Posts Tagged branding

Another social media boo boo…

Time and time again we see it, people and brands making foolish mistakes with significant repercussions within the world of social media. Nestle famously botched things up for themselves by demanding a fake Kit Kat commercial (produced by Greenpeace) slamming them for their use of Palm Oil, be removed from the web. The video which up until that point was far from a viral success, suddenly went around the globe faster than Greenpeace could have dreamt it to. All thanks to Nestle ruffling feather. The public barrage aimed at Nestles poor handling of the case and sudden attention on their use of Palm Oil did not do them any favours and is now a case study that I personally feel every client should take note of.

One would think that with such a large brand going through such a public PR battle via social channels, some lessons would be learnt.

Apparently not.

Fashion designer Kenneth Cole is the latest to thoughtlessly act via a social media platform and surprise surprise, is now watching his brand fall from grace. Kenneth made the very foolish choice to hijiack a hashtag in Twitter to promote his latest collection. Now hashtag hijacking is not rare, but it’s use can not be taken lightly. To do it requires very strategic thinking or it can backfire. Like in this case. See image below:

The Cairo hashtag was being used as a news source to share events from troubled Eygpt. The most insensitive thing about this, is that a significant amount of people are losing their lives due to the unrest. This is no time at all for a brand, representing something as irrelevant as fashion, to hijack a hashtag where concerned users are sharing serious content.

Bad move.

But I will give credit to Kenneth Cole for addressing his stupidity via an apology post. Despite it seeming to be heartfelt, he has opened himself up to an onslaught of criticism. See the comments here.

Surely it’s time that we, as brands (and even individuals – no need to remind us all of Stephanie Rice’s Twitter mishap where she lost her Jaguar sponsorship), learn that as we join online conversations we are involving ourselves in a very transparent and dynamic environment. We must think logically and strategically and above anything else, we must use some common sense.

 

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Monster or mouse?!

I’ve heard a lot of buzz about Sony’s new-ish Facebook app – Media Monster Wars (first hit attention August last year). And with Justin Timberlake headlining the experience, naturally I was intrigued.

It’s a really neat example of an integrated social media game that generates a monster from analysing your own Facebook content. Which means the more active you are (the more likes, photos, comments, shares and interaction you have) the more powerful your monster will be. Then off you go to share the app and battle your friends. And if you’re powerful enough, then why not challenge JT himself.

Or so the promo video shows.

Here’s where I insert a #fail. I’ve tried a couple of times now to make a monster. One both occasions the “generating and optimising media monster” part of the process took well over 8-10 minutes, only to stop and start the process again. From the start….

Which leads me to my belief: there’s one key element to developing a great Facebook apps: keep it simple.

Sure there is room to dazzle people with a fabulous user experience, but don’t risk a botched attempt at brand interaction by doing too much; crashing apps only result in one thing – irritation. Not good for any brand.

Especially not in this case for Sony, who no doubt is paying significantly for JT’s appearance. If users can’t get the opportunity to challenge him with our monsters, then where’s the ROI?!

 

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The colour of money

I recently noticed that a lot of the digital media apps on my phone have blue icons – think Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Whitepages, WordPress, Foursquare etc.

This preference for azure tones is no coincidence. The internet is dominated by blue brands followed by red.

Take a quick look at the above image and you generally find that, of the icon brands, blue is the choice of IT and new media, while red is popular with news and entertainment sites.

This can be easily explained by psychology and the meaning of colours in design.

Blue portrays creativity, wisdom, gentleness, calmness, trust, loyalty, intelligence, devotion, confidence, comfort, ideas, harmony, friendship, patience etc.

A business can use blue to represent loyalty, confidence and trustworthiness. Most businesses use blue to build customer loyalty and brand reliability.

Red on the other hand shows energy, strength, love, passion, romance, warmth, excitement, blood, desire, enthusiasm, danger, joyousness, speed, courage, prominence, intensity etc. For businesses red can be used for portraying passion, excitement, and attention. Red can bring enthusiasm to your brand.

However, any colour can positively portray what a company wants its brand to represent. So what’s the attraction to blue and red if colours like Yellow, Orange, Purple and Green also bestow traits such as confidence, attraction, vibrancy and passion?

Faced with choosing a brand colour new startups are more likely to imitate successful brands they’re trying to emulate. So it’s no coincidence that they happen to choose the same hues as the dominant players. Some of these probably did the same during their embryonic stages. Others might have totally different reasons for choosing a colour. Mark Zuckerberg was once asked why Facebook was so blue and explained that because of his colour blindness meant blue was the only colour he could see. How many have followed in his wake?

Emulating successful brands has been happening in the corporate world for decades as a way for new companies to be associated with success. It is by no means a key ingredient in the recipe for success especially if the product is sour.

After all the two biggest kids on the online block, Google and MSN have multi coloured logos.

What are your brand colours saying about you? Was there much thinking behind them?

Colour distribution of icon brands

Designing style guides for brands and websites

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Closing eyes and opening minds

What is social media? Is it tweeting your brand’s retail offers? Managing your branded Facebook page? Sharing company videos on YouTube?

Sure.

But we think it’s much more than that.

We think it’s about involving an audience in your brand message. Exciting their senses; getting them to feel, think AND do something. Taking the brand message from the advertising channel and into their lives.  That is what the ‘social’ part is all about.

As for the ‘media’ bit, well we don’t believe that it’s necessarily confined to social networking platforms either. Instead, we like to look for socially engaging ways to utilise the most effective media channels for each target market.

That’s why we love this cinema campaign by BMW.

BMW have found an impressive way to engage cinema audiences by using an image projection technique that leaves viewers with the BMW logo on their retinas once they close their eyes.  Truly innovative for a cinema spot.

Not only that, the spot has all the tell tales signs of a BMW piece. It’s highly emotive, beautifully shot and taps into all the BMW brand propositions. Even I, as someone who’s never driven a motorbike, felt the adrenalin pump through my veins…. And the takeout – the logo etched in my mind (literally) was just the icing on the cake.

It’s a wonderful example of innovating in traditional media in a way that takes the brand into the lives (or the body in this case) of the audience.

Now who’s up for a test drive?

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Earning a crust on Twitter

My eyes lit up the other day when I saw a Crust Pizza outlet was among the stores at a new shopping centre in my neighbourhood. I’d never had a pizza from Crust before, but I am familiar with the brand courtesy of Twitter.

An end of the week certainty, apart from Follow Friday, is #crustfreepizzafriday where scores of tweeps mention the company in the hope of scoring a free meal. It’s one of those initiatives that takes a while to get going. However there’s no denying it’s been an effective, yet incredibly cost-effective, way to get the chain’s brand out there. There are several pizza shops in my immediate area and Crust Pizza is not the closest. But the consumer animal and pizza fiend in me will most certainly see me walk through their doors to satisfy my curiosity, whether or not I score a free pizza. This is what Crust Pizza CEO Costa Anastasiadis had in mind when he turned to Twitter and Facebook to promote his stores.

In an interview with Smart Company, Anastasiadis said he knew the pizza giveaway campaign was working by the sheer amount of conversation being generated.

“We saw the recruitment rate rise, in terms of people on our pages, and we found people were not only commenting on the competition but on the business in general and we have continued to converse with them. It’s gone beyond the competition,” he said.

Using social media for brand awareness is becoming an increasingly effective marketing tool for big and small businesses and has proven to lead to an increase in sales. Multinationals like Sony and Dell have attributed social media campaigns to increased sales topping the million dollar mark. Smaller companies like Canadian shoemaker John Fluevog Boots & Shoes Ltd, reported a 40 per cent increase in sales after starting its own social marketing campaign in 2009.

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