The Greek historian, Plutarch had it right; way back in 45 AD, when he said that ‘the mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled’. The spark of that fire can only be relished once you are forced to step out of your comfort zone and thrown into the unknown as in a crisis that we are now.
Crisis can fill your mind with doubt, confusion and inaction or it can fuel your mind with the fire of creativity, rewarded by some growth in intuitive knowledge, strengthening of character, or initiation into a higher consciousness.
A crisis, like the one we are emerging from, triggers new needs and habits.
For instance, the 2002-2003 SARS pandemic in China was a huge factor for the rise of e-commerce giants like Alibaba. Duncan Clark, author of Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built, writes, “[SARS] came to represent the turning point when the Internet emerged as a truly mass medium in China…. Crucially for Alibaba, SARS convinced millions of people, afraid to go outside, to try shopping online instead.”
Having said that, in this article, we draw inspiration from 5 books that can help change the pattern of your brand, land your victory and get you situated for the long haul.
Wrapping up with a Question
How will you use this moment in time and pivot your brand to serve the bigger context?
Amazon didn’t change the face of global retail market by replicating a physical store online. It created something new, using technology as the launchpad to change the industry entirely while putting consumers’ interests first.
Jack Bogle did not create another mutual fund. He introduced Vanguard’s at-cost quasi-nonprofit structure. Vanguard index fund gives all cost savings back to shareholders.
Started with Vanguard and spurred on by Robinhood and Wealthfront, these financial companies have taken what “was an expensive, elitist, analog and slow process and made it the opposite: accessible, affordable, digital, and instantaneous.”
And it does not end here. Science and technology is carving up new frontiers.
Rainmaker that harvests fresh water from humidity in the atmosphere is directing their business towards becoming a major global water utility company. It’s model: water as a service.
Now, that is a contextual and purposeful business model, given the fact that by 2030, 47% of the world will fall into severe water stress. (source: OECD Environmental Outlook, 2008)
Thoughts and ideas are welcome.
Until next time!
On May 15, 2013 when Nasa announced that the days of Kepler are numbered, the whole scientific community mourned. Geoff Marcy, [and his team] who discovered over 250 extrasolar planets was of course saddened by the news and he turned to poetry for solace.
When asked why poetry? His answer simply was: "I did not think. I just felt."
"Kepler was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week, no weekend rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talks, my song;
I thought Kepler would last forever: I was wrong."
When a hardcore scientist combats his sadness with poetry, it makes you wonder of the magic that lies in the echoes of poetry. Often, we are enthralled by its mystery. Why? you may ask. The short answer is "Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood." It is the language in which you explore your own wonderment. It gives you "the illusion of having had the experience without actually going through it." It is a powerful vessel that engages your emotion, inspires your will and makes you do.
“Emotion recollected in tranquillity,” gives birth to poetry.
Emotion – once a largely ignored field of cognitive psychology – has become accepted as a major spring of consumer behaviour. So much so, that many advertisers now view the creation of emotional engagement as their primary objective. – David Penn, md, Conquest Research
Major leaps in neuroscience has overturned the traditional view of consumer being driven by rationality to the one being dictated by emotions and subconscious.
The science of the our firing neurons teaches us these key lessons:
Hence, the rush for brand marketers to capture the emotional sentiments of the consumers.
If emotion is the driver in decision making then, our responsibility is to find ways to perpetuate it. And there lies the limitation in traditional approaches.
Because, "When you ask someone about an emotion, you change the emotion." And requesting consumers to quantify or rank emotional responses, such as on a scale of 1 to 10, is even more difficult for them.
Source: Marketing and Neuroscience What Drives Customer Decisions
Here is where memory metric plugs in.
In order for memory to work, you need to be recalling memory and creating memory all at the same time. So, you bombard those neurons with creative repetition and arouse the synaptic nerves with poetry. Yes, Poetry. Let's just try this. Shall we?
Read the poem below and as you are reading be mindful of the visuals that your neurons are formulating to help you digest this information. How do you feel? What do you see?
Every word in this poem strikes me with its' aching beauty. The truth is tender, yet glaring. I am haunted by the words “unanimous blood" – that we are all, even in our difference, part of this complex interconnection. It reminds me of the basics: the oxygen that sustains us and our memories that write the poetry of our tiny lives.
[The Salvadorian revolutionary poet was twice sentenced to death and jailed by the State for his beliefs and both times he evaded fate. The escape would become an essential part of his myth: the revolutionary the dictatorship couldn’t kill, the trickster poet favored by the gods. However, at forty he was eventually murdered. Perhaps he wrote with this eventuality in mind. With eyes wide open, a joke dying on his lips; in this poem and in others, "he expressed the vividness and universality of that which sustains us: poetry and bread."]
What is so special about poetry?
Using fMRI imaging, Professor Adam Zeman, a cognitive neurologist from the University of Exeter Medical School, led an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the fields of psychology and English. They found that emotionally charged writing, like poetry [not prose] aroused several regions in the brain, predominantly on the right side; very similar regions that had previously been shown to produce the “shivers down the spine” emotional reaction to music. Also poetry, not prose, was found to activate areas of the brain associated with introspection and recollection. These preliminary findings does point to the fact that it is poetry that lights up more regions of your brain, thus paving way for more synaptic connections. And we all know, "neurons that wire together, fire together."
"Biologically we are feeling creatures that think." --Dr. Jill Taylor Bolte
If you feel nothing. You do nothing.
And, poetry makes you feel. It makes you "laugh, cry, prickle, be silent, makes your toenails twinkle, makes you want to do this or that or nothing, makes you know that you are alone and not alone in the unknown world, that your bliss and suffering is forever shared and forever all your own. All that matters about poetry is the enjoyment of it however tragic it may be all that matters is the eternal movement behind it – the great undercurrent of human grief, folly, pretension, exaltation and ignorance – however un-lofty the intention of the poem…"
Today, you are inundated with insurmountable mount of data—demographic data, purchasing data, search data, social data, and web data. With this data you are able to understand the need, desires and the mindset of your customers based on their behaviour and their journeys.
With your creativity you make the engagement interesting and desirable, not just functional and utilitarian. And, poetry strengthens you in your creative journey that prevents your brand from fading into mere commodities in both engagement and product experience.
“Creativity is a means of controlling chaos, finding order. Business and poetry draw their waters out of the same well.” —John Barr, President, Poetry Foundation
In her book, What Poetry Brings to Business, Clare Morgan and her colleagues demonstrate how the steaming creative energy, emotional power, and "communicative complexity of poetry" contributes directly to human innovation and problem solving. “Poems put down their roots in the no-man’s-land between thinking and feeling,.. the borderland where logic shades into the non-logical, where a world defined and delineated by language gives way to the more diffuse territory of what psychologists sometimes call ‘the feeling state’. This is the same strange land, in which twenty-first-century business executives and [marketers] routinely find themselves, a world in which facts and data are never enough and there is rarely a right or a wrong answer. "
For the first time in the written history of mankind, we are flourishing in a society (i.e the matured economies) of having more than enough. This "more than enough" is being spent on products and services that have more than mere utilitarian function.
As we transition from an Information Society towards a Dream Society, we expect more from the brands and the companies that we do business with. We now value one "human ability that can't be automated: emotion." We want to be inspired. We want products and services that have a design, a story and a heart.
Don't just persuade and promote.
Empower me — Make me dream, make me laugh, make me cry, make me high!
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Change ... is Lord of the Universe. Everything is in a state of becoming, of continual flux. [Heraclitus, Panta Rhei]
There is a concept in Buddhism called anicca. It means impermanence is the bedrock on which everything thrives. It is this single word that is the core of Buddha's teaching. Everything is in a state of movement. Change is the only permanence. The great master, the "Knower of the Worlds" flourished some 2500 years ago. Yet, his teaching of dynamic reality propels us to achieve material gain with amazing success. He has successfully handed you the master key to open any door you wish, to fulfill any desire you have.
If change is the only constant of this material reality then growth is your only option to survive as a business. Because, as brand marketers, we all know that preferences change, demographics shift and somewhere along the way customers has to be replaced. In the face of this continuous state of becoming, you have to constantly evolve, re-package re-wire your brand perception. The GM story of becoming is still very vivid in my mind. From being the legendary company that once sold half of the cars on block, overnight the company was forced into a yard sale with Saab, Opel and Hummer. 2008 marked the collapse of the old way of doing business and companies like GM were forced to carve out a new and essential discipline: brand renewal. On the flip side of the coin, Toyota is the brand that lives and breathes the principle of becoming and renewal.
How do you stay centered in the swing of inevitable changes?
Holistic brand wisdom from the master himself.
“Resolutely train yourself to attain peace.” ― Gautama Buddha
The Buddha says, peace can only be achieved by understanding and embracing impermanence. It…"comes from within. Do not seek it without.” This holds true in understanding your self and in understanding your brand proposition. Define the core purpose of your brand with clarity. Strong brands grow from the core. It is about understanding the context where the brand resides. When obesity, diabetes and heart disease became the public outcry of our times, the global icon McDonald's responded by revisiting its core and came up with an evolved brand promise. “Simple, easy, enjoyment” expresses the classic McDonald’s proposition–good foods, delivered quickly. However, it went further by giving the brand permission to translate that promise into something more in context for today–fresh salads, new menus highlighting calories intakes and gourmet coffee. McDonald’s has peacefully evolved because it grew from the core.
Having a Plan B in place is another critical factor in attaining your individual peace and sustaining the vitality of your brand. Build contingencies in place, to deal with the unknowns and uncertainties. The Buddha literally advised married couples to buy property insurance to deal with the unknowns of flood and fire. I kid you not! Check it out. Anguttara Nikaya 8:49; IV 269-71
“The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.” ― Gautama Buddha
"There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder." It is fear that haunts you like a mistress paralyzing your potential to evolve and touch your wisdom. Fear is the enemy of creation, fear is the enemy of innovation. Fear is the comfort of staying within the known faculties. Being fearless, you meet your expanded yourself—you are onto something bigger. When you are on this quest "dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.” You inspire your customers. Your brand becomes a powerhouse of new ideas that are sought after by new businesses..
Apple is a clear example of a brand that is fearless to demand premium price because it fearlessly shouts out loud and clear “man should not be subservient to machine.” The campaign "Talk to Chuck" embodies the principle of fearlessness by the brand Charles Schwab. The brand fearlessly courts investors who felt disrespected by other financial outfits.
“I don’t have to qualify to get guidance. I just get it.” Understanding your clients' emotions gives you a competitive edge. Fearlessly skate the edge!
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” ― Gautama Buddha
It is intellect that puts ideas in the form of thoughts, gathering and organising the thoughts at the same time. There are great ideas which lie beyond the ordinary human mentality, which can put on all possible forms. These great ideas tend to descend, they want to manifest themselves in precise forms. These precise forms are the thoughts; and generally it is this, I believe, that is meant by intellect: it is this that gives thought-form to the ideas. Centre for Consciousness Studies
How does this high philosophy apply to your brand nourishment?
When you think of Tide, you think of it as a cleaning agent that does a pretty good job. But did you know that Tide is a "biochemical masterpiece, without technical peer in the detergent world." It all happened because of an idea that was contradictory to the accepted science of the day. Who knew that reducing the proportion of cleaning agent would form the chemical basis of the popular detergent. "No one could figure out why it worked, but it worked." Moral of the story invest in customer-focused innovation. At the end of the day it gives you the economic leverage specially during the times of economic hardship.
"The greatest quality is seeking to serve others."
"The greatest precept is continual awareness."
"The greatest action is not confirming with the worlds ways."
"The greatest magic is transmuting the passions."
"The greatest generosity is non-attachment."
"The greatest patience is humility."
"The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances."
A brand that adheres to these precepts is a brand that stands the test of time. It stands on the high ground of transparency, authenticity and accountability.
Question to ponder. Does my brand make the cut?
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"We are not just passing into another historical period or another cultural modification.......But more specifically we are terminating the last 65 million years of life development." Thomas Berry, historian philosopher
The universe is constantly coming into being through irreversible steps of transformations; from a lesser to a greater order of complexity, from a lesser to a higher mode of consciousness. [This thinking holds true only if you subscribe to linear theory of evolution, which is opposite of cyclical evolutionary theory...well that is another conversation for another time]. It has been professed by social scientists that genetically we are very different from our forefathers some 200 generations ago as they were different from the Neanderthals. "What we are catching is an exceptional time." This growing complexity is evident in our social lives and in our business lives. Needles to say, if you are a brand marketer you are in for the ride of your lifetime: you have umpteen different social media sites to peddle your stuff and unnumbered "How To" blog sites to master one single craft. To compound that, new social media tools are launching every day and new marketing best practices are emerging every minute of your waking lives.
But you are not alone.
Get this, 90% of people move between devices to accomplish one single goal. Talk about a disjointed social culture on the verge of total disarray. It is like we have been handed over the technology of the gods without being primed for it.
As marketers, is sanity an achievable alternative? The short answer is yes.
If we take a step back from this massive marketing permutation and combination that is going on every second of the day
and focus on the human currency of our business and cultivate them we create tangible value for ourselves and our businesses. "Hidden in Plain Sight is Today's Greatest Overlooked Growth Opportunity ... It is our Customers."
Bill Lee, author of The Hidden Wealth of Customers: Realizing the Untapped Value of Your Most Important Asset maintains that once you identify your star customers and nurture them in such a fashion that increases their personal value proposition, you now have re-defined your relationship and transformed your customers into your brand advocates and key influencers in your industry. He calls this community marketing. Because, you are helping your customers build reputation that help them expand their support groups and build communities.
Cash rewards, discounts or 'try it before you buy it' is the game of marketing as we know it. It is usually tailored towards customer life time value which is based on how much money they are prepared to spend. On the other hand, customer-centric marketing increases customers' life time value. It helps build their social capital, increases their reputation and gives them access to new treasure trove of ideas. "This new concept of building customer advocates, peer influence-based, community-oriented marketing, hold much greater promise for creating sustained growth through authentic customer relationships."
How do you do it.
Each industry is different. However, there are some basic principles that can be enacted across all industries.
Identify Industry Trends: Create a space (virtual or face to face) in your customer community and set up an exercise that identifies trends and insights of your industry. Trade shows and events are great venues where you may single out such trends. Bring forth those ideas to your marketing team to discuss product enhancements, service improvements and rewiring of brand proclamation if needed. Infusing your internal team with these ideas will advance your business with customers in mind always, all the time.
Here is how Amazon does it: Jeff Bezos periodically leaves one seat open at a conference table and informs all attendees that they should consider that seat occupied by their customer, “the most important person in the room.”
Create pixel spaces for your different product or services. Populate these spaces with FAQs. Links these spaces with popular social media channels. Make it very simple for your customers to navigate to these different groups from the home base. Ask your customers what improvements they would like to see on the offered products. This helps build brand loyalty. Give your customers a reason to visit the community. Make good use of it. This is your platform to highlight customer success stories. It’s also a great way to get your customers to be your brand evangelist. Some collaboration platforms for your knowledge, product and brand communities that you might consider is Jive and Akiva
Empower your customers to be co-creators: Encourage your customers to contribute in white paper study to build their reputation. Encourage them to blog, share and tweet stories. This helps build individual authority and circles back to the primary goal of creating customer advocates.
Partner with your customers to build videos and webinars that illustrates how your customers' business have been impacted as a result of smart choices that she has made with your help. Gradually, as you build a network of rock star customers, you host local events and participate in trade shows to bring such advocates together with prospects and media people.
Developing a thriving customer community keeps your bottom line on target and makes your top marketing dollars accountable. At the end of the day, your goal as a marketer is to create new opportunities for your business. One, sure fire way to do so, is to sustain your focus on ROR factor as postulated by Ted Rubin (return on relationship) and echoed by Bill Lee. ROR is a robust virtuous cycle in which you, (the marketer) provide them (your customers) with superior value and they (your customers), in turn, enrich your company.
At the end of the day, you have taken control of your sanity. You have stayed true to your focus. Your life is enriched because you have helped another person flourish ... Atlast, you kick back and as you get to marvel at your own greatness, you come to "admit there is something glorious about being you."
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"You market when you hire and when you fire. You market when you call tech support, and you market every time you send a memo." This is the perennial face of marketing. It transcends culture, community, space and time.
What has changed today, is the different streams in marketing. We have a garden variety of choices. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, You Tube; just to name a few are the channels through which our messages are dished out. "Inbound" is the refreshing concept in digital marketing, engagement is the sustenance of it and delivering delight is the ultimate target of todays' marketers. Digital marketing dominates our lives. We are inundated with never-ending stream of emails, instant messages, text messages, and tweets that has given way to mediocrity leading to diminished creativity and stifled critical thinking. Keep in mind, these are the marketing messages that we have all opted in. The result: We all suffer from this new disease called, digital distraction.
One of the articles published by moz.com Offline is the New Online Link Building Strategy talks about a physical event that was hosted by a high-end European fashion retailer and how the event was designed to draw attention to their brand and distributed across the social channels. Today, these events are considered offline link building, but prior to the internet it was simply called public relations. Back in the 1920s when the PR genius Edward Barneys was hired to rally more women to smoke, he devised the NYC Eater Sunday Parade-"Torches of Freedom". Today, instead of having a photographer taking the pictures and then distributing around the world; he would have used the technological eco-sphere of hashtags and Instagram.
Today, we have the infinite space of the internet. [Our finite minds are finally starting to grasp the concept of infinity.]
But, we miserably fail to draw people's attention. Partly because, we are all swimming in the sea of sameness. Making advertising messages stand out is the scorching challenge of marketers today. The life span of your twitter message is 90 mins and your Facebook update is 3 hours. Hence, the dire need for your messages to strike an emotional chord. Your Facebook updates, your tweets need to have triggers built in so that people take action. It should be no different than putting an ad in the trade magazine that prompts one to take action. In fact, you can do better than that. Follow the 10:4:1 Rule. [For every 15 of your social media updates, 10 should be pieces of other people's content, 4 should be your own blog articles, and 1 should be a landing page.]
What is the Key Differentiator in Marketing Today: It is You, the Marketer
It is no longer the few, the powerful and the furious who shapes our collective destiny as a species. It is you who choose the destiny of your tribe. With so much marketing data available at the click of your mouse, targeting the right buyers at the right time is of key importance now. "Marketing was inefficient without the intelligence that is commonplace with most marketing and advertising platforms. When marketers began to decrease their print ad spending, it wasn’t because print advertising was a bad idea; it was just less intelligent compared to most digital platforms." Today, the ability to target individuals based on their behavior and interests is the key difference between then and now. Today, you have the option to use Cloud2You or MarketSync, which deliver mail to individuals based on behavior. The keyword here is behavior.
Fusing the Old and the New
While we have established that the kernel of marketing is essentially the same amidst the changing media landscape, we now have to focus on the creativity and the strategy of the content that we put on line. We have to craft our messages with the same delicacy and intent as a high-end print ad or that of a Super Bowl Ad. If you’re creating blog posts, eBooks or look books for content marketing purposes, you need to advertise these materials just as you would a free demo or sale. "You need to market your marketing". As C.C. Chapman says: People always seem to forget that little part. Have to prime the pump for those first eyeballs.
It is about time that we move into a mind set that fuses the old and the new paradigm thus ushering the age of post digital fusion marketing. Here we use the different marketing tool sets as and when needed.
Above all, "Our job is to make change. Our job is to connect to people, to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them, more able to get where they’d like to go. Every time we waste that opportunity, every page or sentence that doesn’t do enough to advance the cause, is waste." Seth Godin
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It is language that creates the idea of who we are.
Ancient sages and now cutting edge science have now come to the same conclusion: Life is just an idea. Life as we know it does not exist. Only thousand and thousand living processes exist.
There is nothing like life.
Life is not a noun. Life is a verb. Life means living.
Be aware of this moment and you will realize: everything is becoming, nothing is stagnant. Even when you are at rest, there is a process going on, something is happening. You are breathing. Your heart is beating. Everything is in a constant state of happening.
Human energy needs to be in constant flow to remain alive.
You are like the river and more. A river needs to be flowing, changing course in different plains and mountains until it reaches the ocean. But the destination of your life energy is not the ocean. It is a river that is always seeking and searching – and that is finding but there is always more to explore, to experience, to express.
It is this urge for more that makes us aware of the dual aspect of our human nature.
It makes us restless and strikes us with conflict.
Often we find ourselves at the crossroads of selfishness and generosity, love and hate, frailty and strength, hope and despair. We are in a constant state of embracing and accepting these apparent contradictions as the "key to transforming each twist and turn of life's journey into a new discovery of who we are meant to be." In doing so we throttle the wonder that dwells within us...that so desperately wants to find its unique expression through us.
It is said, that before he died, Einstein was asked "If you are born again and God asks you, I am certain you would like to become a great physicist and mathematician again." He said, "No, never! If another opportunity is given to me, rather than being a physicist I would like to become a plumber. I would like to live a very very ordinary kind of life, anonymous, so that I could enjoy life more easily with nobody coming in my way. My fame, prestige, research -- nothing coming in my way, so that I could have a deeper communion with existence."
You are born brilliant. You are an universe unto yourself.
But very soon, you start compromising.
And, when you do so, your talents disappear, your intelligence disappears. The world is not enriched by your unique expression.
"It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable it is nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open." Martha Graham
Live life slow. Treasure three magic moments every day. Tune in to what’s good in your world. Control the controllables. Load up on compassion, kindness, forgiveness and empathy. Keep on keeping on.
Dare to daydream!
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The dynamic blend of a strong brand proposition and a compelling brand personality gives birth to a powerful brand expression. Key brand attributes like: texture, color, imagery, typography, forms, tone of voice, sound and environment play a unique role in defining the proposition and developing the personality. These attributes are then used like a palette to design all touchpoints of the brand to foster the environment necessary to create the desired expectation.
Designed by Artefice Group, Italy, "Coca-Cola offers consumers a special edition of the legendary glass bottle: an original interpretation of the brand personality through a series of three creative subjects. What catches the attention is the movements, the depth of shading, the colors that convey all brand values in a stylish way." The keywords here – movement, depth of shading, colors all substantiates the The Journey to Shared Value: A world where cultural revolution is alive... "We can’t control how Coca-Cola gets painted on the side of a wall, for thousands of people to see. But we believe that if we engage the market with stories that provoke happiness and inspire optimism, our consumers are going to talk about our brand in a way that is more powerful than we could ever do ourselves." This expansion in brand expression has helped Coca Cola to sell over 1.8 billion servings of its products to consumers in every country in the world, save Cuba and North Korea (officially).
Understood, not all brands have the resources nor the grit "to walk the talk." However, we can all benefit from the valuable lessons imparted by the slogan, "The Coke Side of Life". Andy Payne, the Chief Global Creative Director of Interbrand, professes the vital role of creativity in creating and managing brand value.
Start with a Great Brand Proposition: "If you have a body, you are an athlete. This proposition taps into Nike’s dedication to human potential, and makes it relevant to its business by grounding human potential in athleticism." Very clever and very consistent with the brand proposition. This visual and verbal expression may vary dependent on culture and country but the brand intent and atttitude is always consistent.
"Great brand propositions and expressions are universally understood, believable, actionable and stand the test of time."
Drive Demand Through Expression: When we see BMW’s brand mark, we don’t think of it in the form of blue and white quadrants. We think of it as the ultimate “driving machine,” and this is because expression has become synonymous with the brand proposition. The Disney brand proposition is built around family-centric entertainment. "The use of characters to create fantasy leads to being able to physically engage similar themes in a physical space, one that immerses the customer in a 360-degree, multisensory, branded experience."
Expression Creates Value: As Andy Payne mentions, consumers and audiences encounter emotion and meaning through personality and storytelling. The journey towards creating a compelling expression of your brand is never complete. Brand propositions, personality, and expressions have to be continually evaluated, evolved, and reevaluated.
In this era virtual reality and digital distraction most brands are yet to explore the compelling territory of emotional enticement. Trade shows and events are the grand avenues for embracing this territory. "Brands that claim powerful emotional propositions and capture them with an exciting world of expression, have the ability to maintain a fond place in the mind of their audiences now and in the future."
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Ask yourself this question: What has been your best-ever brand experience?
Maybe it was staying at the Belagio Hotel - the multi-colored, multi-shaped large hand-blown glass flower ceiling in their signature lobby, or perhaps owning your first iPad - the thrill of opening the package and the anticipation of accessing world wisdom in the palm of your hands. Or simply a vivid memory of opening a cold Coke on a hot day - the ultimate satisfaction of quenching your primal thirst!
Today brands like Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have permeated our waking hours. They are seamlessly integrated in our digital lives. They have brought forth all the benefits of connectedness and immediacy. By doing so, they have subtly shifted our worldview and our brand priorities. Maggie Jackson, in her book Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age, believes that the never-ending stream of emails, instant messages, text messages, and tweets stifles creativity and leads to less critical thinking and less fulfilled lives. We are hyper-connected, yet we have lost the real true meaning of connectedness. In the rush to be digital, brands have overemphasized these channels at the expense of real human interaction. "The risk is that consumers become desensitized. That’s why there is now the beginning of a move the other way–not a backlash, but a turning toward more real, human, and
Image: Cirque du Soleil
In this ceaseless climate of detachment, fragmentation and distraction multisensory branding is gaining much traction as brands are being challenged in their expansion of consumer memorability. Sensory branding - the idea that humans are more receptive when all five senses are engaged is a field of major study in the field of cognitive neuroscience. "It’s clear that no amount of time on a Mercedes-Benz website will give consumers a true sense of what it feels like to close a car door, smell the brand-new leather interior, or run their hands over the dashboard." These memorable, multisensory experiences are critical in engaging with a brand. When they do, the rewards are phenomenal. NIKETOWN, Apple Stores, the Samsung Experience, Mercedes-Benz World, Disney Stores, and LEGOLAND are all testimonies to the power of multi-sensory brand experiences around an existing product. Granted all brands does not have the prowess of the mega brands as mentioned above. Yet, these brands do set an example as to how to incorporate multisensory marketing examples in your trade show booth design. Imagine the richness of visuals that may define your space, the sound that defines the new product launch, the scent that evokes the memory of reliability or the color that gives your product a new dimension.
In his book, The End of Marketing As We Know It, Sergio Zyrman writes, "Mass Marketing has lost the ability to move the masses………Technology has given people many more options than they had in the past and created a consumer democracy……… Marketers increasingly need to find ways to speak to customers individually, or in smaller and smaller groups." Focused groups, trade shows and events are proven to infuse your brand with life and vigor. Remember, "marketing is a science. It is about experimentation, analysis, refinement and replication. You must be willing to change your mind."
Engage the five senses to create expectations in delivering your brand promise.
Happy Valentine's Day!
LOVE IS THE SOURCE OF THE FUTURE.
Love is . . . The fury of the storm, The calm in the rainbow.
LOVE IS THE SOURCE OF PASSION.
LOVE IS THE SOURCE OF REALITY.
LOVE IS THE SOURCE OF UNITY.
LOVE IS THE SOURCE OF SUCCESS. ― Susan Polis Schutz
Love is in the air.
Love is in the air. I often wondered why we are so hooked onto this saying. The closest that I have come, is found in the teachings of Kabbalah. We are all created as one Kli (vessel) called Adam ha Rishon (The First Man). We are held together as part of a single system. At some point of time the spiritual structure of Adam ha Rishon was shattered into numerous particles. These particles are individual souls that clothe our physical mechanism in this world...... Definitely a very poetic answer to my seeking!
Today is Valentine's Day. It is the "official day" to express love, to monetize love and to spread love. Anything goes in the name of love. Love is an age old abstraction that poets have been mystified by it, philosophers often ponder about it and scientists have claimed to have found it: the DMT molecule. Now, we in the marketing world are playing catch up to the Man of God, the spectacular Marketing Mogul of all times - St. Valentine.
We are passionately in love with "Lovable Marketing" As company brands are making the transition from the dictatorial board rooms to the democratic digital market place, creating marketing pieces that inspire people is a necessary step in the game of survival. To be a customer centric brand is the elevated game that we now have to be active participants of.
The present day Marketing Magnates including, Seth Godin, Peter O’Neill, Mari Smith, Ekaterina Walter and others are preacing the same gospel. They talk about how to elevate your brand in becoming a commanding world class entity. They all talk about spreading the love. Take a look!
Your events and your trade show exhibit design is an extension of the "lovable marketing" that you are constantly creating. In the virtual world of e-mails and social media, trade shows are the manifested realities that you can literally scuplt out. It carries the essence of your brand. Again, according to the kabbalah and modern science, the 4.6% of our physical reality is made of 'Matter' and 'Form in Matter'. The rest is 'Abstract Form' and 'Essence'. If your exhibit is 'Matter', the design of your exhibit is a 'Form in Matter', your brand presentation, your brand teachings and your brand behaviour is the 'Abstract Form' and 'Essence'.
"People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel." Feeling resonates in eternity. Hence the story of Valentine have survived the slaughter of the most brutal times. Because, it conveys 'Abstract Form'. We get to nourish our own 'Essence'. What is true for our biological spirit is also true for our corporate essence. It is your Brand.
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Brand Loyalty is Vanishing or Is It?
Today's web-savvy consumers are savvy deal finders. They are quick to seize on the brand or the store that offers the best deal. Hence, in an effort to increase the essence of brands; companies are on a massive crusade to bombard clients and prospects with constant messages and tooling techniques. The hope here is to reign in the distracted and disloyal customer. Unfortunately, the blitz of this downpour of marketing messages isn't empowering. It is overwhelming. "Rather than pulling customers into the fold, marketers are pushing them away with relentless and ill-conceived efforts to engage."
So what are the attributes of a sticky brand? In other words what makes consumers stick to your brand? You guessed it right. Keep it simple stupid.
Simplicity is the DNA of your Brand Longevity. (Apple had it right all this time.)
In a research conducted by CEB Global, over 7000 consumers vouched that single biggest driver of stickiness, by far, was “decision simplicity”—the ease with which they can gather trustworthy information about a product and confidently and efficiently weigh their purchase options.
Help your customers by helping them to streamline their decision making. What does it take to acquire sticky consumers?
CEB study found that the best tool for measuring consumer-engagement efforts is the “decision simplicity index,” a gauge of how easy it is for consumers to gather and understand (or navigate) information about a brand, how much they can trust the information they find, and how readily they can weigh their options. The easier a brand makes the purchase-decision journey, the higher its decision-simplicity score.
Marketers from all mediums (including trade shows) have to orient themselves in helping consumers to simplify their decisions. It requires new strategies. It requires crafting cooler communications. Levi’s® Curve ID comes to my mind as a revolutionary way to shop for jeans. They have narrowed down four distinct fits that addresses a range of body shapes. Read their customer reviews. Not all of them is going ga-ga over the quality of the jeans but they are euphoric about the fit. After all, jeans are about the perfect fit, isn't it.
Does quality matter? Yes it does. Does price matter? Yes it does. All the stuff they teach you at "B" schools does matter. But what matters most to your customers is that you are helping them help themselves. You are simplifying their decision making process and contributing to the memorability aspect of their purchase journey.
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Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. Franz Kafka