Archive for the ‘Ambassador strategies’ Category

If you’ve made a million and want to be to leave a legacy,  a clock isn’t the most remarkable of choices you can make. Ask any 15-year-old … they’ll yawn and say who needs clocks today when everybody has a mobile phone in their pocket! Clocks are boring …unless of course you spend a million designing something quite as hideous as the corpus Christi Clock in Cambridge.

My Mother took the family on an outing to see this yesterday. It had become quite a talking point in our family, the neighbours, the Cambridge WI …………… As I stood there, desperately trying to tell the time, I started to think of Marmite…a simple, insignificant and quite boring spread that manages to get itself talked about almost as much as this clock. Think about it, I bet sometime in your life you have felt compelled to say to somebody you either love of hate Marmite. Today, they even have the Marmarati, a group of loyal advocates who are encouraged to spread (excuse the pun) the word in exchange for limited edition pots of the black stuff.

Over the years I’ve heard many FMCG marketers say that word of mouth or advocacy strategies are less relevant to them. That their products don’t have the same potential to generate spontaneous involvement and discussion as other sectors. This of course is untrue. Any object can be involving as long as it stands for something and stands out. Go on a day trip to Cambridge at some point ….and you will see!


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Happy  New Year! If you are thinking of hitting the January sales, check out Shoptogether. A US based service that allows shoppers to compare notes on potential purchases. They claim 25% more items are put in shopping carts, 50% higher order value and 400% more time spent on site.

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Excuse the title, but my last post seemed to grab your attention!

I often talk about the story of a large UK consumer brand that was created in the 1960’s by a well-known London advertising agency. It was developed in the day where you could get away with listening to consumer needs and then designing your communication programme around them, almost regardless of the product itself. Sounds bizarre, but hang on a moment, do the brands of beer, cakes, sauces, cereals you buy today really live up to their advertising? Are they really sourced, crafted and loved in the way their advertising suggests? If you are brand owner, are you really convinced that your staff are your strongest advocates? In our more informed and less trusting world…isn’t this the future of modern marketing?

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ClarksonAlan Mitchell has written a thought-provoking piece in this weeks Marketing Magazine where he asks whether the Marketers role of influencing the consumers decision making process has actually corrupted the marketing landscape we see today. He quotes research showing that consumers trust independent online sources of information (such as search, peer review or comparisons) far more than retailers or brands. More than three-quarters of consumers (77%) say their online research has changed what they have bought; 88% say it has changed where they bought from.

He is obviously right, it has. We trust other people far more than commercial messages today and the digital world has made this first hand experience accessible to all of us. But the changes go beyond the influence of the buyer. The power and influence of independent media reviews has also been transformed in recent years. If you are thinking of buying a phone, car, holiday or even visit a restaurant, the chances are you will search out the review section in your favourite paper or magazine before you go in store (there is a reason why “product of the year awards” are becoming such money spinners for magazines).

Some sectors, such as FMCG products, have been somewhat insulated from this revolution, but this also will soon change. As mobiles are transformed into barcode readers and new mobile review sites are created, it will only be a matter of time before even the birth place of modern marketing will have to reinvent it’s approach to market.

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Watched Haye slay Valuev (dubbed David versus Goliath) last night on Sky+HD to take the world heavyweight boxing title. What a fantastic example of speed and agility winning over brute power. Throughly enjoyable.

As I sat there I must admit I wished I’d invited a few friends over to watch the fight with me. Sky are offering an incentive for people to do this at the moment and in turn help promote their HD services. Choose a complimentary movie, invite friends over and they will give you a £10 M&S voucher.

It’s a fantastic example of a brand mobilising its advocates. Existing customers and the HD experience itself have got to be the most effective way for Sky to promote its services – much more effective than relying on the traditional Goliath of  TV Advertising.

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BSM FiatBSM (Driving School) announced today that they were dumping Vauxhall Corsas and buying Fiat 500’s in a deal that has Advocacy written all over it. BSM claim that 70% of learner drivers go on to buy the car they learn to drive in. With BSM promising to buy 14,000 Fiats over the next three years, I bet BSM are getting a price worth recommending too! 

It’s interesting to see how the two new corporate partners are helping each other out. I’ve just watched a senior “bod” at BSM extolling the virtues of the Fiat (you don’t often hear somebody talkiing about turning circles on the 7 O clock BBC news). Fiat are offering BSM drivers £500 off the price of a new car.

It’s all food for thought for brands in this advocacy age. Have you or your competitors identified and fully leveraged all of the influencers in your category? We normally find they haven’t.

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I loved this case study in Emanuel Rosens new book, Anatomy of Buzz Revisited.
He writes about a case in Canada where they attempted to reduce the level of unnecessary Cesarean sections taking place. Guidelines were issued and most physicians said they would change their practices, but figures showed they didn’t. Researchers then identified key individuals (network hubs) and invited them to a workshop to discuss the issue. Following this they asked the attendees to do a little bit of marketing on the issue to their colleagues.
The vaginal birthrate in cases handled by physicians who were educated by the opinion leaders was 85 percent higher than elsewhere. Fantastic.

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