S2 – SMART ARTICLES: 02

S2 articles present a variety of subjects that relates to areas of graphic design, psychology, market data, communication trends and work examples. Peruse our library and learn more.

ARTICLES

Study: The science between emotions and communications – Algorithms don’t feel, people do.

When companies connect with customers’ emotions, the payoff can be huge. Consider these examples: After a major bank introduced a credit card for Millennials that was designed to inspire emotional connection, use among the segment increased by 70% and new account growth rose by 40%. Within a year of launching products and messaging to maximize emotional connection, a leading household cleaner turned market share losses into double-digit growth. And when a nationwide apparel retailer reoriented its merchandising and customer experience to its most emotionally connected customer segments, same-store sales growth accelerated more than threefold.

Given the enormous opportunity to create new value, companies should pursue emotional connections as a science—and a strategy. But for most, building these connections is more guesswork than science. At the end of the day they have little idea what really works and whether their efforts have produced the desired results.


The research across hundreds of brands in dozens of categories shows that it’s possible to rigorously measure and strategically target the feelings that drive customers’ behavior. We call them “emotional motivators.” They provide a better gauge of customers’ future value to a firm than any other metric, including brand awareness and customer satisfaction, and can be an important new source of growth and profitability.

​At the most basic level, any company can begin a structured process of learning about its customers’ emotional motivators and conducting experiments to leverage them, later scaling up from there. At the other end of the spectrum, firms can invest in deep research and big data analytics or engage consultancies with specific expertise. Companies in financial services, retail, health care, and technology are now using a detailed understanding of emotional connection to attract and retain the most valuable customers. The most sophisticated firms are making emotional connection part of a broad strategy that involves every function in the value chain, from product development and marketing to sales and service.

High-Impact Motivators – Hundreds of “emotional motivators” drive consumer behavior. Below are 10 that significantly affect customer value across all categories studied.
 

Defining Emotional Motivators – Our research stemmed from our frustration that companies we worked with knew customers’ emotions were important but couldn’t figure out a consistent way to define them, connect with them, and link them to results. We soon discovered that there was no standard lexicon of emotions, and so eight years ago we set out to create one, working with experts and surveying anthropological and social science research. We ultimately assembled a list of more than 300 emotional motivators. We consider customers to be emotionally connected with a brand when it aligns with their motivations and helps them fulfill deep, often unconscious, desires. Important emotional motivators include desires to “stand out from the crowd,” “have confidence in the future,” and “enjoy a sense of well-being,” to name just a few.
Identifying and measuring emotional motivators is complicated, because customers themselves may not even be aware of them. These sentiments are typically different from what customers say are the reasons they make brand choices and from the terms they use to describe their emotional responses to particular brands. What’s more, as we’ll discuss, emotional connections with products are neither uniform nor constant; they vary by industry, brand, touch-point, and the customer’s position in the decision journey.

Why Emotional Connections Matter – Although brands may be liked or trusted, most fail to align themselves with the emotions that drive their customers’ most profitable behaviors. Some brands by nature have an easier time making such connections, but a company doesn’t have to be born with the emotional DNA of Disney or Apple to succeed. Even a cleaning product or a canned food can forge powerful connections.

The process, in brief, looks like this: Applying big data analytics to detailed customer-data sets, we first identify the emotional motivators for a category’s most valuable customers. High-value automobile customers, for example, might want to “feel a sense of belonging” and “feel a sense of freedom.” Next we use statistical modeling to look at a large number of customers and brands, comparing survey results about people’s emotional motivators with their purchase behavior and identifying spikes in buying that are associated with specific motivators. This reveals which motivators generate the most-profitable customer behaviors in the category. We then quantify the current and potential value of motivators for a given brand and help identify strategies to leverage them.


The model also allows us to compare the value of making strong emotional connections with that of scoring well on standard customer metrics such as satisfaction and brand differentiation, thus highlighting the potential gains from looking beyond traditional measures. We find that customers become more valuable at each step of a predictable “emotional connection pathway” as they transition from (1) being unconnected to (2) being highly satisfied to (3) perceiving brand differentiation to (4) being fully connected.

Although customers exhibit increasing connection at each step, their value increases dramatically when they reach the fourth step: Fully connected customers are 52% more valuable, on average, than those who are just highly satisfied. In fact, their relative value is striking across a variety of metrics, such as purchases and frequency of use.

The pathway is an important guide to where companies should invest—and it reveals that they often invest in the wrong places. To increase revenue and market share, many companies focus on turning dissatisfied customers into satisfied ones. However, our analysis shows that moving customers from highly satisfied to fully connected can have three times the return of moving them from unconnected to highly satisfied. And the highest returns we’ve seen have come from focusing on customers who are already fully connected to the category—from maximizing their value and attracting more of them to your brand.
Four insights from our research are especially relevant to firms looking to build on emotional connection.
Emotional motivators vary by category and brand.Of the 300-plus motivators we’ve identified, 25 significantly affect customer value across all the categories we’ve analyzed. Anywhere from five to 15 additional motivators are important in any given category. For example, the sense that a home furnishings store “helps me be creative” inspires consumers to shop there more often. The wish to “feel revived and refreshed” drives loyalty to fast-food restaurants. Emotional motivators also vary within categories, depending on the desires of brands’ most valuable customers. Because brands differ in how well they align with their customers’ motivators, each may have a different starting point in any effort to strengthen emotional connections—and that point won’t necessarily relate to conventional measures of brand perception.

Emotional motivators vary across customer segments.Recall the credit card designed with Millennials in mind. Our model uncovered desires to “protect the environment” and “be the person I want to be” as key motivators in the banking category for that age group. (Traditional industry motivators such as desires to “feel secure” and to “succeed in life” are more typical of older groups.) The bank crafted messaging and features to connect to those sentiments, leading to its fastest-growing new credit card.

Emotional motivators for a given brand or industry vary with a person’s position in the customer journey.In banking, the desire to “feel secure” is a critical motivator when attracting and retaining customers early on. When cross-selling products later, the wish to “succeed in life” becomes more important. To maximize results, companies must align their emotional-connection strategies with their specific customer-engagement objectives—acquisition, retention, cross-selling, and so on.

Emotional-connection-driven growth opportunities exist across the customer experience, not just in traditional brand positioning and advertising.For example, social media can have a big impact on emotional connection. One condiments brand found that 60% of its social-network-affiliated customers (especially followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest)—versus 21% of all customers—were emotionally connected. It accelerated growth in a matter of months by increasing its focus on its social media network, developing its online customer community, and pointing customers to the website for recipes and promotions.

Putting Emotional Connections to WorkLet’s look at how an emotional-connection strategy paid off for a national fashion retailer. The company was struggling with common industry challenges. Although it had a well-known brand and a strong market presence, same-store sales were stagnating, and promotional pricing was shrinking margins. So it focused on cost management, logistical efficiency, and streamlining the merchandise and store mix—with limited success. Over the past two years we worked with the retailer on a four-part strategy to identify, understand, and quantify the value of the most emotionally connected customers. This exposed large, unexploited opportunities and allowed the retailer to better direct investments across the firm.

1. Target connected customers – We set out to answer two basic questions: How valuable were the retailer’s fully connected customers, and could the company attract more of them? We used statistical techniques to measure the strength of customers’ emotional connections with the retailer and with its competitors. The process began with surveys to discern how consumers related to key motivators in the category and with analysis to see which motivators best predicted purchase behavior. We then modeled the financial impact of building emotional connections with customers at each step on the pathway from unconnected to fully connected.

 

Our analysis showed that although fully connected customers constituted just 22% of customers in the category, they accounted for 37% of revenue and they spent, on average, twice as much annually ($400) as highly satisfied customers. Enhancing emotional connection could be a viable growth strategy if the retailer could attract fully connected customers from competitors, transform satisfied customers into fully connected ones, or both.
Further segmentation revealed a group of especially valuable customers. We labeled them Fashion Flourishers, because apparel connects to their deep desire for excitement, social acceptance, and self-expression. As a group, Flourishers are the most emotionally connected segment by far; half are already fully connected to the category. Comparing the ratios of various emotion-based segments’ spending to those segments’ size highlights extraordinary differences in value: Flourishers have a ratio of 1.9—nearly twice the market average and more than nine times that of the least-connected group (whom we called Can’t Please Them, and whose ratio is just 0.2). Given the relatively fixed cost structure of retailing, acquiring and retaining Flourishers represented an opportunity to boost revenue and margins.

A detailed profile of Flourishers underscored their attractiveness and exposed ways for the retailer to target them. Customers in this segment:

  • have a high lifetime value, spending an average of $468 a year in the category, versus $235 for other customers.

  • shop more often and advocate more: Fully 46% of Flourishers shop key fashion categories at least monthly, versus 21% of all shoppers. Flourishers are 1.4 times as likely as other customers to recommend retailers to their friends and family members.

  • are less price-sensitive: They are 2.3 times as likely as other customers to say they are “willing to pay more for the best fashion products,” 1.7 times less likely to make fashion purchase decisions solely on the basis of price, and 1.3 times less likely to shop for the lowest prices.

  • are predominantly female and younger, more ethnically diverse, and more likely to live in urban centers than other customers.

  • are more digitally engaged than other segments: They are 2.3 times as likely to research a fashion retailer online, 2.9 times as likely to shop for fashion products through their mobile devices, and 3.7 times as likely to follow a retailer on social media.

 

Drawing on these and other insights, the retailer created a blueprint for pursuing the most valuable customer opportunities. By applying the category segmentation scheme to the more than 25 million people in its customer database, it determined the financial value and behaviors of its own Flourishers, confirming that they spent substantially more than other customers and had the highest lifetime value and the lowest attrition and price sensitivity of any segment. It estimated that moving satisfied Flourishers up the pathway to full emotional connection could increase annual sales by 3% to 5%, and that luring Flourishers away from competitors could increase revenue by 5% to 8%. Because members of this group spend more per capita than other customers and turn over less often, the analysis also predicted improvements in operating margins and returns on capital.

2. Quantify key motivators – Next, by analyzing tens of thousands of Flourishers across the category, we quantified the impact of more than 40 motivators on the group’s purchasing, spending, loyalty, and advocacy. We identified the most important category motivators—the ones that bore the strongest relationship to purchases—and assessed the retailer’s competitive position in each. The financial analysis and modeling showed that further investments to strengthen the customer experience around the desires to “feel a sense of belonging,” “feel a sense of thrill,” and “feel a sense of freedom”—the motivators driving category purchase behavior and for which the retailer already had the strongest position—were likely to yield the highest ROI. Those motivators therefore became the focus of specific customer-experience investments.

3. Optimize investments across functions – To maximize opportunities from emotional connection, companies must look beyond the marketing department. The retailer examined every function and customer touchpoint to find ways to enhance high-ROI emotional motivators. This brought four major investment areas into focus: stores, online and omnichannel experiences, merchandising, and message targeting.

Stores – To estimate which of the retailer’s more than 700 stores had the most Flourisher customers, we scored each one according to the presence of this segment in the store’s trading area. We found that high-scoring stores generated up to 25% more revenue than others. Their same-store sales were growing twice as quickly, and their operating profit was 30% greater. Their profit margins were enhanced by 10% higher inventory turns and—consistent with expectations—by lower coupon usage. (Flourishers don’t just say they’re willing to pay more—they actually do pay more).

​These analytics changed the retailer’s store location strategy. We mapped the concentrations of Flourishers in all U.S. markets and submarkets, along with the segment’s propensities to shop at more than 150 other retailers. The company’s real estate team now uses a predictive model to identify sites near Flourishers and also near other retailers they frequent.


The change is paying off. New stores in trading areas with high concentrations of Flourishers have first-year sales that are 20% higher than historical averages, leading to faster break-even times and higher returns on capital. Further analysis has revealed opportunities to open hundreds of stores catering to underserved Flourisher populations. To free up capital for new stores, the retailer is closing ones in low-Flourisher areas.
Emotional-connection analytics have also allowed the retailer to understand which aspects of the in-store shopping experience are most important to Flourishers. Because those qualities often aren’t recognized by customers themselves, they had not informed store design. Flourishers say it’s important that sales associates are easy to find, that clearance items are easy to locate, and that stores have free Wi-Fi. However, analysis showed that those aren’t actually the features that drive their visits and purchases.

Mind the (Emotional Connection) Gap.


​The “emotional connection score” (ECS) of a brand measures the share of customers who are fully connected. A gap between a brand’s ECS and the share of customers who consider it a “good brand” signals an opportunity to transform satisfied customers into fully connected—and more valuable—ones. Gaps between a brand’s ECS and competitors’ indicate opportunities to seize (or maintain) advantage by attending to emotional connections.

On the basis of its modeling, the retailer predicted that the option to purchase online and pick up in-store—something that few customers say is important and that was available only on a limited basis—would be a key driver of emotional connection (it speaks to Flourishers’ desire to “feel a sense of freedom”). It tested targeted communication and in-store promotion of the option and saw a material lift in sales; it has now committed capital to a nationwide rollout of the capability. Similarly, the retailer predicted that seeing imagery in-store of “people like you” would drive emotional connection and purchasing among Flourishers (although they say that this factor is unimportant). As a test, it expanded its presence on photo-sharing social media sites and encouraged customers to submit selfies showing their favorite outfits and styles. Selfie slide shows are (with subjects’ permission) displayed on large screens in test stores, thus addressing Flourishers’ desire to “feel a sense of belonging.” Research indicates that the segment has responded to this motivator and increased purchase intent.
The retailer is now designing and testing store experiences to leverage nearly a dozen other drivers of emotional connection.

Online and omnichannel experiences – Like individual store environments, online and omnichannel experiences can be optimized for emotional connection. To this end the retailer quantified the impact of more than 100 omnichannel touchpoints on customers’ emotional connection and spending. These included mobile app browsing and purchasing, visits to the retailer’s social media pages, e-commerce site navigation, and in-store returns of merchandise bought online. Each touchpoint was scored according to its potential impact on emotional connection and spending. Statistical models then revealed the most powerful combinations of touchpoints at each stage of the customer journey, allowing the retailer to hone its omnichannel strategy and prioritize investments. For example, Flourishers say that using a computer to shop online via an easy-to-use site is important to purchase decisions. In reality, the ease and allure of the mobile site and the availability of services such as ApplePay have a far greater impact on emotional connection and spending levels. The retailer is using such insights to design investments across e-commerce, mobile, and social media that will build emotional connections with Flourishers. For instance, it developed multiple concepts for the navigational redesign and aesthetic reskin of its mobile app, tested how effectively each version enhanced feelings of “freedom,” “belonging,” and “thrill” and drove purchases, and rolled out the best one.

Merchandising – Merchandise selection, from the broad category level to specific labels, can be optimized to drive emotional connection. The retailer now tracks the purchasing habits of Flourishers nationwide through point-of-sale data collected from hundreds of retailers by independent research companies. By applying the Flourisher segmentation to these POS databases, it has modeled the segment’s purchase behavior across more than 20 product categories and 100 labels and learned which of the approximately 10 competitive retailers these consumers buy from. The resulting insights have exposed gaps in merchandise important to Flourishers, and the retailer is working with its manufacturers to rebalance its mix.

Message targeting – Having identified its Flourisher customers, the retailer can now send them personalized messages designed to resonate with the emotional motivators that drive behavior at each stage of the customer journey. For example, when Flourishers are initially considering the retailer, “having fun” while shopping is paramount. At the point of purchase, “helps me feel creative” emerges as key. Working from such insights, the retailer has developed a series of messages targeting Flourishers and timed according to their position in the journey: A rules engine sends out e-mails tailored to browsing, transacting, and servicing interactions. Response rates to this direct-marketing campaign are 40% to 210% higher than historical averages.

Media selection can also be finely tuned to boost emotional connection. We profiled the media consumption of Flourishers across 500 TV shows, 100 websites and social networks, 50 types of mobile apps, 80 print publications, and 20 types of radio programming. Working with its ad agency, the retailer is executing emotional-connection-based media plans. For example, knowing that Flourishers are enthusiastic users of Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter, it has scaled up its programs on these platforms, which has increased its marketing ROI.

4. Systematize, measure, and learn – Leveraging emotional connection does not require turning your business processes upside down; you can embed relevant strategies into existing work streams. This is most effectively done by making emotional connection a key performance indicator and including it on the cross-functional senior-management dashboard.


The retailer developed a scorecard that gives the CEO and the executive team a single-page view of customers’ progression on the emotional-connection pathway, along with the increase or decrease in connected customers of the company and its key competitors. The scorecard shows the correlation of customers’ emotional-connection scores with lifetime value measures such as annual spending, churn, and tenure. It also shows how the business impacts of specific emotions are trending and how Flourishers engage with key in-store and omnichannel touchpoints that drive emotional connection. In addition, the retailer includes emotional-connection metrics in its ongoing testing of media messages, store designs, and digital and mobile experiences. The results of these strategic and operational changes are startling. Same-store sales for stores serving Flourishers realized growth of 3.5% over the past year, whereas annual same-store growth over the past five years has averaged just 1%. Inventory turns increased more than 25%. Market share and customer advocacy also grew (the number of customers recommending the retailer is up 20% year-over-year), contributing to record-high customer lifetime values. Underlying all these gains is a 20% rise in the company’s emotional-connection score—largely the result of moving satisfied customers to full emotional connection.

The Management Imperative – Embracing an emotional-connection strategy across the organization requires deep customer insights, analytical capabilities, and, above all, a managerial commitment to align the organization with the new way of thinking. It’s important that marketing not hoard the strategy as “its” domain (although the function can and should use emotional connection to demonstrate the direct financial impact of its spending). Instead, marketing must partner with other functions, teaching and socializing emotional connection. The retailer we profiled now uses emotional connection to drive alignment across the operations management team, the C-suite, and the boardroom. At the outset the CEO identified emotional connection as a strategy to restore profitable growth. The CFO and the chief strategy officer then “sized the financial prize,” leading the heads of marketing, stores, customer experience, and merchandising to collaborate on an integrated strategy.
The advent of big data analytics brings clarity, discipline, and rigor to companies’ long-held desire to connect with the customer emotions that truly matter. Emotional connections no longer have to be a mystery—they can be a new source of real competitive advantage and growth.

Source: ​Harvard Business Review.

Branding and design are inseparable.

  • Branding and design are, to a large extent, inseparable.  A brand is not your logo or ID system, it's a gut feeling people have about you. When two or more people have the same feeling, you have a brand. You get that feeling through intelligent design, which creates the experiences people have with the brand. Everything you do creates the brand-experience, ergo design is your brand.

  • If design is the brand, stop thinking of branding and design as distinct disciplines.  It's all about integrating design and brand, we need to cease thinking of them as different disciplines. The essence of the Apple brand comes through its design. Take the logo off a BMW and you still know it's a BMW.

  • Brands need to create an emotional relationship with people.  We are all emotional beings and we have emotional relationships with brands we trust. Designers need to make that happen. A designer must take the values and assets of a company and transform them in a special way that connects with people emotionally.

  • Designers need to "get" the essence of the brand.  For designers to build a great brand, they have to understand it. You need to understand its history, its values, and what it means to people. Can you imagine designing the latent Jeep without understanding the brand archetype of what it means for a product to be a Jeep?

  • Design needs to be strategic from the outset.  For design to have a major impact, it's got to get involved at the strategic level. It can't be an afterthought or superficial trappings to be put on post product creation. Samsung's brand became powerful only after they put a Chief Design Officer in place and made it a priority for the company.

  • Integrate design early in the process to drive innovation and create solutions.  Good designers approach design as an opportunity to ask questions. Solution generation starts by questioning initial assumptions. Rather than ask myself 'How should I design Widget X?' I need to be asking 'Do we really need Widget X or is there a better solution to this customer problem? A designer needs be there at the beginning and be connected to the decision-makers.

  • Don't overdesign. With the increasing emphasis on design in the world today, it's important to avoid the 'over-designed syndrome.' A simple, well-thought-through, authentic design is often the best. Everything doesn't need to be redesigned; sometimes what we have in hand is better than what we seek. It's not all about being different; it's about being better.

  • Use design to continually reinvent the brand.  Brands need to allow themselves to constantly update, and be much more fluid. Look at Google; they morph their logo for special occasions. Constant change is a big part of who they are.

  • Use design to make a difference.  Design can make a difference in how we live. Take sustainability. A lot of what is done in that area is 'making bad, better.' We're taking wasteful things and seeing how we can make them not so bad. We need to start thinking about how we can use our design tools to encourage people to change. You do that by making 'doing better' also be fun, interesting and (importantly) the path of least resistance. And you do it in an encouraging, not controlling, way. Design needs to do that in order to reach a larger audience than just the small group that is socially driven.


While these steps may require a new way of thinking about design for some, they're key steps to the path for those who want to build a great brand and make life better for those who experience them.

The effectiveness of video as it relates to your brand.

If you are like most discerning marketers...you always are questioning the validity and value of the many choices of media available. Check-out these stats and you will understand that video is not just a medium to consider, but an effective medium that delivers a huge upside.

Keeping up with the latest marketing practices can seem impossible when you’re focused on creating phenomenal content, connecting with your audience through social media, and researching the hottest topics for your niche.

However, video marketing might be the answer to many of the problems and roadblocks your website faces. If the advantages of video marketing seem out of reach for you, it’s time to rethink your perception of video. Whether your goal is to convert, educate, or inform, it’s time to learn how videos created specifically for your brand and website can work in tandem with your current marketing methods to improve your website
performance.

The most impressive stats that represent the reasons why video should be included on your website are that 98% of users say they’ve watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service. That is why 45% of businesses who use video marketing said that they have an explainer video on their home page. Of those businesses, 83% said that their homepage explainer video was effective.

The Top-Line Benefits of Video

Video inherently delivers a powerful combination attributes:
• Attention
• Emotion
• Perceived Value
• Clarity

Not just any video will generate ROI or increase conversions. You must know when to use each of these attributes in the right place, at the right time, to see success.

Attention – Without a doubt, getting your audience’s attention is one of the most difficult parts of marketing your products and services. They’re already overwhelmed with marketing messages. Your prospects don’t want to read another lengthy sales email or product description. If you want to get their attention, you have to deliver your information in a way that they actually want to engage with — video. A product video is 4x more likely to be watched than read about in text and 59% of executives say they prefer video to text. Studies show that video doubles time-on-page.

Emotion – When was the last time a piece of copy tugged at your heartstrings? Laughing aloud or holding back tears aren’t typical responses to marketing and sales messages, no matter how well-written they are. But video? That’s a different story. The combination of visuals and sound evoke emotion much more effectively than text alone. Viewers connect to video in a way that is unparalleled by other forms of content, which is why it’s the perfect tool to get an audience to take action.

For example, video increases email click-through rates by 200-300% and 64% of people say they are more likely to buy a product or service online after watching a video about it. If you want to pull your viewers in, connect with them emotionally, and then get them to take the next step

Perceived Value – Simply put, video is perceived to be more valuable than text. It’s no secret that video is harder and more expensive to produce. So when you decide to share a video, your audience will notice. People will give you more time, more contact information, and even pay a higher price when you use video. Not only that, but its perceived value can give you a major boost in organic website traffic. Video attracts 3x more organic inbound links, drives 200-300% more unique monthly site visits, and increases click-through rates from Search by 41%

Clarity – Back in 1971, the dual-coding theory of education revealed that people learn more, and at faster rates, when information is simultaneously delivered verbally and visually. Furthermore, about 65% of the population are visual learners, and another 30% are auditory learners. If there’s one type of content that complements the majority of learning styles, it’s video. In fact, Forrester researcher has found that just one minute of video delivers as much information as 1.8 million words. Knowing that you have a complicated product or service, video will help your audience follow along and understand your message.

The Benefits of Video Marketing – With many companies looking to find that last piece of their marketing plan that will help them be successful, many are turning to video marketing. Statistically, it’s no surprise since as many as 76% of business owners and marketers have said video has a direct impact on their business.

When it comes to actually utilizing the platform, you’ll find that the benefits of video marketing far outweigh many other platforms for content. With that being said, here are a few of the major benefits that you can expect to find.

Helping People Find You – In an ever-changing digital world, the eternal struggle is always reaching your customers – cutting through the noise of cold calls, social media broadcasts, visual bombardments, and every other marketing and advertising piece we see daily. When it comes to reaching your customers, four times as many consumers would rather watch a video than read about it. This major rise in video consumption has been heavily attributed to mobile phone usage with just over 50% of all video plays being on mobile devices. This major platform change from desktop consumption to mobile consumption has prompted an overall shift in the way we consume content as a whole today.

Promoting Your Brand Online – It’s widely known that Google stands as the world’s largest search engine however, what most people don’t realize is that YouTube ranks second. Video offers a whole new promotional format that’s often overlooked by companies because of the barriers to entry. The demand is there…video content was actually predicted to represent 74% of all internet traffic this year. Today, the medium is there, the resources are at your disposal, all you need to do is leverage it to the benefit of your business.

Video Builds Trust – Trust is the foundation of conversions and sales. But building trust should be a goal on its own. The whole concept of content marketing is based on trust and creating long-term relationships. Stop selling and let the people come to you by providing them interesting and useful information. The new era demands a focus on ignition, not just content, on trust, not just traffic, and on the elite people in your audience who are spreading and advocating your content. Video does it all. Video content is likely to engage us and ignite emotions. And when we talk about elite people in the audience, YouTubers have become the most powerful social media figure to promote your brand. So, if you are serious about content marketing, you must be serious about video, too. Promotional videos can foster trust as well. Some consumers are still skeptical about buying products and services on the internet because they of the fear of being cheated, but effective marketing videos present your products in a conversational form. That creates a sense of individual approach which is why 57% of consumers say that videos gave them more confidence to purchase online.

Video Shows Great ROI – 76% of businesses say that video provides good return on investment. Even though video production is not yet the easiest nor cheapest task, it pays off big time. Besides, online video editing tools are constantly improving and becoming more affordable. And even your smartphone can make pretty decent videos already.

Google Loves Videos – Videos allow you to increase the time spent by visitors on your site. Thus, longer exposure builds trust and signals search engines that your site has good content. You’re 53 times more likely show up first on Google if you have a video embedded on your website. Since Google now owns YouTube, there has been a significant increase on how much videos affect your search engine rank. Make sure to optimize your videos on YouTube for SEO. Write interesting titles and descriptions. Add a link back to your website, products, and services. Give potential customers the way to take the next step. 

Video Appeals to Mobile Users – Video and mobile go hand in hand. From 2012 to 2014, mobile video views have increased by 400 percent. YouTube reports mobile video consumption rises 100% every year. Since people like to watch videos on the go, and a number of smartphone users is growing, your video audience keeps getting bigger and bigger. In addition, Google tells us that smartphone users are twice as likely than TV viewers and 1.4 times more likely as desktop viewers to feel a sense of personal connection to brands that show video content or ads on their devices.That being said, brands need to be sensitive to the personal experience people have on their smartphones. 

Video Marketing Can Explain Everything – Launching a new product or a service? Create a video to show how it works. 98% of users say they’ve watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service. That is why 45% of businesses who use video marketing said that they have an explainer video on their home page. Of those businesses, 83% said that their homepage explainer video was effective.

Video Encourages Social Shares – In the 8th annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report Michael Stelzner stated that 60% of the social marketers used video content in 2015 and 73% of the total respondents planned to use it in 2016. And they sure did. Social networks also encourage video content with their new features. Facebook has launched 3600 Video, Live Video, and Lifestage (A Video-Centric App for Teenagers). Instagram put in place 60-Second Videos & Instagram Stories, Twitter has Periscope and YouTube is the second most popular social network in the world. However, in a social media context, video marketers must remember that people share emotions, not facts. 76% of users say they would share a branded video with their friends if it was entertaining. Emotions are not exactly ROI but social shares can increase traffic to your site.

How to create a meaningful difference for your brand.

To be different is to be not the same. To be unique is to be one of a kind. Be different and be unique with a meaningful difference for those most important to your future. Everybody wants a brand that’s different. The irony of that statement is intentional. It belies the conservative manner in which most brands approach competitive difference. They say they want to be distinctive to consumers but often, in their heart of hearts, they actually want to align with the rest of the industry. One of the key issues for that is an uncertainty on the part of brand makers and decision makers to find a starting point.
 
In some ways that’s actually less difficult and daunting than it first appears. Begin with a premise that is truly one degree away from your rivals. By logically progressing that premise over time, and with strong discipline, you will build a brand that is consistently and markedly different.


Here’s a brand checklist, 50 aspects and cited examples on how you can create a meaningful difference for your brand:
 

  1. Go slow in a world of speed. Each Rolex takes a year to manufacture. The perception that a longer process is needed to build the world’s best timepiece also reinforces the value.

  2. Use country of origin to your advantage. Brands from Switzerland are highly associated with precision and fine craftsmanship. Seek to build brand associations with countries that support your reputation for service, manufacturing, innovation etc.

  3. Behave differently. Online shoe retailer Zappos has built its advantage on an iron clad return policy and customer service that goes above and beyond, breaking down the perceived barriers of selling and buying shoes online.

  4. Look different. Apple always looks like Apple. Diesel always looks like Diesel. Absolut Vodka always looks like Absolut. They’re in a sector but they don’t look like part of the sector.

  5. Be the underdog in a sector where everyone else wants to be top dog. Nantucket Nectars started “with only a blender and a dream,” and Clif Bar proclaims that its founder once lived in a garage. Underdogs win the compassionate consumer. Look for the underdog story you can tell.

  6. Be truly and unapologetically shocking. Benetton’s “Unhate” campaign ruffled feathers on almost every front. But – and this is critical – the outrage you generate must link to a solution and that solution should be your front. Otherwise, you simply risk shouting into the wind.

  7. Expand your appeal. “Discover” an untapped audience in your sector and, by drawing them in, intensify the sense of community around your brand and the interaction that people have with the brand. Enterprise Rent-A-Car did just that by offering leasing at a time when competitors did not. By serving this unmet need with attention to customer experience, Enterprise became the world’s number 1 car rental company. Apple too saw what others did not. No one was asking for an iPhone, but an untapped audience emerged when new value in the form of a cell phone was introduced.

  8. Re-Invent a category – and own it. UFC became the fastest growing sports organization in the world by redefining the reach and the audience for mixed martial arts. Today, UFC produces more than 30 live events annually and is the largest pay-per-view event provider in the world. Swatch differentiated from other watch brands by focusing on self-expression rather than precision.

  9. Create a new category. The Toyota Prius, the Nintendo Wii, and Red Bull are all brands that created new categories, outside the established norms of their product category. By stepping outside the bounds of their categories, these brands created a space that they can call their own.

  10. Tell a story that defines you and is unique to you. The story may be about your founder as in the case with Virgin and Richard Branson, your heritage like Hickory Farms or the value you bring to the world like Coca-Cola’s Open Happiness. It may also be based in imagination – like the thought that Keebler elves make Keebler cookies. Or perhaps it’s a story based on your highly guarded secret – only two people in the world know Coca-Cola’s formula. Your story may also be about the source of your product, service or inspiration.

  11. Forge new ground in the spirit of your founder. Chanel continues to personify the philosophies, ideals and legend of Coco Chanel long after her death.

  12. Leverage your history to define tomorrow. National Geographic have redefined what it means to experience the world we never see by expanding their channels and offerings while still holding their history close.

  13. Own an eternal idea. Red Bull expresses in every action its belief in, and addiction to, excitement. Ingredients, spirit, sponsorships and the human desire to do things that make the heart race are inextricably linked. Dove owns and serves the idea of real beauty. Lululemon finds its eternal idea in the mind state of yoga and has built a powerful athletic apparel brand on that concept.

  14. Change the possibilities. This is about more than just product innovation. It’s about the introduction of technologies that completely change how people can live. Boeing redefined travel forever with the 747. Google may well redefine how we can see with Google Glass. Dyson changed the possibilities by reinventing old technologies like the vacuum, hand dryer and fan.

  15. Make active plans to be where others aren’t (yet). This article looks at the fact that while Chinese consumers are now overwhelmed by Western brands and doing business in Greater China has become very expensive, other countries in Asia with booming economies like Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines remain largely overlooked.

  16. Solve a global problem. “Big bang” solutions in areas like pharmaceuticals or biotechnology require huge investment and scary timeframes, but when they work, they deliver huge distinction, kudos and profits. A “Big Bang” solution can come from any brand — TOM’s seeks to solve the problem of children without shoes. TOM’s matches every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes for a child in need. One for One.

  17. Build groundswell. Do something startling to generate attention. Use attention to build a crowd. Use a crowd to gain credibility. Use credibility as the jumping off point for your next distinctive act. Red Bull, Virgin and Apple should come to mind.

  18. Redefine how people buy. With millions of products, 24/7 access, superior search and browse technology, user reviews and many other sources of in-depth product information, Amazon.com offers a superior purchase experience.

  19. Bring unprecedented optimism to a sector. Nike redefined what people believed they should be capable of.

  20. Connect the previously unconnected. LinkedIn brought business people together so that they could network and share ideas in a way that was effortless, credible and global. In doing that, they resolved a problem that no-one realized they had until they saw the potential for what they would now be able to do.

  21. Rewrite the experience. Southwest Airlines put the fun, the quirkiness and the savings back into the serious and process-packed world of travel. Starbucks differentiated not on coffee, but a ‘third place’ – a respite between home and work.

  22. Make what you sell feel even more personal. This great infographic hints at how much further retailers could take personalization.

  23. Link your brand to specific occasions. Habits are powerful, but occasions may be even more so. They engage us so effectively because they combine time and focus. And because of that, they provide permission – it’s OK to behave this way or that. It’s OK to do something you wouldn’t do on any ordinary day. De Beers, Hallmark, Mercedes, Hershey, Cadbury, MACY’s and others have tapped into occasions or created occasions and have made themselves synonymous with the celebration of those occasions.

  24. License to brand. Brand licensing can bring valuable new meaning to a brand, further differentiating it from its competitors. Pillsbury licenses the Cinnabon brand to do just that for its cinnamon rolls. Colgate licenses Disney characters to increase its brand appeal.

  25. Breakaway from conventional wisdom. Breakaway brands bring new meanings to the party and make the most of the stretch, holding on to enough of the old to avoid category defection. Breakaway brands stretch the boundaries and live as outliers. These brands are the opposite of the well-behaved brands in the category and consequently provide radical differentiation from the status quo. Cirque du Soleil is one such brand. It falls into the “circus” category, but this brand has skillfully crafted a highly valued and differentiated positioning as everything a circus is not. There are no tents, tigers and elephants. No ringmasters. Instead it borrows attributes from other entertainment categories like, dance, music, opera and theater. It becomes something altogether different–far outside the bounds of a conventional circus.

  26. Change the name. Sometimes your original name doesn’t sound like it would be something you would want to put in your mouth. Like a Chinese gooseberry. When the name was changed to kiwi fruit, the world suddenly had a new favorite fruit that it wanted to put in its mouth.

  27. Personify. The Green Giant character became the difference in a family of vegetables in many forms. Frank Perdue became the tough man behind the tender chicken. The Gecko became the much-loved spokesperson for GEICO.

  28. Create a new item. The cantaloupe people wanted to differentiate a special, big cantaloupe. But rather than call them just plain “big,” they introduced Crenshaw melons. Tyson wanted to sell miniature chickens, which doesn’t sound very appetizing. So, it introduced Cornish game hens.

  29. Reposition the category. Pork was just pig for many years. Then the industry jumped on the chicken bandwagon and became “the other white meat.” That was a very good move when red meat became a perceptual problem.

  30. Identify, identify, identify. Ordinary bananas became better bananas when a small Chiquita label was added to the fruit. Dole did the same for pineapple with the Dole label, as did the lettuce people by putting each head into a clear Foxy lettuce package. Of course, you then have to communicate why people should look for these labels.

  31. Be the expert or specialist. The specialist can focus on one product, one benefit, and one message. This focus enables the marketer to put a sharp point on the message that quickly drives it into the mind. Domino’s can focus on home delivery. Pizza Hut has to talk about its different pizzas, home delivery, and sit-down service.

  32. Price with pride. Starbucks prices its coffee higher to raise perceptions of the quality of its coffee.  Singapore Airlines, the most profitable airline in the world, does the same thing and always sells at a premium. In each case, the price is a signal of supremacy – differentiation via perceived quality.

  33. Use Ingredient Brands. The North Face uses Gore-Tex technology to differentiate. In the PC space the Intel brand adds to the product’s perceived performance. Each brings noticeable differences in their own right.

  34. Highly target a market. Who you focus on can create a unique point of difference. Consider FOX News, an American news outlet designed to serve the Republican Party and its supporters. This laser focus has made it synonymous with conservative views and policies, creating by far the strongest commercial brand associated with those views. Wegmans Supermarkets believes that happy customers are generated by happy employees. They have built their powerful brand on the mantra that their employees are number one.

  35. Change the reach. How your product or service reaches a customer can set you apart. Redbox specializes in the rental of DVD’s and video games. Through an easy to use kiosk it differentiates from its competitor Netflix and helped seal the fate of Blockbuster. Amazon has a futuristic plan to deliver some orders via drone.

  36. Give unprecedented access. The reason people flew Concorde was the opportunities that could come from who you would sit next to. You weren’t paying for a faster flight; you were paying for the company. Country clubs in Asia are the same. It’s not about the game of golf; it’s about the networking. For Citibank’s Citi, Private Pass card holders, the unique value is in the preferred access at entertainment events.

  37. Share values. When a brand is built on shared values it can differentiate on those values and enjoy perhaps the strongest bond in the marketing world. Think of any brand that really matters and you’ll discover the type of people buying the stuff are the same type of people who design, make and sell the stuff. This is the awesome sauce of brand values and brand identity alignment. Apparel brands like Patagonia, L.L. Bean, and The North Face understand the importance of shared values. The bond that binds is a deep inter-personal connection between the users and the makers.

  38. Stand for something your customers want to stand for. In the same manner as the enthusiast apparel brands mentioned in #37, Kashi cereal customers see themselves, their values, and their identities in complete harmony with the Kashi brand. They’re one and the same. Likewise, the Kashi people care about the same stuff as their consumer–greater health and well-being for themselves and the planet. For Kashi, making food that enhances life is sacred business. For Kashi customers, living well is sacred business. More people are waking up to caring more about others and our planet, and buying Kashi products too. Your brand can differentiate as being the do-good brand in your space.

  39. Give them something to unwrap. Package design offers one of the biggest opportunities for brand differentiation. Color, shape, size, functionality, texture and materials can influence purchase decisions. There’s no mistaking a Tiffany & Co. box and its distinctive blue. Innovative packaging proves another signature differentiator for Apple as well as Tropicana which learned the value of this difference when it attempted to redesign its packaging.

  40. Engage the senses. Every marketer should explore the senses when ideating brand differentiation strategies. Each of the five senses offer a channel to connect with your target customer and flex a point of difference. The more each of these are engaged at any one time during customer contact the more your brand and what it stands for will be remembered. Scent branding in the hotel world is one example. Sofitel, Le Meridién, The Ritz-Carlton, Westin, Sheraton and Marriott are some of the hotel brands employing a signature scent strategy to further move away from their competitors.

  41. Put a famous face to your famous brand. The age-old strategy of pairing products and services with a well-known celebrity continues to be a viable option for brand differentiation. However, the rules have changed. There must be an authentic alignment between the brand and the celebrity. Case in point: Tiger Woods and Nike Golf: Yes. Tiger Woods and Buick: No. The association between brand and celebrity must be clear and obvious.

  42. Redefine usage. How your product is used can serve as a key differentiator. Arm & Hammer Baking Soda became much more when customers discovered it also made for a powerful air freshener. This helped Arm & Hammer not only extend into new categories but also create a multi-use brand that is more meaningful to its target customers.

  43. Introduce simplicity and purity into people’s cluttered lives. Stand for good things. Market highly valued values. With deep customer insight, you will know what your target customers value most. That insight can help create highly valued brands. Honest Tea was born from the insight that simple and pure refreshment was missing from the market. The Method brand came to life through a quest to create household cleaning products that were not harmful.

  44. Tap into the power of emotions. Linking your brand with customer emotions can prove an effective differentiator. It was humor that helped GEICO pull away in the me-too world of insurance brands. While their competition focused on fear, GEICO used witty and funny campaigns to differentiate itself and gain an advantage. Brands like Hallmark found brand differentiation based on human emotions could lead to a 92% mind share.

  45. Control the accessibility. Brands can differentiate on when they make their products and services available and who they make that accessibility for. Elite luxury brands will limit how many of its signature products are manufactured. The most influential customers will have access to those products first. This all builds into the frenzy that drives desire and purchase of the brand. It also helps command a premium price. Brands like Coca-Cola use accessibility on the other end of the spectrum. They desire to be the most accessible brand and have distribution channels into the deepest regions of the world.

  46. Focus on design and aesthetics. Consider Hermès scarves, Vilebrequin men’s swimwear, Robert Graham shirts and Alexander McQueen fashion wear. Or how about the Michael Graves Design’s collection at Target? This helps college and university brands too. Beautiful campuses tend to attract students. For municipality brands, “attractive neighborhoods” rates as one of the top things people consider when deciding where to live. Camden, ME, Niagara-on-the-Lake (ON, Canada), Quebec City (QC, Canada) and Bruges, Belgium are very popular as tourist destinations, in large part due to their superior aesthetics. Never underestimate the power of superior aesthetics to differentiate.

  47. Convey status. If you knew I went to Philips Academy, Andover, Harvard and Stanford, lived in Atherton, CA, summered in Nantucket, drove a Mercedes-Benz model S-class, and sailed a Nautor’s Swan53, would these brands effectively communicate my social status?

  48. Create a unique product purchase experience. How different is purchasing a teddy bear with a child in a Build-A-Bear Workshop versus buying one off the shelf in a typical toy or department store? Very different. And very differentiating.

  49. Create an unusual theme or twist to your brand. Consider the following unusual restaurant brands – Opaque (dining in the dark), Ice Restaurant (in Dubai), Underwater restaurant in Maldives, Magic Restroom (toilet-themed) Café in CA or Dinner in the Sky (suspended 50 meters above the ground). For more creative restaurant themes,

  50. Treat people differently than your competitors do. We love Ritz-Carlton’s “Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen” mantra. This alludes to a level of gentility, civility and respect not often experienced in product purchase or usage experiences. If an opportunity to serve your customer better does not exist — create one.


Source: branding strategy insider

Guerrilla marketing

There’s no doubt that guerrilla marketing can provide fantastic results while allowing marketers to exercise their creativity in a unique way, but it will only work for businesses who aren’t afraid of risk-taking.

Guerrilla marketing is an advertisement strategy concept designed for businesses to promote their products or services in an unconventional way with little budget to spend. This involves high energy and imagination focusing on grasping the attention of the public in more personal and memorable level. Considering the rewards for pulling off a good campaign, it's no surprise that guerrilla marketing is becoming more popular. The lower costs and the opportunity to surprise and amaze people are some of the reasons why this method is becoming more widespread among agencies. When done right, it can land a brand (and agency) a lot of attention, free publicity and if it's really good, the chance to go viral. This article shares a few visual case study examples for you to sink your teeth into.

When the traditional strategies aren’t delivering, you send in the guerrillas. They’re the extra-special forces – the ones that implement killer strategies to turn the tide and defeat the enemy. Guerrilla marketing is a great alternative to traditional marketing. It thrives on original thinking and creativity, where imagination and ingenuity beat out big budgets. Guerrilla marketing tends to be cheaper than traditional marketing, relying on smaller, more localized brick and mortar strategies like:

Graffiti: Graffiti marketing uses city streets and alleyways as a giant canvas. While smaller, more covert operations will make their mark wherever they want, for most businesses it’s recommended to get permission from a property owner before going Monet on the walls of their establishment.

Stencil Graffiti: Stencil graffiti uses stencils to create repeated works of street art. The advantage of stencils is that you can create multiple instances of your art across many different spaces in a short period of time. Stencils tend to be small in size (as opposed to a full-wall mural) and consist of simple designs.

Reverse Graffiti: Reverse graffiti is when, instead of adding to a surface, marketers remove dirt and grime from a street or wall to create an all-natural marking message. Just put a stencil on a sidewalk and then wash the uncovered spaces!

 

Stickers: Creative use of stickers is another great guerrilla marketing tactic that can be very successful when implemented well.

Undercover Marketing: Also known as “stealth marketing,” marketers disguise themselves as peers amongst their target audience. One example is Sony’s campaign in 2002, in which actors were hired to wander about cities, asking strangers to take a photo of them. During the interaction, actors would rave of their cool new phone, boasting of its features and capabilities.

Flash Mobs: Flash mobs involve organizing a group of individuals to perform a specific action or task at a pre-determined location and time. In some cases participants are hired actors, other times they are simply members of the community who enjoy the randomness of flash mobs!

Publicity Stunts: Publicity stunts involve specific feats of awe and amazement, usually sponsored or in partner with a brand. Red Bull is very adept at this practice, exemplified by their 2012 skydiving record as part of their Stratos project. Red Bull sent Austrian extreme-sports athlete Felix Baumgartner above the stratosphere, dominating the world record for highest skydive, launching himself from over 128,000 feet above earth. Arguably much more than a mere stunt, the Red Bull Stratos project set numerous world records and was viewed live on YouTube by over 9.5 million users (setting yet another record).

Treasure Hunts: Creating custom, high-quality treasure hunts is another cool guerrilla marketing tactic that can energize audiences. Guerrilla marketing treasure hunts often involve posting online clues to hidden items scattered across a single or several cities. Winners are rewarded with digital codes, prizes, or a hint for the next level of the treasure hunt.

Urban Environment: The most successful guerrilla marketing strategies make great use of the spaces around them. Urban environments allow for many opportunities to implement clever marketing strategies.

While today we’re mostly showing physical, visual examples of guerrilla marketing, there are plenty of online examples. Online guerrilla marketing campaigns often appear in the form of:

  • Viral videos

  • User generated content competitions

  • Creative landing pages


Guerrilla Marketing Pros and Cons – Guerrilla marketing has some advantages and disadvantages. Take both into consideration before choosing to move forward with a campaign.


Pros of Guerrilla Marketing:

  • Cheap to execute. Whether using a simple stencil or a giant sticker, guerrilla marketing tends to be much cheaper than classic advertising.

  • Allows for creative thinking. With guerrilla marketing, imagination is more important than budget.

  • Grows with word-of-mouth. Guerrilla marketing relies heavily on word-of-mouth marketing, considered by many one of the most powerful weapons in a marketer’s arsenal. There’s nothing better than getting people to talk about your campaign on their own accord.

  • Publicity can snowball. Some especially noteworthy or unique guerrilla marketing campaigns will get picked up by local (and even national) news sources, resulting in a publicity powerhouse affect that marketers drool over.


Cons of Guerrilla Marketing:

  • Mysterious messages can be misunderstood. There’s often an air of mystery to guerrilla marketing campaigns, and while it’s this sense of mystery that can often propel a campaign’s attention and notice, the lack of clarity can also skew audience interpretation. The confusion associated with guerrilla marketing campaigns can have extreme implications, such as in 2007, when flashing LED circuit boards promoting a new animated series, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, were quietly installed around the city of Boston. The objects were mistaken for explosive devices, causing citywide panic as bomb squads were brought in to examine and remove the unknown devices.The hired installers were even arrested for mounting “hoax devices,” but were later released. While it’d be easy to label this campaign as a disaster, the story got picked up on major media networks across the country, so despite the whole ordeal, some would probably call it a success.

  • Authority intervention. Some forms of guerrilla marketing, such as non-permission street graffiti, can result in tension with authorities.

  • Unpredicted obstacles. Many guerrilla marketing tactics are susceptible to bad weather, thrown timing, and other small instances that could easily threaten to undermine an entire campaign.

  • Potential backlash. Savvy audiences may call out businesses who are implementing guerrilla marketing campaigns they don’t approve of. This is especially true of undercover marketing campaigns – if you’re caught, prepare to face the wrath.


There’s no doubt that guerrilla marketing can provide fantastic results while allowing marketers to exercise their creativity in a unique way, but it will only work for businesses who aren’t afraid of risk-taking.

Apple is on the verge of becoming the first American company to be worth $1 trillion.

Apple is now worth about $945 billion. Shares are up more than 13% this year, far better than the overall market. For Apple to hit a $1 trillion market valuation, the stock would need to go up just another 6% to $202.30 a share.
 

Even though some think Apple (AAPL) needs a new product to keep sales and profit booming, Apple has inched closer to $1 trillion thanks to solid sales of the iPhone 8 and X -- particularly in China and Japan -- and surging services revenue from the App Store.

Apple's sales increased 16% in the first three months of 2018 -- not bad for a company of its massive size.

It also has been using its more than $267 billion in cash to boost its dividend and stock buyback program as a way of rewarding investors, which include Warren Buffett.

Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB)bought nearly 75 million shares of Apple in the first quarter, making it Berkshire's top stock holding.

Related: Apple is showering its investors with cash

But Apple is benefiting from investor euphoria surrounding the tech sector broadly as well.

Amazon (AMZN) is also trading at an all-time high and is now worth more than $800 billion. That's lifted the net worth of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to nearly $140 billion, according to lists by Forbes and Bloomberg tracking the world's wealthiest people.

 

Google owner Alphabet (GOOGL) and Microsoft (MSFT) have rallied to near record highs this year too. They are each now worth more than $775 billion.

Facebook (FB), despite its Cambridge Analytica woes, is not far from its all-time high either. It has a market value of nearly $560 billion.

Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebook are now collectively worth about $3.9 trillion.

But Apple would not be the first publicly traded company in the world to surpass the trillion dollar mark.

Oil giant PetroChina (PTR) briefly topped a trillion dollar valuation in 2007 when its stock began trading in Shanghai, but shares quickly plunged afterward. PetroChina, which is also listed on the New York Stock Exchange, is now worth about $240 billion.

CNNMoney (New York)First published June 5, 2018: 9:33 AM ET

The Things You Need-To-Know When Marketing To Millennials.

Millennials make up the biggest part of the work force. They are steadily taking over the ground vacated by the retiring Baby Boomer Generation. Like every generation that came before, they come with their own set of characteristics that make them unique. No company can afford to ignore their enormous purchasing power.

Here are the main things you need to know about marketing to Millennials.

​They are not the same – This is the number one thing you need to know about Millennials. They are not like other generations in that they are a simple demographic. You have to drill down deep into the millennial generation to come up with the right marketing campaign for you.

Millennials are the most diverse generation to have ever existed. You’ll find Millennials consisting of everyone from single mothers to middle class professionals. You’ll find them in every single social class and industry from apps to fashion trends and marketing.

Marketers must think in terms of these segments, rather than demographics.

Millennials are forever connected – The millennial generation was the first to grow up with technology at their fingertips. They are used to always being connected. The majority of Millennials will be connected to multiple tech devices at the same time. Without constant access to the Internet they’re going to feel helpless.

Brands will have to maintain constant communication with Millennials. They need to be able to provide a lot of support whenever Millennials want it. The 9-5 lifestyle is dead.

This is a sharing culture – Even the most novice marketer can spot the fact Millennials are spending more time on social media than ever before. To reach this audience your brand has to be on social media. It’s symbolic of the sharing culture that has grown up around Millennials. Companies on the cutting edge of marketing are always sharing and always looking for new ways to engage in the social arena.

But not every social media site is right for you. Go back to thinking in segments and consider where your segment is likely to be hanging out.

Forget about the hard sell – The hard sell has become something of a piece of satire in the eyes of Millennials. They don’t respond to the salesperson following them around screaming about how great their products are. The hard sell is gone and you need to let Millennials make buying decisions for themselves.

For example, in the fashion industry shops are employing influencers to promote their products. Seeing others wearing something is much more powerful than a hard sell.

Why is this the case? Millennials value authenticity over everything else. They’re more likely to listen to a fellow consumer, as opposed to a piece of promotional copy.


Millennials are moving fast – The reason why Millennials are moving fast is partly because of the mobile revolution. The rise of mobile has meant that they can stay connected wherever they happen to be. Marketers can no longer assume Millennials are in their homes when they access their websites.

What it all means in practice is that marketing has turned into an omnichannel issue. Retail strategies have had to adapt to this. There’s no such thing as online, offline, and mobile strategies. They’ve all been merged into one.

Loyalty is hard to win – Millennials are not going to stick with the big name brands. The baby boomer generation, on the other hand, would do this because they felt more secure in sticking with a brand they knew. The rise of Millennials has forced brands to stop relying on the idea that they can expect to gain loyalty from customers. Marketers have to actively win it and hold it.

This plays into the stereotype that Millennials are disloyal and they won’t stick with anything for any length of time. That demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding, though. They may be harder to sway to your cause, but when they do become loyal they tend to be the most loyal consumers around.

Marketers have to realize that retaining loyalty is a constant process.

Conclusion: Marketers need to adapt to Millennials making up the bulk of the workforce. Learn what they respond to and what matters to them. It could just be the breakthrough your business needs to move forward into the future.

Source: forbes.com AJ Agrawal , Contributor

Study: When it comes to advertising, sex doesn’t actually sell.

Sex may sell itself, but that doesn’t mean it sells everything. A new study suggests that while advertisements with sex may grab your attention, they’re not good at actually selling you stuff. Sex may sell itself, but that doesn’t mean it sells everything. A new study suggests that while advertisements with sex may grab your attention, they’re not good at actually selling you stuff.

In a meta-analysis of 53 experiments involving nearly 8,500 participants, researchers from Ohio State University examined the effectiveness of sex and violence in advertisements. To synthesize the data, the researchers coded past experiments in which participants reported on their memory of, attitudes toward, and intentions to buy products after they watched TV or films or played video games, or saw ads in print. They studied both neutral ads shown during sexual and/or violent TV programs, as well as ads containing sexual and violent content themselves.

Participants in the experiments, published in late July by Psychological Bulletin, viewed brands that used sexual ads (which could be anything from a fully clothed but extremely sexualized model to actual sexual organs) less favorably than brands that featured neutral ads. Brands that showed ads during violent programs were remembered less often, viewed less favorably, and were less likely to be purchased. As the report stated, “Violence and sex never helped and often hurt ad effectiveness.”

Lead researcher Brad Bushman explained the findings to Quartz as follows: “Humans are hard-wired to pay attention to violence and sex, but they only have a limited capacity to pay attention. If they’re focused on the violence or sex in a video game or magazine, they have less attention to pay to a Tide laundry detergent.”

More research would be needed to examine the effect of sex and violence in ads on attention span. But in support of that theory, the report found that, as ads got sexier, people were less likely to remember, like, and buy the associated product.

For more click to review the full study: new study

Source: http://qz.com, Written by Thu-Huong Ha 

Visual grammar.
The term grammar refers to the system, structure and elements of a language or area of knowledge. A language is a method of human communication. We are aware of this through the spoken and written word. Visual communication is also reliant on a language of its own.

In order to communicate using this language it’s necessary to understand what its components are, what the relationship between the components are, and how they are used to create meaning and enable understanding. Acquiring knowledge of visual grammar will not only be fundamental to your practice of visual communication but will allow you to articulate through the spoken and written word the concepts behind your ideas. Many artists and designers have been fascinated by the fundamental components of visual language.

Visual language is comprised of simple fundamental components such as dots, lines, circles, squares and triangles. Color, texture and space are also basic elements of visual language.


Certain shapes have become connected with deeper psychological associations we have as humans and our existential experiences. Circles have strong meaning in terms of our knowledge of the universe. Our planet, the sun and moon are circular and this has a particular resonance with us. Squares are solid and stable. We use these associations when making compositions in the abstract to represent our concrete (real) world. Visual language can be manipulated to express, represent and communicate understandable concepts such as rhythm; speed (fast/slow); distance (near/far); movement (direction – up/ down, forward/backward, left/right); denseness; space; weight (heavy/light), force (strong/weak); impact; light/dark; proximity (close/apart); and structure (regular/irregular).

Squares and rectangles are stableThey’re familiar and trusted shapes and suggest honesty. They have right angles and represent order, mathematics, rationality, and formality. They are seen as earthbound. Rectangles are the most common geometric shape encountered. The majority of text we read is set in rectangles or squares. Squares and rectangles suggest conformity, peacefulness, solidity, security, and equality. Their familiarity and stability, along with their commonness can seem boring. They are generally not attention getters, but can be tilted to add an unexpected twist. Think of web pages that tilts framed images to help them stand out. Every element on a web page is defined by a rectangle according to the css box model. Web pages are rectangles made up of smaller rectangles and squares. In Buddhist symbolism a square (earthbound) inside a circle (eternal whole) represents the relationship between the human and the divine.

Triangles can be stable when sitting on their base or unstable when notThey represent dynamic tension, action, and aggression. Triangles have energy and power and their stable/unstable dynamic can suggest either conflict or steady strength. They are balanced and can be a symbol for law, science, and religion. Triangles can direct movement based which way they point. They can be used to suggest familiar themes like pyramids, arrows and, pennants. Spiritually they represent the religious trinity. They can suggest self-discovery and revelation. The strength of triangles suggests masculinity. Their dynamic nature make them better suited to a growing high tech company than a stable financial institution when designing a logo. Triangles can be used to convey progression, direction, and purpose.

Crosses symbolize spirituality and healingThey are seen as the meeting place of divine energies. The 4 points of a cross represent self, nature, wisdom, and higher power or being. Crosses suggest transition, balance, faith, unity, temperance, hope, and life. They represent relationships and synthesis and a need for connection to something, whether that something is group, individual, self, or project related. As with lines vertical shapes are seen as strong and horizontal shapes are seen as peaceful. Most everything said about vertical and horizontal lines can be said about vertical and horizontal shapes.

Spirals are expressions of creativity They are often found in the natural growth pattern of many organisms and suggest the process of growth and evolution. Spirals convey ideas of fertility, birth, death, expansion, and transformation. They are cycles of time, life, and the seasons and are a common shape in religious and mystical symbolism. Spirals move in either direction and represent returning to the same point on life’s journey with new levels of understanding. They represent trust during change, the release of energy and maintaining flexibility through transformation. Clockwise spirals represent projection of an intention and counterclockwise spirals the fulfillment of an intention. Double spirals can be used to symbolize opposing forces.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is the promotion of products or brands via one or more forms of electronic media. While the Internet is, perhaps, the channel most closely associated with digital marketing, others include wireless text messaging, mobile instant messaging, mobile apps, podcasts, electronic billboards, digital television and radio channels, etc.

Digital marketers monitor things like what is being viewed, how often and for how long, sales conversions, what content works and doesn’t work, etc. Digital marketing differs from traditional marketing in that it involves the use of channels and methods that enable an organization to analyze marketing campaigns and understand what is working and what isn’t – typically in real time.

Why Digital Marketing is Important
Digital media is so pervasive that consumers have access to information any time and any place they want it. Gone are the days when the messages people got about your products or services came from you and consisted of only what you wanted them to know. Digital media is an ever-growing source of entertainment, news, shopping and social interaction, and consumers are now exposed not just to what your company says about your brand, but what the media, friends, relatives, and peers are saying too. What’s more, they are more likely to believe them than you. People want brands they can trust, companies that know them, communications that are personalized and relevant, and offers tailored to their needs and preferences.  This is the new era of communication.

Digital Media is Everywhere
Here are some interesting statistics on our first post delving into this exciting world:

  • Digital marketing spend is forecasted to increase to 35% of total budgets by 2016.

  • Content creation and management now claim the second largest share of digital marketing budgets. 

  • 28% of marketers have reduced their advertising budget to fund more digital marketing.

  • Search engine marketing (SEM) will continue to capture the largest share of online spend at 47%, or about 14% of the firm’s total marketing budget 2014.

  • 60% of B2B marketers use web traffic to measure success instead of using sales lead quality or social media sharing.

  • 84% of top performing companies are using or plan to start using marketing automation by 2015. (

  • Online display advertising (banner ads, re-marketing, and re-targeting) will capture the next biggest share of the online spend at about 34% of total online spend and about 10% of the total marketing budget. 

  • 73% of B2B marketers use video as a content marketing tactic, and 7% of marketers plan on increasing their YouTube marketing. 

  • 67% of Twitter users are more likely to buy from brands they follow. 

  • Organic search leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound marketing leads have a 1.7% close rate. 

  • In 2016, the average firm will allocate 30% of their marketing budget to online, this rate is expected to grow to 35% by 2019

  • Search engine marketing (SEO & SEM) will capture the largest share of online spend with online display (banner ads, online video, etc.) taking the second largest share

  • Social media investments will continue to grow as an overall share of online spend, but will only represent about 15% of the total online spend

  • Mobile marketing has grown to a point that it’s no longer tracked in the forecast and it’s presumed to be considered across all channels

 

Dallas · Chicago · San Diego

Navigate

Let’s talk

Contact

  • S2 LinkedIn
  • S2 Facebook
  • S2 Instagram
  • S2 YouTube

Looking for solid creatively strategic thinking applied to your next project? We would like to talk to you. Contact us and let us know what’s on your mind?

© Copyright 2019 S-Squared Creative. All Rights Reserved.