There is no greater moment in advertising than that in which the spirit of a brand is linked to the spirit of humanity.
Since 2010, Google has provided a snapshot of the world's most important events through its Zeitgeist video. From our biggest achievements to our most perilous catastrophes, it reflects what touched us and shaped us during the course of 365 days.
This year's top trends can be found on their website under an array of categories - people, events, consumer electronics, hashtags, etc. - all of which result in a memorable and beautiful video. (see below)
On the month that marks the second anniversary since Steve Jobs' passing, blogger Edgar Estévez reflects on the influence and legacy Apple's main man left to the marketing world...
An entrepreneur, an innovator, an inventor, a visionary… a genius. These are just some of the adjectives used to describe Steve Jobs, a man whose path was never predictable. He was given up for adoption at birth, he dropped out of college after only one semester and at the age of 20 co-founded Apple, currently one of the most valuable companies in the world.
There is no doubt that Steve Jobs created a revolution. As one of the top pioneers on the personal computer and electronics field, his impeccable taste and sense of style made him push all market boundaries, transforming one industry after another - from computers, to smart phones, to music and even animated films.
It’s been two years since he passed away and we still remember him as the very soul of the organization he helped create. His aggressive and demanding personality made him a perfectionist, always aspiring to be one step ahead of the industry and setting the market trends in innovation and design. But most importantly, he impregnated his passion for simplicity and top-notch quality into the company’s organizational culture, making this one of the key components of Apple’s sustaining performance and competitive advantage - percieved upon entering any Apple store in the world or simply by opening the box of any Apple product for the first time… It’s almost like a ritual!
As a marketer, Steve Jobs was a natural. He was driven by his obsession and love for his products, and made it a personal mission to have an impact in people’s lives. Not only did he invent great things, he also made the consumers feel emotionally attached to the brand at the point of turning them into passionate advocates of Apple. They don't think of themselves as consumers, but in turn members of a movement, a mission, something larger than themselves. He helped build mystery and expectation around product launches, always generating buzz and suspense before unveiling some amazing new gadget, making consumers and specially the competition go mad with speculation. Jobs was also not afraid to go big, as pointed out on hubspot.com, and one great example was the widely known 1984 “Think Different” commercial for the new Macintosh, where he hired Ridley Scott, director of Alien and Blade Runner, and spent around $1.7 million ($3.4 million today) between producing the ad and running it one time during the Super Bowl. This was a huge risk for the company, especially since it wasn't clear that the ad would succeed, but it paid off. The ad generated as much coverage as the Macintosh itself.
No doubt that Steve Jobs is a tough act to follow and the company is not only facing new challenges in the market but also trying to continue his legacy. So, how is Apple doing today? According to a study conducted by Interbrand Corp. on the Top 100 brands this past September, Apple has unseated Coca-Cola as the world’s No. 1 brand with a brand value of $98.3 billion, 28% more than last year.
Still, some say that the brand is losing its magic. Some of the latest product innovation hasn’t raised the bar high enough for competitors and for consumers, who are always expecting big things from Apple. Many of the brand’s major products are facing increased competition from Samsung’s top-selling Galaxy phones, Amazon’s Kindle tablet reader and Spotify’s music service - and still the company keeps innovating around the same things - which is probably not innovating at all. The brand may be loosing its momentum, but they still have time to turn things around. After all, Apple is a very strong brand and the most profitable technology company there is, generating $41.7 billion last year. And even more importantly, they still have the consumer’s trust, since the popular perception is that “Apple could do no wrong”.
Most recently, the company appointed former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts as their new SVP of Retail and Online Stores, which many industry experts are saying is one of the company’s best decisions so far, since she is likely to bring a fresh leadership focus to Apple and complement well with current CEO Tim Cook to bring the brand up to the next level with breakthrough innovative products in new categories, allowing Apple to become the outstanding company of this decade.
Before you finish reading I wanted to leave you with the 10 things I have personally learned from Steve Jobs as a marketer myself. Additionally, here's a small fragment from a PBS documentary of 1994, which for me, perfectly reflects the way he saw and lived his life. Enjoy!
10 things I’ve learned from Steve Jobs as a marketer:
Time to market is crucial.
Simple is always better.
Failure is part of the process. The most important thing is knowing how to stand up again.
Tenacity and hard work always pays off.
Pay attention to details.
It’s ok to go a little crazy sometimes.
Don’t be afraid to think different.
Steve Jobs on 'One Last Thing', a PBS documentary:
“ When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money.
That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is - everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.
The minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will, you know if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it. That’s maybe the most important thing. It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.
I think that’s very important and however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better, cause it’s kind of messed up, in a lot of ways. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again."
A week of celebrating the advertising industry, its work and its people? Check. A forum for brands and influencers to share the best-in-class throughout 200 seminars in 7 venues? Check. An audience that ranges from students, to executives, to celebrities? Check. And the largest gathering of professionals in the advertising world? Check, check, check.
New York's Advertising Week has become a paramount destination for brands as well as the advertising and communications folk. On its 10th anniversary, it will feature conferences and seminars with topics that encompass mobile marketing, brand management, creativity and design, storytelling, big data, innovation and culture advertising, to just name a few.
We are extremely thrilled to announce that More Than Branding will hit the Big Apple with United Airlines, official sponsor, for what will be an unforgettable experience. As official press, we will cover the sights, sounds and trends that are shaping the world of brands. So be on the look-out for the daily dose of seminars and pictures right here on the blog - or follow our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Google+ accounts for the live feed.
The way we interact with our surroundings is defined, quite possibly, by its structure. Shapes, colors, words, sounds and other elements combine to create an environment that may well be hostile or friendly to us.
All space and objects we come into contact with is subject to a process that has led to this physical creation: design.
Daily, we hear this term applied to many industries, and for various purposes: graphic, textile, urban, architectural, industrial, interiors, editorial, advertising, digital, etc. It has so many meanings and interpretations, and, unfortunately has become a discipline somewhat misunderstood and underestimated. Not many people appreciate its true power, or better yet, its transcendence in our lives and in the business world.
All things we choose in our everyday (clothes, food, consumer goods, etc.), as well as for our big decisions (house, car, school, etc.) are always subject to a criteria of functionality and aesthetics, sometimes in different orders of priority. Thus creating within us a perception that may result in a purchase.
In marketing, design is critical to the success of a brand. From the design of a product: its packaging, presentation, logo, name and colors, to its pricing strategies, point of purchase display and advertising. Everything is conceived, planned, designed. Design must therefore provide a functional and aesthetic solution to a specific need on principles of simplicity, practicality and economy (entailing an efficient management of resources that comprise it, without desire to cheapen the concept).
A consistent design, from all angles, generates great power and value to brands; it projects a very strong cohesion, and its elements are not reduced just to visual elements. A company that displays a careful visual image, a product or service well-crafted, effective business communication, and consistent behavior of its employees or agents, has great opportunities and a huge advantage over their competitors.
If a brand’s advertising is flawless, it is possible to persuade a large number of people to buy it - but if its container is not ergonomically friendly or service lends itself so clumsy or hasty - perhaps it will discourage consumers from buying it a next time. If, however, the physical design of a product is outstanding, many people may not have a chance to try it if your advertising and communications is poorly designed.
The development of effective business design is built upon several disciplines that are complemented by a single purpose: marketing, semiotics, hues and chromes, typography, psychology, semantics, sociology, and so on. Those responsible for the design of a graphical solution, product, space or advertising message need to know this in order to create a strong and suitable concept.
According to several professional and remarkable designers, we can conclude that good design must comply with the characteristics below:
Good design is a concept, a story, something to say.
Designing communicates, not decorates.
Good design should be universal and timeless. Your message must be easily understood in different places and cultures. Moreover, it must strive to transcend time instead of becoming obsolete quickly.
Good design is versatile. Fits various means.
It is simple, clear and concise.
Good design is innovative. It surprises and calls the viewer's attention.
It helps us to understand a product. It communicates benefits perfectly.
With the economy recession that Spain and many other European countries are facing, it doesn't strike as odd when customers push to stretch their money a bit further, causing brands all around to go “back to basics” with the use of one of the oldest promotional tools on the book: coupons.
Rest assured that coupons were not as in vogue during the period of gluttonous consumption, since we all enjoyed a certain stability and weren't all that worried where our money went. But nowadays, it seems that being a smart and conscious shopper is “cool” again, and coupons are making a big comeback. Now, I could not help and wonder, why coupons?
The answer might be traced to neuromarketing. An article posted by Forbes.com revealed a study conducted by Paul Zak of Claremont Graduate University, a neuroeconomics researcher in the United States, where he investigated the neurophysiological effects of coupons on shoppers with an online grocery site, in which shoppers would obtain a $10 coupon. He found that levels of oxytocin, a hormone related to emotions like happiness, love, and trust, surged when subjects received a coupon. Amazingly, the lift in oxytocin was higher from receiving a coupon than what is observed when people receive a gift or engage in activities like cuddling - or even kissing!
Specifically in Spain, a study conducted by Sartia and Simon Kucher & Partners pointed out that Spanish companies invested more than 4.7 millions of euros in promotional discounts in the course of 2010. Another study revealed that 64% of the Spanish population claims to have bought certain brands only through discount coupons and that 79% of participants agreed to have used coupons while shopping. Through the years, it is more common to see fast food restaurant chains, retailers and even movie theaters using coupons, mostly referring to a 2x1 promotion, invitation to try a new product or even a direct discount on the product to be purchased. We see brands such as Burger King, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and many more giving them away mostly outside metro stations and on the busiest streets of the city. There is even a discount book named “Family Check” with all sorts of discounts in a wide range of stores and restaurants, and also discount websites like “Groupalia” or “Groupon” are making a huge impact with the use of online coupons.
Obviously the success of any coupon will depend on its value and relevance to the consumer. But the fact is, that 'giving back' to consumers clearly boosts happiness and trust towards a brand and a positive association that through time can become a long-term relationship where we build an underlying brand preference.
Here are some examples of coupons from brands in Spain:
Starbucks invites us to try their new beverage for the summer by downloading and printing this coupon:
Friday’s is turning Thursdays into Fridays with this 2x1 dinner coupon:
The “Family Check” book offers tons of discounts on restaurants, stores, amusement parks, movies, etc.:
“America runs on Dunkin’” and apparently they want Spain to do the same:
It’s hard to choose from all the discounts Burger King is offering:
Coupon shoppers commonly use Websites like Groupon or Groupalia to get discounts on all sorts of products and services: