Posts Tagged ‘loyalty’


Disappearing Act – Brands That May Not Be Around in 2012 – Part 2

Monday, January 16th, 2012

by Deborah Gilbert-Rogers*

Executive_Crystal_BallAt this time of year, perhaps more than any other, we PR and marketing professionals can all breathe a sigh of relief knowing that there are no shortages of bloggers and writers flexing their “intuitive” muscles to predict the trends and topics in store for the coming year.

Not too long ago I posted on Fresh Ideas about the 10 Brands That May Not Be Around in 2012 as revealed by 24/7 Wall Street, a firm offering insight analysis and commentary for U.S. and global equity investors.

Now CoreBrand, a branding and marketing research firm, is making some predictions of its own. According to an article on Business Insider, These Famous Brands Will Disappear in 2012, “two days before the Wall Street Journal  reported Kodak will fill for bankruptcy, James R. Gregory, CEO of branding and marketing research firm CoreBrand, predicted that Kodak would ‘disappear’ as a brand in 2012.”

The article is quick to address that “bankruptcy doesn’t mean the end of Kodak as a business. The company and its brands could be bought or restructured.”  Still we can’t ignore that many businesses within the tech industry are struggling to find relevancy in a rapidly changing digital landscape – even the ones who have consistently relied on their strong branding efforts to pull them into the new millennium.

The same can be said for companies in the automotive industry, which have struggled to balance their bottom lines even after extensive government and taxpayer bailouts. In fact, Saab, number four on the list, also recently filed bankruptcy.  Yet the company still garners media attention, because, as this Wall Street Journal article explains, “this quirky little car brand with its few, but fiercely loyal enthusiasts, has been a source of great affection, nostalgia, and Swedish nationalism.”

But having a recognizable and timeless brand can’t do much when an organization suffers financially and structurally… or can it?

Lesser known companies may not seem to do well on their own, but might still rely on the success of their products. For example, Yum Brands! (number 7 on the list) is parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, all of which seem to do well in their own right. That is, if Yum Brands! avoids taking a page from the playbook of Hostess (whose classic brands include Twinkie, Sno Balls and Wonder Bread brands). Last week, Hostess filed for bankruptcy just two years after emerging from bankruptcy, confirms the Huffington Post.

What are your thoughts? Are these “disappearing acts” just a sign of the times or can something be done from a communications and PR standpoint to help other brands from avoiding a similar fate? What is digital media’s role in all of this, if any? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Bio: After graduating from Rider University, where she received a B.A. in English-writing and minor degrees in Gender Studies and French, Deborah joined the BurrellesLuce Marketing team in 2007.  As a marketing specialist she continues to help develop the company’s thought leadership and social media efforts, including the copywriting and editing of day-to-day marketing initiatives and management of the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog. Facebook: BurrellesLuce Twitter: @BurrellesLuce LinkedIn: dgrogers

Marketing Brand Loyalty: How Far Would You Go?

Monday, November 28th, 2011
Yfrog: the_951

Yfrog: the_951

As I was going through my daily ritual of skimming through my Google Reader and industry headlines, this one caught my eye, “Zappos Founder Launches New Voyeuristic Ecommerce Site.” I figured it was a teaser headline so after only a brief pause, I continued on.  When I saw this one a minute later, “Zappos Founder Wants to Peek in Your Closet.” I knew it was something I had to read!

Nick Swinmurn does want to see what’s in your closet, as do many other marketers and advertisers. According to AdWeek, his new platform RNKD (pronounced ranked) opened to the public (in beta) on Wednesday, November 16th. In an interview with Women’s Wear Daily, Swinmurn said he felt there had to be a better way for vendors to know who their customers are and to create a channel of communication. 

Mashable explains, “The concept is simple: Take pictures of all the things you have in your closet. Tag them by brand and purchase location and get rewards and deals based on your proven likes.”

In a statement to Huffington Post Swinmurn says, “Every consumer has favorite brands and stores they are loyal to, but most have never been recognized or rewarded for their purchases. If you buy more shoes from Nike than anyone else – shouldn’t you be given early access to new lines and different pricing than someone who is trying the product for the first time and may never buy again? ” Swinmurn argued that RNKD, unlike many other social sites, gives people an incentive to share.

There are tiered rewards, presumably to make sure beginners are able to win some deals. Users can earn points, badges and discounts by uploading, “liking,” commenting, or accumulating a particular brand as well as inviting friends and sharing via Twitter and Facebook. There are also individual ranks for the various types of apparel. The user can even peruse other people’s closets to find new brands (although you are able to make your profile private if you prefer).

According to a WSJ blog, the catch right now is that not many brands have jumped onboard yet, and it could be a while before the site reaches the scale that brands really begin to offer discounts.  Currently the site shows users being rewarded based on weekly rankings with gift certificates from Zappos and Dethrone Royalty – two of Swinmurn’s own creations.  The blogger notes brands currently have no control over how their clothing items, shoes, and accessories are being portrayed on RNKD, since the content is user-generated – to which Swinmurn replied, “We’re telling brands, that’s just real life. Here are the $100 shoes in people’s closets, next to the $20 pair, because that’s what people really own.” 

So, as the old BASF tagline goes, “At BASF, we don’t make a lot of the products you buy. We make a lot of the products you buy better.” Swinmurn is betting that RNKD will revolutionize the brand loyalty arena by allowing retailers to offer the biggest discounts to those who deserve them – their biggest fans.

What do you think? Will you whip out your phone (yes, there’s an app for that) and start uploading pictures of what’s in your closet? Do you think Swinmurn is on the right path? I look forward to your feedback!

Are You Paying for Word-of-Mouth Marketing?

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

by Crystal deGoede*

There are a lot of us that follow people on Twitter whom we have never met or heard of just because everyone else is following them. “They” must have something good to say, right? We should trust them. Or we like a brand on Facebook just because they are giving away an iPad, or friend someone from high school merely to see their photos. Yet, we never even talked to them – then or now.  (I know people that have over 2,000 friends on Facebook…come on. That number might be ok for Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. because we are “networking” with peers and colleagues, but these Facebook accounts are mostly personal.)  

In reality, we all are just building our personal brand. In fact, regardless of the Are You Paying for Word-of-Mouth Marketing?network, these people may not really be our “friends” or even acknowledge our tweets but when we update our status or link to an interesting article, they are seeing it and vice versa.  Our own word-of-mouth marketing is taking place with every post, generating a buzz for ourselves, company, brand or clients.

Since the 1980s, when word-of-mouth marketing became the big craze, the continuing efforts of companies trying to create a buzz, by having people endorse their products, has increased. And with social media, it is easier than ever. All marketers know that the ability to generate word-of-mouth advertising is not something that can be purchased, or so they’ve been taught.

However, that may no longer be the case. Celebrities, along with other influencers are receiving compensation to tweet and blog, mentioning certain products to their millions of followers. Can you imagine getting paid $10,000 just to tweet?

Sponsored Tweets, a new Twitter advertising platform, connects advertisers with twitter users. Advertisers can create sponsored conversations on Twitter. Tweeters can earn money for spreading the word. Along with advertising on Twitter, the company also has a sister site Pay-Per-Post, which pays influencers to blog about certain products. Currently they have 400,000 participating bloggers and tweeters, and over 40,000 advertisers.

Besides paying people to tweet and generate a buzz around your brand, you can also gain followers or friends by simply buying them. One way to gain “fake,” “targeted” friends is Twitter1k, which offers several options for the quantity of followers. If you need Facebook friends/fans, well you can buy them too. (Interestingly enough, the use of such friending or advertising services could potentially get you banned from a given social network – though some claim that they are less likely to do so then their competitors – unless of course you are using a service affiliated with the network. Then it seems to be more “ok.” Go figure.)

Why are companies doing this? Well most of us trust a brand that has a higher number of followers, fans, and YouTube views. If a brand has this, many “friends” and most of those friends are speaking positively about them, then we assume they must be engaging or influencing.  We are also more likely to recommed the brands (personal or business) that have lots of friends and followers.  Those artificial friends that are doing your word-of-mouth advertising have real friends that trust them, and that allows your brand to reach different verticals without much effort. Therefore, for some marketers, the incentive to fallaciously drive-up those numbers is very attractive.

If you found out that a brand you trusted had paid for their followers or for praise from someone that doesn’t even use their products or service, how would you feel? Does the ability to buy friends or pay people to be brand ambassadors go against the etiquette for transparency in social media? How does that reflect on the brands and companies who legitimately build their following, slow and steady, over time? Would you ever consider purchasing friends and followers for your brand? Share your thoughts with BurrellesLuce and our authentic Fresh Idea readers. 

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*Bio: After graduating from East Carolina University with a Marketing degree in 2005, Crystal DeGoede moved to New Jersey. In her four years as a member of the BurrellesLuce marketing team and through her interaction with peers and clients she has learned what is important or what it takes to develop a career when you are just starting out. She is passionate about continuing to learn about the industry in which we serve and about her career path. By engaging readers on Fresh Ideas Crystal hopes to further develop her social media skills and inspire other “millennials” who are just out of college and/or working in the field of marketing and public relations. Twitter: @cldegoede LinkedIn: Crystal DeGoede Facebook: BurrellesLuce