Ernan’s Insights on Marketing Best Practices

Monday, October 26, 2015

How Brand Ambassadors make social...more social

Don't Ignore These Three Customer Journey ExperiencesPeople are social beings. So why is it that most corporate social postings are both irrelevant and anonymous? Tweet this Putting a personal, social component into your social marketing is imperative to engaging 2-way communication.
Here are some thoughts to consider from a consumer perspective:
Here is the all too often reality for consumers when interacting with companies on social media:
  • One of the keys to developing a strong brand is to develop a culture of brand trust….Realize that improved Customer Experience strengthens trust. And, trust is the foundation that builds brand, communication and good experiences.
  • Developing a strong brand is a continual circle of interaction with your brand, what it stands for, how it is conveyed by employees and the experience it delivers.
Nokia Turns Employees into Social Brand Ambassadors
Nokia empowers employees to engage in social conversations for feedback, promotion of new products/services, and to just be available throughout social networks as real brand ambassadors. Nokia's talent stories are credible because they're from Nokia employees. Additionally, all the videos and photography on the Nokia sites and social media platforms feature Nokia employees.
Here are some tips from Becky Gloyne, Social Media Manager and Global Marketing Talent Acquisition Manager at Nokia:
  • “Use social media in a very effective way, create your own content (photography, video etc.), and be as creative and original as possible. This brings the “human element” into the picture and it puts a face to the brand, which is what people want to see.”
  • “Have a focus, a target, use social media effectively, and understand your audience.”
  • “We regularly communicate with our employees to make sure they all understand what is going on within our brand.”
Adobe's Social Shift
Realizing that social has shifted, Adobe has implemented what it calls, its “Social Shift” program to better connect with consumers. The program helps to educate the company's employees on the company's social media guidelines, shares best practices for social sharing and ultimately helps them to become brand ambassadors.
Here are some tips from the Adobe “Social Shift” program:
  • The Adobe blog, “Adobe Life” posts, pictures, videos, and perspective. The content is also syndicated to other parts of the business for further social optimization.
  • According to Natalie Kessler, Head of Employment Branding at Adobe, they make social posting fun for employees with contests, visual #AdobeLife reminders throughout offices, and acknowledgement for posting activities.
  • Develop a brand ambassador program in your organization.
In closing, here a few takeaways from Brian Fanzo, Chief Digital Strategist at Broadsuite from an IBM Center for Applied Insights' Talking Insights Podcast:
  • “… Companies are afraid of employee advocacy …. I think the true sign of a great culture is not what's on a website or not what a CEO says in the presentation, but it's on the faces of their employees and that can be a scary element for a lot of leaders…”
  • Employees are a company's greatest social tool. Therefore, brands must embrace employee advocacy to have a truly authentic social presence.
  • “A lot of business is done on social… it bridges that gap when we can create that same relationship that we would on the golf course, we would at a happy hour, via these social tools.”
Improved Customer Experience via interpersonal social interaction strengthens brand trust. Via a personal interaction with employee brand ambassadors a continual circle of interaction can become a key differentiator for both BroB and BtoC consumers.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Damage Brands Suffer From Breaking Promises

Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on Forbes.com
Don't Ignore These Three Customer Journey ExperiencesAccording to a recent report by Gallup, a brand promise represents everything a company stands for, it is the unique statement of what the company offers, what separates it from its rivals and what makes it worthy of customers’ consideration.
Yet Gallup finds that "only half of customers believe that the companies they do business with always deliver on what they promise." When asked, only 27% of employees strongly agree that they always deliver on the promises they make to their customers.
Across the board, brand promise turns up as a major differentiating factor. Consider the following:
A Harris Poll EquiTrend study on the top 10 most-trusted packaged goods brands reported that the brands that men and women trust are those with a long history of consistently delivering on their brand promise.
In a MediaPost study that analyzed 10,000-plus consumer conversations across a broad cross-section of social media platforms, brand promise is the most important benefit category for luxury brands, with 42% of conversations on this topic.
In 1906 Harvey W. Wiley, an American chemist whose bureau was part of the Good Housekeeping Institute’s laboratory, began a legacy of brand promise that’s still going strong today. So why are consumers still avid believers in this brand promise? Trust. Consumers know that the seal has delivered on its promise. Additionally brands need to earn the seal—not buy it.Because of this there is authenticity in what the brand promise represents.
Trust is one of the key factors cited again and again when it comes to consumers buying into a brand’s promise. This was confirmed recently in VoC Relationship Research conducted by our firm, which determined that trust has to be earned by going through specific steps which comprise a Pyramid of Trust.
Here are a few of the steps:
  • Trust is the foundation and prerequisite for obtaining deeper engagement with customers.
  • Consumers want brands to do what they promise, and actually deliver on the fundamental brand promise, consistently, over time.
  • Improve my experiences: Use my stated preferences and aversions, to significantly improve my experiences.
  • Protect my information: Explain the reasons for the opt-in information requests and assure me of the privacy and safety of my data.
The Reader’s Digest US Trusted Brands survey, meanwhile, revealed that 79% of participants said they opt for a "trusted" brand when choosing between items of equal quality and price.
But on the flip side, a report by Credit Suisse regarding falling trust in our food supply cited that the largest 25 companies saw their control slip from a combined 49.4% share in 2009 to 45.1% share in 2014. Campbell Soup Co. CEO Denise Morrison, noted, "We are well aware of the mounting distrust of Big Food…. We understand that increasing numbers of consumers are seeking authentic, genuine food experiences and we know that they are skeptical of the ability of large, long-established food companies to deliver them."
Edelman’s Managing Director of Corporate and Public Affairs Ron Guirguis summed it up well regarding brand promises: "People don’t just buy products anymore, they buy the companies that make products, the values they represent and what they stand for."
So here are some takeaways:
Trust in brand promise is universally a top priority for consumers in determining whether to do business with a company. But trust cannot be assumed or bought. It needs to earned through actions.
Delivering on promises such as "FREE" wins trust. But when FREE becomes FREE* the small print under the asterisk undermines brand trust.
Consistency is a key factor in gaining and keeping consumer’s trust in a brand promise. It is not about fulfilling the promise once and moving on to the next campaign. It is a sustained building of trust that nurtures brand loyalty.
Marketers need to rethink their brand strategy to ensure that they deliver on brand promises. Promises that are kept strengthen. Broken promises diminish and set the stage for a long and possibly impossible win back.

Monday, October 12, 2015

L'Oréal USA's CMO Answers 4 Questions For Marketing Innovators

Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on CMO.com
Marie Gulin-Merle has more than 15 years of experience in managing communications and digital strategies for fast-moving consumer goods and beauty luxury brands.
Marie Gulin-MerleBefore she was appointed CMO of L'Oréal USA nearly a year-and-a-half ago, Gulin-Merle served as global head of integrated marketing communications for L'Oréal Paris.
Gulin-Merle is credited with successfully reinventing integrated communications for L'Oréal Paris. Through her strategic leadership in the digital space, she also overhauled the content strategy for the brand's product innovations and modernized major events, such as L'Oréal Paris' involvement in the Cannes Film Festival.
Gulin-Merle recently participated in our “4 Questions for Marketing Innovators” series.
1. What is one marketing topic that is most important to you as an innovator?
The shift to data-driven marketing in the consumer packaged goods world is changing the way we do business. [Tweet this] At L'Oreal USA, we're leveraging this to cultivate more intimate relationships with our customers, who expect more value, more services, more engagements, and more conversations with our beauty brands.
2. Why is this so important?
Data-driven marketing unlocks immense possibilities of personalized brand experiences and puts the consumer at the center of each and every marketing decision. It has the power to change the way we develop products, campaigns, and our go-to-market strategy.
The development of mobile is crucial for customization; the content has to be even sharper and continuously adapted and adjusted. One survey found that nearly two-thirds (62%) of Millennials feel that online content drives their brand loyalty. We're constantly using consumer insights to connect with them in innovative ways on mobile to build brand loyalty and trust so they feel satisfied with their shopping decisions.
Our Makeup Genius app is a great example of how to connect with consumers through innovation. The app transforms the front-facing camera of your phone into a virtual mirror where users can try on products virtually. The app uses advanced facial-mapping technology that has previously only been used in Hollywood and in the gaming industry to overlay products, like lipstick and eyeliner, onto the user's face.
3. How will the customer experience be improved by this?
This new area creates value for consumers through more effective engagement. Consumers' digital expectations toward our brands have changed with the influx of data-driven marketing, and we're responding by using consumer data to help personalize our message, optimize investments, and engage with our customers at each and every step of their shopping journey.
We want our consumers to continuously engage with products and be given an easy, seamless way to merge online and offline experiences. Customers expect L'Oreal USA brands to understand their needs. We're providing more customized, dynamic content to do just that.
4. How will this improve the effectiveness of marketing?
Technology-driven marketing means that any contact with our consumer will provide data, and that data will make the brand experience richer and tailored to each individual customer. This also translates to efficiencies to better measure our media return on investments, as well as better consumer engagement and loyalty.
Bonus: Favorite activity outside of work?
I'm a voracious reader. I love books about political history, revolutions, and French novels of the 19th century. Can't pass up a good autobiography either!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Marketers Must Understand The New Mobile Mind-Set Of Immediacy

Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on CMO.com
In the spring, Google rolled out algorithm changes to devalue “non-mobile-friendly” websites in its search rankings. This has added additional fuel to the ongoing mobile marketing conversation.
However, your website is only one component in your total ability to connect with consumers, who have an entirely different mind-set in their personal mobile world. Another phenomenon rules mobile marketing: the concept of immediacy. [Tweet this]
Understanding mobile mind-setAccording to Forrester:
Two brands that have applied immediacy to their mobile marketing are Budweiser and Krispy Kreme. Read on for what they’ve been doing right.
How Budweiser Gave Buds Instant Access
Budweiser wanted a way to create a user experience that transcended the journey from social ads and posts to mobile video, sharing, location-based guidance, and point-of-sale experience. And it wanted to do all of that in in a way that gave consumers immediate excitement.
The brand came up with its Buds for Buds campaign, which enabled consumers to gift a beer directly from budweiser.com and send it to a friend via Facebook, to be redeemed for immediate or future redemption at a list of local bars identified right on their phones.
Consumers were activated via targeted Facebook ads and guided to a mobile site that authenticated both the purchaser’s and recipient’s ages. They could then share their “Bud moments” on their timelines.
As for results, the program achieved a 3x in-bar sales lift—meaning people spent three times the value of the beer when redeeming at the bar/POS. Redemptions were 100% of participating bars (thereby increasing on-premise spend and traffic during the program), and purchase conversion rate was 7x industry average. Additionally the program received global media coverage. A larger campaign is planned for the future.
Krispy Kreme Lets Consumers Know When To Come ‘N Get ‘Em Hot
Most people would agree that donuts are better when they are hot out of the oven. This is especially true for Kripy Kreme, which has trained its legion of devoted fans to look for the red light indicating a fresh batch is waiting.
Understanding mobile mind-setTo take advantage of the reach and immediacy of mobile, the company launched its “Red Light App,” which lets users map the nearest Krispy Kreme location from their phones and receive an alert when a “Hot Now” light is activated in their area. The signs have a sensor that transmits a signal directly to a software server when illuminated. Once happy donut eaters have satisfied their cravings, they are encouraged to use the hashtag #KrispyKremeMoment to post the hot word to others.
According to Forrester, which used the app as a case study, without spending a penny on marketing, Krispy Kreme saw a 6.8% increase in same-store sales since the app hit the market. In its most recent financial call, the company disclosed systemwide domestic same-store sales rose 5.2% and revenues increased 9%.
What can marketers learn from these examples?
1. All marketers know they need a mobile component to their overall plan. However, mobile and its nuances need to be considered a lifestyle connection rather than merely as another form of media.
2. How consumers incorporate their phones and tablets into their lives requires marketers to develop a new mind-set of delivering a satisfying experience with an aspect of immediacy.
3. Mobile marketing is more than a one-dimensional SMS text message. It needs to be incorporated into every aspect of touch points and interaction, from Web to bricks and mortar.
Your consumers’ personal mobile worlds are a direct extension of their lives. Therefore, a successful mobile strategy needs to find the missing links to fulfill needs, offer solutions, and deliver value. With mobile being a prime access point to sales, it is innovation and, most of all, relevancy that ultimately determine your success on this ever-growing platform.