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Patterns Issue 1 2018 - Designed to Connect: Meeting the Demands of Empowered Consumers

Consumers now have so many ways to encounter and interact with brands that it can be hard to command attention and forge a lasting bond. In this issue of Patterns, we offer insights into the new consumer empowerment and how to turn it to your advantage by creating meaningful connections.

  • 5 Building Blocks for Winning at the Digital Shelf
  • The Insatiable Demand for Content
  • Rewriting the Packaging Rulebook: Strategy, Design and Delivery Under One Roof
  • Digital Content Production: What's Next?
  • 10 Tips for Successfully Implementing Marketing Automation
  • How to Start Measuring Content Marketing ROI
  • Achieving Value-Based Outcomes: The Role of Human-Centric Design Thinking in Healthcare

Don't just add to the competitive noise. Be the brand that consumers want to connect with.

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This Is What Strong Brand Engagement Looks Like

Posted By: SGK December 07, 2017

Engagement around a brand is a term that’s used often to define the measured interactions between brands and consumers across digital platforms. Most notably in the marketing space, these activities are tracked with likes, shares, comments, open rates, and retweets.

While brand engagement is must broader than these metrics, it is important to examine how brands successfully navigate today’s digital landscape. 

It can appear on the outside, that having brand engagement success is a matter of being in the right place, at the right time, and a healthy portion of luck. And while it can be a bit of those factors, it’s also and most importantly a great deal of preparation and intentionality.

Below are five approaches to creating impactful brand engagement that will seriously make a difference when developing marketing campaigns:

Think with your heart.

Make your brand the enabler, but the customer the hero. In order to hyper-target your consumers to make them the hero, first you must know:

- Who they are

- What they value

- How they make decisions

Many successful campaigns of the past focused on very rational reasons to purchase, such as price, safety, or availability. However, oftentimes explaining facts and figures does not encourage brand consideration for the modern shopper.

Now, brands are moving toward a lifestyle (family, children, pets) approach that triggers consumer emotions like happiness and love — the irrational reasons to purchase. Interwoven in these campaigns are the same rational features, but instead, the features enable consumers to live their lives better.

When a brand embraces more than rational benefits of their products, and they include the heart, consumers have the opportunity to engage with their brain and wallet.

Embrace data-driven storytelling.

As marketers, we understand the power of data. It can tell us who’s buying products, where and when they’re buying them, where they’re seeing advertisements, and influences how much money to spend on the ads — among a myriad of other things.

Data also collects insights like: audience ideals, personalities, quirks and idiosyncrasies, life stages, cultural influences, emotional associations, drive for individualism. These are the key factors that uncover what makes consumers, human — opening the door to data-driven storytelling.

Plan for the unplanned.

In order to build awareness and brand engagement, there must be a strong internal discipline and commitment to prepare and speak with a true brand voice when the opportunity presents itself. Successful brands operate with an always-on mentality and are willing to deliver quickly.

WATCH: Why Brand Engagement Isn’t All About Your Brand 

 

Be boldly transparent.

Whether from online reviews, social media actions, or even focus groups, receiving customer feedback is one of the best ways to understanding what they really think about the brand or product. It is also one of the few direct hits we have to get inside their head — their values, emotions, and expectations of the brand that is driving their engagement.

When the feedback is good, it gives us the chance to turn all of those warm, fuzzy feelings into wonderful stories and campaigns — to celebrate or strengthen our connection with them. When the feedback is negative, it’s time to put in the work and regain trust.

Sounds easy, right?!

For any company, changing a product or brand perception is a huge challenge with many obstacles. But, instead of ignoring criticism or coming out with a different product that claims to be better, successful brands admit to the truth and provide transparency and trust to customers.

“70% of shoppers say that brands who ‘respond quickly to serious product issues’ greatly increase their trust.” — 2017 Brandspark International study

This opens the opportunity to encourage positive engagement.

Champion a cultural movement.

Engagement can evolve when a brand’s campaign recognizes and reflects the cultural climate of the world around it. This type of brand activation requires the focus to be turned toward the consumer to provide an authentic connection.

More than sharing knowledge about their product, successful brands tell full and riveting stories. These brands embrace the “why” and share purposeful stories that align with the values of the consumer. With this, marketing becomes the making of meaning and connections between consumer and the brand. This bolsters the story by identifying that fundamental human truth — the shared truth that provides meaning to the consumer while anchoring the brand.

When brands embrace cultural relevance and emotional connection, it can come with complexity and unpredictability, but can also lead to new ways for consumers to engage with the brand in powerful ways.

READ: 4 Key Trends That Define How Millennials Interact with Brands 

Based on these powerful approaches to creating brand engagement, brands must adhere to an insight-driven strategic platform, make their customers feel like the heroes of the story, and advocate for the value of building long-term engagement.

Does your brand possess a customer-first attitude?

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Personalisation vs. Customisation: Staying Ahead of the Curve in Asia

Posted By: SGK November 22, 2017

This blog post has been contributed by Kathryn Sloane, director of growth, Asia-Pacific, SGK.

What is Coca-Cola’s ‘biggest ever’ campaign? Was it when they re-created the image of Santa? Was it the introduction of Diet Coke? Or the infamous polar bears?

Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke campaign is heralded as Coke’s most effective campaign to date, by marketers and financial analysts alike. This campaign experienced an increased share of category by 4 percent, increased consumption by 7 percent, increased Facebook community by 7 percent, and most impressively, was launched in more than 80 countries.

We see many global brands who have jumped on this bandwagon and launched campaigns with mixed results within Asia. Every single day marketers apply personalised messages to shoppers, based on data from digital activity such as smartphones. From brand campaigns to store-specific promotional offers or even app-guided shopping lists, this marks a step-change in the role of point of sale.

With APAC accounting for 70 percent of total growth in global Internet users in 2016, we know that the region houses the world’s biggest eCommerce market and the world’s fastest growing markets. It is fast becoming the center of digital innovation for the world, with Fortune 500 brands such as Unilever and Ferrero setting up innovation hubs in the region.

APAC’s tech-savvy, always-on consumers require marketers to keep up with their soaring expectations. Over 80 percent expect a response within 24 hours, while 1 in 2 expect a response within 3 hours.

In the age of the selfie, when the world is pointed towards us, what drives impact? Messaging must now value add to the everyday consumer, while consumer data is treated as a precious commodity to the retailer.

Let’s begin with the difference between customisation and personalisation.

Marketers now need to be smarter in inherently anticipating consumers’ needs. Whilst personalisation is still widely perceived as a digital area, it ultimately comes back to the fundamentals of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs where humans need to be recognised and valued. Consider the following examples:

Etude House, a cosmetics powerhouse headquartered in Korea is offering a selection of 20 lipstick colors and 20 different cases, where each shopper can mix and match the two parts of each to create something truly “unique” or personalised.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Heinz ‘Get Well Soup’ campaign allows consumers to customise a can of soup for someone who’s feeling a bit under the weather. Consumers were willing to pay 2-3 pounds for a can that would cost 50p in the store. They were also willing to wait 3-5 days to receive it!

Similarly, with Ferrero’s 1.7 billion Sterling campaign for Nutella, consumers could customise their own hazelnut spread jar using their own self-expression. Nutella’s most recent campaign allows the consumer to make a choice and select a unique design based on their personalised wants and needs.

Interestingly in the Asia context, personalisation is very much rooted in traditional trade. A consumer can wander into their local grocery store and the shopkeeper will instantaneously remember his/her name, family, preferences and favourite brands. While this model still very much exist in developing countries like Indonesia, Cambodia and Thailand, what does the future look like?

The holy grail is both: “Products customised for me” (the “what”), and “Brands speaking directly to me” (the “how”). Achieving the “how” is much more challenging. 

Consumers are multi-faceted in the way they buy and the relationships they want, and brands must recognise how to tackle each individual. In order to do so, we’ve found the biggest challenges facing brand owners today: budget constraints, retailer pressures, organisational alignment, and driving profitability while remaining creative and innovative.

We are competing in the playing field with world-class brands and hungry, agile emerging multinationals. Bridging these tensions present the opportunity for deeper relationships, greater intimacy, and advantage. Moving forward, personalisation and customisation will be the norm.

If we look back to 2010 when the Share a Coke campaign was launched, the Internet of Things didn’t yet exist and brands weren’t yet using augmented or virtual reality or artificial intelligence. Smartphones started outselling personal computers and the launch of the first iPad contributed to the rise of eCommerce. To put things in deeper perspective - $100 of bitcoin in 2010 is worth $75 million today!

Can we really still say someone’s likelihood to buy is based on his or her income anymore?

Marketers cannot continue to deliver campaigns and strategies around cookie-cutter consumer segments. However, change is constant and often confusing. Media owners and ‘above the liners’ are climbing on to it because they might not recognise what to replace it with. Segmentation is now a dated concept because everyone falls into a different category depending on who they choose to be on that day of the week.

Our approach to retail models, logistics, distributions, pricing, promotion and the relationship between people and brands will have to make a quantum leap. The brands that evolve will survive, rise and thrive.

We know that the ability to instantly produce personalised products, to tastes and specifications, instantly at work and on-the-go will revolutionise the way we shop, eat, drink and ultimately live.

Asia is running ahead of the pack. Brand owners are utilising personalisation to better profile consumers, and design experiences accordingly to support marketing efforts. Think different formats, signature tastes, aromas, sounds, visual and tactile experiences.

Personalisation can then represent sustainability – as a brand for life from cradle to grave, when dialogue becomes life-long. Personalisation can also be distinctive as an attitude; so customised it’s bespoke, and such a curated experience it’s our generation’s new media.

About Kathryn Sloane: Sloane has more than 20 years of experience in brand strategy, design strategy, workflow analysis and change management. Prior to joining SGK, Sloane worked with Design Bridge, Pearlfisher and Blue Marlin Brand Design.

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Patterns Issue 1 2017 - From Timeless to Trailblazing: 6 Marketing Strategies

Sometimes you win by perfecting a marketing practice that has stood the test of time. Sometimes you win by blazing a new path. Proven strategies and innovative ideas meet in this issue of Patterns, with articles that include:

  • Beyond Best Practices: How to Win in a Dynamic Market
  • 5 Insights Into Multiculturalism and Talent Management
  • Retail Is the Ultimate Social Platform
  • The Future Belongs to Millennials: How Well Do You Know Them? 4 Key Trends That Define How Millennials Interact With Brands
  • 4 Insights You Can Unlock by Mapping the Customer Journey
  • 4 Approaches to Creative Leadership in CPG Companies

Know where you are. Know where you’re going. Here’s your GPS.

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The FDA Nutrition Label Update is Your Opportunity to Gain a Competitive Brand Advantage

For more than two decades, the FDA Nutrition Label has been an icon of informed choice for shoppers. Now, the label has been updated to reflect the latest nutrition science and more realistic serving sizes.

CPG brands must comply with the new requirements by July 26, 2018. Are you ready? Even more important, do you regard the label update as a burden or an opportunity?

Get the latest issue of Patterns and get seven tips for streamlining compliance while also claiming a competitive brand advantage on the shelf. For this and six more articles from SGK’s global marketing experts, read Strategies for Growth: Making Change Work to Your Brand’s Advantage. Download the full Patterns report now.

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Patterns Issue 2 2016 - Strategies for Growth: Making Change Work to Your Brand's Advantage

Iconic brands seem timeless and immutable. But in reality, change is constant, and brands need to continuously adapt. This issue of Patterns offers seven perspectives on constructive change, including:

  • Ask Yourself If It’s Right for You: Empowering Health and Wellness Consumers
  • Projecting the Future of Retail: A New Way to Engage Consumers in the Aisle
  • RGB Printing Brings Spectacular Visual Possibilities to Packaging
  • Latin America Is Ripe for Smart, Integrated Digital Marketing
  • The FDA Nutrition Label Update Is Your Opportunity to Gain a Competitive Brand Advantage
  • Building Graphics Workflows Across Emerging Markets
  • Chief Growth Officer: The SGK Perspective on a Critical Development

Embrace change. That’s where you’ll discover opportunity.

Download the new Patterns report now.

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Men's Beauty Goes Big in Asia

What do men see when they look in the mirror? Think of your brand as that mirror. It can reflect basic hygiene and grooming to meet social norms, or it can reveal expressive possibilities for a highly personal style.

Asian markets lead the world in embracing men’s beauty. And while most Western men aren’t quite ready for foundation and lipstick, they’re increasingly looking to flaunt their own individuality.

In our new issue of Patterns, we hold a mirror up to the East and visualize new opportunities for helping every man look his best. Going big with men’s beauty could be the future of your brand.

For this and four more articles from SGK’s global marketing experts, read Making Connections: Brand Insights from Around the World. Download the new Patterns report now.

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The New Luxury Codes: Four Ways Venerable Brands are Reinventing their Allure

Luxury brands have the “luxury” of repeating time-tested messages of quality and opulence for buyers who already respect their cachet – right?

Wrong. Today’s most successful luxury brands aren’t just selling beautiful objects. They’re immersing shoppers in acclaimed stories and unexpected experiences. Revealing the inspiration and methods behind their fine craftsmanship. Speaking up for principled values.

In our latest Patterns report, we offer several examples of these new luxury codes. You’ll find ideas to inspire any brand – from haute couture to fast fashion. For this and four more articles from SGK’s global marketing experts, read Making Connections: Brand Insights from Around the World. Download the new Patterns report now.

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Brand Love: Creating Millennial Brand Engagement

Posted By: SGK January 11, 2016

Most brand owners realize the incredible purchasing power of the Millennial generation.  But developing a successful brand strategy that reaches this demographic can be tricky: affluent, non-homogenous, and always connected to peer networks via technology, they don’t necessarily respond to traditional forms of brand marketing.  In his BrandSquare Live Session, Creating Millennial Brand Engagement, Jeff Fromm, president of FutureCast, provides some insights into how brand owners can successfully engage the largest and most influential generation of consumers ever.

According to Jeff, the key to engaging Millennials is by creating “brand love.”  The abundant choices available to consumers means that brands must prevent boredom and create love to build consumer loyalty.  To create this brand love amongst Millennials requires uniqueness, purpose, meaning, and innovation. And achieving these qualities requires a deep understanding of what he refers to as the Millennial Mindset.

The Millennial Mindset is more than just a demographic; successful brands need to understand the keys to engaging this generation in a meaningful way in order to increase brand love.  The mindset can be broken into five key understandings:

1.    Purpose: Driven by meaning and idealism, tapping into a key pain point or ideal helps create purpose for your brand.
2.    Experience: Millennials are willing to pay a premium to collect meaningful and remarkable experiences that are connected to the sharing and co-creation they seek.
3.    Discovery: Millennials seek to embrace a new consumer journey.
4.    Community: Millennials seek participation and community both in the physical and digital worlds. 
5.    Innovation:  Millennials expect innovation in all products and seek usefulness for their daily lives. 

To embrace the qualities of this mindset, brands need to live up to certain brand truths that speak to the values and desires of Millennials.   Brands that stand for more than just the bottom line, making the brand behavior part of its positioning, will speak to Millennials’ desire for purpose.  And instead of brands embracing storytelling, they should embrace “storyliving” as proof that their behavior matches the values and idealism of the Millennial Mindset.  Storyliving also helps to collect the experiential currency that feeds Millennials’ desire for experience and discovery.  Finally, since the path to purchase is no longer linear but more circular, brands must achieve a frictionless journey that seamlessly integrates the physical and digital worlds, thereby building a broader, more diverse community.

For more insights on how your brand can engage Millennials effectively, be sure to watch Jeff Fromm’s BrandSquare recording on Youtube, Creating Millennial Brand Engagement.

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Using Venn Diagrams To Drive Brand Innovation

Posted By: SGK December 18, 2015

Back in grade school, we all learned about Venn diagrams. Those intersecting circles visually demonstrate which portions of multiple sets are shared and which are not. “I never quite knew when in my future life I would find them useful, if at all, but [many, many] years later I think I’ve finally got it: Venn diagrams are incredibly helpful tools for brand marketers to create and evaluate truly meaningful innovation that drives market performance,” says Bruce Levinson, VP of Client Engagement at SGK. “Or at least, that’s one way to use them.”

By innovation, Levinson refers chiefly to new products or services aimed at growing a brand.  Marketers know that for new products to succeed they must satisfy a consumer need, ideally an unmet and important consumer need. In reality, innovation must also achieve numerous other hurdles like internal financial targets, external retailer requirements and various social, environmental and regulatory constraints. Plus, critically, it must be a coherent fit with the brand positioning.

Typically the innovation funnel is filled with more concepts than a company has capacity to launch, so filters are applied (and testing done) to winnow down the field. Venn diagrams can be applied here. A company may also be looking to create new product concepts and Venn diagrams work just as well in doing that. 

Here is how it works: create a circle for each of the key drivers of your category, making sure to consider not just brand and consumer drivers, but also retail and corporate realities. Now partially overlap the various circles looking for synergies in the common areas: do your concepts satisfy multiple drivers? The strongest ideas typically do.

Let’s illustrate with some category examples: concentrated household cleaners deliver the consumer benefit of convenience, plus the joint financial and environmental benefits of smaller packaging and a more efficient retail shelf. That’s a ton of overlapping category drivers – lots of shared space in our Venn diagram. Greek yogurt is another good example, delivering on the protein craze, snacking culture, taste and a revenue trade-up opportunity for both brand and retailer.

The Venn diagram shown here demonstrates how a dairy company might evaluate an investment in Greek yogurt. You’ll see the three key drivers selected are: high protein; snacking; and financial attractiveness. Greek yogurt is the one product they make that satisfies all three drivers: Kids yogurt delivers on Snacking and Financial Attractiveness, but not High Protein; String Cheese satisfies Snacking and High Protein, but not Financial Attractiveness and so on.

Your own approach may be much more involved, with more drivers and more diagrams. The trick is to specifically identify the most meaningful drivers as they emerge (e.g., the protein craze) rather than something as broad as “healthy eating.”  Doing this pre-work well takes time to uncover the most promising insights. But a keen understanding of your brand, category, competitive and retail environments – plus a throwback to grade school math – can go a long way to driving your brand performance.

About Bruce Levinson
Bruce Levinson is Vice President, Client Engagement at SGK, a leading global brand development, activation and deployment provider that drives brand performance. Bruce is a passionate architect of brand strategy and is highly experienced in translating consumer insights and client needs. His experience helps clients meet market and regulatory demands while driving brand initiatives domestically and internationally. His previous positions include director-level marketing roles at Unilever in the US and UK, and as an advertising account executive.