Archive | March 2012

Quaker Oats Gives Iconic Figure a Makeover!

Can you see the differences between the two pictures?

Yes, there are notable differences between the backdrop ‘Larry’ (and yes, the Quaker man has a name in case you didn’t know) is positioned in front of, but can you recognize some of Larry’s fine details that have been altered?

In her article, ‘Larry,’ Quaker of Oatmeal Fame, Gets a Makeover, Sarah Nassauer explains how the revamped logo wasn’t done to necessarily catch the consumers’ eyes.

Subtlety was a primary aim.  The “goal is not to have anyone notice that he is different,” explains Michael Connors, Hornall Anderson’s vice president of design.

When introduced in 1877, Quaker Oatmeal represented a brand that symbolized a quality meal  and a trustworthy one too.  Nowadays, consumers are trying alternative ways to become healthier and keep up energy throughout those long work days.  Due to the overwhelming statistic of the green initiative and healthy choices, Justin Lambeth, Quaker’s chief marketing officer, knew they had a successful 134-year-old brand that needed no change in its quality, but instead in its image.  He chose to adjust the logo to realign the brand with consumers’ new healthier decisions and lifestyles without losing any of the brand’s equity.

Besides Larry’s broad shoulders being revealed, a trimming of his hair, a removed double chin, and smoothed out face and neck, Mr. Connors summarized these tweaks by saying “We took about five pounds off of him.”

In thinking about this subtle branding revamp, we remembered other brands that did similar edits to their logo including StarKist editing its iconic figure, Charlie the Tuna.  Decades ago StarKist commercials would show Charlie and his friends smoking cigars and playing poker under the sea.  However, if those commercials would be broadcast in the present day, we would expect the brand image of StarKist to decrease.  Since there is a vast amount of negativity towards smoking, those types of commercials would now lead to a negative brand image.

Another iconic logo who has undergone over 5 adjustments to keep up with the changing image of women is Betty Crocker.  When the economy was low, she taught consumers how to cook on a budget and along with her cooking habits changing so did her gray colored hair and complexion.

Quaker’s adjustments made to its brand image is a good example of how a company should constantly recognize the changing lifestyles, habits, and opinions of its consumers and consider ways to keep their brand relevant.

Companies should be aware of the likes and dislikes of its consumers along with the processes those consumers take to buy their brands.  Knowing these details will aid in forming a positive relationship with consumers and enhance brand equity.

Do you think there are any other brands out of date with today’s society values?


Brands’ Advertisements on Television & Online

Nielsen is known as a “global leader in measurement and information” and provides its clients with the understanding of their consumer which is the tool needed to make right decisions and will help with profitability.

In the article, New Nielsen Ratings to Measure TV and Online Ads Together, Brian Steltes discusses how Nielsen is taking its efforts a step further and beginning to use a new system to fulfill all of its clients’ needs.

“The new system, given the name “cross-platform campaign ratings,” will combine Nielsen’s existing television ratings, which measure the reach and frequency of ads on TV, with Nielsen’s new online campaign ratings, which apply the same measurements to the Web.”

“This is a major breakthrough.  This measure will show you the reach of your campaign on TV, the reach of your campaign online, and will show you the overlap between the two,” said an enthusiastic Steve Hasker, president of media products and advertiser solutions at Nielsen.

Frustrated companies and angencies have been wanting and needing a way to analyze if the combination of their advertisements on two different mediums have a positive or negative effect on the brand.

  • Do both forms of advertising portray the brand in a similar and correct way?
  • Do each reach the intended target market?

Nielsen’s new system foreshadows many benefits for clients and buyers.  With this system, clients will be able to optimize the television-online campaigns.  For buyers, it will reduce problems when media buying.

For example, a car company is advertising a new type of car in a television commercial and at the end summarizes a way a consumer could win one of the first 100 made.  This campaign includes both mediums and in the client’s mind the efforts should work together…but does it?

This car company could then use Nielsen’s “cross-platform campaign ratings” to see if their vision was correct.  With the use of this system, the client could see how many people are viewing its commercial and if a similar percentage of online users are entering the contest after viewing the commercial.  This information will aid the car company in determining if their ads on both mediums are receiving the anticipated views and interaction.

Next time while watching television, try to identify those commercials that direct you to a company’s website or social media sites.  Also, notice how many companies  actually replay their current commercials on the main page of their website.

With the ever-changing technology, Nielsen also foresees an extended cross-platform system that will eventually deal with smartphones.  This system may involve analyzing the use of apps or the amount of QR codes scanned by consumers compared to the company’s other forms of advertising.

Ready or Not the New Facebook is Here!

Nowadays Facebook is becoming a useful tool not only for individuals, but also those brands that are reaching out to their audiences on a personal level.  When buying a specific brand at a local grocery store, the only possible bond formed is with the cashier, who doesn’t have any connection to that brand.  However, Facebook is opening up a new communication tunnel that will allow a consumer to have a connection with the brand through its Facebook page.

This tactic of brands forming relationships with consumers through Facebook will improve with the introduction of timelines on brands’ Facebook pages.  Timelines, seen in the top middle of a page, will represent a “first impression” of the brand because it will be the first amount of information a consumer will see when clicking on a page.

In the article, Thriving on the New Facebook: Four Steps for Your Brand, Sean Corcoran explains the four steps in connecting with consumers and getting them to go beyond the timeline and to start interacting with the brand.  These four steps included:

1) Learn how to earn your way into the news feed.

  • 1/3 of women 18–34 check their Facebook status before going to the bathroom when they wake up in the morning
  • Most people don’t visit brand pages, so newsfeeds are where the real action is
  • Learn how to regularly create content that people will want to interact with and share with their personal, professional and public social networks

2) Orchestrate both the drumbeat and the pulses.

  • “Pulses” help increase engagement on an infrequent basis
  • “Drumbeat” of conversations keep the community active

3) Manage, analyze and act on real-time data.

  • “Smart” content calendar – one that is proactive in its planning around seasons and promotional periods, but also reactive in that it is optimized based on the data available in near real-time
  • Success will require both the analytics tools and the people in place to use those tools to collect, manage and analyze it

4) Seamlessly integrate all the necessary skill sets.

  • Requires skill sets that include PR, CRM, customer service, analytics, advertising, editorial and creative development
  • Challenge-getting those skills to work together in real-time

Some brands’ timelines that are worth checking out are Subway, Wal-Mart, Macy’s, and Advertising Age.  Many of these brands displayed its company’s history or its “first”.  For example, the first Subway sandwich, the first store opening, and the first issue.

Google Minimizes Press Release Headlines

Headlines are the first critical words used to draw in readers!

When using Google, what if you read the headline “Welcome to the website of the Public Services Ombudsman for…” ? But when searching on Yahoo you were able to view the whole headline stating, “Welcome to the website of the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.”

Does the shorter headline that Google displays entice you to open the page to read more? Or does a reader prefer to see a full headline in order to avoid wasting time on an incorrect or uninteresting site?

When writing a headline for an article or website, there are several factors one must keep in mind.  The headline, similar to an opening paragraph of a paper or the first chapter of a novel, should encourage its audience to want to read more.  This can be done my using appropriate engaging words, posing a question that the material would answer, play on words or even portraying a sense of humor.

In the article, 80% of Press Release Headlines Too Long for Google, According to New Study, Amy Yen explained Google’s suggestion for writing a successful headlines for its search engine.  Significant data received from a study preformed by Schwartz MSL Reasearch Group demonstrated how many headlines didn’t make the “cut”.

Amy Yen stated, “Google only displays roughly 65 characters in their search results and therefore releases with headlines 70 characters or under are best optimized for SEO.”

That might sound simple and 65 characters may seem like a lot, but according to the study; out of 16,000 Business Wire press releases from 2011, only around 820 of them contained 65 characters or less.

“Of those, only 19.5% of all releases had headlines with 65 characters or fewer and just 23.7% were at 70 characters or fewer. This suggests that the great majority of press releases do not have headlines fully optimized for search.”

Next time writing a headline make sure to be concise, straight to the point and attract  the reader because you never know when Google might…

…cut you off!