Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Master Marketers - Interview with Prof. Leslie de Chernatony

Today's interview is with Professor Leslie de Chernatony, whom I first encountered through reading one of his early books on Brand Management when I was studying in the late 90's.

I went on to use his writing in practice, when I became VP Marketing for an International Media Company which owned a worldwide network of luxury goods sites.

Leslie is a global expert on Branding and Strategic Brand management and it is with great pleasure that I publish this interview.

Here is something of his background...

Professor Leslie de Chernatony BSc PhD FCIM FMRS

Leslie is Professor of Brand Marketing at Universita della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, Switzerland, Honorary Professor of Brand Marketing at Aston Business School, UK and Managing Partner of Brands Box Marketing & Research Consultancy.  Having made a significant contribution to advancing knowledge about brand management, he now bridges the advancement of brand knowledge in his academic role with the application of brand knowledge in his consultancy role.  His cutting edge work on strategically building brands has helped many organisations develop more effective brand strategies.

Leslie’s research on brand marketing is globally disseminated through his books (eg From Brand Vision to Brand Evaluation and Creating Powerful Brands), frequent international conference presentations and a significant stream of international journal articles, some of which have won best paper prizes. 

A firm advocate of the need for managers to benefit from his work on brand marketing, he has run many highly acclaimed management development workshops on brand strategy throughout Europe, the USA, the Middle East, Asia and Australia.  His advice  has been sought by numerous organisations throughout the world on developing more effective brand strategies. On several occasions he has acted as an expert witness in court cases over branding issues.

Leslie's work has resulted in TV programmes and radio broadcasts. He is a frequent speaker at management conferences.  

Leslie is a Freeman of the City of London and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Marketors

Question 1: You are perhaps best known for your innovative work on Strategic Brand Management and Planning. What attracted you to this area of marketing?

About 15 years ago I started to feel uneasy at the way services brands were not getting the attention they deserved and that branding was putting a lot of emphasis on external stakeholders and less on the importance of staff.  My subsequent research, consulting and executive development programmes enabled me to develop and refine a more integrated approach to strategic brand management, applicable to both products and services.  My brand planning framework was then published in the first edition of a book, From Brand Vision to Brand Evaluation.  This book attracted interest amongst more people and presented opportunities for applying the ideas across more organisations, in more sectors and countries.

Question 2: What is your definition or explanation of the concepts of a Brand and Branding?

There are a lot of views about what a brand is, often taking a tactical perspective.  My firm belief is that a brand is a cluster of functional and emotional values that enables an organisation to make a promise about a unique and welcomed stakeholder experience.  Ultimately brand management is promise management.  While there may be stunning communication that raises expectation, enacting this through poorly trained staff can kill the fiscal value of a brand. Likewise it is important to involve suppliers and distributors in brand programmes to ensure that there is the correct mix of aligned resources to engender stakeholder satisfaction.  Growing brand equity is becoming one of the key criteria for good brand management.

Question 3: What challenges do organisations face in systematically measuring their ‘Brand Value’? And how can they do this better?

Let’s start by recognising that brand management is about successful husbandry of corporate resources to grow brand equity which in turn then results in the financial brand value.  So firms need to adopt a multi method approach to assessing brand performance, rather than just looking at a few metrics, such as market share or share of voice.  The problem is that some organisations are too short term oriented and see the development of brand equity monitors as costs which they cut.  Also there needs to be an understanding inside firms about the way that movements in some of the dimensions of brand equity (for example reputation or satisfaction) can have different impacts on brand value. So it is not just collecting data about the dimensions of brand equity, it is about understanding how these variables interact to enhance or dilute brand value.

Question 4: In the overwhelming world of Digital Media, how can businesses ‘cut-through the noise’ to get their brand messages across?

Recall that in a digital environment, less can be more.  In other words it’s not the quantity of information that leads to brand success, rather it’s the quality of information.  Consumers are no longer passive recipients of brand information, rather they are active co-producers of brand value.  There is a need to empower consumers through brand websites which enable consumers to tailor facets of the brand to better meet their needs.  Consumers are looking to their peer groups on the internet to help give endorsement or signals about rejection for brands.  They are aware about what brands stand for and even given tools to co-create “their” brand, provided there has been a lot of attention to developing brand values, consumers are unlikely to excessively “stretch” brands into 

unacceptable territory.

Question 5: We see some companies (e.g. Virgin or Tesco) dramatically ‘stretching’ their brands into many diverse areas. What does it take to do this successfully and avoid costly mistakes?

Brand stretch is the dream of many Finance Directors and CEOs who look at their brands as assets that can be inexpensively grown into related sectors to capitalise on the new opportunities.  Alas the driver for interest in brand stretch is often the cost implications.  What is needed is a thorough understanding of the values of the parent brand, what it has stood for in the past and the extent to which the parent’s values can be stretched to meet the aspirations of the new segment and to also consider whether the parent brand positioning is appropriate for the new opportunity.  I smile at those though who think it’s just a one way process.  At the end of the day, the new brand, given correct management, will grow but this may take it into even further sectors which might dilute the value of the parent brand.  So there needs to be some consideration of the longer term impact of the child brand on the parent brand. 

Further Resources:

More details about the work Leslie undertakes can be found at www.Lesliedechernatony.com  

His recent books recent books are, From Brand Vision to Brand Evaluation, hhttp://amzn.to/lY45DZ , backed by on-line streamed video http://bit.ly/brndvideo2  and Creating Powerful Brands, http://amzn.to/jYWCWr , which is also backed by on-line streamed video http://bit.ly/brndvideo

Thank you Professor de Chernatony!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Hard Lessons for News - Article from top author and media wizz - Jeff Jarvis

I am indebted to Jeff Jarvis for his kind permission to reproduce this post from his amazing www.BuzzMachine.com site.

Also if you haven't read it - check out his book 'What Would Google Do'. 

Thank you Jeff! 

Hard economic lessons for news

I’m working on a talk that I hope will become the canonical link to my essential message about the business rules and realities of news. I continue to be astonished at the economic naiveté I hear in discussions of the business of news. (Look at this comment thread and and this one.) Here is my answer, the basis of a talk — to be delivered in tweets, in the model of John Paton — and a lesson for my classes. Work in progress. Thoughts so far; please join in….


* Tradition is not a business model. The past is no longer a reliable guide to future success.
* “Should” is not a business model. You can say that people “should” pay for your product but they will only if they find value in it.
* “I want to” is not a business model. My entrepreneurial students often start with what they want to do. I tell them, no one — except possibly their mothers — gives a damn what they *want* to do.
* Virtue is not a business model. Just because you do good does not mean you deserve to be paid for it.
* Business models are not made of entitlements and emotions. They are made of hard economics. Money has no heart.
* Begging is not a business model. It’s lazy to think that foundations and contributions can solve news’ problems. There isn’t enough money there. (Foundation friend to provide figures here.)
* There is no free lunch. Government money comes with strings.
* No one cares what you spent. Arguing that news costs a lot is irrelevant to the market.
* The only thing that matters to the market is value. What is your service worth to the public?
* Value is determined by need. What problem do you solve?
* Disruption is the law of the jungle and the internet. If someone can do what you do cheaper, better, faster, they will.
* Disrupt thyself. So find your weak underbelly before someone else discovers it. Or find someone else’s.
* The bottom line matters more than the top line. Plan for profitability over revenue, sustainability over size.


* Circulation will continue to decline. There can be no doubt.
* Cutting costs will reduce product quality and value, which will further reduce circulation, which will further reduce ad revenue. A vicious, unstoppable cycle.
* Low-cost competitors and abundance will continue to reduce the price of advertising.
* Local retail will continue to consolidate, further reducing ad revenue. Blame Amazon.
* Classified categories—real estate, auto, jobs, merchandise—will continue to become more self-sufficient. They will need market mediators less and less.
* There’s a cliff coming: the end of a critical-mass of circulation needed to maintain inserts. That will have a big impact on newspapers’ P&Ls and will take away a primary justification for still printing and distributing paper.
* Some readers are not worth saving. One newspaper killed its stock tables, saved $1 million, and lost 12 subs. That means it had been paying $83k/year to maintain those readers. In creating business plans, the net future value of readers should be calculated and maximized.
* Once fixed costs are sliced to the bone, they will rise again.Cutting alone does not a business strategy make.
* “The newspaper model is broken and can’t be fixed.” SaysJohn Paton.


* Scaling local sales is the key challenge. Google will pick low-hanging fruit from the 6 million businesses that have claimed their Places pages. Facebook’s fruit will be businesses that use its free Deals. Each will use distant sales. Groupon and Patch will attack the challenge with the brute force of local sales staff.
* There will always be new competitors. For content, attention, advertising, and advertising sales.
* You no longer control the market. You are a member of an ecosystem. Play well with others.
* Abundance will drive down prices in digital even more than in print. That’s the lesson Google tries to teach media (and government).
* The question about pay walls is whether they are the *best* way to make the *most* money. It’s not a religious matter. It’s a practical question of whether circulation revenue will net more than equivalent advertising, whether one can afford to give up audience and growth, what the costs are to support pay.


* Scaling local sales is the key opportunity. I think the answer will lie in productizing services for local merchants (across all these platforms — not just selling them space in a media site but also helping them with Google Place pages and Foursquare and Facebook deals and Twitter specials) and establishing new, independent, entrepreneurial sales forces. The key challenge then will be holding down the cost of sale and production.
* There is huge growth potential in increasing engagement.Facebook gets roughly 30 times the engagement of newspaper sites, Huffington Post’s engagement is also a multiple of newspapers’. If we are truly community services, then we must rethink our relationship with the public, becoming more a platform for our communities, and that will multiply engagement and, with it, audience, traffic, and data. We have not begun to extend and exploit the full potential of the value news organizations can have in relationships with their communities: more people, more value, more engagement equals more value to extract.
* There are still efficiences to be found in infrastructure. If the presses and the distribution and sales arms of papers are not in and of themselves profit centers, they should be jettisoned and their tasks outsourced. If other tasks — including editorial tasks — can be consolidated, they should be.
* Journalists should do only that which adds maximum value.That’s not telling the public what it already knows. It’s not exercising ego. It’s not production. It is reporting, vetting, curating, explaining, organizing, teaching…. Do what you do best and link to the rest.
* There is growth to be found in networks. The more members there are in the ecosystem, the more content there is to link to (without having to go to the cost of creating it), the more opportunities there are for free promotion (links in), the more opportunities there are in aggregated and joint sales. See our work on new business models for news in the local ecosystem at CUNY.
* There are efficiencies to be found in collaboration. Working with the community and with other members of the ecosystem enables a news organization to specialize and increase value and to do more with less.
* There are other revenue streams worth exploring. Local bloggers are making considerable shares of their revenue in events. Newspapers are going into the real estate business and are alsoselling merchandise.
* We have not begun to explore new definitions of news.
: Note: I rearranged a few of the rules and combined two into one for better organization.
: Was mit Medien translates these rules into German. And translated again.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Master Marketers - Interview with PR Smith (Part 1)

I am DELIGHTED to be able to post this interview with Marketing guru PR Smith.

I have known Paul for many years, as he was one of my tutors when I took my Post Grad. Diploma in Marketing. 

This post contains the 1st section of a 2 part interview.

Here are a few details of his remarkable career...

PR Smith MBA, PG Dip (Fin), B.Sc. (mngt), Diploma in Marketing

Paul has helped hundreds of companies from innovative SMEs to IBM  via his consultancy and seminars and thousands of companies via his books. 

A Dubliner,  based in London, Paul’s marketing consultancy  integrates basic marketing with cutting edge social media, digital body language, virtual worlds and creative thinking. Paul’s works  in both B2B and B2C markets in Europe, USA, China and Africa. 

Paul’s SOSTAC ® Planning System  is used around the world. PR Smith books are published in seven languages. Paul is  author of Strategic Marketing Communications; Great Answers to Tough Marketing Questions,  eMarketing eXcellence (recommended by the Inst. Direct Marketing) and Marketing Communications - a ‘marketing major’ (Chart. Inst. Marketing)  and his own (self published) personal passion and social media campaign to get sportsmanship back on the agenda, www.GreatMomentsOfSportsmanship.com.  

Question 1:  You are perhaps best known for the excellent SOSTAC ® marketing planning methodology and model that you developed. Please can you say how it came to be developed? Why do you think it has such a broad following and such wide usage?

Although SOSTAC® is so simple  it actually took me almost 10  years to develop. When I took my MBA back in the 80s I was so frustrated reading books with long meandering marketing plans that were over complicated and impossible to remember. So I kept in touch with my classmates and asked them to send me just the contents page (list of contents) from their marketing plans.  

I analysed all of them and developed my own new structure – which went through several iterations until I came up with SOSTAC®. I knew it was a winner and registered it as a trademark. 

Everyone is welcome to use it – all I ask is that they acknowledge me as the inventor, use the registered trade mark symbol and put a link to my web site www.PRSmith.org  (ideally using the anchor text SOSTAC ® as the anchor text (or the blue hyperlink text).

(Ed. for those not familiar it cover the following areas - from which it derives its name)

  • Situation Analysis (where are we now?)
  • Objectives (where do we want to go?)
  • Strategy (how do we get there) 
  • Tactics (the details of Strategy – marketing mix etc.)
  • Action (the details of tactics- who does what) 
  • Control (measurement) 

That is why it is so simple – it’s easy to use, has a strong logical structure and can be adapted to any plan – whether a business plan, marketing plan, social media marketing plan, personal plan etc.  

Add the 3M resources and you’ve got an outline plan. I’m developing some SOSTAC® eWorkBooks & Planning templates to be released this September.

Question 2:   How well do you think marketers perform Marketing Planning, especially in the emergent area of Digital Marketing? How can they improve their performance here?

Strategy is a common weakness in many plans.  In fact, a few years ago I co-authored a book about Marketing Communications Strategy and discovered that a lot of companies do not have any crystal clear, razor sharp strategies. 

To get a good strategy several options should be considered before selecting the final strategy. If the strategy is wrong everything else is wrong. As Kenichi Ohmae once said to me ’There’s no point rowing harder, if you are rowing in the wrong direction.’

Key components for strategy include: STOP & SIT - Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning linked to Objectives  and Sequence, Integration and Tools.

With digital marketing strategy, deciding which tools to use and how much resource to allocate is particularly challenging. I suggest you allocate budgets according to where your audience is (online or offline).  And also consider constant testing i.e. testing and measuring reactions to different tools and offers. 

This is why digital marketing actually gets easier as everything is easily memorable and easily changeable. However, social media is not a short term campaign, it takes time to build a following and then even more time to maintain it with great, relevant, content and, most importantly – engagement. 

Highly engaged small number of followers is better than a disengaged massive following.  Ask your followers what they want. The will tell you. Then deliver it. Digital marketing naturally creates customer driven businesses. Marketing utopia – which is fully explained in the  the FREE Download Chapter 1 of my 5th ed.  Marketing Communications – integrating offline and online with social media today from my PRSmith Marketing facebook page PR Smith web site.

Question 3:   I believe that you have the new 5th edition of your book ‘Marketing Communication’ available soon. What has changed since previous versions? How have your ideas developed?

Four new chapters: New marketing (integrating social media into processes); Brands; CRM and the final chapter is about Web Sites and Social Media. As in previous editions, the first half  is about the back ground to comms i.e customer psychology, communications models, comms agencies, planning etc., while the second half addresses each of the 10 comms tools online and offline.

I also introduce the Ladder Of Engagement which, I hope, helps people to put a simple structure on an often chaotic social media world. It also helps marketers to choose different  strategic levels of engagement with their customers according to their resources available.  All of this is downloadable as a free chapter from my facebook page PR Smith Marketing facebook page or my PRSmith.org web site for a few months.

Useful Resources and Links

Twitter:  PR_Smith
Web site: www.PRSmith.org my web site
Facebook:   PRSmithMarketing my facebook page
Blog: Great Moments of Sportsmanship.com  my sportsmanship social media campaign – please join in.

Smith, PR  & Zook, Z. (2011)  Marketing Communications 5th ed.,  Kogan Page
Smith, PR & Chaffey, D. (2008) eMarketing eXcellence 3rd ed., Butterworth Heinemann 
Smith, PR, Berry C. & Pulford, A. (1999) Strategic Marketing Communications, Revised ed.
Smith, PR (2009) Great Moments of Sportsmanship, PR Smith self published.

Smith, PR (2002) Marketing Essentials series of 10 CDs, PR Smith
Smith, PR (2004) eMarketing eXcellence  10 courses on one CD, PR Smith

Coming Soon SOSTAC ® Workbooks

Check back for part 2 of this interview - COMING SOON!

(Subscribe to the RSS feed)

Monday, 23 May 2011

Sunday, 22 May 2011

7 Top Tips for success in CIM Assessments and Exams

Here are SEVEN TOP TIPS for students studying for CIM Marketing Course. These are mainly based on my teaching experience with the Professional Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing – but the concepts are equally relevant for their other courses.
These are my practical tips, based on some years of teaching experience – they are not (necessarily) endorsed by the CIM. But, I have found that they work.

Tip One – Read the CIM Course Syllabus

This document exists for all the CIM qualifications/courses and can be downloaded from the CIM website. In it you will find a description of how marks are awarded, section by section, and the criteria for achieving a given grade.

It tells you what to do to get an ‘A’ – how fab is that?!

For assessments it details exactly what is required to be covered within each section and the number of marks you can gain.

Therefore make sure that the word count and marks are matched – a section worth 20% of the marks should (roughly) contain 20% of the word count. You may be surprised how many students overlook this fact. Don’t be one of them.

Tip Two – Look out for the Action Verbs and Required Content

The CIM syllabuses (syllabii?) gives you detailed and helpful advice on how to answer each question, clearly and succinctly. 

Follow the advice!
Look out (and even highlight) the ‘action verbs’. If the syllabus says; ‘critically assess’, ‘list’, ‘explain’, ‘compare and contrast’ etc. then do just that.

If the question says ‘List THREE factors affecting the industry', or ‘recommend ONE strategy’ etc. then do just that.

Otherwise you will end up answering questions that have not been asked. This is a bad thing.

Tip Three – PLAN!

Whether you are submitting an assessment, or sitting and exam, a major success factor is to PLAN, PLAN and PLAN some more.

This may sound obvious but I am constantly surprised at students who do not. Whether you use a ‘Mind Map’, Bullets, or Tree approach, you should take the time to plan your answer section by section, or question by question.

In assessments this helps you to get-it-right, first time. Your arguments will be clearer. You will really answer the question that have been asked - section by section. - (See Tips One and Two above.)

In an exam, spending time at the start to plan out your answer means that you will find it far easier if you use this plan as a template, to expand into a full answer.

Students who turn over an exam paper and immediately start writing out an answer are likely to waste time, miscalculate the length of the answer needed and may be forced to rush or rewrite at the end of the exam period.

Better to spend 10 minutes at the start, read the questions, plan the answers make a list of the arguments, the models and the answer content – then go on and write it up from these notes.

Tip Four – Make it Easy for the Examiner

The person marking your script will have a limited time available to review  your work. Therefore make it easy to read.

Use white space.

Use concise sentences. The longest I have found so far in an assessment was 57 words! It nearly made my eyes bleed and by the time I reached the end I had forgotten how it started.
So use….
  • ·         Tables,
  • ·         Bullet points,
  • ·         Indents,
  • ·         Diagrammes

…. and make it interesting, easy and appealing for the hard working examiner.

Tip Five – Don’t Just Repeat the Text Book

CIM qualifications are about practical skills and not just academic theory, By all means use ‘Porter’s 5 Forces’, ‘Ansoff Matrix’, ‘PLC ‘or whatever…. But use them intelligently in the context of the case study, exam question or assessment.

This is especially important at Post Graduate Diploma level.

Simply describing what a model does, as if you were copying out the text book description is not what they’re after.

Use the theories in context!

Tip Six – Don’t be Bland or Clichéd

The examiner wants to see you add value and make cogent arguments that actually say something. The Post Graduate Diploma, for example is just that – at a level between a Bachelors and Masters Degree.

Therefore it needs answers that reflect this.

I have seen submissions like:

‘The Internet has caused a seismic shift in the world. This presents many opportunities and challenges to marketers. Companies need to react quickly to seize these new possibilities and use them to grow and develop their businesses and decide which markets they should be in.’

Bland! Boring! Content Free! …. (as well as ending a sentence with a preposition.)

No marks (from me anyway) and a waste of time and word count. 

It is so boring my blood has ceased to circulate and I may soon enter a coma!

Tip Seven – Don’t Waste Marks

Up to10% of marks are awarded for good presentation and 'admin'. Therefore bag them and you are 1/5 of the way to a pass.

Make sure that you follow all the guidance on ‘admin’ points such as ‘Harvard Referencing’ (where required), font size, spacing, plagiarism statement, student number etc.

Make sure that your submissions are with your study centre on time, in the correct number of paper and soft copies and in the correct formats.

If it's an assessment spoll check and grammarate it. (Irony intended)

Finally, don’t panic!

You have studied hard and revised well.

The final submission of your assessment or sitting the exam is just the last hurdle - building on all of your previous hard work.

Go for it and Good Luck!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Master Marketers - Interview with Annmarie Hanlon

This is the 1st. of a series of interviews that I'm going to publish with leading Marketers.

I hope that you enjoy the series... please pass on to your friends and colleagues if you do!

Today's guest is Annmarie Hanlon, to whom - Many Thanks!!!

Annmarie Hanlon is a professionally qualified Marketing Consultant and the Managing Director of Evonomie® an online & offline marketing consultancy that helps companies grow market share.

The author of Quick Win Marketing and Quick Win Digital Marketing, books and iPhone Apps, Annmarie completed a BA in French and Linguistics at the University of London in 1987 and the Chartered Institute of Marketing Diploma in 1991 for which she won the Worship Company of Marketors Award. In 1997 she gained a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Leicester, followed by the Chartered Institute of Marketing's Professional eMarketing Award in 2003.

A Chartered Marketer, Annmarie is currently researching the practical application of social media for businesses.

Question 1:  We hear a lot today about Social Media. How can companies get the balance right between this aspect of Digital Marketing and other areas such as: SEM, SEO, Online PR, Online Advertising, e-mail Marketing etc.

With 30 million people in the UK actively using Facebook every month, social media can no longer be ignored. Companies need to understand their customers, target markets and product offers and essentially what they want to achieve. When the objectives are clear, the most appropriate balance between different elements of social media can be both agreed and integrated.

Question 2:  How do you see Mobile Technologies and Mobile Marketing approaches develop in the future?

Your mobile phone is always less than an arm's length away. Whether it's in a handbag, jacket or on your desk, the future is mobile, the technology is improving and the numbers of smart phone users grows daily.

The challenges with mobile are:
  • improving access to fast Internet connections
  • better design that's easier to see clearly on iPhones and
  • security solutions that remove the need to constantly log in.
The opportunities are to encourage mobile users to better engage and give more reasons to permit contact.

Companies selling online should consider app development and enable customers and potential customers to buy on demand.

Question 3:  How can companies make sure that their involvement in Digital Marketing creates real returns?

Marketing metrics, both digital and traditional, has been the subject of many debates. It is easier to measure a return when a company has set clear objectives and knows what it wants to achieve.

Question 4:  What practical steps can marketers take to improve their Digital Marketing skills?

Professional qualifications are a good place to start. CIM/CAM have developed two excellent courses; the Diploma in Digital Marketing and the Diploma in Managing Digital Media. The pre-cursor to these courses was the CIM’s Professional Award in eMarketing which I took back in 2003. These courses are rigorous and useful - I know at first hand as I’m one of the Digital Marketing tutors for Oxford College of Marketing! 

Question 5:  Finally, what advice would you give organisations who may actually feel a little bit lost and left behind in the new Digital Marketing world?

The Social Media Balance Sheet™ was designed to help companies get started in digital marketing. It is a simple tool that takes a snapshot of competitors' activities. This helps companies see how social media is being used, whether it is working and provides a clear image of what is happening in their market sector. When completed, companies can see what works, what doesn't and how to move forward.

Alternatively read the book or download the iPhone App ‘Quick Win Digital Marketing’ which answers 100 digital marketing questions from ‘Where do we start with digital marketing?’ to ‘How do we prevent brand damage is our employees use social networking sites?’

Recommended Resources:

Annmarie Hanlon on LinkedIn http://uk.linkedin.com/in/annmariehanlon

Latest digital marketing news http://news.evonomie.net/