Tag Archives: brand

Should Brands Be ‘In’ or ‘Out’ of the Political Debate?

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When considering how much time, money, and effort brands invest in establishing their equity as a valuable asset, you have to ask: should they be risking this equity by adopting a political position? The answer is probably not, just as you wouldn’t debate religion or social economics in the context of your brand. However, as we are seeing in the UK with the EU Referendum, and in the US with the Presidential race, brands are getting braver and sticking their noses into the political debate, risking alienating those that buy their products based on brand alone.

It’s a given that a brand’s stance on social responsibility is of paramount importance, for example, ensuring they pay a living wage relevant to the countries in which they operate in, paying statutory taxes, and exposing corruption in sponsorship, as in the case of the rather embattled FIFA. But, when the debate shifts to who to vote for, you run a huge risk of upsetting red or blue, left or right, yes or no.

Why would a brand financially invest in finding the most appropriate brand ambassadors or advertising campaigns only to potentially destroy any good will created amongst their loyal fans by pinning their colours to a political cause? Customers are ultimately what generates revenue for any brand. Speaking to your audience in the correct manner is essential to stimulating interest and persuading them to spend their hard earned money on your brand. Therefore, apart from the obvious free PR achieved, why take a gamble by entering into the political debate?

We recently commissioned consumer research, speaking to 2,000 respondents on the effects of consumer spending due to UK’s pending EU Referendum. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the vote could see the UK, a member for over 40 years, leave the European Union. The In (remain) and the Out (leave) campaigns have created aggressive and clever campaigns, coercing some brands to comment.

What our research shows is that brands should proceed with caution when entering the political debate. When asked whether consumers agree with “I’m more likely to support the side taken by a brand that I trust,” 25% of 18-24 year olds disagreed. However, as we progressed to the 55+ age group, i.e. those with more disposable income and more likely to vote, this disagreement increased to 41%. It’s therefore a sobering thought for any brand to realise that you may alienate a large proportion of your loyal customer base – an audience not just buying for themselves, but also the wider family unit.

When asked if “brands should stay out of politics altogether,” a staggering 61% of respondents said yes, with only 7% disagreeing. When you dissect this across all age groups, it becomes more pertinent as the feeling is consistent with 55% of 18-24, 56% of 25-34, 58% of 35-44 & 45-54, and topped by 68% of the 55+ agreeing. Bring gender into the equation and 64% of females feel more strongly about brands staying out of politics, compared to 58% of males, making political brand association more unappealing as originally thought. With research indicating that brands should be politically agnostic, think about any brand looking to endorse Clinton and Trump.

The statistics are a clear indicator for any brand entering the political debate, for whatever reason, it could potentially become a toxic issue causing long term damage to your reputation across the ages and sexes. Why take the risk? A brand’s social conscience should prevail, and any legitimate lobbying should cease when it spills into the public domain. The damage caused to your brand is likely to outweigh any financial gain from influencing the electorate.

 

Read more at: http://www.brandingmagazine.com/2016/06/15/should-brands-be-in-or-out-of-the-political-debate/

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Why Shopping In-Store is in our DNA

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Whilst online shopping is big business for all brands, in today’s developed omni-channel world, the need to physically immerse ourselves into a brand is still really important.

When we go to a shop, we like to choose our fashion purchases carefully, weigh up our options and try them on, or at least appreciate that it may fit based on its cut and quality. Our research shows that around three-quarters of consumers say the ability to touch, feel, choose and compare products before they buy them is a key benefit of shopping in a physical store. More than a transactional experience, shopping is a social activity that we like to share with others. Over half (53.25%) of shoppers like to take their friends, partners, or family shopping – either as a social occasion or to help decide what to buy.

An open, sociable atmosphere can be harnessed by trained and amiable staff that consider the needs for shoppers that not only want to hang out with friends, but also want to discuss their ideas before making a purchase decision. Indeed, over a third (39.20%) of shoppers say they value advice from in-store staff whilst shopping. Brand staff need to be collaborative with shopping groups to not only help with purchase goals but also to create an environment that these social groups will want to return to.

To support the shopping process, brands need to offer an engaging in-store experience that accentuates the need for a social environment and immerses the shopper into the brand. When it comes to buying clothes that require a careful decision, almost three quarters (73%) are likely to go in-store. Fashion choices especially evoke discussion, debate and positive emotions amongst shoppers as they compare clothes and spend. The physical shop still provides that connection with your brand and instant association and buzz that people need to become a follower of your brand.

As shoppers we like, especially for those special luxury purchases, immerse ourselves in the total brand experience from the plush carpet to the lighting and customer service which add to the customer journey and make that product seem exceptionally good value in comparison to high street brands.

A lot has been said about the retail environment changing due to the influx of channels to engage with, but in many ways the deep rooted desire to shop for apparel is still the same. We still need the physical experience of shopping. More than a pastime for many – it’s an intrinsic part of life and brands become engrained in the fabric of our lives when it comes to what we choose to wear.

 

Read more at: http://digitalmarketingmagazine.co.uk/offline/why-shopping-in-store-is-in-our-dna

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Mobile World Congress Plays Backdrop to the Telecoms’ Brand Fight

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As the great and good of the mobile world gather in Barcelona for this year’s GSMA Mobile World Congress, an event attended by none other than Mark Zuckerberg fresh on the back of his WhatsApp purchase, what will a crowded category of brands announce next?

Samsung, Apple, LG, Blackberry, Sony, Nokia, Huawei, Motorola and the list goes on. The number of mobile brands out there is large, so how does this mass of brands gain affection? Samsung has just launched a brand marketing platform in a bid to become the ‘most loved brand,’ while this year we’ve seen Huawei ink a partnership with Arsenal. The opportunities for these brands to overstep each other are limitless, so who will win this aggressive marketing match?

You don’t have to look far to see evidence that the world of successful, high-end smartphone makers is shrinking to a few major contenders dominated by Apple and Samsung – while other important brands, like BlackBerry, LG and Motorola, fade in prominence or struggle to compete. Still, lesser known brands have a chance to grow, even thrive, in emerging markets. Lenovo is picking up steam in China, the most important growth market there is; and, even though they’re on the brink of extinction, BlackBerry phones are still selling throughout Africa, South America and the Middle East. ABI Research says that smartphone penetration is at 20 percent out of a global population of 7.2 billion people. Looking at it another way, smartphones accounted for a little over half of all mobile handset sales in 2013. That means there are a lot of people who will be shopping for their first-ever smartphones, people who perhaps aren’t as focused on brand loyalty as they are on value.

So what are these brands doing to gain market share? Sponsorship is a core strategy for many of these brands. Huawei hopes its tie-up with Arsenal will boost awareness of the brand in the UK. It had a 0.9 per cent share of the UK smartphone market in November, according to comScore, putting it 9th in the rankings behind brands including Samsung, Apple and BlackBerry. That is also well behind its global share, which Strategy Analytics estimates at 5 per cent in the third quarter.

Then, there are the beloved celebrity endorsements that catch many an eye. However, it remains unclear whether they have helped some of these ailing tech businesses. HTC had been struggling, but hoped that its signing of Iron Man star, Robert Downey, Jr., last year for a two-year deal could turn things around. In picking a big-name actor to not only front its campaign, but also help shape it, HTC is following a well-trodden path; however, the endorsement has failed to attract at a high level as its net income fell by more than 90 per cent last quarter.

The problem is that there are so many brands out there and the ones that are winning the match are those that have strong brand identities. Whilst Apple focuses on experiences for customers rather than sponsorship and celebrity, the brand keeps consumers at the heart of everything it does, allowing it to anticipate what they want next, breaking new ground in design and performance. Samsung’s products are equally as good (just look at the recently launched S5) and the brand’s marketing approach, a large investment set to drive brand loyalty, is as scientific as its nearest rival. A “brand dependence” index revealed at CES suggested that more people are dependent on the Samsung brand than any other in consumer electronics. As part of its brand strategy, it has invested heavily in social engagement and that too is paying off as it clearly knows its audience and how to target it. With EE in the UK announcing a 68% increase in 4G customers, consumers want a handset which not only compliments the network, but also meets their needs – whether this be functionality, speed or style.

For brands on the periphery to succeed, there needs to be some deep-seated consideration taken in what the brand stands for and what its target audiences are. The brands out there at the moment seem to be clambering after everyone rather than taking a step back and establishing a concrete outlook into the future and where they want to be. Nokia, which – we don’t need to be reminded – is now owned by Microsoft and oddly launching an Android device, is a great example. As with any demographic, brand is everything. For a category that we cannot live without in this connected world (where our smartphones get thinner, get larger in screen size and become not only phones, but also cameras and media devices), these brands could possibly transform their businesses by holding back on the random star endorsements and sponsorships until they know who they’re targeting.

The land grab opportunity is huge and everyone attending MWC this week knows the value of a 1% global decline in emerging markets as predicted by GfK, but who will dominate and buck this predicted trend in our brand-fickle world?

Written by Daniel Todaro

Read the full article at http://www.brandingmagazine.com/2014/02/25/mobile-world-congress-2014/

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YouTube ad revenue surge: Industry reaction from Gekko

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A report from eMarketer has estimated YouTube’s 2013 ad revenue will shoot up by 51.4 per cent to $5.6bn, signalling the massive appeal of online video content for advertisers and marketers. 

Increased mobile activity along with the explosion of Smart TVs with YouTube connectivity has afforded YouTube incredible opportunities to create a valid revenue stream via advertising. Every LCD/LED on the market today offers connectivity, and if they don’t, just take a look at the integration of YouTube on Apple devices right through to Apple TV. Streaming is now also the norm, with adults and young people alike viewing video content they’ve searched for or have been sent to view.

Although advertising opportunities for brands on YouTube are plentiful, caution is certainly required. Banners are accepted and are either ignored or absorbed subconsciously. Furthermore, if users have to view an advert before viewing a brand’s video content, this becomes dangerous territory. Power to you, YouTube.

Daniel Todaro, Gekko

Read the full article at http://www.thedrum.com/news/2013/12/12/youtube-ad-revenue-surge-industry-reaction-carat-ebuzzing-gekko-iprospect-mec

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