Saturday, September 18, 2010
from Laura Ries:
Would a sugar taste as sweet by another name?
I say absolutely. Even sweeter.
High fructose corn syrup has become public enemy number one in the fight against obesity. Having successfully attacked trans-fat the food police have turned to high fructose corn syrup with great vim and vigor. And great success.
Sales of high fructose corn syrup are in rapid decline. Consumption of corn-derived sweeteners sank 20% in the past decade compared to only a 3% decline in refined sugar.
Just as we saw with trans-fat, food companies are racing to replace high fructose corn syrup with sugar in their products. Hunt’s ketchup, Gatorade, Wheat Thins, Ocean Spray juice and all the baked goods at Starbucks now are being touted as made with real sugar.
But what is “real” and what is not? Hard to say. But when you give your product a name like “high fructose corn syrup,” it doesn’t sound very real at all. In fact, the name sounds dangerous.
Yet most experts agree that sugar is sugar. “Leading scientists,” reported The New York Times, “say that high fructose corn syrup, made when various chemicals convert corn starch into syrup, is not any worse than sugar. Both sweeteners are made up of roughly equal amounts of glucose and fructose.”
Ironically, what happens in a modern corn-refining plant is just like what happens in your mouth where an enzyme breaks up starch (a polymer made up of thousands of sugar molecules) into sucrose, glucose and fructose.
But I am not here to argue about the science. Personally, I try to eat as little processed food as possible. Overly-processed foods and sodas containing either high fructose corn syrup or refined sugar are unhealthy and should be eaten sparingly.
What I am here for is to analyze the branding of high fructose corn syrup.
There is an interesting twist to this story because my Dad/partner Al Ries handled the advertising account for Corn Products International back in the mid-70’s.
After the FDA approved high fructose corn syrup in the 1970’s, Corn Products hired Al to run a campaign to urge manufactures to switch to its high fructose corn syrup product. The main target was carbonated drinks since high fructose corn syrup was less expensive and also a liquid making easer to blend into drinks.
The name used for the corn product was “55-percent high fructose corn syrup.” The 55 relates to the strength of the sugar, 55 is the same sweetness level as table sugar. Al’s first reaction to the name was “Wait a minute, that name is going to cause you problems! Why don’t you call it corn sugar?”
Al’s agency developed a series of trade advertisements promoting corn-sugar. “Consider all three types of sugar,” said one headline. And the copy outlined the advantages of corn sugar over cane sugar and beet sugar.
The ads were a hit, but neither Corn Products nor the corn industry did anything about changing the name of product. Would it have been easy to get the FDA to approve the “corn sugar” name? No. But it would have been worth the fight.
Initially, the negatives of the high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) name didn’t hinder the rise of the category because the economics of high fructose corn syrup were so clear-cut. Because of its low cost and ease of use, HFCS now dominates the food and beverage sweetener business.
Because it’s a syrup it’s clear to understand how much easier it is use. But why is high fructose corn syrup so cheap?
A system of sugar tariffs and sugar quotas imposed in 1977 significantly increased the cost of imported sugar in the U.S. The cost of domestic sugar is artificially inflated to almost twice the global price. On top of that, the price of corn is artificially low because of government subsidies paid to growers.
Today, HFCS is still cheap, but public opinion has turned against the sweetener leading to rapidly declining sales. What was the reaction of the Corn Refiners Association? Advertising. Two years ago, they started a $30 million campaign touting the “Sweet Surprise” of corn sugar. Did this help? No, of course not. Advertising is a terrible way to change a strongly-held perception.
The perception is that high fructose corn syrup is worse for you than sugar. Well with a name like that, how could it not be?
A name is important in creating a perception in the mind. And the not just the brand name, but the category name as well.
Every brand has two names: a brand name and a category name. It’s not just Red Bull, it’s Red Bull energy drink.
Too many marketers take the category name as a “given” or even worse they think it doesn’t matter. So all their efforts are spent on promoting their brand name, not the category names.
This is a mistake. The category name is an extremely important element in the success of a brand. The consumer is more interested in the category than the brand. In the mind, the brand just represents the category. And if your category has the wrong name, you are going to be in trouble, no matter what the brand is.
Take diet cola versus light beer. About 70 percent of carbonated beverages sold in America are regular-calorie products. Only about 30 percent are “diet” products.
Beer is different. Today, “light” beer accounts for about 60 percent of the U.S. market. And regular beer accounts for about 40 percent.
Light beer is a roaring success. Diet cola and the other diet beverages are not.
One reason for the difference is the category names themselves. Calling a product a “diet” cola screams out loud and clear, “You’re not going to like the taste.”
Calling a product a “light” beer sends a different psychological message, a message that can be twisted into a benefit. With a light beer, you can drink more of the product, as exploited in the famous Miller Lite campaign: “Tastes great. Less filling.”
For corn-syrup producers, the high-fructose name was a time bomb. But it has taken decades for the bad name to sabotage the category.
Outside the U.S., realizing their mistake, the major cola companies are using “light” as the category name and not “diet.” The recent success of Coca-Cola Zero shows dropping the “diet” is a better direction for a brand.
The existence of “diet” colas sends a dual message to consumers, both of which are negative:
(1) There are too many calories in regular colas.
(2) Diet colas don’t taste as good as regular cola.
On the other hand, few consumers react negatively to light beer. But suppose Anheuser-Busch had called its leading brand “Diet Budweiser?”
Joe Sixpack would have laughed. And ordered a Miller Lite.
A good category name should be simple, easy to remember and imply a benefit.
What if Activia had called its product “high bacteria microorganism yogurt?” Technically, that is what Activia is. But instead they used the much better “probiotics” category name.
Sphere: Related Content
Probiotics sounds like a benefit. Corn sugar sounds like sugar. High fructose sounds like hazardous. Too bad the industry didn’t take Al’s advice in the 1970’s and change the name to “corn sugar.” Unfortunately now it might be too late to do today.
Always good stuff from Jim Meinsenheimer:
Truth be told, my wife Bernadette, doesn't enjoy flying. In fact
So when my niece Kate sent us a wedding invitation to Pittsburgh
While I'm not the most observant person on the planet, I do pay
Here are two quick tales with 180° of separation.
First the rave. On the trip Bernadette's new iPhone wasn't
As soon as we got to Pittsburgh we located the nearest Apple
We opened the door to the store and were immediately blown away
There were 16 employees and each person was wearing a blue shirt.
There were three greeters. B - explained what her problem was.
Everyone seemed to be positive and energetic. I had this weird
When it was our turn, the Apple Technician, asked several questions
The verdict was a malfunctioning headset jack which was interfering
The technician said he would be happy to replace the iPhone at
It was truly a memorable experience.
I remember being at Macy's a week earlier and having to search
The Apple staff oozed energy.
The Apple store solved our problem.
So I'm wondering, why can't every retail experience be like the
It's probably because, in most companies, management doesn't get
We decided on the Cheesecake Factory.
It was a mob scene. Their business was obviously booming.
B ordered a burger and I ordered chicken wings.
When my wings were served, it didn't take too long to be
After one bite into the first wing I could see it was bloody
We waved to our server, who after seeing the condition of the
Okay - stuff happens. I say, when you have a problem fix it ASAP.
So the manager came to our table. He said his name is Chuck.
He was either delusional, stupid, whacked out on drugs or just
I know you're thinking I'm being too severe in judging his
What would your reaction be if Chuck told you the wings won not
He went on to explain that what we saw was just the harmless
I looked at B. She looks at me.
We couldn't believe he offered this lame excuse as a rational
How could he be so stupid to think we were so stupid to think
It's true when you say hindsight is 20/20.
What I should have done was get a Cheesecake Factory menu, the
But I didn't and all I have now is another example of dreadful
Look, if you screw up, fess up and make things right.
How many times a week are you experiencing customer service that
If you want to get sales up when the economy is down every
When you think about customer service rants and raves there is
I'm looking forward to going back to the Apple store again. I
No-Brainer Selling Skills Boot Camp
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Friday, September 17, 2010
There will be 6 more updates this weekend including a Classic Ad on Saturday night and Seth Godin post on Sunday night (6pm eastern time).
In the mean time, Click & Read:
by Drew McLellan
When you are creating content -- be it marketing copy for a brochure, an e-book, a radio script or even leaving a sales call voicemail -- you need to know when to shut up. We're so eager to tell the customers/prospects all about our widget, service or knowledge -- we try to cram it all into one message.
Which is satisfying to us, but miserable for the audience. Like a firehose -- we've flooded them with facts, features and benefits. And in the end, they can't remember any of it.
Next time -- be brave. Tell them the most important thing. And then, shut up. Too many words clog the brain and never allow you to connect with their heart. And that's where the buying decision happens. In their heart.
Nissan's new TV spot for their LEAF vehicle gets it. Watch this spot and then identify the single most important fact about this car. I will bet you a dozen donuts -- you won't forget it. (You can also click here to view.)
Would someone react the same way (emotionally charged AND remembering the key point) if they looked at whatever you wrote last?
If not...how could you turn that around?Sphere: Related Content
Do you know yours?
Daily Sales Tip: Know Your 'Peak' Time
Most salespeople have a 2-4-hour block of time when they operate at peak efficiency.
Their concentration is keen, their creative powers are acute, and their ability to do more than one thing at a time is sharper.
Try to pinpoint your "peak" time and schedule your most important activities within this block of time.
Source: Adapted from The New Science of Selling and Persuasion, by William T. Brooks
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Corona Extra wants consumers to find their beach. Nissan Leaf replaces Lance Armstrong with a grateful polar bear. Let's launch!
ESPN launched "A Short Time Ago," the latest TV ad for the network's "It's not crazy, it's sports" brand campaign. The campaign exposes strange occurrences taking place in the sports world. Of course, these events are only strange to non-sports fans. In "A Short Time Ago," viewers learn about students at the University of Mississippi who recently tried to elect Admiral Ackbar, a Supreme Commander of the Rebel Alliance Fleet in "Star Wars," as their on-field mascot. Crazy but true. The university hasn't had an on-field mascot since 2003, and, sadly, Ackbar won't be the one. LucasFilm informed Ole Miss that Ackbar is busy "fighting evil forces in another galaxy." Watch it here. Earlier ads included footage of Apollo 14 astronauts in 1971 playing golf on the moon. I especially loved the Chi-Chi Rodriguez shout-out at the close of "Miles and Miles." See it here. "Hauler Race" pays homage to "Smokey and the Bandit," with a race between big-rig trucks hauling NASCAR vehicles. Watch it here. In "Jocks," baseball stats make everyone a bit nerdy, jocks included. The school math nerds take note. See it here. Wieden+Kennedy New York created the campaign.
The Royal Bank of Canada is sponsoring this year's Toronto International Film Festival, running through Sept. 19. Three TV spots promote the festival's theme to "see something original." In "Western," a boy watches a cowboy ride off into the sunset. The second, more original, take features the boy saying goodbye to a Centaur. See it here. A young woman brushes her teeth during a thunderstorm, and then sees a man with a scarred face and a hook for a hand in "Mirror." In the second half, we find the hooked man is brushing his teeth and being reminded by his girlfriend to clean his hook. Watch it here. Two men working in a golf store need "$50,000" and fast. They can either enter a golf tournament that day or use their golf clubs to beat a man covered head-to-toe in $100 bills. See it here. BBDO Toronto created the campaign, directed by Scott Corbett of Holiday Films.
What did Saturn ever do to you, Ray Lewis? Old Spice launched its latest TV and print campaign, starring NFL linebacker Ray Lewis. While Isaiah Mustafa was smooth and spoke to the ladies -- check out his video to me here -- Ray Lewis is hard, angry and clearly speaking to men. I miss my gentle Isaiah. In the ad, seen here, Lewis is covered in bubbles, has no time to play fantasy football, but has time to wear Swagger and hop on a raven, whose black eyes become lasers that destroy Saturn. Lewis plays for the Baltimore Ravens, for all you non-football fans. Print ads, seen here, here, and here, show Lewis releasing his rage... and still covered in bubbles. Wieden+Kennedy Portland created the campaign.
Google has yet to disappoint me with its online videos. The company previously told stories of love, having a baby and sibling rivalry. This time around, the brand uses Bob Dylan's song "Subterranean Homesick Blues" to promote Google Instant, its real-time, predictive search results. As Dylan sings, Google Instant demonstrates how quickly search results appear. A user types "Subterranean Homesick Blues" lyrics and Google Instant finishes his search query. Watch the ad here, created by Google Creative Lab and Johannes Leonardo.
FedEx launched four TV spots last weekend under its "We Understand" umbrella. A businessman poses as an "exchange student" in China, hoping to land international clients. The family housing him overhears a business conversation and realizes they've been duped. The exchange student does a poor job pretending he's youthful, spouting terms like "for reals, player" and rushing off to soccer rehersal wearing khakis and carrying a briefcase. He does respect curfew, however. See it here. A man can't enjoy his retirement party because his boss is singing about unfinished tasks to the tune of "For he's a jolly good fellow." Watch it here. Two co-workers passing through airport security have their business presentation critiqued by airport security: "Never kick off with sales figures." See it here. A boss who has a hard time remembering "Names" incorporates his employees names into memorable phrases such as heavens to Betsy and magic Wanda. The group tells Dan fool not to take his name to heart. Watch the ad here. BBDO New York created the campaign.
Nissan LEAF has replaced Lance Armstrong with a "Polar Bear" spokesanimal in the latest TV ad promoting the zero-emission, 100% electric vehicle. The ad begins in the polar bear's Arctic home, where he sits atop a floating chunk of ice. The bear sets off on a journey that takes him through a forest, walking on a train track, highways, through city streets and lastly the 'burbs, where he finds an owner of a Nissan Leaf and hugs him. Watch it here. The ad has a few similarities to this 2008 ad for National Grid, namely the polar bear traipsing through city and family lives. TBWA/Chiat/Day Los Angeles created the campaign.
Corona Extra launched "Moments," a TV spot that encourages consumers to find their beach. In other words: your happy place doesn't have to be drinking Coronas in the sand. It can be on a golf course, a city rooftop or snowy mountainside. The spot closes with a couple clinking Corona bottles on a beach. Watch the ad here, created by Cramer-Krasselt.
Keeping with the happiness theme, BMW launched its "Story of Joy" campaign earlier this year with a TV and print campaign that illustrated the definition of joy using three words. "Story of Joy" features snapshots, both old and new, of people experiencing happy moments of life behind the wheel of their BMWs. "Joy is inspiring" is paired with a BMW making art from a blank canvas, while the phrase "Joy is collectable" shows a young boy playing with his collection of toy cars. Watch the ad here. Print ads stick with the three-word copy, highlighting the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Concept Vehicle using the tag line "Joy Is Futureproof," or coupling an older man with his BMW and the tag line, "Joy is youthful." See creative here and here. GSD&M Idea City created the campaign and Universal McCann handled the media buy.Random iPhone App of the week: Crush and sister company Lollipop created an app for the production community, called Crush Tools. The app helps clients frame their commercials in multiple formats. For example, an ad might be filmed for television and wind up playing in movie theatres. The app allows the director, cinematographer, art director or producer to upload a pre-existing photo so they can visualize the framing for both TV and theatre formats. The app can be downloaded for free in the App Store.
from a local advertising/marketing agency, Labov & Beyond:
Sometimes you have to let the customer answer his or her own questions, especially when he or she is expressing an objection. “This costs more than I expected,” says the customer. Count to ten to let the customer consider the objection a little. Chances are pretty good that the customer will resolve his or her objection without you having to say a word.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Click and Read:
Only if you understand how to do it.
I handled the email, direct mail and website promotion for our local advertising federation chapter for a year and by applying human behavior tendencies to my email campaigns, was able to kick in some impressive response numbers.
At the radio stations I work with we were discussing how our 20-something targeted station listeners are more into Facebook and texting than emails, but for the rest of the world, email can be effective...
How Miracle-Gro Uses Email to Grow Offline Sales
"One click between email message and e-commerce is so ingrained for all of us—as both buyers and marketers—that it's almost nostalgic to think of using email solely to promote offline purchases," writes Stephanie Miller in an article at MarketingProfs.
But that's exactly how Scotts Miracle-Gro—a company with no direct online sales channel—uses its email-marketing program. During the registration process, subscribers provide their grass type and postal code; then, once each month during their region's growing season, they receive a Scotts Lawn Care Update newsletter with content tailored to their needs.
According to Kip Edwardson, the senior manager of Interactive Marketing at Scotts, the company's newsletter has a clear mission: to take the guesswork out of product selection for any lawn in any season in any location.
"We've learned that knowledge equals revenue," Edwardson tells Miller in the article. "We are guiding them through the lawn-care lifecycle, and that education encourages them to not only buy more product but to feel confident and gratified by their purchase. We take very seriously that customers gave us a permission grant, and we want to provide something of value."
Subscribers can also register for Consumer Information Alerts that offer advice on coping with adverse weather conditions or anything else that might harm their lawns.
"We cull through our call center, retail feedback, and website for spikes in activity—say, a freeze in Florida or heavy moss in the Midwest," Edwardson explains. "We then proactively alert subscribers and the retail-store managers in those regions with tips on how to address the issue."
The Po!nt: A good email program can grow more than subscriptions. Scotts gives its in-store sales a significant boost by offering real help to customers via its email messaging.
Source: MarketingProfs. Read the full article.Sphere: Related Content
From an email from Bnet:
By Geoffrey James
Converting prospects into opportunities (and eventually customers) is the key to building your pipeline. According to Thomas Ray Crowel, author of Simple Selling, there are four key strategies to improve your conversion rate:
- Strategy #1: Improve your prospecting list. The more that the list is “pre-qualified” the more likely you are to convert prospects into opportunities. Ideally, your marketing group should be doing as much pre-qualification as possible, either by purchasing high-quality, better-targeted lists or by doing the first level of winnowing themselves. Hint: the absolute best lists are referrals from existing customers.
- Strategy #2: Improve your selling attitude. Working upon your attitude and motivation will pay off big time; your effectiveness as a communicator is highly dependent upon these “soft” skills. Also, there may be times of the day or week when cold calling is more productive - both for you and for the suspects. Hint: Here’s a post that teaches you EXACTLY when you should be cold calling: The Best Time to Cold Call.
- Strategy #3: Improve your phone skills. The more effective you are at getting the right people on the phone and finding out whether they’re qualified to be prospects, the less time you’ll need to spend doing it. As you reduce that time, you’ll either be able to spend less time prospecting or generate more prospects in the same amount of time. Experiment with different scripts. Keep a record of what works best for you. Do a mental debriefing after each call to decide what you could do better next call.
- Strategy #4: Improve your close rate. If you become a more effective presenter and closer, you won’t need to generate as many opportunities in order to make your quota. Failing to pay attention to your ability to close is good news for your competitors, because if you don’t close yourself, your sales efforts will create the exact conditions that your competitor needs to close. Remember: an opportunity means that prospect is ready to buy and will probably buy. Make sure it’s from you.
BTW, when all four improvements are done in parallel they create a geometrical increase in the number of prospects generated. This allows you to dedicate less time to prospecting and more time to selling and closing… or more time to play golf, if that’s how you’d rather spend the time.
Here are some posts to help you out:
- What’s the Best Time to Cold Call?
- The Ultimate Cold Calling Tool
- The Ultimate Prospect Qualification Tool
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Click & Read:
And I wrote about it last week on one of my other blogs.
Collective Wisdom, the blog you are readying right now, is updated 3 times a day with wisdom from others besides myself.
A few years ago, I was asked to write a book on Advertising and Marketing and instead I decided to start another blog, The Not-So-Secret Writings of ScLoHo. Not very humble, I admit.
It's updated weekly, currently on Tuesdays.
Here is last weeks entry and my answer to the headline question:
Last month I was consulting with a gentleman who had a couple of marketing/advertising ideas.
He said marketing, I saw them as advertising.
Advertising is a paid form of marketing usually involving ads or commercials.
After hearing his ideas I realized that he was unaware of a basic formula that I've known and preached for years.
There really is a formula for Success in Advertising. Unfortunately a minority of people know it, and even less follow it.
Some do it be accident, but imagine how much more successful you could be if you consciously followed a formula.
Here it is:
Reach + Frequency + Message.
Put the word Right in front of each of those three words.
Reach is the number of different people that you ad will be exposed to.
Frequency is the number of times one person will be exposed to your ad.
Message is, well it IS your ad.
Every single form of advertising, from Billboards, to website banner ads, to radio ads, every form of advertising relies on this formula for success.
Before you agree to spend another nickle on advertising, consider these three elements.
Contact me if you need help. Scott @ ScLoHo.net
I'll dig deeper into each of these in the future.
As you were reading this, I updated the Not-So Secret Writings of ScLoHo with an insiders look at the first factor of that formula. Click here to read it now. Sphere: Related Content
from my email:
Daily Sales Tip: Identifying the Real Objection
When customers say they want to "think over" their buying decision, it's often safe to assume that they have an objection they're not sharing.
Asking "What do you want to think over?" can seem intimidating, and probably won't help you uncover the real problem. Instead, ask, "Is it a question of price?" Then quietly wait for a response.
By guessing a specific objection, you'll encourage prospects to correct you by stating their true concern. If your suggestion is correct, you probably found out what's making your buyer hesitate. You might be surprised at how much this strategy improves your closing ratio.
Source: 123 Super Sales Tips
Monday, September 13, 2010
Click and Read: