Innovation in Consumer Marketing at Sony with DraftFCB

Hats off to Sony and the team at DraftFCB for this amazing piece of marketing you can see in the video below.

This is the amazing sort of marketing innovation which draws eyes and product recognition.

There are two things that really make this work

  1. The placement of the product is being put right in front of the consumers that are more than likely going to purchase it, in a location where many of their consumers actually interact to buy drinks.
  2. Packaged in a very innovative manner that not only draws the eyes and piques the interest of the consumer, but also demonstrates the prime functionality and differentiator of what this gadget can do over others.

You might look at this and say, “This is amazing, but it must have cost a fortune, and only a company like Sony could do this!”, and yes I would agree, but innovation and eye catching marketing need not be expensive, it just needs to be creative and purposeful.

I harken back to the experience I had in my marketing days in Microsoft, when we were heading in to the launch of Windows 7. Even for a large organization such as that one, you still had to be frugal about your marketing expenses, and you always look for the biggest bang for buck. We did advertising and your standard things, which cost a lot of money, but it was the “scrappy” things we did that got the recall we were looking for.

There were two things we did, which when I look back, its with fond memories…

Fast Windows, Fast Cars

This was a fairly simple thing we did to align with the research we had done with our user audience, and trying to understand what was more important to our customers in our region of Singapore. While worldwide the message around Windows 7 was on simplicity, we understood that the majority of the Singapore audience saw value in the speed of the operating system even more.

As a fun way to drive recognition and drive connection between speed and Windows 7, we created some large magnets branded Windows 7 with an associated fast message, and asked some of our luckier colleagues with a passion for performance vehicles to take a drive around some of the more busier areas in a cavalcade type parade.  They didn’t speed, or do anything stupid either, and this wasn’t 100s of cars, it was about 10 or so, but the imagery was priceless, and it picked up some great press. For us that was better publicity than any advertising could buy.

Taking it to the streets

The other thing we did, was instead of trying to get customers in to showrooms and IT stores to see Windows 7, we decided to take Windows 7 to the masses. In order to this we worked with a number of our awesome OEM partners at that time to loan us some of their launch machines around Windows 7 and we had some t-shirts made for staff, and sent them out on to Orchard Road in Singapore (this is probably the busiest consumer location in Singapore) to demonstrate Windows 7 live.

This gave us a great opportunity to show people Windows 7 in action to people on the go, we got to wow them with the features, and then asked them to take a picture with the laptop and a Windows 7 sign. It was immense fun, and got a lot of interest.

The Important of Staff Participation in Marketing

The big lesson I got from these types of activities is that the execution of these sorts of “scrappy” campaigns, is that your colleagues love to participate. As marketers we seem a little too close to the coal face in terms of execution and sometimes forget that some of the things we do are actually fun, and people want to support it. So if you can come up with activities that can use additional hands you sometimes don’t need to look further than your own company, they will be happy for the opportunity.

Marketing is fun, innovative and invites the opportunity to take risks, sometimes it doesn’t always pay off, but you learn, refine and get better at it. Then sometimes, you hit the mark, like Sony.

Second screen experiences gaining traction – ideas for Marketing?

I recently received from my wife and children a Sony Playstation 4 for Christmas, well I think the honest truth of it was, I bought it and then everyone claimed it was my Christmas gift, who am I to argue?

Anyway, one of the things that really shone through as I started using and playing, was the idea of how much the “Second Screen” experience had penetrated every element of the primary experience itself. Using this new extended experience, really made me think about how this could translate in to the business sense for B2B and/or B2C marketing disciplines.

The trick here is that the Second Screen experience keeps you engaged with the primary experience, even when you cant be using it, and when you use the secondary experience, it actually impacts what your situation is in the primary experience. Sounds complicated right? Well let me give you the scenario that did it for me.

Assassins Creed 4 from UbiSoft (http://assassinscreed.ubi.com/en-US/home/index.aspx), is a fantastic game full of pirates, action, adventure and intrigue, and great story to boot… but that’s not what we are here to talk about, this ain’t a game review site. What the game actually added to the experience was a companion app that could be run on the iPad or Android devices (An example is the iOS version at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/assassins-creed-iv-black-flag/id692766233?mt=8).

This companion app lets you manage the captured ships in your fleet, send them in to battle, send them on trade routes and essentially earn money, upgrades etc. These items and cash, and the status you left your ships in, would be translated in to the game itself.

The trick with this is that it kept you constantly engaged, when you had some downtime you could always just check on the ships, make sure they are up to scratch and send them off on the next mission, and all that took a matter of seconds. The key is continual engagement, delivered in a way that you want to engage. While that is the key, the trick is the last point, “… in a way that you want to engage.”.

Now if we think about the way we engage in marketing today, we typically engage customers in a series of one off engagements, that feel just like that to the customer, a one off engagement that has little meaning in the scheme of things. What is the interest for a customer to take action on some sort of email marketing campaign, or website? Sure you might have some sort of offer that might encourage a course of action, like a discount or special offer, but its still a one time engagement.

Let’s attempt to drive the comparison here between marketing and the video games. The events or campaigns that we run are the video game on the TV, and the time in between is basically the missing component unmatched by the Second Screen experience for the game on the tablet or phone.

So maybe that’s whats missing? What are the things that marketing can encourage its customers to do between events/engagements, that would influence the next engagement, ensuring that the next experience is a better one.

Maybe what we need is someway to demonstrate the continual engagement we have had with the customer, how its benefiting them, what they can do in between, and by doing so, set an expectation on what the next engagement should be like, ensuring that the customer feels like they are in control.

That I think is key…

Marketing lessons from “Let’s talk iPhone.”

There is no doubt that the netizens of the world felt a little cheated by the recent Apple event. Announcing an iPhone 4S, when the world expected an iPhone 5 announcement, left a pretty bitter taste in a lot of fans mouths. The question is, did Apple do the wrong thing? Or do we blame the raging blaze that is the internet for over-promising something that they had no right to promise?

The rumor mill these days has never been stronger, those with an imagination can now drum up not just whispers but all sorts of lengthy stories, images, even videos, and now with the internet, it has one of the most effective distribution channels ever known. The real challenge is that there tends to be a lot less diligence in the separation of fact and fiction, so much so it becomes like a game of  “Chinese Whispers”, one person starts rumor, another person retweets it, another links to it, someone blogs about it, and somewhere along the line, the fiction transforms to fact as it gets in to the mainstream media channels. At that point it creates unrealistic expectations on companies to deliver.

End of the day, every company wants to be loved by their consumer audience, but the consumer can be a fair weather friend. We have already seen people sharing their own consumer reactions, reality or parody, it does demonstrate a particular undercurrent…

image

Is this fair, well its consumers choice I guess…

End of the day there were also a lot of cool technologies that were showcased at the Apple event.

  • The announcement of iOS5 with features like

I must also say the announcement of the different watch faces for the iPod Nano were very cool as well.

Apple had a lot to talk about at this event, but with the build up in anticipation for an iPhone 5 announcement, should they have just focused on the business updates and iPhone 4S announcement only? It would seem the lack of an iPhone 5 overshadowed a lot of the other exciting technologies that Apple would have liked to announce. On the flipside would it have been a good idea to announce these other technologies if there really was an iPhone 5 being announced, because that too would have overshadowed the others.

I guess it comes down to a no win scenario whichever way you look at it. We know that we want to keep the media and consumer excited about all the cool stuff we have, but I think its important to at least do some work on trying to predict how your biggest announcement will be received, and evaluate if it’s a good idea to announce more, or announce less, and evaluate other ways to create a viable platform to talk about your other technologies, at least then it will get its own stage.

Thanks to Mr.Brown for being an example & Engadget for the links