Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Brand Loyalty is a lot like Love

Most of us have certain brands that we are loyal to. This got me thinking tonight that being loyal to a brand is a lot like loving someone. You start out slow to see if things are going to work and as things progress and trust is built you become loyal to the one you love. And so it is with brands.

For example if you ask any Apple fan to explain to you their loyalty you will quickly see their loving emotions evoked. Other strong brands that often build loyalty include Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Nike, Blackberry, Ford, Chevy, VW or just about any car brand, Trek or Specialized or Cannondale road bikes, Garmin, Gatorade, Grey Goose vodka, etc. I could go on and on but you see where I'm going with this.

So the question is do you love the brand you're with or try something new from time to time? The brands hope you remain loyal but just as people sour on relationships so to do brand ambassadors abandon ship sometimes. How do brands ensure their loyal customers stay loyal? As with love the best they can do is treat people well, meet their expectations and continue to provide quality and innovation in product or service.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Online Video Continues to Grow

Want proof that online videos are a good idea for promoting your business, product or service? According to the latest data released from Nielsen concerning June 2010, online video consumption was up 1.3% over June of last year and 4% over last month. That's more than 10 billion videos being streamed within a month!

Additionally average time spent watching video is up 3.1% over June of last year and 2.5% over May - showing that users are watching more intently.

Of course YouTube is the top channel for online video but others following in unique users for June after YouTube were Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft Sites, Google and Hulu.

It's important to assess where your audience is before selecting specific marketing tactics but if you're audience includes web-savvy teens and adults you will certainly want to consider online video as part of your overall marketing effort.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Imagine Your GPS with the Voice of Yoda! Too Cool!

How cool do you think it would be to drive along and listen to Yoda tell you to hang a left at the next light? Pretty cool, huh? Well TomTom thinks so. I think their new commercial featuring Yoda is fun and will be a good candidate for going viral.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Cleveland, a region built on loyalty and innovation, not a basketball player

So many of us in Northeast Ohio are proud of where we come from. We are passionate about sports, business, the arts, education, food, and other things that make the region so special. Say what you want about the departure of LeBron James...of course it was a big disappointment. It doesn't change the wonderful things about Northeast Ohio. We're not the ones losing here...LeBron lost out.

We have the Cleveland Clinic and a booming healthcare and medical market, are leading the way in advanced energy and advanced manufacturing. We have 29 colleges and universities with more than 200K students in the region. We have a wonderful arts culture across the region. And we still have the Cavaliers team as well as our beloved Browns and Indians. We have a good thing. Let LeBron leave. He will miss the loyalty his hometown fans showed him.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Chipotle's New Ad Campaign: "Food With Integrity"

If you've seen Chipotle ads in recent times it's likely they were witty with bold images of big burritos and funny sayings. The new campaign has a more serious tone and message: focusing more on the core values of the food chain (sustainability, quality ingredients, healthy living).

Chipotle's Chief Marketing Officer believes that it is the right time for the chain to refocus its marketing on its commitment to finding sustainable quality ingredients as more consumers have become interested in knowing where their food is sourced from and/or buying local. Chipotle is known for buying local, farm-raised animals and local produce as much as possible, leading to a high-quality, fresh fast-food experience.

I think this new campaign shows the maturity of the chain's brand. The serious messaging and mimialist graphics really help to position Chipotle as an ideal food choice for health and sustainability-conscious consumers.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Can McDonald's Be Good At Coffee? I think Not!

I was reading an article in AdvertisingAge this morning about McDonald's strides in the beverage market (specifically coffee) and it got me thinking. Can McDonald's, the old tried and true fast food junk giant, be good at coffee too? Then I thought to myself...not likely. Want to know why I think this? Experience!

I actually stopped out of convenience (or stupidity) at McDonald's about two weeks ago and ordered a quick dinner for my daughter and an iced coffee for me. You see I was on my way to a group workout and didn't want to be late and craved the extra energy of an iced coffee on that 90 degree day. Yuck! Just the thought of the coffee makes me regret the decision of not running into Starbucks or hitting a Dunkin on the way. I'm sorry McDonald's but you cannot do coffee like the companies that specialize in coffee. Stick to burgers, chicken nuggets and fries.

Now I realize that some people will like McDonald's coffee and that's okay. I am just not one of them. There is absolutely no way you can be a Starbuck's loyalist and also go to McDonald's for coffee thinking it is just as good. Dunkin, Carobou and any other speciality shop in my opinion is also hands above the wannabe-gourmet coffee they serve at McDonald's.

Now my final point for McDonald's is this: you can't be good at everything. Basic branding principles say you should focus on what you do best. Here's an idea...give up on coffee and become a fast food innovator by adding a decent veggie burger to your menu! It is a product that fits into your overall offering and would help you attract more health-conscious consumers.