Dec 8, 2011

Talkable Brands Invention via Conceptual Framework of Word-of-Mouth

Word of mouth (WOM) is the easy language means as: a process in which consumers promoting a product, service or brand to friends, family, colleagues or others. Word of mouth typically refers to verbal communication but also has come to mean now-a-days like online buzz through e-mail, social networks, blogs and instant text messaging. The conceptual framework of WOMM (Word of mouth marketing) has five steps named as following:
1. Start conversation with friends:
If one is not an experienced marketer it can be difficult to sell services to anyone especially people one doesn’t know. In such case one doesn’t want to risk irritating them and, of course, there is always the fear that they just won’t get it. But word of mouth is the perfect way to get the ball rolling, partly because one can start with those people who one know and trust mean friends. It’s a great way to get one out there advocating for brand with a solid group of supporters behind him.
2. Give a first statement:
One should be willing to spread the word about others before one ask for oneself. By supporting one’s colleagues, clients and friends by pushing their own WOMM campaigns along, one is telling them that he/she care about them enough to make it known that he/she support them. They will remember that and be more likely to spread the word about one. And don’t be afraid to call in favors and directly ask others to support him.
3. Use right influencers:
In one professional and social network there are people who garner the attention of others without even trying. They are magnetic, respected and heard. Everybody wants to support these people. Having them as ones megaphone getting the message to otherwise hard-to-reach people can be invaluable.
4. Buzz generation:
One of the best ways to generate a buzz is by getting people excited. And the best way to get people excited is by being excited oneself. Don’t be afraid to toot own horn. Let people know that one have something going on that’s worth getting excited about. Send e-mails, make calls, talk about it on Twitter and ask for retweets! And post it to one Facebook profile. Keeping up it by one’s own level of excitement will be contagious.
5. Honesty is the best policy!
It is meant to foster respect and fundamental ethics between marketers and consumers, and is certainly something to keep in mind.
Although, there are many organizations working on this concept in the development phase of branding strategies but WOMMA (Word of mouth marketing association) is one among them. They are delivering their message by spreading word of mouth tool on the five elements such as:
1. Credible: Honest and Authentic marketing messages from brands to customers and from customers to customers.
2. Respectful: Transparent and Trustworthy behavior as it relates to privacy matters between brands and consumers
3. Social: Listening, participating, responding and engaging. It involves consumer listening the conversations, participating in the conversation, responding to the conversation, and encouraging the conversation online and offline.
4. Measureable: Define, monitor, and evaluate. The ability to define, monitor and evaluate the program success.
5. Repeatable: Do it over and over again in order to become business truly a talkable brand. The reality is that not every brand becomes talkable. However, they can do it through joining organization working on it in their business based on word of mouth such as WOMMA to learn and make their brands talkable.

Oct 27, 2011

A Factual Branding Strategies Concept Clarity

A branding strategy is that origins from customer relationship management. At commencement it should be the core of all investor and public relations, sales, customer services, and initial advertising. When the budget permits the branding strategy can become the groundwork for superior marketing communications such as multimedia advertising, direct mail. Trade shows, and expanded public relations.
A strong branding strategy may come up with a set of benefits such as:
  • It gives company a direction and facilitates it with values separate from the rest of the competitors.
  • It helps other brands in odd and negative time through brand leverage tactic.
  • It helps in launching of new brands more quickly and cost effective after one’s success.
  • It helps company to communication with the customers potential and actual both as well as competitors.
  • To achieve a strategy different from competitors it is necessary to audit their strategies with detail through reliable data collection sources.
  • Always send a unified message from all branding and marketing vehicles to gain maximum brand equity.
  • Measure and evaluate the brand strategy performance time to time to keep it up dated with the market, marketplace and marketspace.

A brief branding strategy by definition requires an outline of activities before start implementing it which is as:
Purpose Statement: a mission, goal, or objective of the entire activity that defines the exact outcomes.
Desirable Results: The end result that is desired by a specific marketing activity must be in detail a part of the overall strategy. It helps also in setting smart goals and objectives.
Target Market: A detail work on the actual and potential consumers is critical to make strategy to communicate with them properly and to grab their attentions.
Plan: Tactical framework based on the previous research work. It must consist of all the identified ingredients of a successful path to achieve targeted objectives.
Message: It must be easy to remember for the audience and for the target market to recall it in the future when they need it while shop.
Marketing: It is a part of the branding strategies. It should be consist of a well organized combination of communication vehicles.
Main Activity: A single message from all sources of communication should be generated to capture the market with clarity.
Call for Action: ask customers actual and prospect to add something positive, good and interesting in the campaign.
Follow-up: Always keep in touch with the market to know what is actually going on in the marketplace and marketspace. It is what makes different a brand from an ordinary product.

Sep 29, 2011

McDonalds: Long-Term Branding Strategies from 1940 to 2011!

In 1940’s, Dick and Mac McDonald were searching for a way to improve their little drive-in restaurant business in California. They ditched their 25-item barbecue menu in favor of a limited menu of just nine items: hamburger, cheeseburger, three soft-drink flavors, milk, coffee, potato chips, and pie, with French fries and milkshakes. Word of their success spread quickly, and a cover article on their operations in American Restaurant Magazine in 1952.
Their first franchisee was Neil Fox, and the brothers decided that his drive- in Phoenix, Arizona would be the prototype for the chain they envisioned. The resulting red-and-white tile building with a slanting roof and the “Golden Arches” on the sides became the model for the first wave of McDonald’s restaurants to hit the country, and an enduring symbol of the industry. Rather than thinking about a successful format, upcoming owners retained the McDonald’s formula of a limited menu, quality food, an assembly-line production system, and fast, friendly service; adding to that his own demanding standards for cleanliness. Indeed, Quality, Service, Cleanliness, and Value continue as McDonald’s operating principle today.
The first national meeting of McDonald’s franchise owners was held in Hollywood, Florida in 1965, celebrating the chain’s 10th anniversary. One year later, on July 5, 1966, McDonald’s was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, quite an accomplishment then for a chain of hamburger restaurants. Currently, a new McDonald’s restaurant opened somewhere in the world every 17 hours. These six countries – Canada, Japan, Germany, Australia, France and England are known as McDonald’s “Big Six” because combined, they provide about 80 percent of international operating income.
We serve the world some of its favorite foods such as Fries, Big Mac, Quarter Pounder, Chicken McNuggets and Egg McMuffin. To find the nutritional facts about its favorite core menu item of McDonald's customers can visit the website and can get full nutrition and fitness awareness. Moreover, the safety and well-being of customers is a top priority at McDonald’s. Therefore, in an abundance of caution, company wanted to make customers with peanut allergies aware of this promotion so they can make whatever decisions they deem appropriate in visiting the restaurants.
McDonald's Corporation and McDonald's restaurants, offer scholarships to students from communities who face limited access to educational and career opportunities. These scholarships are part of the RMHC and McDonald’s ongoing commitment to education. Locally, McDonald’s restaurants participate in a wide range of civic and charitable programs within their communities. Requests for local donations should be directed to the neighborhood franchise. Further, Nationally, Ronald McDonald House Charities supports Ronald McDonald House as well as thousands of other worthy non-profit organizations dedicated to the well-being of children.

Sep 27, 2011

Brands Are Relationship Facilitators In Consumers’ Minds & Markets!

There are two types of relationship developed through brands. First is a direct relationship between consumers and brands and the second is relationship of consumer with other consumers using the same brands. The brand is just like a human personality which has characteristics as human so that identification can be easy for consumers-it is just of my type!
Brands sometimes facilitate the relationship theory as people interact with each other because of different brand forums, communities and groups. These groups are of both types formal as well as informal. There are so many reasons to join a brand group like people feel socially strong when they identified by using a certain brand. The other reason is to fulfill need of belonging.
Consumers can make a bad publicity even a less negative and can manage brand reputation more appropriately than any advertising campaign when they have considerable attachments, love and care for brands-these people known as brand enthusiasts. They even support a brand when due to any reason producers don’t want to produce it and the product vanishes from the marketplace.
People in a brand community have power to influence each other. Once these communities have developed than there is no ownership exists at all in term of firm/organization. The real owner of that particular brand is now the brand community/group. The users of these brands develop their own culture to follow keeping in mind brand’s characteristics known as brand culture. For high involvement products these communities are easy to develop and maintain as the product admirers can find each other easily and can communicate more quickly such as in online communities.
Within brand communities individuals use brands for their own purposes as well as a medium which facilitates them to define them and express their identities within society. On certain occasions brand communities may take greater control over the association that characterizes the brand rather than the brand team which actually supports the brand. Brand enthusiasts may support a brand that the producer attempts to remove from the market, to the extent that companies are forced to re-introduce the discontinued products into the marketplace.
In every case brands demand relationship of any type with the consumers but this is more favorable in those brands where consumer’s interactions with brands are on regular basis. This relationship becomes stronger when it triggers the emotional part of brain although cognitive part matters a little. Product features can be associated with cognitive part more easily.

Sep 24, 2011

L’Oreal – Complete Beauty Range

L'Oreal Group is the world’s number one cosmetics company with an impressive portfolio of over 17 international brands and 20 consecutive years of double-digit growth in pre-tax profit. Cosmetics sales reached over 14 billion euro in 2004. Present in 130 countries, the Group employs over 52,000 people from 100 nationalities. Philanthropy at L’Oreal is a commitment that has a global reach, with L’Oreal brands and subsidiaries supporting hundreds of projects worldwide.
It also which reflect company purpose and values: Promotion of scientific research, particularly through the L’Oreal-UNESCO ‘For Women in Science’ programme, a joint initiative with UNESCO, now running for 13 years, and extending to 103 countries, Restoring appearance, which is a recognized factor in building self-esteem and social wellbeing. The restorative surgery programme Operations carried out with a company Medicines du Monde that illustrates this, as does the donation of personal care and beauty products by group brands, Education and occupational integration, particularly in the beauty professions.
L’Oreal operates through four divisions: Consumer Products Division, Professional Products Division, Active Cosmetics Division, and Luxury Products Division. L’Oreal has developed activities in the field of cosmetics, concentrating on hair color, skin care, sun protection, make-up, perfumes and hair care. In 1972, L'Oreal unveiled the first TV ads for the "I'm Worth It" campaign for Preference hair color which would help boost sales. The company's acquisitions have led to significant growth which includes: Redken in 1993, Maybelline in 1996, Soft Sheen in 1998, Matrix, Kiehl's and Carson in 2000, ARTec in 2002 and Skin Ceuticals in 2005. Cosmair would become a wholly owned subsidiary of L'Oreal SA Paris in 1994.
L’Oreal got its start in the hair-color business, but the company soon branched out into other beauty products. The Group today markets over 500 brands and more than 2,000 products in all sectors of the beauty business: e.g. hair color, permanents, styling aids, cleaners and fragrances and body cosmetics. These products are found in all distribution channels, from hair salons and perfumeries to hyper and supermarkets, health and beauty outlets and direct mail.
L’Oreal Professional products include: Kerasotes, Matrix, Redken and Luo Color. They are used by hairdressers and cosmeticians all over the world. Consumer Products Division markets its products through mass-market retailing channels and the Division’s brands developed are hair care, skincare, make-up and perfume products that meet the aspirations of all of its customers. Most famous brands in this category are as: L’Oreal Paris, Garnier, and Maybelline New York.
The Luxury Products Division develops global prestige brands sold in exclusive and selective outlets. Its mission is to offer customers personalized advice and service. There are many brands in this category on which company can be proud of are like: Lancome, Biotherm, Helena Rubinistein, Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, and Paloma Picasso. The Active Cosmetics Department designs and markets dermo-cosmetic care products sold in pharmacies and specialist sections of drugstores. Its products offer consumers proven safety and efficacy, backed up by pharmaceutical advice and dermatological prescription. The most sold brands are Vichy and La Roche-Posay.

Sep 17, 2011

Corporate Branding Strategies

It mainly contains the following elements; corporate culture; corporate behavior; market condition and strategies; product and services; and communication and design. Other than this the thing that must be considered in the process is the sequence such as: strategy formulation; culture-change; effective corporate communication; articulating a corporate strategy; articulating/changing the organization’s culture; acting as a platform for corporate communications; and ensuring that the organization’s visual identity is fashionable.
Other possible objectives which have worth in this corporate management strategy are as: fostering a sense of individuality; achieving differentiation in a competitive environment; providing disciplinary integration; providing a platform for coherent corporate communication; nurturing an image that is consistent with the organization’s defining ethos and character; nurturing understanding and commitment among stakeholders; attracting and retaining customers and employees; achieving strategic alliances; and gaining support of financial markets.
In successful corporate branding the main characteristics must be as: family owned; financiers or investors are not owners or controllers of the companies; the objective is long term survival; and stakeholders’ groupings cannot so easily be broken down into internal and external stakeholders. And cultural perspective could be in the direction like as: Concepts; assign inordinate attention to visual symbolism and to corporate communications; do not give enough attention to questions of culture and, where they do, the approach is often simplistic.
Do not give enough attention to the effects of the external environment - political, economic, ethical, social and technological) and the influence of various super and subordinate reputation types, including those of the industry and country-of-origin; are concerned with image-formation rather than with identity-formation; regard the acquisition of a favorite perception of the corporation as being an end in itself, with the assumption that this will be sufficient to ensure profitability, business advantage and survival.
Fail to note that a resultant corporate image may be negative, unwanted as well as favorable; do not deal with the question of company profile; assume that there will be a singly held corporate image among all stakeholder groups and, by implication, networks; the earlier models make no reference to reputation or to corporate branding and in some cases to corporate identity; adopt a narrow perspective regarding the objective of identity/image management or process and fail to adopt a broader approach which encompasses business advantage, profitability and survival as objectives; for the main, adopt a narrow marketing perspective on the area.
Do not accord sufficient importance to corporate structure and the fact that organizations often are subsidiaries with recognizable identities or/ and belong to super organizational groups with distinct structures; are based on the notion that it is possible to control the entire corporate identity formation process relatively easily, quickly and by management dictate; do not take into account business to business relationships; emphasize linearity and simplicity rather than intricacy and complexity.

Sep 13, 2011

Branding Strategies Through Customers’ Minds!

Information gathering through listening; Listening is a form of information gathering which allows you to take in the data, process and abstract meaning out of the dialogue. In a typical conversation people tend to wait for their turn to talk rather than actually absorbing the meaning of the words. Remember, people don’t care what you have to say unless one show how much one care about what they have to say and how they feel. Yes, how they feel is where the connection point can be made. This is why great sales people always listen first and ask questions later allowing their prospects to fully understand them emotionally.
The key to forging a powerful connection with your audience is to first understand that people simply want to be heard and understood. The idea is to abstract the emotional triggers from the depth and tonality of the conversation so one can fully understand the opportunities to build meaningful connects. At this stage, organizations should still be more reactive allowing their customers to freely express themselves. The most valuable information is those that are freely expressed without boundaries from prospects. This is also the core value of surveying customers so organizations can apply what they have learned to improve their product and services.
Most people are good at passing through “I know and I understand” stage, but it’s the “I believe” stage that communication often fails to connect resulting in no action. One buys a product or changes an unhealthy habit because one would only take the action after one become convinced of organizations’ decision. Most people don’t realize that a desired action is often brought out through the use of specific communications tools from advertising to word-of-mouth testimonial, or via social proof endorsements. A great marketer knows how to unleash the power of communications and seeks to understand their target market needs, perceptions and how they like to receive information.
This is the part where traditional business owners have a hard time letting go of what they perceive as high value in their knowledge. It’s indicative that most “modern” businesses realize that customers respond more to an emotional connection, thus it’s not about selling but educating. Businesses are quick to tell people what they have but forget that their prospects are in different stage of the buying cycle. It’s important to speak the language that they understand and values which is why organizations need to focus on their needs. Simply all business or branding strategies are for the customers, around the customers, and through the customers.

Sep 12, 2011

Fundamental steps in Developing Branding Strategies

  1. Define basic brand architecture; it commence from the core purpose, vision, mission, position, values and character. Organization always focuses on what it does best and then communicated its inimitable strengths through consistency.
  2. Well Define Business Model of Brand; supports and challenge business model to maximize the potential within different brands health. Think of personal brands like Oprah. Brands that practically built their business models they stand right on top due to their personal branding strategies. Everything they offer is ultimately an extension of their brand promise.
  3. Consistency; in brand message it is the key to differentiate it from rest of clutter. Organizations must position its promises on every reference point for everything that they can do. Like BMW has always been known as the “ultimate driving machine.”
  4. Implement Inside-out strategy; everyone in the company can tell what they see, think and feel about company’s brand. That’s the story company should bring to the customers as well, drive impact beyond just the walls of marketing. That’s how companies empower employees to strengthen their consumers’ perception on its various brands.
  5. Emotional level in branding; a brand is not a name, logo, website, ad campaigns or Public Relations; those are only the tools not the brands. A brand is a desirable idea manifested in products, services, people, places and experiences. Starbucks created a third space experience that’s desirable and exclusive so people would want to stay and pay for the over-priced coffee. Today people demand something that satisfies not only their physical needs but their emotional needs and their need to relate themselves to a specific brand.
  6. Be Relevant and Flexible; a well managed brand is always making adjustments. Branding is a process, not a race, not an event so expect to constantly tweak company message and refresh its brand image. Successful brands try to reinvent themselves by being flexible which enhance their image to be more savvy and creative.
  7. Empower Brand Champions; Award those that advocate company brand to help drive the message, facility activities so they can be part of the process. If brand advocate doesn't tell what should or should not be doing, it’s time to evaluate company’s brand promise. At the Apple retail store people can see how passionate their employees are about Apple. For them their rules and regulations are a lifestyle and a culture.
  8. 8) Return on Investment, Inputs and Profitability; Focus on the ROI return on investment is the key to measure the effectiveness of brand strategies. Often times it is how well an organization could be to execute the strategies. It could also be reflected in brand valuation map or how customers react to company product and price adjustments. Ultimately it should resonate with sales and that means profitability. But don’t just focus increasing sales when brand could be getting a profit boost by reducing overheads and expenses as well. Give brand different options to test different marketing tactics, make sure they fit brand authenticity and align with company business strategy.

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