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October 2010 - Posts

  • The Problem with Groupon

    Oct 28 2010

    See if this scenario rings a bell: Customer buys a product at regular price, likes it and continues to purchase it again at the regular price. The company then runs a price-off promotion rewarding first-time customers--and not previous users. Sound familiar?

    Popular social purchasing site Groupon empowers businesses to employ such price-off promotions. Although the immediate sales volume and new customers Groupon can generate may be immense, many companies that use the service often do not recognize price-off promotions are a short-term tactic that can ultimately be a purchasing deterrent to existing customers.

    A recent study by Rice University professor of management Utpal Dholaki confirmed the likely discontent of existing customers of businesses that use Groupon.  After surveying 150 businesses that conducted promotions on the social coupon site between summer 2009 and summer 2010, Dholaki extrapolated many insights; chiefly, Dholaki confirmed the problem with Groupon: “…a promotion can overwhelm a business and block existing customers who are paying full price."

    Consider this: Who's getting the reward? The loyal customer or the first time buyer? How will the loyal customer feel when he or she finds out others are buying for less? Is there a better way?

    Remind your customers that buying your quality products at reasonable prices is their reward. Let them know that if they are a repeat customer, you'll reward them for staying with you with price-off appreciations.

    The ROI may take longer to develop, but it will build your brand and facilitate customer loyalty.

  • A Brief Guide for Handling a Media Interview

    Oct 18 2010

    The message that follows is a simple one. It contains basic tips on conducting interviews. Newcomers to the process should carefully read this information. Even seasoned professionals may wish to review it from time to time.

    Being interviewed is an art. Some people are naturals. They can get their message across, tackle the problem areas with an appropriate measure of honesty and still let their personality come through enough to make the reporter want to call back for future stories.

    For most people, however, interview skills come with time and practice. You can't control what a reporter will ask or write, but you can present yourself and your company in a favorable light, and as a result, exert some influence on the outcome of the story.

    Some people want a story to read as though their mother wrote it; others have an "as-long-as-they-spell-the-name-right" attitude. The appropriate, realistic expectation falls somewhere in between.

    The story won't be perfect or contain all the things you consider important. The reporter may have a bias with which you may not agree. But what counts is not every word in the story; it is the general impression that the story leaves with its readers. In time, after several stories, the things you want to see will probably begin to appear.

    The following are basic suggestions for taking interviews:

    • Before the interview, think of all the things most people ask about you, your company and your specialty. Be prepared to answer all these questions.
    • Think of the points people should know about you -- things that are different or unique. During the interview, when an opening occurs, bring up these subjects. (If you don't and your public relations counsel is present at the interview, he or she will probably find a way to do so. That is the reason for your counsel's presence.)
    • When doing a radio or television show, be sure to repeat the name of your company or product. Unlike an article which can be re-read, a viewer or listener may miss or forget your name. Subtly inserting your name ("...well at The Phelps Group we feel that...") will greatly enhance the benefit of the exposure.
    • Consider the problem areas inherent in your industry. You could be asked about them, so be prepared with answers that put you and your company in the most favorable light.
    • Assume the interviewer knows nothing about you, your product or service, your company or your industry. Be prepared to explain everything in simple terms. Have photographs available if appropriate (don't be surprised if a "medical writer" knows little about medicine, or a "real estate writer" knows little about real estate. This could be his or her first article on a new beat). Even if reporters understand their subjects, they in turn are writing for readers who probably don't.
    • Don't feel rushed. When faced with a difficult question, take a moment to think about the appropriate answer.
    • Be friendly and enthusiastic. Your attitude toward your product and company will be conveyed to the interviewer this way.
    • Dress according to the image you wish to convey (for television interviews, stay away from white, black and prints).
    • ASSUME THAT NOTHING IS OFF THE RECORD! If you don't want to see something in print, don't bring up the subject.
    • Avoid four-letter words. Even common ones, such as "hell" and "damn," look terrible in print.
    • If appropriate, let the interviewer know you'll be happy to answer any questions they may have about your product, service or industry at any time in the future. (If he or she takes advantage of your offer, be sure to return the call promptly.)

    As a final note, now that these cautions have been conveyed, just relax and enjoy the interview. Letting your personality come through is far more important than guarding every word. An interview represents more than just one story. It is an opportunity to establish a relationship with the press that can prove invaluable in the future.

  • Can You Make the Logo BIGGER?

    Oct 12 2010

    In light of the current logo uproars faced by both GAP and MySpace, it is an opportune time to address the perennial graphic design question asked of advertisers: Can you make the logo bigger?

    We’ve all heard it. There are even several spoofs about it on YouTube. But, making the logo bigger isn’t a branding strategy. It’s just a logo—not a way to get into the hearts and minds of today’s fragmented consumers who need to be engaged with your brand.

    If you think your logo is too small, stop and ask yourself these questions:

    Is the ad on strategy and creatively memorable?

    Does it stop the reader and engage them with an offer or information that piques their interest?

    If the answers are "yes," then they’ll want to know where they can get it. Aha, the logo. It doesn’t matter what size it is or if it’s even in the ad. In fact, according to Hey Whipple Squeeze This by Luke Sullivan, ads without any logos at all are often the most powerful. Why? Customers don’t buy logos, they buy benefits. So if you can effectively convey the benefits, logo size only matters in terms of design—something best left to the eye of a seasoned art director.

    Make the Logo Bigger

    Amber Bryan | Team Leader

  • Addressing the Total Market

    Oct 06 2010

    Addressing the Total Market is critical to marketing success in today’s overcomplicated America, which is comprised of many different sub-Americas that all coexist and influence each other.

    But, doing so doesn’t have to be that complicated!

    To illustrate my point, I’ll share a story from a few years back when, while Creative Director at La Agencia de Orcí, I presented some new TV ideas to our Honda client for their new model lineup. At the time, I never even dreamt that a concept like Total Market would be at the core of what I would be doing in the near future! Anyhow, of the ideas presented, I particularly favored one above all others for the Odyssey minivan. Not only was the idea strong and portrayed the minivan in a meaningful way, but there was an additional element that I loved and couldn’t pinpoint right away.

    Well, after presenting, the client loved the idea too. However, he had a concern! He said, “This ad could work in the General Market—my General Market Agency could’ve done it! What’s truly Hispanic about it?”  “All that’s very true,” I agreed.  “Because,” I added, “Besides the main cast being Hispanic looking, the ad didn’t have lots of Spanish dialogue, mariachi music and a grandmother.” Back then, these were all expected elements of a “true Hispanic” TV ad.

    How dare we change the formula!

    I explained to the client why that particular ad would resonate well with the intended Hispanic target market and he agreed to produce it. And, since it also would resonate with the General Market audience, he requested an English version too.

    Thinking back, I now realize that we were addressing the Total Market before it was even called that.  Why did this ad work? It worked because it was based on universal human aspirations and principles; it had a clear, simple and entertaining storyline with well-defined characters that were easily recognizable by any human being. Being able to tell stories that are rooted in these elements is what addressing the Total Market is all about!

    Francisco Letelier | VP Creative