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How to make your Marketing dollar work more – The Art of Conversations

8 Oct

When I think of marketing, I see at least three areas where marketing needs to impact to be effective.

Make Effective Online Marketing Contents, Collaterals, and Web sites

What if I make a beautiful mousetrap and they never show up? But what if they show up and find that your mousetrap is not what they wanted. Or if they find that people who sell these mousetraps are not-friendly.

Everyone is working in Marketing

What if I make a beautiful mousetrap and they never show up? But what if they show up and find that your mousetrap is not what they wanted. Or if they find that people who sell these mousetraps are not-friendly.

Some good conversation starters

Conversations about the company in the customer and prospect’s world. What are they talking about? Why are they talking about it? How am I affected by it?

Good if you are part of conversations. Excellent if these conversations are favorable towards you. Worst if you are not part of any of these fierce conversations.

Think about possibilities that a positive product review can release on your market.

What if you could influence these conversations. Shape the discussion in the conversation-space.

using marketing – strategy

Good news is that a lot of people have been thinking about these issues and we are not alone.

Here is a list of a few resources that can get you started- Marketing’s Role: Dispatches from the field.

[still refining it. Stay tuned……]


Google’s Brand Sense

7 Feb

With the Google’s search getting sophisticated and intelligent users are depending more on its recommendations. Some of these recommendations are influencing the brands as well. Computer programs (e.g. search engines) influence a consumer when she searches solutions for a need, looks for a particular brand, researches on a particular brand category. In all of these circumstances what is presented to the consumer by search engine might have brand preferences built in.

Google Sets

John Mayo-Smith of R/GA has written an interesting article Courting the Mind of a Different Kind in Advertising Age. He is talking about a new service by Google, Google Sets that returns lists of terms with things in common. If you type in “red,” Google Sets returns “red, blue, green, black, yellow and white.” (Note the difference between Sets and Search, which returns links to websites). Google Sets is still in beta, but it can be used as a kind of aided awareness test to illustrate how Google “thinks” about brands.

What happens if you type a brand name. Here is what John found when he typed Hyundai and Toyota:

…’s what Google associated with Subaru: Toyota, Volkswagen, Saab, Suzuki, Volvo, Nissan, Rover, Triumph, Rolls, Porsche, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Pontiac, Honda.

Here’s what Google associated with Toyota: Subaru, Volkswagen, Nissan, Volvo, Saab, WILLYS, Suzuki, Honda, Mitsubishi, Mazda.
In this experiment, Subaru is associated with a wide range of 14 brands, while Toyota is associated with a narrower range of 10 brands. These results suggest Google “thinks” of Subaru differently than it does Toyota. ……………………………….. Whatever the reason [for this distinction], the fact that Google can tell brands apart may influence search results, which could, in turn, affect sales.

Here is my search results for “freedom” and this what Google Sets (search: Freedom) suggested – Freedom, Equality, Money, Control, to combat boredom, parties and fun.

Aha, now I need to find out how to have money so I clicked on “Money” and viola first link is CNN/Money, second is MSN Money and so on.

You should not be supervised if in a second version of Google Sets it remembers my other searches, geo-location, gmail (emails) and comes back with a more specific (to me) result.

Here are Google Sets thoughts on my search for “cruises“.

The tribe of Nike

30 Nov

When a brand becomes an icon and its buyers turn into a tribe.
Nike, is such a tribe. Here is the Nike tribe in Barcelona. If you are curious who is behind the design of Nike Air Max, here you go meet Tinker Hatfield.  Did you noticed the French subtitles? Yeah, Nike tribe in France. Here is your Nike Air Max commercial. another one, you watch this while I am going to get myself original Air Max from the store.

CRM, revenues and branding

22 Nov

Clue 1: This week started off with a call from my younger brother who wanted to discuss the new CRM position he is interviewing for.

Clue 2: An advertising veteran friend and I get into argument on true definition of M in CRM. He thinks its Marketing while I insist it is Management.

Clue 3: The McKinsey Quarterly discusses “Generating revenue from your call center“. I thought call center, a component of CRM, must have been part of revenue drive of companies. Were we not done  with that back in 90s? I guess may be not.

Clue 4: Finally I got newsletter from talking about CRM for brand loyalty.

If you link all these clues together and seek a pattern, you can predict the whole CRM-universe.

Here is what I think.

We are still learning about CRM; which is good.

We are still confused what really CRM means, what are its components; which is a yellow flag if not red.

Lack of understanding results in inefficient use, or sub-optimal benefits from CRM. Hence we are still ignorant of the true potential of “relationship” with customer. Its a potential opportunity even if our interaction is part of service process. Its revenue opportunity even if that interaction is through a call center.

Finally branding. Branding is not few 30 second spots on TV, or some glossy ads in a magazine. Branding is also how your service rep listens to a customer who has something to say (complaint = opportunity = revenue).

Hence it proves that distance between two points, in a corporate world, is covered in multiple elliptical iterations. We visit the same subjects again but make a little progress towards our final destination during every cycle. 

Marketing genie will grant you wishes

15 Nov

If a marketing and branding expert finds a magic lamp. Do you know what will be first question he will ask the genie?




keep thinking.

Here is a cheat sheet. Look at the items that bother them the most. Look at the most important item on their agendas. Go ahead, try again.




If you guessed market demand, product suitability, competition etc then you are close but … here is what most of the marketer will love to ask the genie.

 “What the customers want?”

 Sad that we don’t have the magic lamp or the genie. All we have our wonderful products and, if we are lucky, scattered customers.


But we still need the answer to this question.

What the customers want?


Now lets try to answer the same question but this time without a genie. Here are few ideas we can look into.

  • Talking to our existing customers. Asking them why are they with us and what would keep them with us. Asking them what interest them in the market other than our product.
  • Observing what customers buy, getting actual numbers on what they buy and details about the transaction. Where they buy?
  • Watching trends. Seeing what is changing in our customer’s world. Are they adopting some new technology? Are they following a certain ideology? Is there some newer issues on their plate?
  • Study competitors. Keep an eye on them, may be they met the genie. May be they got the answer.
  • Meditate. Yes, its right: meditate. Sit still and relax, breath in and breath out. Sometimes the best way to connect is to first disconnect.



the bathroom talk..

13 Oct

Imagine you are a brand manager for a tummy-relief (constipation) medicine. What is the best place to remind your target audience about your product?

…..Just plain paper towel

keep thinking.




Here is what you might have come up with.

  • A health related magazine
  • Daily Newspaper
  • A trade promotion material at a pharmacy or doctor’s office

You are close, if you thought any of the above or similar. You rationale is simple.

  • Treatment: Where do people go for treatment when they have constipation? Doctors office or pharmacy, so putting a display ad there will help.
  • Place: What people do when they are in bathroom? Spend a lot of time; they read newspaper and hence your ad in there.

All these methods work but not very effective. Here is what works the best.




Put an ad in the bathroom.

Tell the customer about your product when he is in “shit’.

Put the ad on that toilet paper container.Tissue with Ad Put an ad on the toilet paper.


You think its too smelly, not clean, not going to work. Think again.

It works.

It works.


Companies in Italy have done that many years ago. They placed their ads on the back of the bathroom door. What a place? What a dedicated communion with the customer. One to one talk. They are not distracted and have nothing else to do but to read your ad. Even the legal disclaimers.


Can you think any other product that can be advertised there?

Let me help.

Think bathrooms in hotels, restaurants, clubs, and highway rest stops. Think big churches, big stadiums, train stations, and airports. 

What you can advertise there?

Think about the place.

Bathrooms ads are so unique. You don’t need to worry about the gender of your reader? You know it. Lipstick and your butt

Bathrooms ads are so unique. You know where your ads will be seen. So if your ad is at airport you know what your audience is doing there -traveling. So to tell them about duty free shop, the amazing places to visit in town or may be international calling cards.T-Mobile


Interesting. Isn’t it?

So bathroom is not that stinky place after all. 

I love T-Mobile.


Here is another smart marketing technique: Love, SMS, and a big white board.







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