Brand positioning 2.0

November 10, 2009

Nice blog post about brand positioning in the post-cluetrain world by Francois Gossieaux over at EmergenceMarketing.

Led me to contribute a rather over-long comment about how we (MotiveQuest LLC) approach brand positioning questions for our clients today.

In the old days we had a product with rational and emotional benefits, and we made up a story and then pounded this story into people’s heads with $$$ (advertising). This worked pretty well until the fragmentation of mass media and the rise of the networked individual.

Today the way to approach this question is to first understand (using MotiveQuest of course – online anthropology) what people care about most. Then examine what they already believe to be true about your brand and your competitors. Finally, you figure out how to connect your brand to what people are passionate about in an authentic (consistent with what they already believe to be true) compelling (relevant to what they are passionate about) and helpful (helps them achieve their goals, not yours) way.

Everyone says that branding is more like politics today, but that is because it’s true. You should always connect to something passionate and true (it’s the economy stupid).


Why We Loved 10 Things SM Can’t Do

November 3, 2009

Yesterday BL Ochman published a blog post titled: 10 Things Social Media Can’t Do. This post went viral among a certain community on Twitter – you know who you are. BL was surprised that this post got something like 4,000 ReTweets which is remarkable.

Why the huge response? I think it is because one of the primary themes around SM is the (negative) myth of the SM Guru/Expert. This post lays bare that myth, and exposes all the hard work it takes to make SM into something meaningful that drives ROI and contributes to an organization’s success.

Most of us working in this business aren’t walking around pretending to be experts, but we are working hard on behalf of our clients and companies to do a better job connecting with customers to drive sales and profitability. BL’s post is an acknowledgement of the hard work hundreds of people (consultants, agencies, companies) are doing all over the country to drive organizational success using SM as one of many tools.

Let’s re-imagine BL’s list as requirements for SM success, because that is what they are:

1. Coordination with marketing strategy.

2. Top management buy-in.

3. Long-term commitment.

4. ROI model reflecting long-term commitment.

5. Requires a professional team of agencies & experts.

6. Must be coordinated with PR and products efforts. SM can’t substitute for either.

7. SM Requires multi-year budget commitment.

8. Don’t expect to guarantee sales or influence.

9. Must be led and staffed by senior internal people who understand the over-arching strategy.

10. SM should always be coordinated with PR, Marketing and Product.

My $0.02


9 Things About Social Media

November 2, 2009

Two weeks ago I was on a panel for the AC Nielsen Center for Marketing Research at UW talking about social media and market research to executives from Wal-Mart, General Mills, Kraft, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson and 50 or so others. I was asked to share some lessons learned about SM – from the perspective of a brand marketer.

Here are my lessons learned personally and professionally over the last 10 years working in this space.

  1. What people say to each other is more important than what we say to them.
  2. People no longer rely on brands for information.
  3. Advocates are more important than influencers.
  4. Brand mentions are just the tip of the iceberg – somewhere between 5% and 30% of the relevant category conversation. You should listen to the whole conversation.
  5. If you want to participate be helpful, human and humble.
  6. When you participate, put the community’s interests & motivations first.
  7. Connect to existing passion, don’t just make stuff up.
  8. If you want new ideas, look beyond your category.
  9. Brand advocacy is the most important metric today – are people recommending your brand to others.

I could elaborate – for a long time on each of these, but  you get the gist.