What a Creative Advertising Agency Can Learn from Geico

Studying Geico ads, your creative advertising agency can learn invaluable tools for your brand campaigns—making them more effective, memorable, and fun.

Everyone knows Geico Insurance. Whether you’re a fan of the gecko, caveman, or another one of their mascots, we’ve all got to hand it to Geico for their incredibly well-done ads. We fully recognize it’s no accident either, they consistently make brilliant, strategic decisions ultimately getting them to where they are today.

Our curiosity peaks when we ask the question: What drives those ever-changing concepts? Here’s what we’ve learned.

1. Don’t let the product be the only focus.

Let’s be real, insurance is not the most engaging subject. Consumers don’t pay attention to ads centered on jargon and driven by industry best practices; they want to be entertained. Geico’s creative advertising agency does an amazing job of having fun with their product with a purpose. For example, the caveman ads. A campaign that revolved around the concept that cavemen exist today and the slogan, “so easy a caveman could do it” deeply offends them.

This has absolutely nothing to do with insurance, any industry has a convenient pull and this could have resonated in any of them. It’s simply that Geico coined it. You can see this idea in most of their ads. However, the product isn’t just tacked on either. It’s a big plot point. Who is saying their product is, “so easy a caveman could do it?” Geico.

They are central to the plot but not the only focus. Your campaign strategy should do the same thing. Get a creative ad agency with strategies that will weave your brand into the content in interesting, innovative ways.

2. Put in the resources.

Amazing ads can’t be crafted in 2 hours on $10. Giving your creative ad agency the time and resources they need to truly capture your voice and vision is a huge step towards long-term campaign success. According to Forbes, Geico invested $5 million in ad creation for 2017 alone. That’s an astronomical number, but for the breadth of ads, quality content, varied target markets the results show it all. That year, Geico’s brand awareness hit 53%. For context, Progressive’s high-point that year was 43%.

Now it’s not all about spending, Progressive had spent $4.5 million and got significantly lower results. The talent must also be there, as well as avid and clear communication on vision and goals. Look at the top creative agencies in your industry, target markets, and locations before you decide which creative advertising agency should get that big investment. Money can only take you so far, you need the right people.

3. Don’t keep repeating the same ad.

Even the most energizing and unique concepts can get monotonous and bothersome over time. Don’t make your audience watch the same thing over and over. Whether it’s through one concept with multiple executions or multiple different campaigns running at once, give your audience varied the content. Geico is a great example of both practices. Their creative advertising agency ran many spots featuring their acoustic musicians in ads such as Hump Day and Christopher Columbus. Then ran separate campaigns at the same time by keeping their Gecko ads running while ads featuring fun facts in realistic situations were also on air.

More than varied content, you need to also use multiple channels. Geico ads can be found in print, on TV, and YouTube Pre-roll too. Get a creative digital agency that works across platforms. This way, your content will be seen and won’t get stale.

The Takeaway

Memorable advertising is a complex order, and every brand is different. You can achieve high brand awareness and drive profits with a few key concepts. So, what are the takeaways? Have more than one ad, keeping your consumers engaged demands innovative, plentiful content. Let the story drive the ad, your brand should be a key plot driver but not the only focus. Tell a complete narrative that lets your products shine without being the only concept at hand. Finally, give your agency the time, information, and funding they need to reach your goals effectively.

As a creative advertising agency, we understand how vital engaging, varied advertising is to a thriving business. We’re strategy first in all aspects, tailoring our services to your industry, target market, and needs to optimize your ad spend and drive effective results. Reach out to learn about what we can do for you.

How to Reach the Parents-to-be through Effective Maternity Marketing

Maternity marketing typically reaches out to the current mom, without putting much emphasis on the woman who’s expecting. But particularly for first-time moms, these women and their supportive family members must also make decisions about what’s best for their as-of-yet unborn children… what color to paint the nursery, which toys to purchase for the tot, what types of formula to buy and what kinds of clothes the child should wear.
Companies that target the current mom without thinking of the present mom may be too late – once she has the child, she may have already made up her mind about the best formulas, baby wipes and other newborn needs to suit her child.  And once you lose the expectant mother, you may lose her for life – if she becomes loyal to one brand, it will be hard to get her to switch over.

Many Expecting Mothers Google Everything

Marketers can target expectant moms by reaching out to them through the avenues they’ll be using most.  Perhaps one of the easiest ways is through SEO content and Google AdWords.  First-time mothers may be anxious about what constitutes a “normal” pregnancy, potential parenting woes and the “right” parenting methods.  They’ll often look to Google and other search engine tools for help.  A Google search for “how to change a diaper” produces more than 29 million results. While it may be difficult to provide SEO content to beat the top-ranked page, a Google Ad campaign for your brand could do wonders for your diaper company and maternity marketing strategy.

Educational Content is Valuable to New Parents

Instructional content may also be a promising avenue for reaching your target mom-to-be.  Content marketing is a way to reach out to your target demographics, and therefore a blog directed to the mom-to-be and the newborn mom practically has a built-in audience. Younger, hipper, smartphone-wielding moms may be drawn to video content, which is easily accessible from multiple devices.

From Mom-Focused Content to “DADvertising”

Okay, but what about the dad-to-be? According to a study conducted last year, 52% of millennial parents told us that ads they see are made for mothers more than fathers, and 83% say they think advertising for parents should appeal to both mothers and fathers equally. In fact, there was a successful online movement in the U.S. that put pressure on the site “Amazon Mom” to rename its service to “Amazon Family.”

Some maternity marketing tips we think would be helpful in reaching dads would be to make it easier for dads to find the right information on their mobile devices at any time, to include dads in the story since household duties are shared amongst both parents, and to understand what motivates and works with dads may be motivated differently than their female counterparts. We’ve already begun to see a shift toward “dadvertising” – and we’re diggin’ it.

So if you’re aiming to reach soon-to-be parents, our Orlando advertising agency encourages you to think about both parts of the story.  Catching a mom-to-be in the pregnancy phase may mean that you’re attracting a loyal and valuable customer for life, and speaking to a “dad-in-training” may stand out more amongst a sea of mom-oriented messaging.

To learn more about how you can market to parents in order to create brand preference and instill brand loyalty, contact us today!

Multi-Sensory Marketing Takes CPGs by Your Senses

Consumer packaged goods marketing often experiments with the most innovative techniques and exposes brands to a breadth of campaigns touching multiple channels because they are attempting to reach a wide audience. As a result, CPGs have generated tons of data on the types of campaigns that work and don’t work. One of our favorite emerging trends is multi-sensory advertisements.

Made popular by Oxford University’s Dr. Charles Spence, multi-sensory marketing suggests that customers will be swayed to taste, feel, smell, or see CPGs a certain way by pairing sensory triggers that support the emotion a product is trying to inspire. During a coffee symposium, Spence shows how the mind can be misled to believe coffee tastes better (or worse) by changing its packaging, presentation in a coffee shop, adding smells, or different colors. Don’t believe us? Just watch.

Amazing stuff, right? Multi-sensory advertising is especially popular with millennial marketing experts because these campaigns break through the clutter and create a stronger emotional bond with the brand than traditional print or television ads. This is a “must-do” when marketing to millennials because the single most important factor in attracting this audience is creating a real, emotional connection with your brand.

Below, we share some of our favorite multi-sensory CPG campaigns and why they are so successful. We’re excited to help you create your next (or first) multi-sensory campaign, so discover how we have worked with brands like yours in the past or set up a one-on-one consultation today at your local Orlando marketing agency. 

CPG Marketing Meets Taste

What do Kit Kat bars and Pringles have in common? Aside from being delicious – if somewhat indulgent – snacks, both CPG brands have discovered that consumers associate freshness with the sound of a crisp crunch. In a study sponsored by Dr. Spence, Pringles played the sound of different chips crunching to their consumers. Based on how fresh or stale the chips sounded influenced the consumers’ opinion of how the chips would taste. Leveraging that information, Pringles has never shied away from showing sound bites of happy customers munching in their television spots, and routinely reinforce this messaging with their “once you pop, you can’t stop” tag line. Everything from the sound of opening a Pringles tube, to the chips rattling inside the canister affirms the crisp freshness of the chips. Similarly, Kit Kat has built hundreds of campaigns around the crunch and snap of sharing and eating a Kit Kat bar. Their ads show customers being transported outside their mundane day-to-day lives as the crunch takes over. In other ads, the entire commercial leverages the various signature sounds of breaking into or biting a Kit Kat bar. The crunch, in this instance, is a pleasurable sensory experience customers have come to expect and crave. It was just a matter of discovering which this sensory experience delighted customers.

Consumer Packaged Goods that Smell … Well … Good

Sure, scratch and sniff coffee bags and air freshener packaging seems like an obvious use of the sense of smell to make a sale, but one of our favorite examples of multi-sensory marketing doesn’t rely on smell to make the sale … It changes the smell of the product itself. In blind tests, Axe Body Spray discovered that it’s masculine cologne had great potential, but found that consumers thought the spray was less masculine if they heard the traditional swoosh of a perfume atomizer before smelling the product. To counter balance this unintentional multi-sensory fail, Axe Body Spray changed their packaging so the bottle’s nozzle created a more aggressive, “manly” sound when using the product. That simple commercial innovation boosted customers perception of the smell and appreciation for the product. Talk about taking your packaging seriously. Using focus groups or setting up user testing can help reveal insights like this that can make or break how your CPG is perceived. 

Seeing is Believing for Millennial Marketing

Packaging and presentation is one of the most powerful tools when crafting a multi-sensory marketing campaign targeted at the millennial audience. Because millennials are used to consuming information via photos and rely on visual cues as they move from device to device, colors and packaging can have a profound subliminal effect on how they perceive CPGs in the real world. Color alone is enough to trigger a certain sentiment or influence taste. Just ask Coca-Cola. As part of their holiday collection, Coke released a limited edition white can featuring polar bears frolicking in the snow. Although they had not changed the product itself, hundreds of customers called in complaining that the drink formula had changed and that the product did not taste as good. Simply switching back to the traditional red can solved the sales issue. If you are marketing to a millennial audience, consider what they are looking at every day and how you could use those natural triggers to align your product with a certain feeling or effect.

The Right Touch for CPG Brands

The challenge with CPGs is that they are usually packed in such a way that customers don’t have the opportunity to feel, touch, or play with the product until after they have purchased it. Two companies have solved this problem in unique ways that we love. Electronic retailer Apple has created entire stores dedicated to touching and feeling their products. In their store kiosks, customers can play with, try on, weigh, and admire each and every product Apple sells. This high-sensory experience affirms Apple’s commitment to quality and design and sets them apart from other electronic manufacturers. On the other end of the spectrum, organic soap company LUSH, has taken a similar approach by setting up “mini spas” in several of their key stores across the United States. Customers can come in and enjoy quick in-store treatments using their hand lotion, soap and scrubs right to discover the benefits of these luxurious, eco-friendly products. Touch is especially important for CPGs trying to establish themselves based on value rather than price and can be a powerful reminder of quality.

Hear the Difference with Multi-Sensory Marketing

No one does multi-sensory marketing better than Bose headphones and speakers. In almost any major electronic store or boutique where Bose is sold, customers will find a station outfitted with surround sound speakers or noise canceling headphone. Customers are invited to hear the sound of a Porsche revving, a majestic waterfall rushing, or immerse themselves in an action-packed movie. In each of these examples, Bose pairs their listening booth with high-adrenaline experiences rather than simply letting the customer flip on the news or turn to their Smartphone for musical inspiration. choice Their of sounds – all of which may seem otherworldly to the average consumer – affirms that Bose itself is in a class of its own in line with luxury brands such as Porsche or some of the greatest wonders that the world (or Hollywood) can deliver.

If those examples don’t inspire you to try something new, nothing will. Sometimes, the unconventional answer is the right one. And sure, you’ve heard us share our excitement about digital marketing before, but these CPGs have learned to balance the digital wave with innovative, multi-sensory techniques. These marketing leaders prove that there isn’t a one size fits all model when appealing to customers. Learn about our marketing approach here.

4 Unconventional, Creative Ways to Perform Market Research

Customer insights are solid gold. They unlock the door to commercial innovation, help you understand the latent needs of your target audience, and spark ideas for future products. It would be hard for any marketer to dispute the value of market research. What we are going to dispute is the misconception that market research has to be expensive.
If you have the budget for it, there is nothing wrong with investing in big data, qualitative customer insights interviews, market reports, and high-powered consultants. All of these tools are very effective at gathering and aggregating customer insights. When an advertising agency harnesses these insights to a creative campaign, they can have a huge impact.

But those aren’t the only ways to perform market research. Entrepreneurs, small- and medium-sized business owners, scrappy startups, and even frugal corporate heavyweights have plenty of options to collect remarkably accurate market research using lean methodology that does more with less. These four unconventional and creative ways to perform market research are as inexpensive as they are efficient. The best part is, they also yield near immediate results so you can go to market faster.

Social Media for Market Research

Social media isn’t usually considered a market research tool, but don’t let that fool you. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, are mini focus groups that allow you to read (and respond to) customer comments, giving you a real-time view into the cause-and-effects that actually influence customer behavior. You can also introduce questions about possible new features or products into your forum, share surveys and polls, and even reach out to customers for one-on-one feedback about their experience. All for free.

Because many websites also use social media to enable single sign on customer login, social platforms have a wealth of data about where else your customers are shopping and socializing. While you may not be able to see the full picture or harness the full depth of that information without partnering (or paying) those platforms directly, you can conduct your own qualitative research by looking at what your top users and social advocates are doing online. We know it may sound a little old fashioned or labor intensive, so partnering with a digital marketing agency can make your life easier … but go ahead and do a little Facebook stalking, see what you can learn, and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to learn more from time to time.

Research Livestreaming

If you want to enjoy similar benefits but take some of the legwork out of trolling social media sites for nuggets of information, research firm Harris Interactive’s new platform built for the modern digital marketing agency, Research Livestreaming, may be just the tool you were looking for. This tool offers a unique view into both your customers’ social media activity and more direct customer feedback. Customers opt in by linking their social media sites to the Research Livestreaming platform and then participating in surveys, polls, and discussions regarding various experiences and products. Customers are rewarded for their insights with monetary gift certificates or merchandise.

The tool provides a much more holistic picture into the market’s behavior and how social actions correspond to real actions. Because users also choose to participate in the Research Livestreaming platform, you don’t need to worry about being perceived as pushy or soliciting unwelcome information. The downside is that you can’t completely control the users you get to interact with. Although these individuals are all willing to share information, you aren’t receiving information from customers who had a bad experience or those who may be less inclined to share. In reality, you aren’t receiving customer information at all. There’s no guarantee that participating in Research Livestreaming is representative of your customer segment. That said, because users choose how and where to participate on the platform, it’s safe to assume that respondents are self-selecting into experiences they would engage with in the wild and your digital marketing agency can help interpret results into actionable strategy. In this way, Research Livestreaming provides exceptional directional insight into customer behavior and broad market temperature.

User Testing

If you crave more granular information, consider using simple user testing software such as usertesting.com. This is one of our favorite customer research tools to gain insight into task completion and user experience functionality. Your content marketing agency can help you prepare product prototypes, show customers your actual homepage, or ask them to imagine themselves in a situation and complete a task such as purchasing a product or searching for information. Each testing session is recorded, so you’ll be able to watch (and listen to users comment on) their experience every step of the way.

User testing provides a very narrow, but accurate view into market behavior. This can be invaluable when preparing for a product launch or revamping your online presence. Like Research Lifestreaming, you are somewhat limited by who signs up to participate on usertesting.com. It’s important to remember that while lean market research doesn’t give you an infallible look at customer behavior, it’s often faster and easier to collect. Responses from user testing are usually available within hours, rather than months (as is the case with traditional market research). With these tools, you can supercharge your testing and iteration process to meet your customers’ needs faster.

Site Surveys

And don’t forget about adding a customer survey to your homepage. You can ask simple questions like why they came to your site, or more broad questions like what they like or dislike your brand. Give them the option to respond with simple yes/no or radio button answers, or add their own verbatims. Survey creation software such as Qualaroo is easy to implement with a few clicks of a button, so everyone from a seasoned digital marketing agency to the most non-tech savvy companies can take advantage of this tool.
No matter how you choose to collect market research, the most important element is that you are connecting and engaging with your customers. How you do it – is just the details.

Creative and Media Under One Roof: The Agency Model of the Future

The decision to work with full creative brand consulting and media provider under one agency roof or many? It’s your choice…but make sure you chose wisely.

Creative and media went their separate ways more than 30 years ago, when big New York agencies determined they could charge clients more money for distinct services. Today, however, we’re seeing a reversal of that trend: Large industry holding companies (Publicis Groupe, WPP, etc.) are organizing media and creative under one roof — a development that bears very close scrutiny for anyone in creative brand consulting.

Why an integrated service model makes sense

Synergy may be a buzzword, but it describes a very real advantage that can be seized when the individual parts of an organization work together to achieve more than they could in isolation.

The recent “IHOb” ad campaign on behalf of the International House of Pancakes is a nice recent example of this process in motion. The campaign, which cleverly stoked social media buzz about a potential name change for the legacy pancake purveyor, was the combined creation of Initiative and Droga5, media and creative agencies working under the umbrella of IPG. The campaign, which earned industry praise, allowed IHOP to develop impactful creative work, and then increase the impact and reach of its distribution.

This encompasses the overarching concept of consolidation within the space, in which ad clients are increasingly folding all of their needs into a single agency or holding company. Many observers contend that this model — which theoretically allows creative, media, and data analytics to work synergistically — is better suited for modern advertising.

By rolling services together, campaigns can be adjusted in real time to account for the reaction of audiences. Campaigns can also leverage data to shape the direction creative takes, allowing for more refined messages and better audience targeting.

Why is this shift occurring now?  

Delivering ad services in a piecemeal fashion has been a revenue driver for the last few decades, as companies could shift away from a flat commission model taken by separate on media and creative initiatives. Many of the ad industry’s new leaders, however, no longer believe this model is optimal, according to Madwell CEO David Eisenman.

Eisenman told Adweek that 90% of the RFPs his agency received in the last year included creative and media elements. This change, he said, has been driven by Millennials, who are stepping into the advertising C-suite and bringing a fresh perspective.

Publicis Groupe, one of the industry’s key players, has been pursuing an integrated model since restructuring its organization in 2015. The company streamlined all operations into four so-called “solutions hubs” that comprise all corporate business.

Under this model, the holding company acts as chief business delegator, helping coordinate client services with its constituent agencies underneath. Ultimately, the talent spread across various agencies can be tapped to service a single client, allowing for the most efficient spread of resources. This, of course, benefits clients — why only have access to creative brand consulting in one talent housed agency when you can access teams spread across an entire holding company?

Concerns and drawbacks

While an integrated model seems to be a winner for clients, some observers have cautioned that excessive integration may lead to problems. Creatives may not always appreciate being spread across an organization, mercenary-style, to work on seemingly random projects.

Additionally, if integration is handled poorly, quality may suffer. Firms that pursue widespread integration need to be certain that it is implemented carefully and methodically, given its potential for organizational disruption.

The takeaway

We take pride in our ability to provide clients with a sophisticated, engaging, end-to-end solution for their marketing and advertising needs. If you’d like to hear more about how our team of experts can best serve you through creative brand consulting, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Struggling for Good Content? Consider the UGC Technique

UGC is an underappreciated technique used by creative brand consulting firms, yet provides overly successful content creation for your brand.

It’s a fact of life that creative brand consulting firms are always in need of fresh and compelling content. Unfortunately, they often struggle to meet these demands. That’s because it typically requires time, talent and money to generate high-quality marketing content.
Here’s the good news: Agencies and brands are solving this problem with content generation strategies that ensure access to a consistent pipeline of high-value material.

One of the most overlooked of these strategies is the use of UGC — or “user-generated content.”

Who’s down with UGC?

UGC is simply defined as any content created and shared by consumers, fans or any unpaid contributor. This content often takes the form of videos, photos, testimonials, social media posts, and stories.

One recent example: Coca-Cola’s wildly successful personalized Coke bottle campaign. The beverage giant replaced its iconic logo with 250 popular first names and sold hundreds of millions of bottles of cola as a result.

As part of its product rollout, Coca-Cola asked consumers to upload photos and videos of themselves drinking from their personalized bottles. Thousands did, giving Coca-Cola free content and advertising — and providing a great example of the power of UGC in action.

Coca-Cola isn’t the only beverage company to use UGC to great effect. Pepsi’s “Max It Now” campaign was built around legendary NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, who famously raced under the number 24.

Pepsi asked fans to complete 24 social media challenges (such as Tweeting why Pepsi Max is better than Coke Zero in 24 words, or Instagraming a photo of themselves with Pepsi Max) in order to win prizes.

This UGC campaign was hailed for the way it engaged with a dedicated cohort of so-called “superfans” a.k.a people with deep loyalty to Jeff Gordon, NASCAR — and now, very possibly, Pepsi Max.

Tips for your next UGC campaign

We’ve discussed one benefit of UGC — providing access to a stream of valuable content, an eternal need for brands. Yet there’s another important advantage: UGC resonates with audiences.

Why? People perceive non-commercial content generated by people like themselves to be more authentic. Similar to word of mouth advertising, they also perceive UGC to be more trustworthy than conventional marketing or advertising. In today’s ad-soaked environment, more consumers than ever simply tune out anything with an overtly commercial feel. UGC cuts through this barrier.

Additionally, a UGC campaign allows brands to place consumers front and center. Rather than dictate the story through a creative brand consulting firm, UGC campaigns allow consumers to play a key role in telling the brands journey themselves. When this occurs, brands create campaigns that connect on a more personal level, while also encouraging consumers to feel like they are invested in the campaign — and by extension the brand itself.

So now that we’ve established why UGC works, let’s review a few tips for your next campaign:

1.Create excitement and anticipation

This is one of the best ways to ensure that you receive strong user participation. Set a content submission date and spend the days and weeks ahead of that date building anticipation across all relevant marketing channels.

2.Offer creative awards for participation

This is the key to engaging with people who aren’t already dedicated fans of a brand. Public recognition, company swag or prizes help people feel like their work is worth it.

3.Ensure your campaign is legally compliant

Is your campaign a sweepstakes (random drawing) or a contest (with criteria to meet)? Depending on your jurisdiction, these may have differing legal requirements. Check with an attorney if you have any questions.

Finding the creative brand consulting Firm

Our team of creative renegades specialize in strategic UGC-based campaigns that move the needle. If you’d like to learn more about the power of UGC, please don’t hesitate to call us today.