In Clear Focus: Insights-Led Marketing Strategy

In Clear Focus this week: Bigeye’s senior strategist Dana Cassell joins host Adrian Tennant to discuss the role that strategy plays within a marketing and communications agency. Dana offers case studies highlighting how consumer insights and audience research can be applied to differentiate brands from their competition, plus practical tips and career advice for anyone seeking to enter the advertising industry.

In Clear Focus: Insights-Led Marketing Strategy

In Clear Focus this week: Bigeye’s senior strategist Dana Cassell joins host Adrian Tennant to discuss the role that strategy plays within a marketing and communications agency. Dana shares case studies highlighting how consumer insights and audience research can be applied to differentiate brands from their competition, plus practical tips and career advice for anyone seeking to enter the advertising industry.

Episode Transcript

Adrian Tennant:     You’re listening to IN CLEAR FOCUS, a unique perspective on the business of advertising produced by Bigeye. I’m your host, Adrian Tennant, VP of insights at Bigeye. For those of you who don’t know us, Bigeye is an audience-focused, creative-driven, full-service advertising agency. We’re based in Orlando, Florida, but serve clients across the United States and beyond. Providing audience research, branding, creative, media, and analytics services. Thank you for choosing to spend time with us today. For this episode, it’s my pleasure to be joined by Dana Cassell, Bigeye’s senior strategist. Dana has been with Bigeye almost a decade and focuses on consumer behavior, interpreting the results of findings from primary and secondary research. Dana synthesizes data into actionable insights that help Bigeye’s clients build strategically differentiated brands. Welcome to IN CLEAR FOCUS, Dana.

Dana Cassell:       Thank you. Glad to be here.

Adrian Tennant:     What does your role as senior strategist at Bigeye look like? Describe a day in the life, if you will.

Dana Cassell:       I love that question, “What does a day in the life look like?” I spend a lot of time on-site with clients in a discovery meeting. So, generally at the beginning of an engagement with a client, we have an on-site day where we have the leadership team in the room and our team in the room. And the first half of that discovery is a strategic discovery and we’re working on things like a SWOT analysis, key messages, understanding of the target current state of affairs. So I’m generally leading that conversation. I like to think of myself as a client advocate, so I’m basically trying to get myself up to speed and understand where they are in the business, what they’re trying to do. So I do a lot of that and I like a lot of that. I’m also on calls with clients a lot catching up on those types of items. And then the kind of other half of what I do is staring at the computer screen, blinking cursor by myself because I do a lot of documentation. So if we have a strategic engagement, I’m going to be documenting that entire discovery process and setting forth the strategic plan to move forward. So I’m either kind of with everybody or by myself. I like both of those pieces.

Adrian Tennant:     So what are some of the most common challenges you see clients facing today?

Dana Cassell:       I think differentiation is a challenge. In the, in the global economy, you know, there’s just not really a new idea anymore. So a lot of our clients have a solid product, they have a great internal organization and they’ve just either lost market share or other newer competitors have come on the scene and they’re having trouble differentiating. We also see a lot of lack of understanding of the audience. So maybe an organization, a client might have known their audience 10 years ago. They did a lot of research, they had a better understanding and they’ve just grown and changed since then. So they just haven’t, not a modern understanding of their audience. So I think that’s a challenge a lot of people see. Another one I see is our clients having trouble getting to a place where they can be more strategic rather than reactive. And that’s generally in my assessment, kind of – it’s like a legacy problem. So the organization just runs a certain way and the marketing team can’t catch up and get far enough ahead that they have time to breathe and be strategic. So it’s like the weight of the organization is forcing them to be reactive. It’s not that they’re not strategic thinkers, they are, they just don’t have permission internally to push pause on being reactive and move into a more strategic place. And I think often we help in those engagements because we can come into the room with the C-suite and make the case for why reactivity is not the best marketing strategy.

Adrian Tennant:     So that being said, if you’re a new challenger brand, I’m looking to gain market share in a category with an established brand leader, how can strategy help?

Dana Cassell:       I think the audience understanding and insight is, is a key piece of that game. There are industries where the leading brand is taking their position for granted and they don’t really have deepened relationships with their consumers. And that’s always an area of opportunity. I think we’ll probably also talk, I’m hoping we’ll talk about direct-to-consumer today. That’s another great example of ways that challenger brands are gaining market share sort of by a really deep specific understanding of their audience and an extremely clear focus. So I think new challengers that really get the audience have a singular focus and do that thing well, have a great opportunity to gain some market share.

Adrian Tennant:     Great answer. Strategy can seem a bit abstract. What do tangible deliverables from strategy planning typically look like?

Dana Cassell:       That’s a great question. So target market analysis is often one that we’ll deliver and this is related to audience and audience insights. So we’ll work with a client to understand primary, secondary, tertiary audiences. We’ll develop brand personas, key messages for those targets, where we find them in media, what their consumer behaviors like. So we kind of blowout a big profile of those target markets. So that kind of analysis is a real actionable deliverable. Often key messages is a piece of that. So I really like the kind of four-by-four model where we have four things that we like to say about the brand over and over maybe four words long that everybody in the organization can get behind. These are like little memorable key nuggets about a brand that we can work into. Public relations interviews we can use in social content we might use in our email signature. I love helping a brand kind of come up with these key messages that are like part of their identity, something everybody can understand and start to be a driver for a brand. So I often like to work in key messages. We’ll also make key messages as part of that target market strategy. So what are the key messages that resonate most with each message, each segment of that target market? Sometimes a platform analysis is a good one too. So we’ll have clients that are involved in a variety of social media and this is something I love to do as a strategist. So we’ll get a client that is doing a lot of social media and none of it beautifully. And I get the opportunity to kind of go in and consume all of that data, all that content they’ve been putting out over the years and understand what’s been working and resonating. I love looking at the data behind social platforms and coming back and being able to say, “the good news is you’ve been doing too much and we have an opportunity to narrow your focus and then really do what you’re doing well.” So platform analysis as a tangible deliverable. And then content planning is another one that happens often we’ll see organizations that are they know strategically what they need to be doing, but then the tactics of how to execute that strategy. So often one of my strategic deliverables will be a plan for creating and deploying content. So strategic recommendations on what types of categories are going to work best on their different platforms. So what should their blog focus over the next year be? What should their outbound marketing focuses be? So that content planning roadmap, that happens a lot too.

Adrian Tennant:     I’m really interested to know how you get up to speed on a new client industry. Have you got a particular process that you’d like to share with us?

Dana Cassell:       Sure. I’m just an avid consumer of that brand. I just try to think of myself as obsessed, kind of brand obsessed, and I’ll just literally sit at my computer and absorb everything I can find about them online. And then I do that for any brand that thinks they’re a competitor or any brand that they think is a competitor. And then also aspirational brands. So this is a question I love to ask clients. What are brands that you think are similar to yours that are killing it? And it might not be in their same market and might not be in their same service, but a brand that it’s like, I really like the way they do business, so then I’ll go absorb everything I can about those brands. And if they don’t have an idea of who those are, I probably have an idea of who this might be for them. So I like doing that. And then I’m also a data nerd at heart, which I would encourage anybody who wants to be a strategist to become a data nerd at heart. I love to go look at whatever data they want to give us. So one of my favorite places to start is with good old Google Analytics to understand what’s happening on their digital platforms. Sales data. I don’t know, I just, I like to… Annual reports, gosh, I love annual reports. Am I the only one maybe?

Adrian Tennant:     I think you might be, Dana.

Dana Cassell:       I love a good annual report. So I just consume all of the data, you know, and then I do a lot of listening so I love to read and then I love to hear from them. That’s kinda how I get up to speed. I also like to read things like job descriptions to learn how the brand thinks about the people they want working with them. So that’s a little hacks to learn how the brand thinks about themselves.

Adrian Tennant:     Some really good strategic tips there, I liked them. Thank you. Dana, what brands do you most admire – and why?

Dana Cassell:       This is a great question. I love this. I feel like I can answer in lots of different ways. So I like to think of Southwest Airlines and Publix as the same brand in my head and they’re kind of big ones and obvious ones that a lot of people love. So it’s maybe a bit of a cliche answer, but the things that I love about them are, I believe them and I believe in authenticity and transparency. I just don’t think there’s a way in 2019, 2020 to live in a non-transparent way for long. So these are brands that I think have been being super transparent for a long time. They have people who are happy to work there, which I think is a real key to long-term success is internal culture. So I think they’re doing that really well. And I also think they are trying to be exactly who they are. So they’re in a growth mindset as a brand. Neither of them are giving up market share anywhere, but they’re also not trying to be something that they’re not. So I love that about them. They’re authentic, they have happy customers, they know who they are and they’re living into that identity. So I really liked that about those brands.

Adrian Tennant:     I should just explain for any listeners that are not based in the Southeast of the United States, Publix Supermarkets, the leading supermarket for sure in our region, privately held, and a Fortune 100 company.

Dana Cassell:       Right. And originally a Floridian brand, now found widely across the Southeast and likely in a Northern market near you soon because like I said, they have a growth mindset.

Adrian Tennant:     That’s meant to be a secret, I think. Not really, worst-kept secret now.

Dana Cassell:       I love the Grocery Wars. Honestly, what’s happening in the grocery stores is great. We were talking about this for banking yesterday, following the way that grocery stores are moving Northern brands to the South, Southern brands to the North, and then expansion into the Midwest is a great case study for any industry that is looking to gain market share in a volatile environment. Because grocery is about loyalty. It’s grossly about consumer behavior. And it’s just a really fascinating idea to watch how grocery stores move into markets where they’re, they’re not, they’re markets of origin. I love groceries.

Adrian Tennant:     Excellent. So what do you think about the success of direct-to-consumer brands, such as Dollar Shave Club, StitchFix, Casper, Warby Parker, Barkbox… there are many, many, many to choose from. What do you think about them?

Dana Cassell:       I love it. This why, I love it. So it’s not, it’s not dissimilar from the Southwest and Publix idea. These brands are singularly focused on doing one thing really well. Warby Parker is going to deliver glasses that you’ll love, that you have control over the experience. I love that Casper mattresses, it’s a focused effort. They know who they are, they know what they’re going to do well and they’re not going to do anything beyond that until they can do it well. So that’s not to say that DTC can’t expand and grow their service line. They can, but they’re doing it in a way that feels authentic to the brand. And also all of these brands that you’re mentioning are obsessed with consumer experience and I think that’s been the key to their success. So the whole idea that there’s this user-generated content library of people unboxing mattresses, this is like watching paint dry! I mean unboxing a mattress theoretically couldn’t be a more boring thing! This has taken over the Internet. I think it’s amazing, but they’ve created a user experience that is engaging people in a category I don’t think anybody would have predicted. So I love that they also have streamlined billing. I think this is really important, now in our mobile environment, in our Apple pay environment, that the billing process is smooth and simple and transparent and these brands are doing that really well. They’re also giving people choice and control. So any sort of subscription direct-to-consumer brand that cannot be customized or that you feel like you’re going to lose control of your credit card or you’re going to be billed in a month. “I didn’t know I was going to be built. Oh, you know, I’m frustrated.” It doesn’t last. You know, that will work for a few months until somebody realizes that charges recurring and then they’re not only quitting, they’re also not a brand advocate. So what I love about these brands that you mentioned, Dollar Shave Club, you’re getting an email every month that says, “Hey, your box is about to ship. Do you wanna make any changes? Do you need this box?” And if you don’t skip a month or skip three months, they’re giving control to the consumer. And I think that’s just building trust and loyalty.

Adrian Tennant:     So these are all great lessons that we can learn from DTC brands.

Dana Cassell:       Yeah. And simplify, you know, they’re all, that’s what I was starting with the idea of being focused, knowing who you are, knowing what you’re doing. If the business is complicated and you’re on the inside, imagine how that feels from the outside.

Adrian Tennant:     That’s a great point. Well, let’s change gears. Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get to where you are today?

Dana Cassell:       Hmm. Okay. So, um, I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, and I don’t know when this started, but I think I always wanted to be an advertising because I really can’t remember a time that I didn’t. I have this four-H project from third grade, I’m left-handed. And it was called living in a right-handed world and it was an advocacy base about the challenges of being left-handed. Scissors can openers, it’s a right handed world. So I had this presentation that I loved and it was just this like little piece, understanding the way that it feels to be in the world and being a consumer of right-handed things as a left-handed person. And I look back and think that might’ve been my first piece of consumer research. So I think I was kind of always into it. And then I was looking for universities that had advertising as a field of study and I was not impressed with an advertising school that would send their materials in a white envelope that laid on my dining room table with all the other college envelopes. And then SMU – that’s Southern Methodist in Dallas – sent me their piece and it was what I wanted it to be. It was shiny and brilliant and well done. And it looked totally different when we threw it on the table. And my parents had drawn this radius on the map of two-hour flights and Dallas was right on the edge of the two-hour flight line. So I thought we should do it. So I went to school in Dallas at the Timberland Institute and had a wonderful time there. They have a relationship with The Richards Group, which was amazing as a student. And then graduate school in Austin studying consumer behavior where I had the opportunity to work on a team that was rebranding the university. They ask a few grad students in the ad program to help rebrand the university. And we came up with that tagline, “What starts here changes the world,” which was first recorded by Walter Cronkite, which was just an amazing experience and still can be found on football sometimes today. My dad calls when he hears it. So that was neat and I was able to document that process as my thesis. So that was a really fun experience and just kind of confirmed my love of advertising and branding. And then I always worked then, so that was 2004 when I graduated. It was kind of the boom of monetizing the dotcom. So I worked for a local newspaper as they were trying to figure out how to make money on their dotcom and got some really cool opportunities to collaborate with sales and technology and really start to understand the data that drives websites and how you can translate that data into sales and also leverage audience understanding and the use of a website to target advertising. So that was a very cool time to be in that world and it wasn’t as big then as it is now. So I was in analytics and I got a crash course in analytics, loved that and then moved into strategy after that. I think strategy and digital analytics are very closely linked. It’s a just a great place to start when you don’t know where else to start. So that’s been kind of my journey. I’ve been in analytics and consumer behavior and strategy since then.

Adrian Tennant:     So as you know, we have a very active intern program at Bigeye. What advice would you give someone wanting to pursue a career in brand planning or strategy?

Dana Cassell:       I think to have a growth mindset is really important because it’s always changing. The entire field is always changing. And to be somebody who is interested in learning every day and as much as there are common elements among our clients for strategic difficulty, everything is unique. Every client need and strategy is new. So to be able to grow and change except what you don’t know and go figure out what you need to know, I think that’s really important. So growth mindset, obsession with data. I’ve said it a few times. It’s my experience that some people, and there are even some holdovers in academics, that advertising is a creative endeavor and that means it’s an artistic endeavor and that that’s sort of like not congruent with data analysis, math. And I think that’s totally inaccurate. And I think data is creative and I think it’s really, really important to understand. And I think our creative team here would tell you that a data-driven creative approach is central to our philosophy. So obsession with data, growth mindset. Also, I think a solid business background. A lot of what I end up doing could be business consulting work. And I love that. You know, I love the Bigeye wants to get their hands in that. It’s not like, Oh, that’s not proper advertising. We’re not interested. Marketing and operations are closely linked, although I will say every day of my life, great marketing can’t fix operational challenges. We have to get the operations intact. By being able to understand that as a strategist is really important. So I think a little bit of business background is helpful and to enjoy problem solving. I’m a gameplayer. I love solving problems, doing puzzles, riddles. If somebody tell me a “knock, knock” joke and doesn’t give me time to try to figure it out, it makes me crazy. It’s like holding in a sneeze. So, you know, I think being a problem solver as another piece of that.

Adrian Tennant:     So again, thinking about our interns at Bigeye, what kinds of resources would you point them towards to help them?

Dana Cassell:       People. I was thinking about this. I had an amazing copywriter professor in undergrad who wrote the GI Joe “Real American Hero” jingle and also, “What would you do for a Klondike bar?” So he was a really neat professor who inspired me and gave me a different way to think about advertising. And I can think about my first boss that gave me permission to understand the Internet and the way that it worked and how that impacted advertising. That was a lot, that was a lot. There was a time where being on social media at work was not a thing, you know, and so to have offices that understood that while it didn’t seem like the right thing to do at might be. And then I can also think about people in the industry who inspired me to think differently about strategy. So I really think the best resources that I’ve had have been people and that is also like a life strategy of my own to find someone who’s a step ahead of me that I really admire. Look, aspirational brand – I do it in my personal life and understand what they’re doing and why they’re doing it and just seek their wisdom. So yeah – people.

Adrian Tennant:     Excellent. You’re so on-brand – your own brand!

Dana Cassell:       Thank you!

Adrian Tennant:     So what is one common myth about working in advertising that really needs to be debunked?

Dana Cassell:       Yeah, so I think this one is that it’s super cut-throat, and every man for themselves, and unbelievably competitive, and it can’t be trusted. I think there’s this idea that it’s kind of all one big kind of battlefield in a way. I have not experienced that in 18 years of working in the industry. Obviously, there are some places that feel that way, but for me the best work I’ve ever done has been highly collaborative, very team-oriented. I have a personal philosophy that it’s very hard for me to work with people if I don’t have a connection. You know, I like to have a personal connection with the people I’m making these big decisions for brands with. So I have never been in an environment in advertising and done great work and that be the case. So I find advertising very collaborative, friendly, helpful – you know, the best work happens when there’s somebody from research, planning, creative, digital, everybody at the table working together.

Adrian Tennant:     That’s great. So what have you read or listened to recently that really inspired you?

Dana Cassell:       I’m an avid podcast consumer, so I listen all the time and I have this wide variety of podcasts I listen to. But I think something recently that inspired me was Tal Ben-Shahar on “Armchair Expert,” which is Dax Shepherd’s podcast. So Dax is married to Kristen Bell and he, I mean in his own right, was Crosby on “Parenthood.” He’s done lots of wonderful things, but he has this really interesting background in anthropology and psychology. And so he has this podcast about a year-and-a-half old and Tal Ben-Shahar was on recently. So he is a PhD-educated, Harvard-educated lecturer and just intellectual thought-leader. And he famously held the record for having the two largest classes in the history of Harvard at one point. And they’re all on positive psychology and happiness and leadership. And I love this because it’s data-driven approach because it’s a PhD style of learning and it’s about the impact of positivity on life and on the bottom line. So I really love this about him and I just found his time with Dax really inspiring because he just talks a lot about organizational leadership. And it’s like a data-driven approach to happiness, which I think there’s so much in the zeitgeist about positive affirmation. I love all of that, but I also love that there’s like data behind this idea of the power of happiness for economic success, like corporate kind of branding success. I don’t know. I really liked him.

Adrian Tennant:     Excellent. Well, I’ll make sure that we include a link to that podcast in the show notes. (NOTE: the podcast Dana referred to can be accessed directly at: https://armchairexpertpod.com/pods/tal-ben-shahar)

Dana Cassell:       Okay. I can’t be held responsible for everything Dax says, okay?

Adrian Tennant:     Understood.

Dana Cassell:       Okay.

Adrian Tennant:     So finally, Dana, what does having a CLEAR FOCUS mean to you?

Dana Cassell:       Having a CLEAR FOCUS to me means knowing who you are because I don’t think it’s a given that we all know where we’re going next. I think it’s really important that if we know who we are, we can figure out where we’re headed.

Adrian Tennant:     Deep…

Dana Cassell:       Maybe?


Adrian Tennant:     Dana, it’s been a real pleasure. Thank you to our guest, Dana Cassell, senior strategist at Bigeye. You’ve been listening to IN CLEAR FOCUS, a unique perspective on the business of advertising. Produced by Bigeye. If you have questions about the content of today’s show, please contact us at info@bigeyeagency.com. You’ll also find a transcript of today’s show on our website at bigeyeagency.com. I’m Adrian Tennant. Thank you for listening. Until next time, goodbye.

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Frequently Asked Questions on Brand Messaging

Brand messaging is critical to the health of your business. Here’s a closer look at some of the most commonly asked questions about the subject.

Every business owner wants to build deep, long-lasting relationships with customers. Brand messaging is the mechanism by which this is accomplished. Every communication an enterprise engages in should be done with proper brand messaging in mind.

When done right, it inspires, informs, persuades and catalyzes audiences. When done poorly, it can do serious reputational harm.

Now that we’ve understood the stakes involved, let’s take a closer look at some of the most common questions business owners have about brand messaging.

Brand Messaging FAQ

1. I’m a brand messaging neophyte — can you explain what it means in two sentences?

Sure. Brand messaging is the language, voice, tone, and ideas that a business uses to convey its core value proposition and company values.

2. Can you give me an example?

Absolutely. The classic Nike slogan “Just Do It” is a famous example of potent brand messaging. It distills the company’s ethos into three unforgettable words.

3. What are the qualities that make brand messaging effective?

The same qualities that make interpersonal communication effective, for the most part. Great brand messaging resonates with audiences and builds a connection. It inspires, catalyzes audiences into action and engenders a sense of personal identification with the brand. It’s how lifestyle brands are created and lifelong customers are made.

4. What happens when brand messaging goes wide of the mark?

If you’re lucky, audiences simply won’t respond to it. In situations where brands badly misjudge their voice or misunderstand their audience, poor brand messaging can alienate people, anger them, and turn them into another brand’s loyal customers.

5. So how does one create effective brand messaging?

Here’s where things get a bit more challenging. First, brands need to identify and segment their audience. If you don’t know who you’re selling to, you’re just throwing darts in the dark. Do research, identify your audience, and query them. What motivates them? What matters to them? How do they engage with brands?  By understanding the answers to these questions, brands can then draw a line between their customers’ motivations and their own products and services, their values, and their unique value proposition. 

6. What else is important?

One word: Differentiation. When you’re developing a brand messaging strategy, it’s natural to review what your competitors are doing. After all, you’re targeting the same audience, so there should be some overlap between your messaging strategy. That said, it’s critical to differentiate your product or service. Sometimes you can accomplish this through features or innovations, but in many industries, it’s the branding itself that is the primary differentiator. So while you want your messaging to be informed by what your competitors are doing, you don’t want to follow what they are doing. Develop your own unique, differentiated voice and message.

7. Any other tips?

Yes. Consumers are inundated by advertising and marketing messages, so it’s important to develop language and themes that stand out. Seek to be compelling and memorable, rather than aiming for a bland, middle of the road voice designed to appeal to the broadest possible demographic. It’s also critically important to be clear and concise — audiences will disengage immediately if you’re sending confusing messages. Place the audience at the center of the story and explain to them exactly what your brand can do for them. Make sure that your messaging comes through in every bit of content or communication you author, and always ensure your brand speaks in a unified and consistent voice.

Finding the Right Brand Messaging Agency

At BIGEYE, we’re experts when it comes to resonant brand messaging. Whether you’re looking for an innovative approach to brand video or new, tech-forward ways to reach your desired audiences, we can help.

Contact us today to learn more about what a sophisticated brand messaging strategy can do for your firm.

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Top Five Things to Consider When Advertising on Hulu

Choosing how to advertise on Hulu can be complex, which is why working with an OTT advertising agency to help with streaming service offers is key.

An over-the-top advertising or OTT advertising tool allows brands to advertise on apps and streaming services. When looking at Hulu’s advertising technology, many opportunities become clear. From T-commerce which allows viewers to purchase directly from the ad to interactive interstitial that shows your commercial then enables viewers to explore more content within the ad itself. As an experienced OTT advertising agency, we decided to dive in and get to know Hulu ourselves.
Some tips to keep in mind when deciding how to advertise on Hulu:

1. Not everything needs to be interactive

Hulu has a lot of interactive options that are meant to get viewers clicking for more. Take a look at the full list. While these are valid and exciting offers, it’s important to consider how your chosen media can enhance your product rather than how trendy that media’s capabilities are. If you have a product that requires high-involvement purchasing like a car or a home, being able to dig into the details to see more and learn more makes a lot of sense. If your product calls for a shorter consumer journey, a classic ad, Hulu’s slate advertising, or custom integrated commercials could be a better approach.

It’s important to note that we’re not saying that those interactive options aren’t valid. They can be entertaining and engaging. Allowing your consumers to choose which version of your ad they’ll watch can make them feel like they have some control. But if the audience doesn’t particularly care, then those extra seconds of ad selection can come off as more bothersome than empowering. It all comes down to knowing your brand and your message while deeply understanding what motivates your target market.

2. Leverage context targeting, get specific

When it comes to streaming media, you can get incredibly detailed with your targeting. Determining the type of shows your consumers watch can seem pretty simple. But with so many options on how to advertise on Hulu, you need an in-depth understanding of what motivates your target market to predict what they’ll respond to. Will they care enough to find the controller and click for more? Are they watching on TV through a device? On the computer? On the phone? Some of Hulu’s advertising types work only through a browser. Some are only seen by those who are browsing around. So if your target market is full of planners who only open Hulu when they’ve got their show in mind, they won’t see it. You need to get specific about your targeting; it has to go deeper than a tendency to stream media. How does your audience stream? When? Where? On what? These details matter. How each of Hulu’s options applies to different contexts that can be found.

If you pinpoint what motivates your consumers to listen, you can leverage the unique capabilities of Hulu advertising to drive real results. For example, if news about a specific show on Hulu coming back will attain consumer attention more effectively than your current campaign, then your OTT advertising agency should consider the custom integrated commercials option on Hulu. These take main actors or environments from popular shows and put your product into the mix to explore interesting applications of your features while driving consumer interest. Learn more about in-depth, strategic targeting.

3. High-tech ads have their place and time, so choose traditional options

As an OTT advertising agency, anything and everything ‘cutting-edge’ can feel exciting and enticing, but it’s not about the amount of fun you have creating or placing the ads—it’s about their effectiveness. Hulu advertising doesn’t center around the video or even experiential advertising. It has to center on your consumers and what appeals to them while they’re streaming. Effectively promoting your products can be as simple and classic as product placement. With Hulu’s masthead product placement your market will come across your brand right next to Hulu’s recommended popular show while they browse for the next series to watch. A page brand placement is also a possible solution, but it will only be seen by those scrolling through streaming options from a browser.

4. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Your campaign should vary, once you’ve correctly targeted your consumers you don’t want your message to get too repetitive or boring. Your OTT advertising agency should vary your ad buys between the multitude of options Hulu provides to keep your consumers engaged rather than tuning out. A good example would be a mix of ad selectors allowing your consumers to choose between 2 or 3 different video ads then supporting it with masthead product placement to retarget your market on another day. Raising interest in a way that isn’t monotonous or annoying. Another good mix could be a custom integrated commercial to get your consumers listening and seeing your features in an engaging way, then following it up with a T-commerce placement where they can see one of your campaign commercials then make a direct purchase. Learn about our strategic marketing.

Whatever mix you end up going with, promoting your products in various innovative ways will keep your target market engaged with your brand, keep your product top-of-mind, and reliably drive brand recognition. No campaign should feature just one ad. Once your branding is targeted as specifically as Hulu allows, a single-note campaign will become repetitive and monotonous. Varying the media type, especially on the same platform, will keep your message fresh and engaging.

5. Approach with a strategy in mind

There is a lot an experienced OTT advertising agency can do with advertising on Hulu. However, with the multitude of options and varied audiences, you need to approach Hulu advertising with clear goals and tactics in mind. Otherwise, your message can get buried in the noise of the platform itself. Get an expert team that will do the research, build the strategy, and crafts the creative needed to design an impactful campaign that will get your consumers talking. The goal is to end up with one contiguous campaign that seamlessly delivers your brand’s message in an engaging way to drive conversions. Equipped with a deep understanding of your audience, effective communications, and Hulu’s capabilities your campaign has the potential to drive incredible results.

The takeaway

Hulu can be a greatly effective platform for reaching and engaging your audience. But it is important for your OTT advertising agency to remember some key elements. Not everything needs to be interactive, cutting-edge technology can be really engaging but it needs to match your branding and products. Hulu shows attract specific audiences, know who will be seeing your message and position your communications accordingly. High-tech ads have their place and time, so do more traditional options, consider how each message will be communicated across executions. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, let your campaign vary to keep your consumers listening. Finally, approach with a strategy in mind, don’t get bogged down in the details. Have clear objectives and set tactics to reliably achieve your goals. Contact our team of media buyers and planners to assist you.

What Struggling Brands Have in Common With Week-Old Croissants

Crack open a nice can of crisp, bubbly, and refreshing value that comes with giving your longstanding brand a makeover or facelift.

Human relationships are fairly predictable. First, we fall in love. We can’t wait to tell everyone, both online and off. After a few years, the magic fades and we start exploring our options. Of course, we’re not talking about relationships between people here, but rather how people treat their relationships with their favorite brands. Consumers fall in and out of love quickly — and companies often need a good brand positioning agency to keep that relationship viable.
Why are brand relationships with consumers often so fleeting? It’s simple: Even the world’s most compelling branding can turn staler than last week’s croissant if it isn’t updated and refreshed regularly.

Why a famous refreshments brand opted for its own refresh

While it might seem foolish to tinker with an icon, even the most beloved brands benefit from an occasional facelift. In fact, longstanding brands often benefit the most from an update. One example is Pepsi, which recently re-positioned its brand around a new tagline: “For the Love of It.”

Pepsi has rolled out its new tagline in more than 100 markets worldwide. Roberto Rios, Pepsi’s SVP for Global  Marketing, said the new jingle is a call to arms or sorts, serving as a “rally cry” for people to “go all in for the things they love.”

The new tagline is also accompanied by a new product jingle performed by singers and dancers from 14 different nations. Pepsi also chose to add new can designs to its brand refresh, with new typography and slogans, including “Max Taste No Regrets” and “With Mischief and Love.”

These changes represented the first significant refresh in seven years for the beverage giant, whose last major brand update was built around the “Live for Now” tagline — the same tagline that featured prominently in Kylie Jenner’s much-discussed (and much-critiqued) 2017 Pepsi ad.

The benefits of a brand makeover

Unlike a rebrand, which is a top to bottom re-imagination, a brand refresh functions more along the lines of a makeover. Even the most popular brands become stale over time. That’s not due to any inherent flaws, but rather, public taste and sentiment is ever changing, and brands need to ensure that their identity remains aligned with these shifts.

Because a brand refresh is less comprehensive, many of the changes come closer to the margins. In the case of Pepsi, these changes meant a new tagline, new can designs, a song, and some other supporting marketing materials. Other typical changes may include new color schemes, new slogans, new product names, and new designs.

By introducing new elements, a brand positioning agency can assist companies in offering audiences a gentle reminder that they are still around and relevant. For legacy brands such as Pepsi, this is a critical strategic objective. The product, is omnipresent and fairly unexciting. For as long as any of us can remember, it’s been in existence. At restaurants, retail stores, stadiums, concert venues etc., cola is part of the landscape. That’s not exactly a recipe for fierce brand loyalty.

This means that it’s incumbent upon Pepsi’s branding to build and sustain consumer relationships. Consumers grow old and change with age. Pepsi doesn’t, so a refresh is necessary every five-to-ten years to help each generation identify (and ideally fall in love) with the brand.

The takeaway

At BIGEYE, we believe that the right brand positioning agency can make a critical difference in the ultimate success or failure of any small to mid-sized business. If you’re part of an established brand that isn’t gaining enough market traction, it could be time to consider a well-executed refresh.

Contact us today to learn how we combine market research, advanced technology, and creative talent to design brand refreshes that truly move the needle.

How Brand Strategy Firms Respond to People Un-Friending Facebook

Whether you’re a top brand strategy firm — or merely a casual social media user — you’ve probably noticed that young people are un-friending Facebook in droves in favor of Instagram and other platforms.
The statistics are enough to keep Mark Zuckerberg up at night: According to Pew Research, 71% of Americans aged 13 to 17 reported using Facebook in 2015. By 2018, that number had dropped to just 51%. Meanwhile, Instagram’s numbers have reversed among teens, rising to 72% today from 52% in 2015. Snapchat and Youtube have also seen sizable increases.

So what do these platforms possess that Facebook lacks? And how should brands, like yours, respond?

Let’s take a closer look.

Why Facebook has become “platform non grata” among younger users

One of the reasons why Facebook has fallen out of favor with younger users is “context collapse”. This concept describes how the various identities that people possess (the way they choose to present themselves to others) overlap and sometimes conflict across networks.

In the case of Facebook, it works like this: Someone creates an account, and friends a few hundred people. Some are close friends offline, but most are merely acquaintances or friends of friends — people we rarely interact with in person. Over time, Facebook users may grow uncomfortable with the idea of sharing personal stories or information with people they rarely see or don’t know that well. Yet they may still wish to share with people in their network who are closer to them.

Another example: A Facebook user who has friended work colleagues may feel uncomfortable with sharing photos and video of a recent night out celebrating. The context — and the intended audiences — are in conflict.

Facebook has made attempts to remedy this issue (allowing users to designate audiences for posts and create smaller groups that friends can be sorted into). Yet these are hardly the kind of simple, frictionless solutions that appeal to younger users.

This desire to avoid sharing with people on the periphery of one’s social circle is even more pronounced among younger social media users. Platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat are better suited to this tendency by their very design, which focuses on more narrowly tailored sharing and smaller groups.

Additionally, Facebook’s newsfeed — once an incredible innovation in its own right — has become a source of frustration for many users, stuffed with old or irrelevant content. The innovative features recently developed by Facebook’s rivals (like stories, stickers, lenses etc.) are much more in tune with how younger people wish to consume content.

How brands should respond

The numbers don’t lie: There is a mass movement away from Facebook by young people, and brand strategy firms need to respond accordingly. If a campaign is needed to target a younger demographic, Instagram, not Facebook, should be the primary platform under consideration. All content (and all business accounts) should, therefore, be optimized for Instagram.

Instagram stories, when used properly, is a powerful tool for reaching younger audiences. The feature has been enormously popular since its 2017 rollout (enough to make Facebook commission its own version) and has deepened engagement, especially among young users. Research shows that Instagram users under 25 are now spending 32 minutes per day on the platform.

By adding polls, links and other features to Instagram stories – and brand strategy firms designing all ads and content in a format that’s optimized for younger viewers — brands can ensure they stay on the right side of recent trends.

How BIGEYE helps brands reach young audiences

It is our mission to stay at the vanguard of important trends. Whether it involves social, marketing, advertising or technology, we’re always focused on what’s next.

If your brand could benefit from a truly forward-focused approach, please reach out today.

A Brand Positioning Agency Changed How America Eats Burritos

For years, Taco Bell had something close to a monopoly on fast Tex-Mex food. The menu certainly wasn’t gourmet — or even particularly good for you — but the company was resoundingly successful.
And then Chipotle came along.

Though it began as a small operation in Denver in the 1990s, Chipotle expanded fast, thanks in part to its pioneering “fast casual” approach. That was merely the prelude for one of the most extraordinary growth stories in the archives of the food business — a success story that was driven by just one partnership.

A brand positioning agency.

How brilliant brand positioning helped “Burrito David” challenge “Taco Goliath”

In a little more than a decade, Chipotle grew from a modest local Colorado burrito shop to a billion-dollar enterprise with 500 locations. Not only was the company continuously listed among the fastest-growing businesses in the United States, but it was also applauded for the quality and flavor of its products.

The truth, however, is that Chipotle didn’t invent its famous overstuffed “mission-style” burrito, a delicacy Californians have enjoyed since the 1960s. They did, however, build one of the restaurant industry’s most effective brand campaigns around their fast-casual offerings.

Taco Bell, which owned virtually all of the national fast-food Tex-Mex market, didn’t focus its marketing on food quality, eating experience or health. Instead, Taco Bell ran a multi-year ad campaign detailing the madcap adventures of a taco-crazed Chihuahua.

While “Yo queiro Taco Bell” was certainly clever and cute, it also wasn’t in tune with the ever-evolving consumer attitudes and preferences. Cheap, fast food of dubious quality was out — and cleaner, healthier, better-tasting dishes served in brighter and sleeker settings was in.

Chipotle’s marketing capitalized on this trend by printing clever jokes on its cups and cultivating a hip environment in its restaurant locations. Their marketing campaigns ruthlessly highlighted the differences between Chipotle’s approach and that of Taco Bell. They made the case that not only was Chipotle higher quality it was also operating on a higher ethical plane.

One example: Chipotle commissioned a stop-motion short film that promoted organic, sustainable farming (and their own superior ingredients), set to a soundtrack of Willie Nelson covering Coldplay.

Later, in advance of Halloween, they released a Tim Burton-style short film that starred a scarecrow in moral conflict about the (very tangential) role he was playing in factory farming. The video, which was set to Fiona Apple covering a song from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” was also tied into a mobile gaming app with an anti-factory farming message.

These clever creative gambits helped position Chipotle as a fast-casual cuisine that you could feel good about eating. Not only was it elevated above the déclassé level of fast food, but it was also smart, ethical and in tune with changing tastes.

Though the company eventually had to deal with some turbulence caused by food-borne illnesses, sales are up, and Chipotle’s future is looking brighter than ever.

This is the kind of powerful brand positioning that can shake up an industry. In Chipotle’s case, it helped the company become a global juggernaut and the first serious rival to Taco Bell’s Tex-Mex hegemony.

What the right brand positioning agency can do for you

Even though the company has had some recent, queso-related missteps, Chipotle has always been a favorite at the BIGEYE offices, and it’s not just the bowls and burritos. We’ve loved their story, and you should too.

The right brand positioning agency can take a company to the next level — and we’d be happy to show you how. Reach out to our branding team today!