Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Follow-up to the Gap logo fiasco

So, in a previous post I talked about my biggest issue with the new Gap logo: they should not have abandoned the old design completely. They should have improved it, but not abandoned it.

AdFreak put together a list of 30 recent redesigns, which is an interesting examination of this design issue.

To me, Burger King, Cisco, KFC and UPS got it right

AOL and Kraft... not so much.

Now here's a twist on the whole issue. The exception to prove the rule if you will. See what Sprint did? They completely abandoned their logo, but with good intention. They redesigned the logo in conjunction with a major rebranding effort, supported with extensive mass media. Remember the pin-drop ads? Me too. The logo was redesigned to support that re-branding. The lesson being: if you are overhauling your brand, you have permission to overhaul your logo in support of it.

But only if you have Sprint money to do so.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

SuperBowl Advertising Award Winners

Well, it feels like Boxing Day all over again.

So much excitement was built up about this year's SuperBowl ads, and now that it's the day after, we are left to sort through all the gifts - to spend some serious time with the best ones and to re-wrap the crappy ones and send them back.

Here is my take. Enjoy! Comment. Share. Whatever!

1) Just Plain Hilarious Award:

- Best Buy "Ozzy vs. Bieber" (I mean c'mon, they got Bieber to admit that he looks like a girl!)

1.1) Just Plain Hilarious Runners Up:

- Doritos "Best Part" (he licked the dude's pants!)
- Snickers "Logging" (the actors are dinosaurs, but if you're old like me, you get it)

2) Awesome On So Many Levels Award:

- VW "The Force" (just watch and enjoy)

3) Marketing Fundamentals Award:

- eTrade "Cat" and "Tailor" (because they realize that with advertising, frequency and consistency is key)

4) More Damage Than Good Award:

- BMW "Defying Logic" (yup, this ad defies logic - BMW is successful because they AREN'T from USA... yet they go and do this?!?)

5) What the $&%# Award:

- "New .CO Girl" ( Joan Rivers?!?!? Some things can't be unseen)

5.1) What the $&%# Runners Up:

- GM/Chevrolet "Status" (I get FaceBook, but does anyone REALLY want FaceBook updates from OnStar?... something about that just isn't right)
- Coca-Cola "Siege" (they usually get SuperBowl ads right, but I have to admit, I scratched my head on this one)

6) Taking the 'Sex Sells' Concept WAY Too Far Award:

- "The Contract" (I'm at the point where this offends me, so no, I won't go to your site to see more)

and the winner is......

7) The Best Overall SuperBowl Ad Award:

- Chrysler "Born of Fire"

I can't believe I gave Chrysler the highest honour, but I gotta hand it to them. They get TV ads. They understand that with this medium, you have to make a compelling brand promise, make it memorable, and glue it to your brand. I see too many ads that say something funny, but not compelling. I see too many ads that are so generic and bland that I have forgotten them before their 30 seconds are up. I see too many ads that are well done, but we forget who made them.

Chrysler got it all right.

They made a very strong statement, and they made it because they know that if they are to survive, they must appeal to the audience to whom the statement was directed. They made it memorable by conjuring up a new concept - that Detroit is back - and reinforcing it with a striking closing tag line: "Imported from Detroit". Finally, they imbedded the Chrysler brand in your memory by spending a good portion of their 2 minutes on the logo, including a fairly impressive, lengthy shot of a Chrysler grill.

It may not end up saving them, but given the challenges they face and the objectives they were surely given, this is the best possible execution. And it's better than the rest.

Soooooo....? Agree? Disagree?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Small Biz Tip: uber-simple landing pages

Do you want more from your email and social media marketing efforts? First look at your landing pages.

Most of what you do online - especially email and social media campaigns - include links back to your web site. You have most likely designed the best campaign you can to encourage people to respond - to click on that link! But have you spent as much time designing your landing page as you did designing the campaign?

A landing page is the web page people "land" on when they click your link.

But what happens next?

That's the key to effective online campaigns - making that 'next step' as interesting and as effortless as possible.

If the browser lands on your Home page, they still have work to do. They have to navigate through the site to find the offer / product / information that inspired them to click-through in the first place.

If you ask the browser to do more work to find what they're after, they most likely won't. So all your efforts to inspire them to click-through are wasted!

Design a landing page that points them directly to the topic of the originating link. If you're offering a 50% discount on wrapping paper, create a page with a huge image of wrapping paper, a huge confirmation of the 50% offer, and a huge "Buy now" button. All they have to do is click the button - no real effort required. If you directed them to your web site and made them find the gift-wrap section, you're asking them to do too much.

Here's an example from Staples. If you were so inclined to click the link on the email for a refurbished computer, optical mouse or printer paper, you're only one more click away from having the product in your shopping cart. Simple. Effective. Effortless.

That's how you increase your chances of online marketing success.

  • Every link you put out there through your marketing efforts should have a dedicated landing page.
  • Those landing pages need to be simple, obvious and effortless.
  • Don't forget to use web analytics to track campaign effectiveness (how many people land on the page; how many of them click to buy; how many of them actually buy and so on). Contact me for more information about web analytics tools and how to implement them (I don't sell them, so it's not a blatant pitch).

  • Any favourite landing pages... or bad ones?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

5 web site designs that rock

I'm a web design minimalist. Less is more on Home pages, as these 5 demonstrate.




Any you want to add?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The 6 "p"s of marketing - open for debate

OK - here's a topic that's surely up for debate: I believe there are 6 "p"s of marketing.

Those of us that studied marketing in university/college some ____ years ago learned the 4 "p"s of marketing: Product | Pricing | Promotions | Place.

The dominance of the internet in the marketing mix has expanded that list to 6, in my opinion. There are articles that talk about 4, 5, 6, 7 and even 8 "p"s, and the words that start with "p" aren't always the same. I've seen 'People' and 'Process' included in many lists, but I don't believe they contribute to the act of creating demand (the definition of marketing) as much as the other categories (open to debate!). I've also seen 'Physical Evidence', described (by as 'the ability and environment in which the service is delivered, both tangible goods that help to communicate and perform the service and intangible experience of existing customers and the ability of the business to relay that customer satisfaction to potential customers.' ... HUH?!?!?

Here's my list:
  1. Product (How do you shape your offering to match consumer needs and build demand?)
  2. Pricing (How does your pricing strategy support your positioning and generate demand?)
  3. Place (Where do you need to be to reach your audience?)
  4. Promotions (How do you tell people what you have to offer?)
  5. (new) Positioning (What is your reputation? How do people describe your company? Why would anyone buy from you?)
  6. (new) Conversations (Are you participating in the conversations that are taking place about you and your industry?)
OK, that last one doesn't start with "p", but I couldn't find an applicable and adequately descriptive word that did. The best I could come up with is "People Talking". Yep, I thought it was lame too. We've got 5 "p"s and a "c". Deal with it.

Social media, in case you were curious, fits clearly into the Conversations category. In fact, it was the catalyst in creating the category. Social media participation is just as important to the marketing mix as promotions or anything else. Deal with it. Embrace it.


As you create a marketing plan for your business, or as you make decisions to help build interest and demand, be sure to consider all 6 marketing categories. Promotions alone, which many businesses confuse for marketing, is insufficient for driving significant demand. You need to be creative and intentional in all 6 categories to be giving marketing the attention it deserves.

It also means you're that much more likely to build demand for your products and services, and what is there that's more important than that?


How is your list different, if at all?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Recession's over - how is your marketing positioned to capitalize?

Yes, we've been in a recession.

As I talked about that with clients over the past couple of years, there were two primary responses:
  1. "I have no money to spend on marketing - talk to me when the recession is over."
  2. "I want to invest in marketing now so that when the recession is over, people will buy from me first."
Both are valid responses, although I'm sure you can guess which one I think is better.

Since the summer started, the TSE has risen consistently (from 11,093 on July 4th to a high of 13,052 on November 7th - that's over 17% growth in 4 months). Since March 2009 (7,567 on March 8th), it's up 72%. I'm thinking things are looking OK right now.

  1. OK, the recession is over, is your business investing in marketing again? How, exactly?
  2. OK, the recession is over now, how did the marketing go? Are people buying from you?
The future is now, at least as it relates to the recession. What are you doing about it with respect to your marketing spend?

  • Marketing in down time is advantageous - just pick the inexpensive tactics!
  • Choosing not to market in down times puts you at a clear disadvantage (assuming at least a portion of your competition has decided otherwise)
  • Remember, marketing is the art and science of creating demand for your product. If you're not marketing (regardless of economic conditions), no demand is being generated. And without demand...


Any marketing success stories from the recession?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My new favourite web site In particular, I like the "lab", where you can design custom apparel.

I found them through a Google search, and loved them right away. I'm making some custom t-shirts and the site is terrific. Here's why:
  1. Everything you need is right in front of you. Through the clever use of tabs and icons that serve as link buttons, you never need to navigate away from the page - always keeping your t-shirt design right in front of you.
  2. It's clean, but not bland. That's a significant accomplishment.
  3. All the functions are obvious. If you find yourself asking "I wonder if I can...", the answer usually presents itself to you before you finish the thought. Terrific user experience.
  4. You get exactly what you want. Promotional gear, exactly how you want it. And you can order 1 if you want.
  5. They use words that everyday people use in everyday conversation, like "talk to a real person" and "super rush delivery". It's just nice to see a site that doesn't pretend to talk down to you.
  6. Great main navigation: Home | Products | Ideas | Lab. That's it. Simpler is better.
  7. OK, this next one isn't related to the site design at all, but it has to go on the list. Sorry. Their tag line is "You think it. We ink it." Does it get any better than that for the product they have? Genius.

  • Simple is good
  • Clean is good
  • Tabs and buttons that keep you on a page as opposed to links that open new pages are great for enhancing the experience. You don't want people to get lost on your site. The "lab" on this site looks (to the user) like one page, yet you can do all kinds of things.
  • Put yourself in the customer's shoes, and imagine they are considering or buying your product in person. What would they want to see and do? Take that, and replicate it on your site to the greatest extent possible.
  • Use words and phrases that people actually use when they talk.

What are you favourite sites from a design / user experience perspective?

What Rogers' $10-million fine teaches us about advertising

The competition bureau has ruled that Rogers Communications has misled consumers with advertising that claims their new Chatr service is more reliable than its competition's services. It was found that despite Rogers' claims in their advertising, there was no discernible difference in dropped calls between their service and the ones offered by new entrants. This was deemed to be misleading and unduly damaging to the competition, and could end up in a fine of $10-million or more (if the judge agrees to retribution for consumers).

Now, Rogers is certainly being held up as an example, and it's easier to pick on the big boys, but it does bring to light some important lessons that small businesses and marketers should remember as you advertise:
  1. Don't make a claim you can't support. Simply saying that your product is "the best" without backing it up is lazy and, it would seem, potentially costly for you!
  2. If your competition is making claims that you know they can't support, you have an avenue for challenging their claims.
  3. If you do have data to support your claim, make sure it's good data. Rogers is fighting this ruling, but I wonder how valid their data is. Don't just go ask 3 of your friends if your pizza is the best pizza they've ever tasted then call it the "Best tasting pizza in _____" (makes you wonder how many dentists were actually surveyed to support the claim "4 out of 5 dentists recommend ____" - perhaps 5?).
  4. Be specific with claims. Don't say you have the best pizza, say you have the best Hawaiian pizza East of Hawaii. Helps your product stick out in the consumers' minds.
  5. If I read/see/hear one more company claim to have "the best quality, price and service", I'm going to... You can't be all 3!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sure, you only have 140 characters, but you're still talking

The first thing to remember about social networking, and Twitter in particular, is that you are having conversations. Many try to promote with social tools, but first and foremost, social networking is about starting and participating in conversations.

In the case of Twitter, you are limited in what you "say" to 140 characters (which would be a nice limit for live conversations with some people!), but you still need to remember that real people are "listening", which should guide your tweets.

Go ahead and use shrtfrms & spcl chars, but remember, you are what you say.

For example, this tweeter includes in his tweet: "... a great post from me..."

A bit on the arrogant side, wouldn't you say?

  • Remember that you are what you tweet.
  • If you have people in your business tweeting on the business' behalf, are they supported with guidelines and policies for tweeting?
  • Think of social networking interactions as real conversations with real people

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The top 2 rules for advertising

Rule #1: Advertise where your customers shop

Rule #2: Make that ad stand out from all the other ads

Rolex puts both rules into play with this clever ad on

See what they did there? They advertised on, since (presumably) male golfers are their target audience. And to stand out from the other online ads on the site, they did three things. First, the hands of the watch move in real time (take my word for it). Second, the ad shows the time zone you're in and compares it to the time zone of the tournament you're watching. Third, their ad showed up when I clicked on tee times. Get it?

It's a very atypical ad, in a good way. Noticeable. Clever. Well done Rolex.


Well, to reiterate:
  1. Advertise where your customers shop
  2. Advertise cleverly; creatively