07 important lessons from this lecture: Continue reading “115. Integrated Product Design: Building a Generalist/ Specialist Business”
How does your job fit into the advertising process? I am the link between CBA’s clients and its creative teams. I work a lot on product packaging design and brand activation.
What is brand activation? Brand activation involves ensuring that consumers interact positively with the brand at all the different touch points consumers have with the brand: promotions, packaging design, digital, on the street, in the grocery store, at the checkout counter; wherever.
Secondly, brand activation is controlling how the consumer feels about the brand after coming into contact with it.
Can you give an example? Most recently, I was involved in an enormous brand activation campaign for Lipton Ice Tea during the late-spring/early-summer period – Lipton’s peak sales period.
We came up with the “Summer Days” push during that time period which included a special-edition promotional product packaging, beach and college campus tours that directed people to a website that offered an enormous giveaway: special summer-time gift boxes, thousands of sunglasses, and a round trip voyage to Brazil.
For this brand activation campaign, in-store, outdoor, metro, and bus stop advertisements, public relations campaigns, and stickers were posted everywhere pushing people to visit Lipton’s Summer Days website and enter the giveaway.
But brand activation is much, much bigger than simply launching a giveaway and then driving people to your landing page to sign up. Brand activation is about meeting an objective. It’s about actively taking control of the consumer’s image of your brand by creating an experience around it as a way of explaining your brand’s core values, vision and unique selling point as well as showcasing your products.
Brand activation is also more strategic than simply paying for advertising – you should expect to see a greater return on investment during a brand activation campaign than on a traditional advertising campaign because brand activation campaigns are designed to be more strategic and target consumers in different touchpoints. Also, the ROI of a brand activation campaign is more easily measureable than that of a public relations campaign or an advertising campaign (excluding online campaigns where you can monitor conversion rates in real-time).
Moreover, for Lipton’s high peak period we also did a print campaign to inform consumers that Lipton offered new tastes available and support the ‘Summer Days’ brand activation push.
In this case, we combined a below the line brand activation campaign with an above the line advertising campaign that contributed to building great brand awareness.
I also recently worked on a campaign for Smartbox.
as well as Truvia’s Facebook fanpage
What are 2-3 of your favorite advertising/marketing campaigns?
What are some misconceptions clients usually have about the work you do? CBA is a design company. We produce design and it can be easy for them to buy creative content. As an account manager, I’m in constant contact with clients to understand their needs and to provide them with the most effective strategic answer; which is most of the time a creative answer. As a result, clients sometimes don’t have a good value perception of our commercial position for our creative solutions. This means that often times agencies need to justify their solutions.
For example, I was once in the final stages of a print advertising campaign for a food product, and at the last minute the client decided that they didn’t like the photo image of their product. Further, they sent us a low-resolution iphone JPEG photo of an ‘example’ of the type of product shot that they wanted, asking us to substitute their low-res photo into the high-res final campaign.
The problem was that EVERYTHING in the campaign was based on the original photo that they had originally agreed upon and to request such a significant and foundational change so late in the process was going to cost them a fortune in setting up the additional photo shoot.
Like asking a carpenter to modify the parameters of the foundation of a house after he has already begun working on it; those modifications are going to be costly. The only way to avoid this is to know what you want during the brainstorm and planning stages BEFORE you begin investing your time and money in the project.
What are a few website you go to for inspiration?
For advertising and trends:
I want to do your job, any advice? Never forget that advertising is a service industry, and so you must think about client service first and foremost. This is imperative in building and maintaining a strong relationship with your client from the beginning.
I’m a small brand with a budget, any advice? Brand color is important but doesn’t have to be set in stone. Consider McDonalds, for example. For years McDonalds was known as yellow and red. Now they’re rebranding themselves with yellow and green.
Nothing is sacred.
Business Director of Brand Activation and Digital for Cb’a, Damien Sterbecq has 20+ years experience helping brands succeed in product packaging, retail and digital: the three main consumer touch points.
How does your job fit into the branding process? CB’a is the brand activation and design agency specializing in the three consumer relationship touch points: product packaging, retail, and digital. As the Business Director, I am the one who guarantees the success of our agency’s work. Over the past 20+ years I’ve worked in customer experience, digital, customer relationship management, advertising, and currently brand activation and design.
How do you define brand activation? Brand activation boils down to entering the consumer’s life and creating a deeper engagement between the brand and its consumers. The end of brand activation is the beginning of the traditional marketing and advertising methods and techniques brands use.
Yes, brands can use marketing and advertising, but it’s important to recognize that consumers don’t share “advertising;” they share content that is entertaining and that has an impact on them and that they find interesting. The goal of brands today should be to increase top-of-mind by creating useful, engaging, and high-quality content that consumers want to seek out and, by extension, share.
Begin by creating a real consumer insight that leads to a unique idea that can become the foundation of a brand activation campaign.
As a small startup, should I invest my limited advertising budget on an advertising campaign or on a brand activation campaign? Strategic planning is the first and most important aspect of any campaign, brand activation or otherwise.
Advertising is reminding consumers that you are still in business; brand activation is pushing consumers to buy your product instead of your competitors at the crucial time when consumers are in the market to buy what you have to offer.
If you’ve a limited budget – and especially if nobody knows you exist, then I’d recommend investing your budget in the sales and customer service experience and bring in profit and revenue. Then you can begin focusing on advertising and brand activation.
Today, your brand’s clear, unique and decisive value proposition is what persuades consumers to purchase your product or service over your competitor’s.
What are a few misconceptions brands commonly have about your industry? That television advertising is still the most important means of staying top of mind with consumers. If your target consumers are older, then yes, television plus web is the most important. But with the younger generations, the internet is your best bet for reaching them and staying top of mind.
Further, ways of staying top of mind with your target consumers are constantly changing. This is one of the reasons why I love what I do – it is never boring!
What can you tell me about user experience design? You have customer experience, which includes each and every touch point between the customer and the brand. The brand user experience refers to the experience as it pertains to a specific digital interface – i.e. on your website. This user experience is very important because if your customers have a bad experience on your website, it’s your responsibility and your customers will hate you for it.
But if you sell a physical product then online user experience is but one part of the experience. Customers will likely have more experience with your product packaging design than your website user interface.
It can sometimes be complicated for agencies when brands have such strong convictions about who they have to be and the opportunities they have to take that they don’t take full advantage of our expertise and experience. They meet with us and explain that:
- “We HAVE TO be like this.”
- “Why do you HAVE TO be like that?”
Often times brands and their agencies don’t always agree with each other and most times agencies have a difficult time explaining their ideas to their clients about why we disagree with how they “HAVE TO” be.
How long can a good branding strategy last? Bill Bernbach said that “A good branding strategy can remain untouched for decades.” Well, that statement was said in the 1950s before the internet and digital. Today’s branding strategy lifespan is less and less than it was before. You don’t want to rebrand your branding strategy every year, but I would recommend taking a serious look at your branding strategy every three years or so.
The Parisian taxi services have had the same strategy for over 20 years. Why would they change? However Uber’s business model and branding strategy has been met with an alarming success and has become a serious threat to the entire industry – revealing how antiquated and outdated their service has become.
If the Parisian Taxi Federation had been paying attention to what was going on in their industry, they would have seen Uber as a potential threat back when it was originally founded in 2009, and then an imminent threat when they launched UberX. Today the taxi federation’s success depends on how quickly and effectively they can update their branding strategy and business model to compete to this threat.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: As of 19 December, 2014, UberPop will be banned in France for ‘unfair advantage.’]
This is also happening to smaller and unknown snooty bars and restaurants who depend on a steady stream of tourists who have no way of alerting other tourists to stay away from the restaurant. Sites such as Trip Advisor is making all businesses and restaurants rethink their branding strategy.
What are some problems brand have distinguishing themselves from their competition? First things first, define your brand promise and selling proposition that ONLY you can offer people.
I have a small marketing budget, any advice? If you truly believe in your brand’s success, but lack the budget to advertise it, then seriously consider bringing in investors who are willing to put the necessary money into your marketing campaigns.
I want to do your job, any advice? Build your social network. It’s easier to find employment and move up in a company when you have other people recommending you.