Category Archives: Marketing

What Bud got right that Nike did not

The study was presented at Advertising Week and published in Smart Brief.

MavenMagnet presented exclusive data at Advertising Week on Wednesday that highlights how brands should react to the tense political environment in the US.

The marketing analytics company studied the reaction of British consumers to two distinct campaigns from brands in reaction to President Trump’s proposed immigration ban earlier this year: Budweiser’s television ad that highlighted the beer company’s immigration roots and Nike’s more direct campaign that included an open letter opposing the policy.

In short, Budweiser’s campaign was a win, while Nike’s was not – even though both companies were on the same side of the issue. MavenMagnet assessed that Budweiser garnered a positive “net vibe” of 32%, while Nike saw a negative net vibe of 17%.

The “Born the Hard Way” TV spot traced the immigrant roots of Budweiser’s founder, interweaving the immigration debate with the brand in an authentic way, MavenMagnet CEO Aditya Ghuwalewala said. It drove positive association for the brand while maintaining a safe distance from political and cultural mudslinging.

But Nike’s open letter was far more direct and prompted negative reaction from President Donald Trump and his supporters. It also prompted conversations about Nike’s working conditions around the world, sparking social media posts that included the word “hypocrisy,” and questions around why Nike’s ads focused on African Americans when the America’s immigrants are more diverse.

The findings echo larger conversations happening at Advertising Week about accountability. The lesson for marketers is clear, says MavenMagnet’s Cleve Langton.

“Basically, if you’re going to take a stand, make sure you clean up your own house before you start commenting on somebody else,” he said.

Grid and Maze

Manhattan, for the most part, is a grid. It is easy to navigate. The simple layout of the city makes it intuitive and predictable. You can go from point A to point B without much effort.

Indore, my hometown in India, or for that matter most cities in the World that are not developed on a grid pattern, can be called a maze. It is not easy to navigate unless you have a GPS or have intimate knowledge of the place. The city has grown without a planned layout, so to go from point A to point B, you need help.

Grid and maze analogy is a simple way to contrast something intuitive, simple and well-planned to something non-intuitive, complex and in some cases over-planned.

It’s as much applicable for designing products, and even websites and presentations. The most useful designs are the ones that are simple and intuitive. Design that makes the outcome second nature. The design that makes product easy and pleasant to use. The design that doesn’t need a manual (which is equally complicated) to explain how to use your product.

The key is to understand who your customer is and then design your product in a way your target customer finds it pleasant to use. Anything, no matter how complex it is, should be simplified to a level your customer finds it easy to use. Don’t kill the sophistication, hide it or present it in a way that is easy to consume for your customer.

My engineering mindset often pushes me in the direction of sharing with clients the amount of sophistication that went into the technology and technique to extract actionable insights. It is important for the client to know that there is science and data behind what they are using so that they can build trust on the outcome and they use it to make a critical business decision. We present it in a way that is simple for a marketing person to understand the engineering behind our product.

What they’re saying about autonomous technology

Published in Autonomous News
Web Link: http://www.autonews.com/article/20160911/OEM06/309129989/what-theyre-saying-aboutautonomous-technology

In the aftermath of the crash, consumers remain optimistic that autonomous drive is the “next big thing in the auto space,” a study shows.

MavenMagnet, a social data research company with offices in New York and Mumbai, India, conducted this study.

The study analyzed 3,081 conversations from Jan. 1 to Aug. 15. The conversations were evenly distributed before and after news of the fatal crash of a Tesla using Autopilot became public on July 30.

MavenMagnet analyzes data from all digital sources — including social networks, communities, forums, chat rooms and product reviews — to provide insights about U.S. attitudes toward emerging and rapidly evolving topics such as autonomous vehicles. Its work for corporate clients has included analysis of more than 40 vehicle nameplates.

Perhaps predictably, online conversations about autonomous vehicles turned markedly negative this summer after a fatal crash involving the driver of a Tesla Model S operated in Autopilot mode.

What’s less predictable — and more encouraging to developers of self-driving vehicles — is that consumers remain optimistic that autonomous drive is the “next big thing in the auto space,” according to a new study done for Automotive News.

MavenMagnet, a social data research company that combs through online discussions, noted the changing attitudes by comparing comments before and after the Tesla accident became news on July 30.

The study sifted through thousands of conversations. It analyzed U.S. consumers, trying to sort out their attitudes toward a disruptive technology with positive and negative possibilities.

“It was not a surprise that safety was a big concern and became a bigger concern,” said Aditya Ghuwalewala, MavenMagnet founder. “What was more surprising was that even after the accident, there was optimism that this was the next big thing.”

Ghuwalewala added that people posting opinions online split over the responsibilities of human drivers and autonomous technology.

“It’s a very engaging topic, from the look of the conversations,” he said.

Another division was between consumers who want to keep driving themselves — except in traffic jams – – and those who apparently can’t wait until they can nap, text or watch a movie while being transported autonomously.

Cleve Langton, MavenMagnet president, said that reflects “the tedium of driving vs. the pleasure of driving: “Oh my God, I face this commute every morning, and if I could just zone out, that would be great.’ And then there’s the visceral satisfaction of driving.”

Selling services

Services are the intangibles consumers buy to meet a specific goals. People and business generally like services. Services in most cases end up to be have a much better price-value equation than products. There’s no value depreciation and upgradation is as easy as anything can be. Services when done right makes the consumer feel good.

These benefits of services has led to a whole slew of things being sold as services. SAAS (Software-as-a-Service) and IAAS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) are two great examples of evolution of selling products as a services in the technology industry to make it easier for the consumers to consume as compared to buying products. The concept of selling services as much as the consumer needs and when they need it is not new. It dates back to consumers buying electricity rather than generating it using a grid in their backyard. It’s convenient and cost effective.

A big benefit of selling services is that it is much easier to get broad scale adoption than selling products. The reason being it is easier to provide trial service to consumers than giving products on trial basis. Mobile phone operators give customers a month free of data connection on their smart phones. Getting that service free for a month made people realize they can do so much on the go that otherwise needed a bigger computing device.

Selling services has its own challenges. You are selling intangibles. The consumer buying it is not buying a product, they are buying something else. What they are buying is the comfort, the expertise, the ease of use and the option to get rid of it when they don’t need it anymore without much guilt of buying it in the first place.

Delivering On The ‘Brand Promise’ Is Key In Luxury

What luxury brands do consumers talk most about? Which ones are the sexiest, most in vogue, best at brand promise, best at customer service, best social appeal, and best emotional appeal? MavenMagnet completed a study that answers these questions.

But the top finding is that there is a shift toward “affordable luxury,” the move to brands that are luxury in perception (inwardly by the buyer and perception of others) but are within reasonable budget parameters. Another key finding is that “practicality” is finding its way into the luxury space. This is reflected in greater emphasis on the brand promise and on functional appeal. It is important for brands to understand that consumers are looking for practical products in the luxury market, more than ever before.

The study analyzed over 10,000 consumer conversations across a broad cross-section of social media platforms to understand consumer purchase and brand preferences in the luxury market. Findings reveal consumer sentiments toward both the category as well as specific brands and identify specific equities that brands can own. Ten brands were included in the study: Burberry, Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Hugo Boss, Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, Swarovski and Tiffany. Hugo Boss had the most favorable conversations at 88%, followed by Coach and Armani at 68% each.

Brand promise is the most important benefit category for luxury brands, claiming 42% of conversations, followed by functional appeal, product experience, emotional appeal, and social appeal. Consumers define brand promise differently for different brands. Consumers associate the luxury category and most specifically Tiffany, Hugo Boss and Giorgio Armani with the brand promise of “upscale” as measured by consumer buzz around price and snob value of “unaffordable to most people.” “Quality standards” is another important promise for the luxury category, which consumers qualify in terms of materials and craftsmanship. Burberry and Tiffany share the most positive buzz around the sentiment, which consumers generally associate with quality materials and craftsmanship. It is interesting to note that consumers also overwhelming associate Burberry – more than any other brand — with the brand promise of individuality as defined by uniqueness and character.

Functional appeal is the second most important benefit category for luxury brands, which includes qualities of value justification, durability, convenience, customer service and performance. Conversations show that Tiffany owns the positive buzz around value justification – specifically, consumers believe they can justify the cost because of the resale value. Louis Vuitton and Coach share the positive conversations around durability. Consumers simply expect luxury bags and wallets to last longer. Consumers associate convenience — ease of use, wearability, multipurpose — most positively and most often with Coach, followed by Burberry. Customer service is an important quality for these consumers. Repairs and warranties become the primary measure of good customer service. Consumers have the strongest positive performance perceptions for Hugo Boss and Dolce & Gabbana.

Product experience ranks third in benefit categories identified. Aesthetics – a subset of product experience — is the most important factor in the luxury goods industry that spans across multiple product categories. Consumers define aesthetics in terms of overall looks (perception of overall design and appearance), elegance and colors. Consumers associate design excellence with Coach, elegance with Gucci, colors and elegance with Burberry.

Ranked 4 is emotional appeal, which is defined in terms of brand affinity and indulgence. Brand affinity, which often drives loyalty and advocacy in luxury brands, has high consumer sentiment for the category and, in particular, for Coach and Hugo Boss. Split 50/50, consumers qualify indulgence in terms of “expressions of love,” such as gifting, and “self-gratification.” Interestingly, women often justify the guilt of expensive luxury products with self-gratification. Louis Vuitton owns the positive buzz around indulgence.

Social appeal is the 5th ranked benefit. Consumers define the sentiment in terms of “in vogue,” status symbol, and sex appeal. Tiffany dominates the positive consumer sentiment around “in vogue” followed closely by Burberry and Louis Vuitton. Ralph Lauren and Burberry lead positive buzz around status symbol which consumers predominately discuss in context of apparel. As for sex appeal, consumers find Hugo Boss and Giorgio Armani the sexiest brands of those studied.

Note: MediaPost published this article: http://bit.ly/TQdbnL

Branding and differentiation

With several choices available in the marketplace for any given product, be it a bar of soap or a car, it is important to define differentiation for your branded product. You can differentiate your product, no matter how generic it is in its properties, to make it own a unique identity and connection with customers. That is in very simple terms the definition of branding. It’s the distinct identity that you create to help your customers connect with your product. It’s the perceptual aura that you create for your product. It’s the stamp of confidence that you build around your product. It’s the bedrock for differentiation.

In order to define your brand, it is important to focus on elements that are sustainable over a long-term. It can be your technology that differentiates you from the rest, puts your brand at the forefront of innovation and a step ahead of competition. It can be the design excellence that defines your brand. It can be the customer service that is at the core of your business and makes you command the trust of your customers.

It is often asked if price can be the differentiator for a brand. How much a product costs the customer can be an important element of the product. It may be the most important consideration factor for many products, but it cannot be the differentiating element. Price more often than not is a sanity factor. Price-value equation triumphs the price very easily. You cannot define your brand purely on price. On the contrary, if you brand it right, you can command a premium for your product.

Your differentiation is something that makes a statement on why consumers must select you above anyone else. Branding is that statement. It’s something that stands out for you. The best way to define it is by understanding the needs of your customers and gaps in the marketplace and mapping them to your strengths.

Don’t ask

One of the biggest issues (there are many) with traditional research is that it is based on a Q&A system. You get people in a focus group, send them surveys, organize panels and do interviews to get answers to key business questions. The basic problem is that information is probed and can be very easily manipulated to prove any hypothesis. A focus group is just as effective as the moderator, surveys are as good as the questions and answer options in them, a panel is as useful as the topics and directives used to stir the discussion and interviews provide as much information as the interviewers want to ask.

Asking questions puts the respondents in a specific mindset that is limited to answering questions. The respondents are talking to a company, they are artificially incentivized and their answers largely depend on their willingness and comfort level in sharing information with a complete stranger. To sum it all up, what you get in case of traditional market research are claimed responses with high degree of respondent bias and no real insights.

So how to transform market research to find the real insights from the consumers? Short answer: don’t ask. There is enough information available in the super connected world out there to learn about the consumers and extract insights from their conversations. What is needed is a technology infrastructure and innovative techniques to collect this information, organize it and analyze it to extract real insights.

Contrast traditional market research with MavenMagnet big social data based research. MavenMagnet research has zero bias built in because it is dependent on patterns formed out of the information out there. There are no respondents. People are sharing information in their social world, not with a company. The mindset is a normal like it is in their everyday life. They are not incentivized, but are self-motivated. The insights are real and actionable.

So the question is why is something that is cumbersome, slow, expensive and biased not completely replaced by something that is convenient, quick, economical and impartial? The core reason is legacy. Traditional research has been around for several decades. Generations of market researchers have grown doing this and have a certain comfort level with it. And above all, transformation takes time. Eventually the comfort and confidence level of market researchers with big data based research will increase and reach a tipping point which will change the face of this industry for ever. Why we know that? Because we can analyze past trends to predict the future!