Brand Thinking Outside the (Blue) Box

Brand Thinking Outside the (Blue) Box

The blue box has never been hotter. Sales and stock prices are at record highs and Tiffany appears to be soaring, even with some of the highest price points in the retail jewelry sector. The reason for this performance is that Tiffany is thinking outside its box and embracing new customers, lifestyles, and preferences with innovative products and open-armed service. Long regarded as a stodgy, conservative brand for those consumers who step right off a print advertisement, Tiffany has recognized that brands change at the speed of culture, and it was time for a different course. After 178 years in business, the company is recognizing that marriages are different as are household compositions and it’s paying off for them. One excellent example of this is Tiffany’s first advertising campaign targeting same-sex couples. A series of print ads is being introduced not only featuring these couples, but also showing traditional marriages which represent more than husband and wife. Today, there are kids and other family members involved and new messages and products are hitting that sweet spot. We talk about “Heartbeat Branding” at Springboard. Tiffany is doing just that. They have found the “sweeter spot” at the intersection of brand benefits, consumer needs, and cultural influences. Their brand attributes include excellence and elegance. Their consumers want excitement and commitment. Cultural influences include new marriages, household composition and a stronger economy. Mix it all together and they’ve hit the “Heartbeat” of their brand. Branding today is about heartbeat, not chest beat. Tiffany is one example of making your brand super relevant. Brands that are looking for their heartbeat need to think...
Creating a Heartbeat Brand Requires Knowing Your Audience in New, Relevant Ways

Creating a Heartbeat Brand Requires Knowing Your Audience in New, Relevant Ways

Most research studies provide excellent insights into your brand.  For example, knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions people have of your brand, their intent to use, and likelihood to recommend.  In addition, there’s data collected on who replied to the survey; gender, age, income, etc.  Yes, this tells you about what people think of your brand, but it doesn’t tell you anything about the people who use it, or want to use it.  Creating the highest level of relevance with your brand requires knowing more about the people you’re targeting than has been customary.  Just like in good advertising practices, it’s about them – not you.  A heartbeat brand is one that appeals to the interests, lifestyle, visions and dreams of your audience.  Use your market research to help you understand these traits so your brand can be more effectively positioned and modified to meet their needs. There should be a section within your questionnaire that asks people about what matters most in their lives.  How they spend their time, activities they enjoy, hobbies they pursue, etc. Armed with this information, you can begin to reflect these passions and interests in your brand communications.  Images become more than design background, they become eye-catching relevant scenarios in which your audience sees themselves and how their life intersects with your brand, not the other way around. Knowing your audience in new, relevant ways will help you create positioning and messaging platforms that break through and become noticed.  Why?  Because you’ve captured the essence of what’s most important to people you’re trying to influence, not trying to influence them with your brand...
The Transition of the Chief Marketing Officer to the Chief Growth Officer-It’s the Real Thing

The Transition of the Chief Marketing Officer to the Chief Growth Officer-It’s the Real Thing

Last year brought about many major shifts and conversations in the healthcare industry; from new national health plans to ongoing debates of repeal or reform of the Affordable Care Act. All of these have had an impact on healthcare marketing and most organizations are holding tight on any specific directions until policies are determined. Another trend that healthcare marketers have to watch, based on what has occurred in the land of big brands, is the shift from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) to Chief Growth Officer (CGO). Leave it to Coca-Cola, one of the best known and most valuable brands on the globe to lead the way. When its CMO resigned in 2017, Coca-Cola didn’t replace his position, the first time it was without a CMO in a couple of decades. Rather, it hired a CGO and now other big brands have followed suit. This trend will certainly lead to some alterations in hospital marketing departments, too. The rationale for this change at Coke was that it was part of a restructuring to turn the company into a “growth oriented, and consumer-centered   organization.” Wait, what? Coca-Cola replaced its top­ ranked marketing executive with another position that will generate growth and provide a consumer focus. Isn’t that marketing’s job? Shouldn’t a top marketer be doing that? Bottom-line, marketing at Coke and at many global brands, is not seen as a “growth” department; one that adds revenue, new operations, and new customers to the organization. Startling, yes-and here are some supportive statistics: Nearly one-third of CEO’s considered firing their CMO in 2017 according to Forrester Research The average tenure of...
Consumer trends impacting healthcare marketing in 2018 have already happened

Consumer trends impacting healthcare marketing in 2018 have already happened

By now, we have all seen the articles, blog posts, and other content on consumer trends in healthcare marketing for 2018.   From Artificial Intelligence and big data to value, there is no doubt the industry will continue to transform and consumer expectations and behavior will keep pace with the changes.  And, while it’s tough to predict the future, there is a place to look and get an idea as to what will occur down the road; the rearview mirror. According to Amazon Founder, Jeff Bezos, this is often the first place he looks when predicting future trends and changes.  Amazon is one of the most innovative companies on the planet, yet it was (and still is) built on a premise that is very down to earth: focusing on what’s not going to change. Bezos is frequently asked to comment on “what’s going to change in the next ten years?” His answer may surprise you. “While that’s an interesting question, I almost never get the question, what’s not going to change in the next ten years.  And that’s the most important question because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in times and will be true ten years from now.  It’s impossible to imagine a future ten years from now where a customer comes up and says, ‘I don’t want great prices, faster delivery, and more selection.’”  So rather than try and predict what will change, he focuses on what will stay the same and makes Amazon’s deliverables even better.  And that’s a model all marketers can follow. So, what’s not going to change in...
Ten Lessons from 15 Years

Ten Lessons from 15 Years

I just had a birthday!  My company did, that is.  Springboard Brand & Creative Strategy recently turned 15 and since only one third of new businesses last past their first decade, I feel pretty good about this accomplishment.  As I reflect over the past decade and a half, there are certain thoughts and ideas that surfaced that I wanted to share.   I hope some will educate, inspire, amuse, or just be a head nod to those who read them. The power of a big idea still surges. From the “Mad Men” era until today, and I’m certain into the future, the advertising business still thrives on big ideas.  Sure, there are all sorts of new technologies to communicate and ways to “hide” behind production value, but strip it all away and – if there’s not a big idea that touches the heart and soul of your customer – you have nothing.  You know you have one when, years later, people still recall pieces of a campaign.  I’m proud to say there have been a few of those over the years. Get with the times. I used to cover my ears when the subject of digital/social media came up in conversations.  I thought that if I just focused on traditional branding and advertising practices, there would still be a market for that and others would take care of the new stuff.    (I guess it’s right to say that today?) Anyway, I have come to really embrace “new” media and appreciate its flexibility and ability to be measured, and the fact that it’s not “new” anymore, just part of the...
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