The Nissan Cube launch in Canada was supposed to leverage social media extensively. The cornerstone of the promotion was a contest where 50 people would get a set of keys to a brand new Nissan Cube. The contestants had to demonstrate their creativity and blog and write about the Cube. Unfortunately, the hundreds that did not win were disappointed, many of them started to investigate ties between the judging panel and the contestants. Resulting in some deeming the contest to be unfair. You can read the in-depth story here.
However, one quote in the article by Tony Chapman, CEO of Capital C stuck out for me.
“I want non-conformists. I don’t want dad pulling the groceries out of the car in Markham,” Chapman told the Financial Post in an interview that appeared June 5. “[The Cube] is a quirky, function-follows-form kind of car. It is not for everybody, [and] it is not meant to be. The person getting out of there will have dreadlocks and a courier bag, or they will have their modeling portfolio under their arm; they are not giving in. They are pursuing their creative dreams.”
According to Chapman, these comments were intended to address questions about who would find the Cube appealing. Both he and Nissan deny that they were meant to influence the judges. In fact, they point out that judging had already taken place when the articles in question were published.
(Bold added by me - you’ll see why below)
So I’ve decided to hold our own contest. For anyone describing, or showing a creative way to pay for a Nissan Cube, we will post your story, picture or video on our blog (please keep it tasteful and respectful)
Here is my way:
Walk into a dealership in a caffeinated state. Open up an over-sized courier bag and spread a large quantity of old coins on the dealer’s desk. Then emphatically try to convince the value of the coins is equal to the ~$16,988 -$18,288 you’ll need for a base model.
After all, they want non-conformists
According to Leon’s (The Canadian home furniture store), the company was able to increase its market share despite a decrease in sales.
Leon’s Furniture Ltd. said its profit last quarter was 26% lower than the same time last year as the Toronto-based retailer and its franchise affiliates felt the impact of the economic slowdown.
Leon’s net income was $8.62 million in the second quarter or 12 cents per share, down from $11.6 million of 16 cents per share in the same period of 2008, the company announced Tuesday.
Total sales including franchise stores fell to $209.9 million from $224.7 million, a decline of $14.7 million. Franchise sales fell to $44.7 million, down 6.8% or $3.3 million compared to the second quarter of 2008.
“In order to help offset declining consumer confidence, we continued running a very active marketing campaign to coincide with the company’s 100th anniversary. Although same-store corporate sales were down 6.5% compared to the prior year, based upon a competitive analysis of the marketplace, we feel confident that we did increase market share,” Leon’s said.
This case illustrates the problem with analyzing multi-variable problems. It is difficult to ascertain why Leon’s sales dropped at a slower rate than its competitors.
- Was it because of the reported 13% increase in advertising spending in the quarter?
- Was it because Leon’s has successfully ingrained the positioning (over many decades) that they have the lowest prices?
- Did shoppers who were looking at buying furniture naturally migrate to the large format stores and by-passed the local boutiques in order to save money?
- What is the nature of the decline in category sales?
- Is this a temporary issue, or have buyer preferences changed? (i.e. are people generally willing to hold onto old furniture longer)
- What will the make up of the category be once the recession is over?
- Is Leon’s current business model still valid?
On Tuesday I attended the launch event for MWO Philanthropic Advisors. MWO is founded by Michael O’Mahoney who is the former President of Sick Kids Foundation. During his tenure at Sick Kids, he successfully doubled the size of its fundraising revenue. Now through MWO, Micheal aims to help other non-profits maximize its fundraising revenues.
One area of development for MWO is the Fundraising Optimizer:
Questions which the Optimizer will answer include:
- Which fundraising program should our organization invest in to achieve our greatest fundraising results?
- How much should we invest?
- What will be the impact if we divert funds from other fundraising programs?
- What is the best combination of fundraising programs for our organization?
A good example how Warner Brothers has used Real Spaces for the launch of the newest film to the Harry Potter.
The magical world of Harry Potter is starting to blend with the muggle (i.e. non-wizard) world in Toronto thanks to Warner Bros.’ outdoor marketing campaign for its new film Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
A vacant storefront in the city’s busy Queen Street West neighbourhood has been renovated to serve not only as a surface for outdoor advertising, but as a home for a scene from the film.
On the outside, the store is covered in the film’s “Good and Evil” campaign posters, while the inside has been magically transformed into Prof. Dumbledore’s office at Hogwarts, the school Potter attends.
By creating this location, the promoters have developed a place where the tribe can connect with other members as well with the fantasy world of Harry Potter. This in turn deepens the connection with the brand and helps increase customer lifetime value.
A great video on how if you don’t serve your customer the way they expect, they have the means to tell millions of people.
This is why companies need to understand that in the eyes of the consumer their business is not just a collection of departments, but one organization. Furthermore, this illustrates why an organization has to really care about a customer and not just say so in their tag line.
Many of you would know that I have been following EA Sports’ game development/marketing strategy - specifically around the Madden NFL and NCAA Football titles.
First, a little background. The versions of those games on current generation of consoles (Xbox 360 and Playstation 3) has not lived up to expectations. This has caused great debate amongst the tribe members, EA Executives, and the development teams on how future iterations of the two games should be developed.
For better or for worse, the two titles have gone in opposite directions in terms of strategy. One only needs to look at fan sites such as Operation Sports to see the difference.
- Philosophy: No gimmicks: “Everything You See on Sunday”
- Target: Core gamers, football fans - The Tribe.
- Community interaction: Very high
- Developers are constantly interacting on 3rd party sites, EA Sports blog, etc.
- Several high ranking people within the tribe were invited to their studios to work on an early build of the game. Changes were made that day
- Purposefully Develop content -> Release to the tribe -> Allow tribe to react -> Modify
- Modifications of certain parts of the game were made after the developers released screenshots/videos of the game. Example: Ben Roethlisberger looked too small in one of the early screenshots; the community reacted to the picture and gave their response. The development team fixed it.
- Additions to the game: Focused on giving the game an authentic feel while playing the game.
- Major improvements in aesthetics, game play and CPU intelligence
- Philosophy: A little bit of everything
- Target: Casual gamers, people who love college football - Mass audience
- Community interaction: Moderate
- Developers are sporadic with their interaction. They are hesitant to answer the tough questions
- Minor issues that are brought up by the community are often shelved for next year’s release - i.e. no urgency to fix issues for this year’s version
- Additions to the game: Focused on adding gimmicks that appeal to casual gamers
- Season Showdown - earn virtual points for playing the game
- Minor updates to presentation, gameplay and CPU intelligence
As expected, the reaction from the tribe has been quite different for each title.
Madden fans love the interaction with the developers, changes to the development philosophy and addition of features that make the game realistic. But will casual gamers enjoy this title? Will sales volume drop due to lack of features that appeal to casual gamers?
NCAA fans are starting to feel as if the development team is completely ignoring them. Features that make the game realistic have not been added (despite several tribe members bringing it to the developer’s attention). Gimmicks such as Season Showdown are being laughed at by the tribe. But will these additions make more casual buyers pick up the title? Will sales volume increase due to the addition of features that appeal to casual gamers? What is the impact of leaving the tribe out?
We are yet to see what actually happens, NCAA Football is released mid-July while Madden is released in mid-August.
So the question is what should your brand do? Should you focus on making your product/service for your tribe OR for the audience at large?
As you may have guessed, our philosophy is to focus on your tribe and let them bring others in the fold.
Earlier, I blogged about the launch of Metrotwin, and how I did not quite understand the value proposition. To recap, my biggest issues were:
- I am not quite sure who they are targeting. Will the membership base consist of (note: as of their Sept 13th blog post, they were planning on sending 4,000 invites out):
- People who travel the NY-London route frequently?
- Residents of NY/London who don’t fly often but know their restaurants and bars well?
- Business travellers? Tourists?
- What is the connecting thread between the people who will form this community?
- The love of travel?
- The love of good food?
- A sense of adventure to try new things?
- How much better is this site than other sources with the same information?
- Network of friends
- Restaurant guides
- City guides
- Other social networking sites
Well, about 9 months later, I think some of the issues I had raised earlier are affecting Metrotwin. I went on to alexa.com to see the changes in the site’s usage statistics (over 3 month period). The 3 areas of concern for British Airways are:
- Pageviews/User - Down 11%
- Bounce % (ppl who leave after viewing 1 page) - Up 8%
- Time on Site - Down 10%
I went to the Yes We Did! An inside look at how social media built the Obama brand book launch yesterday at Rotman. Rahaf Harfoush did an excellent job chronicling her time working on the Obama campaign and pulled out key insights which the audience could apply to their organization and brands.
One of the things that resonated with me was how she strongly believes in building the right strategy before jumping into social media. I couldn’t agree more, the strategy needs to come first.
I look forward to reading the book.
Feel free to use this post to add your comments to the book.
Understanding Tribal Marketing A new Model for Marketers in a World of Consumer Relationships and Marketing-as-Dialog
Marketers today face two major challenges: 1) keeping up with trends & technologies to provide the best ways to reach consumers, and 2) showing accountability for measurable results. Today’s marketing problems will be solved by people with diverse skill sets. Marketing must strike a balance between customizing messages and generating ROI. Purely demographic approaches are losing effectiveness, while exclusively pursuing profitable 1-to-1 may not build enough sales volume. Tribal Marketing may be the best approach. June 3, 2009 — Marketers today face two major challenges: 1) keeping up with trends & technologies to provide the best ways to reach consumers, and 2) showing accountability for measurable results. Today’s marketing problems will be solved by people with diverse skill sets. Accelteon Partners Inc. of Toronto, Ontario teamed up with Torque Ltd. of Chicago, Illinois to demonstrate a measurably better way for marketers to connect with consumers - Tribal MarketingTribal Waters: Ebracing Consumer Tribes
Marketing must strike a balance between customizing messages and generating ROI. Purely demographic approaches are losing effectiveness, while exclusively pursuing profitable 1-to-1 may not build enough sales volume.
“Viewing consumers as tribes allows brands to be a means of supporting tribal connections. It is a way of conversing with consumers rather than shouting at them,” said Malcolm Jussawalla, Partner at Accelteon Partners Inc. “In our eBook we present a new way of thinking about brands and consumers, and how the two interrelate.”
The eBook project details the market transformation of a bottled water company, from a me-too player to a tribe-focused brand. Insights are drawn from Accelteon’s expertise in strategy & analytics and Torque’s expertise in market execution.
“By putting the tribe at the center of the marketing conversation, a brand can expand relationships with loyal consumers and also foster relationships with new consumers,” says Kevin Masi, President & Co-Founder of Torque Ltd. “For example, many people are concerned about the environmental impact of bottled water. We pro-actively addressed this in our recommendations.”
The eBook, written in case format, guides the reader through developing a tribal strategy and presents samples of strategic execution throughout the engagement.
“Tribal Waters: Embracing Consumer Tribes” Is available to download at www.accelteon.com/TribalWaters.html
Accelteon Partners Inc. (www.accelteon.com)
Accelteon’s mission is to enable your organization to strategically unleash the potential of consumer tribes.
Torque Ltd. (www.torquelaunch.com)
Torque provides creative brand marketing to mid market businesses, with brand strategies and full services marketing programs.