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Posts Tagged ‘Good Relations’

In a world where most corporate leaders believe trust is pretty much bust, the question that maybe we should be asking is what is the power of good to business? The Good Relations Group recently launched the new Triple G rating to help answer this question. What was interesting about the research was the discussion it stirred. Do customers value brand philanthropy?

The Triple G rating is designed to look much deeper than simply …does this business do good. It measures perceptions of actions “would the people behind this brand behave how you would want them to, even if you weren’t in the room” and goes further to look at whether a brand engages with their audiences (is this brand on your side) as well as whether the brand has unlocked it’s most effective salespeople, it’s advocates.

We would agrue that top the top performing brands in the next decade will be triple G brands. Fundamentally they will do what’s right, engage in the right way with their stakeholders and activate their army of advocates better than their competitors. The launch of the rating had some pretty powerful advocates as shown by the video below.

Marketing week also published an article on the research which can be found here Marketing Week – Good Relations

More info can be found at http://www.goodrelations.co.uk

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“In a world where all products are increasingly the same, marketers have to appeal not to consumers rational decision making processes, but to their emotional ones. No stronger emotion exists than the need to belong” Douglas Atkin The Culting of Brands

In late 2010 I ranked the UK’s leading brands by how effective they were at marshalling a brand movement. I did this by measuring how active their advocates were – how often their  advocates recommended them to others. We then studied the top performing brands and  found that they displayed four key characteristics that we concluded are necessary to create a vibrant brand movement.

1. A Cause.

At the heart of any brand movement is a cause. This is the belief system that an audience buy into and champion. These belief systems tend not to appeal to everyone, but for some they create an intense sense of belonging.

Lifebouy soap is a great example of a brand cause. How do you create a great sense of belonging, amongst mums, around a bar of soap? Unilever’s solution, noting that hygiene standards in the third world was the primary cause of child deaths, was to develop the cause of helping to halve these deaths in the world. What mum wouldn’t want to support a cause like this.

2. Communities

Around the cause, successful brand movements foster, build and support vibrant communities. On and offline they encourage regular contact between members, develop shared experiences, co-create agendas, build their own symbols and most importantly actively encourage peer to peer recruitment. Kelloggs do this well with Special K

There are four different community segments that influence brand movements – Personal (friends,family, work colleagues), Expert (doctors etc.), Social (Mumsnet, Woman Institute), Media (newspapers, magazines etc.). These can be easily measured for impact and influence to identify those who will deliver the greatest return.

3. Contagious Stories

Research has shown that stories stick better than facts and figures. If you were raising money for children in Africa, a real boys story would raise twice as much as the cold facts and figures behind any plight. Leaders of brand movements need to become expert storytellers, sugar coating their messages with stories that will get retold. Great stories have a structure and many blue chip organisations use this as a framework for their external communications.

4. Campaigning

Movements die if they are not constantly fuelled by new thinking and disruptive content. Our 24/7 world has increased the ‘wear out’ of brand ideas ten fold since the dawn of the internet. A great multi million pound advert today, can be viewed a million times on Youtube tomorrow and then forgotten by next week. Unless it starts a conversation,that is further fuelled and re-energised, the movement will wither and die. Brands today need to campaign for their Cause, taking the threads of conversations that appear  each day in Newspapers, on Facebook or around the Coffee machine and inject their point of view. As Seth Godin says, if you stand still you become invisible. It’s why many brands today are setting up campaign teams, editorial teams and newsrooms.

Movements are the future of brands. Bain & Associates have proven this conclusively with their Net promoter Score measure. The challenge for marketing and communication managers today is to mastermind the creation and maintenance of these movements. The 4C’s provides a framework to support this.

4C’s Copyright Richard Moss 2012

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An interesting question is raised by the Times this morning in an article about the Richard and Judy Book club. The club was started as part of their C4 TV show, but now apparently is being relaunched in a solo deal with the book sellers W H Smiths.

The article claims that to get recommended by the club, authors need to pay W H Smiths up to £25k. In return it seems they get not only a recommendation, but a best seller (the first book they recommended by a debut author, went straight into the best sellers list).

The above may clearly show the effectiveness of advocacy but is it really ethical?

I have a simple belief here….as long as Richard/Judy have total editorial control i.e. they make the recommendations, it’s fine. The fact that W H Smiths then go to the authors and request monies to get this recommendation promoted and sold, is simply commercial sense.

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So, what’s 2010 going to look like? There seem to be many different views around at the moment. This chart is from the Nationwide Consumer Confidence survey. It shows growing confidence among UK consumers up to November, then a drop off into Xmas. This is probably driven by concerns about VAT increases and a growing understanding of what we have to do to pay off our Christmas debts!

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We had a family outing to the Cinema yesterday to see Avatar, the first film Directed by James Cameron since Titanic and on track to gross more than £1 billion in box office receipts (one of only five films ever).

“It’s an amazing film. If you see one film this holiday go and see this one”. “It’s brilliant, I’m honestly going to find time to see it again” Not my words, but the words of my brother-in-law and then my sister.

I must admit, I hadn’t heard of the film until this point (I know, I must have been on planet Mars). His enthusiasm did make me think I should. When my sister then spontaneously spoke about it on New Years Day, I knew I just had to book tickets there and then. We saw the film the following day.

It’s and interesting example of the additive effect of word of mouth advocacy. Clearly in the case of films it takes two positive endorsements to get me into a Cinema seat. But, how many does it take to get someone to change a mobile phone brand, change their choice of beer or open up a new bank account? Even more interesting … how do you stimulate this effect when you don’t have James Cameron directing your output?

More on all of this in 2010, the year of Brand Advocacy…and clearly of Avatar too!

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Excuse the dramatic title… I was simply trying to grab your attention!

Engagement is the name of the game in communications today. As a brand owner, thinking about how you hold the attention of the crowd long enough to get your message across is one of the most important things you have to do. ..right? So why continue to invest so much in TV advertising, a medium as blunt as one of my daughter’s chewed crayons?

Think about it. Your neighbours love of crochet bores the socks off of you…but to her it’s a gateway to endless hours of riveting conversation. You may both earn the same, your children may go to the same school, you may drive the same car, but frankly what she finds exciting leaves you feeling cold.

So, can you really engage broad, distracted audiences today with the same TV message? Of course you can’t (unless of you find a way of getting middle Britain to choke on it’s Cocoa …or of course design a nice cute mascot). That’s why PR is so powerful. Searching out communities, shaping relevant conversations, building the narrative over time. It’s the future…just mark my words.

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I went to my first Xmas party of the year last night, meeting  journalists and talking about 2009 and the year ahead. The year for many traditional publishing houses has clearly been a tough one, with the perfect storm of declining advertising revenues and declining readership as more of us turn to the internet to consume “free” news.

It was with some interest therefore that I read this morning that Google are to limit free access to online news. They have developed software that will allow publishers to limit the amount of material that we can access free.

This has got to be right for the industry. Although we have all embraced Google’s advertising sponsored free view of the world, the reality is that there is a limited pool of advertising dollars. If we want to maintain high standards of journalism,quite simply, we have to pay for them.

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