Archive | September, 2013

“Giving is the Best Communication” — The Year’s Best Ad From a Brand You’ve Never Heard of

29 Sep

 

   One of the most viral and powerful advertisements this fall doesn’t sell a product.  Instead, it sells an idea.  And in the process, it brilliantly illustrates the power of brand extension with a smart and strategic piece of communication.

    It comes from a cell phone company in Thailand named Truemove-H.  The three minute film spans a 30-year story, one that begins with an act of sympathy and kindness and ends with a surprise act of gratitude.   The film contains no product placement, no overt sales pitch, only the powerful idea of the value of paying life forward.  The message from Truemove-H:  “Giving is the best communication.” 

   Proof of the Ad’s power lies in the fact that it just surpassed 9-million YouTube views in one week. 

"Giving" by Thailand's Truemove H phone service

“Giving” by Thailand’s Truemove H phone service

   As a piece of communication, the film is a daring and brilliantly strategic tool to build brand salience in a hyper-competitive category. 

    In this case it effectively uses Appraisal Theory to connect emotion and mood to influence a specific action.   The film makes the viewer cognitively aware of how giving can have its own unexpected reward. (Figure 1)  The deep emotional response of empathy—even guilt—leads to the formation of new attitudes about how giving can impact people’s lives.   The desired action is to cause people to give more of themselves.   In this case, Truemove-H’s goal is to get people to give by calling more often.   But just as important, it seals an emotionally positive connection to the brand—a connection likely to be top of mind the next time a Thai consumer searches for new phone service. 

Figure 1 - Applying Appraisal Theory to Truemove-H's "Giving" advertisement.

Figure 1 – Applying Appraisal Theory to Truemove-H’s “Giving” advertisement.

    It takes a powerful brand to communicate with this kind of boldness.  Coca-Cola is one of the few North American brands willing to leverage its brand values to encourage social change.  One of its best recent examples is a campaign that originated in South America to encourage random acts of kindness.

    In a recent post, I wrote how computer chip maker Intel used Appraisal Theory to force people to make an emotional conversion to empower young women across the globe.  Like Truemove-H, the campaign did not feature a single product placement or sales pitch.

   Together they are three examples of strategically smart communication campaigns that entice the viewer to make a powerful emotional response to a brand goal. 

    Gratefully, in each case no operators are standing by.

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Coach Jerry Kill’s Seizure and how the Gophers can Correct a Crisis Communication Failure

24 Sep

    

    Football coaches universally are a different breed.  Never ones to look back, they’re always focused on the next game with the zeal of a running back focused on the goal line.     

    However, such laser beam focus cost Minnesota Gophers’ head football coach Jerry Kill a golden opportunity to control and contain a growing contagion of doubt after his latest epileptic seizure on the sidelines at TCF Bank Stadium.      

Minnesota Football Coach Jerry Kill

Minnesota Football Coach Jerry Kill

    The seizure during halftime of the game against Western Illinois was his fourth since becoming the Gophers’ head coach in 2010.  During that time Coach Kill’s struggle with epilepsy has been well documented.  But this latest episode produced a sudden spark of dissent from StarTribune sports columnist Jim Souhan that was fanned into flames by sports talk radio.     

    The silence from the University of Minnesota was deafening.  The 72 hours following the sideline seizure produced a classic case study in crisis communication mismanagement.      

    Among the failures:

  • Athletic Director Norwood Teague waiting two days to make a statement supporting his coach.
  • Jerry Kill refusing to talk about the episode once he returned to work. (see video at the top of this article)
  • The University not publically challenging the dissent against Coach Kill.

     But the biggest failure of all was the complete lack of a coherent communications strategy.  Call it a communications seizure.   Given Coach Kill’s recent medical history, it’s probable he may suffer another attack.  If and when it does happen, the University can ill afford to have another breakdown.    

    The athletic department and the football program have a minimum of four audiences they need to address: The general public, ticket holders and boosters, the news media, and Minnesotans afflicted with epilepsy.

     Here’s what a reasonable and actionable strategic communications plan would like.

    

    This is just a start.  There are other important audiences that need addressing in this crisis including the football players, recruits, and even the entire Athletics Department.      

    For a football program that goes to great lengths to game the competition, it clearly has no game plan for the PR challenge of Coach Kill’s epilepsy.  I encourage them to steal this play book.

Student support for Coach Jerry Kill at the Sept. 21st, 2013 home game. (Courtesy @Gophersports Twitter)

Student support for Coach Jerry Kill at the Sept. 21st, 2013 home game. (Courtesy @Gophersports Twitter)

Have a Coke, Dinner, and a Tweet — Coca-Cola’s Live Integration of Advertising and Social Media.

10 Sep

     Across Europe, Coca- Cola is asking people to share more than just a Coke.  In doing so it has created an ingenious campaign that not just extends its brand value but has also increased social engagement.

     Key to the campaign is Coca-Cola popping the bottle cap on the insight that in Romania, 60% of people don’t eat meals together.  Instead, they eat alone in front of the TV.   With the help of ad agency MRM Worldwide-Romania, Coke created a series of TV ads around the theme of “Let’s Eat Together.”  Central to the ads was the agency and Romania’s Pro TV inserting live Tweets into the commercials, many of them invitations for people to come over for dinner. 

    In a matter of weeks, hundreds of live Tweets aired in the commercials and by Coca-Cola’s account the campaign earned more than a million social media impressions. 

     The campaign has expanded now to Italy where celebrity chefs created meals for total strangers all with the goal of getting people to sit down together to share a meal.

     Of course, the strategy of the campaign is to boost sales by increasing rate of use.  Coca-Cola has been exceptionally effective getting consumers to associate Coke with happiness.  In this campaign, Coca-Cola is encouraging people to not just share a Coke during a pleasurable moment, but during dinner.  In the process it has also encouraged them to share the experience on social media. 

     It’s a powerful brand extension executed wonderfully by a powerful brand.   Who’s hungry?

Justin Morneau’s Farewell—A Crisis Communication Teaching Tool

2 Sep

Justin Morneau 1     In a game of hardball, Justin Morneau was just pulled from the lineup.  After a 14 year career with the Minnesota Twins organization, the former MVP and fan favorite has been traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

     It’s a move that reminds fans that baseball is a business. 

     But Morneau is smart enough to realize he is more than a consequence of that business, he is also a brand unto himself.  And any time there is an event that makes a brand’s enthusiasts (fans) question their loyalty and support or threatens the relationship, there is a potential crisis.   Morneau’s response serves as a simple blueprint for executives, brand managers and communicators everywhere in how to respond. 

      In a simple 223 word letter to fans printed in the Minneapolis StarTribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Morneau offers a three-step model:

  1.  Gratitude: Appreciation for the opportunity and loyalty.
  2.  Contrition:  Apology for not achieving more.
  3.  Praise:  Love for the people and the relationships with them.

      Here’s his letter:  Justin Morneau 2

First of all, I would like to say thank you to all of the Twins fans. I would also like to thank the Minnesota Twins organization for giving me a chance to realize my dream of being a Major League baseball player. I was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 1999. Since that day I have been very proud and fortunate to call myself a Minnesota Twin.

I was a wide-eyed 22 year kid when I made my big league debut in 2003. I received a warm welcome that day and have felt welcomed ever since. I feel like I was a kid when I first got here, but was able to grow up in this organization and become someone my friends and family could be proud of. My wife, kids and family are Minnesotans and this has become my second home. Minnesotans are some of the kindest, most genuine people I have ever met.

I am sorry that during my time here we weren’t able to achieve our ultimate goal of winning the World Series, but I will forever carry many wonderful memories of my time here. I will always cherish every day I was lucky enough to play in front of you fans in a Minnesota uniform.

Thank you for all of your support throughout the years.

Your friend, Justin Morneau

          Classy.   Wouldn’t it be great if athletes and communicators in every league would steal this page from Morneau’s play book?

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