Tuesday, September 25, 2012

So, I Won a Watch

So last Friday, this happened:

Cool.  Serious watch geek cred.

Now, what will ProfessionalWatches and Casio, the sponsors, do with me now that they’ve gotten me to click the “like” button?  Here’s what I’d suggest for Casio.


First of all, I assure you that this sweepstakes is bona fide.  ProfessionalWatches really does publish a blog, one I read daily.  Casio does produce wristwatches, among other things.  I have no doubt that I will receive my watch, which has some really cool functions.

Back to the point.  Attracting likes, especially via a sweeptakes, always reminds me of a poster you probably remember from high school:

I wonder if a sexual health organization ever made a poster that said “chess club” at the top and then “now that all the perverts have stopped reading...”

Really, garnering a “like” only ensures a brief span of attention from the consumer.  Sure, updates from the brand will appear in the consumer’s newsfeed, but he or she has no added incentive to read the updates and can always “unlike” later.

Casio has a few options on its hands (pun intended):

  • Sell watches, stupid.  Casio sells watches for anywhere from under $10 to several hundred dollars.  Offering several models at impulse-buy prices gives Casio the opportunity to make a quick sale on Facebook with periodic offers, perhaps in concert with a respected retailer such as Amazon or Target.

  • Keep consumers informed.  Casio develops new products all the time.  Facebook offers a great opportunity to get the word out.  Most likely, keeping fans informed really means getting them ready to buy, but let’s keep the two options separate for now.

  • Encourage brand advocacy.  By speaking with fans, Casio can potentially get them to brag about the brand.  For instance, it seems that almost all people who own watches own at least one Casio model.  I have one and owned at least half a dozen others over the years.  However, not all owners wear theirs every day.  So why not use Facebook to encourage owners to give their Casios what the watch nuts call “wrist time?”

So, what should Casio do, especially given the short time that it may have to make use of entrants’ attention and that any message they send to new fans will go to older fans as well?

My contrarian answer is: D, none of the above.

OK, any of the above would work to some extent for Casio, or many other brands for that matter.  It looks like they currently do all of them.  Certainly, a newsfeed consisting exclusively of offers would probably annoy consumers and drive disengagement, but a few choice purchase opportunities couldn’t hurt.  Likewise, product updates and brand engagement have their benefits, too.

However, Casio really has on its hands a number of suspects--people who may or may not have any real interest in spending good coin on their brand.  We’ve discussed this situation before, and I’ve suggested vetting participants quickly and broadly.

In the world of email, this approach works pretty simply--send out a message with options for response and send additional emails accordingly.  However, social media don’t work like email.  People don’t subscribe so much as they listen in now and again.

Really, it’s like starting to watch a TV show that’s already made it to season three.  Hopefully, the brand has begun a meaningful conversation with its fans.  However, new fans might not be able to follow this conversation.

I mean, imagine getting into LOST after the polar bear, wait...I mean before the Black Rock, wait...  OK, I mean, try starting to watch LOST at any point after the pilot and you’ll get the idea.

As a result, Casio ought to spend its first few messages after the content to familiarize the newbies with some broad brand content.  I suspect that they have four or five messages (assuming no more than one per day) to bring the new fans up to speed on brand heritage or design philosophy or whatever else sets Casio apart.  After that, interested parties will continue to read and get into the swing of things while the folks who just wanted a free watch will fade away.  

And, no.  I’m not selling my new watch.  Buzz off.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Game of Brands

If you read this blog regularly (and THANK YOU!!! if you do), you will have noticed a distinct slowdown in my postings.  Partially, a crush of new work has caused the change in tempo.  However, truth be told, I have let books swallow a frightening portion of my spare time.  More specifically, I’ve been reading the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, better known as:

It’s time I came out as a geek.  Sorry, mom.

What can I say?  I loved the HBO series and decided to read something less dense than the other two books I read this summer.  OK, I also read one about whaling, but I’m trying to sound brainy here, OK?

While a book series set in a sex-positive fantasy universe patterned after medieval Europe may not seem relevant to marketing, I beg to disagree.  The books tell the story of several families battling to rule a continent and each family constitutes a brand of sorts.  Each family has a herald emblem, which serves as a logo for the family.  Similarly, each family has a motto--a tagline, if you will.  Finally, each family has distinct characteristics--the Lannisters are wealthy, the Greyjoys are piratical and so forth.

So, allow me to amuse myself and any other geeks out there with The Game of Brands, an attempt to match the competing factions of the Song of Ice and Fire series with the most appropriate brands.  Moreover, I think the notable members of each family match up well with specific sub-brands.  Let’s get our geek on, shall we?  One warning: I’ve got a few spoilers in here for those of you who haven’t read through book three...

(and may The Others take you if you don’t care)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

User Experience Gone Mild!

To some marketers, the term “user experience” or UX instantly brings to mind Hollywood-level digital theatrics--websites or mobile apps that all but sing and dance on the screen while imparting a sense of wonder to the user.  If you’ve ever sat through a UX meeting with marketing folks, you have heard at least one reference to a certain Tom Cruise movie that’s compelling 80% of the way through and then falls apart in the last reel.

No, not that one.  Or the other one.  Or the other other one.  This one:

Certainly, outstanding and distinctive UX schemes have their place.  A certain Cupertino-based computer giant stakes its reputation on beautiful UX.  At the other end of the spectrum, however, Google still owes much of its dominance to the plainest screen ever.

We’ve all seen over-ambitious UX schemes that frustrate the user (ahem, every timesheet program EVER).  It’s easy to overdo it.  So, when should a marketer go with “Minority Report” and when should he or she go with “Not-So Risky Business?”

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Data Strategy Brief

In my last post, I discussed how marketers should not confuse having data with having a data strategy and that they should ask themselves three questions to help develop a data strategy:

  1. What do you need to know about your audiences to communicate effectively?
  2. What relevant distinctions exist among your audiences?
  3. How do you know you’re right?

To help corral the answers from these questions, I suggested a data strategy brief, much in the way that a marketer uses a creative brief.  Let’s explore what this brief should contain.