Monday, July 23, 2018

Polishing the Brand via Corporate Citizenship

Being a good corporate citizen is a good way to polish any brand or company name. So many stakeholders pay attention when companies pursue social responsibility agendas.

For example, Time Warner Cable and Samsung are sponsors of the Space Shuttle Pavilion at New York's Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum. Thousands of visitors see those logos and names as they enter the pavilion, adding to the goodwill of these well-known firms.

In the past, some argued against this kind of expenditure, saying that the point of corporations is to be profitable. Today, many recognize that good corporate citizenship is quite compatible with profitability goals. Remember, corporations and brands serve multiple stakeholders, not just investors.

In fact, one survey in Canada showed that people actually want corporate management to take the lead in socially-responsible actions. So when a company or brand is publicly honored for good citizenship, local residents and customers alike can feel proud of their association with it.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Payment Trend: Cashless Restaurants

A small but growing number of U.S. restaurants are going cashless--meaning they accept only credit/debit cards or electronic payments such as Apple Pay.

Why? According to restaurant owners interviewed by Visa, the benefits are:

  • Many Millennials prefer cashless transactions
  • Handling cash takes time and costs the restaurant money
  • Transactions are faster, reducing wait times
  • No cash means higher security and lower risk 
Not so very long ago (at least in marketing eras), some restaurants were cash-only, not wanting to pay merchant fees to accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and other plastic. Now Visa has actually offered restaurants a cash bonus to go cashless.

One disadvantage to consider is whether cashless restaurants will be unable to serve the market of people who, by choice or by economic situation, are cardless.

On the other hand, the increased popularity of Starbucks Mobile Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and other payment apps indicates that there is a definite market of people who prefer mobile transactions.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Delta Involves Customers with Social Media

Delta Airlines is using the visual power of social media to involve customers in its brand and to communicate the extent of its services.

Above, Delta's official Instagram account, which invites customers to "share your travel pics" along with the hashtag #Delta. With 716k followers, and lots of stunning travel images to enthrall and inspire, the airline is encouraging two-way communication via Instagram. Note the brand logo in the header, a good way to reinforce and support other marketing efforts for synergy.

The airline's official Twitter account has nearly 1.5 million followers and 750k tweets in 11 years of participation. It announces travel alerts, promos, community activities, and more via Twitter.

Delta's official Facebook page has more than 3mm likes and lots of visually-interesting informational and promotional content, such as new designer uniform photos and new destination photos.

Delta also uses hashtags for promotional purposes. One recent promo, "Pilot Talk Sweepstakes," invites the public to enter and win a free trip to the Delta destination of their choice by spelling out the city or country using "pilot talk" alphabet ("A" is "Alpha," "B" is "Bravo," etc.). Of course #pilottalksweepstakes is the hashtag.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Creative Advertising with Benefits

Last month, Procter & Gamble's SuperBowl campaign "It's a Tide Ad" won big at the Cannes Ad Festival. "Tide Ad is very hard-working, classic marketing but refreshed as if we were inventing that today," said one of the jurors.

If you didn't see the ad pictured above, you can see it here. Join the more than 5 million YouTube viewers who've clicked to see it.

The complete campaign is both classic and newly creative (explaining the big win at Cannes). One of the twists is that the ads appeared to be hijacking other ads during the SuperBowl until...well, the reveal is: "It's a Tide Ad." By design, the point was to have football fans and casual viewers alike look at all the commercials and wonder whether each was from Tide or a different brand.

The 2018 Tide ad spoofs P&G itself, because of the 2010 Old Spice campaign in which Isaiah Mustafa talks with the audience about "the man your man could smell like," ending the ad perched on a white horse on the beach. Now Mustafa is back, on that white horse, helping to reveal that the new ad is for Tide.

Along the way, the Tide ad shows benefits like clean clothes. Too often, today's commercials are so cleverly creative that actual benefits are missing. Not at P&G. The benefits are definitely part of the creative message.