Posts Tagged 'free sample'

the symbiosis of brand and sales

short-term vs long-term

Over on his adliterate blog, Richard Huntington shares some great thoughts on the perceived dichotomy of short-term and long-term objectives.

It might be an idea to read the post first in order to get some context for what follows below.

In light of some recent discussions on this theme, it appears that the issue of sales vs. brand is actually getting more complex, even though we’re allocating more resource to addressing it.

In his post, Richard raises an important concern about ‘digital segregation’:

“Online brand activity seems far more segregated into ‘like the brand’ and ‘buy from the brand’ than offline, into apps and experiences on the one hand and cheap and cheerful direct response advertising on the other. Fine if these are just tools to compliment other marketing activity, but not much of a future as a stand-alone industry.”

One of the things that attracts marketers to digital communications is the fact that they allow us to perform straightforward cause-and-effect analyses. It’s easy to prove whether specific activities drive sales, and that’s very useful. However, we seem to have become caught up in the reporting, and we’re increasingly focusing on the activities that are easiest to measure. We obsess about measurement, rather than on the outcomes the measurements should assess in the first place.

However, by not measuring the more complex, brand half of the equation, we risk returning to a commoditised approach. We’re placing greater value on linear returns, and as a consequence, each interaction is in danger of becoming a one-off transaction.

Perhaps this imbalance stems from a disproportionate emphasis on short-term results. Our focus on the present quarter means we’re losing sight of longer-term planning and the continued growth and success of the brand. There’s no denying that each quarter’s sales are critical, but to the same point, so are next quarter’s sales, and those 5 years from now.

But this is a classic case of missing the forest for the trees: we don’t need to choose one over the other.

Building brands and driving sales are not mutually exclusive. Rather, they should exist in symbiosis. They’re the yin and yang of brand success; we need to balance both in order to survive.

In that respect, any activity that prioritises one over the other is a sub-optimal compromise.

Some brands have already proven that we can achieve this balance. Ben & Jerry’s have shown that free sampling can be used to build a strong, durable brand at the same time as driving quarterly sales. Their success lies in the fact that everything they do engages people on an emotional level, rather than merely enticing them with free or cheaper product.

Of course, this strategic model requires more up-front thinking, consistency of purpose, and patience, but nothing worthwhile ever came without effort.

Critically, any brand can achieve that same balance.

I recognise that theory will not prove this point effectively, so I’d be more than happy to respond to any specific queries on how it can work for any (your) brand.

Share your challenge via the comments section below, or via twitter: @eskimon.

Many thanks to Richard for his inspiring post.


tee total

Tiger Woods Tee-Off Banner

I stumbled on this great interactive piece thanks to @eunmac at Amnesia Razorfish.

The experience is similar to the Pringles banner that won awards at Cannes recently: there’s a compelling communications proposition that actively engages the audience and draws them in to an evolving story.

Even better, this campaign offers people a simple, free sample of the new Tiger Woods game, right within the advertising.

However, it was when I came to post about it that I realised there was an opportunity to make this type of campaign even more powerful.

I actually wanted to include the ‘tee-off’ banner above, instead of just the screen shot.

Maybe I’m just being slow, but I couldn’t find an easy way to do that.

Allowing people to embed the tee-off banner on their own site, or even on their Facebook profile, would amplify the reach of the campaign with no additional media cost, and even better, stimulate audience conversations.

Interactive, social media, and peer endorsement all in one; a client’s dream!

Moreover, when you ‘tee off’ in the current campaign, you visit a series of new EA pages where you play your subsequent strokes.

This was perhaps another missed opportunity; if the subsequent banners were to appear on other, non-EA sites, the brand could establish some interesting partnerships (Poke’s Balloonacy campaign for Orange demonstrated the power of this approach).

It’s already a great campaign, but I’d love to see some of these developments expand the audience engagement.

Thanks again to @eunmac

augmented utility

I’ve been frustrated by the lack of utility in ‘augmented reality’ campaigns I’ve seen so far.

That was until Herbert shared these clips with me:

It’s great to see some applications of this technology that go beyond the novelty of a shiny new toy.

Zugara‘s idea is quite simple, but it’s still very useful. As Santiago notes on this Organized Chaos post, it would be a great tool for visualising how furniture might look in the actual rooms in your house.

And while Layar‘s application is just a logical progression from map mashups, it has a lot of potential; I’d be surprised if brands like Lonely Planet didn’t use it to develop mobile sightseeing apps.

It can take time for people to find the best uses for a new technology, but I’m confident we’ll see even more impressive applications of AR in the coming months – particularly in the area of virtual sampling.

Please feel free to share your own examples in the comments section.

Find out more on Zugara from this Organized Chaos post and their website, and more about Layar on their website

state of adventure

welcome the the adventurous land of oregon

welcome the the adventurous land of oregon

[screenshot from oregon website]

someobody’s put a lot of effort into this new site promoting the u.s. state of oregon.

it’s a bit like a ‘free sample’ on the web, and sets up a clear brand personality.

see more here | from notcot

love letters

fontstruct screen shot

there’s something very clever about fontstruct, a free, online font creator from font brand fontshop.

allowing people to create and download their own fonts draws them deeper into the category.

it brings fonts to life, engaging users with a product they may previously have taken for granted.

while the concept isn’t new, this feels like a fresh take on the free sample, as well as a simple way to drive word-of-mouth between friends.

find out more at fontstruct | seen on springwise

things to do on a dark knight

batman tumbler

[image from]

although not part of the new batman film’s official marketing, there’s no reason why brands can’t make use of this type of engaging media.

paper wizard claudio has created a cut-out so you too can build your own tumbler batmobile – download a copy and build your own now!

from | spotted at technabob

i shot myself

[collage of images from topshop’s gallery]

iconic fashion retailer topshop has set up automated fashion shoots at stores in london, manchester and dublin.

shoppers can stroll in and immortalise their look using a modern version of the newton machine.

indulging people’s desire to be famous for five minutes, the best photos were posted online, and participants were given a print of their ‘shoot’.

the booths are a fantastic way to increase visits to the store, but also to encourage ‘dressing up’.

topshop could turn this engaging idea into direct sales by using in-store ‘fashion consultants’ to suggest items that shoppers might not have otherwise considered.

widespread pr ensures the idea reaches those who can’t visit the booths too.

visit the gallery | from springwise


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