Category: Business Strategy & Planning

20 Aug 2018
radio-blog_google

3 Reasons to Try Radio Advertising in DFW

As I sat stuck in stop-start traffic on switch from 183 East to the Turnpike this morning, I was reminded of the power of advertising. Here I was, switching back and forth on my preset channels, looking for a morning rush talk show that I like. What was marked as a 20-minute commute on my phone was suddenly a 45-minute frustration.

Image result for dallas traffic

Now, I’m never really one to plan my meals; I tend to let my mood decide or just skip lunch all together. However, I was quickly persuaded to get a sandwich today, as Subway, a favorite of mine (that I completely forgot about for some reason), played a simple commercial while I stared at the tail lights in front of me.

This small act made me think—maybe there’s something to radio advertising that’s worth talking about. Perhaps this seemingly old-fashion, slightly intimidating medium isn’t so removed after all, and, in fact, could really benefit your business specially if your audience lives or works in Dallas / Fort Worth.

  • Your customers are always driving [and probably stuck in traffic]

Whether your target audience is C-level executives, college students or stay-at-home parents, they’ll spend some time driving. The INRIX 2017 Global Traffic Scorecard reports that Dallas drivers each spent an average of 54 hours of last year stuck in traffic (about 6%), ranking Dallas as one of the top 30 global cities that has high traffic congestion. As maddening as that is, it couldn’t feel more accurate. Does this mean that your customers listen to the AM/FM radio while in their car? With this fact alone, probably not, but you have already increased your reach out of shear probability.

  • DFW has a huge music scene that utilizes the radio

Between live music at restaurants or festivals and concerts at the American Airlines Center, it’s obvious that DFW is a place of music lovers. How does this help you? According to a 2017 Nielsen State of the Media Report, AM/FM radio reaches more Americans each week than any other platform (including phones and television). This means that, with a strong strategy that focuses on your target audience and their preference in music, you can create a planned approach to appeal to your local customers.

  • Your customers may need a medium changeup

If your print and video campaigns seem to fall short, it could be an issue with impact. While we work within the average attention span of eight seconds, it may be harder than you realize to make an impression. In 2017, the IE School of Human Sciences & Technology (via the American Marketing Association) conducted studies showing that “the average consumer is exposed to up to 10,000 brand messages a day.” What’s more, “consumers switch screens up to 21 times an hour.” That’s a lot of information to take in visually.

In this case, the Radio Advertising Bureau infers that radio can be used as additional medium to your regular channels, as a form of recency (or brand reminders). This small form of reinforcement can boost your reach and presence, so they’ll be reminded of you when they need your product or services. The concept is exactly how the Subway advertisement quietly persuaded me to have a sandwich for lunch today.

Where do you start?

Our team can help you identify who specifically are your customers and their needs. Once we know your advertising goals, we can strategize with you to make the most of your radio advertisements. Check out our services.

Photo credit: The Dallas Morning News

 


About the Author

amanda-lovewell-headshot

Amanda Lovewell is a copyeditor for bloomfield knoble. She works to keep the brand voice intact for us, and for our clients. She lives for any form of artistic expression, especially music. One day, she would love to travel creating short stories about her misadventures.

Connect with Amanda Lovewell
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Who is bloomfield knoble?

bk is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bk provides a one-to-one approach.

Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at (214) 254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

11 Jul 2018
google

Aim for the Bullseye, then Try Again

Every marketing and advertising campaign needs associated metric goals and reporting. These key performance indicators (KPIs) help you tailor the future of your marketing team [or allocation if you wear multiple hats].

When asked “Is your marketing successful?” 43% of CoSchedule’s surveyed group answered neutral or lower. If almost half are undecisive or unsatisfied, that’s a lot of wasted effort. But did you know that cognitive computing can help you aim your campaigns more closely to your audience and speed up the fine-tuning of your campaign styles?

As discussed in the first two parts of this series, marketing and advertising campaigns are a mixture of creative thinking and mass amounts of data—e.g., understanding your customer and showing them something that would get their attention.

Truer than trial and error, cognitive computing gives you a simulated estimate of the feedback from your audience. This serves your business two-fold.

Firstly, you can have an idea of what you can expect from your customers before the launch. [This is different than what we talked about in part 2; here, we are talking about after the design is completed, but before the campaign is actually unveiled.] By gauging your customer response prior to the actual campaign launch, you can set realistic goals and benchmarks.

Holding your campaign to unrealistically high KPIs will just bum you out, even if the results are positive. Adversely, unrealistically low KPIs will make you pessimistic and quite possibility kill your campaign before it even hits the ground. It’s all about perception when it comes to your goals, and, in this case, foresight will make you more accurate and potentially happier.

Secondly, when you campaign is completed, you can compare the estimated metrics against the actual metrics for a post-mortem on your completed campaign. Since your expectations were realistic, you can ask yourself, did the results match? Was there a higher response from an unexpected market or audience? Did you overspend or underspend where it really would have made a difference?

This follow-up is essential to moving forward with your marketing mindset. Seeing your KPIs compared against your now-logical goals allows you to rework what you learned into your next advertising campaign. You can finally gain that competitive edge… on yourself.

Don’t miss out on:

Part 1: Your Campaign Worked… But How Do You Know Which Part?

Part 2: Stimulate Your Creative Process

 


About the Author

amanda-lovewell-headshot

Amanda Lovewell is a copyeditor for bloomfield knoble. She works to keep the brand voice intact for us, and for our clients. She lives for any form of artistic expression, especially music. One day, she would love to travel creating short stories about her misadventures.

 

Connect with Amanda Lovewell
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Who is bloomfield knoble?

bk is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bk provides a one-to-one approach.

Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at (214) 254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

27 Jun 2018
data-vs-goliath-part-2-051618_google

Stimulate Your Creative Process

Before customer data was so readily available and the number of mediums became countless, advertising was simpler. Still a challenge, but simpler.

I think of Mad Men, particularly when they come up with the idea for lipsticks in season 1. What we watched was a focus group of their target audience (young women of the 1960s) try on various hues of lipsticks and answering questions from the company’s market researcher.

Once they figured out the copy – and the copywriter in this case – the episode is done with this plot.

The thing is… today, that’s only half the job. Where does this ad go? Does it come out as an email blast, mailouts, text messages, billboards, a magazine, etc.? They never tell us the base strategy of the campaign, which personally bothers me, because the slogans they decide on are so abstract that I can’t wrap my head around a medium that works with the copy. I see a vague design, but not a medium.

In part 1 of these series, we talked about how cognitive computing mimics human thoughts and opinions. In that statement alone, so much is unsaid by the person, like:

  • Do I know this brand?
  • Is this something I’ve heard of?
  • Do I know anyone who uses or recommends this?
  • Is this brand honest?
  • Will I waste my money here, or get tricked?
  • Do I expect any repercussions or stigmatization for using the brand?
  • Do I actually need to buy this?

Learning how your customers (active or potential) behave prepares you for these questions moving forward. The good news is once you identify this information and let it evolve with your growing or changing clientele, you get to go back to creative part.

Why do you need to do the strategy first? It might seem more fun to come up with catchy slogans with your coworkers and then make it an advertisement… because it is. However, your medium decides the roots of the message you choose, and sometimes, what you come up with doesn’t fit where you want to advertise. Slogans for a billboard may not work for a commercial spot. A magazine ad may not work for mailed postcards.

Once you know how (strategy) and where (medium) you want to advertise, you have guidelines to work with. Cognitive computing brings you there more quickly, by helping you see the way your customers think and feel – with real numbers that you can trust. Then you use these results to start brainstorming, which is already stronger due to your focus on your audience and your medium. It’s much easier to be creative with a directly, then to just pull ideas out of the idea.

Don’t skip Part 1. Check it out here.

 


About the Author

amanda-lovewell-headshot

Amanda Lovewell is a copyeditor for bloomfield knoble. She works to keep the brand voice intact for us, and for our clients. She lives for any form of artistic expression, especially music. One day, she would love to travel creating short stories about her misadventures.

Connect with Amanda Lovewell
facebooklinkedin_25x25youtube_25X25

 


Who is bloomfield knoble?

bk is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bk provides a one-to-one approach.

Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at (214) 254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

17 May 2018
data-vs-goliath-part-1-050818_google

Your campaign worked… but how do you know which part?

You’ve done the research, the legwork and maybe even some focus studies before your last campaign, and the results were actually strong enough to reach your goals. That’s great! But what made it different from the others that had less success? It can be hard to tell without the right tools or information.

What is cognitive computing?

According to IBM, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created daily – that’s a huge increase of data compared to just a few years ago. Studies show that 90% of the data in the world has been created in the last two years alone. It’s too much to process but it’s all important. That data contains your consumers opinions and preferences, which is as available as it is fast through just scrolling down a social media feed.

Cognitive computing synthesizes the data you need by using artificial intelligence and machine learning to simulate how the human mind operates. Basically, cognitive computing impacts advertising by helping you guide your campaign to align its message with its audience.

In 1998, bloomfield knoble was founded as an internet design and development company that quickly blossomed into a full-service advertising agency. We use creativity and cognitive computing to work with our company, including large U.S. organizations like NASA, Fannie Mae and Vizient.

Through observed trends and patterns of typical target customer thoughts, opinions, emotions and actions, campaign results become more accurate and, therefore, more valuable.

The cognitive way of thinking is quickly catching fire. In fact, according to a survey conducted during a 2017 IBM study:

  • 73% of global CEOs feel that “cognitive computing will play an important role in the future of their organizations”
  • 50% of global CEOs said “they plan to adopt cognitive computing by 2019”
  • Executives who participated in the survey anticipate 15% return on investment from these endeavors

How will your business benefit from this?

This 3-part series is based on a presentation by our chief operating officer, Tom Thompson, on May 18, 2018, at the Plano Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Council Breakfast.


About the Author

amanda-lovewell-headshot

Amanda Lovewell is a copyeditor for bloomfield knoble. She works to keep the brand voice intact for us, and for our clients. She lives for any form of artistic expression, especially music. One day, she would love to travel creating short stories about her misadventures.

Connect with Amanda Lovewell
facebooklinkedin_25x25youtube_25X25

 


Who is bloomfield knoble?

bk is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bk provides a one-to-one approach.

Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at (214) 254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

30 Nov 2017
randy-skattum-headshot

Interview with Randy Skattum, Celanese – Global Marketing Communications Director

I find that most people have a path or at least a pattern to their careers that are, of course, easier to see when looking back on it or from an outside vantage point. I enjoy interviewing people for this blog on careers and how they got where they are and what they do. I have to say that Randy’s path might appear less straightforward than most careers, but I do see a continued pattern of success and career risk-taking that is noteworthy in his journey. He most recently has been involved in Celanese’s efforts to integrate two acquisitions of companies based in foreign markets. We talked about the challenge and success of these integration efforts and I think there is a lot to learn from him in that arena.

celogo_02-2015

Randy and his team are responsible for accelerating the sales cycle with a focus on engaging clients – domestically and internationally – in a meaningful way to assist in driving commercial interactions. Celanese is a global chemical and polymers company that manufactures a wide range of material solutions used in many everyday items including automobiles, personal care products, electronics, paints and medical equipment. To quote a line from an old movie, The Graduate, Celanese does, “… just one word. Are you listening? … PLASTICS.” But really they do so much more. Here are some interesting responses from my interview with Randy:

 

Q: Who is your target audience?

A: Our audience is fairly diverse. It includes engineers, designers, and procurement professionals that need to choose the right materials within very defined specifications to create the components and parts of larger projects (e.g., trim pieces in automotive interiors, grips on hammers).

 

Q: How long have you been at Celanese? And, in the Global Marketing and Communications role?

A: I started in strategic marketing and new business development seven years ago. Following that role, I led the global business for our specialty derivative chemicals. I’ve been managing our Global Marketing and Communications efforts for the last four years.

 

Q: What are the key deliverables your team provides to the global sales force?

A: Simply stated, it is sales tools, sales training, customer engagement opportunities and content materials. But the difficulty in that task is providing a simpler process for Celanese employees to provide pertinent information to support complex conversations with our clients and potential clients. Our polymers portfolio is quite complex and materials can be used in – or modified – in multiple ways to address a wide range of operational, functional, or financial needs. We strive to make it as easy as possible for clients to find the right solution that they need, when and how they need it.

 

We reach our audiences in a number of ways: in person meetings, emails, trade shows and conferences and most recently in an online, video-based technical exchange forum that has been successful in the Chinese market.

 

Q: How do you reach your global audiences and maintain regular communications?

A: We reach our audiences in a number of ways: in person meetings, emails, trade shows and conferences and most recently in an online, video-based technical exchange forum that has been successful in the Chinese market. This new method allows people to learn about our solutions through short lectures and to also discuss the nuances of product requirements in a forum that can provide support for material selection. We strive to meet the customer in the way that works best for them.

 

Q: What did you do prior to Celanese, and how did it help you in your current role?

A: I worked in the strategic consulting world prior to Celanese. I found that by working with various companies and across industries that the core elements of marketing strategy translate regardless of product or service offering. It breaks down into three key elements:

  1. ROI – companies need to ensure that where they spend money they are providing a return to the bottom line.
  2. Marketing Strategy – understanding complexity of products offered, solutions required, and the situations that motivate a client to action.
  3. Sales Support – providing the frontline people with the process and materials to best communicate a company’s capabilities.

 

Q: Sounds like you had a great background for this role. Was there anything missing in your experience that you had to learn on the job?

A: Yes, the global nature of this job was new to me, my prior experience was U.S.-based.

 

The solution to integrate one new company let alone two new companies at any one time is always more elegant on paper than it is in actuality.

 

Q: Let’s talk about Celanese’s most resent acquisitions. What was the biggest challenge in taking on the integration of two different companies, in three different countries, at the same time?

A: The short answer to that question is people and processes. The solution to integrate one new company let alone two new companies at any one time is always more elegant on paper than it is in actuality. There are two highly linked processes in play in each integration, client integration and employee/staff integration. Client integration provides an excellent opportunity to cement and combine existing client relationship by offering more solutions and/or to simplify their purchasing processes. However, most companies need to realize it is easier to integrate customers than it is to integrate employees. Integrations with employees require managing both the systems people work under, the processes they follow, and the roles that define them and their contributions as an employee. The desire is always to maintain people – and their engagement – but that requires a lot of communication. We have worked hard to keep the employees as involved as possible in the integration process. Any company purchase will involve employee role revisions as companies often end up with job and customer overlap and the new role may require some specialization or rescaling to fit into the existing corporate structure.

Conversations with staff should include candid discussions on what is going away and admitting that not all answers are immediately defined. The process of integrating people as well as procedures requires learning from each company and integrating the best of both to provide customer engagement that makes the most sense.

 

Q: What advice would you give other Marketing and Communication Departments who are in the process of planning for integration of an acquisition into their existing business?

A: When integrating new companies and employees into your organization these three key things need to be understood:

  1. Everything you know about your company is BRAND NEW to the newly acquired staff. Institutional knowledge and how to provide value to the customer is a foreign language for both sides of the house and must be shared. A training session should be set up to train each other on history of the company, products and the why’s and how’s of each company’s processes. In other words – put things in context and help the acquired company to become an insider.
  2. Secondly we need to know and share what the end state of the merger looks like. Be as specific as possible and still maintain flexibility. What roles individuals will have in the new organization will become clearer as the integration efforts play out. It’s important to understand the solution will probably be some middle ground from each company that allows better customer and employee engagement.
  3. It’s very important to start integration as early as possible! Once due diligence is complete, Marketing Communications staff needs to be heavily involved. In many organizations Marketing Communications is a tertiary consideration in company acquisitions after due diligence. There are many reasons you should involve Marketing Communications early on. Things that need to be taken into consideration are:

 

  • How does the new company attract customers? How similar / dissimilar was your market place positioning?
  • What brands do they have? Will the brands be consolidated?
  • What trademarks are you purchasing? Are you planning to sell those products in new geographies? (New trademarks may be required in those new regions.)
  • What is their sales model (i.e., Direct, Distributor, Agent)? Who are their distribution partners and is there an overlap?
  • Does their brand development / marketing approach align with your company? What brand/marketing partnerships do they have? (Such as sport teams or naming rights.)

 

Q: What advice would you have for people who want to work their way up to your level of an international company?

A: I would say there are five actions that would help anyone progress in a Marketing Communications role in any company. They are:

  1. Take on complexity. Help to move complex situations forward by breaking them down into their critical elements and providing structure to generate a solution. Leverage your company’s core strategies and institutional knowledge.
  2. Remember that marketing should help to grow the company. Align to the vision and growth plan; support it and set your vision for how marketing can evolve to meet longer-term goals and objectives.
  3. Have a curiosity of products/processes and have a willingness to learn. Understand your business products and services. Visit with your customers and understand how they buy from your company. Ask questions; ask “why?”
  4. Recognize others have done this before and build strong relationships with people doing the same thing. Network, network, network.
  5. Take these actions to help your career:
  • Attend peer to peer events
  • Read or listen to books on tape
  • Absorb the communications from around your organization and know how other leaders are shaping their functions
  • Try marketing something that works in one place and apply it to another situation; translate the successes
  • Learn from your success and mistakes; rewrite your play book often
  • Get input from others including your direct reports
  • Take risks
  • Have a passion for the business

 

______________________________________________

 

Randy provides some really useful information for anyone trying to consolidate new acquisitions but even more insightful are his career actions steps above. It appears to me that he takes his own advice when it comes to his career path. The key thing I see that he has always done is to take smart, strategic risks. The fact that he was willing take the risk of stepping into a global role and learn all he could about Celanese, their products and the additional element of working around the world makes him a singularly unique marketer today. Fortunately, Randy is willing to share with others his path to success. He is often asked to speak at events because of his successes and ability to communicate a clear path for others in our increasingly global marketplace.

 

 


About the Author

luann-boggs-headshot

Luann Boggs is the Vice President of Business Development for bloomfield knoble. She works with new and existing accounts as a liaison between client and creative. Her favorite part of the job is meeting and working with interesting and intelligent people. Her personal interests are family, friends, good books and travel including all 50 states and over 25 countries.
Connect with Luann Boggs
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Who is bloomfield knoble?

bk is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bk provides a one-to-one approach.

Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at (214) 254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

01 Dec 2016

Fighting the battle against mediocrity

Complacency is the greatest danger to an advertising agency and its clients

It happens to everyone and everything, everywhere. Monkeys in the forests of South America get complacent about their jumps between trees in the jungle and fall to their deaths. (Check it out, it is a real thing.) The New York Yankees get tired of winning and think it comes easy if you have the money. Marriages fail daily due to complacency. Businesses, too, lose the passion – and their customers, employees and products suffer. Advertising agencies are not immune to complacency. In fact, it is a prime destroyer of advertising agencies. Even this one is at risk.

bloomfield knoble feels Sisyphus’ pain.
bloomfield knoble feels Sisyphus’ pain.

For nearly two decades bloomfield knoble has fought against this sisyphean struggle to produce amazing creative, positioning, messaging and more to drive our clients’, and our own agency’s, success. Some historians argue that Rome fell due to complacency. This complacency, Historians argue, led the emperors to the hiring of mercenaries to win their wars to keep the empire expanding. That worked fine . . . until the mercenaries turned on their masters. All of this is to say, “it’s hard to keep the fire burning bright for a long time.” So what do we do when we start to feel it and see it affecting our work?

At bk, we try to stay ahead of it. Here are some of the tools we use in this epic struggle:

  1. Rotate talent – It’s important to NOT have “sameness.” That problem is not always solved by simply swapping internal creative talent on client projects. Therefore, we invite guest artists to come in and critique our work. This usually leads to some defensive statements by art directors. (That’s when we know it’s working.) We don’t use freelancers for start to finish work, but I believe it is a benefit to invite artists, strategists and other talent to come in and turn things over regularly. Sometimes we get them to start a thought process or challenge a belief. Amazing results come out of what can be a difficult, honest approach to solving complacency.
  2. Ask for client reviews at least twice yearly – Believe me, not everyone at your client’s office thinks you’re great. Someone has a negative opinion and it really helps to air that out. Better to know the issues, who is raising them, and deal with it head on. This keeps an agency from being blindsided with an agency review.
  3. Internal competition – My father did it to me and my brothers, so it must be good for business. Pick a favorite for a while and watch the jealousies drive the work. Parade around the bad stuff, ignore the good stuff and magic can happen. Or, bring in one of those outside artists for a week, not tell anyone what they are supposed to do, and watch the fire get lit.

  4. – Nah, that doesn’t work.
  5. Entire staff brainstorming – I mean the entire staff. Have a cleaning crew? Ask them to join in and add their thoughts. Just don’t make it the usual suspects. Don’t be surprised by how enlightening common sense statements from the least likely source can change a thought process.
  6. Fire a random staffer every 6-8 weeks. It’s kind of fun and keeps everyone wondering who’s next. It’s completely random, so it surprises people when we let one of our best designers go late on a Friday. Plus it keeps it stressful, which is good for morale. (They don’t have to like me. Only fear me.)*

So, that is how we battle complacency on behalf of our talented creatives and thoughtful thinkers and happy managers at the bloomfield knoble advertising agency offices.

But what about the partners and directors?

That is much more difficult to break. However, there is always a problem (or 50) to solve everyday. There is always new business that must be found. There is always somebody trying to screw you to the wall. Yes, those things kind of keep complacency at bay for that segment of the agency. I think the term for that is “burnout.”

So, I guess there is not much complacency for partners and directors. We are covered in so much sh_t and sewage we don’t have time to get bored. Wait, what am I writing about . . . Moreover, do I even care?

(*Number 6 on this list was just my way of keeping you awake and not complacent with my blog. Guess I should have added “shock value” to the list.)

 


About the Author

eric-hirschhorn-headshotEric J. Hirschhorn is a principal at bloomfield knoble. For 17 years he has helped lead the Dallas-based advertising agency from start up to becoming a premier, full-service agency whose clients include some of the most influential companies in America. Eric lives to spend time with his family, to work and to travel the world in search of unique fishing adventures.

Connect with Eric Hirschhorn
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Who is bloomfield knoble?

bk is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bk provides a one-to-one approach.

Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at (214) 254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

28 Jun 2016

Can You Hear Me Now?

I saw an ad that made me do a double-take the other day.

Since I work at bloomfield knoble, a premier strategic marketing and advertising agency, I’m generally not prone to paying much attention to ads or being surprised by them, but this one caught me off guard. The ad was Paul Marcarelli pitching Sprint.

The name may not mean much to you, but the face should – Marcarelli was the long-time spokesperson for Verizon and known for the catch phrase, “Can you hear me now?” I’ll be honest – the ad isn’t that great creatively, but it caught my attention because I was stunned that Verizon had let Marcarelli’s non-compete expire. I know Verizon has long since moved on from the “Can you hear me now?” slogan, but letting something go isn’t the same as letting some one take it.

It’s always a challenge identifying a face with a brand – be it celebrity or recurring spokesperson. The inherent upside is that the brand literally has a face, name and personality that immediately projects an image of a living, breathing, credible person, as opposed to a faceless corporate entity. The downside is that individuals are not as stable or as easily controllable as corporate entities. Even imaginary characters that represent the brand can create issues. Consider the image of Betty Crocker and how it has evolved over time. A portrait of Betty Crocker was first introduced in the 1930s. Since then, Betty’s image has been refined to reflect the changing image of women. Other companies use real people, a celebrity, to represent a brand. The inherent downside to using real people is that when the celebrity encounters personal problems or scandals, the brand may suffer too. The company cannot simply redraw the celebrity’s face – they must convince the public that the celebrity’s current problems do not reflect on the brand itself. Looking at you, Jared from Subway.

Thus, brands, in some cases, can be golden straightjackets. They are “golden” because they build product knowledge and profits, but they can also be “straightjackets” (limiting or restrictive) because to be valuable they must be narrowly defined. As an agency, it’s our job at bloomfield knoble to carefully evaluate the associations clients are trying to attach to their brand and consider both the upside and the potential downside with the brand elements. One of the fundamental principles of using a brand element is making sure that it is “protectable” in both a legal and competitive sense. Clearly, Verizon (or their agency) had a 5-year agreement in place, but once that expired Marcarelli was fair game.

The question to me isn’t the effectiveness of the ad, but more about the steps that agencies should take to protect any brand element they use. It’s fine to let “Can you hear me now?” expire, but don’t let Sprint take it. Just enough people will remember it and do the same thing I did – pay attention to the ad. I can’t imagine that Flo will be allowed to do an Allstate commercial anytime soon. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if a bunch of agencies are pulling out old talent contracts and hoping to avoid something like this.

In any event, the simple truth is that I stopped to watch the ad, and in an era when consumers are inundated with a ton of messages, any action that creates pause and engagement is a win, so well done Sprint.


 About The Author

thomas-thompson-headshot

A STEM (Science / Technology / Engineering / Math) graduate and COO of bloomfield knoble, Thomas exemplifies the view that advertising is becoming an engineering discipline. He leads the integrated insights and strategic planning group in a way consistent with bloomfield knoble’s goal of bringing a strong analytical foundation to uncover fresh and innovative insights and business opportunities.
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# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

29 Apr 2016

About Snapchat – It’s Not Just Sexting Anymore

Snapchat_Logo

At this point, who hasn’t heard of Snapchat? The popular photo-sharing app has become so ubiquitous that it can even advertise itself without saying a word. If you’re over 30, while you’ve heard of it, you probably don’t completely understand it.

I’m over 30 too, and I don’t blame you. If you’ve tried to use it, you know the user interface begs for a seasoned user to give you a lesson. Think teens at a lunchtable or in the library showing each other how it works and what a swipe or icon means. As adults with careers, we tend to figure things out on our own, not huddled over our iPhones with friends.

This definitely isn’t the cool-kids table, but gather ‘round and get a Snapchat briefing for the over-30 crowd.

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a photo and video sharing mobile app. It launched in 2011 and because of the feature that deletes photos from the recipient’s phone after up to 10 seconds, it became infamous as a sexting app for teens. Today, that stigma is gone – photos can be accessed longer via the Story feature and the company has made moves to attract brands, further “maturing” its image.

Usage

200 million users

Over 100 million daily users

800 million photos and videos shared every day

Six in 10 people age 13 – 35 use Snapchat

12% of daily users are age 35 – 54

Usage in all age groups is growing

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 2.11.42 PM
An example of Snapchat’s customization features. You can also write or draw on photos.

Photo and Video Sharing

Snapchat’s core functionality is sharing content immediately, with the ability to add captions, emojis, frames or “lenses” directly to the image. Its differentiator is that the photos disappear from the recipient’s device after up to 10 seconds (the sender determines the length of time).

Stories

Another feature is the SnapChat Story, which was added after the app caught on. Users can select the option for a photo to be moved to their “Story,” which allows their followers to view that image alongside all their story images – for the next 24 hours.

The Story feature is the primary way brands engage with Snapchat. It’s also the primary way I’ve found to enjoy the app. I don’t have much reason to post pictures for my friends that only last 10 seconds. Unless they’re of my dog, of course.

Discover

The Discover home screen.
The Discover home screen.

Snapchat highlights 20 content publishers in their Discover section. Hand-selected by Snapchat (making a spot in the Discover section highly coveted), these brands are able to post content that users can scroll through – images with headlines/captions and the ability to swipe up for more to the story. These are not advertisements, but rather news/lifestyle posts.

Examples: CNN posts news images and headlines with the rest of the story in the swipe below. Food Network posts videos and images of food with the recipe below.

I’ve used this feature the most, and gotten the most enjoyment out of it. I love my friends, but the latest news from Syria trumps their latest picture with a racooon face lens or showing off a cookie shaped like a Wookiee. (I loved those, Sam, but c’mon – Syria.)

How Does Snapchat Make Money?

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Snapchat sponsored lenses

Sponsored Lenses – This feature allows users to take a picture or video of themselves and add different animated, branded filters to the shot. 20th Century Fox was the first, allowing animated selfie features with Peanuts characters to promote “The Peanuts Movie” last Fall.

User Base Reach – Snapchat also charges between $450,000 and $750,000 per post for a brand to reach the app’s entire user base. Peak days like Halloween, Thanksgiving and Black Friday are priced at the upper end of that spectrum, while normal days can vary.

Should You Use It?

Snapchat still appeals primarily to a younger audience, but as with Facebook and Twitter, the trend is that older users are logging on.

The benefit to posting on Snapchat is the immediacy and connectivity. Because content is gone in 24 hours, users tend to be more attentive and engaged with Snapchat content than other platforms.

From a personal standpoint, even for a 30+ user, there are some interesting and fun ways to use it. I have a lot of young friends, and I make a living working with social media apps and promotions, so I have a really good reason to use it. But if you don’t know anyone else on it, there’s not much point from a personal use perspective unless you want to be on the vanguard of your group of over-30 friends.

If you’re looking for the next platform to leverage your brand, you definitely need to look at who your target audience is and how you want to communicate with them. Large brands from McDonald’s to General Electric to Sour Patch Kids have been active users with interesting campaigns using Snapchat’s unique features and young-skewing audience. A financial services company is probably wasting their time – for now. But give it a few years and you just might need to know how to engage Snapchat users because that’s where your target audience will be.

As we like to say around here at bloomfield knoble, fish where the fish are. The best reason to adopt a new social platform is because your target audience is already there. But don’t waste your efforts in a pond that doesn’t have the fish you want.

And that’s the bell. Put your phones up. See you in class.

 


 About The Author

jeff-carrington-headshot

Thanks to the shortening of attention spans and his inability to finish a novel (phenomena that are unrelated, he assures us), Jeff Carrington has found the perfect job for himself as director of communications and social media at bloomfield knoble. When he’s not developing social strategies for clients in 140 characters or less, he’s tweeting about dive bars and dog parks, both of which he frequents with his Spitz-Terrier mix buddy, Ben, and other random humans.
Connect With Jeff Carrington
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Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

31 Mar 2016

What can Tay teach us about social media?

What, besides figuring out that trolls (some of whom work here at bloomfield knoble) rule the Internet, can Tay teach us about social media?

By now you’ve probably heard about the rise (and very dramatic fall) of Microsoft’s Tay, an artificially intelligent bot on Twitter. Microsoft was hoping to show off that it had made significant strides in the world of artificial intelligence while attempting to build a real understanding of how a specific subset of society interacts. Unfortunately for Microsoft, they didn’t actually create an AI, they simply created a chat bot – a program that repurposed the content it received in a way that would seem to emulate the subset of society it was trying to emulate (in this case, the personality of a teenage girl). The impact is that a chat bot doesn’t know “right” or “wrong” just nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. For some unknown reason, Microsoft decided to let Tay learn courtesy of the interwebs – and the interwebs obliged in only the way the interwebs know how.

I’m not going to jump on the “how dumb are engineers at Microsoft for not knowing how the Internet works?” bandwagon (too easy), because we may have actually learned something very interesting from this experiment.

If you can analyze the sentiment of large-scale populations, then you can ensure that things like public policies are effective. In fact, a recent paper by Annabelle Wenas from the University of Indonesia titled Measuring happiness in large population addresses just this. She writes, 

“Governing complex modern societies requires some basic measurements in the societal level. These measurements will ensure that public policies are effective and meet the ever changing demand. However, currently, the most common aggregate measures of societies are economic measures such as economic growth. Yet, as modern societies grow more complex, there is a need to develop other measurements beyond economic measures especially for psychological measures that can capture subjective well-being. It is reasonable to think that a combination of economic and psychological measures can provide more comprehensive view of a society which, in turn, will be useful for formulating better public policies and their evaluations.”

Wenas proposes an approach to measure psychological characteristics for large populations based on text data (like Twitter). The authors also note that this concept isn’t exactly new, in fact, 

“Our focus is on the measurement of emotional states and we follow [J.A. Russell from Psychological Review] who asserted that emotion, mood and other emotionally charged events are states that are simply combinations between feeling good or bad and energized or worn out. Russell addressed these emotional states as core affect, and mapped its structure into circumplex model. Horizontal axis of circumplex model is valence, which is a measure of emotion ranging from negative to positive emotions. Whereas its vertical axis is arousal, a measure of emotional intensity. Thus, for example, anger is a negative emotion with high intensity and lethargic is a negative emotion with low intensity. On the other hand of the spectrum, excited and calm are positive emotions with high and low intensity respectively. Note that happiness is a positive emotion with moderate intensity.”

In a nutshell, the author scoured Twitter for keywords that generally reflect happiness and measured not only word valence, but also the measurement of arousal dimension. The reason to include arousal is because positive valence is necessary but not a sufficient component of happiness, because there are either states that have positive valence like excitement and calm. Thus, the level of arousal is the key to differentiate excitement, happiness and calm. Three of them indeed have positive valence, yet their arousal level are variable from high, moderate to low (respectively). The author provides the formula and proof of their test and admits that there approach has the potential to be used as a measure of emotions for large population in multi domains. Further development of their approach will include tests for sensitivity, robustness and also the inclusion of other psychological measures, such as moral judgments, values and personality.

So, what does a paper about studying happiness have to do with Tay? Nothing and everything. The concept behind Tay was, I suspect, not to generate an AI that can pass the Turing test, but rather a chat bot that would better understand a specific subset of culture. Understanding that subset of culture would help identify trends, patters, concepts and could then, theoretically, be used to identify future activity. IBM did something similar when Watson announced that SteamPunk was the next big thing. This concept – understanding and predicting – is what every agency (like bloomfield knoble) – is trying to achieve for clients. It’s why we spend so much time gathering and analyzing big data (yes, I said it) – we want to spend money where it will be most effective. Bottom line. And if a chat bot can learn enough about a specific subset to help us identify best use of ad dollars, then so be it. 


 About The Author

thomas-thompson-headshot

A STEM (Science / Technology / Engineering / Math) graduate and COO of bloomfield knoble, Thomas exemplifies the view that advertising is becoming an engineering discipline. He leads the integrated insights and strategic planning group in a way consistent with bloomfield knoble’s goal of bringing a strong analytical foundation to uncover fresh and innovative insights and business opportunities.
Connect With Thomas J Thompson
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Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

21 Jan 2016

The Branding Genius of Amazon Dash

First and foremost, let me make a confession: I’m pretty lazy. In fairness to me – as well as a desire to keep my job here at bloomfield knoble, I’m actually only lazy at some things – more specifically, things that I don’t consider important like: what I wear; what consumer goods I buy; consumption choices, etc. While this makes me an eternal source of frustration to my wife – it also makes me the perfect consumer for most advertising campaigns.

Agencies like bloomfield knoble work very hard to make sure that advertising campaigns capture and hold consumers through the entire sales cycle. Ads are designed to generate awareness among a relevant target audience. The message (hopefully) is engaging enough to drive action right then and there. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case, so additional efforts are used to convert the consumer into a buyer (usually incentives) and then (again, hopefully) the consumer is so thrilled with their purchase that they become loyal customers. In today’s world of social media, the really great hope is that the loyal customers also become advocates for the brand. It seems pretty straight-forward. In fact, bloomfield knoble recently completed a campaign for a brand of milk that fit this model.

Most people are aware of milk, so we didn’t have to sell the category, but we did need to promote awareness of this particular brand of milk – and the features that made it unique among other types of milk – which we did through a variety of tactical advertising. This particular milk is mostly beneficial to kids, so we targeted parents of school age children and gave a reason to believe that was relevant to their concerns. An incentive was offered on packaging to drive conversion which also drove further brand interaction to generate loyalty and advocacy at the same time. The campaign was very successful by every key performance indicator measurement that had agreed to prior to the campaign. the great part about a campaign like this is that it even worked on lazy people – like me. I pay little attention to advertising – relevant or not – and am very rarely engaged enough to take immediate action on a brand. I am, however, categorically motivated, so when we run out of milk (a dangerous situation in my household since my kid is a chocolate milk addict) I am off to the store. I have very little recall regarding brands, so instead of getting the one we always get, I just get whatever offers me the best incentive (price, gift with purchase, perceived health benefits, whatever). So in the case of the bloomfield knoble campaign, I would have been motivated by the incentive on the package and made a purchase.

There is plenty of debate and formulas to help define this media mix – what percentage should be in the form of an incentive vs. traditional advertising, etc., but generally speaking the process is always the same and it’s a tried-and-true method to drive sales. Until now.

In case you missed it, and not sure how you could have, the Amazon Dash system contains a WiFi link and, when activated, sends an electronic order to Amazon to replace a relevant product. For consumable products that use a device such as a coffee machine or water filter, the Amazon Dash system is used as a service (known officially as the Amazon Dash Replenishment Service, or “DRS”) and is seamlessly integrated into the device. For other consumable products such as toilet paper or sport drinks, a separate external button can be used to re-order supplies.

As a consumer, I’m thrilled. I don’t ever want to worry about laundry detergent again. I can buy a washing machine that stores detergent and whatever the other stuff that goes into laundry is and once in a whenever that stuff has to be loaded time is here – boom – it’s on my doorstep. Thank you Amazon.

As an employee of an advertising agency, I’m kind of freaking out. The number of people who, like me, make decisions on purchase in-store is staggering. Even with mobile devices and coupons and social media, the majority of people who shop (especially for commodity items, like groceries) make purchasing decisions in store. We have always relied on branding elements, like recall, and incentives (like coupons) to drive purchase, but now we’re faced with the challenge of all of that going away. It used to be that brands would compete within a category – a person shopping in store would turn down the laundry aisle and then make a decision between brands – but now the battle is going to shift to an entirely new arena. Now the battle is going to be to get consumers to buy a specific type of washing machine – which has cut a business deal with a detergent brand – in order to drive purchase.

It’s not much of a stretch to think that business development managers are going to become the most important employees at a brand. The person who cuts a deal for their detergent to be carried by a new Dash-enabled washing machine is a hero. Good luck, brand managers, trying to get consumers to reprogram their washing machine to order something different.

So, what do we do? First and foremost, agencies have to start incorporating Amazon Dash as a point of difference in their pitch – get to consumers early – even if it is outside of the normal comfort zone. Conversely, if you work for a brand that isn’t going to land an Amazon Dash deal, it’s time to start extolling the evil of having decisions made for you. Next, it’s time to come up with a new model in which loyalty is defined by category – not brand – and is at the front of the sales cycle. Traditional models start with awareness – but now the first consideration is going to be a new definition of loyalty (does the consumer have an Amazon Dash device?).

I’m not trying to walk around with a sign that says, “the end of the advertising world is here” because I can’t be sure that this concept will reach market saturation, but it is Amazon – not some startup – and there are plenty of lazy people, like me, who welcome this technology. As such, we at bloomfield knoble are already pondering it, and it’s quite possible that our clients are too. Now, if I just had a button that finished my work for me . . .


 About The Author

thomas-thompson-headshot

A STEM (Science / Technology / Engineering / Math) graduate and COO of bloomfield knoble, Thomas exemplifies the view that advertising is becoming an engineering discipline. He leads the integrated insights and strategic planning group in a way consistent with bloomfield knoble’s goal of bringing a strong analytical foundation to uncover fresh and innovative insights and business opportunities.
Connect With Thomas J Thompson
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# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.