Black Friday is coming. It’s this week. That’s the real Black Friday, I’m talking about. I want to be clear since these days “Black Friday” could be referring to, well, almost any day, ever since marketers have come to use the phrase as a not-so-subtle message that things are “on sale.”
Great stories make brands great. Or can. If properly told. Because storytelling is a great way to use narrative to connect your customers to your brand. Focus on linking what you stand for to the values you share with your customers.
Just to be clear, I did not ‘phone in’ this column.
Considering the ubiquity of smartphones today, I probably couldn’t be faulted if I had phoned it in. I’m not sure there’s a stronger word to use than “ubiquity” when it comes to smartphones. Maybe “omnipresence,” because 86% of the world’s population owns one, a number that increases to 91% in the United States. And we’re not shy about using them.
There are basic strategies, tactics, and best practices that can help you rehearse for the marketing part you have to play. Here are ten acts (with links to some “line notes”) which – if performed well – will significantly increase your chances of a boffo brand performance.
If you want customers to connect with you, and be loyal to you, and connect to the experience that is (or what you hope is) your brand, you have to “know.” Absolutely, positively know. Know who you are. Know what drives consumers. And know what consumers expect. Only then will you truly know your brand.
Our 2023 Top 100 Loyalty Leaders list consistently proves brands that make loyalty, engagement, and expectations their top priorities not only place high on the list, but more importantly, they rank high on consumers’ shopping lists. That’s the really boffo part! Brands that can do that always perform better.
While the consumer-brand relationship paradigm has shifted over time, brand – what it is and what it stands for – is still critical. But, more and more, “brand” has gotten left behind.
You need to FIRST identify Customer Expectations and THEN align your brand and engagement activities to meet and exceed them.
Brand Keys released their annual Most Patriotic Brands survey. It identifies which brands best embody the value of “patriotism”.
Because brands that better meet customer expectations always see better consumer behavior. And sales and profits.
If you, like Steve Jobs, want to “put a ding in the universe,” think innovation. That’s the way to go – especially if you’re a brand.
Innovation is brand-critical. It allows brands to stay competitive – to differentiate themselves, to create unique positions in consumers’ minds and allow them to meet consumers’ ever-changing needs.
Getting consumers to behave better toward your brand involves loyalty, expectations, emotional engagement, and emotional value. Things that motivate people to choose your brand and remain loyal.
If you’re a brand, you disappoint when you don’t meet customers' expectations. But, as managing brands is a business, you also have to be concerned about expectations of the financial markets.
“Likes” and “tweets” have become surrogates for real ROI and where, unfortunately, in the rush to rush to something new, the brand often gets left behind.
Brands better able to meet consumer expectations are six times more likely to have customers use the brand more and more often.
You have to know what fans really expect – because league (and team) loyalty correlate very highly with those fan expectations.
In a survey of 8,000 U.S. adults, 85% said they don’t know how to identify environmentally-friendly, sustainable brands, or what companies do about being sustainable, so they could gauge how well they measure up to their expectations.
A consumer makes about 35,000 choices a day. One every 2.5 seconds. Depending on the category and age cohort, 17 to 29 percent of those choices (so 5,950 to 10,150 of them) relate directly to consumer marketing. Of those marketing-related decisions, 100% are based on expectations. Success, loyalty, profits, are ultimately all about meeting expectations. Every brand and marketer wants to exceed those expectations. Or say they do. So, how are they doing?
It comes down to the consumer-to-brand bond – the emotional engagement that ensures loyalty and future purchases. From a measurement perspective it’s defined as the degree to which a brand meets expectations that consumers hold for the Ideal product or service in its category.
A brand logo refresh that has confused the heck out of potential customers.
You don’t really need to be a researcher to understand that, without saying a word, clothes do a lot of talking for us.
Very soon, we'll be releasing our 26th annual Customer Loyalty Engagement Index. How brands in different categories rank when it comes to loyalty. It’s a lot bigger than when the survey was first released in 1997. It’s bigger and there’s some even bigger news this year!
Too many emails can be bad for a brand’s engagement health.
Making predictions about 21st century consumers (or voters) using mid-20th century research techniques generally results in misleading forecasts.
From a brand perspective, four taglines isn’t a bad record for a 247 year old brand. Particularly when you consider that Coca Cola and McDonalds have each had about 40 tag lines this century alone!
Brands think that kind of co-branding (products/service + celebrity) is synergistic, but it’s also dangerous.
We looked to our 2022 Loyalty Leaders List and drilled down to examine the percent-contribution the graphic IDs that 20 brands consistently use in their marketing.
Consumers in the post-pandemic marketplace are doing some significant sorting-out of brands when it comes to their loyalties.
To create engagement, to build loyalty, to not go bankrupt, you absolutely need to understand what consumers really expect. Then try to meet – or even exceed – those customer expectations.
If you want to see increases for your brand, it means continuing to promote your brand during recessionary times.
Consumer expectations are today’s gateway to innovation. These top 50 brands are today's innovation leaders.
We had the normal, the new normal, the pandemic, and, as we move toward the next normal, brands will need to focus on innovation and innovating.
Slapping an American flag on something and having an authentic foundation to be able to slap an American flag on something aren’t the same thing. Consumers know that too.
If you can engage consumers in a meaningful way, it’ll jolt something in them and have them behaving more positively toward your brand.
Brand Keys president and founder Robert Passikoff unpacks the reasons behind consumers' picks, fast food’s health-focused evolution — and one candidate that should have made the list.
Loyalty – for virtually every alcoholic beverage category – is driven primarily by things like appearance of versatility (the critical word being “appearance”).
Are celebrities to blame for the crypto crash? No, but they certainly didn’t help. Here’s what consumers, and brands, need to be really thinking about when it comes to celebrity endorsements.
Cannabis and its cultural swirl remain a heady and potential goldmine for those who can brand weed right.
It turns out that there’s an enormous difference between a brand saying something, a brand doing something, and a brand saying and doing something believably.
Here’s why brands should stick to business excellence and avoid unwinnable political fights.
Selling to existing customers is not a new idea. It’s called “customer loyalty,” and it’s kind of a brand prime-directive.
If you’re a marketer or researcher, here’s a mantra that can add a little magic to your efforts: You need to know what people think, not what they say they think, and you really need to know what they expect.
Nobody on a “Least Engaging List” makes the kind of money or profits shareholders expect.
Boycotting Russian brands available in the U.S. may not bring down the Russian economy, but it is symbolic.
It was Mother Teresa who said, “Give, but give till it hurts.” But nobody ever said you couldn’t make sure you helped your brand do better while doing it.
Defining your category’s Ideal is where it gets tricky.
People should be able to share their consumer insights and teach and pass on knowledge to a new generation of marketers and researchers. But not duh-worthy stuff.
Real customer expectations – the ones brands want to exceed – move at the speed of the consumer, faster than brands can keep up, no matter how many times brands tell you they want to exceed your expectations.
Brands that want to dominate and “own” categories and consumers will have to also own an emotional value.
While we can’t offer you a drink, we can offer you access to the largest, most accurate, correlated-to-consumer behavior, continuous brand loyalty database ever created.
How much does the fact we recognize a logo – even like a logo – change our behavior toward the brand and the experience the logo is supposed to represent?
Black Friday and Christmas shopping are becoming more like going to see Santa or the Thanksgiving Day parade. Nice to do, but not necessary to do.
I recently received an email from one of the largest social networks in the world asking for my participation in a survey they were conducting. Here’s a precise quote of what they sent. To me and a gabillion other members: “We’re doing a survey about XYZ. We’d like to hear your opinion, even if you might not be familiar with the category.” Are you kidding me? You want information from someone not familiar with the category? What the use is data from someone not familiar with the category?
Great brand slogans are unforgettable – etched in our memories and in our hearts. Which is what emotional engagement is all about.
The perfect storm blew the Peloton brand out of the luxury category into a sector some consumers thought of as a “necessity,” and that was good.
Brands that make loyalty and emotional engagement a priority show up on our Loyalty Leaders List. More importantly, they show up on consumers’ shopping lists.
Marketers that miss value-shifts and are unprepared when they finally have to acknowledge the shift, usually they end up with the sticky end of the balance sheet. You can end up with the sticky end if you ignore values too.
Technology is, indeed, driven by corporate innovation, but it’s mostly driven by consumer expectations.
Market research is at the very root of all intelligent, directed action—or so we believe. What sensible person or organization acts without understanding context, alternatives, and probable consequences?
Run-of-the-mill mid-20th Century market research is a superb rear view mirror, but a crummy windshield.
Be a real brand. Defend your heritage. Build your brand values. Create emotionally engaging advertising to reinforce brand differentiation, consumer gratification, and customer loyalty. You know, brand stuff.
Where you fall on the Commodity-to-Human Brand Continuum determines the answer to the ultimate question, "Are you really a brand?"
Not everything is a brand. People and things may be known, but that doesn’t make them brands. And calling yourself a “brand” doesn’t make you one. Doing that is problematic and simplistic. Real branding is never simplistic. Why would anyone think it was? Commentary column in MediaPost's The Marketing Insider.
Victoria’s Secret brand loyalty is down. The brand needs a new flight path for the evolving retail atmosphere, or it will continue to pay the price.
In tough times – have there been tougher times than the recent pandemic? – customers are six times more likely to stick with products they’ve been loyal to in the past and snub the new entry, even if Coca-Cola is part of its name.
Loyalty is not only a leading-indicator of consumer behavior, it’s also axiomatic. As loyalty increases, emotional engagement drives positive consumer behavior.
Almost two-thirds (63%) of American households have an Netflix account. And probably a lot more watch if you factor in the ones using someone else’s login.
Consumer & Political Values Don't Mix: 100-Days Out-of-Office Brings Big Changes For Trump Brand: Both Consumer & Political Favorability Down Significantly.
You need to be a brand that meets customer expectations and emotionally engages. That's different from being technologically-advanced.
What role will brand name play in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines?
Our percentages indicate the contribution each loyalty driver makes in today’s pandemically-modified arena where leagues currently vie for fan loyalty.
These days it seems a lot of “fatuous” stuff gets crammed into surveys. Digital surveys seem to have made that easier.
There’s been a lot of talk recently about how brand loyalty is disappearing. I don't think that’s true. I believe lots of things in the 21st century and over the past 30 years have morphed.
A recent spate of articles have declared that brand loyalty is in jeopardy, or even -- as suggested recently in a commentary in this publication -- “on its way out.” The reality is, brand loyalty not only exists, but is a measurable, leading indicator of consumer behavior and brand profitability, and is not going away anytime soon.
Our 25th annual Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index survey found rigors created by the 2020 marketplace produced two loyalty challenges for retailers.
I was getting ready to brag. Not about myself, but about predictive metrics. Ones that identify consumer values and expectations describing how consumers will view, compare, and buy in categories. “Buying” being critical, given branding and marketing are businesses and not hobbies. Predictive values and expectations describe what consumers truly desire, then serve as a yardstick of how well they see your brand delivering. OK, enough evangelizing. Time to brag.
COVID-19, the economy, sheltering-in and working-from-home, some things open, others closed, not to mention the politicization of, well, everything, has put extra stress on all brands. What should a brand do?
Metaphorically speaking, your North Star should lead you to activities that cause your brand to better meet – even exceed – expectations consumers hold for the drivers of engagement and loyalty in the category in which you compete.
Netflix was #1 in the Streaming Video category, so we’d pretty much presume Netflix was going to do pretty well in their category. And they did. Most recently they added more than 200 million subscribers.
Loyalty has changed but it has not vanished. It has been transmuted through changes by consumers born hotwired to the internet.
It’s that time of year when people make New Year’s resolutions. You know, those promises that go in one year and out the other.
Whether a brand survives uncertain circumstances like the pandemic comes down to how much loyalty the brand engenders with its customers.
As marketing lore has proven, an ounce of insight ultimately turns out to be a real treasure.
For the past 35 years, Brand Keys, has conducted a year-end examination of our independently-validated loyalty and engagement metrics from 100,000+ consumers who participated in our surveys.
When new brands do show up in our innovation survey it’s a big deal. A really big deal. Consumers’ views of innovation have become bigger deals these days because innovation has a very definite half-life.
Tracking indicates Black Friday shopping has decreased over the past 10 years, replaced the rest of the year, pre-pandemic, with one in three consumers reporting shopping online at least daily.
Today – market research-wise – the term “silver bullet” stands for a simple, immediate, seemingly miraculous triumph over a complicated problem – a kind of one-solution-fits-all-and-satisfies-everyone resolution. In the real world, in the real marketplace, among real consumers it rarely exists, because consumer complexity and category specificity usually impede a silver bullet’s velocity.
The Truth About How Voters See The “Ideal” President.
In this column I’m going to talk to you through D-I-Y Presidential Prognostication. Why? Because there’s a U.S. presidential election coming up. No, really. It’s been on all the news.
No one should approach the temple of marketing research with the soul of an accountant.
Brand loyalty not only exists, but is a measurable, leading-indicator of brand profitability -- my response to recent article that expressed the opinion that, aside from fixated fans, there's no such thing as brand loyalty.
Do enough advertising and consumers will eventually become aware of your brand - but awareness alone is the longest route to profitability.
Consumers are pretty much unable, and often unwilling, to articulate the kind of meaningful consumer values that allow you to get a good look down the road.
Research has shown consumer brands are – or should be – apolitical. I’m talking politics, not Corporate Social Responsibility. There’s a difference. The minute your brand takes a political stand, one group of consumers or another is going to hate you. Not sometimes. Not often. Always!
Loyalty isn’t as nebulous as you might think. But it’s also not a lot of things.
Retailing has changed dramatically over the past decade but loyalty has always been a leading-indicator of positive customer behavior toward a brand.
Consumer expectations are up again. A lot. Why should that matter to marketers? Because “expectations” are a key determinant of customer loyalty, marketing success, and brand profitability.
Chuck E Cheese Needs Some Pizza Love During The Pandemic.
Starbucks has re-opened, but you can’t enter the stores, you can’t sit down, and you certainly can’t linger. So, what’s the difference between Starbucks and a corner coffee cart or a diner pick-up?
Now that the pandemic has forced Starbucks to change its operating model, Brand Keys' Robert Passikoff wonders what's the difference between Starbucks and a corner coffee cart? Fast Casual.
According to the 2020 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, J.C. Penney has been #8 (of 8 sector brands we track) when it came to customer loyalty for the past 4 years.
It’s an unfortunate byproduct of the COVID-19 crisis. Ill health of and the ultimate passing of brands. Business2Community, by Robert Passikoff.
The January 2020 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index ranked J. Crew # 19 out of 20 Retail Apparel brands they tracked for sector loyalty.
The combination of an overly-intense focus on fashion while taking their eyes off the quality-for-value portion of the equation has resulted in a mass loss of loyal customers. SME News, by Robert Passikoff.
My take - and advice - on how brands need to manage through the current coronavirus crisis is much-needed perspective right now.
The COVID-19 pandemic is bad, and it affects everybody and every brand. But this is not the time to stop supporting your brand.
Brand loyalty is growing – not shrinking. But brand loyalty drivers are also becoming more complex and harder to sustain.
By Restaurant News