Back by popular demand the always favorite Period Table of Branding Elements. Click and enjoy!
My twelve year old son came home with a terrific writing assignment for school last week. The title of the assignment was (I’m not making this up) — Persuasive Writing, Propaganda Techniques & Terms.
I found it amazingly relevant, instructional and alarmingly useful. As a marketing/design/branding guy, I couldn’t imagine a more useful junior high assignment. I’m talking Real World stuff here! Each student was instructed to utilize 5 of the 11 key-techniques of persuasion (See list below), and convince their teacher why they should receive a passing grade! How great is that! So here are the 11 propaganda techniques:
- Assertion: Stating an opinion as a fact
- Bandwagon: Making it seem like “everyone is doing it!”
- Card Stacking (Selective Omission): Presenting the positive and omitting the rest
- Glittering Generalities: Highly-valued concepts with positive connotations
- Lesser of Two Evils: Your belief is less offensive than the other
- Name Calling: Attaching positive or negative names to a person or idea
- Pinpointing the Enemy: Identifying the negative and showing that it’s not you
- Plain Folks: Appealing to the majority and making it seem like you represent the massess
- Simplification (Stereotyping): Making a complicated issue seem simple and clear-cut
- Testimonials: Using other people, who are often famous, to support you
- Transfer: Attaching your self and your idea to someone or something positive
No matter what you do for a living, you’ll want to exploit these as best you can And, if you’re in marketing or politics, you already do on a daily basis!
Picking basketball brackets are tough. You never really know which powerhouse is going to choke and which lower-ranked team is going to “step-up” to be the new Cinderella. Choosing which avenue to take when marketing your company can seem just as daunting. Do you throw money into television advertising in hopes that the Goliath wins it for you? Or do you try an inexpensive alternative which may save thousands of dollars while still achieving the same results?
Teams from the Big East, The Big Ten, and the Sun Belt Conferences are kind of like Digital Media, Social Networking and Viral Campaigns—you have a good idea of what they represent but it seems like any could prosper, or falter, when it’s crunch time. So how do you choose a winner? Of course, your budget and goals will help determine if you’re going to go with a #1 seed, or with what seems to be an underdog. Ideally, you can pick a final four—one discipline from each region—that will position you to do well no matter which approach ultimately lets you “cut down the nets“.
Send your bracket to Kolbrener and let’s talk about your picks! Fax to 412-781-4864. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
A question posed to me by a friend and veteran photographer on Linkedin yesterday went something like this:
Q:What is branding? I’ve noticed every designer under 35 rest their laurels on branding skills. Is this similar to the logo craze of the 1980s?
My response went something like this:
Good question. The challenge with the term “branding” is that most marketers and designers don’t understand what the term branding means, and often lump their ability in creating logos into the branding bucket. Branding has been going on for decades, even centuries, but was really labeled in the mid to late nineties to include everything around a product or service that creates an expectation and promise of an experience of what that product or service can deliver to an audience. That could include:
1. The logo
2. A tagline
3. Written messages
4. A website
5. Print ads
6. Social media approach
9. Sounds, music, smells
10. Dress codes
11. Phone messages
12. Groups of customers who use the product or service
13. Interior design and architecture
18. Vehicles (cars, trucks, planes, etc.)
You get the picture. A whole lot more than logos.
Now that you’re all going through Curling withdrawal you can get your Olmpics fix this way…by watching this great summation of Olympic pictograms through the years. Kudos to the team over at the New York Times.
I read with great interest Bill Eastman’s inaugural blog for Inc Magazine. Bill offers some excellent insight into the pain felt by “fast growth companies” who may no longer be in that fast growth track. In our practice at Kolbrener, we are often engaged by companies who have lost that growth edge. After achieving some measure of success via riding the wave of a technological innovation, limited or no competition, a stretch of national economic expansion, one great client or just good old luck, there comes a time when that party has run its course.
Bill offers up the following: “There exists only two primary constraints on growth; all others issues are parts of these two. Constraint One – the company is experiencing a CAPACITY problem and simply cannot do more under present conditions, making increased sales suicide. Constraint Two – the company is experiencing a SALES problem that is idling production, affecting revenue, and collapsing margins.”
Eastman does a nice job a examining the root of Constraint One, so let’s take a closer look at Constraint 2: The company is experiencing a SALES problem. As mentioned earlier, there are several reasons that may have contributed to earlier sales success that may no longer be in play. Overall lead and opportunity volume are diminishing and management sees a shrinking sales pipeline. Sales is at a loss to explain how to fix the problem. After all, they are selling the same thing that has been flying off the shelves for years. A typical “fix” may be for the VP of sales to ask for additional bodies on the sales team.
1. Sales process – Often times a salesforce is comprised of one or two MVP sales people, a few average sales people and a few underperformers. How do you bring the mid and lower levels up to the MVP level?
2. Brand Articulation – Is it clear to your prospects what you are actually selling? Is your message too technical? Are you conveying the real benefits that your product or service can deliver? Are those benefits believable?
3. Customer/Client identification – Are you clear on exactly who your ideal prospect is? let’s face it. It may have been pretty easy to find the early adopters who initially embraced your offering. That is no longer the case, and your going to have to work harder to find buyers.
4. Are your sales and marketing initiatives working in unison – Often, and particularly in earlier stage fast growing companies, much attention is paid to sales, while marketing is either ignored or delegated to an administrative assistant. Imagine if Proctor and Gamble took the same route? It’s critical for companies to look at their marketing staff and marketing budgets as critically as they do their sales staff and budgets. Once the right players are in place, sales and marketing can dance in lock step, taking your company to new sales heights.
5. Are you still relevant – Things change. Technology evolves rapidly. Global economies change. Weather patterns shift. Are you still selling something that people need or want.
Back in the 1970s, Holiday Inn revolutionized the hotel industry with their concept of homogenizing the hospitality experience for America. Increasingly, travelers wanted to know exactly where they were going to stay when they got weary. Thus was born the branded hotel as we know it today, the same here as it is there as it is everywhere. Holiday Inn created an expected level of value and experience that was solidified in their new 1975 tagline, “The Best Surprise is No Surprise”. Theirs was a promise of low prices, consistent quality, and convenient locations to a generation of Americans heading out for the highway for business and pleasure.
Jumping ahead 35 years we can see the relative benefits and challenges that a branded world of hospitality has brought to the world. Hyatt, Hilton, Westin, Doubletree, W and Holiday Inn have all cemented their own brands and extensions of those brands so that everyone knows exactly what they will get when they walk into the lobby anywhere in the world. There is truly no more surprise for millions of travelers who have come to expect, and demand, the attributes that these brands deliver on a consistent basis.
One might conclude that this branded hotel evolution would have resulted in the absolute destruction the independent hotel market. Not so. In fact over the last 15 years, the growth in supply for independent segment has trailed the branded segment by only 4 to 5%. Also, what independent hotels might lose to branded hotels in total occupancy, they typically make up for in average daily rate (ADR).
So what is the real challenge for the independent hotel in a world dominated by brands? It is imperative that the independent hotel owner takes branding as seriously as their branded competitors. That means developing a brand strategy plan way in advance of hiring the architect, the interior designers, the food and beverage experts, the ad agency and the hotel staff. The independent hotel must nail down exactly whom they are going to serve. They must define that audience (persona) from both a demographic and psychographic perspective. It’s critical, because that’s exactly what the branded hotels do.
When you check into a Westin, you know exactly what type of guest is going to be there. What you want as an independent may a very different guest, one who is looking for a unique hospitality experience, one that they can not get at a branded hotel. This is the great opportunity, to provide this new expectation of value and experience that is unique to your offering. Going this any other way will create a hospitality property that is undefined and adrift. Marketing becomes an enormously expensive and ineffective when you don’t really know exactly who you are marketing to. Once both transient and group targets are defined, you can build a brand strategy around them.
One independent boutique hotel that has done a tremendous job of creating a unique experience unmatched by any branded hotel is The Ellis Hotel in downtown Atlanta. Well-defined guest personas are articulated in all branding, marketing, food and beverage as well as in room amenities. Hard to get it right, and they’ve done it right.
Once you’ve built a brand strategy, you can call back the architects, designers and f&b folks. Now you have a brand, now you can build, now you can fill the rooms with the confidence that you’ve done your homework and can provide something that the branded hotels can not, because sometimes the best surprise is a well thought out and unique surprise.