Stop checking on the hair, dude.

Driving is definitely sheer pleasure with great german technology. The emphasis on the experience of driving is one which most of us can relate to. That kind of emotional relation draws your clients closer to your brand. There are many ways to explore when coming out with a good creative idea. Whether it is to bang on an idea that shrieks of the brand name, a comparison between brands, a bashing approach or in this case purely on the emotional aspect of the consumer. BBDO has recently done a commercial for Mercedes. We see a guy in his Mercedes-Benz cruising around while he constantly takes a glimpse of the rearview mirror. A nice blend of smoothing music on the background extrudes a sense of calmness while building up a relaxing ambient. We witness joy, satisfaction and fulfillment in him. He gets carried away and eventually something bad is ABOUT to happen. The point to note here is the emphasis on the event that might happen should he continue to skive his attention off the road. Here, we see how the car effectively place him back on track. The commercial ends with the line “When your mind wanders, ATTENTION ASSIST brings it back”. While I have to admit most automotive car commercials could be rather serious and mundane, this is quite cleverly done.

the Toy Rider

Street trials rider Danny MacAskill demonstrates his mad riding skills in this brand new film where he is seen as a toy rider in a child’s world. He has been concentrating most of his videos and projects on locations and journeys, but this time you see his world as a kid and how it has always been for him as a rider. Interesting way to illustrate the thrills and joy of being a bike rider.

Positioning yourself as another
I think one of the interesting approaches to adopt when selling a product is to portray it from another angle using another product. Have you ever challenged yourself if your product can be fit into another product category? If you could, then there is a potential to give the concept a little twist to create the interest factor. In this case, Danny portray himself as a toy and making use of the imaginary world of a child’s mind and how it would make his dream come true. By doing so, he brings his audience closer to his imagination, letting them experience his train of thoughts. A powerful way to convey his message through the use of a less conventional approach. 

Check out more of the behind the scenes making as well as the Imaginate web here.


Cupcakes or T-shirts? No, it’s both.

JohnnyRollingPin JC_NewburyStoreLine

It is always interesting to see how a good mix between different retail industries could actually work together to give you a rather unique outcome. The results can be daunting at times, but you wouldn’t really know till you try. An article which I read recently that is shared by one of my respected peers on Linkedin pertaining to Johnny Cupcakes’ success as a cult designer turned entrepreneur further affirms my faith in successful integrated marketing. This man has combined the F&B industry concept with Shopping retail experience. Johnny Earle started off selling just t-shirts from the trunk of his ride. By now, he is recognized as a very successful entrepreneur and helmed the US’s No. 1 Young Entrepreneur of the Year by Business Week. What literally sparked my interest in him is the key question of how did he do it? What made his brand, so highly sought after?

Here’s some background about Johnny Earle –
Earle, 28 years old, begun his career through the sales of t-shirts. He started the quirky idea of selling t-shirts coupled with the cupcakes theme. His current business operations includes 5 boutiques (which he calls it ‘bakeries’) in the US and a store now in London. What makes Earle such a genius is his dedication to provide great experiences for each of his stores. He first started in Boston and as he expanded his empire, he made each of his shops with love and passion. Earle literally dumped his existing capital into the investment for vintage, industrial-sized bakery equipments all for the sake of building the look and feel of his first store.

“It was important for me to build an experience. It was scary, because I was spending all the money I had, just to make people smile. In the business world, most people don’t think like that,” says Earle.

Let us look at some of the possible factors leading to Earle’s success today-

Risk Taker
The adage that there is only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go, holds so true for Earle. He decides that if this is all he’s ever got, then there really isn’t a point in holding back. Look for your goal and worked towards it.

Experience Maker
Earle make it an effort to decor every shop to give his customers a different experience. By taking the pains to really keep every experience special and worth talking about, he successfully make a story for people to tell. He even went down to the core to design how his store would actually smell upon entering. With a bunch of vanilla-scented car fresheners, he placed them around his store giving the shop patrons a scent of vanilla frosting. It really isn’t a real bakery but a t-shirt boutique. Yet, he has went this far just to create that experience down to the granular details.

Look for the RIGHT people
“I teamed up with a company that built stuff for Disneyland and for Universal Studios, and had them help me bring these ideas I had to life. I had no idea what to do with these crazy ideas. I wanted [it] to be just like my other stores, a fashion bakery, except this time I wanted it to be on steroids,” he says.

Looking for the right people and entrusting them to do what you feel they are good at is the key to creating successful brand stories. By being meticulous and fussy with every single details might sound like a perfectionist to you, but there is always another side of the coin. You do not want to end up as an intransigent client who do not trust the people you hire.

Brand Identity
“I just want to bring out people’s emotions through packaging and real design, and through creating experiences,” Earle says.

It always strikes to me that packaging is one of the key elements in branding which had been very underrated all these while. A lot of brands fail to understand that packages are actually the major takeaways that your clients will bring home when they leave your doorstep. Leaving them with a good impression is fundamental for them to strike conversations about your brand on their social platforms. They would most likely share pictures of a fancy box rather than a cheap budgeted carton box or soggy plastic bags. For Earle, he makes sure that instead of some lame plastic bag, the merchandise comes in a little bakery box with his logo embossed in foil on both sides. What’s more convincing is he even had his company tissue paper created just to complete the packaging experience.

Great Social strategy and engagement
“Instead of telling people that you know these products are on sale, or marked down, every other day, which is what a lot of people do, I try to avoid that and instead try and create a conversation on social media,” he says, explaining how he uses the channels. “So people feel like, well, they are actually having a conversation with me.

Earle makes the effort to communicate, engage and listen to his fans and followers on his social channels. He created his own campaigns down to the most personal level. I think it is brilliant for what he has done. Earle tweeted to his customers asking them to actually head down to a local ice-cream parlour and would personally treat them to ice-cream as long as you come wearing the Johnny Cupcakes t-shirt. Very smart move. It not only shows that he cares for his customers, it also shows he would love to provide for them. How many brands are actually doing that? Or rather, do they even recognize the significance of social investments?


Earle’s unrelenting success is not by mere chance or luck. It is his thirst of unraveling and trying new ways to reposition his business that made him who he is today. And of course, the excitement and passion of being an entrepreneur. Are you cut out to be one? Feel free to leave me with your opinions and how you think Johnny Earle would have done to improve.

Please give me a job


Yes, Adam Pacitti(pictured) is looking for a job. As you can see, he had purchased the media placement on a billboard. But the story is not that simple. As mobile trends is emerging, it has become one of the dominant sources of usage for online surfing. Now, this would be how Adam’s ad would work really well when he integrates with social platforms like Twitter. You will now witness the power of how Twitter would work as a power duo together with Outdoor advertising medias like the billboard in this instance.

Adam’s efforts took off pretty well I must say. Now in just two days, he had gotten himself on the global scale. With close to 30,000 views on his CV on YouTube, he amassed close to 10,000 followers on Twitter and 13,500 retweets for just this one single image of his 500pounds billboard ad. Personally, I think this is really a very bold effort that is commendable. The success of his efforts would pretty much be attributed to the social integration leading after the ad placement. For Adam, he merely bought the poster as it was in his opinion the most visible form of communication. The trick was how he actually leverage on this ad and develop an integrated viral social media campaign.

If you are one of those marketers who have been diligently placing ads on billboards with futile results, then it is high time you check this out and understand that success is no magic, luck or determination. It is purely understanding marketing trends and strategy. You got to tie in the right channel for the right message for the right people at the right time. Adam has successfully proved to many that he has done it right. From this we can undoubtedly conclude that Outdoor and mobile search complement each other very well. When you see something really fascinating, you would automatically take out your smartphone and start searching for it.

I guess a lot of outdoor posters these days typically has a picture of the product and probably the company’s telephone number slapped across. By doing so, brands cannot expect the same amount of success as compared to a more interesting poster with a unique call to action. The catalyst to fuel that constant challenge in driving engagement and action after seeing the poster naturally falls back to your idea. Is your idea creative? Can you do something that would evoke an action or curiosity? Have your poster distracted their attention?

Never hope to do minimal work, because the lesser amount of effort you place into developing your materials, the lesser amount of returns you would get. Basing your judgement of success purely on past statistical reports of that particular ad placement is important but not necessary a winning formula. Instead, think of how you would want people to start talking about your ad online and create hype amongst them through provocative messages and visuals. You would want people to start talking about it on Facebook or Twitter eventually.

I believe outdoor advertising is extremely crucial and should always be packed as one of the considerations when starting a marketing campaign. It should always serve as a communication touchpoint to boost a brand’s activity and presence to the large groups of people. Try to capture people’s attention, get them to do something after seeing your ad. Make them want to tell their peers about you. Give them the topic to talk about that would boost their credentials, capabilities or display their eagerness to share.

At the end, Adam did a wonderful job of enhancing his life by giving people something to talk about. Let people feel curious about his message, about the outcome of his job search and what they could possibly do to help him land a job. There is so much more to be done. Hence, never underestimate the power of both outdoor and social.

Boost your brand loyalty with mobile loyalty


As I mentioned before, it is vital to built great mobile experience. To complete that experience and boost a longer relationship with your existing customers, it is almost a must to take great steps in building mobile loyalty. Take this as an investment for potential future gains. Mobile has dramatically enhanced the loyalty experience for consumers and this is a FACT. It is critical that marketers learn to understand how leveraging on mobile could create incremental touch points as well as compelling value adding opportunities for loyal customers. 
Remember, the key to a purchasing decision depends a lot on your interaction and communication to your consumer. The more your customers engages with your brand, the higher the chance of acquiring purchases. So exactly how does mobile loyalty compel your customers to continuously engage with your brand?

Give them the opportunity to be part of a community – Sense of belonging
Humans are not solo animals. We love to be bonded together in a group to share, love and communicate. The basis of a loyalty program is to provide incentives for a community. You need to make sure you make it extremely easy and fun being with you. Hence, people will start pouring in and be your ‘friend’. Mobile loyalty is now made easier with the introduction of several innovative technology like QR codes, online coupons and social media. The key is to make it so much fun and enjoyable being with your brand. Remember, do not wait until the customer leaves the store as this generally lowers conversational opportunity. Deploy possible shopper marketing techniques and strategy to boost in store conversion opportunities as well.

Give them a reason to love you more and more
The formula here is “more and more”. How do you make someone love you more and more? The answer is to continuously add value to enrich their daily routines or make an impact every now and then. Examples of extra services that brands could provide that would help customers to reduce shopping woes would definitely score brownie points. Assuming you have a loyalty program going on and by keeping receipts customers could then redeem prizes. You would like to have a great online log in system where they could keep track of their data at the same time sending latest offers to them. You could even send them a “Welcome” or “Thank You” note upon their visit to your store as a friendly personal gesture. This shows that you take them seriously. Understanding your consumers’ shopping behaviors is absolutely important. You could even prompt them through sms asking if they would need help to carry large items to the carpark.

Give them a great in-store engagement
Customers in the store gives you the highest possible chance to acquire a potential purchase. Do not miss this chance to make a difference! Leverage on social media to give them more enticing deals which helps promote a better store experience. Run in store promotions that are prize friendly so every customer walks out a happy customer. Tendency of them posting on social media after leaving your store is also potentially high as they now have something to talk about or a picture to take based on the gift they received. Not neglecting the fact that observations could be made by profiling your customers and understanding their buying patterns to build intelligent consumer profiles.

Lastly, mobile loyalty builds your brand affinity and a longer relationship with your customers.

Being mobile friendly is Key to success



Loyalty360 published an article which spoke about the importance of being mobile ready as retail shopping experience now spans across a larger spectrum of media and platforms. One of them being the mobile landscape which has, over the last couple of years gotten quite prevalent for consumer shopping behaviors. According to Kentico’s Mobile Experience Survey, 85% of smartphone owners use their mobile to compare companies, products as well as the prices before deciding on a potential purchase.

And amongst this crowd of people, 45% will do so on the actual store location. It also reports that whether or not an online shopper actually makes a purchase depends a lot on the product or its price; with 78% being smartphone owners, 75% being tablet owners and 69% laptop owners. On top of that consumers also take into consideration a company’s mobile web experience and aesthetics.

Now, I believe many times agencies are handed a brief to help a brand create that important experience for their consumers. Truth is, many creatives neglect seeing the possible flops in the implementation of a ‘good’ idea. Looking on the bigger picture has always been the usual way of creating a seamless holistic experience. However, many times when you actually zoom in to see the smaller finer details of each possible channel and platform, you tend to see a lot more flaws. What I would describe is a great campaign with a big idea that looks like it works so well on the facade but in actual fact, there are many flaws if you narrow into each execution leading to the entire campaign. Mobile web experience is essential for brands to obtain the necessary flow of traffic and could be one potential factor affecting a possible sales purchase.

If mobile websites aren’t optimized or designed to be appealing and efficient, the tendency of losing a potential consumer’s repeat visit is almost 90%. The survey reveals compelling results that 76% of smartphone users and 78% of tablet users will revisit the websites that often look really cool and works really smooth on their mobile devices. Bear in mind, this also shows how much efforts a brand take into consideration to provide that experience and this is a plus point scored. The report indicates 44% of the users will never go back to a website which failed on delivering these aspects. And 52% said they will hardly ever return.

With the raising popularity in tablets and considering the bigger screen size, responsive websites could leverage on the platform’s technology for it’s benefit. After all, when given a choice, online shoppers would prefer a larger screen rather than a smaller screen. Obviously, the in store experience online would be less engaging than the physical store itself. However, if we could marry both experiences into one, we have created the ultimate shopping formula. What if we had provided the shopper with such a great online experience that would so much influence them to visit the physical store and have that experience carried forward when they arrive at the physical store itself? I believe a great experience is one that leads from one to another, continuously giving the consumer one adventure after another. Anticipation over participation.

Quote from loyalty360

“Our survey suggests that while shoppers like the convenience of shopping online via mobile devices, they still want as much of an in-store experience as possible,” Kentico CEO and Founder Petr Palas said in a release. “While it may be impossible for businesses to provide mobile shoppers with a 100% in-store experience, they need to make mobile shoppers feel as if they’re truly in their stores, touching their products, talking to sales reps, and being catered to. Otherwise, they will lose business to those sites that do.”


Try and shall know

Another brilliant work from BBR Saatchi & Saatchi worth mentioning. This campaign allows Hummus Alcha, Israel’s No.2 packaged hummus brand to reach out to larger group of people through real product testing. But done tastefully with a great consumer experience. One of the key formulas that is has been used since the 90s involved the idea of giving people something without telling them first and then revealed the secret to the magic only to their astonishment. This gives the brand a chance to reach out to the audience, avoiding prejudice, criticisms and any comparison competition. The brand opened Avi’s Hummus, an authentic-looking hummus restaurant to get people talking about it. It attracted a lot of diners and started the idea of “pay by taste”. Diners were asked to pay according to how much they think the meal deserved. This caught a lot of attention including the media and it soon went viral. After two weeks, the stunt was exposed to the people and launched on TV, print and internet as well as social media revealing the actual formula to this well received hummus restuarant. Indeed, another excellent delivery by BBR Saatchi & Saatchi.

Blogging for more


If you haven’t been blogging or taking it seriously, then you might want to reconsider doing so. For most businesses out there, blogging is considered one of the top priorities in driving more traffic to their site as well as generating leads at the same time. There are a lot of possibilities that blogging would benefit businesses.

Building a blog creates several possible factors that would generate business. Ideally, we would like to convey the brand’s recent activities and marketing objectives on our site but as with most blogs, there are room for feedbacks and this is also a potential interaction channel for the business itself. Hearing your audience, giving them a chance to voice out is a form of respect. It displays the brand’s willingness to listen at the same time taking note of consumer preferences. This builds credibility and thought leadership in the long run.

On top of that, blogging would also create a certain pattern that influences others to do the same. People will talk about your credibility and compliment the brand on their site, through their conversational channels online or even directly on your blog. This would indefinitely boost the business as a whole.

Several surveys indicated that blogging impacts a lot on the voice and view of consumers over the digital landscape. A survey by HubSpot reports that businesses with an active and well maintained blog has potential to generate on an average of 88% more leads than those who did not blog. I am sure lead generation is one of the toughest aspect of the business for most brands. Why not invest this little time to build your rapport with possible future clients? After all, take this as a little courtship to date your bait.

Check out the infographic below:

Starting-a-blog-for-business click here for a detailed view.

Discounts go last



Image: Shutterstock


After reading an article on eConsultancy blog, emphasizing on how brands must remain tactful when offering discounts, I fully agreed on the point that discounts are more often or not, taken as the nuclear option. I cannot fathom how brands would conveniently approach discounts as a quick solution for permanent sales acquisitions. You risk several outcomes depending on how aggressively you throw your discount buffets. To name a few,

“Why bother? It’s going to go on sale by end of the season. We will grab it then.”

Customers tend to take you for GRANTED once they realize discounts will be thrown so easily. For once, you might think discounts are a way to clear your exisiting stocks. While I believe planning an exit strategy is more likely to be your best solution as compared to giving away your products at cheaper pricing, I do admit it enables you to clear old stock. The truth however, is that customers are not as dumb as we think they are and would more likely ‘Camp’ for your discounts. So in this instance, you could revisit the idea of probably liasing with your supplier for a trade in deal. For example, for exisiting stocks that are not cleared, you could probably return them for newer stocks at a percentage of your intake of goods. That way, you clear the stocks for new ones without having to launch unnecessary sales.

“Why the increase in operational costs? And the decrease in profits?”

The truth is whenever there is an atrium sale, a bazaar sale or a warehouse sale, there are more labor costs incurred. There could also be increase in operational costs if staffs are needed to attend these site clearances and leaving the branches down on man power. Sales would reduce profits at the expense of set up costs for these sales and the lack for labor.

“Discounts attract crowds but once the sale is over, the crowds are gone.”

Discounts often built crowds who are curious and cautious spenders. Unless that is the strategy to attract people of this nature, it would be wise to encourage brand conversion through a more reliable and long term measure. Emotional attachment is a robust and reliable marketing strategy. It helps built brand loyalty. With great brand loyalty, the need for discounts would reduce greatly and only needed upon the most strategic instances.

“Discounts are also part of the consumer experience.”

You often hear me swearing by the importance of having a great consumer experience. Giving away discounts is also a significant part of the shopping experience. A great shopper marketing technique is to unleash discounts at the right time on the most appropriate occasion that would effectively garner you a customer conversion. If I have to sign up for your newsletter or membership services to be entitled to a limited edition toy, I would gladly do it. To be honest, people are very interested in things that generally rare or hard to get. One of the strategy of great experience is to allow a chance to obtain something through ‘hard work’. This could mean repeat purchases to get something rare. Discounts come in handy because in this case you probably allow giving a way two chances of redeeming the rare toy rather than one chance. You practically do not lose much but yet encourage more sales.

Price is always the most important issue pertaining to purchasing decisions. It is also vital to know the demographics of media usage and the nature of the product itself. Issuing discounts logically and tactically through the right media usage would leverage effective and possible consumer conversion.

The truth is I see discounts as the last very resort. Without giving away a significant margin, you maintain the value of your brand. If you tend to give discounts as much as you love, you might just be giving your brand away.