First takeaway from Tuesday’s lecture: your brand reflects your company and represents your promise, so losing focus on your brand identity can be very detrimental. To support this, an article published by Forbes.com in 2012 focused on Starbucks. Their stock prices and profit margins are being threatened, which may be due to them losing focus on their brand identity. Their chain is becoming more like “a factory assembly line” where barristas are pressured to make multiple drinks at a time, straying from their uniqueness that each cup of brewed coffee is personally made for each customer. Their addition to more breakfast and light lunch menus is also making them too similar to competitors like McDonalds. Though the economy and business changes, I always think it’s important that a brand stays true to themselves. Customers pick up on that easily, and more than likely, they won’t like the adjustments.
Second takeaway: product placement can be a huge exposure. Upon researching more details on this, this article actually defines another way products can be featured on film which I did not know about (consciously, at least), and that is product integration. This is when a product is actually specified in the TV/film script that the character is using it, such as a Speed Stick deodorant, as the article specified. The important concept here is product placement is used as “background prop,” but product integration convinces the audience that they too must buy/use that specific brand. The latter concept is an even more profitable role in brand exposure, in my opinion–especially if the actor using the product is well liked.
Third takeaway: CRM software helps businesses manage and track their customers, increasing the relationship level and solidifying trust/growth. One CRM software I heard of and actually used a little while I was an intern at Madison Magazine (Madison, WI) is Salesforce. To understand it better, I read this article review from a CRM software expert comparing its pros and cons. For one, it’s user-friendly and customization. You can also install various application systems, and it has a company-side “chat” system so that everyone on board can share information on the spot. The integration is top-notch, and data is real-time (accessible via phones). The bad, it’s more expensive than other CRMs and comes with no service level agreement. From the list, however, Salesforce has more good points than bad, and you really do “get your money’s worth” by going with Salesforce.
Fourth takeaway: brands are also inherited through the generations by its customers. Though we touched on this briefly, I looked into other examples and why brands carry from parent to child–and vice versa. An article from MediaPost.com addresses a few examples taken straight from the views of a few teens and how brands carry on to them from their parents. These range from brands such as Urban Outfitter, Victoria’s Secret, and Ponds (beauty cream). Perhaps the most intriguing aspect I got out of this article was how one teen stated, “I’ve been using [Pond’s moisturizer] my whole life and never really looked at alternatives because I trust my mom on cosmetics.” The keyword here is trust. Because Ponds already created trust between the mother and the product, the mother then passes this same idea to her daughter: Ponds is a trusting brand she can rely on. Since the daughter trusts the mother, the daughter therefore trusts the brand even though she has never tried others. The magic of marketing!
Lastly: companies have a corporate social responsibility, which ties in heavily with their image. Forbes listed 2013’s top 10 best socially responsible companies, and in for number one is a tie between Microsoft, Disney, Google, and BMW. 50% of surveyors agreed that The Walt Disney Corporation ranks highest in citizenship, meaning that they support good causes and protect the environment. Google was perceived as the best work place, at 51% agreement across 15 markets. BMW was rated best in terms of governance and ethics with 49% across the markets. For all businesses across the board, CSR gives much goodwill to the company, even though companies spend millions a year on their CSR campaigns and gain no ROI from it. However, businesses should still continue to perfect their CSR because “CSR [is a] part of your reputation management strategy to drive business growth, customer loyalty, and employee alignment.”