107 Million Hellos - What Comes Next? PDF Print
Friday, 04 February 2011

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Here we go again. How could they spend the money? What are they thinking? Let me be honest right out of the gate - I don’t know what they’re thinking. :) However, I can tell you what they should be thinking. Along with perhaps how brands are finely, wisely using the SuperBowl as an integral part of their well-thought out, long term IMC strategy.

It’s no surprise that a brand team can see 106.5 million viewers - give or take a few million - as a great platform to say hello in this conversational marketplace. It’s what comes next that is so vitally important. You’ve heard me say for eons that we’re social creatures and we really only have one notion of a relationship. What do I mean when i say that, and why does it matter? Here’s some context.

If you’re dating Jenna - you’re hot for Jenna. Then, without warning, Jenna disappears for 4 months, but then pops back up after 4 or 5 months and asks where you’re going for dinner - you’d be pretty confused - yes? Yes indeed! So what happens to all of the relationships that get started during the Superbowl with a big bang with the intent of it being the beginning of a solid IMC plan? However, what happens is then the brand that so politely introduced themselves and said hello disappears for 4 months?

Chances are you’re going to have struck up a new relationship with a new girl, or in this case, brand that was showing you more attention and working harder for your business well beyond the initial big-bang hello of the Superbowl. All other things being equal - Consumers are going to go with the brand that has built an IMC plan that understands their mindsets, their needs and doesn’t just start the friendship with a dazzling fireworks big-bang hello, but a brand that continues to deliver the highest perceived value at every touch-point for the long haul. It’s not just about the “hello” during the game and the few months after. “Hello” turns into what did you and the kids do yesterday and so on and so on as you continue a meaningful and relevant conversation with the consumers. The brand must grow with the consumer to forge stronger relationships

Over the years, this is where may brands have come up a weeeee bit short. They do such a brilliant job at releasing the shock and awe part of the campaign with a GIANT hello and then keep the consumer engaged for only a small amount of time. However, then the relationship begins to slowly fade and that sound you hear is the Superbowl spend becoming a waste of money - brands must defend against that. The romance seems to soon be gone and what was once a brilliant relationship has been brought down to a few sales e-mails for the rest of the year - That’s the critical mistake.

How many conversations do you have in the real wold that end with hello? What would happen if you walked around all night in a bar and said hello and nothing else and just stood there? Bet that you’d feel pretty darn awkward.

If you don’t have the money to come out with your big hello and then continue to ramp up the dialogue for the rest of the year - then perhaps you may want to re-evaluate your Superbowl strategy?

It’s no secret that I, along with many other idea people, watch the game and have seen the maturation process turn it into a big bowl of vanilla - it’s really been quite a shame.

It doesn’t need to be like that. If you’re going to start 107 million relationships at one time then the rest of the IMC plan should strategically bring those “new friends” closer to the brand, closer to the family, closer to purchase.

There have been a myriad of techniques tried during the Superbowl over the years. All the way down to knowingly submitting pieces that aren’t going to make it and shoot for the press about their “too hot for TV spots”. I have to tell you - for me - that one is waring very thin.

The Superbowl isn’t a bad spend if you have the money and correct IMC plan to use it as your hello and then work doubly hard to increase the touches and level of engagement that you have with your intended audiences throughout the year. Doing things all year long that make them feel special. This can clearly be done through several avenues, but one rule always rules school.

Spend your money where your audience spends their time.

When I see ads out of context all the time and it leaves me shaking my head a bit.

Furthermore, what do I mean when I say brands need to ramp up things? I simply mean that the brand begins to utilize specific techniques and mechanisms that begin to allow them to find out greater detail about who their audience is - get more personal in a non-threatening manner as time slowly moved on. Once brands begin that process then they can very wisely spend their money impressing their audience a lot more than they did during just the first 30 seconds of the relationship. THe IMC should be planned to be perceived as one great surprise after another - keeping them engaged and keep their attention. This doesn’t have to be expensive for brands to feel make consumers feel special all year long - well removed from the initial Suberbowl hello.

Where do you show consumers attention after the big game? These days, of course, there are so many media choices to choose from. Again, a brand must simply stick with the golden rule

SPEND YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR AUDIENCE SPENDS THEIR TIME

As all brands know, idea people think in a platform agnostic fashion. Then, they look at the idea and animate it on a particular media where it brings it to life in the true vision of the original idea. Keeping things coherent and seamless across the medias and preventing any confusion with the consumers from the minute that you first said hello.

I’m not going to take this into a bunch of marketing jibberish, but I am going to say that when done correctly the brand builds momentum not for days and weeks, but for years and decades. Of course there are many factosr that I could dissect right now, but I’m keeping it purposefully at the 30,000 foot level.:)

Think long term, be smart and realize that great short term moves are what keep that long term brand vision in sight and attainable. Understand that experiential methodology is a mandatory and that if you don’t go beyond the features and benefits and connect with the consumers’ emotional rolodexs then you need to re-examine the long term brand plan. I could dig into this part for a long time.

Of course you have your typical crowds that say it’s simple a waste of money to spend a the superbowl - are they right, are they wrong? One can really only tell after the entire year has unfolded and we all see how the brands leveraged their spends

That’s it for now. I’ll look forward to see who greets me with a BIG hello during the game, and also continues to talk to me in an engaging way throughout the year in a way that makes me feel important - very important - not just consumer #123242. Play to the most important thing in the world - how consumers feel, and how brands’ products and services are going to make them feel better. Sell the emotion. Sell the vision of how much better their life will be once they integrate your brands and services into their lives.

A Big hello certainly goes a long way. But managing 107 million new friends takes a lot of smart planning and managing of the relationships and expectations will undoubtedly and properly help consumers drift closer to the brand, and also help the brand wisely begin to clear the coveted pathway to purchase

 
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