Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Keep It Simple And Think Like The Customer!

Between last week’s blog and this week’s entry, I moved into a new house in Athens, Georgia.

Whew… I really have no plans on moving again any time soon!

Even though I had professional movers, I still moved around furniture to fit better in the rooms and there were still lots of boxes to unpack.

Yesterday was consumed with getting the Internet activated and set up. Let ‘s just say that I could write a whole blog about the lack of any organization with AT&T and its new centralized branding as the communications resource.

This afternoon I went to the grocery store to restock my kitchen shelves with many of the key basics used to prepare meals. My afternoon challenge centered around figuring out just where the products on my iPhone list were located in the store.

I finally found everything I was looking for, but that was after asking at least a half a dozen other shoppers where they thought this item and that item might be located.

I am now at home and tripped across an interesting posting on Shopper 360’s Twitter Site about a study one of the CPG Brands did that involved the creation of a shopping aisle totally dedicated to convenience foods.

Hormel was the CPG Brand that funded the research.

Hormel, long known for their canned meats and stews, had discovered that only 35% of shoppers reported knowing where to look for convenience food items while another 65% reported being totally frustrated and confused.

By the way, the confusion cited was in relationship to all the items placed around what the consumers were searching for that led many of them to believe that there were way too many options on the shelf.

”Because research indicated that consumers shop by need state, Hormel advocated creating a Convenience Food Aisle which would contain all convenience meal occasion items in the same place, instead of having them scattered throughout the store and lost amid other products.”

Hormel then worked in partnership with a couple of the grocery chains in creating a Convenience Aisle anchored by microwavable items and quick to prepare (in five minutes or less) food items.

The result? Stores that created the Convenience Aisle saw an average increase of 19% in sales.

Wow… that’s impressive!

Earlier today, I met with a new client that has developed a very cool quick service restaurant concept.

In addition to crafting his brand story, we are also working on refining his operational and interior space based on customer input in the first prototype store.

Before I go any further, I have to share that the client who came up with the concept and is putting the money behind its development is a Millennial that is at least one full presidential term away from turning thirty.

Isn’t it great how the forthcoming generation thinks!

Anyhow, one of the items being refined is their menu board that currently lists out all the items available. As the client said, “we need to simplify it and keep it centered on our key signature items.”

Wow… that’s impressive!

I told some friends today that I think I am going to donate the last un-opened boxes labeled “Dining Room” to one of the local charities. They asked why and I said that with what I have unpacked, I am fine and the last thing I need is yet more stuff.

Consistently keeping a brand simple is not easy, but that brands that do become winners.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Don't Write Your Radio Ad!

Is it just me or have others out there noticed how bad radio advertising has gotten?

Here in the midst of folks searching the Internet for information about products and services or soliciting word-of-mouth advice from the social networks like Twitter and Facebook along comes a rash of radio ads based on jingles and slapstick, no relevance humor.

Oh that list can go on from the automobile companies to the temp agencies to the power companies to the airlines… they are all like what we Baby Boomers heard on air back in the 1960s.

And I don’t think any of them are out to be retro!

This morning, I heard a new radio ad for AT&T Wireless.

It opened with a gal and guy talking back and forth of which she makes a double-entendre comment about his lack of getting it up! And they weren’t even talking via an AT&T phone – they were talking in person.

Seriously, I am not kidding.

The ad goes on with more slapstick exchange and little relevance to me as an AT&T Wireless customer.

As many know, I am a strong advocate of cultivating brand cultures through the conveyance of the emotional brand experience, but I cannot figure out how the chief creative got his or her wires that crossed.

Unless, of course, there is a new CMO on the client side that thinks that humor like that grabs audience attention and there is already writing on the wall that the account is soon going into review.

There is no question about it. Radio is a challenging medium.

For years, radio stations have scraped and scratched to deliver the outdated advertising model of reach and frequency

Today advertisers can purchase zoned sections of the newspaper… they can purchase television by cable zone... they can buy national magazines by geographic market… they can purchase key lifestyle groups by ZIP+4 list screeners… but rifle-targeting audience groups using radio?

No… advertisers cannot.

And radio hasn’t really worked to find much of an alternative option.
Perhaps the radio stations have the inside track. Those Gen X brand managers just love to script those radio spots… well they even write those out on the back of the bar napkins!

And those radio production recording studio owners are probably the ones buying the drinks.

And finally, God love the agency account execs who know that if they lose the account their job is out the door…

So… if you love to journey back in time… go turn on that radio and spin the dial.

Oh… and by the way, after those ads have aired and the radio stations have raked in their media dollars, I would wager to bet that the guy on the client side will be sending out his resume.

And I’ll further bet that it will be in paper form and copied out at the local duplicating house.

Well go and Tweak your business friends, remind them that 2010 is just around the corner, I’ll set the dial on NPR and… Hey, Let’s Journey!