, second opinion, expert opinion and own opinion are instantly com-probable and converging. If a brand has failed to manage its total experience these opinions will be made for it, in it’s absence and mercilessly by anyone who cares to comment.

The neurological argument. How your brain changes after an experience.

A leading neurogenesis researcher and professor of psychology at Princeton University, Professor Elizabeth Gould identified a number of fundamental changes as a result of experiences. Most importantly the brain physically changes as a result of an experience or an interaction. In a way, it took over 2509 years for neuroscience to prove what Confucius said 500 years BC. The changes that Gould and other neuroscientists  have identified include the physical change in the structure of the brain as a result of an active experience that is rich in external stimuli. Essentially new neural clouds are created or re-organized. Ideas in the head or ‘perceptions’ of a brand in marketing speak are no more than neural clouds in people’s brains. Every time an individual interacts with said brand or product literally their brain structure is re-calibrated or the neural cloud re-organised adding or taking new neurons. And this according the Gould and et al is best done by getting the individual to ‘do’ something , experience it instead of just being exposed to it or told about it.

The psychological argument for experiences.

An interesting lesson to learn about experiences and the ‘doing’ mentality comes from psychology. In contemporary psychology the recipe is really simple for changing behaviour. From needing more confidence to dealing with a job interview. Change is at the centre of a three step loop. Think, feel & do. For individuals to make any change they need to either think the change, feel it or do it. Psychologists strongly recommend that one should not wait to think the right stuff or feel like they want to quit smoking for example, it’s all about taking action – no matter how small or large – but taking action is what kicks the do, think, feel loop into gear and in that order. Once a small step is taken then new thoughts and feelings will follow. ‘Doing something about it’ is exactly what people should do. This lesson is pertinent for brands working on strategies that aim to change thinking or feeling via image led advertising. It is no where near as effective as inspiring, as inviting as helping people to do something or have an experience. I found a brand that did this strategically, creatively and above all effectively.

The branding argument.

The award winning campaign by AMV for Sainsbury’s in the UK set the standard for putting changing behaviour instead of changing beliefs into branding perspective. Try Something New Today is one of the most successful campaigns that ditched the tired thinking of nagging people into thinking or feeling something towards the brand in order to change behaviour. What it did instead was to invite people directly to ‘try’ and act. It used the various marketing channels overall as opportunities to inspire people to act with a constant stream of ideas and tools to use and apply.

The behavioural economics “nudge” argument.

Interestingly enough economists have their own discipline when it comes to getting people to change behaviour. Thaler & Sunstein authors of Nudge claim that instead of trying to change attitudes it’s easier to help people make the right choices or the choices that they previously found difficult by giving them a “choice architecture” that serves them the right option first and making it easy to act upon it. Almost without having to think about it. For example if you are trying to get people to eat healthily or to stop over indulging, providing them with healthy food as the first choice in the canteen  counter you are then guiding (nudging) them towards the preferred option. Another example is if you want them to eat less give them smaller plates. These are small examples but the thinking is actually quite profound. By getting people to have the ‘right’ kind of experience they build a ‘capability’ for the desired behaviour which later becomes the attitude they need to adopt. Maybe marketers can learn a thing or two from economists by starting with the behaviour first before the attitude.

The existentialist philosopher’s argument.

Needless to say there is a whole branch of philosophy dedicated to the do not say thinking. Sartre famously said once “to be is to do”. True existentialists never wish they are something else, they will it. They actively strive to change themselves by action and exercising their freedom to choose. Modern existentialism a la Sartre and De Beauvoir was born out of a basic and fundamental need to challenge the status quo and refusing to excuse oneself from taking action (& responsibility). Sartre was deeply motivated by fighting the Nazi Germans who were occupying Paris at the time and De Beauvoir by her refusal to submit to the expected and typical bourgeois behaviour of a lady of her breeding. The essential thing that we can learn from brand existentialism – if I may call it that – is that the ultimate truths are not those that we see elaborately expressed in ads but in the actions the brand takes and makes people take with it. Ads should never be an excuse for in-action.

The marketing argument. Experiences are a platform not an add on.

Most marketing campaigns use experiential & digital as an ‘add-on’ an event that somehow goes with the theme of the ad campaign. In most cases it’s simply no more than a tactical or a sales promotion exercise. This is old thinking. Experiences when placed at the core of the campaign become the most demonstrable way of brand values, it’s shared passions with it’s audiences and the best opportunity to show commitment to consumer. When Nike ‘did’ the Human Race the event was at the centre  of the campaign not the ads. The ads merely reported on it.
Experience in digital is even more essential for brands. A recent report (FEED 2009) identified that 65% of U.S. consumers report a digital experience changing their perception about a brand (either positively or negatively) and 97% of that group report that the same experience ultimately influenced whether or not they went on to purchase a product from that brand. Experiences are essentially contexts where the brand ‘behaves’ lives up to it’s core idea by doing things and of-course ‘delivers’. They are the embodiment of the brand values and ethos for example the Innocent Fruitstock, Nike + and the Red Bull Air Race.
In these examples experiential plays two key roles: primarily becoming a platform to build several stories or campaigns around. The Red Bull Air Race is an international spectacular touring event. When Red Bull comes to town planes fly under public bridges upside down. This sort of spectacle builds content to be distributed across multi-platform broadcasting channels from t.v. to You Tube.
Secondly, it also provides activation opportunities instore and beyond. An experience is more effective because the people who have it are 70% more likely to talk about it to friends than simply those watching a t.v. ad. And talkability eventually builds up and filters to the internet. Essentially not everybody have to have the experience but everybody can and does know about it.

Many arguments same conclusion.

There are diverse arguments for why experiences and doing are better for changing perceptions. The simple truth is that the total experience of a brand is no longer individual but collective and that experience is recorded, rated, reviewed and ranted about online – live. If a brand fails to manage it’s total experience then it’s simply open for whatever opinion might be voiced online. The cursory glance at the value of experiences outlined in this paper I hope is clear, varied and powerful.
From neuroscience to psychology, from branding to economics from philosophy to ancient wisdom nothing could be clearer. Even looking at brands that put experience at the core of their marketing such as Nike, Red Bull, Sainsbury’s, Innocent not to mention a plethora of digital brands from google, amazon to facebook that hardly spent a penny in advertising to succeed – they today are pure experiences and their success is indisputable on anybody’s measure.

We should ditch or seriously re-evaluate archaic communication & brand thinking.

Take AIDA for example: ‘action’ happens to be the last word in that model. I hope after reading this paper you have realised the fallacy of such a model that still in 2009 – 138 years since it’s inception – still permeates marketing, advertising and media thinking like a bad virus. The case for reversing this model and starting with action or experience instead of three very expensive letters is I submit a far better and a more effective strategy.
Some of the changes outlined in this paper should also shift how we think about the concept of branding. As someone once said: branding only works on cattle. The brand onion has gone pear shaped. It’s no longer the set of consistent values that we continue to delude ourselves by thinking we can ‘manage’ and control.

The brand of today is an experience.

A total experience that we maybe able to host or inspire but it’s an experience nevertheless. A behaviour, not an esoteric idea that lives mysteriously in people’s heads. If it is brands that we seek to build then there is no better way to do so than to simply do & deliver what the brand promises in marketing and elsewhere. Take the consumers with us. If brands were characters, then as they say in film – all character is action – and today the consumers are part of the action. They are participators not spectators. They are on the stage, interacting with the brand, co-creating it’s experience and it’s existence. But above all, they are shouting: ‘action’ …
… thankfully.
By saher sidhom, sahersidhom@googlemail.com