Alternative marketing thinking

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State of brands in uncertain times.

Daddy, what’s a brand? Nice little story in FastCompany on the brands and their role in our lives.

Bangladesh’s Nightingales on Bicycles

In the impoverished hinterlands of Gaibandha district in northern Bangladesh, a frail young woman on her bicycle is having a dramatic effect. This is a place where women dutifully give birth in dingy huts, the men know of little outside their fields, and the world revolves around the local mosque; the sight of a “modern” woman visitor astride her bike is a spectacle with gadgets like a netbook, GSM mobile, blood pressure monitor and pregnancy kit, all deftly packed in the shoulder bag. “An InfoLady’s netbook is loaded with content especially compiled and translated in local Bangla language,” says Mohammed Forhad Uddin of D.Net, a not-for-profit research organisation that is pioneering access to livelihood information. “It provides answers and solutions to some of the most common problems faced by people in villages.” More in The Guardian.

Describing the social web in 5 tags

The nice folks at Visionarymarketing have this to say on the social web. It’s simple, smart and very educative. Here’s the post, in full. • disclosure: the social web is about changing the way we communicate. It is therefore about transparency and stating clearly who you are, what you do and who your work for. • openness: is in my eyes one of the essential qualities required for those wanting to use the Social Web for business. It requires that you give away your “secrets”, and share openly. A creative Commons license is key. All the principles explained by Seth Godin in unleashing the ideavirus. • collaboration: in the etymological sense of the term, i.e. in Latin: cum laborare (to work together), that is to say that all users become contributors; UGC is at the heart of the Social (and even non social) Web. • quid pro quo: the social web and collaboration is about exchanges online and also off-line. Collaboration takes place when people share things together. • mutual benefit: lastly, collaboration implies that all contributors benefit from the common work. This is crucial because in the social web, there should be no winners and losers, just winners. If you don’t believe in that, maybe the Social Web is not made for you, and the fact that it’s fashionable isn’t really important.

David Lynch for Dior

David Lynch for Dior. Click here.

Better emails in three simple steps

While emails have become a great way to market to people, most marketers struggle to use this cost-effective medium right. Danny Flamberg, writing on the DM News Blog lays out three simple ways to better emails. Dissect the decision-process. Every product or service has a definable process flow. Understand how your customers buy and where the inflection or hesitation points exist. Plan your e-mail nurturing to anticipate these points. Leverage timing, parse information or make specific offers to proactively drive the process forward. Isolate key variables. Every sale rests on a finite number of variables. Price and financing are always key considerations as are services, value-adds and the quality of the relationship. Use e-mail to influence the favorable perception of these critical variables. Factor in frequency of messaging, tone, manner and voice. Link the messages credibly to the individuals directly involved in closing the sale and ask for feedback. Optimize for e-mail scanning. Given that everyone scans e-mail, the big idea or the dominant offer ought to be set apart in bold type for emphasis. Bullets, lists, short sentences and white space help buyers get the point quickly. Don’t get prissy about branding. Logos and graphics are a secondary concern; they add little connective firepower and often impede efficient e-mail delivery. Read more here.

Writing an inspiring brief

Interesting post on Richard Huntington’s Adliterate blog. Where he clearly outlines the need for clients to think and articulate a sharp and inspiring brief. The famous sculptor Eric Gill, once said “first I think my think, then I draw my think”, we should all think our think first and only then write our think. Advertising agencies are problem solving companies, he writes, albeit that they solve commercial problems by applying creativity to the task. Nothing gets an agency’s rocks off more than a juicy problem. He goes on, tell us how you believe communications can be used to crack that problem and exactly who needs to be affected by the work. Poorly articulated or ambiguous target audiences are the bug-bear of the agency particularly the use of primary and secondary audiences. And we are far more interested in a factual definition of the audience than fabricated pen portraits or quirky segment descriptions. He urges clients to take pride in their briefs, as briefs are an important stepping-stone and the critical moment when responsibility for solving the problem moves from client to agency. You should love the brief that you have written. A must read.

Is IT marketing’s biggest competitor?

Interesting question on Influx Insights based on a chart that shows how IT departments in companies have been able to get increased funding. IT expenditures have grown by an stounding 500% in the last 13 years according to an HBR story. And IT has even managed to get a seat on the board. Ed Cotton asks. How did IT prove its ROI and where did marketing fail? Good question.

Technology and happiness

Interesting report on BBC about the positive link between technology access and happiness. Access to communication devices was found to be the most valued. It found that women in developing countries, and people of both sexes with low incomes or poor education, were most influenced emotionally by their access to technology. Research by BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, analysed the results of a survey of 35,000 people around the world. Mr Paul Flatters who helped conduct research for the BCS study says: “The results of the BCS study are ‘slightly counter-intuitive; a lot of things that are written about IT are negative.’ Ownership of technology is a status symbol in many cultures, according to Kathi Kitner, senior research scientist at Intel. While having a computer is considered synonymous with a good education worldwide, the emerging middle classes of India think it is also a sign of prosperity, she said. “Whether that prosperity in terms of monetary returns actually materialises is not documented, but it is very real in terms of perception,” she said. The BBC report is here.

New rules for advertising. Now go break them

Interesting post on the Faris Yakob blog, where he discusses a recent speech by CPB’s Alex Bogusky. Are brands stories? Is narrative and myth the key metaphor? Or – should a brand be thought of as a game? Is that a more relevant metaphor for today’s idea consumer? Whatever is conventional wisdom is unlikely to be that interesting. From Faris Yakob.

The new creative team

Anyone who has been following Edward Boches and the transformation of the award winning ad agency Mullen will be familiar with this. The new creative team will now need IA, UX, technology, connection planning and social media working together with copywriters and art directors working together. In this blog post Edward puts down the plan that agencies can use to move into the post digital age. By rewriting the brief (Goodby’s Gareth Kay has put up his exploration of the new creative brief here), placing different creative teams together, getting everyone involved from the start, hiring T shaped leaders and more this creative leader believes that agencies will be able to make the shift into the new digital world. Read the whole post here.

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