Archive | October, 2012

Four Principles for GREAT Country Branding

He’s been saving the world from assorted villains these past 50 years – and now James Bond is backing Britain. Currently being aired in 21 countries, VisitBritain’s new promotional campaign has put 007 on the case.

VisitBritain’s ‘GREAT Britain’ campaign also draws together major events, sporting achievements and commercial partners to promote the UK as a great country in which to live, study, invest and do business – as well as to visit.

In my book, the GREAT Britain campaign is a real winner. So what can it teach those of us in branding and brand management about the principles of country branding?

1 Find the big idea
Consistent, unified communication founded on a central idea is always a cornerstone of effective brand building.

Using greatness as the central idea was a gamble to say the least, because it is both fairly ambiguous, potentially arrogant, and easy to shoot down if it isn’t actually true.

However, the massive organizational and sporting triumph which we achieved at the Olympics has genuinely put GB back on the map as a great nation – a surprise even to ourselves as we have become chronically used to putting our nation’s performance down as second rate.

As with any brand, the message also needs to ring true to internal employees – or in this case, citizens.  Avoiding the obvious icons such as red buses, monarchy and bowler hats was a very good thing because, even though these elements will always be part of brand Britain, they simply don’t mean much to vast amounts of us any more due to our diversity.

I genuinely believe Great Britain as a tourist destination is also great, so the idea holds true here as well. Putting sun-worshipping to one side, you will be hard pushed to find a country anywhere on earth which has as diverse a natural environment, culture and heritage as Great Britain within a relatively small landmass.

What is also important is how that message is actually delivered. I believe a big part of the success of the campaign is in the consistency of GREAT Britain as a brand.

All partners, including VisitBritain, UK Trade & Investment, the British Council and the Foreign Office are speaking with one voice. That’s what makes the brand coherent, identifiable and successful.

…and with a trillion pounds plus in national debt, god knows we need some success!

2 Translate the idea to specific messaging and visual style
Although the Olympics technically and visually weren’t part of the GREAT Britain campaign, they certainly couldn’t have been a better ambassador for it.

Around a billion people across the world watched the opening ceremony, a show that was great in its cinematic and story-telling ambition, and of course in our great humour.  The masterstroke of course being the almost surreal insertion of James Bond greeting HM The Queen at Buckingham Palace followed by the monarch apparently parachuting into the Olympic stadium for the big event.

On the visual front, you obviously need to have great visual quality (photography, typographic consistency, etc) to support this particular big idea. Quality and consistency can often be a big problem to maintain once a campaign gets implemented in local markets. Realistically you can’t do this without brand management technology and a good example is The Canadian Tourism Commission who use brand management software to implement Brand Canada around the world.

3 Make media connections
The lesson here is how tying into current films, music or other media can amplify your message without amplifying the cost.

Much of Skyfall, the new Bond movie, is filmed in iconic London locations including the National Gallery, Whitehall and Greenwich, as well as in the Highlands of Scotland – all strong in promoting the tourism message.

Certainly VisitBritain is making capital from the film’s subliminal imagery coupled with the global fascination with the quintessentially ‘British’ James Bond. Indeed, the advertising value couldn’t be better, both for the film and the VisitBritain message.

4 Capitalise on commercial partnerships
Commercial partnership with other appropriate brands can give your campaign added reach – because partners will broadcast your messages for you.

For instance, British Airways has done much to promote London 2012, supporting VisitBritain to encourage tourism. Other partnerships with travel brands such as Expedia, STA Travel and Virgin Australia are also designed to promote offers across a wide consumer base in key markets.

By making these strategic commercial liaisons, VisitBritain is able to extend its message way beyond the limits of its own media budget.

The conclusion
My own view is that the GREAT Britain campaign is a masterful example of branding, joined-up communications and consistent brand management. What they have done is seize the moment of maximum potential and exploit it brilliantly, backing the whole with strong brand management and imaginative communications.

So, Mister Bond, we are expecting great things!

but please, please, Mr. Bond, don’t drink too much Heineken, don’t even think about holding up a branded cola, and get back in your Aston Martin. Fifty years of brand equity will be diluted very quickly if you milk it too hard. But that is a topic for another post…

What is Software Durability, and Why You Should Care

The acquisition and implementation of enterprise-level marketing software involves a substantial commitment of time, energy, and financial resources for any large organization. Marketing leaders who are responsible for selecting such software must consider many factors as they move through the evaluation process. Ultimately, however, the decision comes down to answering two fundamental questions:

  • Does the proposed solution provide the functionality that will meet my company’s current needs and identifiable future needs?
  • Does the proposed solution provide sufficient flexibility to address unpredictable future needs?

It’s relatively easy to determine whether a software application will meet your company’s current and identifiable future needs. You can collect appropriate information about existing marketing requirements and processes, develop a functional specification for the solution, and carefully evaluate the capabilities of alternative offerings. Read More…

Adobe Debunks Marketing Myths in New Campaign

Adobe’s is tackling often-heard prejudices about marketing’s accountability, in a new campaign called ‘Metrics not myths’.

Quoting a recent study by The Fournaise Marketing Group, Adobe said 80% of CEOs don’t trust marketers and 70% believe marketers are too disconnected from business results. The technology company thinks these are outdated preconceptions and aims to bust several marketing myths. Adobe aims to bust it by highlighting the analytics available as part of its Marketing Cloud technology.

Ann Lewes, Adobe CMO, said in her column introducing the campaign:

Our approach is to identify top myths about digital marketing that plague brands, agencies, chief marketing officers and CEOs and turn them on their head — with irony, humor, a provocative point of view and proof. We want this campaign to be honest in capturing both the passion and genuine frustration marketers feel when their contributions are undervalued and they’re told the impact of their work isn’t measureable. Read More…

The 6 A’s of Marketing Performance Management

Successful marketers keep track of their results, as the 2012 Marketing Performance Management survey showed. The marketers who outperform their peers have discovered the benefits of Marketing Performance Management, namely: Alignment, Accountability, Analytics, Automation, Aliances and Assessment. For those who missed the study, here’s a visual summary:




MRM According to Elateral

‘With Elateral, the solution is only a url away.’

A large chunk of big businesses’ marketing budgets goes into localizing marketing material. This can take up to six weeks to produce, precious time that eats up your speed-to-market. Software vendor Elateral offers software solutions for large marketing organizations, where speed is key. Global businesses can speed up the design and production process with this web-based marketing tool, which promises to reduce the production time ‘from weeks to minutes’.


The #1 Cost-Saving Strategy That 99% of Marketers Overlook

I’ve enjoyed working in B2B marketing for the last fifteen years. And I’ve seen it all, from online behaviour analysis to lead nurturing; from personalized messaging to social media marketing.  Some of these trends have provided dramatic traction for B2B marketers and some have been less impressive.

But in recent years, as companies have pressed for a tangible demonstration of ROI for their marketing spend, I have wondered about the metrics of the marketing ‘deliverable’, and whether or not companies aren’t perhaps missing something critical.

What vs. How

As marketers, we spend a lot of time evaluating ‘what’ we do in the marketplace and hardly focus on the ‘how’ – in other words, the ‘creative & strategy’ versus ‘operations & processes’. And if we were to take a survey of the most experienced marketers around the world, I’m fairly certain that they would say they’ve made their career on the ‘what’.

And here’s where I see a gaping hole.

Read More…

How Product Information Management Systems Enhance Marketing

In my last post, I discussed how effective product information management can enable enterprises to reduce costs. Because product data is required by many business functions and used for a variety of purposes, most organizations have product information spread across numerous information systems. This approach to product information management creates duplicative and inefficient work processes and generates excessive costs.

To manage product-related data more efficiently, a growing number of companies are turning to dedicated software applications to streamline product information management processes and tasks. These technologies are typically called product information management systems (PIMS), and they provide a central repository and a defined structure for product data. In most cases, these applications are specifically designed to integrate with other software systems that require product information. As I wrote in my last post, a robust PIMS can enable an enterprise to achieve significant savings in data management and maintenance costs, catalog creation costs, and translation costs. Read More…

ExactTarget Acquires Pardot and iGoDigital

Global interactive marketing provider ExactTarget has acquired privately-held marketing automation provider Pardot and web personalization solutions provider iGoDigital, in an attempt to broaden the company’s market of B2B and B2C clients.

Scott Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of ExactTarget, said:

With the addition of Pardot to the ExactTarget suite, we will redefine marketing automation and deliver the most scalable, comprehensive automation solution that helps both B-to-B and B-to-C marketers leverage the power of data to connect with customers across email, mobile, social media and the Web.

Founded in 2007, Pardot is a software-as-a-service Marketing Automation platform to create, deploy and manage online lead nurturing marketing campaigns. Featuring certified integrations with, NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and SugarCRM, Pardot has a client list of more than 1,000 organizations, ranging from small and mid-sized businesses to divisions of large enterprise organizations. Read More…

The Pros and Cons of Pinterest

Pinterest is one of the social media channels businesses can’t make up their minds about. While it’s a great place to showcase products, and it’s gaining popularity, its effectiveness is still under discussion. For those trying to make up their minds, SAP and NetBase have prepared a pros and cons list. Pro: it’s very popular in the USA, especially among women. Con: it’s a timesuck. Pro: it looks clean and is easy to use. Con: the technical issues. Scroll down and see for yourself if you think Pinterest is worth including in the marketing mix.



MRM According to BrandMaster

‘A one-billion dollar brand can achieve 35 to 70 million dollars in annual savings by addressing its marketing efficiency and effectiveness. It doesn’t matter if you operate in one or many markets – the challenges for your brand are the same.’

Software vendor BrandMaster provides brand efficiency and consistency solutions. These range from helping to cut operational marketing costs, to achieving greater accountability for marketing, to gaining more control over your brand – ‘through better planning, execution and reporting,’ the video intones.

In their own words, BrandMaster provides an online platform to plan, synchronize and deploy all your marketing activities. It’s a modular solution, so you can choose to use one or more modules in six categories: information, calendar, material, distribution, reports, and user admin. It’s a pretty all-round Marketing Resource Management solution for tasks ranging from planning, to reporting, to asset management, to ordering.