Monday, December 22, 2008

New ways to reach your NT audience

Posted by Janelle Rees

I’ll let you in on a little secret – up to one third of the NT’s potential free-to-air audience isn’t being reached by the traditional channels.

The introduction of Channel 10 in May 2008 and the upcoming introduction of regional advertising footprints by SBS will permanently change the face of Territory television advertising.

So what does that mean for your business?

To borrow a few clich├ęs, by jiggling your advertising budget around even just slightly, you can borrow from Peter to pay Paul and reap some of the following benefits:

- Get ahead of the crowd. No everyone is doing it. This is your opportunity to get out in front and expand your reach beyond your competitors.

- ‘Brands look bigger in a small space’, says the SBS marketing tagline. SBS has the shortest ad breaks on commercial TV, giving viewers less time to get bored of ads and tune out. Channel Ten is growing its client base, but those ad breaks with vision of the Territory and annoying music everyone talks about are a sign they’ve got plenty of ad space available for you.

- Talk to someone new. Channel 10 primarily targets a younger audience than their competitors. SBS reaches more tertiary educated professionals and managers than all the other channels. Start a conversation with a more targeted audience – they’ve probably been waiting for you to get in touch.

- Spend less to get more coverage. At the moment, the cost entry points for SBS and Channel 10 are lower than their competitors and it is potentially easier to get sought-after placements during primetime.

While Channel 10 is only available in Darwin, SBS will be offering two advertising footprints: Darwin; and SA+NT, covering the remainder of the Northern Territory. Almost half of Territorians live outside Darwin and Palmerston, so the SA+NT footprint might be handy for reaching your consumers in some of those out-of-the-way places.

And now something for those who are impressed by statistics – or who need help selling it to senior management. Across regional Australia*, SBS’s regional audience share is around 5 to 6 per cent, depending on which survey period you are reviewing. Channel 10 enjoys an audience share of 15 per cent. That’s a total of 20-ish per cent out of a total 64 per cent of people watching commercial, free-to-air TV on any given night. Or to put it another way – a third of your potential viewing audience.

So should you do next? Think about integrating SBS and Channel 10 into the advertising mix for your next campaign. Expand your current campaign to include these channels. The sooner you get onboard, the sooner you will be able to start enjoying the results.

*Regional Australia: Australian viewing audiences outside the five capitals, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

Want more information?

Free TV Australia:
http://www.thinktv.com.au/

ABS NT population statistics:
www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Products/851BBD844853978CCA2574EF001387AA?opendocument

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Power of Positive Speech

Some friends of mine have just returned from a magnificent round-the-world trip and spent some time regaling me with their holiday stories.

They finished the conversation with this classic: “It was one of those holidays when everything that could go right did go right.”

Hang on – did I hear that correctly? Everything that could go RIGHT?

In PR, we’re always telling our clients how important it is to develop messages that are positive, not negative. “Keep the focus on you,” we tell them.

This story illustrates that point very clearly. Imagine if the story my friends told me was about everything that went WRONG? What would it leave me feeling at the end?

“Typical airlines … I’ve had just that experience with them before … can’t be trusted … who’d go to that country anyway … for the amount you pay you’d think the hotel could at least be clean …. “. And so on, and so on. My focus would be on all the companies and people who had made this holiday a bad one.

Negative messages can divert our attention from the main game. Instead of focusing on the key points I am trying to get across, by being negative I risk leading my audience down another path.

So what happened when my friends told me everything that went RIGHT? What did I feel?

“Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving couple …. good on them …. what a great holiday …” And so on.

Whether you are talking up a product or fending off a developing issue, positive language can be very positive in getting people on side. It builds confidence with the listener and keeps them focused on you and your message.

Think about this scenario: You are the chairman of a company that has had a food product tampered with. You’re facing a media conference. Which of the following messages is going to do the most good for both you and your customers:

a. We can’t believe anyone would do such a terrible thing.
b. We’re going to find this criminal and make him pay.
c. We will stop at nothing to make our food safe for customers.

Think positive, talk positive. It’s the key to clear communication.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Building brand strength in a stormy climate

Posted by Janelle Rees

It’s the build-up in the Territory and while the air conditioning market might be booming, other sectors aren’t weathering the changing economic climate quite so well.

During an economic downturn one of the first budgets to get cut is often marketing and communications.

As communications professionals we play an important role in demonstrating to senior management the advantages of maintaining the communications spend during stormy financial times.

It’s important to convince management that in many cases an economic downturn can be an opportunity to build brand strength. While your competitors are cutting back, you can be investing in your brand positioning and building long-term shareholder value. When the economy picks up (as it inevitably will), you will be in a strong position to capitalise while your competitors are busy playing catch-up.

Additionally, one of the many factors influencing the weakening economy is consumer confidence. As AMI Chairman Roger James points out, consumer confidence is in many cases as much about perception as reality – and that’s where there is an opportunity for marketing and communications professionals to rise to the challenge and influence public perception.

So how do we effectively communicate that we can’t afford to stop communicating?

Research: Know what your competitors are doing, and how they are doing it. Know your target audience. How have they been affected to date by the economic downturn? Have a general understanding of your organisation’s financial position. Can they feasibly afford to maintain the marketing spend?

Evaluate: Senior management is responsible to shareholders, and shareholders are often most interested in the bottom line. You need to be able to demonstrate how effective your communications activities are to maintaining and growing the profitability of the organisation.

Diversify your communications activities: Are there more effective ways you can reach your target audience? Are there cheaper ways you can reach your target audience? Do you already make the most of cost-effective communications in areas such as public relations and social media? Is there an opportunity to borrow a small amount from your TV spend to pilot a social media campaign or extend your public relations activities? Or do you have the internal skills to pilot a social media campaign for next to nothing?

As communications professionals we need to be able to demonstrate our ability to adapt to changing market conditions while still playing a role that demonstrably benefits our organisation’s reputation and bottom line.

Friday, November 21, 2008

We just keep on asking WHY.

Posted by Tracy Jones

I’m a dedicated fan of Lyn Truss’ Eats, Shoots & Leaves. As a bit of a punctuation Nazi myself, I’m always the one wielding the red pen around here.

So, you might ask, why is there no question mark at the end of the header to this story?

We recently created a campaign for a client about road safety. The campaign theme is WHY. (with a full stop and without a question mark). Here's one of the ads (the other is at the end of this post).




Since it was launched, we have received lots of comments from the punctuation Nazis declaring us to be the enemy of the English language as we know it.

So, before we all get too carried away, where did the question mark go?

The first point to make is that the idea of advertising is to impart a message, a feeling and (hopefully) an action, not to educate the public on grammar. We wanted to start a conversation with the public about road safety and the terrible tragedy of road deaths to every single individual.

WHY. has certainly made people talk – and wonder – about the question mark. Here’s a selection of what people have said:

  • "WHY is a rhetorical question – we don’t expect an answer to it. The answer to the road toll is so obvious. So when you say WHY it’s an expression of frustration.”

  • “This answer is stupid. A rhetorical question is a figure of speech used to persuade the reader to question or think about a particular issue. This isn’t the same thing.”

  • “More than one person has pointed out that a full stop is neither appropriate nor accurate. In the case of these advertisements the aim is to have viewers/readers think about what has happened and why it has happened. You’re saying people don’t expect an answer as to why they’ve lost a family member/friend. We’re asking them to question why this is happening so we can try and avoid it and raise awareness. We’re not posing the question for the sake of it; for no response. This would mean no change. "

  • “It is not a question - we know the answers. People just continue to ignore the glaringly obvious consequences of driving drunk, speeding, traveling without a seatbelt – this uncomfortable feeling that some people seem to suffer from is a good thing regarding this campaign. Look at the whole, the “Why.” icon is just that, a logo a brand a statement of intent – to the drunk driver – we don’t need a question mark as he has no response/answer to justify his behaviour.”

  • “You people are in serious need of a good proof reader. I can offer you my services.”

  • “I can’t figure out whether you guys are incredibly clever or incredibly dumb. "

What do you think?


Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Brand Approach to Marketing

Owning a space in the consumer’s mind

Every shop, company, product, person, location and government has an “image”. A favourable image allows you to attract new markets or sell at a higher price. An unfavourable image makes you unpopular, making it difficult to attract business or sales. A brand strategy is a tool that allows you to manage your image in a way that contributes positively to your reputation and therefore your business.

What is the difference between a product and a brand?
• A product is something made in a factory. A brand is something bought by consumers.
• A product can be copied by a competitor. A brand is unique.
• A product is an object. A brand has a personality that can own a space in the consumer’s mind.

What is the difference between a product or service brand and a corporate brand?
In basic terms, a corporate brand is about people, whereas a product brand is about attributes. The fast pace of technological change makes it harder and harder to achieve sustainable competitive advantage on the basis of functional product brand attributes, as competitors can easily replicate areas of added value. This is where the company itself may be a powerful source of vital competitive advantage.

Reputation, culture and personality are key discriminators and the corporate brand provides the source of such values.

Corporate brand is a mix of the visible (shopfront, logo, uniforms, etc.), the perceived (external perception of your advertising, promotions and communication), the experience (external interaction with employees), the heritage and culture, and the product brands.

Stephen King puts it succinctly: “…increasingly the company [corporate] brand itself will act as the main discriminator. That is, consumers’ choice will depend less on an evaluation of the functional benefits to them of a product or service, more on an assessment of the people behind it – their skills, attitudes, integrity, behaviour, style, responsiveness, greenism, language: the whole company culture, in fact.” (King S. ‘Tomorrow’s Research’. Admap, September 1991.)

Customer Segmentation: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? These questions are asked to help breakdown a market into identifiable segments, each of which may have its own special product requirements and each of which is likely to exhibit various habits affecting its exposure to your communication. Other factors likely to vary between each segment are price, performance, design, service, usage, benefits and personality.

Brand Positioning: What do the customers need? What is the company capable of? What are the competitors offering? Mapping helps determine key purchase motivators for specific customer segments. It helps you understand where the brand is now (versus the competition) and where it could be in the future. Brand positioning relates brand benefits to customer needs and defines the brand’s competitive advantage in relation to the competition.

Competitive Advantage: This is NOT about quality or value: all products have a ‘quality’ and as soon as someone purchases a product it has a ‘value’. It’s about the ability to meet customer requirements in a superior manner to competitors. The combination of attributes (added value) given to a brand must reflect customer requirements and set the brand apart from the competition.

The Creative Territory Approach: Giving your “brand” a personality
The best brands make an emotional connection with the audience.

Think about Cadbury Chocolate, named by a recent Readers Digest poll as Australia’s most trusted brand. Cadbury doesn’t try to sell you chocolate. It doesn’t even try to sell you a feature or benefit of chocolate. It sells you a whole experience. Let’s face it, wouldn’t it be nice if the world really WAS Cadburys?

The best brands have a distinct personality that the consumer can touch and feel. They don’t sell a “thing” but impart a special value that is desired by the audience.

At Creative Territory we treat your brand like a personality to help you uncover the other personalities that matter to your brand – the personalities of your audience, of your company/ product/ service, of your competitors and of the brand itself.

Desk Research: We start by having a long, hard look at you and your brand. Is it new or has it been around for a while? Does it stand for anything? Does it have a personality? Does the promise match the delivery? Who are its competitors? Who else is in its family (or should be)? This first task is generally undertaken through desk research and helps us gain a picture of what your brand is now.

New Primary Research: If required, we commission new primary research. This may include interviews with existing customers and potential new ones, suppliers, people who have stopped being customers. Telephone surveys can also be undertaken if required.

Brand Attributes: The next stage is to ask you and as many others as possible to use a tool we have developed to help gather together all the attributes of your brand. We start by giving you a list of 100 or so words which you need to rate according to how closely they are (or should be) associated with your brand. It’s important that you don’t think too hard about your answers – we truly are trying to get a “gut dump”. It should take each participant less than 2 minutes to complete this task. We then collate all the answers ready for the next stage.

Workshop: With the homework complete we move on to a three-hour workshop with your team. During this workshop we will examine the results of your gut dump, find out more about your competitors, learn about the personalities of your target audiences and develop a common understanding of the personality of your brand. We usually undertake this workshop with your most senior management team as well as the person responsible for marketing in your organisation.

Workshop Outcomes: Following the workshop, Creative Territory will work with our design partner Sprout to develop strategic recommendations on your brand as well as some examples of the creative direction. Within 2-3 weeks of the workshop, we will be ready to present these findings back to your senior management team.

Development of a Marketing Strategy: The next stage is the development of a complete marketing strategy to take your brand and business forward. This will include the identification of strategies, tactics and tools that bring the brand to life for your new clients including media, advertising, web and new media strategies, point of sale strategies and direct marketing. Detailed costings for suggested strategies would be undertaken at this stage.

Creative Execution: With the strategy set, we are also able to provide a full agency creative service through our partnership with Sprout Creative.