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Allegro 234

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The tendentious Dr. Utterson | The ‘Phantasy’ trend & Branding | Chapter 3

By | Staging, What we think | No Comments

There are several sites talking about ‘phantasy’. Perhaps, the most valuable synthesis about this trend could be found in TrendWatching and The Cool Hunter.

Phantasy is based in two movements that are happening at the same time:

  • People are taking distance from mass-media, mass production, mass-advertising, mass-whatever
  • People are emphatically showing their opinions and thoughts in a more transparent and conversational mode

Trend #3: The ‘Phantasy’ of being demode

The observed result is that when people, companies, institution find themselves in a middle of a discussion, they use to answer in a traditional way that could be consider unreal… a ‘phantasy’… I know that I’m only showing one of the effects!

The real issue of this unreal situation is that people, giving their opinions, feel comfortable and enjoy this new power that they have obtained. There are no filters and/or obstacles from old institutions and corporations.

Challenge #3: Inclusive brand experiences

Brands need to evolve and their experiences have to be part of the people live experience. To do this, it’s simple (which doesn’t mean easy). We are talking about:

  • Honesty
  • Inclusive
  • Taboo adverse
  • Conversational
  • Fun
  • Having a real soul

Brand extensions will not be as we saw before. They will be as people want them to be… as a brand that gives something to improve their day-to-day experience.

Also, and this could be considered as ideological, what is false, must be done well… Seriously now, what I’m trying to say is that the story, the product, the promise should be good…

Examples to make this point clear (to see them, click on the images):

  • Comme des Garcons released their ‘Series 6 Synthetics’ line, which is a range of perfumes based on unconventional materials. This Japanese creation is sold in London’s Dover St. Market. Actually, these are anti-perfurmes, however, as they have been honest telling people this story, they are a success
  • Ticings: they offer decorative edible sheets of icing that quickly add modern design features to cakes, cookies, brownies and cupcakes. The taste of your cake it’s your problem… but, for sure, it will look so well 🙂

The tendentious Dr. Utterson | The ‘Generosity’ trend & Branding | Chapter 2

By | Envisage, What we think | No Comments

Generosity [The Generation G] could be consider a trend in people as well as in companies. This trend probably is based on the tiredness we have regarding greed and its effects on economy.

Generosity emerges as a trend jointly with this online culture that we are experiencing and from the one we are learning.

In this new environment, companies will need to re-focus themselves, from paying attention to their belly buttons, to sharing passion and receiving recognition.

Trend #2: Generosity drivers

  • Disgusted people [now we could add crisis]: People are better informed of what it’s going on. So, companies that continue with the idea of non-bi-directional communication and interaction will be out of their radar (actually, they already are)
  • Companies that take care: As we are more informed, we are not only paying attention of company external behaviors, but also of how is the relation between companies and their employees. Things are more complex and decisions too. The key is generosity, care, empathy and simpathy. We could consider this need of change also for governments and intitutions.
  • New ways of talking and sharing: Deep in our behaviors, the issue is not about anger, it’s about passion. We are willing (and in same cases, able) to give, share and collaborate

Also, consider that young people do not differentiate offline from online, and online culture is based on generosity. Companies should learn this from people. It’s not a ‘nice to have?, it’s a must be…

  • Generous to people
  • Generous to customers
  • Generous to employees
  • Generous to environment
  • Generous to social causes
  • Generous… Period!

As it was said by Reinier Evers of Trendwatching, “generosity is more about context and timing than out-of-the-blue insights”.

Challenge #2: Brands dialogue

Brands will begin to play their game if companies (and marketers) understand that the one-way advertising is over. Brands are not to sell, they are to assist people in relevant ways…And people will buy…because of authenticity, functionallity, exclusivity… because they are able to talk, to dialogue with the brands. Is your brand ready for this challenge?

Brands will become the key to stay relevant to people who live in this collaborative culture. And for God sake, this goes beyond social responsibility or eco-care departments. It’s a change in the ways that the companies use to interact… It’s not a process, it’s a holistic understanding of relations.

Your thoughts, as always, are welcome!

The tendentious Dr. Utterson is back | Chapter 1

By | Envisage, What we think | No Comments

Some of you, actually only few of you, remember the very beginnings of Brand 3.0… The original name of this social network was “Jekyll & Hide on Branding”… It had 3 pages and the third one was the one that talked about trends, and the one who ‘wrote’ there was Dr. Utterson, the lawyer and loyal friend of Jekyll.

So, getting to the point, this is the first post of several which will talk about trends and branding… connections, implications and challenges… Hope you enjoy them!

Trend #1: Status and recognition

When you interact with other people you will discover (it’s not so difficult) that almost everything comes back to the need of recognition.

So, in a certain way and as a relative concept, status is like a brand driver; however, it looks like during the next months/years (perhaps and in certain way due to the crisis) those brands that behaved as traditional status symbols are not going to be the “aspirational desire” that we saw before.

As it was said in TrendWatching 2010, “status is to be attained in many more ways than leading a lifestyle centered on hoarding as many branded, luxury goods as possible”….

In certain societies, financial wealth is becoming something less important… In those cases, luxury goods would lose relevance.

Hence, status could be understood as:

  • Green Status: For these people, to drive a Prius would give more status than having a Rolls
  • Info Status: For people who have an audience willing to hear what they know… what they have to say
  • Experience status: it will be more important the story behind the product than some functional/physical status symbols
  • Knowledge status: As more people are becoming masters in the use of the tools, to “know why” will become a status symbol
  • Online status: Hmmmm… You know what I’m talking about [however, try to avoid the recipes to build your personal brand]
  • And… Traditional status will be seen only in emerging middle class people in countries like the ones that belong to the BRIC [Brazil, Russia, India, China]

Challenge #1: The brand understanding shift

This will not be to re-invent the wheel… If, at least for a moment, we admit that the trend presented before is true [actually, there is no reason to believe another thing… I’m just telling what it’s observed], brands are facing a great inflection point and companies will need to do something:

  • More than ever, brands must behave as a holistic experience considering the brand itself, the communication, but also, the product, the value perceived, its usefulness, availability, related services… And other new issues like interactivity, asynchronism and tailor-made
  • The ones who are acquiring online, info and knowledge status are becoming prescribers… Brands must make those individuals fall in love with them…
  • Luxury brands are facing the end of their golden age. People are beginning to give more weight to issues that are out of the “economy sphere” to achieve their desired recognition

Actually, it seems like the real issue is not in the brand but in a need of a deep company shift in some encysted beliefs. Dont’ you think?

Apple, the 2009 coolest brand worldwide | Coolest & Gaps Branding Survey

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With the participation of more than 1,400 people during the months of December 2009, Allegro 234 conducted the “Coolest & Gaps Branding Survey”.

This survey is the first in which the question about the coolest brand has been opened without a predetermined list [spontaneous, not induced].

Through various media and online blogs, the survey has achieved a high participation level

  • 1,444 participants [valid answers]; 10% more than in 2008
  • Europe 45%, the Americas 45% and Asia 5% [47 countries]
  • 85% of participants working in areas related to branding, marketing, communications and PR

Coolest

The five coolest brands are:

  1. Apple [with more than double of mentions than the second one]
  2. Coca-Cola
  3. Nike
  4. Starbucks
  5. Virgin

A group of brands that follows the top five, includes Amazon, Google, Corona, Lonely Planet and Marriot

Brands like Vueling, Illy, Burton, REI and Patagonia continue being part of the coolest ones at continental and country levels

Even as these are the coolest brands, participants also recognize that there are things to improve:

  • Responsibility: Brands are perceived as not enough attentive to social responsibility and environmental issues
  • Services: People is failing [not living the values that the brand promises]
  • Price: Brand premium price

Finally, two important issues:

  • Communication is only part of the experience [Companies in the telecommunications sector and financial institutions have rarely been mentioned, less than 1%]
  • Coolest brand Experiences are those which are giving real value

Gaps

On average, it is recognized that all companies, regardless of the sector they belong to, need to work on their brand experience

  • Those working in areas related to branding are more pessimistic than the non-related people
  • People fail to decode the message [marketing speaks a language that only they understand]
  • The aspirational is difficult to achieve and produces frustration [is sensed a lack of authenticity and realism]

Finally, in regard to the internal branding experience, 57% (80% more than in 2008) of participants believed that it is inappropriate and/or partially adequate in their business

You can read/download the full document here


Just another boring blogpost talking about Tiger Woods

By | Staging, What we think | No Comments

esso_put_a_tiger_in_your_tank

During the last couple of weeks we have read whatever you want regarding the Tiger Woods -TW, Affair… A man who behaved as a depredator tiger, visiting an excesive number of woods 🙂

What if…

Instead that I do not believe in the “conditional perfect tense” (it’s an ontological issue) the question is:

  • What would with Exxon have been happened if they had used TW in their old advertising?
  • Could TW have been or will be a reference for certain brand extensions? (e.g.: Burberry’s)
  • What if TW had been the CEO of one of the sponsoring companies?

Are they serious about…

In certain way, all this affair looks bizarre…

  • Some sponsors are saying goodbye to TW… Questions:
    • Why Accenture’s partners did not say anything after some Arthur Andersen affairs?
    • Why Gillette doen’t talk about its “daddy” -P&G, dominant position in certain categories and markets?
    • AT&T?…. The list continue… Can anyone cast the first stone?
  • TW had a car accident… And due to this accident we all discovered that he has a good number of lovers… LOL! (up today, I did not understand the correlation)
  • TW’s wife behaved as a naif person who didn’t realize that his husband had several (not one!) lovers… And in Xmas thanked him because of his US$ 300m present… LOL again!… This is unbelievable in the US, Spain, Congo or China… For God sake!

It wouldn’t be strange that in few week we hear that TW is going to go to the same clinic that Michael Douglas went….

And the basics?

Possibly, the main issue here is that in certain point somebody forgot a simple branding rule (I don’t know if inmutable…. I don’t think so!)… Try to avoid the relation of your brand with a person… I remeber that we were discussing about this issue some months ago in an Executive Program at UTDT… Here is the answer!

accenture_ad

In the case of Accenture, the situation is a good evidence to learn about this issue… They had a great advertising campaign, however, they generated the confusion using the same person (TW) during several years… Did Accenture dilute its identity on behalf of TW ones?

Advertising has the objective of producing incomes in the short term, while branding has the objective of generating longlasting value in the long term… Understand?

The vertical line should have and arrow at its bottom 🙂

BTW… Where were or how should corporate responsibility be understood in this case?

Quantity vs Quality to build an online brand experience

By | Envisage, Staging, What we think | No Comments

For a couple of weeks, I was in a rush and only updated my status in Webjam, continue with some conversations here and in LinkedIn, invite people in Facebook to read/re-post old things that I revisited and thought they are still relevant (at least for me)… So, I’m back!

During this period of time I was also thinking (at least for a couple of hours a day) and paying attention to social networks, communities… and specifically, I was looking at our interaction…

graph_pgina_1

To give a framework to my thoughts let me present some figures:

  • Brand 3.0 members @Webjam: 500
  • Brand 3.0 newsletter subscriptors @Webjam: 200
  • Brand 3.0 members @LinkedIn: 4,200
  • Brand 3.0 fans @Facebook: 160
  • Allegro 234 members @Allegro234: 200
  • Allegro 234 fans @Facebook: 160
  • Allegro 234 followers @Twitter: 500
  • Cristián network @LinkedIn: 1,500
  • … Xing, Inusual, Marketing LATAM, Digerati, Libellus,…

So, I’ll talk about interactions between a good number of people (it’s not a direct sum…. some people belong to several networks at the same time)… Let say 4,500 approx. Fair?

We use to talk, and this began with Adam and Eve

It’s interesting to see two issues:

  • The quantity of people in Facebook and Twitter talking about Facebook and Twitter
  • The recognition as a new paradigm that we are talking

Adam and Eve talked… Actually they also mantained several dialogues with God, situation that could be considered as the first online virtual dialogue… They also talked with a snake…

The points are that neither them, nor us (in our offline life) use to talk about the tools that we use to be connected… At least in my case, when I use the phone I don’t establish dialogues about the terminal that we are using, or when we are drinking a beer with friends we don’t talk about our vocal cords… The other point is more complex and perhaps a psychiatrist and/or psycologist is able to explain it better… We were, are and probably will be gregarious; so, by default we are rational dialogical animals (we also smile… which is an unique characteristic of human beings).

Activity generates dialogue, sometimes deaf

As Alberto mentioned in WOW 2.0 and yesterday in the iBGC ’09 (Bilbao, Spain), activity is essencial in social networks to produce dialogues. I agree with this, however, in some cases (more than you can imagine) activity generates activity. Period.

Examples:

  • LinkedIn group: Somebody begins a discussion. After few days you can see 10 comments, but most of them are not considering the other comments, or even worse, the comment is used as a way for self-promotion, to show how smart is the one who is writing that post… From a dialogue generation to a deaf dialogue
  • Facebook wall and Twitter: In a normal day… from 100 Twitts and or FB wall comments, four are related and could be considered as a sort of dialogue, 20 are RTs’, other 20 are emoticons… and the rest, God knows what the hell they are

Activity could generate dialogue if it mantains certain relevance. And if this dialogues are generated at corporate level, they should be carefully thought. Dont’ you think?

Brand experiences are built on dialogues… Alleluia!

For companies, dialogues help to build their brand experiences… Alleluia!…

This is not new. Actually, almost every experience is based on dialogues. The experience exist because we talk about it. Social networks allow us to tell more people, more easy and more quickly the sort of experiences that we are living.

But, before social networks, we also talk about our experiences… and now, for those companies that still do not have their own social network, people are talking about that experience…

Control is a pre-Methuselah historic illusion. To try to control dialogues is futile; we can only observe and give some intention.

Personal branding in a world where brand are something personal

A side effect of paying attention to social networks has been to see all the efforts to build, sell, promote… personal branding.

We wish to be different, unique, cool… Following an online process to improve our personal brand (I would say “personal brand” because it’s understandable, actually, we should say personal image) looks, at least, funny… If we all follow the same process we will become a sort of “Mini-me” of others.

You can build your image online promoting activities that generates good dialogues. And to do that, you have to be honest and show you as you are… and not as the manual suggests that you should be. No? (Canadian question)

‘Dialogus interruptus’ are unproductive

Yesterday in one of the valuable Twitts that I read, there was one from iBGC ’09 so interesting when one of the speakers defined Twitter… He said: “Twitter is a sort of dialogus interruptus”…. He was right!

‘Whatever interruptus’ is unproductive by default… Babies aren’t born, ideas don’t see the light, dialogues aren’t generated.

Experiences are based on dialogues, on fluid dialogues… And fluid means:

  • You talk, he/she talks
  • You talk and wait (I deleted several people who I began to follow because their comments were like SPAMs)
  • The dialogue evolves
  • You feel great because something interesting (and perhaps new) is co-created

The law of diminishing yields

The day has 24 hours and there is no plan to change it. Neither hours of 120′, nor days of 36 hours. Pregnancy takes 9 months (at least till now)…

We have certain time to read, to interact, to talk… certain time to work, to think… certain time to enjoy with our family, friends… Time is a scarce resource… As talent, knowledge, creativeness.

We have  a real limitation to belong to an infinite number of social networks and seriously participate on them.

The message is simple: “Become relevant, create activity, generate dialogues, be passionate… and before all that, please, consider that on the other side of the cable there is another person”… That should be a great experience!

I’m learning this!… It takes time! 🙂

Social Networks & Communities

By | What we think | No Comments

Last week I was in a conference at IE University where I participated in a round table discussion about online communities, actually about building a compelling brand experience in university online communities.

The first issue that I discovered was that in Spain, round tables are rectangular, and discussion means independent presentations of the three/four speakers… And questions is an unpleasent situation, not because of the kind of questions but because it’s difficult to make it happens.

Any way. the issue is that before the event I was thinking about social networks and communities. To make it simple, a social network is the online support needed to build a community. However, the community is a pre-existent phenomenum. This means that the social network allows a better connection beyond geographical boundaries of an especific community.

We are a community, the so called “Brand 3.0” community, and we are supported by Webjam as a social network enabler. Following this path, Brand 3.0 is creating a new relevant and unique experience which basically is already known by all its members.

And here come my questions… If we are an unique community:

  • What can I do from my side to improve participation? (remember that we have the Coffee 234 -I’ll publish the results of the first offline meeting during these days, the WikiSemantic -where all Brand 3.0 members are co-editors, polls, forums, inspiration areas, spin-off Webjams, friend Webjams, Brand 3.0 Template,…)
  • Are we really a community? Are we talking?
  • Do you know people who could be interested on joining this social network? If so, what are you waiting to invite them ;)?
  • What can you do to improve our participation, conexion,… experience?

I look forward to hearing your candid comments!

Coolest & Gaps Results | Apple, the coolest brand experience

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Coolest brands

With the participation of more than 1,000 people, during the months of October and November, Allegro 234 conducted the “Coolest & Gaps Branding Survey”

This survey is the first in which the question about the coolest brand has been opened without predetermined lists [spontaneous, not induced].

Through various media and online blogs, the survey has achieved a high participation level

  • 1,314 participants
  • Europe 55%, the Americas 40% and Asia 5% [39 countries]
  • 70% of participants working in areas related to branding, marketing, communications and PR

Coolest brands

The five coolest brands are:

  • Apple [with more than double of mentions than the second one]
  • Coca-Cola
  • Disney
  • Ferrari
  • Virgin

Two groups of brands follow the top five, including:

  • Adidas, Alfa Romeo, Illy, Moët Chandon, Nike
  • Agent Provocateur, BMW, Jaguar, Nestle, Norwegian Cruise, Patagonia, Red Bull, Starbucks, Volvo, Vueling

Even as these are the coolest brands, participants also recognize that there are things to improve:

  • Associate services: The product meets expectations, what it is around shows deficiencies
  • Warranty: The “small print”
  • Price: Brand premium price

Two important issues:

  •  Communication is only part of the experience [Companies in the telecommunications sector and financial institutions have rarely been mentioned, less than 1%]
  • Coolest brand Experiences are those which are lived with the five senses

The Gaps

On average, it is recognized that all companies, regardless of the sector they belong to, need to work on their brand experience

Those working in areas related to branding are more pessimistic than the non-related people, except in regard to the synthesis of their value proposition [what the brand says]

  • People fail to decode the message [marketing speaks a language that only they understand]
  • The aspirational is difficult to achieve and produces frustration [is sensed a lack of authenticity and realism]

Finally, in regard to the internal branding experience, 60% of participants believed that it is inappropriate and/or partially adequate in their business

  • Those working in related areas are more critical [they base their internal experience on communication]
  • Those working in non-related areas live the experience better because they are considering other factors that go beyond communication

Main contents:

  • The Coolest brand experiences: Global, by continent, by country (US, UK, Spain, Argentina)
  • The Gaps: General and splitted by people related and non-related to branding areas
  • Final conclusions: General and the specific cases of Spain and Argentina
  • Press Release and contact information

Thanks to all the people who made this effort possible (detailed thanks in the full doc)

To make it simple!