SOTB: No excuses edition ~ Brand Mix

Saturday, September 26, 2009

SOTB: No excuses edition

Photo: "Skyline towards Sydney tower from Castlereagh Street" Cowboy Dave Flickr CC
For other Sydney dust storm pix see: Red Dust

Here's my roundup of recent noteworthy articles and posts. Interested in why I've not been blogging much recently? I didn't think so. This is the no excuses edition:

1) The Follies of Marketing Measurement: Steve Yastrow
"'If you can’t measure it, you shouldn’t do it,' is one of the stupidest concepts in business," says Steve Yastrow, guest-posting on tompeters! For example, he says: "Should you ask your receptionist to smile when guests enter your office foyer? Of course you should! There is no way to measure the impact of a smile, but you are 100% certain that it is a good idea." Steve is not suggesting that we don't measure anything, just that we use a little imagination in what we measure. (My own series on Death by Tools and Metrics here)

2) The Anti-laws of Luxury Marketing #9: Branding Strategy Insider
Derrick Daye has a continuing series on how the normal rules of marketing are turned upside down when dealing with luxury products. This post explores the idea that the role of advertising (for luxury goods) is not to sell, using a recent Tag Heuer print campaign as the example. I loved this part: "The dream must always be recreated and sustained, for reality kills the dream. Every time a flesh-and-blood human being buys a luxury product they destroy a little bit of the equity, they increase the product’s visibility – and contribute to its vulgarization by putting it in the public eye. The opposite applies when marketing everyday goods: there is an advantage for the market leader, for the dominant market share, and therefore for maximum visibility – it becomes a reassuring purchase."

3) Culturematic: a device for making culture in two easy steps: Grant McCracken
What if I ate all my meals at McDonald's for a month? What if I swam across Connecticut using local swimming pools? What if I made recipes from Julia Child's cookbook for a year? They're all example of "culturematics:" Small, manageable, fun, diverting culture chunks for easy digestion.

4) Corporations in swimsuits: Are you faking social media? Thought Gadgets
Digital strategist Jordan Julien has introduced the idea of "synthetic authenticity," the risk large corporations face as they try to engage customers in social media. The problem is that social media tools were built for individual people to interact with each other and not for "faceless entities." As relayed by Ben Kunz, this creates cognitive dissonance. For example, if you ask a question at Nike Plus on Twitter, you don't know who writes the answer. Do you trust their opinion? Is it a real person's thought, or a brand spinning its own future sales? One solution: Put real people in charge, like Adam Denison, PR guy for Chevy

5) Scientists find area responsible for emotion in dead fish: Mind Hacks
A new study scanned the brains of dead salmon to find evidence of activation as it 'looked' at photos of human faces. The research, led by neuroscientist Craig Bennett, is fantastically called: "Neural correlates of interspecies perspective taking in the post-mortem Atlantic Salmon: An argument for multiple comparisons correction." If you're thinking: How can a dead fish show emotion?, that's the point. The research turns out to be a warning against statistical misuse.

6) Are Your Friends Making You Fat? The New York Times
As I said, this is the "no excuses" edition but, if you actually need an excuse, it turns out you can blame whatever you've done or not done on your friends. Social scientists Nicholas Christakis and James Fowlergood have found that good or bad behaviors — like quitting or starting smoking or staying slender or getting fat: "Pass from friend to friend almost as if they were contagious viruses." Although this may come as no surprise, Christakis and Fowlergood's study is one of the first that's been able to scientifically validate the effect.

That's it! Back soon with more stories from the world of brand strategy. More thoughts and comments also available on Twitter (@martinjbishop).

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