brand book bites from brand building in a digital, social, mobile age
– the book: Brand Building in a Digital, Social and Mobile Age: Based on the top 10 most socially shared ideas on how marketing organizations can succeed in a digital age – a practical, prescriptive, and short (only 54 pages!) handbook
– the brain: Joel Rubinson, President and founder of Rubinson Partners, Inc., a marketing and research consulting firm and a member of the faculty of NYU Stern School of Business where he teaches social media strategy. Take a listen to my conversation with Joel in which we discuss:
- brands as media
- why the popular Old Spice ad campaign wasn’t nearly as effective as people think
- how the notion that “mobile is mobile” is wrong
– the best bits:
- In the chapter Hit or Myth: Which Marketing Beliefs Are True?, Joel dispels several commonly held beliefs including “Over 20% of purchases in stores now come via showrooming, where people use apps to get the best price elsewhere while standing in the store.” The reality is “35% claim to do this but only a few percent actually showroom in a given month.” Touche!
- Joel also shares Eight Brand-Building Ideas for a Digital World. One of them is “Encourage people to interact with your brand beyond functional purpose — This will build attachment that differentiates your brand.” I couldn’t agree more — emotional connection bonds people to your brand.
- The book explains that “Traditional consumer segmentation…simply does not work that well because it is rarely very actionable.” So it offers up Four New Approaches to Segmentation in a Digital and Social Age, including moments segmentation: “Moments segmentation is better for innovation and for media strategy intended to influence the path to purchase. In a digital and social age, moments become directly targetable…e.g., I happen to be on a diet now which makes me much more interesting to Atkins, Dukan and Weight Watchers than I was a month ago.” This ties in nicely with the needs-based segmentation approach I usually recommend to my clients.
– the brand story: The implications of Joel’s research and insights are most significant for Facebook. Joel reports he conducted on research investigating the causal relationship between liking a brand on Facebook and any increase in value to the brand. It was the first study that precisely measures the effect of liking a brand by looking at the same person’s clickstream behavior towards a brand for 30 days before and 30 days after they liked that brand.
The research showed:
There IS, in fact, an 85% lift in the number of sessions on a brand’s website within 30 days of becoming a fan of a brand on Facebook. Liking a brand on Facebook DOES matter. However, the effect all comes from the small subset who return to the fan page. For them, there is a four-fold increase in their visits to that brand’s website after liking the brand. Likers who did not return exhibited virtually no increase at all in website visits.
This is an important finding to explain the value of Facebook. It also provides implications for how marketers should use it. “Every Facebook brand newsfeed update should offer a reason for a fan to go back to their brand fan page and the page itself should encourage stickiness,” Joel concludes.
– the bottom line: Brand Building in a Digital, Social and Mobile Age is an informative and instructive resource for marketers who are trying to navigate the changing waters of today’s marketplace.
*** remember to check out my conversation with Joel:
related brand book bites:
- The Passion Conversation by John Moore
- Can’t Buy Me Like by Bob Garfield and Doug Levy
- Youtility by Jay Baer
Denise: Hello. This is Denise Yohn, and welcome to the Brand-as-Business Bites™ Podcast.
The Brand-as-Business Bites™ Podcast gives you a taste of insights and information about brands, businesses, and the people who work on them. It’s available on iTunes. For more stuff for your brain to chew on, please visit my website at DeniseLeeYan.com.
A book with the title “BrandBuilding in the Digital, Social, and Global Age” definitely piques my interest. And so here to talk with me today about his book is Joel Rubinson. Joel is president and founder of Rubinson Partners, a marketing and research consulting firm for a brave new world, and he’s also a member of the faculty of NYU Stern School of Business, where he teaches social media strategy.
Previously, Joel served as the chief research officer at the Advertising Research Foundation, and before that, Joel was a consultant at Brand Innovation Strategy Firm of Vivaldi Partners, which is where I first met him.
So I’m so pleased to have you here today, Joel. Welcome.
Joel: Oh, thanks a lot, Denise. It’s great to be talking to you again, and thanks for inviting me to be interviewed here.
Denise: Great. So let’s start off with a question that your book starts off with, which is what does marketing success look like in a digital, social, and mobile age?
Joel: Okay, thanks. The thing is that brand success is no longer completely reflected by tracker surveys. It’s no longer reflected by market share. You have to look deeper to completely understand the popularity of a brand, the degree to which it’s engaging with its consumers. And the signs of that exist not so much in surveys, but they exist in social media activity and in other forms of digital activity.
So if you have a particular social or digital metric that you would not be indifferent to, it should be part of how you track a complete picture of what brand success looks like. So an example of that is you should want people to be looking for your brand by typing in your trademark into a search engine.
You should be wanting people to go to your website. You should be wanting people to what I call join your brand. That is, follow you on Twitter, or like you on Facebook, or sign up for your newsletters.
So you need to really put on your thinking cap about all those manifestations of what success looks like, and then bring it together into an integrated framework.
Denise: And can you point to an example of a brand that you think is really succeeding in this new, as you call it, DSM, digital, social, and mobile age? And, you know, what are they doing right, and how do we know that they’re doing it well?
Joel: Yeah. I think a great example of a brand that’s really… what I’ll say, hitting on all cylinders, is Starbucks. What is… Starbucks has about 35 million followers or fans on Facebook. They have over 2 million followers on Twitter. They have mobile apps that allow you to… you know, they give you, like, a mobile wallet, so you can pay for things.
And all of this… and then they also have a lot of activity on their own media website. So if you… oh, and I should also say that there’s just a lot of search activity that leads people to Starbucks.
So, for example, according to Google, there’s 16 million searches every month for the word “coffee.” And of course Starbucks shows up several times on the first page of search results. You should not ignore the power of those impressions.
So when you put it all together, what Starbucks is doing is they have really built out a relationship with people on all of these fronts. And one of the concepts that I really talk about in my book, and in my blog, and so on is the concept of a brand audience. Brands should build audiences. Just like in the past, media companies had audiences, like an audience for a TV show.
Well, today, brands can have their own audiences as well. Brands can think of themselves as media, as well as whatever their functional purpose is. So if you think about that, Starbucks has a huge brand audience. That brand audience is a cumulative permissioning that delivers over 200 million impressions basically for free every month, just by the fact that people have chosen to connect with Starbucks in all of these different ways, and Starbucks has created [inaudible 00:05:40] kind of a branding culture that enables that to happen. So they would be really, like, one of the best examples of a brand that totally gets what DSM marketing is all about.
Denise: And I guess one of the questions I have, you know, maybe to whatever extent you know, at Starbucks or at other organizations. It seems like there’s a real change in the way that marketing runs in order to be able to do these things. You know, as you said, that it starts with looking at different metrics, but it’s really also just whole new capabilities, and different processes, and just different kinds of programs. It really seems like kind of a sea change, in a way.
Joel: Well, I think so. You know, I don’t work with Starbucks. And if I did, obviously I couldn’t divulge what their inner thinking is. However, they were nice enough to do it. If you look on SlideShare, I believe you’ll find kind of like their digital social roadmap as a presentation on SlideShare by the chief marketing officer, or somebody like that. And they really are premeditated in how they’re connecting all the dots.
Joel: And how they then… you know, whether they’ve turned this into big data solutions where they harness predictive analytics and so on, I don’t quite… you know, I don’t know. Reverse engineering it, I would be shocked if they weren’t doing that better than most other brands do it. So I think Starbucks is a great example. But can I give you another example that’s kind of a counter-example?
Joel: It’s often used as the best example of marketing in this new digital, social, mobile age. Well, or what’s often called paid, owned, and earned media. And that is Old Spice. I actually don’t like the Old Spice example as much as Starbucks.
And I’ll tell you why. And this goes back to, you know, you asked me what success looks like in a DSM age. I think it’s crucial that you build a brand audience.
And while Old Spice did a great job of amplifying their paid advertising, you know… and people forget. They think the initiative was all social, but it all started with a TV commercial.
Joel: And they also ran, at the same time, a buy one, get one free. So they were really connecting all the dots in shopper marketing and TV advertising and so on.
But here’s the thing. If you look at how many people have liked the brand on Facebook, follow it on Twitter, go to the owned media website, subscribe to the channel on YouTube, it’s not actually a very big audience.
So while they get a lot of people to view the videos, there’s less residual value to those connections than there is for a brand like Starbucks.
So for me, the differentiating factor between those two examples is the durable brand audience that you build, which is not only a two-way communication channel across all screens, but it also is the fundamental source of your ability to compete based upon data and analytics. So anyway, those are my examples.
Denise: Those examples. Okay.
Joel: You might be a little surprised that I don’t put Old Spice…
Joel: I don’t give them an A. But I really don’t.
Denise: Right. Right. One of my favorite parts of your book was the myth part, where you uncover some commonly held marketing beliefs that are actually myths. Would you share one or two of those, and kind of give us a little education?
Joel: Sure. I’ll give you two. Well, first of all, I’ll share two myths, and then I’ll tell you why myths like this get to be believed you know, so fervently over time.
Denise: Okay. Sure.
Joel: The first myth is that TV and, in general, paid advertising is dying. That’s the first myth.
Denise, you’ll probably remember, because you and I were reading the same articles in Ad Age, and Media Post, and eMarketer, and so on, that… and Forester.
But, you know, they’re all saying TV is dying, right? Everyone’s going to start watching video on their machines. You know, their digital appliances, whether it’s computers or tablets or whatever. That’s number one.
Secondly, when I first became the chief research officer at the ARF, I was hearing a lot of people saying, well, the interrupt and repeat model is dead. So that was kind of a pejorative way of talking about paid advertisement. The truth is that TV is still the 800-pound gorilla. Or at least 720, or 740 pounds, or something like that.
Joel: Because people are still watching TV five hours a day. Advertising revenues on TV are still growing. And in fact, paid advertising is fueling everything. Why is Facebook worth so much? Because they’re the largest publisher in terms of ad revenue.
Why is Twitter so interesting? Because of their ability to deliver advertising, you know, across all the different screens. In fact, there’s more activity on Twitter on mobile than there is on computers, these days.
So, you know, if you put it all together, paid advertising is not going away. The revenues, ad expenditures are increasing. They’re not decreasing. And TV’s share is going down slightly, but it’s actually growing in an absolute sense. So that’s the first myth, that, you know, just by really investigating the numbers, you can re-educate and re-center marketing’s thinking.
Now, the second myth. I was the consultant behind working with my partner, in fact, now. I was the consultant behind the work that AOL did called Seven Shades of Mobile.
And that won awards, and it was written up in Harvard Business Review. And there, what we found was that the whole solomo thinking. That what makes mobile so exciting is that it’s social, local, and mobile.
And that it… you know, people getting messages that they’ve been geo-sensing. As soon as they’re anywhere near a Walmart, the message pops up, and they instantly go to the Walmart, and they buy what they otherwise wouldn’t have bought there.
Joel: Turns out that that’s actually a small part of what mobile has to offer. So the notion that AOL, and I’m just mentioning this openly because they’ve gone completely public with all of this, but the work that we did for AOL, we found just about 70 percent of time spent on mobile devices is not mobile. People at home, watching TV.
Denise: Right. Right.
Joel: Or in their bathroom. We all know about that, you know? And so it’s… and so the end products, the end mentality, is actually not yet oriented to the fact that most time on mobile is not mobile. And when that catches, when marketers catch up with that, they’ll realize that mobile is actually potentially a great brand-building environment. It’s not just about making the right offer at the right time.
And along those lines, another thing that happened with mobile, as part of the whole solomo mentality, was the fear that stores like Walmart would be turned into showrooms. So there’s this phenomenon called showrooming.
Joel: Turns out there’s actually a very small percent of sales that are accounted for that way. In fact, for a smart physical retailer, they can actually make that activity work for them, rather than against them.
So I have in the book, you know, a whole bunch of these myths. But why do these myths exist, and why are they able to bust these myths. It’s because you can either be infatuated with narrative that comes… that you hear in the echo chamber.
And if you keep hearing it enough, you believe it must be true. Or you can say, I’m going to have a rigorous adherence to evidence-based marketing. And I’m going to, at some point, say I have to start measuring this stuff to understand what’s real and what isn’t real.
And so, hey, listen, I’m a marketing researcher and a model builder. You know my background. So while I love storytelling as much as anybody else, those stories have to be fact-based stories…
That’s the story of the myths.
Denise: Great. Well, okay, listeners. Now that you’ve had a preview, I encourage you to check out Joel’s book. Again, it’s called “BrandBuilding in a Digital, Social, and Mobile Age,” and it’s available on Amazon.
Also, you can follow Joel on Twitter through his handle, @joelrubinson, and also read his blog. I faithfully read it, and learn so much all the time. So his blog is blog.joelrubinson.net.
Thanks so much, Joel. Good luck with the book.
Joel: Thanks, Denise. Great speaking with you again. Bye-bye.
Denise: Talk to you soon.
That’s it for today. Thanks for listening to the Brand-as-Business Bites™ Podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes so your brain will always be filled with good stuff to chew on. For more information or to contact me directly, please visit my website at DeniseLeeYohn.com. Take care, and thanks again.