Tuesday, 3 December 2013

So, what do you do? I work in marketing....

By Sophia Thomas, Account Manager

When I tell people I work at marketing agency the common belief is that I spend my day scheming about how to get people to buy more of our clients’ products and at the end of the day we only care about driving consumerism. While of course there is an element of truth to that, the reality is we don’t just use creativity to increase sales and fill your homes with endless ‘stuff’; we also use our skills to highlight health and social issues.

What we do isn’t just about creating something visually stunning, exciting or different, it is about shedding light on insights and existing human behaviours and then figuring out what we need to do to challenge held  and create beliefs and incite action.

One of my favourite examples of a campaign that highlights a fantastic cause is last month’s UN for women campaign which demonstrated how something as so seemingly simplictic as, Google,  can become a rather effective tool in revealing some startling insights. The campaign was based on actual Google search results which revealed the widespread prevalence of sexism and discrimination and downright opposition to women’s rights.

Not only does this campaign demonstrates how we combine creativity with insight to catch people’s attention, but it also shows that we aren’t just in the business of communicating products and services to consumers; instead we are in the business of starting conversations.  Sometimes that conversation is about your choice of toothpaste, but other times it is about a women’s right to be equal.

So next time I tell someone I work in marketing, before they let their imagination runaway with thoughts of evil plots, I’ll make sure to remind them that we aren’t villains we just simply want to chat.

Want to get further involved in the UN for Women campaign?  Join the conversation on Twitter by using #womenshould

Are you set up to deliver reactive brand experience?

By Nadia Mkinsi, Planning Executive, RPM

This month saw the release of the latest instalment of Honda’s Start Something Special campaign, which seeks to inspire consumers vicariously with big, heart-warming experiences. The latest video depicted a soon-to-be-married couple of die-hard Honda drivers who had asked their local dealer to lend them three black CR-Vs for the bridal party. On their wedding day, eight CR-Vs delivered a series of thoughtful surprises: the band the couple heard on their first date, a troupe of Irish step dancers, and unexpected relatives flown in from Ireland.

The video itself is a saccharine and fairly generic piece of digital content designed to “go viral” and be circulated across social media platforms (it has racked up just shy of a million views); it is the highlight of the hondastories.com which collects consumer-submitted anecdotes. But it also serves to illustrate a rare case of ‘reactive’ brand experience.

Rapid response marketing has become increasingly popular in the past year or so. When something begins to trend online, brands have a narrow window to ride the trend and be relevant; prime examples of this are Lynx’s Prince Harry ad after his Vegas Scandal, and Oreo’s program of daily newsjacking. However, we rarely see this strategy employed in brand experience.

We can only speculate as to the actual process behind the Honda video – but it’s apparent that a local dealership spotted an opportunity in the couple’s (fairly mundane) request and forwarded it to the brand team, who then collaborated with agency RPA to create the experience as part of the brand’s wider campaign. What’s commendable, though, is that the internal culture at Honda actively encourages these initiatives, and that their people are ‘switched on’ enough to identify new and interesting opportunities, even outside of the usual channels and structures.

Although the process is bound to be more complex than, say – writing a clever tweet, or designing, approving, and buying last-minute media space for a press ad – the impact is also bound to be larger. Fostering a culture of collective commitment and optimising communication channels can help to create an environment that is conducive to delivering reactive brand experience, and reaping the rewards of ideas with real sociability.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

iOS7′s iBeacons: turning content strategy into retail transactions

By James Poletti, Head of Digital Strategy and John Viccars, Senior Shopper Strategist

Apple might just have quietly shaken up our expectations of the long-discussed internet of things. After the company’s September Keynote, a slow trickle of articles followed noting a feature barely addressed in Tim Cook’s presentation. It’s a technology that has been available in iPhones since the 4s and is, in fact, used in most leading handsets. In short: low energy Bluetooth that enables connectivity over a short range without draining power in your device.
Through a profile called iBeacons, this energy-efficient connectivity can be paired with cheap sensors that enable object-to-device interactions in environments like shops, concert halls and museums. Allied to a native mobile application, iBeacons usher in an opportunity for retailers to push content to shoppers’ devices and to facilitate indoor mapping – allowing, say, Topshop to take a customer on a personal stylist’s journey around the shelves from the comfort of their handset. With such immense potential to connect digital content with the physical world, iBeacons might just be the first brief for departing Burberry boss Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s new SVP for retail and online stores.
If there was any concern that tech commentators were over-reading the significance of iBeacons, Paypal’s recent launch of Beacon – their service that uses the same technology to allow users of the Paypal app to make payments via USB dongles plugged into retailers’ tills – should get our attention.
So what are the drawbacks? Well, it’s not NFC; which will frustrate those that have invested money and energy in that format. But, iBeacons operate in a much broader range (around 150 feet) and do away with the need to bring device and transmitter into close proximity. So they are better placed to steer shopper journeys over greater distances. Despite Paypal’s support though, there remain concerns over the transfer of sensitive financial data at this range. So, we can probably leave wallet-less payment on the NFC feature sheet.
None of this dampens our excitement about the implications of iBeacons for brands and retailers. At the heart of the opportunity, as we see it, is the chance to join up all the investment that the last few years have seen: connecting content strategy with the point-of-purchase to finally prove the effectiveness of all that social media investment, if you will.
We know that shoppers need to create mental alibies to justify purchases. Digital content can deliver these in the way that standard point-of-sale, or even most shop floor staff, cannot. Justifying an expensive jacket by exploring its design and production, for example, and showcasing a compelling production story can suddenly tip the value scales.
Upsell and cross-sell can be achieved with targeted content designed to unlock the purse strings. A supermarket could recommend a nice bottle of red to go with that steak picked up at the meat counter. A fashion retailer could feed-in what garments are trending on social media.
Crucially, retailers need to intercept showrooming behaviours – where in-store shoppers check prices and user reviews on their mobile. Price for the shopper isn't simply a question of “am I paying too much?” For example, John Lewis’ “never knowingly undersold” promise could become a true price pledge for even the most savvy shoppers. User reviews could be delivered in a seamless manner to build confidence in purchase.
As we have talked about elsewhere, the expectation of mobile influence – not to be confused with m-commerce – is huge, with L2 ThinkTank estimated to influence global sales of $689,000,000,000 by 2016.
The hope is that iBeacons will become a useful ‘always on’ tool for shoppers to dip into as their need state dictates, rather than a flood of uninvited pushy brand intrusion. Discount offers easily become overwhelming. Getting the right content to the right shoppers is the challenge and responsibility that all retailers and brands face. Bombardment will turn us off. Additionally, to simply switch this potential on, the minimum requirement for a brand is an engaged audience using its existing native app.
So, the opportunity is most exciting for those brands that have earned an authentic relationship with their most loyal customers. Take, for example, the Tesco app twinned with the user’s Clubcard account and social media connection to the brand; the data runs deep. With the ability to broadcast to mobile via the app, using push notification, the communication possibilities are that of pinpoint accuracy and relevancy for the shopper.
Finally, the potential to unlock digital content in an in-store environment via object-to-device iBeacon technology means those statements in your social media strategy – conversation, engagement, storytelling – will be even better positioned to create a relationship with customers that leads all the way to the till.

This article was first published on The Wall 

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Is real world ‘sociability’ the key to social media success?

In a week when the brilliant That Is Not An Insight Tumblr reigned supreme for most of us, RPM’s James Poletti attempted to swerve buzzword bingo and bring together some of the most creative people working at the intersection of digital and real world experiences to discuss a social landscape beyond your desktop.

Tom Roope from The Rumpus Room, Pascal Auberson from Specialmoves and Tim Manning of Swarm brought a complementary set of perspectives and experience to the topic.

We started from the view that to activate participatory ideas and drive earned media, it’s simply not enough to pour owned media on the fire and expect it to take. Instead, we discussed the role of real world experiences either as the initiator of audience participation – capturing audience content in the moment - or as an outcome for content gathered and then brought to life in an experience.

Concrete examples come in the form of a couple of Rumpus Room case studies discussed by Tom: their X-Box: Lilly Allen campaign in which fans were recorded signing the song in-booth and their footage then translated into a video mosaic of user content. To the Google Gallery: For Everyone project in which user content was projected in a big media takeover of Times Square, with the big reveal being – when  your image showed in the square – which was then captured and shared back to you via social networks:

Talk Talk's X Factor campaign show's how it's done.

Much debate centred on what constituted the elusive and crucial quality of ‘give-a-shitability’ that would encourage audiences to participate and hit that share button, feeling good about the content they were broadcasting under their own personal brand.

Specialmoves showed a number of projects and R&D work in which audiences used smart phones and gesture control to control outdoor digital interfaces, such as their DIY City project:

DIY City - Empowering people to redesign their urban spaces

And Swarm gave us an insight into how content and, by extension, social media interactions could be brought to life in-store:

adiVerse - Making digital physical

The panellists also talked about the best ways to execute content and sharing interactions in the real world, agreeing a number of simple do’s and don’ts.

All of that and only one appearance on That Is Not An Insight (a fairly charming one, at that):

To find out more about the session or request content relating to it, just drop a line to rebecca.collins@rpmltd.com

The team in action

Monday, 16 September 2013

Milka try a little tenderness... chocolate rewards for your affection

Milka recently encouraged the Argentinian public to try a little tenderness to get free chocolate. Its latest campaign involved a vending machine placed a short distance away from a Milka cow statue. As it lacked coin slots, passers-by had to figure out how to obtain the chocolate. By joining hands with one another to form a “chain of tenderness,” sensors on the vending machine and the cow were activated simultaneously, prompting the machine to release bars of chocolate. After each delivery, the cow statue moved further away from the machine, so that more hands were needed to connect the sensors.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

‘Smell-vertising’ or as it’s formally known sensory-marketing

We’re all familiar with the good old fashioned scratch and sniff concept and it’s a well-known fact that smell sells. From local stores that infuse their aisles with the smell of baking bread, shopping malls that emit alluring coffee aromas as you walk through the entrance, drawing shoppers cafes like moths to a flame to children’s stores that subtly soothe parents with lavender scents in order to create a relaxing shopping environment and increase dwell time in aisles.  

Smells are scientifically proven to subconsciously influence the human mind and subsequently consumer behaviour.  A study conducted by Washington State University into cognitive behaviour found that shoppers who were exposed to one simple scent spent 20% more than shoppers who were exposed to a similar scent made from two ingredients.  Mental processing for the simple scent was minimal and therefore freed up the shopper’s cognitive capacity, allowing them to focus on shopping and spend more. 

Whilst this theory is by no means a new development, it is only in recent years that brands have started to wake up to 360-degree sensory marketing.   Recent successful campaigns from McCain, Premier Foods and Mr Wagg have been based around smell,  but excitingly McCain have decided to build on the  success of their 2012 campaign outdoor campaign that targeted commuters with mouth-watering smells at bus stops, and with it innovate the shopper marketing category.

Their latest shopper marketing campaign sees the smell of a freshly cooked baked potato being wafted along the aisles of supermarkets from special end of aisle barkers; meaning going to the supermarket on an empty stomach could become even riskier than before.

With this campaign McCain seek to shift their marketing focus from predominantly visual to an olfactory shopper experience, achieving cut through in-store and side stepping the fight for visual differentiation in a heavily congested shopper environment, what’s more shoppers are unable to easily filter out the sensory cues of a sweet smelling campaign in the same way that they can turn away from visual stimulation, unless they hold their breathe that is.

So whether you consider this campaign to be a nasty taunt to those who make the mistake of visiting the supermarket on an empty stomach or an exciting advance in shopper marketing I think sensory marketing is here to stay.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

MINI Roller Coaster

For the adrenaline junkies among us the mere thought of a roller coaster induces a feeling of excitement and delight. With a new video advert that is expected to go viral, MINI Canada are hoping to get your heart racing. Production company Asymetric, transformed three MINI cooper 5 models into MINI Roller Coasters, by removing the rear seats and roof, then adding custom built roller coaster frames as well as carts, speakers and wind blowers, to create the optimum visual experience.

The cars were driven around the streets of Toronto where actors screamed as if travelling at gut turning speeds, when in reality they were cruising slowly along the urban streets of Toronto.


This video is MINI’s newest execution as part of the brands ‘Not Normal’ platform that started back in May. The campaign accentuates MINI’s uniqueness in comparison with other motor brands opting to highlight excitement over comfort and style or reliability. Not that MINI compromises any of those factors; it just heroes USP's that are not traditionally a focus for motoring brands. MINI is known not only for the classically British cars that they produce but the effortlessly cool brand identity that they have created.   This campaign manages to bring to life their brand and derive attention and emotion from both loyal and new customers.
Their video content captures the disruptive and effective nature of the campaign –stopping passers-byin their tracks, encouraging them to capture their own #MININOTNORMAL moment and share it with their social networks, subsequently increasing the reach of the campaign in an organic, credible manor.
Dave Douglas Partner/ECD at Anomaly was right when he said 'The stunt was truly unconventional and not the normal way to communicate the brand core of excitement'
We certainly get a taste of what it’s like to be Not Normal from this campaign and in the words of MINI who wants to be average anyway?
Read more about the '#MININOTNORMAL' campaign here