Friday, February 1, 2013

Super conflicted

Just in case you are unaware, the Super Bowl is the weekend which creates a dilemma for me. As many of you know, I publicly swore off the NFL a few months ago.

While I have not adhered strictly to my ban – watching a few games and attending one when my son surprised me by getting tickets for us both to the Packers v. Vikings playoff game – for the most part my life in the fall hasn't revolved around the NFL the way it has in previous years.

But the Super Bowl isn't just about football, it's also about advertising. For many years it has been the greatest showcase of advertising strategy, creativity, chutzpah and nonsense. Thus I must watch.

Yes, I could just review the commercials online, but doing so would be taking them out of context, like watching a violin virtuoso in a practice room. You don't get the full effect unless you see the performance in a concert hall with a live audience. Thus, I'll be watching the "big game" this weekend in all its self-important, over-blown pomposity and tweeting about the spots as they happen.

If you're interested in my thoughts, follow me on Twitter @OBX_Harvey. Otherwise you can read my recap here on Monday morning. Have a great weekend. And while you're enjoying your wings and beer, I hope you appreciate the sacrifice I will be making for the sake of our craft.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Haiti doesn't have a marketing problem

Talk about a tough challenge.

After multiple national disasters, being a hot spot for the global AIDS epidemic, rampant disease caused by insufficient sanitary systems, several corrupt governments, Haiti wants you to come visit.

That's right, while driving last night I heard this story on NPR in which Haiti's Tourism Minister explains the virtues of her country for vacationers.

I have no doubt that Haiti is a beautiful island. I have no doubt that the weather can be amazing. I have no doubt that the island has a rich cultural heritage and important historical monuments.

What I do doubt is how safe it is to visit.

Now, I'm not averse to risking a little danger for the sake of entertainment. I spent more than a few evenings of my young adult life in clubs below 8-Mile. But I'm guessing, most tourists would prefer a destination where their chances of being kidnapped or killed are just a bit lower.

Haiti has a lot of things to recommend it, but I'm guessing until they fix the roads, add some hotel rooms, improve the sanitary conditions and can guarantee the safety of those who visit, no amount of marketing will suddenly have people flocking to the island.

What Haiti is about to find out is what most marketers already know: the most important thing you can do to improve your marketing is to get the product right.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Symbols versus values

Symbols are important. Principles and values are more important. As Apple is quickly discovering brands that confuse symbols for values struggle in this world.

Apple has seen its stock price fall precipitously in the last six months not because it hasn't met earnings expectations, it has. Apple is losing favor because those who look at long term-value of companies don't see the same vision and consistent leadership that made Apple the most valuable brand in the world.

Apple needs to be more concerned with acting like Apple than looking like Apple if it wants to regain its mojo and its value.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Lexus makes Facebook work

Last year I expressed my skepticism of promoted posts on Facebook in this blog post.

As happens on rare (okay, maybe not so rare) occasions, I've been proven to be less than prescient. At least in this one case.

Lexus used promoted posts other Facebook video and other ad platforms to promote the launch of its 2014 IS sport sedan in advance of the North American International Auto Show. The ads invited viewers to a live unveiling of the new car, giving Lexus fans a detailed introduction to the IS as the automotive press was seeing it. 100,000 people took the time to watch the event as it happened and 600,000 people have watched the video since.

Why did this work so well when other promotions fall flat?

Lexus gave their fans something more valuable than money: entrance to an event usually reserved for automotive journalists.

People who love cars, love to be the first to know about new cars. They want the details, the specs, the story so they can use that knowledge to prove to their friends how much of a 'car guy' they really are. By inviting its fans to this event, Lexus gave them something much more valuable than money.

And that's really the key to creating great social marketing programs. Give your fans and followers something that's not available to the general public that they can't get anywhere else. Maybe it's a link to an event like this. Maybe it's a pre-sale that allows them to be the first on their block to own your product. Maybe it's a special discount. Maybe it's something else all together.

Your fans have indicated that your brand is special to them. Treat them like they're special if you really want to make your social media work for your brand.