Commerce

Brand marketing in a direct marketing world

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Pop quiz: What was the top Super Bowl 2018 ad according to USA Today’s Ad Meter?

Heck, if you can name one of the top ten, I will give you bonus points.

The reason you can’t remember the best ad or any ads from the big game, it’s not the best tool.

It’s not the best tool because it doesn’t connect, make an impact, or leave a mark. 

You see brand marketing doesn't work in the direct marketing world.

Brand marketing is from a different age. A different business environment. A different communication era.

Brand marketing was created when John Wanamaker’s statement “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half” worked because it could work. 

It could work because advertisers created a mass broadcast communications environment to serve its needs.

Radio was created to sell ads.

Television was created to sell ads.

Brian Millar, co-founder of the Emotional Intelligence Agency, writes "traditional advertising went after ‘share of mind’–the idea was to get you to associate a brand with a single idea, a single emotion. Volvo: safety. Jaguar: speed. Coke: happiness. The Economist: success. Bang, bang, bang, went the ads, hammering the same idea into your mind every time you saw one.

"Advertising briefs evolved to focus the creatives on a single unique selling position and a single message. Tell them we’re the Ultimate Driving Machine. Tell them in a thrilling way. It worked when you saw ads infrequently on television, in a Sunday magazine, or on a billboard on your morning commute."

This type of advertising worked because it was a communications environment of one to many with only a handful of vehicles to reach an audience.

But that is not today.

Today we are living in a direct marketing world powered by the WWW.

Now we have micro-media and personalized broadcast communications environment which serves the needs of the end user.

The internet was not created for ads.

The internet is not mass media.

To better understand this new communications environment the Emotional Intelligence Agency conducted a study to understand what kind of content works. The firm found communications which used funny, useful, beautiful, and inspiring content delivers the best results. Not surprising the most successful brands do all four.

Also not surprising these are the adjectives used by any top storyteller. She knows they are best words when executing micro and personalized communications.

Yet most of us communicate using only one type of emotionally compelling content - if at all - employing brand marketing techniques that are closer to the days of Mad Men them to the present day of Laundry Service.

We still communicate like once a day, or worse just a few times a month. Instead of using tools that follow and engage our most active supporters in their media diet.

When it comes to the WWW and the direct marketing communications environment, being multidimensional beats being single-minded. 

Surprise beats consistency. 

Emotion beats fact.

Funny beats dour.

Useful beats sales. 

Beautiful beats boring. 

Inspirational beats directional.

The best communicators have always understood this instinctively.

By the way, USA Today’s Ad Meter ranked Amazon's "Alexa Loses Her Voice" as the best 2018 ad.

I don't remember the ad either. But I do remember my friends telling me a story or two about Alexa that used funny, useful, beautiful, and inspiring words to describe their experiences.

-Marc A. Ross

Marc A. Ross specializes in global communications and thought leader management at the intersection of politics, policy, and profits. Working with boardrooms and C-Suite executives from multinational corporations, trade associations, and disruptive startups, Marc helps business leaders navigate globalization, disruption, and American politics.

Campaign rhetoric on China becomes a "Tariffs Thursday" reality

The Trump administration is set to unveil a package of punishing measures just after high-noon today all aimed at China, including billions in new import tariffs (or better put - consumer taxes). 

The White House is seeking to clamp down on what it says are improper Chinese trade practices and lax intellectual property rights by making it significantly more difficult for China’s companies to acquire advanced American technology or invest in American companies. 

Few disagree on both sides of the Pacific that Beijing needs to do more to open its markets to foreign competition, improve intellectual property protection, and provide a level playing field for all businesses operating in the Middle Kingdom.

The disagreement is in how this all happens.

It is still unclear how a strategy of using tariffs will move the needle. 

Not only will the American consumer feel the burden with fewer funds to spend, but companies operating with long-term vision also now need to create a new playbook,

MBA 101 tip, for companies to be successful, they need predictability and want to see problems fixed productively without friction. 

Think solutions, not sanctions.

For me, it’s just not clear how tariffs get you to fix these problems.

Listed on the official White House schedule as "THE PRESIDENT signs a Presidential Memorandum targeting China’s economic aggression," this memo will change global business in ways unknown but known is in the fact that power of multinational corporations has peaked and the future American elections will never be the same.

Even with just hours to go, final details of Trump's plan, including the number of imports to be hit by tariffs, remain in flux and full of Twittersphere speculation.

Since Trump will just be singing a memo today, the tariffs won’t be imposed immediately, giving American business, lobbyists, and special interests an opportunity to comment and suggest which products should be subject to the duties. James Madison's faction theory will be in full effect in the nation's capital.

Trump’s metals tariffs are already taxing patience. The LAT reports, the Trump administration’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum are set to take effect Friday, but the rollout is being criticized as confusing, rushed, and potentially crisis-inducing. Have fun dropping off products at the Port of Los Angeles next week, next month, next year.

Whatever the final details become, this issue will linger for years.

Not only do companies now face a two-sided problem of needing to engage both Beijing and DC in respected fashions, but it is hard to see how this action doesn't shape the 2018 and 2020 elections - being tough on China makes American voters feel good. 

Also, be mindful that as the CW inside the beltway is all focused on US-China commercial relations, Brussels has a say as well.

As Trump makes "Ameican First" moves, the Europen Union is holding firm in the background. This memo will undoubtedly strengthen the EU. As the biggest trading block in the world, they can flex their power and be more selective, stable, and secure - all attributes global business likes.

Enjoy the ride.

Marc A. Ross specializes in global communications and thought leader management at the intersection of politics, policy, and profits. Working with boardrooms and C-Suite executives from multinational corporations, trade associations, and disruptive startups, Marc helps leaders create compelling communications, focused content, and winning commerce.

Trump's French Cuff Off the Cuff Trade Policy

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I have so many problems with Trump - from policy design to panache departure. But what really puts me over the edge - his total lack of professional political management. 

From a communications management perspective, what DJT did yesterday was a complete professional political management epic fail.

No heads up.

No warning.

No message points.

No surrogate talking heads.

No OpEds.

No coordination with Capitol Hill.

Epic fail.

Trump shocked many of his top advisers by announcing plans for 25 percent tariffs on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum off the cuff. Even metals industry executives attending a White House industry sector meeting yesterday were shocked.

Senior advisers including Gary Cohn thought they had at least delayed the announcement. Republicans on Capitol Hill had no warning about what Trump was about to do. 

The announcement quickly sent the Dow down 500 points.

The stocks of 16 steelmakers gained $1 billion in market value as a result of the move while the rest of the market lost $400 billion.

Trump is easily the most unqualified professional political manager in my lifetime.

Well done sir.

Marc A. Ross specializes in global communications and thought leader management at the intersection of politics, policy, and profits. Working with boardrooms and C-Suite executives from multinational corporations, trade associations, and disruptive startups, Marc helps leaders create compelling communications, focused content, and engaging presentations.

Marc A. Ross previews Trump’s visit to World Economic Forum

Yesterday was the first day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland bringing together political and business elites, at a time when the world is facing many common challenges. This year’s slogan is “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World.” Marc A. Ross, the founder of Caracal Global, discusses the US’ changing trade policy and Trump's highly anticipated speech.