The Elements of an Effective Cause Marketing Campaign
The first article under discussion is written by Panepinto, and it is dedicated to the issues related to the efficient implementation of a cause campaign. Firstly, it is essential to notice the immense importance of cause campaigns since they can be a very useful tool for improving the society’s flaws and changing the way people perceive important issues. Panepinto states that despite that there is no universal recipe for the implementation of a cause marketing program, it is possible to determine five key ingredients, which constitute its success.
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Primarily, the author argues that it is of high importance to impose a simple and inspiring message as the campaign’s core. He observes such examples as The Unforgotten (gun safety) and #ITouchMyselfProject (breast cancer awareness). According to Panepinto, such messaging will give the audience a clear and memorable idea of what the campaign is about. Secondly, it is essential to implement strong visual storytelling because nowadays people primarily tend to embrace imagery that appeals to emotions rather than text-based reasoning. Thirdly, Panepinto observes that in addition to digital means of delivering the message, it is also important to include an element that could be experienced physically. Although relatively few people will witness these exhibits in the real world, the coverage on social media will help to spread the message.
Further, since the integration of real-world experiences in the digital sphere was discussed, it is appropriate to mention the fourth lesson from the article. It is as follows: a successful cause campaign does not rely exclusively on one type of storytelling or a particular social media platform. Instead, it is essential to encourage people to share the message of the campaign through various means of communications. The fifth lesson is a logical extension of the previous one: to achieve a sustainable level of interest in the social problem; it is critical to request a small personal action. It is an immensely beneficial means of making people committed to change. In overall, it is possible to observe that the article provides clear and concise lessons for conducting a cause campaign.
Don’t Let Big Data Bury Your Brand
In the second article under consideration, Peter Horst, a former senior vice president of brand marketing at Capital One, and Robert Duboff, a founder and the CEO of HawkPartners, discuss the issues related to brand-building, promotional mix, advertising, and ad objectives. Horst and Duboff observe that the essence of marketing has changed over time due to the development of big data. The authors state that there are two extremes, both of which have an adverse impact on the company’s long-term sustainability in the market. In particular, it is emphasized that the efforts of contemporary marketers to a great extent are driven by the short-term profit that is provided by the use of big data and analytics. However, Horst and Duboff observe that these efforts adversely influence the long-term sustainability of the brand and the customer’s loyalty to it.
The principal lesson of the article is that every marketing message delivered to customers must do double duty. By double duty, the authors mean that the marketing mix should be a well-balanced combination of sales promotion and brand-building. One of the better examples of such approach is Subway franchise, which employs big data to predict the customer’s behavior, but also includes the brand-related messaging in its campaigns. Secondly, the authors emphasize the importance of retrieving branding-level insights from the analytics. In addition to that, the authors suggest that it is essential to employ big data not only for sales promotion but also for making a case for brand-building.
Thirdly, the authors exemplify Mark Addick, CMO at General Mills, who assumed that it is not always beneficial to blindly follow the logic which is provided by the analytical data. According to the authors, the Addick’s approach is to implement the campaigns, the reasoning behind which could be explained intuitively. Finally, the authors mention that it is essential to create a collaborative team of branders and analysts in the company since these people are doing a slightly different job, and thus it is better to distribute their responsibilities to maximize the efficiency.
Branding in the Age of Social Media
The following article is written by Douglas Holt, and it explores the peculiarities of brand-building in the context of social media and broader socio-cultural changes related to the spreading of digital communication. A decade ago, it seemed apparent for the majority of big companies that social media platforms were remarkably beneficial areas to aim their marketing efforts. However, the author observes that the promotion of branded content in the digital sphere shows that the big companies’ struggle has very little feedback.
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In the beginning of the article, Holt provides a strong rationale for the efficiency of branded content promotion in the past. He argues that the entertainment industry was easily controlled regarding its production and distribution. Therefore, the companies could advertise its products with a precise impact on its customer. Sponsoring a film, sports event, music festival, or articles in magazines influenced the potential customers to a great extent since they were limited in their access to entertainment.
However, the situation has changed dramatically over the past decade. As it was already mentioned, the companies considered the emerging social media platforms as a new sphere for targeting and promotion of their brands, but it turned out that the majority of the Internet user is not interested in the branded content, which is provided by big corporations. The author argues that the primary rationale behind this lack of interest is the development of crowdculture. As Holt defines it, crowdculture is a new societal phenomenon, which comprises the amplification of the identity of different subcultures as well as the diversification of art world.
Therefore, the key lesson that should be retrieved from this article is that the companies should not focus on the production of branded content, but rather on cultural branding. Holt proposed the following five assumptions for the successful cultural branding: (1) to map a cultural idea for promotion, (2) to indicate a cultural opportunity, (3) to target a particular crowdculture, which would be responsive for the concept, (4) to spread the idea through different platforms, and (5) to continually innovate, using the appropriate cultural flashpoints.
A Better Way to Map Brand Strategy
The fourth article under discussion is written by Niraj Dawar and Charan K. Bagga, and it is dedicated to the questions of brand strategy, market segmentation and targeting, and positioning of the product. The authors argue that there are two primary categories that affect the brand’s perception by the customers: centrality (which is the ability to represent the whole market) and distinctiveness (which is the company’s unique set of outstanding qualities). Further, the authors propose C-D (centrality-distinctiveness) map, a theoretical framework that serves as the tool for better brand positioning and marketing strategy development.
The map is based on the customer survey, in which the participants are asked to rate the companies’ centrality and distinctiveness on the scale from one to ten. Also, when a company is put on the map, its size reflects one of the core financial metrics, such as sales or price. According to the results of the survey, the companies are distributed in four quadrants: mainstream, aspirational, peripheral, and unconventional. Mainstream brands have the highest representative power in the market, but they have a relatively low level of distinctiveness. Aspirational companies combine the unique characteristics with a moderately broad appeal. Peripheral brands do not possess distinctiveness, nor they are central in the market, and yet the study reveals that the companies from this quadrant could be successful. Finally, unconventional brand aim for a very narrow niche since they are highly distinctive, and thus they do not have mass appeal.
Based on their findings, the authors propose the following implications for further use, which could be considered the primary lessons of this article. First of all, the C-D map is a unique framework, which provides a whole new perspective on the assessment of brand perception, positioning, and strategy building. Secondly, the employment of this framework helps to identify the actual competitors of a company because sometimes marketers tend to have a biased perception of their competitive position. Thirdly, C-D maps are immensely important for the development and improvement of marketing strategies for entering emerging markets. Finally, this framework provides a very sustainable tool for the continuous evaluation of the company’s performance.