We’ve had the privilege to carry a century of humanity. But maybe what we carry isn’t just people, it’s an idea: that while we’re not the same, we can be one. All it takes is the willingness to dare.

This Cadillac commercial, entitled “Carry,” begins by showing street protests before transitioning into scenes of humans helping other humans, like soldiers assisting a wounded compatriot and a man being airlifted from a flooded neighborhood. The General Motors brand then makes an attempt to remind viewers of its historical presence with old scenes of celebrities and their Caddys, including Muhammad Ali and Marilyn Monroe.

Ad Agency: Publicis Rokkan, New York

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In this session, Bob Siegal – Director, KPMG, LLP, reviewed the impact of procurement and accountability, pitfalls to avoid, the steps required to plan and manage for success and as importantly, how to avoid being thrown under the transparency and compliance bus.

 3 Triggers For Building Emotionally Charged Brands

The latest wave of the Kantar Millward brown’s AdReaction study shows that Gen X, Y and Z are sick of advertising; 85% of them avoid ads and 34% of them use ad blockers. Advertisers have responded with non-skippable ad formats and other gimmicks that force people to see their ads. But while people reject intrusive, forced advertising, they still continue to seek true emotional connections.

I recently asked my UCLA marketing students to create collages to illustrate what shopping, social media and health mean to them. Interestingly, all their artwork revolved around simple, yet powerful emotions. Reminiscing, being together and enjoying the simplest things in life were far more present in the collages than the brands, apps and social media they consume 11 or more hours per day.

Scholars and practitioners alike have established that emotions shape brand perception and ignite brand growth.

Here are 3 emotional triggers that brands can pull to truly connect with their audience and create ads people will seek, not skip.

1. Nostalgia

Sales of music downloads are on the decline, while the sales of vinyl records reached a 25-year high in 2016. Consumers of all ages are embracing physical formats. Downloading music is more convenient and the sound is of better quality, but consumers are willing to give up these functional benefits for an experience that is emotionally rewarding. In a world of hyper-connectedness, where we obsess about finding the next best thing, vinyl records bring us back to something we already know is great. Nostalgia brings some consistency to our lives and helps us keep track of what has changed and what remains the same.

It also enables us to relive positive memories and reminds us of special times. Addidas, Coca-Cola and KFC all capitalize on positive cultural memories of previous decades to forge meaningful connections between the past and the present. In the digital world, Pokemon GO is arguably the most successful example of nostalgia marketing. The game has coupled nostalgia with modern relevance. Among brick-and-mortar retailers, nostalgia is possibly what has saved Urban Outfitters. It is experiencing a revival after years of plummeting sales.

Until recently, the store was cluttered with flashy “sale” signs that scared its core audience of hipsters and attracted mainly cash-strapped teenagers. Gone now are the excessive markdowns, making room for glamorous photography and nostalgia products such as Polaroids, neon lights and “New Bohemian” furniture. Hipsters are now back at Urban Outfitters, shopping at one of the brand’s 400 stores or online. The website has been revamped to have the feel of a sophisticated Instagram account.

Nostalgia is a powerful emotional trigger across all age groups. Indeed, millennials and post-millennials may not have been around in the 1960s and 1970s, but they romanticize about these simpler times as an escape mechanism from their hectic work schedules and unrelenting responsibilities.

2. Community

Overwhelmed with social media platforms, dating apps and messaging services, people are seeking more genuine and meaningful ways to connect with each other. I regularly hear my students, co-workers and friends complain that meeting people online is impersonal and superficial. Sure they can access hundreds of “friends” from their phone in a matter of seconds, but these relationships are often short-lived and unfulfilling.

They claim to meet real friends at cross-fit studios, meditation classes and community groups. Cross-fit is a workout inspired by Olympic training that originated in ancient Greece. Most cross-fit facilities look like converted auto body workshops, do not offer changing rooms, and charge between $150 and $200 a month. That is five-times more than a typical gym.

Yet cross-fit, cycling and yoga studios are proliferating around the nation because they bind people together. These places give their members a sense of community: people get to know one another, help each other out, and accomplish something together. Rather than fancy equipment, it is social support that is motivating and making the accomplishment more rewarding. SoulCycle is a chain of cycling studios that has turned a boring workout on a stationary bike into an experience that some have described as a cult. At the heart of the company’s marketing strategy is the relationship with and between members, meaning everyone knows where the other members come from, if they have kids and why they are coming in late. This sense of community extends online, where members follow their instructors on social media to keep track of their music playlists, class schedules and pictures.

3. Simplicity

To be most impactful, a brand must elicit positive emotions in a fraction of second before the consumer starts assessing the functional aspect of the product. When provided with too many options, consumers focus solely on evaluating a product’s features at the expense of the brand’s emotional benefit.

This phenomenon, described by psychologist Barry Schwartz as The Paradox of Choice, is detrimental to our psychological and emotional well-being. The abundance of choice is all around us. The menu at The Cheesecake Factory includes more than 250 items. The average supermarket carries over 35,000 products. Starbucks claims to offer more than 80,000 drink combinations.

Overwhelmed with choice, consumers tend to prioritize the simplest options.

One of Starbucks’s most popular drinks is the tall latte non-fat. Le Pain Quotidien expanded from a single bakery in Belgium to over 200 stores worldwide by serving simple but perfect bread and pastries. Chipotle built its success by offering a simple, narrow menu.

Another way to convey simplicity is by using the most basic, yet authentic ingredients and materials. In contrast with Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain, Kind touts its granola bars as “snacks with ingredients you will recognize”. These ingredients include whole nuts and whole grains, along with fruit and spices. TOMS shoes are mostly made of canvas obtained by combining organic cotton and post-consumer plastics.

Beyond the product, the experience must also be simple. Researching, ordering and returning the product has to be pain-free. All these logistical steps can get in the way of enjoying what we buy. Dollar Shave Club did not take on Gillette by adding more blades and raising prices. Instead, it developed a simple direct-to consumer model paired with clever marketing and low prices. Like Dollar Shave Club, subscription-based businesses such as StitchFix, Birchbox and Fabletics rely on simplicity and consistency to attract and retain loyal customers.

The key to reaching consumers is not to trick them with ads they cannot skip, but to create brand experiences that they find emotionally absorbing. Pull any or all of these emotional triggers to create customers and fans. And always make sure these triggers are at the heart of your brand identity.

The Blake Project Can Help: Accelerate Brand Growth Through Powerful Emotional Connections

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

FREE Publications And Resources For Marketers

By Gary Larkin, Research Associate, The Conference Board Governance Center In the first month of the new Administration, companies are facing a risk they didn’t expect: being the subject of one of President Trump’s tweets. While Trump is not the first Commander-in-Chief to use social media to reach constituents, the President is most definitely the […]

Tribal Brand Strategy: The Art Of Exclusion

As humans, we are the product of thousands of years of tribalism. In the workplace, school or wherever, we coalesce around shared needs, desires and points-of-view. We form tribes. Tribes illuminate one thing above all else; you’re either in or you’re out. Some brands key in on this basic behavioral instinct to build their advantage.

As a rule, marketers focus on how to sharpen their efforts in reaching their desired target customer, and then cultivating those customers to becoming advocates—the brand’s “tribe.” That makes perfect sense. Your brand can’t, nor should it, be all things to all people. A brand, by definition, differentiates itself, and those differences will appeal to some and not to others.

How far some brands choose to go with that is where it gets interesting. Or you might say “repelling.” That seems to be the desired effect by some brand strategies toward people the brand doesn’t define as its desired target customer. In fact, it may actually feel hostile or off-putting if you’re not part of the brand’s intended tribe.

These brands choose to define themselves as much by what they are not and to whom they do not appeal to, as much as they are defined by what they are and appeal to. This exclusionary posture may take different forms, some subtle and some in your face. But always the goal is the same: preserve the integrity of the brand and intensify the loyalty of its tribe. The marketing execution for this direction can be sometimes provocative and attention getting, ramping up the “it’s for us and not for them” intensity even more.

Who Is In And Who Is Out

A perfect example is the Carl’s Jr. salacious, female-objectifying campaign designed to appeal to their primary target consumer, young men, while at the same time alienating most of the females on the planet. Young, hungry men who spend more for big burgers are this brand’s tribe. Women clearly are not.

When Abercrombie & Fitch doesn’t carry XL and XXL sizes and only show buff, barely dressed teens in their ads, catalogs and stores, the brand is saying if you’re chubby, you’re not part of our tribe.

Pulte Homes, the largest homebuilder in the U.S., crafted a lifestyle brand segmentation strategy to ensure a satisfying community experience among homeowners at similar life stages. Thus, if you’re 50+ and no children, a Del Webb community is for you. If you’re a young family with kids, Del Webb is not for you. The marketing clearly infers that distinction. The Del Webb tribe has gray hair.

An oft-cited example (and a classic one) of tribal mentality is the “I’m a Mac. I’m a PC.” Campaign. Here we see both tribes, personified beautifully by actors Justin Long and John Hodgman, illustrating the differences between the brands and skewed obviously in the Mac’s favor. As a loyal Mac customer myself and part of the Apple tribe, the alienation of the PC guy made me smile … and still does. Conversely, many PC users were offended by the creative portrayal, but that’s ok. Apple doesn’t want them anyway.

And when a political candidate characterizes the opponent’s supporters as a “basket of deplorables” she is both galvanizing her supporters (her tribe) and alienating her non-supporters even more. It’s is a risky gambit.

Aside from including and strengthening those you want and excluding those you don’t, this tribal approach can have some added benefits, as well:

  • Disruption of the norm. The Carl’s Jr. campaign was not your run-of-the-mill fast food campaign. Go-Daddy’s sexy 2005 launch campaign was not your typical tech brand campaign. As smaller competitors with smaller budgets, these smaller fish took noticeable bites out of bigger fish.
  • Preservation of brand integrity. As my Branding Strategy Insider co-author Mark Di Somma observes, this kind of staunch approach regarding who you are and what your brand stands for actually shields and preserves your brand from attack or detraction, as in the case of New Balance being wrongly associated with a very undesirable tribe: white supremacists.
  • Underscoring brand values. When Patagonia took the unprecedented step to potentially alienate its own customers by telling them not to buy its jackets, but to repair their old Patagonia jackets instead, it was taking a stand for responsible consumption. This underscored the brand’s environmentally responsible viewpoint and actually resulted in more sales!

A brand strategy that defines who is in and who is out should be carefully considered in the planning stage. The planner should view those “who we do not wish to consume our beverages, wear our jeans, run in our shoes or drive our cars” as “Threats” to the brand as delineated in a S.W.O.T. analysis. And as a Threat, they must be avoided or eliminated. Unlike the common mindset of most marketing plans to grow share at whatever cost by spreading a positive appeal across the masses, the tribal mindset determines upfront to discriminate. Or as the Marine Corps is famously known, we want “a few good men,” not just any or all men. The tribal mindset is also bold and unapologetic. Often requiring fearless leadership to see it through.

Are there downsides to this approach? The reality is that market conditions will change. Those inevitable changes necessitate brands to adapt to remain relevant, even if in small ways. This uncompromising exclusionary, tribal strategy, by its nature, is strong medicine. On the PR front, it may generate more heat than light. It could even backfire. And over time, the marketer may need to skillfully move the brand to a less radical posture as it matures (in the case of GoDaddy) or cultural norms dictate.

In brand strategy as in life, choose your friends, as well as your enemies, wisely.

Don’t let the future leave you behind. Join us in Hollywood, California for Brand Leadership in the Age of Disruption, our 5th annual competitive-learning event designed around brand strategy.

The Blake Project Can Help: Disruptive Brand Strategy Workshop

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

FREE Publications And Resources For Marketer

Check out this Uncontainable book review!

– the book: Uncontainable: How Passion, Commitment, and Conscious Capitalism Built a Business Where Everyone Thrives, the story of The Container Store told by its co-founder and Chairman Kip Tindell

– the brains:  Kip Tindell never intended to go into business, but from an early age he loved retail, he was involved with philosophy, and he was always organizing things (fly fishing tackle, his coin collection, boxes in the stock room of the shop he worked at, etc.). These three passions came together when his friend and mentor Garrett Boone suggested they open a store together and they decided it would sell “the resources for people to organize all the stuff in their lives.”  The file folder he had filled with “great ideas and inspiring quotes” ever since he was a teenager evolved into the seven the Foundation Principles that guide everything the organization does.

– the best bits:  Uncontainable weaves together key moments in the history of The Container Store with expositions on its Foundation Principles.  This approach effectively illustrates how the Principles have played a key role in how the company operates.  Here are just a few examples:

  • Principle:  Air of Excitement!

Kip says that he thinks of retail as theater and, as such, it’s crucial that the company’s “stage” is set up perfectly.  “That’s why we take such great care with our interior design and the presentation of products—to make sure the look and feel of our stores reflect The Container Store’s mission… Our goal is ‘perfect product presentation,’ which means that the customer can clearly understand everything about the product immediately, even if our sales staff is busy helping other customers.

To engage employees in Air of Excitement, the company holds all sorts of events and celebrations, including “We Love Our Employees Day, held every Valentine’s Day.”  Kip justifies the attention paid and resources spent on these activities, saying, “What conventional business minds don’t understand is that all the positive feeling this activity generates is really the fuel that drives our company.

  • Principle:  Communication IS Leadership

Communication and leadership really are the same thing,” according to Kip.  “After all, how can people trust their leaders if they’re not being fully informed about what’s at stake?

So, at The Container Store, the leadership doesn’t operate on a “need to know” basis. Rather, he says, “We ask ourselves, ‘Who will benefit from having this information?‘”  And the company gives its employees scheduled time to read, watch, or listen to whatever information is currently available.  Devoting labor hours to communication is practically unheard of in retail, especially in this era of skyrocketing labor costs — but The Container Store does it because “it’s really consistent with our belief in valuing one another, making sure we all feel appreciated, included, and empowered, and have the training necessary to be successful in our jobs.

  • Principle:  Fill the Other Guy’s Basket to the Brim.  Making Money Then Becomes an Easy Proposition.

The Container Store works on “creatively crafting mutually beneficial relationships with our vendors to help them produce and provide the kind of useful, fun, well-designed, high-quality products that delight our customers.”   The company, Kip explains, helps its vendors develop new products, places orders during slow periods, pays them on time, and is deeply loyal to them.  Vendors, in turn, give The Container Store great pricing, exclusive product, and their loyalty too.

The principle proved its value in one particular instance:  The company was able to purchase Elfa, the modular shelving company, despite not being the highest bidder.  The long history of a fantastic relationship between the two entities sealed the deal.  Kip writes, “At some point, it became clear to elfa’s owners that selling to anyone beside The Container Store would not only mean losing their best customer, but also that the hearts and souls of most of elfa’s management team and employees were with us.

– the bottom line:  Uncontainable is equally inspiring and instructive.  It delivers insights and important instruction that should be learned by any business leader who wants to run a business that creates value for all its stakeholders.  Highly recommend!


Shoe Dog by Nike founder Phil Knight

People First Leadership by Eduardo Braun

Onward by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

The post brand book bites from Uncontainable appeared first on Denise Lee Yohn.

Feel your Wow with the fashion of bonprix in this new commercial from the German fashion brand featuring the a cover of the Roxette song “The Look”.

Ad Agency: Jung von Matt/Alster – Hamburg, Germany
Managing Director: Thim Wagner / Andreas Ernst
Creative Director: Mirjam Wagner, Gregor Willimski
Art Direction: Tomma Fehrs, Maria Torres, Carina Flock (Shooting)
TV Producer: Moritz Sülz
Text: Jan-Erik Scheibner
Client Service Director: Birte Helmert
Senior Project Manager: Renée Kathrin Hicks

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What marketers need to know this week: The average price for a 30-second spot at the 2017 Oscars, the rate of growth for cloud computing over the next four years, how much a CEO’s indiscretions could affect shareholder value, and more.

Kelly Jo Murphy, sales conversions expert, joins us on a new episode of Magnificent Time to talk about a problem most coaches and consultants face: paltry results from their discovery/ consultation sessions. You might have talked to potential clients who seem to just want free coaching. You might have heard,…