Entrepreneur of Girls Guide to Paris, Doni Belau has over 9 years experience providing women with the best of all things French and Paris. Continue reading “191. Doni Belau of Girls’ Guide to Paris on Product Diversity & Collaborating With Competitors”
Strategic Planner for Brand Union and one of the co-creators of Distilleurs.fr, Nicolas Minisini has +6 experience seeking, compiling and interpreting information about his client’s industries to better understand their target consumer demographic and how the brand can best reach them. Continue reading “151. Nicolas Minisini of Brand Union on Branding, Whiskey & Epicurean Culture”
How does your job fit into the advertising process? As an account manager, I manage and advise our client’s communication strategies, specifically as it pertains to the advertising industry: print, billboard, television, radio, and digital.
I work with a team of professionals to interpret and analyze the client’s demands and needs and then work with them to determine the best way to reach their objectives and engage their target consumer. But the more agency-side people that attend meetings, the more costly the campaign can become. Therefore I am the direct link between the advertising agency and the client, which allows our advertising-side people (Creatives, Strategic Planners and Producers…) to concentrate on the work where they will be most profitable and useful to our clients.
Can you give an example? L’Équipe is #1 in sports news coverage in France. They have a magazine, a newspaper, and L’Équipe 21: a free television channel.
While L’Équipe’s newspaper is famous and every Frenchman knows it or has heard of it, but their free television channel is different because they cover the less mainstream sports such as mountain biking, handball, volleyball…
so L’Équipe’s TV channel has the credibility of the L’Equipe brand name but doesn’t have the same content, which puts it into difficulty compared to ther other paid sports channels.
So I work with L’Équipe 21 to ensure consumers see the positive side of the channel: the fact that it shows less popular sports, not like all the other channels who only air the mainstream sports matches. The challenge for the channel is to show its wealth of programming and range of sports it offers its viewers.
Media-use has changed since the internet; consumers don’t use the newspaper as before.
21 has perhaps 1-200,000 viewers per day. I work with L’Équipe
to increase consumer use of their free content and increase conversion of their paid content.
What questions do you ask new clients to understand their communication strategy? First I start with the basics, at DDB we believe that “The truth is in your product;” in your unique selling proposition (USP) or benefit.
Most brands have already identified their USP and product truth, or at least have an idea of what they think it could be. If as an entrepreneur you don’t even know what you think your USP is, you’re in trouble.
Secondly, we believe in identifying insights into what people do and think. Therefore the first thing I do is find the intersection between the truth about your product and the truth about your market. At this intersection there usually lies a problem the brand wants to solve. This problem could be anything from:
- Image – your brand has a bad reputation in the consumer’s eyes
- Notoriety – your brand isn’t well known to your consumer demographic
- Product weakness – your brand is seen as inferior or not worth owning
- Competitive weakness – your brand is operating at a disadvantage compared to your competitors
Do you distinguish between brand truth and product truth? Yes. Brand truth is your brand’s history and identity, while your product truth is a part of your brand. When I first sit down with a brand I need to identify whether the brand is trying to solve a brand truth or a product truth problem. It isn’t until we evaluate the brand’s market and find that intersection that we know where the problem lies and what needs to be done. Most of the time, this process requires the expertise of strategic planners.
Once you’ve identified the problem at the intersection between the brand and the market, what techniques do you use to solve it? If the problem is a product truth to the market fit: then the problem is likely that your target consumer isn’t aware you exist or aren’t aware of why your product would be beneficial to them. That being the problem, we would work on a campaign to educate the target consumer and showcase the benefit of your product.
Volkswagen’s “It’s ugly but it gets you there” advertisement was an excellent way of humorously acknowledging the truth about their product’s design that everyone thought while pointing to the brand’s promise of reliability.
If the problem is a brand truth to the market fit: then the problem is likely the target consumer isn’t aware of the brand history, meaning, signification, that the brand isn’t liked, is hated, or has bad publicity or press, etc. Then you have to work on the brand image to change public perception.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Recall in Art Director Julien Herrison’s interview that there are many different techniques advertisers use to differentiate your brand from your competitors. For example, you can create your very own unique selling proposition (USP) by focusing your advertising around your brand’s:
- Product/Brand name
- Physical characteristics
- How your product is eaten or used
- How your product is made
- Key ingredients
- Product lifespan
- Already existing advertising
- Your consumer
- You, the owner or your staff
These approaches and techniques won’t always lead you to the best advertising campaign, but they definitely get you thinking about all the possible solutions and gets your mind wandering; which is crucial to the idea brainstorming process.]
For example, the commercial real estate market often has a bad perception because the agents selling the real-estate often have low diplomas or lack formal training, and earn their living taking you around to visit homes and taking a commission from each sale.
So a real-estate agent’s objective could address this perception by showing that their real-estate agents are highly trained professionals who work hard and do the dirty work to reassure that home buyers are getting the best deal possible at the best price. But the problem is both a brand and a market perception because on the market side the problem is that the real estate industry is unique because buyers don’t usually choose the agent, but rather they choose the house and then deal with whichever agent happens to be in charge of selling that house.
For another example, in 2011 a man died from food poisoning after eating at a Quick restaurant in France. Despite all their advertising and communications efforts to address the negative hygiene problem, consumers don’t seem to be convinced; which adds to one of the reasons why the Quick brand is dying. You cannot come back from something like that, and as a result is currently in talks with Burger King to sell its 509 restaurants.
What are a few misconceptions brands commonly have about advertising?One common question is that professional agencies are too expensive. Agencies are professional because of their ability to consistently identify and solve problems. This means that operating costs for agencies are heavy to cover the materials, the research, the expertise… but you get what you pay for.
Anyone can get lucky once or twice; professionals consistently and successfully solve clients problems.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: For more on how to qualify freelancers and professionals, refer to the book How to Shape Human Behavior (2nd Edition).]
Another concern is time: “Why does it take so long?” In short, because agencies have processes in place to ensure that our answer to your brand’s problem and objectives is comprehensive and correctly identifies the correct problem, and that the solution we propose meets your objective(s).
A third misconception is that advertisements should be all inclusive: contain the price, legal disclaimers, exhaustive product details, and every unique selling proposition crammed into one advert complete with large font, a big logo, and pack shots (photos of the product itself), etc..
But forcing all of that into one ad isn’t getting your money’s worth; in fact, quite the opposite occurs:
The more you put into an advertisement, the less the target consumer notices it and takes away from your advertising that one important message you want to communicate. One ad, one message. No more.
What are a few campaigns you have worked on?
The newest L’Équipe
launching announcing it’s new smaller size. Readers have loved the original version because of it’s unconventionally large size. So the strategy for making the publication smaller we needed to reassure consumers that even though the new
will be smaller, it is still as large as before. So we showed how despite its new size it’s still the biggest sports newspaper in France.
The above advertisement was for Honda’s The Centaur.
What was crazy about this project was that Honda had it’s custom message and logo etched into the sand at the starting line of one of the races. The helicopter covering the race filmed the start of the race as 1,200 racers rode over the message. Altogether, Honda’s message was viewed by over 10 million people watching the race live, on television, in the news and on blogs. This campaign won a Silver Lion in the film category in 2013.
I have a small advertising budget, any advice? Do a stunt that will get news, and invite journalists and bloggers. On a limited budget, you need to concentrate your time and money and message to reach one key target consumer with one idea. Be shocking. Not just with sex or violence, shocking regarding common beliefs with your market and competitors and consumers. What would your consumers find shocking? Do that. Shock them.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: In our interview, Sr Vice Present of Campaigns Dan Mathews agrees that shock and provocation are useful techniques, and agrees not simply shock and provocation for the sake of shock and provocation; strategic shock and provocation. Do something that goes against the social norms of your target audience or your market and that will touch the heart of your target audience and shake things up.]
Deputy Managing Director for Zenith Optimedia and lecturer on strategy, social media and digital brand positioning at the Institut Supérieur du Commerce de Paris and the Audencia Management School in Nantes, Philippe Torloting has +10 experience working with brands to build effective media campaigns.
How does your job fit into the advertising process? I work to understand consumer behavior so I can propose my clients the best media buying and advertising strategy possible. This involves:
- Consumer researching –
First and foremost, understand your target consumer’s mind and behavior as intimately as possible to find the right touchpoint.
- Identify touchpoints – These are the locations where your consumers have the greatest chance of seeing and responding positively to your advertising:
banner ads, search engine marketing, buying keywords, social advertising (facebook, twitter, youtube…), and emailing advertising, which brands are spending less and less on.
- Negotiate media space – Knowing where your advertising should be located, now you must negotiate with those locations to ensure your advertising budget is maximized to gain as much exposure as possible for bottom dollar.
- Analytics & Reporting – Monitoring and adjusting your campaign for efficiency and impact and reporting the campaign’s performance.
You said brands are spending less on email advertising; why do you think that is? This is a strong subject for brands. To answer that, consider your brand’s objectives:
- Objective #1. Consumer acquisition (conversion): Email marketing allows you to target very precisely, but the amount of time spent writing and sending 1,000s of emails just to acquire 10 consumers makes for a low ROI when you consider other, more efficient touchpoints to acquire new customers such as programmatic, or real-time buying through companies such as Think with Google, Rocket fuel, or Audience on Demand. These companies offer the same capabilities of email marketing in terms of targeting but with a higher ROI and visibility because your message is sent through banner ads.
- Objective #2. Loyalty & customer relationship management:
Once a person has given you their email address and is in your database, emailing becomes efficient in building a long-term relationship. In this case, email is likely your best option.
What questions do you ask new brands to help them get their digital media advertising campaigns on a solid foundation?
Like playing chess, taking the first few moves at the start of your game to strategically set up your pieces allows you to be both offensive and defensive later on.
A few important questions I ask include:
- Who are your target audience? This is important because a good product advertised to the wrong consumer is a waste of your time and money. Some consumers know exactly what they want so they go directly to the brand’s website. Other consumers haven’t made up their mind yet, and so do generic keyword searches on Google or browse websites which compare products. Using cookies, websites can track and define what consumers are interested in, and you can tell what kind of consumer you’re dealing with by what they search for: “expensive digital camera” versus “Hasselblad 5D-200MS Digital Camera Kit H-3013666.”
- What is this campaign’s objective? If long-term sales are your priority, I would plan a campaign focused on collecting contact info and permission to contact them in future. If short-term sales are your priority, I would plan a campaign that focused on making a purchase. This depends on whether your market and product is a one-time purchase or repeat purchases.
- What kinds of brand assets, content, owned media do you have and can use? Do you have a large Facebook or Instagram community? Or a large email database? You can’t build loyalty if you don’t have something of value to offer people.
Building a reputation for my overall brand or my individual product; which is better? Your product/service is the news and your actual subject, so your first message should be about that. Give context about your product, where, when, how created and why? Focus on your product’s reputation, and your brand reputation will build itself.
Building a reputation for me – the face of my brand – or my product; which is better? It depends. Are you the product or do consumers buy your product not caring about you. Are you the face of your brand or not?
Regardless, it’s important to create a network around you to humanize and add personality to your brand and to keep an eye on your industry. Branding yourself has the added benefit of simultaneously working towards an earned media campaign because people will want you to talk and give presentations on their websites and at their public events, in lectures, etc. Brand yourself in some kind of specialized communication skill that can be transferred: becoming known as a good presenter, or organizing incredible events, or infographics. Something that makes people attracted to you and want you to be around them and are confident in sharing you with their network.
For example, Loïc Le Meur started in advertising and then went entrepreneur. All his projects and services are around him. He participates in all events, does digital consulting, then built Le Web – a huge digital convention – and built brand around his name. He’s a good example. But it can become too much because people eventually get sick of hearing about you and block you out. So don’t saturate the market with your name. Be discrete and careful.
What are 2 of your favorite advertising campaigns?
What I like about this advert is that they have a successful product campaign but they built a stong brand reputation around their product and built a strong relationship with consumers through these little humorous videos and famous celebrity actors that people love about luxury. Consumers feel like a VIP everytime they use the product. They create a strong connection between the product, brand, and consumer.
The orchestration of all the content around the brand is smart; they build a universe around a fruit juice and more people likely prefer the universe than the actual fruit juice with all the contests and things consumers can do.
I’ve got a small advertising budget, any advice?
- Focus on the long-term. The most important is the first contact with the client. You can build from there. After that work long-term to build a customer relationship campaign (CRM). Long-term relationship management is better than a direct sales strategy because the more you invest in a relationship strategy, the less you pay. It’s more expensive to acquire new clients to than to keep the ones you have in the long-term.
- Test different channels. Send a few emails and if people aren’t clicking, move to Facebook advertising. If consumers aren’t responding on Facebook, move to Youtube, and so on. Create a test-and-learn customer relationship management CRM program. Go back later and retest.
- Create a signup form with multiple subscription options (email, follow on facebook, twitter, instagram…) and see with which means of communication your readers prefer to be kept up to date.
- Find and convince ambassadors you have a good product, and work with them to offer quality content. How do you find ambassadors? Consumers who don’t know about a particular product market trust comparative websites and blogs that rank high in Google searches. These kinds of customers may see your advertising but they’ll put more trust in an ‘opinion’ from someone seemingly knowledgeable, so work with those websites.
- Create a product/service bundle. If you have a product, add a service, and vice versa because it’s easier for the consumer to evaluate what you offer when they can see it and feel it. For example, include with your product a service as simple as 5 Youtube videos which teach your users how to get the most out of your product in another field or use to their advantage, and encourage users to make videos of themselves using your product in cool and interesting ways.
- Invest time working on earned media. You know your product and services the best, so the earned strategy is on your side because you are more qualified to talk about it. Offer your competence and knowledge to people in terms of speaking engagements, interviews, guest posts, etc.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Recall in our interviews, Rory Sutherland, Executive Creative Director of Ogilvy and Bérénice Goales, Client Sales Director offer advice for building effective customer relationship programs.
Also, recall in my interview with Adrien Laugher-Werth, Co-Founder of EuroBusiness Media that with some consumer demographics services are best received when you wrap a product around it. So make a product out of your service so your clients can touch it and see it. It makes it easier to pay a premium for your service when it comes along with, or at least resembles, a product.]