Buyers always want to feel good about the choices they make; they want to find products or services that will improve their lives in some way. So marketers often frame communications in a positive light to create those associations. (more…)
Archive for the ‘branding’ Category
It was Shakespeare who posed the question, “What’s in a name?” before handily going on to supply the answer, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
Maybe the bosses at Procter & Gamble have been brushing up on their bard as they recently moved to ditch the title of marketing director. From now on, all marketing directors across its global network are to be known as brand directors or associate brand directors.
P&G has history here. The title of marketing director actually only came into being with the household brands giant in 1993. Previously the role was covered by that of “advertising manager”.
The rationale behind the latest name change is that it is part of a global effort to simplify the P&G marketing structure and enable faster decision making. Agility is the latest must-have in marketing services as we all know. In scrapping the title of marketing director and converting them to brand directors, P&G says it will ensure the department has “single point responsibility for brands”.
Indeed, in February this year it announced that the marketing department would be renamed as brand management. Apparently this was done to improve P&G’s ability to deliver marketing efficiency and effectiveness by integrating four disciplines – brand management, consumer & market Knowledge, communications, and design – into one department.
According to a spokesperson for P&G: “These changes will help us unify brand-building resources to focus on delivering better brand and business results.”
The changes mean that P&G’s lauded corporate marketing director, now becomes brand director for Northern Europe.
There can be a bit of a trend for fatuous job title inflation in some sectors, and a bit of grounding never did anybody any harm, but does the title of brand director truly reflect the broad commercial responsibilities the former marketing director holds?
This isn’t just an argument about titles, but about roles and influence within the organisation. At a time when there are fewer and fewer marketing directors or chief marketing officers sitting on executive boards, the move to demote marketing directors – and that is what this feels like – will have a wide impact on the standing of the discipline.
Coming as it does from one of the undisputed colleges of marketing, the move will have an even greater impact. P&G is widely heralded as turning out some of the best FMCG marketers in the industry. So when they act, others generally follow.
In some ways the sentiment of single point responsibility for the commercial performance of “a brand” in FMCG makes sense. As the tools and channels at marketers’ command become ever more complex, and the array of agencies and suppliers used, ever more numerous, there has to be a strong hand on the tiller.
But to those outside of the marketing/brand fraternity it could be seen as a reductionist move. Does this imply that the focus of marketing is limited to advertising, POS and conceptual brand strategy? Coming at a time when marketing as a discipline is anxious to be seen as helping businesses listen to their consumers and therefore direct overall business strategy, this sounds dangerously like putting marketers back in their box.
In this light, P&G’s highly publicised change is somewhat more questionable, short sighted and potentially damaging to the credibility and reputation of marketing directors and CMOs.
Marketing, in a dynamic business, isn’t just about the comms. It requires a much broader understanding of the first principles, practices and science – and a broader commercial sense. Marketers need to be able to understand profit and loss, financial ratios, how to read financial sheets and the bottom line. Failure to use all of these assets is like having a Ferrari but never taking it out of third gear.
There has been a lot of discussion about the future of marketing. The role of the CMO has changed as a result of technology and IT becoming so important – are we seeing the merging of the CMO and CIO title, or can they work together?
Mondelez International recently scrapped its CMO role for a chief growth officer responsible for global marketing, corporate strategy, global categories, global sales and research, development and quality. Tesco has abolished the chief marketing officer role and instead have a chief creative officer and chief customer officer.
Is the role of marketing being enhanced or diminished here? Time will tell. What should be obvious is that marketing is a management discipline that is strategic and commercially accountable. It’s not just about branding and advertising.
Inbound marketing and selling to decision makers who have requested a brochure has become the holy grail for business marketers today. (more…)
There is a common misconception in modern post digital marketing, which stems from a view that because it is difficult to track which media and devices a consumer uses, it’s difficult to ensure they’re always getting the same message. (more…)
I doubt you got into marketing with a burning desire to shake up the way brands write their terms and conditions. You might not think they have a role to play in attracting or keeping customers. You might not think about them at all. Leave them to the legal department and you’ve followed the rules – and covered your backs.
No one reads them anyway.
Ah. But they do.
Well, they try to.
The Writer recently asked just over 2,000 people if they ever bothered to read the small print before accepting terms and conditions when buying or signing up for things online. Just 9 per cent said they didn’t read Ts&Cs at all.
So, nine out of ten customers take a quick peek, at least. In fact, the average time spent reading Ts&Cs turned out to be 4 minutes 42 seconds. That’s almost five whole minutes of undivided attention.
I was amazed. Because I’m the one out of ten who doesn’t bother. But I wasn’t surprised by what we found when we looked at how long Ts&Cs take to read and how hard they are to understand. We had a look at the small print of a random selection of brands, including Amazon, Barclays Bike Hire, Spotify, nPower, LV Insurance and Tesco Direct.
Using a reading rate of 250 words a minute, we found the average time it takes to read a set of Ts&Cs in full is 28 minutes. Vodafone’s would take three days if you read all their different sets of Ts&Cs.
And if you stopped off to read PayPal’s small print, it would be an hour and 42 minutes before you could go through with your payment. The battle to get terms and conditions for financial services into something approximating to “plain English” has been going on for decades, so it was good to see an insurance company scoring well for keeping it brief. LV Insurance’s small print took six minutes to read.
To measure how difficult Ts&Cs can be to read, we used the Flesch-Kincaid readability test. Most business writing should have a score of around 65. That’s like The Economist magazine, the BBC news website, and this blog. It equates to the “reading age’’ of a 13 to 14-year-old. When we crunched the numbers, the scores for these Ts&Cs were mostly in the 30s. That’s like The Harvard Law Review, equating to a university-level “reading age”.
One of the worst culprits, Spotify, actually broke the system with a negative score for its impenetrable legalese. A business based on 21st-century technology with 19th-century Ts&Cs. Take a look. I’m not kidding.
But some brands are making an effort: the best terms and conditions we looked at were short, structured so you could easily skim-read, and written in clear, natural English. We like LinkedIn’s upfront summaries, Vodafone’s clear subheadings and BT’s short paragraphs – and Facebook has inventive ways of explaining difficult ideas.
By and large, these improvements were small tweaks in what’s still a sea of legalese. But it’s clear that Ts&Cs are a serious stopping-off point on every “customer journey”.
You’ve got their attention for around five minutes. Make that count. Start that revolution.