Monday, December 5, 2011

Vosges Chocolates: A Memorable Experience

Last summer, my team of IMC students had the privilege of analyzing Vosges' brand positioning.  We gave recommendations for their corporate gifts strategy.  What we found was that there only needed to be one brand association added to the existing brand equity: that you could still travel the world through chocolate, but that the journey should also be a memorable one.  From that one brand association grew a whole world of tactics.  We suggested everything from developing packaging with the company's story printed on the inner lid, to developing a scented ad for chocolate (similar to a perfume ad). 

We began by interviewing those that purchased corporate gifts, and then, based on those interviews, divided Vosges' consumer base into attitudinal segments.  Attitudinal segments are just what the sound like-- they are when you group your consumers by their behaviors rather than by their demographics.  What we discovered was that there were two large clusters in the consumer base--those that bought gifts because it was "all about me," and those that bought gifts that were "all about you."  Based on this discovery, we were able to make recommendations for industries to target.  For example, an "all about me" industry might be a quirky design firm, or a boutique advertising agency-- a company that wants to express its uniqueness through creative, handmade chocolates, and also support a small business.

Vosges Chocolates, a Chicago-based chocolatier, specializes in gourmet chocolates with novel ingredient combinations inspired by the travels of its founder.  Featuring expensive packaging and luxurious retail outlets, the chocoaltier has found its way from its humble beginnings in the founder's kitchen, into the aisles of Whole Foods and on the shelves of its own chocolate boutiques.  The brand is rich in associations, and has a free spirited, yoga loving persona.

By adding one brand association, you can readjust your positioning without reinventing the wheel.  You can add richness and dimension to your brand associations.  It was truly a memorable journey for us as well.

Hipstamatic and the Dali Art Museum: A Case Study in Fundraising

In 2010, the museum hired the ad agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners

and gave them the task of driving awareness and ticket sales for their museum’s new

building. The budget? $0. Undaunted, the agency set out to partner with the mobile

picture taking app Hipstamatic, which had won notoriety from such publications as The

New York Times for its usability and uniqueness. Hipstamatic created a premium add-

on to their app that developed the photos you took with your camera into fantastical

Dali-esque surreal paintings. Hipstamatic agreed to donate the proceeds of the $.99

download back to the Dali Museum. The agency then ran a social media contest for

the best photo, a contest that was judged by the film director and Dali aficionado John

Waters. 80,000 downloads and $50,000 in raised funds later, the museum was alive

with art lovers and tourists, and the agency was nominated for many awards.

By tapping into an already existing community, the Hipstamatic user base, the Dali Museum was able to drive awareness.  They used recognition rather than a cash drive to motivate their social media contest.  And they created a campaign that was relevant to their mission.  The mobile app not only offered a method of donation, but it offered insight into Dali’s work in and of itself.

With a little ingenuity, non-profits can provide something of tangible value in exchange for a donation, something that gives insight into their mission.  Technology is the most scalable form of fundraising, and e-philanthropy will be rooted in mobile’s future.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Gamification - Make it fun, make them loyal

Knowledgeable, independent, and savvy – those are the characteristics of modern shoppers. They have more power to the market, more access to different channel also to different information, and more knowledge about the product they are interested in. The traditional outbound marketing, including TV commercial, print ads, trade show, cold calls, and direct mail, has less and less effect on consumers. They know what they are looking for, and they know the exact price that they will be willing to pay. Worst of all, they have become less and less loyal to your product. The halo effect of a brand has been decreasing dramatically in recent days. The marketers have spent more and more time and resource maintaining the relationship with their customers. The products have become commoditized across all categories. People tend to pay less attention to the brand and walk away easily with slight dissatisfaction.

How to maintain the heat of a campaign? How to let the customers be willing to tell you about their likes and dislikes, what’s more, to tell you what do they want from you as a brand?

There’s an answer for that: Gamification. Gamificaiton is not a trick that only drives people to play and walk away with nothing. If you play your card right, this could be an ultimate tool to engage with your customers. The reasons are as followed:

People love games, and they love playing it. Through gamification you would be able to create stickiness with them. Through the process of playing, the brand would be able to understand their preference and behavior toward the brand. What kind of shoe they would buy? What kind of clothes they would go with them? Why does she choose the boot instead of the flip-flop? All these answers can be found within a game. The more time they spend in a game, the more you would get to understand them

Additional touch point
Gamification also could bring virtual to reality. There are reasons why people would go onine and look for information they want – because they have that need. They would look for Kelly blue book because they are looking for a car, and they would browse different technology blog because they are interested in such information. If a brand could leverage all these at the right spot right time, it is highly possible that it can turn this into revenue. Such as if you put an coupon or a 20% off on the bottom of the clothes they just set up for their androids, they might just click it and make the purchase. The ROI would be extremely high.

Another very good benefits that going for Gamification is that they will create buzz for you and you might even go viral because of those users. They propagandize your brand for free! This WOM effect are the thing you can’t buy from advertisement.

In all, gamification is a very good way for marketers to leverage under this very competitive and sophisticated world. If you haven’t tried it, you’d better start it now.