Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Can People be brands?

One of my lasting memories from university is a verbal stoush I had with a fellow student whilst sitting in a packed lecture theatre in my brand management class.

The topic of the debate was "can people be brands?" and like the warm words between Russia and the USA during the Cuban missile crisis, the idea of what love was really all about between Mike Tyson and Desiree Washignton and the differing views of the UK health system and Amy Winehouse, our stances couldn't have been more polar opposite.

Like my fellow student, Sally Belford, managing director of Principals believes 'a person is only a brand if that brand has the power to shape markets.' Yes, I agree - if we are talking about using people as opinion leaders to sell our products. But what if we take the commercial component out of the equation and the market we were talking about here were the people in our lives? What if we were trying to sell ourselves on a daily basis? Couldn't people be brands then too?

At the end of the day isn't every person in this world trying to sell themselves to other people? Aren't we all looking for love and acceptance, a job? Are we therefore in a very strange way not looking to be consumed ourselves?

If we are always looking to sell ourselves then don't we, like a brand manger trying to position a product, try to position ourselves in a way we believe will ultimately end up in the consumption of us as human beings...therefore, are we not always trying to brand ourselves? Do we not, like Coca Cola, Adidas and Calvin Klein, constantly market ourselves to hopefully one day get that job, find that love, make those friends, reach that personal objective?

Are we not therefore brands ourselves?

If you're answer is still no, ask Barak Obama...

Monday, December 8, 2008

How the internet has provided the marketing industry with the credibility it deserves

When it comes to marketing online, marketers are beginning to dig deeper and deeper to find out the plethora of endless opportunities available for their brands in cyberspace. For the traditional marketer not only has the internet provided more doors to open than the MGM Grand Hotel but it has given the industry the lifeblood it so desperately needed and thrust the careers of these marketers into a new and credible era. No, it's not only lonely young teenagers (etc..) who have benefited from the magic that is the internet but in today's economic climate where accountability is king the internet has provided an ability to record data and make marketing accountable (yes accountants, you heard me) - accountable!

There are two key metrics that create such accountability; average time spent per month and unique visitors per month.

Average Time Spent - For a brand campaign one of the key things a brand manager wants to understand and have a serious grip on, is the perception of his brand in the marketplace. By being able to track the average time spent on his site a marketer can establish how engaged his consumers are with his brand. - "Boom! Sales aren't just by chance... consumers really want to find out about us.." Isn't this what marketers truly want, consumers to find out about who they are, what they stand for and how their brand can benefit the life of a consumer? - ACCOUNTABLE!

Monthly Unique users - By tracking the amount of unique users (not page impressions) an online marketers can establish how many different people are being attracted to his site. And then once they are there it's all about data collection! Email distribution list, email distribution list, email distribution list! - "So it's not just my mum checking it out my website - success!" Don't marketers really want to know how many unique people are really interested in finding out more about the story? - ACCOUNTABLE!

Imagine sitting down with your CEO and saying, for a $5000 investment this month, our website attracted 50,000 unique visitors (that couldn't be one family could it?), each staying for an average time of 6 minutes 12 seconds. That led to 10000 sales units for the month with an average spend of $15 per unit. So, as a result of our online marketing campaign that led all this traffic to our website, we've turned over $150000!

We are now in an era where marketing campaigns are not only quantifiable but yes accountants they are now more ACCOUNTABLE than ever!!!