Rhetoric (the art/science of discourse) is to politicians what the hammer is to Thor: They need it to be able to do their job succesfully.
Reading the recent avalanche of social media comments around Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican senator protagonist of the recent social media phenomenon , I am reminded of the three musketeers of rhetoric (all needed to persuade, motivate or inspire).
Ethos is the foundation everything else is built on and the component that should be maintained throughout any discourse. It encapsulates who you are and what you do and it precedes what you say. Ethos embodies status, character, trust and confidence. Ethos is what motivates celebrity collaborations. Its the “either you have it or you don´t”.
Logos is the “brainy” part of a discourse. In it you find the most reasoning, the most logic. Here is where you pull the facts, the numbers, the dates and the names.
Pathos is the emotion. Where you connect at a gut level. This is where politicians would make reference to patriotism, love and even fear. Pathos is very important as in the end it is feelings (not thoughts) the drivers of everything we do.
Watch the clip below where Marco Rubio awkwardly grabs a drink of water (and consequently erodes his ethos appeal substantially).
It is here where his Ethos is weakened. Up to this point (minute 11 of the whole speech) Mr. Rubio had maintained a reasonable level of credibility and trustworthiness in his persona.
But with this strange out-of-shot-reach-out whilst still staring at the camera he shows weakness and lack of confidence. No matter how articulate his Logos appeal or how touching his Pathos resonance, everything in the speech crumbles as his Ethos shakes.
This effect is amplified in social media channels by the one true premise of social media: it shows no mercy. When you place politicians and awkwardness in the same bag it is bound to gather enough social inertia and momentum to outshine important issues surrounding the event (#waterbreak and “Rubio water” were in fact trending higher on social media than President Obama’s address).
Ethos can be re-built of course. And Marco Rubio started pretty swiftly as he tweeted an image of the water bottle soon afterwards. Not taking the mentions seriously is a good start towards showing confidence.
So if there are two winners in all of this:
All the bloggers/media who like me, take advantage of an event of this nature to write a post!
Organisations (through their products and services) need brands.
They need them to power awareness and differentiation. They need them to help convey relevant information that will trigger certain actions (trial, repeat purchase, recommendation, increase value perceptions…)
Organisations need brands to help them grow, to expand to other categories and to boost profitability (as some brands can command a price premium).
But brands, like personalities, are complex. They can be subjective: they change, they adapt. It can sometimes prove difficult even for people who work closely with brands to explain the brand meaning, the brand positioning and its main differentiators from other competitor brands.
Whether you are a brand manager, an agency person or an employee, if you are interested in helping a brand prosper you should be able to explain its essence, anytime, anywhere.
This is where a slight modification of the classic elevator pitch comes in.
Imagine you are in an elevator with someone who doesn´t know anything about your brand. Could you explain what your brand stands for in the time it takes for the elevator to reach the next stop? Without any visual support. No packaging. No advertising. Just rhetoric.
Better yet, could you explain what makes your brand stand out versus other competitor brands?
Easier said than done, but this level of understanding of the brand positioning and values will help better manage your brand equity and maximize competitive advantages.
Location in general is valuable for advertisers because it allows them to add to their marketing efforts information that extends the traditional targeting from an approach based on who the target market is (age, sex, income, etc), to an approach linked to the physical coordinates of the business.
Location is valuable because it complements the WHO with the WHERE with regards to the target.
The real surge in targeting based on user’s location (geo-targeting) has been possible thanks to the evolution in mobile telecommunications technology and the high penetration of smartphones (mainly through GPS enabled systems that allow advertisers to pin point accurately the user’s location).
What unique specifications do mobile devices offer that make them extremely attractive for advertisers?
Mobile devices are the most intimate personal devices ever built (as well as a powerful computers).
They are always carried by users, and always on
They can collect target data and campaigns can be measured and tracked in an effective manner (increased ROI)
Mobile devices, through the use of social media companies that operate Location Based Services can fully utilise the social aspect of media consumption
Consumers rely heavily on their mobile devices to browse for information and search for things close by that they want or need (a restaurant, a gas station or a 24hour hair saloon). So this has become a great opportunity for advertisers who can use Search Engine Marketing to engage the mobile consumers while they search and browse content on their mobile devices (Google refers to this as “Small screen. Big opportunity”).
Advertising planned with regards to location has always been important to local businesses or local branches of global businesses. In the same manner as radio proved in the past to be a great media channel for local retailers, location-based advertising in mobile devices is also very important for local and global advertisers as it can reach the consumer near the point of sale.
So what is Mobile Search marketing?
Forrester defines mobile search marketing as the process of using mobile search engine results to increase the visibility of a company, its brands, or its products. This is done through SEO, paid search advertisements, or contextual listings. In Paid search the ads appear beside related mobile search results or across mobile content.
And how is Mobile Search Marketing different from online (or desktop) search?
Although the overall philosophy remains the same, traditional web search is created around the popularity and relevance of a web page, rather than the popularity and relevance of a place.
There are certain things that we need to bear in mind when we adapt online search to mobile search. These things relate to the specific nature of a) the mobile device and b) the underlying behaviour of the mobile consumer.
a) Search Marketing with regard to the mobile device
Smaller screens means less space to show organic results and paid ads and so
Mobile Searches return fewer results and less text-per-link in the results page.
Smaller keyboards also generate shorter search queries than with traditional PC-based searches and will need to be customised for “large finger syndrome” by improving navigation on smartphones through search engines.
b) Search marketing underlying behaviour of the mobile consumer
Mobile consumers generally access the web when they need a quick answer and mostly related to things in the vicinity (As Eric Schmidt mentioned in the 2010 IFA show in Berlin:“1 in 3 queries from smartphones is about where I am). They are driven more by specific goals normally with a short-term time constraint (i.e. nearest hotel).
This means that Search for mobile needs to adapt from its online/PC origins in the following ways:
Ads should be location-specific and place extra importance on actionable keywords that are time sensitive and linked to the brand/business.
So what can advertisers use location in Mobile Search for?
Boost Brand awareness and consideration (branding in mobile advertising outperforms online advertising branding according to Insight Express, 2010)
Through increased visibility
Through word of mouth recommendations from current customers
Through partnerships with local businesses
Increase preference and customer acquisitions
Through use of targeted promotions, discounts that can enhance loyalty
For the same reason radio is a Check-ins at “places,” rather than just map coordinates, makes the data valuable for targeted advertising and context-aware advertising
Improve engagement in advertising near the point of sale
Smartphone rich advertising formats increases user experience in relation to local advertising
Improve customer conversions (such as increasing foot traffic to the business or selling more of one particular item).
But the benefits of location-based advertising don’t affect only the advertisers.
Consumers profit from more relevant and tailored messages and as well as useful information (such as a telephone number, opening times, reviews, etc) when they search for a product or service with local implications.
Last 12th of April, the APG launched in association with The Guardian, an online live Q&A session with none other than David Droga as part of a series on strategy called Worlds Collide.
Mr Droga is notably one of the most influential creatives alive and certainly the most awarded (over 70 Cannes Lions, including 6 Grand Prix and 4 Titanium lions) with a career that could outrun the Millenium Falcon:
Partner and Executive Creative Director of an Ad agency in Australia at 22 he helped it win “Australian Agency of the Year” twice and “Ad of the Year” four times.
From there he moved country and agency and settled into Singapore where he was to head Saatchi & Saatchi’s Asia Region helping it achieve “Regional Network of the Year” (Media Marketing) and helping Singapore obtain the “International Agency of the Year” award (Ad Age). By 29 he was in London heading Saatchi & Saatchi as Executive Creative Director (the Millenium Falcon could have reached this no sooner than 31).
Having conquered Asia, then Europe, he then moved to the US to become the first-ever Worldwide Chief Creative Officer of the Publicis Network.
From there he started his own company Droga 5 in 2006. Their mantra? “Creatively Led. Strategically Driven. Technology Friendly. Humanity Obsessed”. And so far so goodgreat incredible: they now have offices in New York, Sydney and Auckland and they were recently voted by Creativity Magazine as 2011′s Agency of the year and No. 2 in Ad Age’s 2011 A-List.
Now that we are all his unofficial biographers, I’ll get back to my anecdote, with the peace of mind that we all know what a great opportunity it was to be able to write to Mr. Droga live during the Q&A session and ask him questions about creativity, strategy, business or even the answer to life, the universe and everything.
I joined the live Q&A session quite late, and decided to compensate my delayed arrival by writing the following question (please focus not only on the question in itself but the first letter in each sentence going downwards)
So, if you have, like me, studied Cryptography for dummies you will have deciphered the “Hire Me” message. MI6 style.
The great people at Guardian Media Network thought it was interesting/funny enough to share and kindly tweeted the following:
Some mins later, and with Mr. Droga having answered several questions in detail that were ahead of mine in the meantime, Mr Droga answered my question below, using the same First-letter-of-sentence-to-be-read-downwards code
Mr. Droga lives up to his reputation. Not only did he reply my decoy question with sound advice, he also answered my “code” in a firm (but fair) manner (WHY). Touché David, Touché.
It seems clear that with Mr. Droga, its a No Bollocks approach, like the tagline for latest Beer campaign by Droga 5 (this is probably what most of you were searching for when you started reading the post…sorry for the delay).
When we are presented with a business problem, we can either attack it from an already existing reality (an existing brand, technology, etc) Or, if it is ultimately a new type of problem, we will need to attack it with a fresh mind and try to solve it from scratch.
These two distinctions will largely determine what research approach we use.
If you are building or improving upon a certain existing business reality (currently established technology for instance), you need to understand how people value and perceive this technology, how they use it and what limits it currently has. This is when more traditional and analytical Research methodologies are very effective to understand the past and present and help shape future decisions.
But when it comes to questions that require projections into uncharted waters (like: We have this great technological advancement: How can we incorporate it into our business?) Then Research has to evolve to meet the predictive needs of the problem at hand.
This type of research becomes more of a hunt for patterns, and an amalgamation of different sources and inspirations from different markets, categories, countries. This is what is referred to as Design Research and in this process it becomes imperative that we balance raw analytics with informed intuition. Despite the “fluffy” connotations that the word intuition has when it comes to business solutions, it is in fact something much more sound. Intuition in this sense is not meant to be understood as unbound imagination or “gut sense”. Intuition should be informed, grounded, and the fruit of accumulated past experiences in other Research projects, other fields and other markets.
These are processes that are often iterative in nature as they start from assumptions and work their way through incremental changes and through the use of prototyping or even pretotyping (see my previous post on pretotyping).
It is no secret that differentiation is the Holy Grail in business breakthroughs (and in everything really: from securing a job versus other candidates to dating that girl in high school). But in a world where “Best practice” is yearned for, where products and communications are benchmarked against competitors and norms, it becomes quite a task to stand out. When everybody measures their success by contrasting their outputs with the market practice, Imitation is more probable than Innovation.
That is why to achieve differential innovation, the whole participatory team must strive to step out of their knowledge comfort zones, and accept a certain level of ambiguity. This is specially true as when comparing with other more traditional forms of research, the qualitative nature of the insights gathered through the Design Research projects do not offer the tranquility and safety of statistically representative numbers.
This ambiguity does not confront the validity of this type of Research. However it does mean that a special effort needs to be undertaken by the team members, to stress test all findings and be able to challenge and rethink any conclusions.
So, to attack a business problem that demands for an innovative solution that cannot rely heavily on the past or present, it is good to use informed insights, but it is great if we can complement these with some grounded intuition that will allow us to creatively iterate until we reach sustainable differentiation.
Would love to hear any personal experiences you’ve had on this.
Every few weeks I try to conquer The Economist’s Caption competition (in the Newsbook subsection). The mechanics are as follows: they show you a photo, give you a brief on what the article that corresponds to that photo will be about, and for a brief window of time accept suggestions for a caption (you can see my previous entries here). The winner will have the honor of being able to claim that he/she has been published by The Economist (not too shabby).
Last summer the caption was for the below photo (with the article describing how Comic Conventions are increasing in size and are a substantial source of revenues).
I’m a comic lover myself so this proved a double incentive for me (The Economist + Comic Caption!)
My humble suggestions were these:
Dress code: geek casual
The Geekonomics of Fandom
In Ani-Com they don’t stand out
The Fandom Menace
Spice Girls meets Sailormoon
One small step for Manga, one giant geek-out for mankind
Forget Leia’s bikini
Kevin Smith’s fantasy
I did not win, but the whole exercise got me to thinking about people who love comics like myself and what this meant. During my doodling/brainstorming sessions, the word that I directly gravitated towards was Geek (and as you will see this gave form to some of my suggestions). And I got to thinking… What is the core value of a Geek?
To me, it is clear: Passion. People unconsciously associate the word “Geek” with computers, comics, science… But to me you can be a Geek for just about anything, as long as you simply love it.
That is why when I saw the below Trailer for the new Morgan Spurlock documentary of Comicon I got really excited. Finally a film that will cherish the value that (comic) Geeks bring to the table (priceless Kevin Smith’s final comment “to himself”).
Don’t be mistaken. This documentary is not (in essence) about comics. Its about people who love something to its utmost extreme. It’s one example of being a geek. It’s a celebration of a specific passion in a colorful and unique manner. Can’t wait to see it.
So, for what it’s worth. Let’s fuel our passions, whatever they may be. Let’s be Geeks. Art geeks, Travel geeks, Romanian cuisine geeks, family geeks… your call.
Below I leave you a souvenir from my childhood. When being a Geek was something that was worn and exhibited loud and proud!
I am proud to say that I have a Market Research background. For a few years in London I worked as a Researcher for Millward Brown (working with great brands and even better people).
I find this research background of great value almost every day. When dissecting client data, attending focus groups, performing secondary research, gathering insights…
Research is extremely important no doubt and clients rely heavily on it to make difficult (or compromising) consumer decisions. In our creative agency we also rely on research (qualitative, ethnographic, but also quantitative thanks to BrandAsset Valuator) to find truths about our brands that will help shape strategy and fuel creativity.
But research´s image (I find) is devalued and unfairly perceived as outdated and un-sexy, which sometimes leads to a certain “ugly duckling complex” within Research agencies (when in fact their role is an important one if done correctly).
This limits not only their involvement with some of their clients but also their ability to capture and retain talent.
That is what stood out for me when I visited Brain Juicer´s web: Immediately it doesn´t feel like a research company at all. It’s another animal entirely.
Their positioning away from the “traditional” research image and their establishment into a more creative, vibrant and technological research hub is a very interesting one (and is helping them secure the position as one of the fastest growing research agencies in the UK).
Through a series of definitions of parts of the brain (which I will not delve into!) they arrived at the following conclusion: “We don’t think as much as we think we do”. In essence this means that emotions (and not rational processes) are the ones that mostly govern our decisions.
So what does this mean for Marketing?
Well, for one it means that raw emotional advertising (this they contrasted using IPA data) is much more effective.
In fact, when researching into more exact description of emotions (and according to Brainjuicer) “Awe-inspiring” is the adjective that best boosts effectiveness in advertising.
From here they turned to one of my favorite ads to further make their point about emotions being a powerful driver (beyond conventional pre-conceptions).
I remember watching this ad by agency Fallon and feeling uplifted (and I also remember the FT stating the uplift in sales which I have recovered for you below).
You can imagine when this was pre-tested (IF this was pre-tested) that it most definitely flopped in every copy testing measure (especially as it was probably done in an un-finished and un- edited form).
That is why research is such an important tool. We need to master it so we can know when to follow it blindly or when to completely ignore it and go with our gut feelings.
In our Marketing plans we have a specific goal, but also a specific budget. So what things do we have to judge and weight out in terms of choosing whether we spend our $$$ on Social Media, or optimizing our web page, our setting up and monitoring a Pay Per Click campaign?
I would argue that there are four main areas where we can find differences amongst digital channels and we will have to focus our investment on some and not others depending on how these areas play their part.
1. Branding or Conversion
Independently of our objectives, some channels are good at some things more brand-related (like generating visibility and helping brand positioning) others are more effective in converting and direct sales.
In general we can say that Social Media and Display are good for branding efforts while SEM and SEO can achieve conversions like sales or leads as they are more tailored towards Direct Marketing.
Another distinction can be made about the degree of targeting that these channels allow, as some are better designed to reach a specific audience and some are broader in their reach. In general Search based marketing is the most targeted but lately we can see this feature also used in most well-known Social Networks.
Obviously how quick you need your actions to take place will influence how you allocate your budget, and generally speaking, quicker effects will demand for higher spend. In this sense, SEO is definitely the channel that requires a more dedicated investment and SEM is known for its quick results.
One more level of differences comes in the creative context. Whilst some of the four channels above offer rigid formats, other allow for a more creative approach (which for certain targets like the younger segment will be needed if we want to capture some precious seconds of their attention). Social Media and Display allow for highly creative and even interactive executions. SEM and SEO though, still require some creativity around the copy (for the ad in case of SEM) and for the quality content in the web page for SEO.
Blended is better
I think it is important to note that, even if your objective demands a higher spend in one of these channels due to one of the four reasons stated, that we still complement our plan of action with a reduced investment in some of the other channels. There are three main factors that play a part in the higher success of a blended approach.
A) The ROI of a blended campaign is higher than those taken from individual channels.
For instance, good SEO can help make SEM strategies more effective as one of the factors when calculating CPC will be the quality of the page. A powerful campaign in Social Media can aid our branding but if pointed to certain landing pages can increase the popularity of the page and help boost our organic positioning.
Furthermore, by blending our channels we can decrease our exposure to risk as diversifying the different allocations will reduce any items that we have not predicted (like a major change in the Google algorithm for instance or an increased bid pressure on SEM).
B) Decrease in efficiency with increase in invested volume of a single channel
Marginal efficiency decreases as you increase investment in a particular channel. Once we reach a particular threshold, every $ we spend on the channel will have a decreased efficiency (for example, in SEM, the investment in new keywords will at one point start decreasing in conversions. This is another reason for championing for a diversified choice of budget allocation.
C) Different channels can help reach different customer dispositions
Depending on the customer sentiment or mood, we will be choosing different channels. In Search, customers have a strong predisposition or intent towards purchase. They are actively looking for something (information, an address, a product…). In this context customers can be “called to action” easier. In social media channels, consumers do not want to be interrupted with direct marketing messages, but rather want to be entertained, want to connect with other people. Brands can use this scenario to build an emotional connection with consumers, and bounce off their friends to reach a wider segment. As such, the social media environment is great for notoriety, awareness and brand building.