As we are going through radical changes and the respect for traditional voices of authority are dwindling, so is our faith in brands are experiencing colossal erosion. Of course, this is backed by some hard data from Havas Media that conducted a series of international surveys, in which 134,000 consumers in 23 countries were asked what they thought of 700 brands. Get this, a majority of those taking part in the survey did not care if 73% of those brands simply disappeared overnight. In Europe and America, the number hikes up to 92%. In Asia and Latin America as the the crave for consumerism grows so does the bond for brands. Though, brand lustre still pulls some weight in this region, Havas study shows people are nonetheless skeptical.
To combat this massive skepticism, big brands are launching big ads that are sometimes peppered with humor (in case you were wondering what's up with those chirpy talking animals) and at other times they are armed with brutal honesty. A great example is Domino's Pizza. “We wanted people to reconsider this brand, but what’s the messaging that will get them to reconsider it?” The right messaging, it turned out, was the unbridled truth. Domino’s launched a series of advertisements that featured Domino’s customers decrying the old, and employees—including executives like Doyle—admitting that changes needed to be made. Other brands are finding enduring ways to have ordinary folks endorse their products. If you guessed Coke, you are right on the money. Their very popular 'giving machines' surprises the consumer with sweet delights along with free soft drinks.
As brands are constantly striving to find new ways to seduce and sustain customer interests, many companies are foregoing the conventional ad campaigns and meeting customers offline to build online links and make new 'friends'. Yes, exhibiting at trade shows is what they are doing.
Why? Because if you are an idea marketer vying for the staying power of your brand then events and trade shows are your play fields. Just imagine, the amount of content that you get to leverage based on a single event. As Seth Godin puts it: "The real win is to generate true buzz... people talking about you and what you do."
That is the $900 idea.
In past, Chevron Lubricants had focused on load generation and sales as the primary reason to exhibit at trade shows. All that changed in 2013 when the company wanted to zero in on brand awareness and product promotion for its newest lubricant Delo 400 XLE. The whole marketing hinged on one key benefit. What will you do with $900 in savings per truck? The key point to be noted here–it was not about Chevron and their product; it was about the attendees–their dreams, their hopes and their desires.
Chevron asked the attendees to articulate their $900 thought on the white boards, after which they received branded T-shirts and those spotted wearing the T-shirts at the show received $25 gift cards. The thought bubble activity not only increased the dwell time and the brand awareness, it created a brand buzz that complimented tons of user generated instagram content. Of course, the pre-show e-blasts, door clings, registration area signage, and charging station meant that the attendees saw the Chevron's messaging several times before stepping onto the show floor. That means they were being sub-consciously primed for the $900 bubble experience even before they entered the show hall.
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The Chevron story, had all the elements of a memorable brand indulgence. Engage, Delight, Surprise all aspects of stimulating interaction were there. If we go by the numbers, it was a trade show success story: Qualified leads that opted in for a discussion about Delo topped out at 238, exceeding pre-show goals by 19 percent, and the number of attendees that participated in other in-booth activities, were 44 percent more than in 2012.
But the question to ask here,"was it a meaningful brand experience? It was great that I was an active participant, but how does it better my community?"
Being a Meaningful Brand is not only good for your market and the community at large, it’s also good for your bottom line. In addition to outperforming their competitors, the top 20% of brands (in the Meaningful Brands Index) also dramatically outperformed the stock market by 120% in 2013. "These are financial advantages that are durable, sustainable and disruptive."
In today's relationship economy people's expectations are changing. In fact, Havas data clearly demonstrates that people really care that these brands exist to make significant contribution to their lives and communities, not necessarily because of how many units of “stuff” they get from the brand. Watch this Havas video to see why "Corporations that build real relationships between people who discover a common connection through their product will thrive in a healthy way."
The foundational idea that ignited the art of human organization in the first place just might have been eudaimonia — and today’s opulence is just its clumsy, hurried streetside caricature, empty of depth, shorn of meaning, bereft of the essence of what make us human, void of the hunger to create a better world for humanity. Somewhere along the way, sometime on the journey — perhaps for the best of reasons — we lost it. Let’s get it back. Umair Haque
Let's start making meaningful brands. The 'Likes' are bound to follow!
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