Here are some of the things I’m reading this week…
Does the value of e-newsletters diminish over time?. Larry Keltto writes a very interesting blog post about e-newsletters, and then he performs an experiment on his own list to determine the answer. I love that he brings in some real metrics to support his conclusion that (spoiler alert) the newer the subscriber, the more active they are. This is true in other forms of selling as well. The lesson here: Make more offers at the beginning.
The ABCs of branding: RCD. Brand Insight Blog delivered a really compelling post about three key components required for a great brand — Relevance, Credibility, and Differentiation. (You know I love writing about differentiation!). What struck me about this post was that each of these components have an attraction quality and a retention quality to them, which means you need to really build an “RCD” brand if you want to effectively attract new customers and keep current ones.
Video marketing via Facebook. I have been paying attention to videos, video production, and video marketing because I see it as a key trend that will continue to rise for the near future. But how do you use it effectively? This case study by Marketing Sherpa outlined how one company in Dallas is combining video marketing and social media and saw a 30% increase in the results they were measuring. Impressive!
Here are some of the things I’ve been reading this week:
Local search ranking factors: There’s a big push back to the local market and I’ve been watching it increase in importance over the past couple of years. Well, the good folks at Moz have surveyed and analyzed the factors that influence local search ranking. There is really good stuff here and, like a lot of stuff that comes out of Moz, this should go into your to-do list for your website if you are targeting a local market.
Google’s new SEO rules for news releases: I’ve been relying on press releases releases for a long time — to help me build awareness and quality links for my business and my clients’ businesses. Recently, Google announced that it was changing the way it would pay attention to news releases backlinks. Jayme Soulati discussed this on her site and she also linked to a blog post at PRnewswire. If you write news releases, be sure to read them both. The best quote is: “We believe the value press releases provide is in discovery, not links.” This won’t change how I write press releases but it will change why I write press releases.
How to make yourself a marketing Einstein. This is a humorous article that builds off of a quote loosely attributed to Einstein. The premise is: If you invest 15 minutes a day studying something, you’ll end up a year later having spend the equivalent of a year in college. So this blogger is spending a full hour a day studying a topic (marketing). In his first post he mentions 2 excellent resources — The massive guide to getting traffic and How to increase website traffic. Great stuff at both sites… and I love the hour-a-day for a college-education-in-a-year approach!
The insider’s guide to the future of content: The folks over at Steamfeed wrote a great article about how content is changing and what we can expect it to be like in the future. As a writer, I’m mindful that the content I create may not always be consumed as text (I also write audio and video scripts for businesses and I’m increasingly asked to do so). Smart content creators will pay attention to these predictions and adjust their businesses accordingly.
As business owners and entrepreneurs, we’re all looking to stand out a little from the crowd. One of the ways we can do that is by taking a page from the marketing playbook of beer companies whose marketing campaigns are one of the only ways they can differentiate themselves from all the other beers available.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you don’t need to have a beer-company-sized marketing budget to benefit from the lessons these spokesmen can provide. Nor do you need to introduce a spokesperson in your marketing (although you can, and that’s a clever way to connect with buyers). In this blog post, I’ll look at 5 current (or recent) beer spokesmen and share some lessons that you can apply in your business. (Note: I’m using spokesmen here because the ones I’m referring to are men. And it could be argued that these are technically mascots, not spokesmen — whatever).
A SHIFT IN BEER MARKETING
You don’t see a lot of celebrities and athletes pitching beer on TV commercials anymore. The most famous celebrity beer endorsement is probably the Miller Light “great tasting/less filling” debate between football players Dick Butkus and Bubba Smith. Today, athletes might wear a beer logo on their clothes or equipment, but we don’t see them appearing in commercials.
Instead, beer commercials have generally gone in two directions: (1) Regular people drinking beer and having a good time in some kind of social setting (this is a popular and time-tested marketing method), or, (2) beer spokesmen who portray the face and style and attitude of the beer (but have replaced celebrities and athletes).
MOLSON CANADIAN SPOKESMAN: JOE
Molson is one of the biggest, oldest beer brands in Canada and they continue to rely on national pride as a way to sell their beer. It works. They’ve been using the “I Am Canadian” slogan off and on, and in 2000 they released a commercial in which “Joe”, a typical Canadian, goes on a bit of a rant about who Canadians are and aren’t. This ad worked. It was parodied frequently, it stirred up some national pride, it won a bunch of awards, and I still hear people quoting lines from it more than a decade later.
As a spokesman, Joe appeared just once (that I’m aware of) and reflected the common Canadian stereotype of being a nice guy, if not a bit understated. He wears plaid and portrayed the “everyman” approach.
The ad won numerous awards ad, as you can see from the following Google Trend comparison, Molson Canadian and “I Am Canadian” are still searched frequently even though “I Am Canadian” was no longer used as a slogan after 2005. .
Marketing lessons learned from Joe
Appeal to pride. Joe appealed to national pride but there are a lot of ways you can use this: Pride of parenthood is a big one among “mompreneurs”, for example.
The slogan expresses a feeling — not just a benefit or feature — and can outlive your marketing campaign.
As a representative of your brand, you can be the “everyperson” that your customers will identify with.
BUD LIGHT SPOKESMAN: BUDD LIGHT
Bud Light’s spokesman, in my opinion, failed. It looks like Bud Light was trying to go for an awkward-cool counter-hero (heroic in a nerdy kind of way) but they fell short of success. It took me a long time to discover that his name is, apparently, “Budd Light”. They created someone who was doing things that their customers would want to aspire to do (be the life of the party, pick up women, etc.) but he was also creepy and ubiquitous… NOT someone you want to have around and not someone you want to be like.
A quick (and unscientific) comparison of searches for Bud Light and Budd Light reveal that few people, if any, searched for “Budd Light”. Those spikes in searches for Bud Light are Superbowl-related.
Marketing lessons learned from Budd Light
Counter-heroes are compelling but they are risky. If you’re going to have some kind of mascot/spokesperson/persona as a counter-hero, they need to do heroic, aspirational things but your audience needs to aspire to be like them.
If you want to leverage a marketing effort, you need to brand the effort itself, not just your product or service. Bud Light should have worked harder at branding Budd Light.
We’ll see in a moment where this was done very well…
KEYSTONE LIGHT SPOKESMAN: KEITH STONE
Keith Stone is the Budd Light guy done right. There are a lot of similarities (He is a counter-hero who does heroic things but takes himself too seriously). But the differences are what makes the Keystone campaign successful: First, they have made the spokesperson someone that people can relate to — a dumpy, regular guy but with a cool confidence that an audience can aspire to. Second, they have branded the effort, not just their beer. In fact, check out how searches for “Keith Stone” have accelerated past searches for “Keystone beer” Marketing lessons learned from Keith Stone
Counter-heroes work when your audience can relate to them AND aspire to be like them.
The marketing effort is a brand unto itself and it should tie into the primary brand.
Your marketing needs to match the tone and attitude and style of your audience. Clearly, you can pick out the target audience by watching this marketing.
KOKANEE SPOKESMAN: THE RANGER
Kokanee is another Canadian beer, brewed on the west coast. They ran a series of ads for a while in which the Kokanee Ranger was always faced with a beer-stealing Sasquatch. I confess that I don’t like the beer and I didn’t like the ad. And if you want to know what the Kokanee Ranger was like, just watch the Budd Light commercial again. He was a creepy counter-hero… this time with a mustache. But just when I thought Kokanee’s commercials were started to wear me out, they introduced an audience-participation element that I was happy to see: After running a series of commercials, they had a “LiveOrDie” campaign where viewers voted on whether they should kill off the Kokanee Ranger.
Not surprisingly, viewers voted to kill him off. I don’t imagine that people would vote for him to live, simply because why would you vote for maintaining the status quo when the status quo is boring and tired? And I think people wanted to see if Kokanee would actually kill him off. Apparently they did, although I never saw the commercial.
You can see the spike in “Kokanee Ranger” during the LiveOrDie campaign… but Kokanee hasn’t done much else since.
Marketing lessons learned from The Ranger
Don’t run the life out of a marketing campaign. Kill it off when it’s at its height.
Involve your audience in your marketing.
Once again, we see an example of the marketing effort itself branded (beyond the brand of the company).
DOS EQUIS SPOKESMAN: THE MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD
My favorite spokesman! This is a fantastic marketing campaign because Dos Equis appropriately captures the mystique of a character who is, refreshingly, not an counter-hero but an actual hero. He is not an “everyman” but he is the kind of spokesman that viewers can aspire to be like, even if the whole idea of “the Most Interesting Man In The World” is unattainable. People like being interesting and having a character who lives an interesting life helps viewers to vicariously live his interesting life by drinking his beer.
Dos Equis introduced this campaign way back in 2006, and you’ll note a small spike of searches for the beer at that time but they really got aggressive in 2009 and you’ll see how searches for both Dos Equis and the most interesting man in the world have taken off.
Marketing lessons learned from The Most Interesting Man In The World
This is another great example of a marketing effort that is, itself, branded above and beyond the brand actually being advertised.
The spokesman has a cool factor — something none of the other spokesman have — that people are drawn to.
We see another tagline (“Stay thirsty my friends”) — like the “I Am Canadian” tagline, that can moves beyond the realm of beer. People can apply it elsewhere in their lives, which will remind them of the beer.