A new change in the loyalty game

The current digital era has almost completely driven demure, unadventurous and “old-fashioned” marketing out. The reason lies not with the fact that it’s no longer effective, but with the realisation that there are many more factors being constantly added on to its equation. While those factors tend to follow new technologies development and relevant social trends in general, they can also be specific to different branding strategies or only be applied to particular industry sector, company culture, target segment etc.

Social media marketing is a good example of how changes to technologies have created a need for new marketing approaches. Many studies have flagged a tentative list of key steps to follow in order to succeed in social media and online marketing. From these lists [1], “relevance” and “value” are two of the main factors to be taken into consideration when planning a campaign, seeing as both bring to the table basic considerations for online users in general and create competitive advantage simultaneously. Other key factors include “patience” and “quality”, which would help brands establish themselves at a steady pace. Despite that, the list is not a bible of rules that one must abide by in order to succeed and doesn’t include a single mandatory process to follow. It’s a guideline, and ticking the points in it isn’t a safe and 100% effective way of creating loyal customers or followers online.

It requires something more than what books and outsiders could tell you. Particularly when focusing on social media platforms, a different type of strategy is crucial to leave a strong online impression and shake the pre-existent reality created by well-established brands. They should be innovative, stimulating and organic, independently of the industry. This type of marketing has been creating disruptive brands [2] which are continuously changing customer relationship with brands in general and the way they engage with them. They don’t necessarily represent the most well-known brands to the audience, but the ones that excel at taking risk and introducing novelty to their respective sectors, even if they don’t hit the headlines for it.

These kind of marketing strategies have been more effective in ‘reaching out’ to passive customers or the ones who are not frequent or completely loyal to the brand. Brands that plan to walk this path, must have a good knowledge of their business model, strengths and of who they target. In cases like Amazon [3], ‘added value’ to consumer in general, ‘simple messaging’ communication strategy and a ‘call-to action’ system integrated onto a social media campaign has done the deal.  The trust [4] on the brand is a relevant factor to its success though.

Different brands and different strategies will for ever make it hard for marketers to track and tail the perfect method because there isn’t one. And that’s the beauty of it!

One can always use top-notch technology and many alternative methods that worked for company A or B and not have the expected result. No brand is the same to another, even competitors, the key is to find what makes them special and show it to their target audience.


1 https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/218160

2 https://www.marketingweek.com/100-disruptive-brands/about/

3 http://www.forbes.com/sites/gabrielshaoolian/2016/10/31/how-amazon-fresh-and-freshdirect-are-competing-to-engage-users-online-and-generate-brand-loyalty/#24b1f94b567d

4 https://hbr.org/2011/12/why-trust-matters-more-than-ev


Truths about Lovemarks

Lovemark is a marketing concept that was first mentioned when the then Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts brought to light the lack of new inspiration from brands. From his own words, brands were “running out of juice” and needed love in order to continue successful. When he and other marketers and advertisers begun to question how loyalty could be built upon something stronger and more resilient than logic reasoning, a few key concepts surfaced that became crucial in that new way of portraying brands in general.
They are as follows:

  • Mystery
  • Sensuality
  • Intimacy

The mystery behind stories that inspire and help create sensual sounds, sights, tastes and feelings that would portray the brand’s commitment to follow through with its promises and pass on to customers feelings of empathy and passion necessary to make them connected, not by rational facts that could be changed in different circumstances but for stronger emotional bonds.
While in the past marketers could produce an average piece of creative, and with good budget, ensure that it was seen by everyone, today however, we are living on an age of brand Darwinism where consumers can opt out of an advert.
In this new era, only the best creative thrives and it’s harder to hold an audience’s attention.
From ex Coca Cola Marketing VP Javier Lamelas’ words, being successful nowadays for marketers is not about shifting resources from creative to top-notch technologies. It’s about improving the creative and then using technology to emphasize it.
People fall in love with brands the same way they do with people, by attaching emotions and feelings of moments and experiences they have gone through when making use of any products or services that they provide.
Brands such as Coca Cola, Apple and Google have been facing all their resources into building a stronger bond with their customers through engagement.

There isn’t a single guideline on how to build a lovemark. Companies that wish to achieve such status should be sure of their values and visions and line a clear path to convince the audience of their intentions. Like focusing on making them see that what you’re trying to provide is not a beverage to cool your body but an opportunity to connect with others and share that refreshing feeling in the company of those who make you happy.
In other words, brands should not pay so much attention to data and trends, which are both ephemeral, and focus more on simple human truths and needs that will always be present and providing a link between meeting those with their services and products.

Keeping up with Product Placement

Product placement, also know as brand integration or embedded marketing, is an advertising technique used by companies in general to subtly promote their products. Through this method, brands or their products are embedded in television shows, films, truman-show-product-placementreality shows and other media available. There have been cases of extreme placement situations, similar to what we experienced in Jim Carey’s The Truman Show, which have raised criticisms from professionals and the audience in general.
Critics have deemed it as a dishonest method, seeing as there is no previous warning to when and which products or brands would be advertised.
Netflix’s House of Cards is a good example of a recent and infamous use of very obvious product placement. house-of-cards-placementFrom BlackBerry, Dell and Samsung to Chevrolet and Apple, among others, there were throughout the show, very clear attempts of advertising. Personally, the worst scene was the one where anti-hero Frank Underwood sits down in a friend’s living room, picks up Sony’s latest console and remarks, “Is that a PS Vita? (…) I ought to get one of these for the car”. Similar to these shows there are currently others airing on our television that makes the most use of this technique without consumers even realizing it.

In today’s society, this strategy seems to have become marketers biggest weapon to reach the younger generation.
Going in accordance with PQ Media’s reports on growth of brands’ social media sponsorships investment, there has been a significant evolution of product placement caused by its combination with a type of parasocial interaction (PSI).
A good example of that comes from the widely known Kardashian family’s show. Through their show and correspondent social media channels, they (particularly sisters Kim, Kendall and Kylie) have created a perceived relation/interaction with their followers, viewers and fans to such an extent that most don’t realize that their nonsensical kardashian-product-placementconversations and supposedly friendliness towards them is part of a very well oiled billion dollar business making machine. This is all due to the familiar nature of their family portrait and behaviours. Contrary to most celebrities who advertise in professional manner, with images and phrases that were clearly written by a PR, the Kardashians talk to their audience as if they were to a family member or friend. Asking them opinions about trivial matters of their personal lives and using millions of different digital tools to make the audience feel like they know them. With this method, when theyIMG_7633 trivially mention how they “are obsessed with the A app” or “how good B cream feels” it doesn’t feel like an advertisement, but a recommendation of a friend.
For us as consumers, who normally have our advertising-guard on and are fairly prepared to tune them out on social media and TV, we let our guard down and, without realizing it, become obsessed with the items too.
With trends, consumers’ minds and technologies constantly evolving, will product placement remain as it is, or will it also evolve until it’s completely different to what is now?
The answer, I suppose, will only become clear with time.

Digital Signage at service of consumer engagement

omnivex-slide-1-copyNowadays, digital signage is everywhere.
Gone the old novelty of digital billboards at major high streets, retail stores and hospitals, they have now become a part of our daily lives.
As a way of pursuing the attention of an ever disinterested and disconnected public, companies and marketers have found a way of making a better use of this technology; By linking it to relation and experience marketing, they have found a way of making consumers engage more with their brands.

A new and alternative method that enabled companies to, not to only maintain their costumers informed about them, but also offer them unique and memorable moments, and thus making them a tiny bit more loyal to their brands.
Even though the results of this partnership is visible almost everywhere we go (at our working place, restaurants, cafés, supermarkets and even public transports), it is still quite restrained in terms of usability and interaction with the user. In other words, digital signage application to marketing as a whole it is still very information-based.

waitrose-christmas-app-qr-codeFollowing suit to the chameleonic nature of marketing, it needs to adapt a more versatile way of engaging consumers to brands, as there is no limit to what it can be in the future. Organisations have come to this same conclusion and have started to invest in finding new ways of promoting themselves through this technology. Be it through touch screens, body sensors or QR codes, they are creating new paths to deepen costumer engagement with their brands and reinforcing their names in the market.

Taking into account that technological growth and development is deeply related to this phenomenon, we can only hope that new futuristic tools such as 3D screens that can be visible with or without glasses or water and fog screens that creates dreamy illusions, can become an answer for brands who constantly seek new ways of creating deeper connections with their customers.

 … Always through particular experiences that could make even those who are constantly busy to spend a few minutes of their time to see, to listen and to ‘feel’ what is around them.


Schaeffler, Jimmy “Digital Signage: Software, networks, advertising and displays: A primer for understanding the business”





Disclaimer: I do not own the pictures from this post.