Millward Brown Perspectives Vol. 6


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Millward Brown has just published Perspectives, an annual compendium of our perspective on issues weighing on the minds of marketers around the world. This issue features thinking on the fast growing BRIC markets, neuroscience, and the art and science of brand building — from the importance of brand ideals to our newly launched "Meaningfully Different" framework — and how both create financial value for brand owners.

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Millward Brown Perspectives Vol. 6

  1. 1. PerspectivesVolume 6
  2. 2. Dear Friends of Millward Brown,In today’s fast-moving digital world Millward Brown continually leverages newtechnologies.  For the past five years, we’ve published Perspectives, an annualcompendium of our perspective on issues weighing on the minds of marketersaround the world.  In our latest issue, we’ve gone mobile with the release ofour iPad magazine app, which we plan to update quarterly.  If you’re readingthis letter, you have already downloaded the app or the PDF from our website,and you now have the latest Millward Brown thinking at your fingertips.When I say we leverage new technologies, I mean that on so many more frontsthan just the mobile format we’re using to deliver thought leadership!  You’llsee that nearly half of the articles in this edition of Perspectives touch on therole of digital and mobile channels in brand building. We hope you’ll follow usclosely over the next year as we make a number of important announcementsabout our enhanced digital capabilities. We see 2013 as a particularly excitingyear on this front.This issue also features thinking on the fast growing BRIC markets,neuroscience, and the art and science of brand building – from the importanceof brand ideals to our newly launched “Meaningfully Different” framework –and how both create financial value for brand owners.As always, we’d love to hear from you regarding the pressing issues on yourmind.  Our goal is to use the collective learning and amazing talent of ourteams, and our vast data assets to help you answer the big marketing questionsof the day.  Please do reach out to me or to any member of our extended team– Millward Brown, Dynamic Logic, Firefly Millward Brown, and MaPS – withsuggestions on how we can best serve your evolving needs.With warmest regards,Eileen Campbell, Global Chief Executive Officer, Millward BrownEileen.Campbell@millwardbrown.comWelcometoPerspectives
  3. 3. ContentsVolume 6PointofViewPUBLISHEDARTICLESKNOWLEDGEPOINTSChangingChannelswithConfidenceCreativeStorytelling:ForSponsors,anOlympicSportIntegratedPlanning:StandingOutintheCloudWhatWeCanLearnFromIconicBrandsSocialMedia:FansandFollowersAreanEnds,NotaMeansWhyBrandPersonalityMattersChina’sTop50:MuchProgressButMoretoDoNotJustDifferentButMeaningfullyDifferentTheOverlookedPowerofMediaIdeals:TheNewEngineofBusinessGrowthMobile:AnEffective-YetUnloved-MarketingMediumEmergingLuxuryStrategiesEconomicGrowthDrivesBrandAwarenessTheRisingMiddleClassLargeandOpenMarketOpportunitiesBuzzMeansMoneyBrandPersonalityWhyOptimizationisPartDataandPartInstinctOnlineBuildsBrands,IfYouKnowHowChina’sBrandChallengeGlocalEvaluation:MeasuringEffectivenessTurningBigDataintoBrandDataTheFutureofSocialForBrandsTurnOn,TuneIn,WatchOutSocialMediaBestPracticesCreativeEffectivenessIsYourBrand’sMarketingStrategy2042-Compliant?ValueDriversModel:HowBrandsDriveValueGrowthDoesYourBrandNeedSocialMediaandBrandFans?EthnicTargetedMarketing:DoWeReallyNeedIt?IncreasingOurBrainpowerDoTVAds“WearOut”MarketinginUncertainTimesHowShouldVoiceoversBeUsedInAds?Aknowledgements
  4. 4. Point of View
  5. 5. While they are accustomed to changing thecreative content of their campaigns on a regularbasis, there is no automatic driver that encouragesthe adoption of new media channels, andmarketers themselves may be disinclined to makechanges. Changing established media allocationsis risky; weighing the options requires time andeffort. The fear of making the wrong decision canmake exploration seem daunting.But avoiding innovation carries its own risk.The world moves forward, and those who don’tadvance with it will be left behind. Marketersneed a way to embrace change without beingswallowed up by it. How can they manage thatprocess?In 2011, Jonathan Mildenhall, vice president of global advertising strategyand content excellence at the Coca-Cola Company, introduced his company’snew approach to investing in creative content. Coke is implementing amodel they call the “70|20|10 investment principle,” an adaptation of theestablished 70|20|10 protocol for apportioning resources or investment.iMildenhall explained that in its quest to double the size of its business by2020, Coca-Cola would apportion its communications spend as follows:• 70% would support low-risk, “bread-and-butter” content.• 20% would be used to innovate based on what has worked in the past.• 10% would fund high-risk content involving brand-new ideas.We think this approach makes a lot of sense. It has worked for Google, wherethe company implemented it as a way to manage innovation, applying 70%of its workforce effort to core businesses, 20% to adjacent products, and10% to highly experimental innovation for the long term.We expect it will also work for Coke as they innovate in developing theircreative content. Furthermore, we think that the application of 70|20|10 cango beyond creative content to media planning, specifically in terms of theallocation of resources to new channels such as mobile and social media. Infact, we believe so strongly in this approach that we are proposing it to ourclients as the framework they can use to“change channels with confidence.”DUNCAN SOUTHGATEGlobal Brand Director, DigitalJOHN SVENDSENGlobal Brand Director, MediaPoint of ViewNew media channels are emerging all the time, andmarketers are often unclear how to choose among themChangingChannelswithConfidence:AStructureforInnovation
  6. 6. A Structured Approach to InnovationAmara’s Law ii states that“we tend to overestimate the effect of a technologyin the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.”The adoptionof a 70|20|10 approach is a way of counteracting both of these tendencies.However, the 70|20|10 model should not be considered a strict formula.The precise allocations are not important; what is essential is that somefixed proportion of spend is regularly devoted to innovation. This practicewill encourage forward thinking and experimentation in a disciplined andstructured way. By using such a framework, brands can steer a safe andprosperous middle path while evolving both their media and their researchbudgets.While 70|20|10 is new as a formal framework for media planning, somebrands have already experienced great success in applying its principles.One example is Sheilas’Wheels, a UK insurance brand targeted at women.When their first offering, car insurance, was launched in October 2005,the brand invested 30% of its TV budget into sponsoring drama. This wasconsidered innovative at a time when most insurance brands focused almostexclusively on TV spot advertising. This venture helped Sheilas’ Wheelsreach an awareness level of 75% just three months after launch, and tosurpass its internal sales targets by 65% during the first year. Sheilas’Wheelssubsequently expanded its sponsorship allocation, and in 2008, when thecompany launched its home insurance product, it made sponsorship itslargest platform by investing £10 million (equivalent to US$20 million) in oneof British television’s biggest sponsorships slots: the ITV National Weatherbroadcast. Thus in a short time, sponsorship became an important. 70%activity for the brand.The 70|20|10 Allocation70% – The Comfort ZoneFor most brands, the 70% zone of low-risk, bread-and-butter marketing islikely to involve established channels such as TV, print, outdoor, and radio.But this will vary across categories and countries. A strong FMCG/CPG brandin the United States might use TV, outdoor, online display, and online video.A brand in a considered purchase category in Germany might use print,sports sponsorship, online search, and online display. A new service brandin Japan might use TV, event sponsorship, mobile display, and QR codes. Forsome brands, the 70% could also include word-of-mouth marketing.But to say that 70% of the budget should fund communications in channelsthat are considered to be safe, familiar, and effective is not to say that 70%of a media budget should remain static from year to year. Based on ongoinglearning and evolving brand objectives, channel composition within the70% could vary significantly over time and from campaign to campaign.20% – Innovating Around What WorksInnovating around media approaches that are known to be effective couldinclude a broad range of options. It could mean taking a small risk, suchas increasing your spend on a channel that seemed to work well in your10% last year. It could mean spending behind a channel where you don’thave concrete research evidence of a return on investment. Or it could meantaking a risk in an established channel that is familiar to you, perhaps bysponsoring a sporting event for the first time when you have previouslybeen known for associations with music festivals.For many brands across a range of categories, social media currently fallsinto the 20% category. Brands have some practical experience and stronglybelieve in the exciting new ways social media allows them to interact withtheir consumers. But they still have questions about the return on theirinvestment, and they are still learning how to create and deliver campaignsthat are truly social by design.10% – Into the UnknownThe 10% zone is the place where genuine experimentation takes placewith new and emerging channels. But this risk-taking should be in line withbrand and campaign objectives; iPhone apps and Pinterest pages are rightfor some brands, but not all.For many brands, mobile currently falls into the 10% category. The mobilemarketing landscape continues to evolve as ownership of smartphones andtablets grows rapidly around the world, and questions abound about thebest ways to take advantage of these new opportunities.CokeUKisreportedtohavea“mobilefirst”mentalityintheirplanningprocess.Starting with the 10% not only ensures that 10% innovation happens; italso ensures that these projects are given due consideration and a chanceto play an integral role in the overall campaign, rather than being seen asafterthoughts.Point of ViewChangingChannelswithConfidence:AStructureforInnovation
  7. 7. The 70|20|10 AND RESEARCH BUDGETSResearch and measurement are key drivers of innovation, so the 70|20|10principleshouldbeappliedtotheresearchbudgetaswell.Table1summarizesthe goals and outcomes for both the media and research choices withineach of the three types of activity. However, as we stated at the outset, thecritical element of the 70|20|10 approach is the commitment to consistentlyallocate resources to new channels, even if the proportions are not exactly70|20|10. For research expenses, the proportions could vary widely, and theymight not be the same as the proportions used for media. For measurementof the 10% and the 20%, you may end up“overinvesting”if research needs tobe created specifically to measure the return from a new channel. To reallyunderstand how a new channel works, it may be necessary to spend as muchon research as on the media itself.However, we are not suggesting that researchers can afford to take theireyes off the 70%.Even when the media used are known to be effective, learning from researchmay call for incremental adjustments that will have significant effects. Andthere are very compelling arguments for investing in research that can helpto optimize the mix across channels.70|20|10 in PracticeWhen assessing how your current media budget stacks up against 70|20|10,it is important to consider all the costs involved in a particular channel.Projects in the 10% zone are likely to be relatively resource intensive evenif media costs are low. Therefore, to ensure that the 70|20|10 approach isapplied comprehensively and fairly across the full spectrum of paid, owned,and earned media channels, brands need to weigh all the costs associatedwith each channel, including not only hard media outlays but also the costof support, production, and organizational expenses.In large companies, experimentation may be spread across brand portfoliosor markets. One sub-brand may attempt an augmented reality campaignwhile another builds a mobile app. Pooling learning in this way improves thebreadth of experimentation possible and helps speed progress in identifyingthe channels most likely to move from the 10% to the 20% in future years.Research budgets will likewise go further if partners can be recruited.Media agencies, media owners, and research agencies all have an interest inunderstanding how new channels work and might be eager to participatein joint projects.ConclusionMarketersconsiderchanneloptimizationeverytimetheyplannewcampaigns.Some are actively involved in changing their channel mix, while others leavethese recommendations to their media agencies. Marketers that adopt a70|20|10 approach will know that new channels will be given a chance toshine and that their media plans will evolve through a systematic process.By overlaying a comparable approach to research planning, companies canensure that they extract maximum learning from this process. Marketingand insight-generation skills will evolve in parallel, and the ultimate resultwill be a meaningful difference in brand success.Point of ViewTABLE 170│20│10 for Media and ResearchComfort Zone(70)Innovate onWhat Works (20)The Unknown(10)GoalsReach targetwith intendedmessages.Extend bothreach andstrategy.See if it works!OutcomesCampaigndelivers asexpected againstplan.A familiarstrategy isextended, withsome ROI,some pleasantsurprises.Practical learningand ideas forthe future, withan occasionalrunawaysuccess.GoalsEvaluatecommunication/effectiveness ofmedia mix.Identify mediaimpact.Assess channelpotential/gainideas.Type ofResearchMainlyestablishedtechniques.Mix of newerand establishedtechniques.Brand-newapproaches,trial and error.OutcomesIncrementaloptimizationgains make alarge absolutedifference.Optimize/extenduse of channel.Winners andlosers identified(failure ofcampaign issuccessfullearning).ResearchMediaChangingChannelswithConfidence:AStructureforInnovation
  8. 8. Point of View
  9. 9. Beyondthetwoweekspackedwithexcitementandgood feelings, the 2012 London Summer Olympicsis set to leave its own lasting legacy for Britain andthe world.The Power of StoriesThe greatest legacy of the London Games, and of allOlympic Games, is in their stories. The stories thatunfold during the Olympics turn into legends thatstay with us and inspire future generations. Storiesmake us care. A powerful story can make us careabout a sport we’ve never watched, a person we’venever met, or a country we’ve never visited or evenlocated on a map.Among the stories we witnessed this past summer: American swimmer MichaelPhelps becoming the most decorated Olympian ever; South African swimmerChad le Clos—who was 12 years old when he was inspired by Michael Phelps in2004—beating Phelps in the 100-meter butterfly; Jamaican sprinter Usain Boltwinning gold in both the 100 and 200 meters (and leading the Jamaican sweepin that event); and South African “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius competing inboth the Olympics and the Paralympics. These athletes join icons such as trackand field star Carl Lewis, a gold medalist in four separate Olympics, and gymnastNadia Comaneci, still held up as an exemplar of perfection after scoring perfect10s in 1976.Marketers understand the power of stories. That’s why brands work so hardto bring out their own stories on the world stage, from Coca-Cola celebrating125 years of sharing happiness to Omega opening a museum dedicated to thehistory of its watch brand. Brands are more than products we buy. Brands areideas we buy into. Stories, more than any other marketing component, facilitatethat process of“buying in.”The Challenge of Olympic SponsorshipThe power to enrich brand equity by the values, stories, and associationslinked with the Olympic Games has brands forking out hundreds of millionsfor the privilege of being called Olympic sponsors. But successfully activatingan Olympic sponsorship presents a unique set of challenges. First, there is thechallenge of being heard among so many sponsors vying for attention at thesame time. Then there is the issue of relevance. How does a brand contributeto the Olympic ideal of “faster, higher, stronger”? How can sponsors prove thattheir brands are relevant to the Games?In their article “Building Brand Image Through Event Sponsorship: The Role ofImageTransfer,”published in theWinter 1999 issue of the Journal of Advertising,KevinGwinnerandJohnEatonrefertotwokindsofrelevanceforeventsponsors:function-based similarity, where the sponsor’s product is actually used in theevent, and image-based similarity, where the sponsor’s image is convergentwith that of the event.It is very easy for a sports brand to scorehighly on functional relevance. If weconsider the 2012 Olympic sponsors,Adidas was the only brand with a veryobvious and direct link to sports.As the Official Sportswear Partner ofLondon 2012, Adidas led the way atthe Olympic Games by outfitting more than 80,000 “Games Makers” (Olympicvolunteers) and supplying kit for 3,000 athletes. The brand’s “Take the Stage”campaign was very convincing, and Adidas was fortunate in being able tosponsor some highly successful Olympians, including gold medalists JessicaEnnis (heptathlon) and Bradley Wiggins (cycling). No wonder Adidas saw thehighest brand impact among the sponsors on many counts, including short-term sales pickup. Research by Nielsen found that Adidas was regarded asthe most inspirational and most empowering brand among all the sponsors,and social media research from Sociability identified Adidas as the brand thatcreated the most positive buzz during the Games.For brands that don’t have an obvious functional connection to the Olympics,it’s harder to justify the appropriateness of a sponsorship. This is where the trueart of marketing and creativity kicks in, especially in the form of storytelling. Bytellinggreatconvincingstorieswell,brandscancreateveryvisibleandsuccessfulsponsorship programs.This past summer, the various sponsors told their different stories in differentways, and some fared better than others. Here is my take on the results of theSponsorship Storytelling event:The bronze medal goes to:BMW, the Official Automotive Partner forthe London GamesThe story of BMW’s Olympic sponsorship is in the mileage it got out of productplacement opportunities. One achievement was the showcasing of 4,000 carsdressed in Olympic livery as“best in class”in terms of fuel economy. Even moreimpressive was putting BMW-owned MINIs in view of close to one billion peoplearound the world during the Opening Ceremony. But the real coup was theemployment of a fleet of radio-controlled miniature MINIs used at the track andfield events. In a stadium that was brand-and advertising-free, as many as 80,000spectators (not to mention the television audience) could see the adorable mini-MINIs retrieving javelins, discuses, hammers, and shots, saving time and effortand drawing smiles all around. On the back of this entertaining MINI-spectacle,BMW rapidly climbed the table published by CityAM, jumping from fifth to thirdplace by the end of the first week of the Games.Brands are ideas we buyinto. Stories, more thanany other marketingcomponent, facilitate theprocess of“buying in”Point of ViewAnastasiaKourovskaiaVice President, MillwardBrown OptimorEvery two years, the world stops to watch the greatest showon earth: the Olympic Games.The appeal of the Olympics isuniversal; its impact, tremendous, and the London 2012Summer Olympic Games were no exception.CreativeStorytelling:ForSponsors,anOlympicSport
  10. 10. The silver medal goes to:BT, the Official CommunicationsServices Partner for the London Games.The story of BT’s successful sponsorship has its roots in the company’s early andunwavering enthusiasm for London’s bid for the Olympic Games. BT not onlyprovided IT and technical expertise during the bid process, but also worked ina variety of ways to generate support for the bid among an ambivalent public.Then, after being announced as the OfficialTelecommunications Partner of theGames in 2008, they embraced the sponsorship opportunity, continuing tobeat the drum for the Olympics and Paralympics. Using minimal advertising,they based their strategy on Olympic-themed activities, among them thesponsorship of the National Portrait Gallery’s “Road to 2012” exhibition aswell as the sponsorship of a competition for would-be torchbearers. Theyconsistently celebrated milestones to the Games; the celebration of“1,000 daysto go” featured spectacular fireworks from the top of the BT Tower that werebroadcast around the world.It looks like BT’s strategy of focusing on activation and taking the Games to thepeople paid off, as on a modest budget BT generated over £60 million in media-equivalent coverage and engaged with tens of thousands of consumers.And the gold medal goes to:Worldwide Olympic Partner Procter & Gamblefor their outstanding multilevel campaignP&G took on a multilevel challenge with their sponsorship: to link both thecorporate name and a number of individual brands to the Games. And theymet the challenge with a brilliant and multifaceted campaign that garneredacclaim from many sources. The shining centerpiece of P&G’s effort was thecorporate“Thank you, Mom”campaign, which featured both the P&G umbrellaand individual brands. Ads that focused on“the hardest, best job in the world”paid tribute to mothers everywhere who sacrifice and work tirelessly to supporttheir children. “Mom-umentaries” that featured the stories of great athletes astold by their mothers ran on TV and could also be viewed on Facebook pagesset up for 29 countries.Brand-level campaigns continued with the theme of raising an athlete. Forexample, ads for Fairy Liquid informed us that it takes 20,000 meals (and dishes)to raise an athlete. A Pampers ad featuring beach volleyball gold-medalist KerriWalsh thanking her mom, Margie, achieved an unparalleled level of immediacyand relevance when it ran during the break of one of Kerri’s matches. Afterthe Games, Pampers is continuing its “Spirit of Play” campaign, which featuresOlympians and their young children.P&G’s laundry detergent Ariel starred in the “Proud Keepers of our Nation’sColors” campaign, which was localized for countries from Mexico to Turkey,Ireland to the Philippines. And as a Londoner, I was very impressed by the“P&GCapital Clean-up,” a branded version of the annual Capital Clean-up, in whichP&G sponsored a number of branded clean-up activities prior to the Games.LESSONS FOR ASPIRING SPONSORSIf you are a brand marketer who aspires to someday compete on the worldstage in sponsorship storytelling, what can you learn from the London Games?How can you emulate the most successful sponsors? We have the followingsuggestions.Make your brand a part of the storyNone of the brands on our medalstand had a functional connection tosports, but they found ways to weavethemselvesintotheLondon2012storyanyway. They looked for roles to befilled and created parts for themselves.BT was not only the communicationsspecialist, but also a lead cheerleader for the Games and for London. BMW notonly exploited the MINI’s heritage in evoking the home country’s pride, butcleverly created a functional role for the MINI. So whether you’re sponsoring thegiant slalom, the Soap Box Derby, or a regional spelling bee, work your brandinto the story of the event.Be creativeAs Dominic Twose points out in his POV “Creativity in Advertising: Eyebrows, aGreekBanquet,aViolin,andSomeInvisibleFish,”creativityaidsmemorability.Theright creative treatment can plant emotional associations so deeply that peoplesimply can’t forget them. The mini-MINIs delighted us and fixed an indelibleimage in our memories, linking the cars to the Games. The P&G ads showingpint-sized, baby-faced competitors preparing to dive off the platform or mountthe balance beam enabled us to see Olympic athletes as sons and daughters,and that vision filled us with pride—both vicarious pride in the upbringing ofour national champions, and real pride in the hard work of rearing our ownchildren (with the help of products from P&G). Find a new and different way tomake your audience emote, or at least smile, and you have a chance to form alasting impression.Go the distanceThe successful sponsorships were the result of expansive vision and sustainedeffort. BT started early and stayed in for the long haul. P&G extended its visionacross its brands—and rolled up its sleeves. It got behind the Capital Clean-up campaign, and in its home country, the United States, committed to raising$5 million to support youth sports programs. P&G may have sponsored theOlympics,butitusedtheopportunitytolendsupporttootherongoingcauses—national and civic pride, and support for young people.Whether you’re sponsoringthe giant slalom or theregional spelling bee, workyour brand into the story ofthe eventPoint of ViewCreativeStorytelling:ForSponsors,anOlympicSportWatch the‘Thank you Mom’ad (requiresinternetconnection)
  11. 11. Point of ViewThe Sponsorship Games: Play to WinAn Olympic sponsorship is a huge investment for a brand. And yet securing thesponsorship is just the beginning. Sponsorship rights are the steep entry feeyou must pay for the chance to get your brand’s name on the program.But tens of millions of dollars should buy more than just name recognition. Toform meaningful and lasting associations that will build your brand, you needto dig deeper. Invoke the story of the event and knit your brand into it. Createa relevant part for your brand, and the rewards will be great: When the race isover, your brand will be embedded in the compelling stories that form the coreof our Olympic memories.Invoke the story of the event and knit yourbrand into it. Create a relevant part for yourbrand, and the rewards will be greatCreativeStorytelling:ForSponsors,anOlympicSport
  12. 12. Point of View
  13. 13. In today’s world, it’s a certainty that brands willencounter numerous uncontrolled interruptions asthey try to engage and persuade people.We need tobetter grasp the reality of clutter and turbulence inthemoderncommunicationsworldandthedramaticeffects these phenomena have on advertisingimpact. And though the term “the Cloud” is alreadyfamiliar in the context of Internet-based computing,we think that a cloud is also an apt metaphor todescribethefluidandunpredictablemixofmessagesand influences that surround today’s consumers.ClutterIt is a general trend that more clients are using more media to communicate tomore consumers in more ways. As Internet penetration grows worldwide, sotoo do the opportunities to communicate, both for existing advertisers and fornew players who enjoy lower entry costs for marketing. Our estimates suggestthat Internet-enabled people experience at least 40 percent more display ads.How many messages are getting lost in all this noise?We all know about the evils ofTV advertising clutter, but for decades, even moreclutter has existed in radio, print, posters, and outdoor advertising. People havebecome acclimatized to it and have become very good at detecting tiny bitsof relevance buried in masses of irrelevance. In response to still more clutter,people simply—and unconsciously—gear up for a higher level of selectivity.And we have seen the results. We have seen the impact different levels of TVclutter have had across countries: The more clutter there is, the harder it is forthe average ad to cut through. Here the word“average”is important. Advertisingthat resonates with its intended target can significantly outperform weakercompetition. But producing better-than-average advertising may be easier saidthan done.TurbulenceIn the past, advertisers and their competitors would follow similar plans. Theywould battle for hearts and minds across the same territories and time frames.Today, however, the spread of messaging is becoming more diverse over bothmedia and time as clients mix individual campaigns with ongoing engagementprograms.Advertisers have made these adaptations in response to changes in consumerbehavior. Through social and search media, people have more ways to talk toeachotheraboutproductsandservices;nowadaysitiseasyforpeopletodotheirown research or get advice from experts. A simple online search reveals a vastnew wealth of options to explore beyond actually buying the major mainstreambrands. One shopper might decide to buy the shop’s own brand since someonetold her it was just as good. Another might be attracted by the offer of a fun-loving new category entrant. Someone shopping for vacation packages mightchange course midstream and decide to build his own holiday, while creativetypes might be inspired by an online forum to make their own hummus.At any stage on the path to purchase, a shopper might veer off in a differentdirection.There is no telling when or where a consumer might encounter a newidea or a competitive or confounding message. As my daughter would say,“Howrandom is that!”How do you manage communications in such circumstances?A New Model: Cloud ThinkingWe think marketers can still succeed in this new world, but success will requirea new way of thinking, which will lead to a different model of communicationand messaging. We think a different paradigm is needed, one that focuses notjust on the consumer and the media, but also on the environment in whichtoday’s consumers exist.In thinking about the complex infrastructure of tomorrow’s communications,we like the aforementioned metaphor of a ”Cloud.”The Cloud is the compositenoise surrounding every person. Each individual’s Cloud consists of all theinfluencesthatpersonisexposedtothatcouldpossiblyaffectbrandperceptions.These influences could occur at any time at any place through any mechanism.They include communication activities of the brand or its competitors, brandexperiences, things other people have said or written in the media, and in-storeSue ElmsHead of Global BrandsMillward BrownPoint of ViewThereisnotellingwhenorwhereaconsumermightencounteranewideaoracompetitiveorcofoundingmessageBusinesses spend a lot of money on brand communicationsbecause they know that effective communications arevital to brand health and wealth.The imperative is tobuild brand preference among consumers and to holdonto it in the long term. But the risk is greater than everthat communication will not hit home or that it will becounteracted by uncontrolled influences.IntegratedPlanning:StandingOutintheCloud
  14. 14. Point of ViewIn thinking about the complex infrastructureof tomorrow’s communications, we like theaforementioned metaphor of a ”Cloud.” TheCloud is the composite noise surroundingeveryperson.Eachindividual’sCloudconsistsof all the influences that person is exposed tothat could possibly affect brand perceptions.These influences could occur at any time atany place through any mechanism. Theyinclude communication activities of thebrand or its competitors, brand experiences,things other people have said or written inthe media, and in-store activities.The Cloud varies in density at different times and in different places, and iscontinually in motion as the prevailing winds blow items closer to and fartheraway from the person in the middle. The Cloud accompanies each personthrough all of his or her daily activities, good and bad, fun and boring, plannedand unplanned.“Cloud thinking” gives us much needed humility in thinking about people’sconsciousness of brands. At best, any one brand can make up only a very smallpart of a person’s Cloud, and the pressure it exerts there will depend on thefrequency of its contacts as well as the degree to which people experience thosecontacts as resonant.Communications Principles for the FutureThinkingaboutthecommunicationsinfrastructureasaCloudleadsustoidentifya few key principles of communication planning.Always understand the“now” of the brandStrong brands need to stand for something, especially in this new, complex, andinterconnected world. But the Cloud makes it difficult for them. In the Cloud, it isalltooeasyforevenstrongbrandstolosetheirclarity.Therearesomanypointsofcontact and so many conflicting impressions. So, as marketers focus on makingconnections with individuals, they need to remember that few brands, and evenfewer consumers, are truly “clean slates.” Consumers will always synergize theirbrand impressions against the prevailing associations in their personal Clouds.Uncovering these associations—which form the attitudinal backdrop for abrand—is the secret for brands hoping to resonate with consumers. This makesit vital to always know the “now” of the brand—that is, what this attitudinalbackdrop is. This is why tracking in one form or another will become evenmore vital as a marketing tool to understand the current intensity of people’semotions, knowledge, and experiences relating to a brand.Identify the center of gravityFor long-established brands like Coke and Harley-Davidson, attitudinalbackdrops will have been created in the pre-Cloud era and will gravitate towarda compelling center of gravity, such as a mass agenda or a brand ideal, thatenables people to instinctively recognize the brand and what it stands forthrough whatever brand impression they encounter. Such iconic brands maynot need to spend time and money on creating new mass agendas. But new orstruggling brands do—and they need to find a way to build and maintain thesein the Cloud.Plan for meaningful coincidencesSometimes people make intentional contact with a brand, as when they useit, buy it, research it, or discuss it with someone else (particularly when they’rein a seeking mode). The more often this happens, the better off the brand willbe—as long as the brand meets expectations after it has been sought out andacquired.Infact,forabrandnotto“bethere”whenandwherepeoplearelookingfor it is one of marketing’s biggest financial crimes.Historically, we have been able to rely on television advertising to “prime”consumers and encourage response to other brand activities. We have clearlyseen from CrossMedia evaluations that prior exposure to TV commercialssignificantlyimprovesresponsetootherbrandactivities;atthesametime,theseother brand activities deliver deeper connections than TV can do alone. Whena job is tough—like a launch or repositioning—we have seen how importantmultiple media exposure is. But in the new world, achieving these mediasynergies within a defined time period is going to be more difficult.A lot more effort will have to go into understanding people’s lives andfinding moments when they are “open” to the brand and when the brand’scommunications could be relevant to them. On the positive side, digital mediapresent increasing opportunities to be part of people’s lives in more placesand on more occasions, and should help advertisers by providing far morecontextually relevant opportunities to talk—e.g., on the bus, in a coffee shop, inthe pub, in a waiting room.Maximize the impact of every contactIt’s hard for brands to push or pull Cloud-enveloped consumers directly, soinfluence is more likely to come from small nudges as individuals run into amultiplicity of brand connections in different orders over time. Communicationswill have to give up the notion of storytelling in favor of facilitating the processthroughwhichconsumerspiecetogetheranoverall view from a long tail of connections.The challenge will be to ensure that anycombination of elements, encountered inany order, will be effective, and that anygaps in exposure (even someone skippingall TV ads) will not matter too much.Though their specific tasks may differ, eachimpressionmuststaytruetothecoreideaofthe brand, and must be designed to primeand recruit other impressions in the Cloud.It will be vital to find something that worksthrough every connection. Iconography,symbolism, idiom, and implicit communication will become far more importantto support the delivery of powerful and synergistic brand impressions.Throw away the“pseudo-scientific” media planInthefuture,marketingcampaignswon’thavediscretebeginnings,middles,andendings.Alreadyweseeamovefromcampaignstocontinuouscommunications.Alreadywehaveclientsaskingustoevaluateongoingsocialprogramsintegratedwith long-term brand content, as well as sponsorship programs combined withadvertising activity to boost specific tasks. While there will always be plenty ofscience in the evaluation of response to in-market exposure—digital mediameasurement ensures this—planning will need to become more creative,connected, and bold. Media planning will be about distributing various formsof brand content that will be relevant to people in different decision states,regardless of the order in which it is distributed. The end game will be“share ofCloud.” We certainly look forward to seeing visualizations of expected marketimpact that are far more inspiring than the current Excel worksheets of mediaresearch numbers!ConclusionCloud thinking helps us more easily embrace the complexity of the presentand future communications world, and embracing that complexity is essentialif we are to help brands succeed. Cloud thinking encourages planning that iscreative, connected, and bold, both within and across disciplines. As a result ofthis new way of thinking and the planning it generates, brands will be able tomake solid and genuine connections with consumers in an environment that isconstantly in flux. Through those connections, brands can build the strong andlong-lasting consumer relationships that lead to financial success.Communications will haveto give up the notion ofstorytelling in favor offacilitating the processthrough which consumerspiece together an overallview from a long tail ofconnectionsIntegratedPlanning:StandingOutintheCloudThe Cloud is thecomposite noisesurrounding everyperson. Each individual’sCloud consists of all theinfluences that personis exposed to that couldpossibly affect brandperceptions
  15. 15. Point of View
  16. 16. Yet among the mindless white noise of modernmarketing, a few brands stand out from the crowd.Admired and packed with meaning, these trulyiconic brands inspire passion and fierce loyaltyamong their customers. They represent the goldstandard of branding. Any marketer worth his saltwould die to work with an iconic brand—or betteryet, to help create one. But the process by whichbrands become iconic is often more accidentalthan designed.In his book How Brands Become Icons, former Oxford University professorDouglas Holt sheds light on the nature and origins of iconic brands. In thatwork, he asserts that iconic brands respond to a society’s desires and culturaltensions by drawing on their own unique myths and stories. However, theanecdotal nature of Holt’s approach makes his findings difficult to apply toless distinguished brands. And most brands cannot hope that a societal trendor need will suddenly make their brand meaningful and result in its beingadopted as a cultural icon. So what universal themes apply to all brands, notjust those that are already iconic? What guidelines can be applied to make anybrand more successful? This point of view seeks to address those questions.Beyond Recognition: Symbols and MeaningOne characteristic of iconic brands is that they are instantly recognizable. In my2007 POV on iconic brands, I cited the familiar shapes of Legos, the VW Beetle,and the golden arches of McDonald’s. The Oreo cookie, which turned 100years old earlier this month, is another example—the dark embossed biscuitssandwiching the white cream center make Oreos easily distinguishable fromany other cookie. Powerful visual cues such as these confer major advantages,but recognition alone does not constitute iconicity. Advertising icons such asthe Pillsbury Doughboy, the GEICO Gecko, and Aleksandr Orlov (the meerkatof make their brands recognizable without makingthem iconic.The Oxford English Dictionary defines an icon as“a person or thing regarded asa representative symbol of a culture, movement, etc.; someone or somethingafforded great admiration or respect.” I believe this definition works well foriconic brands; it suggests that they must not only be easily recognizable, butalso stand for something that people admire and consider meaningful.In his book Brand Meaning, Mark Batey dedicates a lot of space to symbolism,which, according to Batey, is one of the constituents of brand meaning.Symbols like the Marlboro cowboy or the Harley-Davidson eagle stimulate theimagination and, through the power of suggestion and association, connectto ideas and values. It is the symbolic importance of an iconic brand’s identitythat enables it to leverage its recognition far beyond that of other brands.And, once recognition has been achieved, that symbolism helps ensure that abrand’s meaning is understood and shared across a wide audience.Meaningiscriticaltosuccessfulbrandsandtoiconicbrandsinparticular.Iconicbrands are not just distinctive; they are different in a way that is meaningful.The Oreo has a characteristic appearance, but it also stands out in people’sminds for the sensory rituals they associate with eating it (twisting the wafersapart and licking the cream, dunking in milk) and the warm feelings of sharingthose experiences with family and friends.Those good feelings are kept alive with adsthat show people interacting over Oreos:brother with brother, mother with son,grandfather with granddaughter. Theseidyllic depictions represent family life aswe might wish to experience it, and theyevoke a powerful response.The second of Douglas Holt’s iconic brandprinciples is that iconic brands developidentity myths that address people’s desires and anxieties. The Marlboroman represents the values of the Western frontier: He is strong, independent,and capable. By presenting a consistent image over time, the brand hascome to embody the frontier myth that now proves particularly appealingin developing economies. But Marlboro’s time as an iconic exemplar may benearing an end because, in Marlboro’s homeland, the nature of iconic brandshas changed. Instead of presenting identities that they grow into, some oftoday’s most iconic Western brands embody those identities from the start.Their identity myths have become experiential and vital. For example, RedBull was designed from the ground up to appeal to a specific mindset, and theenergy drink has been marketed with unique advertising and a wide varietyof adrenaline-inspired events.Powerful visual cuesconfer major advantagesfor brands, butrecognition alone doesnot constitute iconicityNigel HollisChief Global AnalystMillward BrownPoint of ViewTheeasilydistinguishableOreocookieIn today’s complex and busy world, brand names areeverywhere—plastered all over websites, insidesubway cars, on the sides of buses, and even in publictoilets. But most of the time, even though they’reaccepted as part of the scenery, these brand namesdon’t signify much to those who observe them.WhatWeCanLearnfromIconicBrands
  17. 17. A Compelling Brand ExperienceAn iconic brand is recognizable not because it has invested in decades of heavymarketing spend, but because it delivers a powerful brand experience that isfounded in the brand’s purpose. Oreos would not be iconic if people didn’tthink they tasted good. And no matter how aesthetically pleasing Apple’sdevices are, Apple would not be iconic if its user interfaces were clunky. As Holtproposes, iconic brands transcend functional benefits, but that does not meanthat they have ignored functional benefits (or that they can afford to ignorethem in the future).Therefore, in terms of evaluating a brand’s iconic potential,I would first look at the brand’s ability to meet a specific functional need. Abrand that can meet a need or gratify a desire in a unique and meaningfulway has an opportunity to build the strong emotional attachment that is thecornerstone of iconicity.‘Meaning is critical tosuccessful and iconicbrands.Iconic brands arenot just distinctive; theyare different in a way thatis meaningful’The “People’s Car”That Became an IconIn 1933, Ferdinand Porsche was charged by German chancellor Adolf Hitlerto develop a car for the masses. Critical requirements in the specs for theVolkswagen(literally,“people’scar”inGerman)includedtheabilitytotransporttwo adults and three children at 100 km/h (62 mph) and a price that wouldmake it affordable for average working people.Firstproducedin1938,theVolkswagenT1,laternicknamedtheBeetle,becameone of the most iconic vehicles of all time. The unique design was denigratedby some, but after World War II, the reliable, economical, and affordablevehicle was exactly what the impoverished people of Germany required.Those same characteristics later appealed to hippies and others who werepursuing alternative lifestyles during the 1960s. The Beetle appeared in manymovies and spawned a number of other nicknames, a sure sign of a brandthat’s embedded in popular culture. The 1998 reintroduction of the Beetlewas successful in large part because it tapped into those positive feelingswhile bringing the product up to date.The Power of PurposeIn combination with its quirky looks, the Beetle’s ability to meet people’stransportation needs kindled the public affection that ultimately made the caran icon. Look behind the symbolism of most iconic brands and you will findsomeone with a vision of how a product could serve a specific need betterthan the existing alternatives. When a brand’s purpose or ideal resonates witha particular group of people, the brand moves one step closer to becomingiconic.Google originated as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, aneffort to find a better way to rank the relevance of search results than simplycounting the appearances of a search term on a page. By redefining theway people used the web, Page andBrin addressed the need to “organizethe world’s information and make ituniversally accessible and useful.” Theintersection of the widespread needto find information quickly with thebetter solution offered by Google, whichincluded a simple and uncluttered userinterface, resulted in Google becomingthe success it is today.In his book Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s GreatestCompanies (published in 2011), former Procter & Gamble CMO Jim Stengeldescribes the common feature he identified across dozens of highly successfulbrands: a brand ideal. A brand ideal is a purpose that goes beyond a productor service. It’s the higher-order benefit that the business provides to the world,the company’s most fundamental reason for being. Pursuing a brand idealmay not make your brand iconic, but it can be one step along that road—astep that, by offering people something that makes their lives better, will alsomotivate your workforce and help to ensure a healthy profit.Point of ViewWhatWeCanLearnFromIconicBrands
  18. 18. Five Principles for the Everyday BrandReaching iconic status is the Everest of the marketing world, and the vastmajority of brands won’t reach its summit. That said, continually referencingand seeking to improve your brand’s performance against the followingprinciples can only bring benefits.(Re)discover and stay true to your brand’s purposeMany brands are founded and built around a specific purpose or ideal thatsubsequently fades from sight as leaders lose track of what originally madethe company special. In these cases, restoring the original focus can oftenturn a struggling brand around. But sometimes a company’s purpose has tochange because the world around it has changed, as when 20 years ago IBMshifteditspurposefrommakingcomputersandchipstobuildingasmarterandmore efficient planet.This sort of transformation requires a total commitment,as Louis Gerstner details in his book Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? Thiscommitment includes the willingness to make changes to align structure withstrategy as well as ongoing reinforcement of the new purpose in both internaland external communications.Critically examine the experience yourbrand deliversYou can have the noblest purpose inthe world but still fail to deliver againstpeople’s expectations. For example,environmentally responsible (“green”)brands want to ensure a better future for our planet, but all too often theirfunctional performance fails to satisfy consumers, or their price is so high thattrial is inhibited. One brand, however, stands out from other green brands inthe way in which it not only meets but exceeds expectations. The householdcleaning brand Method packs a one-two punch: Its nontoxic and sustainableproducts are just as effective as traditional cleaners, and Method’s uniquedesign ethos enhances its products with packaging that is both distinctiveand beautiful. These qualities could help Method become an iconic brand.Identify the iconic elements of your brandIconicbrandsareinstantlyrecognizable.Howdopeoplerecognizeyourbrand?What are the specific cues that trigger recognition? Does your brand have adistinctive design? Which senses does your brand engage beyond just thevisual? A brand with powerful sensory cues has an intrinsic advantage overothers. Those cues ensure that positive associations come readily to mind andare linked to the right brand. Provided the same recognition cues are featuredin broadcast and in-store communications, they allow the brand to realizesynergies across marketing and sales channels.Balance the authentic with the contemporaryThepowerofabrand’sauthenticheritageisundeniable,butsotooisthepowerof being in sync with popular culture. One of the biggest challenges for anybrand is to stay contemporary without unnecessarily changing what the brandstands for. The brands that do this successfully manage to apply the storiesand values of their heritage to contemporary circumstances. For example,Jack Daniel’s, an integral part of today’s pop culture, features its heritage in itsadvertisements with scenes of the whiskey being made. Company-sponsoredmusicians and concerts that bring people together outside of the bar alsoreflect the spirit and backcountry myths of the brand.Stay focusedFaced with aggressive competition, fragmenting media, and ever fasterfeedback, brand marketers can be overly reactive. It may seem that doingsomething—even the wrong thing—is better than doing nothing. But if youkeep in mind what it is that your brand stands for, you can avoid this trap.Knowing what is truly meaningful to your customers will help you choose theright actions. By understanding the interests, desires, and beliefs of their coreconsumers, brands can bring people together and facilitate unprecedentedlevels of consumer engagement, pride, and activism. Red Bull, for example,focuses all of its events on the idea of uplifting mind and body, offering both aspectacle and an unparalleled experience that is true to the brand’s purpose.Build on Sound FoundationsEven if you never get to work with an iconic brand, as a marketer you canstill apply the principles that underlie the success of iconic brands to helpyour own brand grow its financial value. But before you invest your time intrying to apply these principles, take a good hard look at your brand’s product.Powerful symbolism and impactful advertising can’t overcome a mediocreproduct experience.Assuming the product foundation is sound, you can then safely turn yourattention to building a stronger brand. Make sure you understand your brand’spurpose, the character it presents to the world, and its unique set of sensoryand symbolic properties. Then find ways to amplify what the brand standsfor across all the potential touch points. The combination of a meaningfullydifferent experience and distinctive brand assets will strengthen what yourbrand stands for in consumers’ minds, and as that concept becomes strongerand clearer, your brand will be more attractive to new users and inspire moreloyalty among existing customers.TheRedBullenergydrinkhasbeenmarketedwithuniqueadvertisingandawidevarietyofadrenaline-inspiredevents‘You can have the noblestpurpose in the world butstill fail to deliver againstpeople’s expectations’Point of ViewWhatWeCanLearnFromIconicBrands
  19. 19. Point of View
  20. 20. But not everything declined. In the realm ofsocial media, the number of Facebook users grewdramatically, blog readership increased, and a newphenomenon called Twitter exploded onto thescene.It’senoughtomakeyouthinkthatusingsocialmediais the latest and best way to effectively build yourbrand. Many pundits suggest as much, and manybrands seem to be buying into the idea. Researchconducted in 2010 by Millward Brown and Dynamic Logic, in cooperation withthe World Federation of Advertisers, found that almost all marketers surveyed(96 percent) expected to invest more time and money in social media in 2011.However, only a quarter (23 percent) said they were confident about the returnsthey get on these investments.I think this uncertainty is warranted. Those who manage brands should lookbefore they leap. I believe that the race to utilize social media channels isrepresentativeofthesamesortofirrationalexuberancethatledthestockmarkettounprecedentedheightsandallowedpeopletohavefaithinincomprehensiblefinancial instruments. For many brands, large-scale investment in social mediacampaigns is likely to prove just as ill-advised and imprudent. In other words, Ithink we may be witnessing a social media bubble.The Power of Social MediaThere can be no denying that social media can be an incredible vehicle forchange. For example, in 2009, a Facebook campaign prevented X Factor winnerJoe McElderry from doing something the previous four X Factor winners haddone—reach the top of the UK music charts. The campaign was started byhusband-and-wife team Jon and Tracy Morter as a protest against X Factor’smonopoly of the Christmas chart.They encouraged people to buy“Killing in theName,” a 17-year-old track by American rock band Rage Against the Machine(RATM).The news media picked up on the story, causing thousands of people tojoin the campaign; the number of fans on the RATM Facebook page exceeded800,000 (more than Google, Pepsi, or Wal-Mart).What is more, those fans acted. In the crucialpre-Christmas week, “Killing in the Name” soldover 500,000 copies. While 19.5 million peopleviewed the X Factor finale and 6 million voted forMcElderry, only 450,000 bought McElderry’s“TheClimb.”What enabled the campaign to be successful?Global qualitative research conducted byMillward Brown Firefly has highlighted severalthings that drive people to use social media.People are looking for a sense of connectednessand belonging, for an entertaining diversion, andfor a sense of control. The issues of control andbelonging seem central to the RATM campaign.The effort had the authenticity borne of its grass roots. It was founded by realpeople advancing a real agenda, and that agenda was one that tapped into acurrent concern—the suspicion that“big business”was manipulating the publicpsyche for its own ends.The same concern helped ignite the Twitter storm centered on the phone-hacking scandal at the UK tabloid News of the World. Shortly thereafter, the168-year-old paper closed. Clearly there is power in social media—but canFacebook or Twitter empower a consumer brand in a constructive way as wellas they can give voice to social outrage?The Characteristics of Successful Facebook BrandsI undertook an analysis to address that question. I identified 12 brands thathave been held up for their effective use of social media: Southwest, Honda,VW,McDonald’s,PizzaHut,Subway,KFC,Dunkin’Donuts, Krispy Kreme, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, and Red Bull. I related the number offans these brands had on their Facebookpages (all had more than 250,000) to datafrom Millward Brown’s BrandZ database(specifically, U.S. data from 2009). I thencompared the results for these successfulsocial media brands with other brands inthe same product categories.My first observation was that the five different product categories attractedvery different numbers of fans. On average, the soft drink brands included inour BrandZ study had over 16,000 fans each while airlines had barely 1,000.But not everything declined. In the realm ofsocial media, the number of Facebook users grewdramatically, blog readership increased, and a newphenomenon called Twitter exploded onto thescene.It’senoughtomakeyouthinkthatusingsocialmediais the latest and best way to effectively build yourbrand. Many pundits suggest as much, and manybrands seem to be buying into the idea. Researchconducted in 2010 by Millward Brown and Dynamic Logic, in cooperation withthe World Federation of Advertisers, found that almost all marketers surveyed(96 percent) expected to invest more time and money in social media in 2011.However, only a quarter (23 percent) said they were confident about the returnsthey get on these investments.I think this uncertainty is warranted. Those who manage brands should lookbefore they leap. I believe that the race to utilize social media channels isrepresentativeofthesamesortofirrationalexuberancethatledthestockmarkettounprecedentedheightsandallowedpeopletohavefaithinincomprehensiblefinancial instruments. For many brands, large-scale investment in social mediacampaigns is likely to prove just as ill-advised and imprudent. In other words, Ithink we may be witnessing a social media bubble.The Power of Social MediaThere can be no denying that social media can be an incredible vehicle forchange. For example, in 2009, a Facebook campaign prevented X Factor winnerJoe McElderry from doing something the previous four X Factor winners haddone—reach the top of the UK music charts. The campaign was started byhusband-and-wife team Jon and Tracy Morter as a protest against X Factor’smonopoly of the Christmas chart.They encouraged people to buy“Killing in theName,” a 17-year-old track by American rock band Rage Against the Machine(RATM).The news media picked up on the story, causing thousands of people tojoin the campaign; the number of fans on the RATM Facebook page exceeded800,000 (more than Google, Pepsi, or Wal-Mart).What is more, those fans acted. In the crucialpre-Christmas week, “Killing in the Name” soldover 500,000 copies. While 19.5 million peopleviewed the X Factor finale and 6 million voted forMcElderry, only 450,000 bought McElderry’s“TheClimb.”What enabled the campaign to be successful?Global qualitative research conducted byMillward Brown Firefly has highlighted severalthings that drive people to use social media.People are looking for a sense of connectednessand belonging, for an entertaining diversion, andfor a sense of control. The issues of control andbelonging seem central to the RATM campaign.The effort had the authenticity borne of its grass roots. It was founded by realpeople advancing a real agenda, and that agenda was one that tapped into acurrent concern—the suspicion that“big business”was manipulating the publicpsyche for its own ends.The same concern helped ignite the Twitter storm centered on the phone-hacking scandal at the UK tabloid News of the World. Shortly thereafter, the168-year-old paper closed. Clearly there is power in social media—but canFacebook or Twitter empower a consumer brand in a constructive way as wellas they can give voice to social outrage?The Characteristics of Successful Facebook BrandsI undertook an analysis to address that question. I identified 12 brands thathave been held up for their effective use of social media: Southwest, Honda,VW,McDonald’s,PizzaHut,Subway,KFC,Dunkin’Donuts, Krispy Kreme, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, and Red Bull. I related the number offans these brands had on their Facebookpages (all had more than 250,000) to datafrom Millward Brown’s BrandZ database(specifically, U.S. data from 2009). I thencompared the results for these successfulsocial media brands with other brands inthe same product categories.My first observation was that the five different product categories attractedvery different numbers of fans. On average, the soft drink brands included inour BrandZ study had over 16,000 fans each while airlines had barely 1,000.I believe this is directly related to the number of people who are activelyinvolved with a category on a regular basis.The level of satisfaction with brandsin a category also seemed to correspond with the number of fans the categoryattracted. Only 18 percent of U.S. air travelers are satisfied with the brandsavailable to them, while 56 percent of soft drink buyers claim to be totallysatisfied with their brand choices.In using social media,people are looking for asense of connectednessand belonging, for anentertaining diversion,and for a sense of controlNigel HollisChief Global AnalystMillward BrownPoint of View‘XFactor’winnerJoeMcElderryThe last few years have seen some massive changesin our world.The financial bubble that reached itspeak in 2007 popped, leaving us to enjoy what hasbeen dubbed“The Great Recession.”The Dow Jonesplummeted, along with consumer confidence.Thesubsequent road to recovery has proved to be longand uncertain.Socialmedia:fansandfollowersareanend,notameans
  21. 21. Figure 1Successful social media brands tend to be stronger brands Presence Relevance Performance Advantage Bonding Successful Brands Other Brands816653445443372611 2My next observation was that in most categories, one or two brands attractedthe lion’s share of fans. Those brands are not necessarily the biggest or theoldest, but rather the ones with a distinctive positioning that sets them apartfrom competitors. For example, in the case of domestic U.S. airlines, Southwestis the dominant brand, followed by Virgin America, a newcomer to theUnited States. I believe that Virgin’scommitment to excellent service andcustomer satisfaction and its obviouscommitment to using social media arewhatenabledittodrawmorefansthanAmerican Airlines, United, or Delta.My final observation was that theplaying field did not appear to be levelfor brands competing on Facebook. Itseemed easier for some brands to gaintraction simply due to their product category and their positioning. But thereis an even larger obstacle to be overcome by many brands. Brands that arealready big and successful start with a major advantage in social media. Usingthe Millward Brown Brand Pyramid, I compared the composite brand equityof the two groups of brands (see Figure 1). The successful social media brandsstarted with 50 percent more Presence (familiarity with what the brand standsfor) and finished with five times as much Bonding (the strongest measure ofattitudinal loyalty).They had an average of 1.6 million fans each, while the otherbrands had an average of just 140,000 fans each. So the more loyal customersyou have, the more fans you tend to have on Facebook.Mass Exposure Is an Important Catalystto Social Media SuccessOne final element must be considered by brands thinking of marketingthrough social media: the need for mass media coverage. Most notable socialmedia campaigns have relied on the mass media to gain critical momentum.Analysis of Twitter by HP’s Data Central finds that mainstream media outletsact as feeders of the most popular trends, and regular Twitter users then actas trend amplifiers. The Rage Against the Machine campaign would likely havelanguished unnoticed by the vast majority of people if the traditional mediahad not picked it up and publicized it.The same is true of some of the classics ofviral marketing: Burger King’s“Subservient Chicken”benefited from widespreadmedia support, and Dove’s “Evolution” was boosted by a strong PR campaign.On its own, Twitter did not kill the News of the World, but it did help createenough noise to pressure advertisers into pulling their support from the paper.Integration of mass media and social media helps transcend the disparatepersonal connections that drive social media in order to achieve critical mass.In 2010, the meerkat Aleksandr Orlov was created to star in a TV campaign forthe UK financial comparison site As of August 2011,Aleksandr had close to 800,000 fans on the Facebook page that was created aspartoftheadcampaign.Thecombinationoftightlyintegratedonlineandofflinemarketing heightened interest in the brand, drove traffic to, and increased quotes by 45 percent compared to the previous year.Beyond FacebookWhile Facebook is the biggest social media network, it is not a homogeneouscommunity, nor is it the only channel through which brands can connect withconsumers.Infact,MillwardBrownidentifieseightdifferenttypesofsocialmedia:pure plays, blogs, syndication, peer-to-peer (P2P), wikis and collaboratives,open source, tagging and rating, and consumer reviews. Each type servesdifferent purposes and audiences. Among the pure-play vehicles, a low-reach,high-engagement medium such as Twitter offers the chance to make that all-important ongoing and personal connection.But Twitter users aren’t using the channel to be informed about brands. Theyare using it because they want to hear from people. Brands with social mediasavvy know this and often designate a lead tweeter to represent the companyand engage people. Tony Hsieh, the CEO of online shoe retailer Zappos, is thearchetypal corporate tweeter. With his tweets, which cover a wide range ofsubject matter—from getting kids to eat vegetables to entrepeneurship to thesecret of living the good life—he engages people and gives them a sense ofpersonal connection with Zappos.Socialmedia:fansandfollowersareanend,notameansPoint of ViewIt is the big brands thatget the most out ofFacebook.The more loyalcustomers you have, themore fans you tend tohave on Facebook
  22. 22. Fans and Followers Have Their Own AgendasDynamic Logic’s AdReaction 2009 study found that while 59 percent of Internetusers are actively engaged with social networking sites, only 13 percent of thosesocial media users actively follow or keep up with brands via social networks.Those that do follow brands do so in an average of three categories, and theydo so to gain access to information, discounts, and giveaways.This presents a challenge for a brand.To pander to a small percentage ofyour target with discounts and added-value giveaways can undermine yourbrand’s status and profitability; whatyou should focus on is engagingpeople with new information andideas that improve the customerexperience.Build a Strong Brand and Fans Will FollowBecause people use social media to connect with people and brands that theyknow, respect, and admire, the social media make a great channel for engagingexisting customers. But fans and followers are not a means to building a brand;rather, they are an end. Social media can’t help build brands without the otheringredients that make brands strong: an effective business model, a great brandexperience, clarity of positioning, and the ability to disrupt the status quo in aproduct category.As I stated in my Point ofView“Make Friends, Don’t PitchThem,”creating a strongpresence in social media is a good vehicle for confirming a brand’s benefits andvalidating its commitment to its users. However, any marketers still consideringhow to construct a social media strategy that will build buzz, saliency, and adeeperengagementwithloyalbrandadvocateswoulddowelltoaskthemselvesthe following questions:Integration of mass mediaand social media helpstranscend the disparatepersonal connections thatdrive social media in orderto achieve critical massWhatever your chosen strategy is, remember:There is no substitute for creativityand consistency. Find an idea that will resonate with your target audience andis in keeping with your brand’s positioning. Promote what you do widely, inwhatever ways are most appropriate. Then listen to the response and respondin turn.Do people care enough about my brand and categoryto engage with it? If not, maybe social media is not apriority for you.What types of social media sites offer the mostpotential?What would be the best bet—a pure playor a blog? An active presence on multiple sites mightbe necessary to engage even a small proportion ofexisting customers.What value can your brand offer beyond freebies anddiscounts? Games, puzzles, and competitions werepopular means to engage people with brands longbefore the advent of social media. Remember:Whilesocial media may be a new communication channel,the motivations, interests, and desires of the peoplewho use it are not new, but the same as they havealways been.How do you sustain the initial engagement beyond asimple sign of affinity? Even large, successful brandsmust continually find new ways to engage fans thatare consistent with their basic appeal; otherwise thenovelty of“fandom”will quickly wear off.The researchconducted with theWorld Federation of Advertisersfound trust and transparency to be important toongoing engagement, while variation, innovation,and a reasonable frequency of posting keep fanscoming back for more.Socialmedia:fansandfollowersareanend,notameansPoint of View
  23. 23. Point of View
  24. 24. By combining key outputs of BrandZ andCharacterZ and examining them in light of GeertHofstede’s model of the dimensions of culture, wecan identify the brand characteristics that are mostlikelytoensuresuccessindifferentregions.Marketerswho hope to achieve global success for their brandsmust take heed of these findings and use them tomodulate the tenor of their brands’communicationacross local and global campaigns.What We Mean by Brand PersonalityWhen we speak of a brand’s positioning, we aredescribing the things that differentiate one brandfrom others.When we speak of a brand’s personality,we are describing the way a brand expresses andrepresents itself. In BrandZ, we have asked over500,000 people to describe brands using a set of 24adjectiveschosentocoverawiderangeofpersonalitycharacteristics. We then assigned each brand to oneof10archetypesaccordingtoitsdominantcharacter.Developed using semiotics and both qualitative andquantitative research, these archetypes allow us toreduce a vast array of brand personalities to a manageable number of well-defined and recognizable characters.Some global brands are characterized differently in different parts of theworld. For example, in Italy, Spain, and the UK, the Apple iPhone is viewed as aSeductress,butinAustraliaitisaJoker,andinJapan,aDreamer.Thisdiscrepancyhighlights the many factors that influence a brand’s personality. Not only doconsumers experience a brand’s marketing activities in light of their own values,traditions, and circumstances, but they also perceive personality traits throughthe lens of their cultural conditioning. Therefore it is imperative that marketerspay attention to the personalities their brands project; few characters have thepower to transcend all cultures.Figure 1: CharacterZ Attributes and ArchetypesBrand Strength Varies with Brand PersonalityIn BrandZ, one of the key measures of a brand’s strength is Bonding. Bonding isthe highest level of attitudinal loyalty; when people are bonded to a brand, theyfeelthebrandiscloser,moremeaningfullydifferent,andhencemorevaluabletothem.When we correlated Bonding with our set of brand personality attributes,we found a range of significant results—from high positive correlations tosurprisingnegativecorrelationsthatassociatedpersonalitytraitswithweaknessrather than strength.Two Global Success TraitsTwo of the 24 words used to describe personality correlated with Bondingsignificantly more than all the others: desirable and trustworthy. Though boththese words had strong correlations everywhere, their importance relative toone another did vary in some markets, as illustrated in Figure 2. Desirability,which embodies qualities such as allure, status, and exclusivity, is particularlyassociated with aspirational brands that have emotional resonance; it is anotably strong driver of Bonding in Latin markets such as Brazil, Mexico, andSpain. Trustworthiness, the attribute which underpins a consumer’s belief thata brand will deliver consistent quality, is an especially strong driver of Bondingin India, Russia, and Korea.The Role of Other Personality TraitsSome words, such as innocent and rebellious, tend not to be associated withthe most successful brands. For example, the word innocent is often used as adescriptor for brands that are neither well known nor well defined, while themost successful brands (according to Bonding) tend to have strong clarity ofassociations. Similarly, rebellious brandsare more likely to be seen as challengersthan as leaders. In Taiwan, being seen as toostraightforwardcannegativelyaffectBonding,suggesting that in that country, clevernessis appreciated by consumers. Table 1 showsthe countries for which each of these traits isnegatively correlated with Bonding.InTaiwan, being toostraightforward cannegatively affectBonding, but clevernessis appreciated byconsumersGrahamStaplehurstGroup Account DirectorBrands & CommunicationMillward BrownSuthapaCharoenwongseAssociate Account DirectorMillward Brown BangkokInnocentSweden, Spain, Mexico, Australia, Germany, Italy,Netherlands, Korea, USADifferentThailand, Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, Germany, USA, Canada, UK, Italy, JapanRebellious China, Taiwan, Korea, JapanStraightforward Taiwan, KoreaTable 1: Negative Correlations with BondingPoint of ViewFor many years, researchers have been using the concept of brandpersonality to help describe brands and understand how they relateto consumers. More recently, using data fromWPP’s BrandZ study, wehave looked at brand personality from a cross-cultural perspective anddemonstrated that there is a relationship between the way brandsexpress themselves in different countries and the strength of theconsumer relationships they generate.WhyBrandPersonalityMatters:AligningYourBrandtoCulturalDriversofSuccess
  25. 25. ItwassurprisingtofindthatdifferentpersonalitieshadanegativecorrelationwithBonding in some countries, since the role of marketing is to create difference forbrands. But evidently, a different personality is not the same as a meaningfullydifferentbrandexperience.Beingseenasdifferentinpersonalitytermssuggestsa lack of identification with consumers and some social or emotional distancefrom them. The brands that are perceived this way fit less comfortably into amarket.In the same way that the importance of trustworthiness and desirability variesfrom one country to another, the degree to which other traits drive Bondingalso varies across markets. The personality traits (other than trustworthy anddesirable) that your brand will find most useful in different markets are shownin Figure 2, below the country names. For example, friendly brands are moresuccessful in Brazil and India, wise brands do well in China and the United States,and brands that are creative are especially well received in Japan, Taiwan, andKorea.Cultural DimensionsMany of the differences we have observed in how people appreciate brands’personalities can be explained through the cultural dimensions theory putforth by Geert Hofstede, a researcher recognized internationally for havingdeveloped the first empirical model to describe and differentiate cultures. Hismodel includes the following five dimensions:• Power Distance: The degree to which members of a society accept andexpectthatpowerisdistributedunequally.Runsfromhigh(differenceaccepted)to low.• Individualism: The degree to which societies believe people share anobligation for the care of those outside of their immediate families. Runs fromhigh (obligations to close family only) to low.• Masculinity: The degree to which a society emphasizes the value ofachievement, heroism, assertiveness, and material rewards for success. Runsfrom high (these values are important) to low.• Uncertainty Avoidance: The degree to which the members of a society feelcomfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity. Runs from high (where peopleneed clarity and rules) to low.• Long-term Orientation: The degree to which a society believes that truthdepends on situation, context, and time. Where long-term orientation is high,people adapt traditions and are more likely to save, invest, and persevere.Three Countries with Contrasting Cultural PreferencesRussia,China,andtheUKvarywidelyintermsofHofstede’sdimensions(seeTable2).RussiaandChinabothscorehighonPowerDistanceandlowonIndividualism,but they are on opposite ends of the scale on Uncertainty Avoidance (whereRussia is high and China is low).The culture in Russia favors brands that are assertive and in control, whilealso appreciating brands with a friendly and caring nature. In China, respectfor authority, coupled with a long-term orientation, enables brands with wiseand trustworthy personalities to dominate. Brands with assertive, rebellious, orplayful traits are less likely to be widely accepted by society, although emerginggenerations of younger and more affluent consumers may change this.In the UK, where there is an emphasis on individualism, tolerance, and respectfor equality (evidenced by the low Power Distance score), we see fewer strongassociations between any particular personality trait and brand success. Thetwo traits with the most consistent relationship with strong brands are friendlyand generous.Implications for Global MarketersWhile global communications and other marketing levers can help ensure thata brand is positioned in a consistent way around the world, a single tone of voiceis unlikely to succeed in engaging consumers across varied cultures. Marketersneedtounderstandtheculturalcontextinwhichtheirbrandcommunicates;theymayfindthattheyneedtovarynotonlywhattheysay,buthowtheysayit.Thoughevery brand will face a unique situation due to a number of factors, includingproduct category and country of origin, the following recommendations applyto all brands:1. Personality can differentiate.The strongest brands are those with the mostwell-defined personalities. These brands have differentiated themselves by theway they relate to consumers as much as by functional or other aspects.2.Sometraitsarealwaysgoodtohave.Makesureyourbrand’scommunicationclearly shouts either desirable or trustworthy. Or, like BMW, DoCoMo, El CortesInglés, or Emporio Armani, you may choose to emphasize both.3. Give your brand a global personality check. Consider the culture in yourbrand’s country of origin and that of the country to which you’re marketing. UseBrandZ and CharacterZ to identify the brands that fit well in the specific culturesthat are most important to you.Brand Personality MattersBrand managers and advertising planners have long understood that theirbrands are differentiated by the way they address their customers. Our analysisgoes beyond this to show that emphasizing particular personality traits canstrengthen or undermine a brand’s competitive position. If your brand hasa particularly strong personality, you may need to adjust its tone of voice tomatch local cultural dynamics. Smart marketing practitioners will use researchto understand the role that their brands’personalities play in building consumerrelationships, and will apply that learning to maximize brand appeal around theworld.CreativeAssertiveStraightforwardMEXICOCreativeAssertiveStraightforwardFriendlyBRAZILCreativeAssertiveBraveSPAINIn controlWiseGenerousUSAIn controlCreativeCANADAFriendlyGenerousUKIn controlGERMANYAssertiveIdealisticGenerousSWEDENFriendlyAdventurousCaringINDIACaringWiseStraightforwardTHAILANDIn controlGenerousAUSTRALIACreativeTAIWANCreativeWiseKindKOREACreativeFunJAPANWiseCaringCreativeStraightforwardBraveCHINAIn controlKindCreativeITALYStraightforwardFriendlyNETHERLANDSAssertiveIn controlFriendlyCaringRUSSIAIn controlAssertiveCreativeFRANCEDesirable more importantBoth equally important+ other traits in order of importanceTrustworthy more importantFigure 2: Personality Traits Associatedwith the Most Successful BrandsHigh LowRussia Power Distance,Uncertainty AvoidanceIndividualismChina Long-term, Orientation, Power,DistanceUncertainty, Avoidance,IndividualismUK Individualism, Masculinity Power Distance,Long-term, OrientationTable 2: Selected Dimensions for Russia, China, and the UKPoint of ViewWhyBrandPersonalityMatters:AligningYourBrandtoCulturalDriversofSuccess
  26. 26. Point of View
  27. 27. Whiletheyaregrowingwellathome,China’sdevelopingbrandsfaceaverydifferentenvironmentoutsideofChina.In developed markets, these brands need to sharplyincrease their levels of awareness and penetration. Butbeyond that, to actually achieve profitable growth,Chinese brands need to provide consumers with anexperience that is meaningfully different.As we have seen in previous years with the BrandZGlobal Top 100, the share prices of strong brands greatlyoutperform the average. This year’s China Top 50 rankingprovides another example of the value of this“brand gap.”(See Figure 1.) While the MSCI China Index registered a 6percent loss over the past 15 months, the China Top 50brands were up 20 percent.The New China: Fertile Ground for BrandsDecember 2011 marked the tenth anniversary of China joining theWorldTradeOrganization, and some observers say that a hundred years’worth of societaland economic transformation has occurred in the decade since. Nearly 300millionnewmiddle-classconsumershaveemergedtocreateagrowingmarketthat has allowed new brands to become established extraordinarily quickly.Six of the brands in the Top 50, collectively worth US$50 billion, didn’t evenexist 10 years ago, while more than half the brands in the Top 50 were createdafter 1990.Some observations about this year’s ranking reveal the dynamic environmentin which Chinese brands are thriving.Privately held brands are growingTheentrepreneurialnatureofChinesebusinessshowsupintherelativegrowthin value of privately owned brands. These brands make up the majority (two-thirds) of the Top 50, and they grew 27 percent year-on-year, compared to amere 13 percent for state-owned enterprises (SOEs). However, the privatelyheld brands have a considerable way to go to match the dominance of theSOEs, which currently account for 70 percent of the value of the Top 50 brandsand occupy eight of the top 10 positions in the ranking. (See Table 1.)Point of View40%35%30%25%20%15%10%5%0%-5%-10%Jul ‘10 oct ‘10 jan ‘11 apr ‘11 jul ‘11 Figure 1: BrandZ™ China Portfolio vs. MSCI China (July 2010 to Sept 2011)+20%+20%–6%–6%Source: Bloomberg: MBOptimor London AnalysisBrandZ™MarketBrandZ™ Portfolio; Top 50 Chinese BrandsMSCI China indexPekingTanR&D Director, GreaterChina, Millward BrownPeterWalsheGlobal BrandZ DirectorMillward BrownBrand Field Value(USD Millions)% Changefrom 20101 China Mobile Telecom $53,607 -42 ICBC Financial $43,910 +153 China Construction Bank Financial $21,981 +14 Bank of China Financial $18,643 -175 Agricultural Bank ofChinaFincancial $17,329 +56 Baidu Search Engine $16,256 +677 China Life Insurance $15,253 -178 Sinopec Oil & Gas $13,791 N/A9 PetroChina Oli & Gas $13,755 -310 Tencent Internet Service Portal $12,624 +3Table 1: The China Top 50 – First 10 BrandsIn contrast to the top 10 brands overall, the Top 10 Risers (the brands with thebiggestincreasesinvalue)—arenearlyallprivate.(SeeTable2.)WebportalSinaheads this list with a dramatic increase of 244 percent over last year. Searchengine Baidu, though it grew by a smaller percentage (67 percent), registeredthe biggest increase in actual dollars. It added $6.5 billion to its value—morethan the combined values of the bottom 12 brands in the ranking.Top risers reflect improved living standardsThe fastest-growing brands come from categories that have benefited fromincreases in discretionary spending. In addition to the two Internet brands,the Top 10 Risers include three alcohol brands, two herbal remedy producers,two food brands, and a manufacturer of air conditioners.As Chinese brands have continued to steadily increase in value, the proportionof earnings that are driven by brand and consumer preference has also edgedup. In comparing the Top 50 rankings from 2010 and 2011, we observe that 16brands improved their brand contribution scores while none declined.Thebrandcontributionscoredescribestheextenttowhich“brand,”asopposedto factors like price and location, is responsible for earnings. The increase inthese scores is a reflection of the fact that Chinese consumers are becomingmore informed and discerning about brands. Exposure to multi-nationalbrands has raised their expectations of quality and value, and Chinese brandshave answered this challenge with some real achievements in brand building:improvements in innovation, marketing, image building, and the ability tokeep pace with rapidly changing consumer expectations.Brand Field Value(USD Millions)% Increasefrom 20101 Sina Portals/E-Commerce $1,905 2442 Fulinmen Cooking Oil $380 1383 Tong RenTang Pharma $1,026 894 ChangYu Alcohol $3,223 775 Baldu Portals/E-Commerce $16,256 676 Mengniu Food & Dairy $3,446 667 Wu LianYe Alcohol $4,037 658 Gree Air Conditioning $1,632 589 Moutai Alcohol $9,129 5810 Yunnan Baiyao Pharma $1,897 49Table 2: The China Top 50 – Top 10 RisersThe recently released ChinaTop 50 ranking once againconfirms the value of a strong brand and highlights theremarkable growth of China’s economy over the pastdecade. But it also provides an opportunity to define someof the specific challenges currently facing Chinese brands.China’sTop50:MuchProgressButMoretoDo
  28. 28. Outside of China: Chinese Brands Lack RootsThough they have made great strides in China, most Chinese brands are stillrelatively unknown outside of China. Across the Top 50, foreign earningsaverage less than 5 percent. Millward Brown’s “Going Global” study helpsto put those earnings figures into perspective. The staggering finding fromthat project, which investigated knowledge of Chinese brands in several keymarkets outside of China (including India, Malaysia, Australia, South Africa,the UK, and the United States), was that, overall, 83 percent of respondentscould not name a single Chinese brand.Among the few brands that did have name recognition was PC maker Lenovo,unusual among Chinese brands in that 50 percent of its sales come fromabroad.Anotherrelativelywell-knownChinesebrandwastheappliancemakerHaier. Respondents also had some knowledge of Tsingtao beer and Li-Ning,the sports shoes and apparel brand.So it seems that the first challenge facing China’s brands as they venture intoglobal territory is to gain familiarity. However, to compete effectively againstestablished brands in well-developed markets, they also need to establish ameaningful point of difference.How Difference Drives Value GrowthAnalysis of the BrandZ database, both in China and elsewhere, confirms thatthose brands that offer a meaningful difference are the ones most likelyto achieve profitable growth. Offering an experience that is meaningfullydifferent can enable a brand to support a price premium or to capture a higherproportion of sales at a price that is on par with the market.Figure 2 shows an analysis that relates people’s perceptions of the qualities of“meaning”and“difference”tobrandcontributionscores.InBrandZ,wemeasuredifference directly, with the attribute “different than others.”We captured theconcept of meaning through a combination of the attributes ”high opinion”and “appeal.” We took the 1,172 Chinese brands measured by BrandZ from2008 to 2011, split the brands into three groups (according to tertiles) on bothdifference and our composite measure of meaning, and then calculated theaverage brand contribution scores for each of the resulting nine groups.Thethreeredboxesintheupperrightcontaintheindexesforbrandsthat scorehigh on difference or meaning or both. Note that these numbers are far higherthan those in the other boxes.The brands that are high on both difference andmeaning index at 143; thus they have an average brand contribution scorethat is 43 percent higher than average. The brands that are high on meaningand in the middle group on difference index at 130, while those that are highon difference but in the middle third on meaning also index much higher thanaverage at 121.Conversely, being in the bottom third of brands on either or both dimensionsleads to significantly lower scores on brand contribution. The group that islow on both has an index of 55. Note that even the brands in the top third ondifference had relatively low brand contribution scores when they scored inthe lowest third on meaning, indexing at 85.Point of View85 121 14373 100 13055 83 104HighMediumLowDifferenceLow Medium HighMeaningFigure 2: The Impact of“Brand”on SalesAverage Brand contribution Scores (Indexed)BrandZ™ China 779 brands 2009-2011 (Average = 100)85 121* 143*73 100 130*55 83 104HighMediumLowDifferenceLow Medium HighMeaningFigure 3: Distribution of China Top 50 on Meaning and DifferencePercent of brands in each group*50% of the Top 50 are strong on one or both elementsChina’sTop50:MuchProgressButMoretoDo
  29. 29. When we narrow our focus from all Chinese brands to the China Top 50, wesee another example of Chinese brands moving in the right direction. Theaverage brand contribution score for the China Top 50 improved from 118 in2010 to 124 in 2011. This narrows the gap between the China Top 50 and theGlobal Top 100, for which the average brand contribution score in 2011 was129.Another difference we observe between the China Top 50 and the GlobalTop 100 is in the distribution of brands across the nine boxes. Only half theChina Top 50 brands appear in one of the three upper-right-hand (red) boxes,compared to 70 percent of the Global Top 100 most valuable brands. So eventhough Chinese brands have made great gains, they can still improve oncreating differentiation and meaning.Some Meaningfully Different China Success StoriesA meaningful difference is one that is considered to be important—one thatprovides a brand with a meaning that is likely to influence brand choice. AsNigel Hollis said in his January 2012 POV“Not Just Different but MeaningfullyDifferent,”brand meaning can originate from many different sources: heritage,function, style, and price are a few of the possibilities. Therefore, a meaningfuldifference might be a tangible product-oriented quality, or it might be anintangible emotional benefit.Whetheritistangibleorintangible,ameaningfuldifference is a difference that is significant and influential.Some of the brands in the China Top 50, most notably those among the Top10 Risers, have done a great job of establishing a meaningful difference andshould provide inspiration to other developing Chinese brands. Sina (No.25 overall, No. 1 among the Top 10 Risers) has distinguished itself throughinnovation by creating a micro-blogging site, Sina Weibo. With 227 millionusers posting 86 million messages each day, Sina Weibo offers somethingunique and valuable to consumers and has helped rejuvenate the Sina brand.Heritage can be another key differentiator, and Chinese brands have a rich andunique tradition on which to draw. Tong Ren Tang (No. 36 overall, No.3 amongtop risers) is a traditional Chinese medicine manufacturer that was establishedover 340 years ago. Herbal remedy producer Yunnan Baiyao (26/10) leveragesChinese medicine by incorporating the ancient baiyao powder, which stopsbleeding, into modern products such as toothpaste, bandages, and skin-carecreams.Trust is a critical issue, particularly for food brands, because of a number ofqualityissuesandscandalsinrecentdecades.BothFulinmen(47/2),theleadingcooking oil and rice producer, and Mengniu (18/6), a maker of dairy products,have benefitted from clear communication of their healthy provenance.Fulinmen has projected the caring and protective image of a wise mother,while Mengniu has connected the consumption of dairy products with thestrength of the Chinese people.Outlook for the FutureThe BrandZTM China Top 50 brands 2011, collectively worth US$325 billion atthe time of the study, testified to the fact that strong branding is the result ofproviding a great product experience and developing a trusted relationshipwith customers. But even though Chinese brands have made remarkableprogressoverthepast10years,theyhavemoreworktodoiftheyaretocompeteeffectively in global markets. They must increase their strength in their homemarket by continuing to build perceptions of meaningful difference in theface of increased competition from multinational brands. Outside of China,they need to raise awareness and communicate their meaningful differenceat the same time, and in so doing they must take into account the varyingmindsets and attitudes toward brands that exist in other countries. A one-size-fits-all marketing plan will not be effective. However, the China Top 50ranking showcases a number of Chinese brands that are acquiring and honingthe skills that will make them successful overseas.Point of ViewChina’sTop50:MuchProgressButMoretoDo
  30. 30. Point of View
  31. 31. You may have some trinket or memento onyour desk as well—something that doesn’t haveany practical purpose and appears insignificantto others, but is meaningful to you. Your uniquehistory with the object makes it special.I think the fact that we can form such attachmentswith relatively inconsequential objects illustratesa too-often-overlooked concept that is importantfor brands and brand marketing: the conceptof meaningful difference. A presentation I sawrecently, created by the agency BBH, also focuses on the concept of difference.Thepresentationproclaimedthatthe“classic”communicationsmodel,inwhichcommunication that is relevant, different, and motivating leads to behavioralchange, has given way to the “insight” model, in which changes in behaviorare effected by communication that is simply relevant and motivating.“We have forgotten the power of difference,” BBH asserted. I am afraid thatthey are right—and that this amnesia applies to both communication andbranding. Many marketers today valuerelevance to the exclusion of difference—and to the detriment of their brands.Yet those who first demoted “difference”from its place of honor in communicationsmay have done so for the right reasons.Theymayhaverealizedthatbeingdifferentfor the sake of being different was of littlevalue. But the mistake they made wasto throw out difference altogether and switch their emphasis to relevance.Successful brands are both relevant and different—but they are also morethan that. Successful brands are meaningfully different.So what’s a meaningful difference? I think of it this way. We humans find itimpossible to judge anything in isolation. We tend to compare things to veryclose alternatives.So a difference, a factor that distinguishes one item from another, gets ourattention. And while a difference may be apparent to most people, it won’tseem important to everyone. A meaningful difference is one that is consideredto be important—one that provides a brand with a meaning that is likely tohave an influence on a person’s brand choice.Brand meaning can originate from a multitude of sources. It could come fromyour personal history with a brand; for example, you might use the samebrand of detergent that your mother used. Or it could come from functionalcharacteristics; you might really like the intuitive interface of that tabletcomputer. You might be attached to your car because you think it looks hotor because it is economical and saves you money. Or a brand’s meaning foryou might simply be that it is familiar when others are not. Meaning canbe functional and tangible or emotional and intangible or all of the above.Meaning is in the eye of the beholder.Nigel HollisSVP and Chief Global Analyst,Millward BrownPoint of ViewMany marketers todayvalue relevance to theexclusion of difference -and to the detriment oftheir brandsFor many years, a smooth green stone has sat on my desk. It’sa piece of serpentine that I was given when, as a small child, Ivisited an artist’s workshop in Scotland.Truthfully, it’s a prettyunremarkable rock, and I doubt that anyone else would find itinteresting, but it means something to me.NotJustDifferentbutMeaningfullyDifferent