UPS is an old brand. FedEx was the upstart. FedEx marketed like crazy, to sell its speed and reliability- “when it absolutely has to be there overnight.” UPS was dragged kicking and screaming into consumer advertising, and had a CEO that didn’t believe marketing was the answer. Maybe that’s why “We run the tightest ship in the shipping business” and “What can brown do for you” and finally “We [heart] Logisitics” all didn’t really talk to the consumer- but- about UPS.
First thing to understand about great advertising- it’s not about you, it’s about what you can do for your customer.
Finally, Ogilvy hit the nail on the head with the new UPS campaign “United Problem Solvers”- telling consumers exactly what they want to hear- UPS solves my problems.
“It does signal a way to look differently at UPS and what we can offer, instead of just thinking of our capabilities of making shipments from point A to point B,” said Maureen Healy, vice president of customer communications.
The ad campaign highlights offerings including temperature sensitive health-care solutions, its ability to help grow small businesses and its e-commerce expertise for retailers.
The company has tried to convey a broader message before. Indeed, the new campaign replaces the company’s previous campaign, “We [Heart] Logistics,” which had been in place for nearly five years and targeted companies aiming to sell their wares globally.
“It’s very hard to break through to have people think differently about UPS, because they think they know what they need to know about UPS,” said Alda Abbracciamento, world-wide managing director at advertising firm Ogilvy & Mather, who worked with UPS on the campaign. “While very well-known, we’ve got to provide additional meaning to that.”
via UPS Launches New Ad Campaign - WSJ.
Pivoting the United Parcel Service UPS brand to “United Problem Solvers” may not have been the easiest sell to a company that’s been in business since 1907, but since they’d abbreviated the name to UPS so long ago- they’d lost the essence already. And while those in the business may still use the word “parcel”- we’re in a much less formal era when companies will say “ship my pants” - for shock value. UPS needed a refresh from stodgy- and if you think parcel is an antiquated name- let’s get real- we all thought you were lying when you said you loved logistics.
Good campaigns can change the way consumers view your brand almost overnight. Wendy’s found it out with “Where’s the beef” which hammered home the unique product differentiation that had Wendy’s burgers hanging out past the edges of the bun. Nike found their groove with “Just do it” and now, we may be see UPS finally finding their mantra.
The Next Wave mission statement if you will is “Create Lust • Evoke Trust”- not some long corporate-speak, buzzword laden promise of advertising done scientifically or even better than the other guy. It’s been that way since around 2000- because it took us that long to really figure out what we do in four words or less. Yes, Nike beats us with “Just do it” - one less word, but, it took them years as well.
For the most part- advertising is intrusive. If most of it went away tomorrow, few of us would miss it. Now a days if we’re interested in buying something we’re a Google search away from finding out everything we want to know about a product or service- as long as we’re aware it’s available. That’s why more and more, advertising is more about branding and awareness than hard selling. We want you to “like” our brand on Facebook, or become a “friend” or “follower” so that we can hopefully be top-of-mind when the decision comes to buy our product or service.
The Internet is an amazing tool for marketers because it gives measurable results via stats, clickthroughs and metrics that no other advertising medium has before (except maybe direct mail which could be personalized and tracked). The creativity that’s required now is to evoke some kind of emotional connection to your brand- to inspire action, if it’s only to click a link or join a group.
Here’s a portion of a discussion on APR Marketplace- which talks about how we’re now more focused on generating brand evangelists to sell our products to their friends instead of making advertising do the heavy lifting:
Boone says he hopes efforts like these will help advertisers see new possibilities for interactive ads.
Boone: By combining technology with creativity, we’ll get transformative advertising that is of a higher utility to consumers.
But even with all of the new possibilities for ads, some lessons from the old school still apply says Stewart Alter, executive vice president at McCann. Alter says the ability to create an emotional response to a product is more important than ever. He points to a well-known scene in “Mad Men” when Don Draper pitches his ad campaign for Kodak’s new slide projector.
“Mad Men” clip: It’s a time machine. It takes us to a place where we ache to go again.
Stewart Alter: The way he transforms what the product benefit is into this emotional benefit for buyers of the product — that’s what is most fundamental about advertising.
That emotional benefit is especially crucial in the age of social media says Matt Donovan, a managing partner at McCann.
Matt Donovan: I think the old “trying to sell things” is actually not what we’re focused on now.
Wait, advertisers are no longer focused on selling things? Donovan says, no. Instead, they’re focused on inspiring consumers enough that they sell things to each other, by “liking” a company on Facebook, tweeting about an ad campaign, or Yelping a review.
Donovan: I could see a world in 10 years, where people proactively take on the responsibility of creating branded content on behalf of their favorite brand or product that they’re passionate about.
For most of us, recommendations from friends are more powerful than an ad, says Horizon Media analyst Brad Adgate. He says social media has turned us all into little advertising megaphones.
Brad Adgate: It’s no longer a top down approach where the advertiser will send a message down to consumers. We all have bully pulpits and there’s more of a give and take.
Adgate says more and more, we are using our bully pulpits to promote products to our friends. So really, the new Don Draper… is you.
via Madison Avenue’s new advertising lords | Marketplace from American Public Media.
We’ve been working at creating ads that people want to hang up on their walls, menus that people want to take home with them and proudly hang on their refrigerator and most of all- instill trust in our clients brands through consistent messaging about what’s really important- the customers sense of success or personal well being created by doing business with our clients.
People don’t buy because of an ad- they buy because they think their life will be better if they own this product or use this service- without that emotional reinforcement, you’re not really creating a valuable business relationship- you’re just having a one night stand.
There is a secret in advertising that everybody knows, but few will admit to: there is never a quick fix.
In fact there is a cycle that works like clockwork in this business, it looks like this:
Sales are declining, flat or not rising as fast as someone wants.
A decision is made to shake up marketing. Someone wants a grand slam home run- without bothering to plan how to get the bases loaded first.
A new CMO, agency, or plan is put into play. They may or may not come up with some deep new understanding of the marketplace. The plan is wildly cheered and latched on to. Yet, after too short a time- the results don’t match the enthusiasm when the new journey was plotted. A course correction is ordered.
This is the proverbial fork in the road. Do we deeply, truly believe this is the right strategy? Or, are we scared- and reach for reassurance? So often, the reassurance comes with the line “this has worked before” or this is “tried and true.” The safe option is on the table. Probably 90% of the time- it’s implemented.
The original strategy is either abandoned, or diluted. The course is reset. All the metrics are thrown off and no lesson is learned. before long, the process begins again. It’s a circle- a rotary engine- it goes round and round.
The funny thing is- despite witnessing this over and over with marketers- the place where it became painfully obvious was made clearly watching network TV dramas- good shows, that didn’t get the early ratings they deserved. An “expert” was called in- adjustments are made, and new characters are introduced. The good show- just became a mediocre one- because the initial creative brief- the storyline- wasn’t being given time to grow.
Everyone wants a grand slam- they want a viral video like “I’m on a horse”- or Subservient Chicken- but, aren’t willing to understand that these are the few and far between. They are also not true engines of marketing- just a one time spark. Sometimes the spark is all that’s needed. Altoids got a jump start with a small successful revamped campaign- focusing on mints so strong they come in a metal box and some nice visual puns “Nice Altoids.” Instant hit- for a sleepy old brand- but then, brand extension nearly killed the initial success.
“Just do it” has been a strategy that Nike hasn’t been able to leave. They’ve tried- several times to move away from what is probably the strongest marketing positioning ever- only to realize that those three words are more valuable than the swoosh. The thing for marketers to remember is that it took years before Wieden + Kennedy came up with those three words. There is never a quick fix.
The Wankel engine is different from all other engines in that it is a rotary design- with a three sided rotor. The three faces are much like the three phases of marketing- they can change phases- but the amount of power derived just depends on the amount of pressure (interest) put on on the three faces. Which brings us to your goals as a marketer-
First is to make sure the motor is spinning and generating enough power to make your company run.
The next question is are you aiming to make what you have go faster, more efficiently or stronger?
Or, do you want to trade in the whole motor for a new one- bigger, better different? You may believe this is what you want- but, most of the time you only make en effort to do the faster, more efficient stronger. And that’s why you are in a rut.
Switching engines, despite one being a better design, doesn’t happen quickly, and requires lots of adaptive learning.
Most companies fail to realize that switching engines is a complete transformation- not an adaptive one and that’s why the new plans almost always fail- or the agency gets blamed.
In order to hit the grand slam home run, you must realize that loading the bases is a series of singles- and that Grand Slams might not be the goal at all- runs are.
So despite all these mixed metaphors and stories in this post- if you are looking for a new marketing mechanic- first figure out what you want to fix- then make sure you are ready to fix what’s broken.
It may not be the engine at all.
Personality has been used in marketing for a long time- what would Frosted Flakes be without “Tony the tiger” or Michelin would just be another tire company without Bibendum- or Nike without it’s celebrity athlete endorsers. Apple owns cool design, as do Oxo, Good Grips, Alessi, etc. The brand Craftsman stands for lifetime warranty and strength. We’ve infused brands with personality for years- but, the company- the people, from the way your employees answer the phone- to what they wear- to your packaging- what does it say about your company.
For a long time- we were afraid to show emotion- to have a face- being faceless was synonymous with being big- and everyone wanted to be big. Oh, we’d always be careful to be multi-cultural and politically correct- to the point of boredom, but- finally, companies like Virgin, Google, Zappos, Southwest all broke the mold and let people be people again.
I highly recommend the book “Personality not included” by Rohit Bhargava from Ogilvy. The Cliff’s note version:
Chapter 1 – Faceless used to work because big meant credible. This is no longer true
Chapter 2 – Accidental spokespeople are speaking for your brand – Embrace them
Chapter 3 – Uniqueness plus Authenticity plus Talkability equals personality. Use the UAT Filter
Chapter 4 – Backstories establish a foundation of credibility. You need one.
Chapter 5 – Fear of change leads to barriers. Finding your authority overcomes them
Chapter 6 – Personality moments are everywhere and unexpected, but you must spot them
The more we learn about building brands at The Next Wave- the more we’re convinced of two things, that this book keeps hammering home- the old adage that “People do business with people they like” is foremost- and, brand loyalty has to be earned everyday- and that the costs of acquiring new customers is so much greater than keeping existing ones- that doing things that create the love (talkability) should be a key part of every companies brand strategy.
What kind of tools do you have to keep close to your customers? What do you do to “Create Lust • Evoke Trust” in your company? Are your ads just beating your chest- or are they sharing your secrets sauce? What makes your company interesting?
If you are struggling with these questions, read Rohit’s book- and then give us a call. We’d love to discuss it with you.
Well, way back in 1988- “how big van we get without getting bad?” was the question on Guy Day’s mind- because Jay Chiat had famously asked “I want to see how big we can get without getting bad.”
Because, creativity isn’t something that comes with a formula, or on demand- and sooner or later, everyone runs into “Creative block”- or can’t come up with the one, really, insanely great idea that carries through for ever- you know, like “Just do it” or “Hello, I’m a Mac, And I’m a PC” etc.
So when über hip, super hot, Crispin Porter + Bogusky landed a piece of the Nike business from the super hot, über hip, old standby agency- Wieden + Kennedy, the ad world gasped. Was no relationship sacred? Were CMO’s so cutthroat as to divorce the one that brought them fame and fortune?
Well- today, after 13 months, and ONE tv ad, Nike pulled the plug on CP+B and went home to the old standby according to AdAge:
Nike, Crispin Partnership Ends After 13 Months - Advertising Age - Agency News
Just more than a year after widening its roster to include hotshop Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Nike is shifting its running-shoe and Nike-Plus business back to lead agency Wieden & Kennedy, a spokesman for the marketer said.
Crispin CEO Jeff Hicks confirmed the split in a statement, citing a mutual decision to go different ways: “We will forever be in awe of the company that is Nike and wish them nothing but the best.”
A Wieden spokeswoman could not be immediately reached. A report of the split first surfaced on George Parker’s blog Adscam/The Horror.
Nike first stunned the ad world last April by adding Crispin to an agency roster long exclusively dominated by Wieden. The pairing of one of the most iconic brands of all time with the hotshop was seen by many as a harbinger of trouble for Wieden, but the collaboration thus far resulted in a single TV ad, for the iPod-integrated Nike-Plus brand, which ran in December.
While Crispin Porter is still a wildly successful group of talented people, they aren’t the answer for everything, as Nike found out. With Burger King, VW, and now Microsoft- the burden of being a genius on so many major accounts, requires great management expertise to go with the creative. Growing an agency can be tough. Need proof- look back at Jay Chiat and Guy Day’s questions from way back.
Note to Chief Marketing Officers- there is a lot to be said for institutional knowledge, and a lot more to be said for treating your agency as a trusted partner. When the work isn’t good, remember to check out your own brief and assignment?
When the Dayton Bombers called and wanted a 15 second spot, all they thought that could be in there was date and time. Had they had the station do it- they would have had some news footage, with graphics on top and the same announcer that does every single local spot on the air.
The reality is, no one cares about your hockey game that doesn’t already know about it. Advertising is supposed to make people who don’t care- care. Good ads get your attention, and suck you in. Bad ads tell you about a product you could care less about.
Simple connections between client and consumer happens when you grab a fundamental truth- and make it relevant. Here we use “hockey is painful” - complete with missing teeth, black eyes, broken nose and organ music more fit for a funeral than a hockey game.
Getting the message to resonate with something the customer already believes is a great first step to engaging them in your brand. Even in 15 seconds.