lauantai 19. toukokuuta 2012

How to use QR codes in advertisement most effectively


The ad for the movie The Dictator

Whilst waiting for the bus, the ad for promoting the new movie “The Dictator” caught my eye. Or actually the thing that made it unusual compared to other “traditional” ads I’ve seen - the QR code. As the number of smart phones is increasing all the time, we are going into the direction where QR codes are increasingly used in ads. Even though I liked seeing some creative thinking, there is still lot to learn how to use QR codes in a more effective way. In my opinion, the QR code wasn’t strategically well positioned (in the lower right corner) since you really have to look at the ad carefully to see it, unless people tend to look at their feet. In my opinion it would work better if it was on the eye-level so that people wouldn’t be able to miss it. Moreover, it would be more convenient to scan the code.

The QR code directs you to the trailer of the movie. I have my doubts, though. Does the trailer really engage possible consumers? I can only speak for myself, but I have to say the answer would be no. What I would’ve done is to create an application where consumer can find the nearest cinemas (there should be a possibility to change places, e.g. Adelaide CBD). After choosing the place the application would provide information when the movie is shown. Again, let the consumer change the date and time that suites best for him/her. When the consumer has found the best alternative, s/he should be able to purchase the tickets because that is the ultimate goal – to increase the sales. Otherwise all the effort you’ve put into the advertisement campaign is just waste of resources. I cannot highlight it enough that the most important rule for effective advertisement is: Do it nice and easy for consumers! They will reward you.

If you like to add more features to the application, you can put the trailer, possibly some (flattering) reviews to name but a few. But what you really want, is the consumer to purchase what you have to offer. When you lower the barrier to purchase, the people are more likely to actually do so. When thinking the advertisement campaign through the eyes of the consumer, you can gain a lot in a very cost-efficient way.

torstai 17. toukokuuta 2012

What makes you pay attention to an ad that is what kind of an ad is a good ad?

To that question, there are as many answers as there are people on this planet. We all look at the ads from our own perspective and interpret them. Because everyone has their own, subjective opinion, I can only speak for myself.

I've started to get irritated by ads lately since they are everywhere. Some reasearches say that people expose to more than 40 000 ads a year. 40 000! That's a huge number of ads. And to how many do we actually pay attention? I cannot recall too many of them to be honest. Especially Australian TV is full of ads – have you ever paid attention how much there actually are commercial breaks? I'd like to run an experiment and take time how many minutes they are showing ads during programmes. I will report the results later. Moreover, it is more tricky to try to capture people's attention since everyone's doing there own business during commercial breaks – unless there's something really interesting going on. ”You have to find your own pink elephant.” -Paul Rogers

As we all know, ads have different functions: to inform, to remind and to persuade your target audience. Even though an ad is informative, it doesn't mean that it should be boring. On the other hand, persuasive ads might end up being nothing but persuasive. It's becoming harder and harder for advertising people to try to come up with new, fresh and innovative ideas, because that is what companies and customers are eagerly looking for.

There are two elements that appeal to me in ads: humor and emotions. If an ad is funny, it makes me laugh and feel good, it is probably going to do the same when others see it too, so I'll share it. Nowadays, when the social media is a part of our everyday lives, it is almost too easy to share those Youtube clicks. The more people share it to their networks, lets say for 300 people for example, after a few shares, there's an enormous reach – cost effectively. I believe that it is not too hard to try to pursue managers when saying out loud the magic word ”cost effectiveness”. One of the best ads that will fall into this humor category is the ad by Carlton Draught. There are familiar elements that will from now on have new associations in consumers' minds and will definitely be on top of mind when someone's feeling like a can of beer.

Using emotions in ads might be an effective way to get your message through. I must admit that I'm quite a sensible person and when I saw the ad for quit smoking campaign, in Australia, I almost started to cry. Basically the ad asks what is more terrible than to hear the doctor saying that you have a cancer. The answer: to tell it to your children. Even though I've never smoked, it made me feel really emotional and really got to me. I hope it will also reach its target audience and not just anti-smokers like myself. Even if you didn't care that much of yourself, the ad might make you thinking about others and how your death would affect to your near and dear ones.

Advertising in its traditional sense is changing all the time, e.g. facial recognition I wrote about. Companies are also trying to create interactivity with consumers and try to engage them. One example of are experiential campaigns, where people are actually in the ad either participating or looking at it real time. This ad by T-Mobile promotes cleverly their telecommunication services since people start sharing to their networks what they've just experienced. In these kind of flashmobs, people don't might even recognise that it is actually an ad and therefore people don't be as irritated as they might be when just looking at an ad.

The main thing is to evoke discussion: either your ad is funny and people share it or it is terrible – and people still share it. It might be even the purpose of the ad to annoy people and get them involved so that there will be constant buzz going on in the social media. But there's nothing in between. If your ad doesn't evoke any discussion at all, it's nothing but average. Strangely enough, I sometimes have the feeling about my posts being average since there are no comments. Maybe I should change my strategy and persuade readers in different ways. If you have thoughts or ideas, feel free to drop a comment!

What kind of ads appeal to you and why do you think they are effective? You can for example leave Youtube link for me to watch and write a few words.

torstai 10. toukokuuta 2012

What is wrong with media?

Scandal after scandal, gossip after gossip.. As sales decrease, papers are doing whatever it takes to make profit, because at the end of the day it is the bottom line that counts. What seems to sell time after time are stories about celebrities. Nowadays media is putting a lot of effort on digging something out of their past, present or future. Any corps in the closet, any crimes convincted in the past, any messy relationships? Media is sure to find it out, you can rely on it.

Media's most important job is to inform public about things that are going on. Media is standing up for citizens and lead public discussion about important issues, which are affecting our everyday lives. But what I do not understand is why there's always a lot of (usually negative flavoured) writing about celebrities. I honestly feel sorry for them who are always in the frontline. The press is writing hoaxes about them, usually without even bothering to check the facts.(Reliable source, yeah right.) At the same time they are hurting people's feelings. Because that's what celebrities are after all – people, human beings.. Just like everyone of us. The fact that being a public person is a part of their job description doesn't mean that they can be treated badly. Furthermore, I think that in the era of social media the problem has culminated since not only is media attacking celebrities from every possible direction but also it is piece of cake to insult them anonymously in the wonderland of Internet. How gutless is that?

I keep wondering what is behind this change. Are people trying to underpin their self-esteem by mocking others or are they just simply jealous because celebrities seem to be flawless and deep inside people would like to be in their position in the limelight? Is it really that hard to be genuinely happy for someone who has succeeded in their life and spread the positive energy to others? I understand that one cannot like everyone. But it doesn't mean that one couldn't treat others with respect. ”Treat others as you want to be treated.”

The saying ”no one is a prophet in their own country” seems to be true. Artists are booed in their homecountry and greeted with joy elsewhere. I've witnessed this to happen a couple of times when it comes to artists in Scandinavia but Australia doesn't seem to be any better. The recent writings about Delta Goodrem (one of the four coaches in Australian version of the megahit The Voice) have really made me disappointed. Although I've never met her personally, she seems to be an inspiring person with a positive attitude toward life and a heart made of gold. And yes, I took a walk down memory lane. I remember clearly the teenage me singing from the bottom of my heart ”Lost Without You” even though I was on the other side of the world. So I cannot say I'm completely objective. However, it doesn't change the fact that in my opinion she has been treated unfairly. ”I never said I was perfect,” she said in an interview by Woman's Day. Nobody is, so why would celebrities make an exception. Instead of pushing others (not only celebrities but people we're in contact in our everyday lives) down we should encourage each other and make the world a better place to live in.

perjantai 4. toukokuuta 2012

Facial recognition – cool or creepy?

It isn't just something that appears only in sci-fi movies. In fact, it is reality - facial recognition, with which marketers can do miracles, is here. Using facial recognition in the ads is one of the most recent inventions within marketing. Whilst the usage of this tehnology is still in its infancy, I believe that within a couple of years' time only the sky will be a limit and we will see a more creative ad after another. Some might say that it is one of the coolest things on Earth while some might argue that companies are using the information gathered about consumers unethically and trying to trick them to consume more.

Facial recognition software is trying to define the gender by length of hair, lips or jewellery, age by wrinkles and mood by forehead and lips. Defining the gender and age will enable to show ads which are relevant to certain segments and therefore companies would be able to reach their target market more effectively and the cost of advertisement would eventually be reduced when companies would be able to reach the desired target market. The more the technology develops the easier it is to show relevant ads to consumers.
Magnum recently announced that it will be the first company in Australia which is using facial recognition in its ads. The ad will recognise when a person is smiling and thereby it causes an interactive element which enables the viewer to eat the Magnum – virtually of course. This is a step further from segmentationally tailored ads. An example of this kind of ”discrimination” of showing ads to certain segments only was the campaign ”Because I am a Girl” by Plan in the UK. A huge group of people, that is all males, were excluded of seeing the full ad which demonstrated the situation of those girls in developing countries who don't get the same chances as boys do. Effective? Totally.

When the technology develops further we are sure to see individually customised ads which are directed only to you. Companies might gather the data from various sources and the companies owning the information are going to make a lot of money out of it. Such sources might be for example companies' databases which include a lot of valuable information about demographics and what customers have bought. Moreover, one of the most valuable sources which consumers might not even think about is Facebook. People voluntareely share a lot of details of themselves and what they do like – all of which is desired by many companies. If companies have an access to that database they can produce ads which are directed to each consumer. Cool but creepy.

Like said, the sky will be the only limit when putting this into practise. While I was batting I came up with one idea. If I went for a holiday it would be cool to see restaurants, music events or shops nearby based on the things I like. Furthermore it could tell more information in detail, for example the opening hours, the route to those places and how to get there as well as the price to name but a few. Or if I was in a shopping centre, the ad could show what kind of clothes I should go and have a look at based on the brands I like. On the other hand, that would require that whoever has created the ad would have an access to my Facebook profile information. I am not quite sure whether I would like that to happen or not.

Furthermore, it might also be an effective tool in some campaigns for example showing ads about the dangers of tobacco to people who are smoking. Or when you are entering to a supermarket a billboard might show you an ad that you might start gaining weight (if having bought one chocolate bar too many lately) and suggest some healthier snacks instead. 

What kind of an ad would you like to see?

tiistai 1. toukokuuta 2012

It's all about the quality, not the quantity

I hear people complaining about many things in life but usually how bored they are with their work. A simple advice: either you change it or you change your attitude towards it. If you are not willing to take the first step, nothing will ever change. Only you can make the difference. If you change your attitude, you will see the gradual change in others' attitudes too. Like Mahatma Gandhi would say: ”Be the change you want to see in the world.”

People also complain that they don't have enough time for the things they really value: family and friends, hobbies, travelling.. That made me think of one solution: What if, instead of working like slaves, we would actually work less when counted in hours but more effectively. That is, when people are satisfied with their lives and have time to relax and enjoy, they could put a lot more effort into their job than they are currently putting.

Let's take an example of a phenomenon that is called optimization. When companies are trying to maximise their profit, they will keep producing a good or a service until the point where marginal cost equals marginal benefit. When the marginal cost gets too high, the company would make loss if it produced more – simple economics. This same example can be applied in our every day life: when will the cost of doing something be high enough that it is not worth continuing? We might work on a project for a long time just to realise that after one point we have only wasted the resources used (employees' time, money etc.) compared to the value added.

In case of an individual it is not that simple to measure their satisfaction because everyone values different things. There are some indicators, however, such as absenteeism and the cost for both the company and the society or effectivity, that is getting things done more quickly or being more creative and presenting fresh ideas which can give some insight whether employees are satiesfied or not. When employees, and why not managers as well, feel better all are better off. So instead of quantity we should concentrate on quality.

Not only do employees need relaxation during their spare time but also it is essential to create a great place to work. If the tasks are interesting and challenging, the atmosphere at the workplace is enthusiastic and encouraging and you actually enjoy working then the results will be phenomenal. When the circumstances are excellent you can be the best you can be. And even more.

lauantai 21. huhtikuuta 2012

A phenomenon called The Voice

the voice

The Voice Australia coaches

It seems to be in every country, on everyone's lips. I believe it is here to stay – at least for a couple of seasons. If some of you have managed to avoid this spectacular show (in my opinion it truly is entertainment as its best) let me tell you some facts about The Voice. First stage in the programme is the blind auditions where all four coaches are sitting back towards the stage and make their decision, that is push the ”I want you” button, without seeing the performance. So it is all about The Voice, as a format's name might hint. I personally find this really intriguing since being an artist is so much more than just the voice: it's the presence on the stage, how you take the audience, what kind of show you are providing. Most of all, it is the whole package: what kind of experience you are creating for the audience. On the other hand, a true artist can transmit the message and the feeling of the song only by using their instrument, their voice. Entertainment business is a tough field and there are some people out there who have been waiting for a chance like this for their whole life. For them blind auditions are like a blessing – competitors are only judged by their voice and how they can touch their audience only by singing and not for example by the way they look.

There are some points-of-parity when it comes to The Voice. First of all, there have been dozens of music related reality shows, or have you forgotten the shows such as Idol, X-Factor ad Got Talent to name but a few. They have been on air for years and there seems to be no end for their popularity. Another point-of-parity is that competitors get eliminated along the way and the power of coaches diminishes the further the show goes, and in the end, it is the audience that will choose the winner.

What makes The Voice so popular then? Apart from those points-of-parity, The Voice's freshness seems to appeal to viewers. The Voice Australia, for example, draw in over 2 million viewers with the premiere episode. Pretty impressive, eh? I am not sure about the case in Australia, but at least in Finland most of the participants were actually professionals (unlike in other shows) invited for the show, who just haven't got their breakthrough yet. That can be seen as a point-of-difference. When listening to those performances which are better after another you just keep asking youself a simple question with one word: ”Why?” As I mentioned earlier, music industry is not only about living in the dreams and living happily ever after with loads of money after making a few big hits – it is actually really hard work with years and years of practising, creating contacts and having a gig after another. Furthermore, in order to succeed an artist also needs a bit of luck. Being in the right place at the right time and having a market gap for one's music.. For me it rather sounds like needing a miracle instead of just a bit of luck. I'm convinced that formats like The Voice are creating great opportunities but it has to be kept in mind that in the end of the day it is the artist itself who has to do the hard work.

One more thing I can think of that differentiates The Voice from other shows shown earlier, is that the coaches are not mean towards participants. Actually, there is no need for being cruel since all the competitors (or at least most of them) are professionals and even really talented ones will be eliminated before the actual programme starts. As a matter of fact, the coaches are actually nagging at each other (with good spirit, though) since they are also competing. It's the name of the game, hey! After all, they are trying to make the best entertainment ever. And I have to say that job very well done! It is kind of addictive or am I the only one who has ”The Voice fever”? Moreover, is there any cure for it? I know one which might help: watching the next episode tonight!

 This is just one the amazing performances

keskiviikko 18. huhtikuuta 2012

Making the most of the time we have!

I started to live the life I've always dreamt of about a year ago. I stopped worrying too much the past and what others might expect me to be, and instead started looking eagerly forward. All I can say is that the attitude you have toward life makes the difference. One of my favourite quotes by Paulo Coelho goes like this: ”When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” I started to look at the brighter side of life, thinking my glass is half full instead of being negative and worrying that it's nearly empty. Most importantly, when I changed my way of thinking, everything around me changed. I became like a magnet and suddenly I realized being surrounded by people who were seeing the world the same way I did. Great minds definitely think alike.

All of a sudden, positive things just started happening and it became like a never ending, positive, upward spiral and my days were filled with laughter, smile and joy. Little by little I started to reach toward my dreams. First, I changed my eating habits totally and believe me, we really are what we eat. Second, I started to take singing lessons once again, and this time I got the best teacher in the whole world, lovely Saara, who helped me in so many ways I can never thank enough. Third, which I believe is the most important one, was that I took a scary step out of my comfort zone and travelled to the other side of the world, all alone. Noticing that yes, I will manage in a country with full of strangers even though I don't have my support network around me, has convinced me that I am able to achieve everything I want.

Now I will challenge you to think what dreams you are carrying inside of your heart. You might have come up with a lot of excuses along the way why you cannot take the chances and live the life you always wanted but I want you to change your way of thinking. The life is here. The life is now. You will not get another chance so why not taking the most of it while you still can.

Chameleon Girl - Hanna Marsh

torstai 22. maaliskuuta 2012

Being social online – antisocial offline?

Two friends are sitting down for a coffee. Both of them are browsing on Internet with their smartphones (if they are trendy enough, they will definitely have iPhones – latest model 4S, of course). First of all, they have to update their current location on Twitter, just in case someone of their 500 followers might be nearby at that very moment so that s/he could pop up to say hello. Secondly, they have to update status on Facebook as well, something like: ”I'm having so much fun with my best friend, xo!” The most ironic part is that the other person sitting next to the one posting the status might comment something on the post immediately. While this all happens online, in silent observer's eyes the scene might seem ridiculous because those two persons are not having a face to face conversation. When did it come to this? 

Social media has changed the nature of communication dramatically. I am not saying it would be a bad thing, though, actually other way around since I belong to the group so called ”heavy-users”. Due to social media, the communication takes now place more easily when the physical barriers have disappeared. For instance, social media has helped organisations to build more valueable relationships with customers since they are able to collect essential information straight from the customers without doing costly researches. In private life Facebook and Twitter are convenient ways to keep in touch with people wide and far. Regardless, there comes a point when you have crossed the line – enough is enough. You don't have to be reachable 24/7. Sometimes it's relaxing to be offline.

A bit of exercise to social media addicts. ;)
Furthermore, there is the other extremity which refuses to use social media at all. These people are often referred to as ”old-fashioned”. And I don't say this in a bad way. In fact, they might be very outgoing offline or maybe they just want to protect their privacy. But the question is: ”Can you really afford NOT being present in social media?” Especially for companies it might a disaster if they are not proactive online. Due to the lack of social media presense the customers might change to the competitor if they have a better understanding of the customers' needs and wants.

Somewhere in between there's a group that has the best of both worlds: they know how to get in contact with people online and they won't stop mingling when the computers and smartphones are switched off and the discussion takes place face to face. Which group do you belong to?

maanantai 19. maaliskuuta 2012

Swoosh, Just Do It!

When thinking about Nike as a brand, in my opinion the whole idea, which it is built upon, is brilliant. Firstly, the name Nike has its roots in Greek mythology since Nike was goddess who personified victory (note: the message seems to be pretty clear - athletes want to be victorious and with the help of Nike's products everyone is able to reach one's goals). If you look carefully enough the wings of Nike's statue, you might recognise a familiar shape. Yep, it is the Nike's logo, also known as ”swoosh”. Believe it or not, the designer of the logo, Carolyn Davidson, charged only 35 USD for her design. Little did she know that the logo would become one of the most recognisable logos in the world!

When kept in mind that this post is a part of our course ”Management of Brands”, I will next analyse Nike's brand more in detail. Firstly, I will take a look at awarenessrecall and recognition. Secondly, I will consider Nike's brand image and its dimensions – strength, favourability and uniqueness. Lastly, I will list the associations that will pop up into my mind when I think of Nike.

If you had to name only one sport brand, what would it be? For me it would undoubtedly be Nike. For someone else it might be Reebok. Someone might say Puma or Adidas with its three stripes. Few might mention brands like David but I assume that those persons belong to the minority. As a conclusion I would say Nike's recall among consumers is high. Moreover, I claim that recognition of Nike is strong as well. The mere logo (whatever colour it might be) speaks for itself and as a matter of fact it has become so independent that you don't even need the word ”Nike” anymore. Combining these two things - that's what I call high awareness of the brand. All in all, the fact is that Nike is everywhere and that's why both its recall and recognition are extreme.

Nike's brand image is valued to a great extent. It is one of the strongest sports brands according to Forbes' World's Top Sports Brands (2010). According to Brandirectory, Nike's current brand value is $18,619m ( Favourability among consumers is increasing because revenue has gone up by 10% to 20,682 million USD in 2011 compared to the year before when the revenue was 19,014 million USD (Nike Annual Report 2011). The value proposition that Nike offers for consumers can be seen unique. Nike's mission is ”To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world.” and it continues: ”*If you have a body, you are an athlete” So everyone can be an athlete if one just decides to become one. In consumers' minds wearing Nike sportswear associates with one's ability to reach the goals one has set with the help of Nike.

Design: I love the design of Nike's sportswear and especially the bright colours always give me some extra energy to go beyond my limits.
Just Do It: You cannot actually give up when it says in your top ”Just Do It”! That slogan is like a personal trainer who will make you reach your goals with ”fake it until you make it” -attitude.

Quality: I have owned sportswear from all of the well-known brands like Adidas, Puma, Reebok and David but none of them beats Nike in quality. You can use and wash the clothes over and over again and they are still like brandnew

Champion: The brand of winners, achievers, people who don't lack of self-confidence and determination. That's is exactly what I want to be. When training I push myself to the limit and each time I try to win myself, improve my strength and durability in order to achieve my ultimate goal – to live a healthier and happier life.

What are You making yourself?

maanantai 12. maaliskuuta 2012

Price marks, trust marks and love marks

This post is about Management of Brands course and the content challenge nr 1:

Price marks:
In the case of price marks, market is really competitive and products are close substitutes. For me, water is a price mark. In Finland the tapwater actually tastes delicious compared to Australian. After finding out that the filter is broken, I decided to go to look for spring waters. Because I believe that there aren't huge differences between companies, I just bought the cheapest one I could find and that happened to be this Marble Hill -spring water (correct me if I'm wrong). They have a nice story, though but they are not going to fool me! 

Trust marks:
Products (why not services as well) I trust to be the same from day to day. Nice to have some Finnish candies in Australia – from a Swedish furniture store, called tittididii.. Ikea! I think both of them could be counted as trust marks. The candies do taste the same than they did back at home and Ikea was full of furniture that I've seen countless times before. I reckon everyone knows what Ikea looks like so I don't need to upload the photo of that massive building here.
Love marks:
This is a tough one. Apple would have been an obvious choice, but I only own iPod so I cannot say I'm a huge fan. I love taking photos – and yes, both of my cameras are the same brand – Canon! That is a love mark for me, because I never even consider any other brand. ”Once you're in love, you're in love for good”, or..? At least for now!

 What about you and your price, trust and love marks?

tiistai 6. maaliskuuta 2012

Compliments – why don't we say them out loud more often?


I got inspired by a blog and decided to make a free compliments poster myself.
By saying something nice to each other every once in a while definitely puts a smile on people's face. And the best thing is that it does not cost anything. Moreover, you will feel pretty warm inside as well! This is the compliment I got yesterday: ”You are wearing a nice dress today.” Hearing that compliment really made my day! Now I challenge you to think how you could cheer up someone's day today and make the difference. It is the little things that matter.

maanantai 5. maaliskuuta 2012

Who am I?

I haven't really figured out what my ultimate goal in life is. I am convinced, though, that if I keep on searching, eventually I will find my place in this world. I believe in constant growing and personal development. We should not be afraid of changes but instead see them as opportunities. We might be satisfied with the situation as it is now but we will never know what we might achieve if we are not willing to take the risk.

There are plenty of things I love and which in my opinion make the life worth living, such as friends, sunset, chocolate, music, singing, deep conversations, night inspirations, Paulo Coelho's books, delicious food, wines, travelling, Les Mills classes, photographing, smiling people, dreaming, the smell of grass after rain, the sound of waterfall and waves, romantic comedies, optimizing, slow movement, colourful nail polish.. The list could go on and on.

I am the silent observer. I might seem to be a shy person because I think carefully my words before I talk. I have an attitude that nothing is a problem if I don't consider it to be one so instead of complaining about the problems I try to solve them. I think that a comprehensive well-being is essential for everyone of us – we must be able to take care of ourselves and after that we can take care of others. We should be able to find the balance between our personal life and work and do the things that create value for us. Most importantly we should listen to the voice inside us and reach for our dreams, as scary as it may seem. After all, we are only living once. “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” -Paulo Coelho