Friday, June 29, 2007

How Will They Answer the "Ultimate Question"

An intriguing opportunity for communities is presented by management consultant Fred Reichheld in his book The Ultimate Question.

Reichheld and his colleagues retained a research firm, which went to thousands of customers in six industries (financial services, cable and telecommunications, personal computers, e-commerce, auto insurance and Internet services). It asked questions about satisfaction and then it tracked the purchase behavior of those customers.

They discovered the one question a company can ask its customers that links so closely to their behaviors that it provides a practical surrogate for behavior. The question is one that has been used in customer satisfaction surveys for decades: would you recommend this company (or product, or service) to a friend of colleague? By subtracting the number of detractors (those who give a company 6 out of 10 or less) from the number of promoters (those who give the company a 9 or a 10), a company can arrive at what Reichheld calls its Net Promoter Score, a measure of how well it is generating loyalty.

Communities should be asking this question of their existing businesses to determine overall levels of satisfaction. The community Net Promoter Scores should be monitored constantly and used for comparative purposes. For instance, benchmarking your community’s Net Promoter Score against another’s is easily accomplished and can lead to new insights about your own. Segmentation between different industry types is possible. More importantly, it can be used as a measure of the impact of various retention strategies, community initiatives or public policy changes.

The Net Promoter Score is a measure that fits the changing dynamics of economic development marketing and a new emphasis on non-traditional media and word-of-mouth. It also works to the benefit of an approach increasingly being used by communities that focuses more on building relationships with existing businesses and entrepreneurs and less on mass marketing appeals.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Over 50% of B2B Marketing Leaders Now Use Social Media

"Many opportunities exist in the 2.0 world to apply classic communication principles to hot new technologies," said Ken Jones, Executive VP of the B2B branding unit at Godfrey, commenting on a recent survey of B2B marketing leaders conducted by Godfrey, a business-to-business branding and communications agency.

"You need to reach your customers and prospects in ways they want to be reached, and then deliver messages that build your brand and encourage a dialog between marketer and audience. It's marketing in the truest sense of the discipline," he added, “and Godfrey's methodology reflects the practical approach of B2B marketers”.

In a business-to-business marketing environment awash in hot new technologies - RSS, blogs, podcasts and social media - one might think that branding is declining in significance. In fact, it's just the opposite, say branding companies and marketers alike. 78% of respondents, said Jones, in the survey considered branding "very important" or "critical to success." Respondents also indicated an increasing interest in new media for marketing communications. More than 50% of respondents consider or are currently using, blogs and social media as an important part of their programs. More here.

City gathers input on its branding efforts

The city of Dayton's marketing team is gathering public input on the city's branding effort it announced early this year.

Tom Biedenharn, spokesman for the city of Dayton, updated a group of about 25 downtown professionals on the marketing project at the Downtown Promotions Network meeting Tuesday morning at Mr. Hyman's Fine Dining.

Biedenharn told the group that the city is gathering opinions from across the city, and he also sought thoughts on the project from those gathered this morning.

The city is looking to brand itself and better market itself to the region. It has hired two marketing groups -- Nashville, Tenn.-based North Star Destination Strategies and Dayton-based Penny/Ohlmann/Neiman -- to work on the project.

North Star specializes in branding and marketing cities and communities. Once it completes its research, they will pass off the information to Penny/Ohlmann/Neiman for the implementation of the brand through marketing materials, Biedenharn said.

In this effort, the city is cooperating with the Dayton Development Coalition, which is working on a regional branding effort that it will market to the country and to the world. The local economic development group's results also are to be announced this fall.

The Branding of Nations

Companies, products, universities, museums, municipalities and individuals brand themselves. Why not nations? After all, they have more at stake then almost any other entity – tourism, exports, foreign direct investment, industry formation/focus, immigration, satisfied citizenry, national heritage and support of domestic and foreign policy, to name a few.

Some countries or regions that have attempted to brand themselves include the UK, USA, Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Ireland, Scotland, Singapore, Portugal, Spain, Thailand and Dubai.

Branding nations is an extraordinarily complex task. The stakeholders are legion (politicians, businesses, industries, citizens, etc.) as are the potential target audiences (tourists, immigrants, business and political leaders, etc.). It is extremely difficult to control a nation’s image because of all of factors that can influence that image. Because so many factors contribute to that image and because brand building is such a long term process, it is also very difficult to measure the effectiveness of even a very well funded re-branding campaign. Read more here.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Future is Online: Only 39% Read Papers

Less than 4 of 10 adults - 39 percent - in the US regularly read daily newspapers, according to a recent Harris Poll.

In Europe the numbers are even lower - 6 percent of adults in Great Britain and Italy to a high of 13 percent in Spain and Germany. Te study polled adults in five European countries, Australia and the United States.

Where is this headed? Respondents said that within five years online news and information sites would become the number-one source of news and information in the US, France, Italy, and Spain (and tied for first in Australia), with TV network news remaining the top source only in Great Britain and Germany.

Half or more of Italian, U.S., French and Australian adults say it is easier to get their news online.

The takeaway? ED practitioners need to include online news in marketing strategies.

A Contrarion View of Branding

This from Russell Davies of the Open Intelligence Agency:

“There was a point in the 80's when branding was the future of business. Businesses realised you could stick brand value on their balance sheets, so they did. Consultants realised they could charge a lot of money for advice about brands so they did. And the money people looked to the branding people (often conflated with the marketing people) for all the money making ideas. So you got line extensions, big ads, expensive logos, brand onions. You got branding. And most of it was as intellectually rigorous as phrenology. Actually it was probably more like Scientology; it was somewhere between a fake religion and a false science.”

"The dismal nature of the branding science has started to become clear to business recently and they’re starting to vote with their investments and appointments. They’re turning from the people who create perceptions of value to the people who create actual value - the designers, technologists, innovators. Hence the rise of communications businesses that can actually make stuff rather than just think of stuff.”

“I think it’s the hubris we have to get rid of. Launching logos is not the way forward. A logo should be repository of meaning, not a substitute for it. And you have to build that meaning, not borrow it. We should be announcing smart and interesting things and then saying; by the way, this is the logo for it.”

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Marathon latest Surf City branding

The City Council on Monday night will consider whether to extend the county's largest and longest-running marathon through 2010 -- just weeks after officials changed the name.

The renaming of the Pacific Shoreline Marathon to the Surf City USA Marathon is the latest effort in branding the city to lure more tourists.

"After more than a decade in our community, we're thrilled that the marathon has incorporated the Surf City USA brand name into its title,'' said Doug Traub, president of the Huntington Beach Conference and Visitors Bureau.

Though the name has changed, the marathon will remain the same, starting on Pacific Coast Highway and runnning past the pier. It's on Super Bowl Sunday every year.

The bureau is in the midst of a campaign to make Huntington Beach a world-wide destination by obtaining trademarks to brand the community Surf City USA . So far, it has secured licensing deals and trademarks for exclusive use of the slogan on everything from bicycles to special events -- and now a marathon.

The campaign reignited a fight with Santa Cruz over who really is Surf City USA. In 2004 the bureau announced it had applied to register four trademarks to use the Surf City USA slogan for economic development, apparel, beach bags and printed materials.

In September, owners of two Santa Cruz shops received a letter from Huntington Beach demanding they stop selling T-shirts emblazoned with Surf City USA and Santa Cruz. Store owners sued the bureau, arguing that Huntington Beach's trademark does not apply. The parties are scheduled for mediation on July 12. Read more here.