August 2012

6 key principles of persuasion by Robert Cialdini

Persuasion, Influence of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini, Branding, Marketing, Sensory Marketing, Perception,

6 key principles of persuasion by Robert Cialdini

This book (Influence :The psychology of persuasionRobert Cialdini) is on my pending list of books to be read and noting this down in my blog. The book talks about psychology, persuasion and how and why we make decisions when we say Yes

The 6 principles are as follows :

Reciprocity – People tend to return a favor, thus the pervasiveness of free samples in marketing. Example of Ethiopia providing thousands of dollars in humanitarian aid to Mexico just after the 1985 earthquake, despite Ethiopia suffering from a crippling famine and civil war at the time. Ethiopia had been reciprocating for the diplomatic support Mexico provided when Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935. The good cop/bad cop strategy is also based on this principle.

Commitment and Consistency – If people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment because of establishing that idea or goal as being congruent with their self image. Even if the original incentive or motivation is removed after they have already agreed, they will continue to honor the agreement. For example, in car sales, suddenly raising the price at the last moment works because the buyer has already decided to buy. Cialdini notes Chinese brainwashing on American prisoners of war to rewrite their self image and gain automatic unenforced compliance. (Read on cognitive dissonance.)

Social Proof – People will do things that they see other people are doing. For example, in one experiment, one or more confederates would look up into the sky; bystanders would then look up into the sky to see what they were seeing. At one point this experiment aborted, as so many people were looking up that they stopped traffic. ( Read on the Asch conformity experiments.)

Authority – People will tend to obey authority figures, even if they are asked to perform objectionable acts. Cialdini cites incidents such as the Milgram experiments in the early 1960s and the My Lai massacre.

Liking – People are easily persuaded by other people that they like. Cialdini cites the marketing of Tupperware in what might now be called viral marketing. People were more likely to buy if they liked the person selling it to them. Some of the many biases favoring more attractive people are discussed.

Scarcity – Perceived scarcity will generate demand. For example, saying offers are available for a “limited time only” encourages sales.

~ source wikipedia

July 2012

The ten commandments of Customer Service ~ Carl Sewell

customer service,book, customers for life, brand, carl sewell, retail management,marketing profit, business, companies, management, leadership, MBA stuff,
I am in between reading this book ” Customers of Life” and am loving every bit of it. It’s awesome….
It starts with the ten commandments of customer service, delighting customers and keeping customers of life : 
1. Give the customers what they want, again and again..
2. Under promise and Over deliver
3. If the customers asks for something, the answer is yes
4. A job has to be done right, every time.. Keep systems and smiles alone are not enough.
5. Every employee is your customer service employee… This is similar philosophy of
6. Encourage customers to give complaints… No complaints means something is wrong. 
7. Measure..Measure..Measure.. What cannot be measured.. cannot be done and what cannot be done cannot be achieved.
8. Treat employees as partners…Pay accordingly
9. Be polite.. Show respect.. It works
10. Continually improve systems and make them the best..
Of course all these work when you are in profit 🙂

June 2012

Sensory Branding ~ Power of Sound ~ Audio Experience

Sound~ Human beings are naturally sensitive to sound & meanings. Of course, this powerful association comes naturally right from the first sound we could hear our mother’s heartbeat. Sound evokes memories, experiences and lead to certain behaviors like these:

Experiments have shown that when music in restaurants is played slower than the rhthym of heart beats ~ we tend to eat slower.. Been to las vegas ~ the revenue from slot machines  dropped dramatically when the winkling and tinkling of the slot machines were removed.

Audi chose a combination of heart beat + Piano + breath as it’s audio branding initiative. Mercedes Benz got the precise and appealing sound for closing of a car door.  Victoria’s Secret uses a special classical music in it’s stores to support the premium image. Renault has a special ‘Hum’ of engine and the ‘Swish’ of windscreen wipers.

Of course Iphone users are familiar with the ‘crumbling’ sound when you trash data. The jingle of Intel Inside and Microsoft are pretty well known. Kellogs has the special crunching sound to indicate the crispiness of the snacks. 

Couldn’t resist compiling and putting together world class brands using audio branding 

Marketing, Branding, Sensory Branding, Audio, Sound, Consumer Insight, Shopper BehaviorBrands chosen : Starbucks, Audi, Bang & Olufsen, Renault, Toys R Us, Kellogs, Daimler Chrysler, Microsoft, Intel, Abercrombie & Fitch, Victoria’s Secret, Ford 

It’s the experience that matters!!!! &Successful brands are well aware of this fact. More on Sensory Brands : Visual Branding 

Sensory Branding ~ Visual Branding ~ Some of the top Brands

Sight ~ The most powerful and seductive sense. It can overrule other senses and override logic. “We see what we want to see”. (Eye of the Beholder)

Visual Branding is association of a brand with a color, shape, typography, logo, icon/symbol or look appearance.

Research indicates that shopper that shapes and colors influence shopper (consumer) behavior. The following pattern has been observed about Impulse buyers, Traditional shoppers and Budgetary shoppers:

 Branding, Consumer Behavior, Marketing, Sensory, Visual Branding , Colors, Pattern, MBA Stuff

Obviously, successfully brands are engaging shoppers using visual experience. Here are some of the top notch brands which have successfully associated themselves with visual branding… 

Branding, Marketing, Sensory Branding, Pictures, Visual Branding, MBA Stuff, Sight, Neuro Marketing

(L-R) – The Body Shop, Diesel, Ferrari, Mcdonalds, Toblerone, Vodafone, Benetton, Coca Cola, Tommy Hilfiger, Disney

More on Sensory Branding using Audio


Bagvertising ~ Cost Effective and Creative Advertising for retailers

Retailers keep looking out for intelligent ways to advertise and create buzz. Shopping bags are shoppers favorite companion. Intelligent and creative Advertising on the shopping bags is known as Bagvertising. Some companies have made really creative Bag-advertisements. Here are a few examples : Interesting

The examples of creative Bagvertising are from (L-R) Daihatsu, Red Cross, Fitness Co, Wheaties & Headhunters

Bagvertising , Brand Experience, retail marketing, management, pictures, Shopper Behavior,Creative marketing

The examples below are from : LG Electronics, Canon Cameras, Greenpeace, Children with Autism

Bagvertising , Brand Experience, retail marketing, management, pictures, Shopper Behavior,Creative marketing

Clearly, Bagvertising is eye catching and effective way for marketers to  create a buzz and probably an experience around their product/service. (See Blush lingerie bagvertising for example)

A key opportunity for retail companies to become stronger and more viable to customers is creation of brand experiences. Beyond simply selling a product or service, these ‘experiential brands’ connect with their customers and create a customer perceived value and effective “barriers-to-exit”

….. More on Marketing

How advertising sells us a tradition

Diamonds, Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Management, Leadership, Pictures, Quotes, Positioning, Articles,Nicky Oppenheimer, De Beers chairman, Prior to 20th century, engagement rings were strictly luxury items, rarely contained diamonds. The industry nosedived in 1870s after massive diamond deposits discovery in South Africa. 
But in 1939, the De Beers diamond company changed all of that by hiring N.W. Ayer & Son. It Introduced diamond engagement ring and quietly spread the trend through fashion magazines. 
In 1948, “A Diamond is Forever” campaign was launched. By sentimentalizing the gems, De Beers ensured that people wouldn’t resell them. 
The company vigorously promoted the concept of surprise proposals “Will You Marry Me” as a tradition  thus shifting the purchasing power to men… Voila!!!!
This is what Nicky Oppenheimer, De Beers chairman, had to say about Diamonds
“Diamonds are intrinsically worthless, except for the deep psychological need they fill.”
Nicky Oppenheimer, De Beers chairman, 1999
It’s all in the mind…. Nah!!!!! Karma….Advertising…. Branding & Creating Traditions… Amazing.

Brand Position & Brand Image

branding, Brand Position,Brand Positioning,Brand IMage, Marketing, Success, Pictures, Quotes, Management, .
What’s a BRAND
A singular idea or a concept that you own inside the mind of the prospect ~ Al Ries ~ Marketing Strategist
“Your brand is what people say about you when you are not there”
~ Jeff Bezos – Amazon
Remarkable experiences leave a mark, whether the experience is remarkably good or remarkably bad. These memories are mind share, essentially brand equity, the capital of brands
A cardinal rule in marketing :
“NEVER position a BRAND based on performance….” 
 So what exactly is Brand Positioning, Brand Image and Brand Position and the relationship between them…
 Let us see…..
Brand Positioning: Brand Positioning is the SPACE that the company occupies in the consumer’s MIND.
Brand Position: Company spends money to own this SPACE…
Brand Image: This is what the customers say about the company
Successful Brands are the one’s where there is a  match the Brand IMAGE & Brand POSITIONING….. which creates a Brand Experience….
Someone has rightly said ” If you are not a Brand… you are a commodity … where price is everything and low cost is the winner”
One way to Protect Brand by focussing on customer service here

Brand Protection: Evaluate Customer Product/Service Complaints : Impact and Impressions

Brand, Branding, Customer Service, Services, Experience, company,Management,Marketing

“Your entire company should be considered your branding department”

Service – Customer Service – One of the most important touchpoint. But quite often, neglected by many organizations around the world. One attribute is measuring the consumer complaints. Remember “What gets measured get managed and what gets managed gets done”

Here is a mechanism, a company can use to predict the impact/reach  or impressions a customer complaint can potentially create.

The calculations some fair assumptions to make the calculations :

Assume, only 1 of 25 customers make the actual complaint against the product or service. Remaining 24 dissatisfied remain silent due to any reason (not bothered, lack of time etc.)

Assume, each dissatisfied customer speaks bad about the companies products/services to (8 – 16) people, let’s average that to 12 people.

Now, if you receive 1000 complaints in a month, let us calculate the potential bad impressions the complaints can have on the product/services & ultimately the brand

1. Received 1000 complaints / month (by letters/phone/email etc)
2. Translates to (1000 x 12) x 25 = 3,00,000 nos of dissatisfied customers annually
3. Which is 3,00,000 x 12 (Word of Mouth) = 36,00,000 nos of bad impressions …. Wow!!!!

In today’s world of ‘Free Economy’ where products are literally marketed as services and experience, a lack of insight into the customer services/experience is spelling disaster (in capital letters, repeated twice, with a dramatic pause in between) for the brand….!!!!



May 2012

Procter & Gamble – Foundations of Branding leading to decades of success!!!

Procter & Gamble, FMCG, Branding, Marketing, strategy, Innovation, Brand Management , Success, How the Foundations of Branding led to the dominance of P&G in future years using Innovation, Strategy, and Branding & Responsiveness.

Strategic Vision & Risk taking ability of P&G led to the companies’ dominance in the early decades.

The company was started amongst financial crisis with the founders focus on competing with the other manufactures of soap and candles.

Even during the impending civil war rumors in 1850’s, the founders went ahead and built a new plant. Needless to say in 1862, factories were running to full capacity during the civil war and P&G also earned the reputation of ‘Soldiers return home with P&G products’.

Innovation, technology and Strategic progressive thinking in marketing efforts and employees partnership programs led to the beginning of branding and positioning of the products and led the company in the decades leading to 20th century. Eg: Introduction of the Ivory soap as pure and a floating bar and subsequent nation wide large scale marketing efforts to promote the soap.

Employee partnership programs were initiated as a strategic response to the unrest.

By end of 19th century company had innovated 30 different type of soaps and launched full scale marketing efforts to fuel consumer demand.

Global Expansion, Growth of Product categories & Introduction of Brand Management System

The Global Management system was born out of a need for managing the multiple product categories and brands across many countries.

Under the brand management system, each brand manager was responsible for managing and competing with both external and internal brands.

This was breakthrough in branding and led to dominance and beginning of a system to be successfully followed in decades later.