By Anna Steely
Day two of Advertising Week DC, Tuesday, Sept. 11, was packed with awe-inspiring ideas, strategies and stories. Here are a few takeaways:
Building an Honest Brand:
Seth Goldman, president and TeaEO of Honest Tea, began as an entrepreneur with a clear mission to make a difference in the American diet and on agricultural practices in the developing nations. And guess what? He did just that. In 1998, Honest Tea was first concocted in Seth’s kitchen. It wasn’t mixed well and lots of sediment laid at the bottom of the bottle, but he accomplished his goal of using real tealeaves and ingredients for an authentic taste. From his kitchen 14 years ago, Goldman has taken Honest Tea (and honesty) to a new level.
He has simply raised the standard of doing business. Seth integrated health and wellness, social responsibility, and environmental consciousness into his business plan, which eventually led him from his very first sell with Whole Foods, to selling tea at 15,000 outlets in February 2008, and to more than 100,000 outlets in February 2012.
When The Coca-Cola Company bought Honest Tea, consumers thought they might use a powder or syrup to produce the tea more easily, but Seth and other co-founder Barry Nalebuff kept their word. They built a giant tea brewing system.
It took them a while to find a slogan that stuck with the brand. The slogan went from, “Honestly brewed, barely sweetened” to “Be real, get honest” to “Nature got it right. We put it in a bottle.” This past summer, the slogan was “Refreshingly honest” followed by their first TV commercial.
They even tested the nation’s honesty in select cities. One of their field marketing tactics included having an open table of Honest Tea, with no employees or merchants around, asking people to donate a dollar per tea. With a hidden camera, they were able to see who freely took and who paid. In the end, they made fun facts about which cities were the most honest/dishonest, Yankees or Red Sox fans, people with glasses or without, etc. From these experiments, Honest Tea got 300 local media stories along with a 40,000 increase in Facebook likes.
All in all, Honest Tea is using its “honesty” theme to grow its business in a creative way using innovative marketing techniques and general good business practices. Each day, they strive for the brand to be more open, transparent and visible. And it’s paying off.
Keynote Luncheon “Brand on the Run”:
Ted Leonsis, a man of many things, but primarily an entrepreneur, investor and business builder, discussed the shifts in consumer markets, future trends and how new technology presents both challenges and opportunities.
Leonsis said the world is a big audience, and therefore a big opportunity. Today, 30 percent of the world is online, and by 2020, 70 percent will be online. He said that what’s exciting is MoSoLo: being mobile, social and local. With it, we must focus on digital, brand building, what consumers buy and how they do it. In Q1 of 2012, more iPhones were sold per day than babies born. Now that’s saying something! Mobile will soon surpass the desktop computer and become the primary screen.
Changing Consumer Behavior:
Consumer behaviors are changing: morning routines, how stores attract customers, the way brands interact with customers and how often people try new things. These are things we must keep in mind along with the change in currencies we’re seeing. People aren’t purchasing things with checks or even credit cards; people are using PayPal, apps and mobile payments. In 2012, people spent $7 billion in mobile payments compared to $141 million in 2009. In just over a year, the Starbucks mobile app accounted for one-quarter of Starbucks purchases (26 million transactions!). It’s predicted that by 2016, online ad spending will reach $77 billion, which is two times as much as today’s level.
So can you see the big picture? We’re in a changing commercial landscape. The shift of dollars has moved from print to the Web. For instance, 2012 will be the first year that online spending exceeds print spending, and by 2016, mobile will make up 88 percent of all local digital advertising.
How do we reach consumers now? Leonsis said we must expand our insights into consumer behaviors and values. Value-based advertising unlocks the “why” behind a consumer’s behavior. Leonsis advises us to not only look at consumer demographics, but also psychographics.
Social is driving purchase intent and providing more information to marketers – to an almost disturbing level. U.S. social media revenues are projected to grow from $2.1 billion in 2012 to $8.3 billion in 2015.
Don’t forget about video. More videos are clicked and played than emails. Can you believe that 48 hours of video are uploaded every minute to YouTube, which is twice the volume as in 2010? Videos may just be the next-gen commerce for retail, as consumers who watch a related video when shopping are more likely to buy something.
Leonsis concluded that our marketing and advertising is global, local and mobile and that this is, “the biggest opportunity of our lifetime.”
To Re-Brand or Not to Re-Brand:
TLC didn’t do either! Lara Richardson, VP of creative of TLC, and Tom Carr, senior VP of marketing at TLC, discussed TLC’s journey to strengthen its dynamic brand among consumers.
The following are some reasons you may consider rebranding: new management, competition, lagging sales, new products or direction, consumer disinterest, or you just “need a goose.” In its evolving stages, TLC went from The Learning Channel, to the tagline “Life Unscripted,” and then to the “Life Lessons.” They were searching for a brand that reflected real-life, extraordinary people. Brands constantly evolve but you must keep it fresh. In order to be “fresh,” TLC wanted to collide remarkable with relatable. It was aiming to be openhearted, distinctive and revealing, and have entertaining characters, authentic drama and visual impact.
It started in 2011 with, “A Tale of Two Viewers.” TLC realized they had two audiences that thought differently about TLC. They had occasional viewers (making up the majority) and loyal viewers. Neither understood why certain shows were being aired. Overall, the brand wasn’t making sense to any of the viewers.
TLC realized they needed to open doors for people and give viewers the opportunity to peek into other people’s lives on TV. Therein lies the beginning of the red doors. TLC’s current logo is three red doors, symbolizing their welcoming invitation to come in and take a look at what all TLC has to offer and what doors you can take a peek in.
When they realized this was the direction to head in, they had to decide to re-brand or not to re-brand. That was the question! TLC formed focus groups and listened to what viewers wanted, and the “Life Worth Watching” campaign actually came from a viewer who thought TLC was, “life worth watching.”
So, TLC gave the people what they wanted and did a “brand refresh.” Rebranding can sound scary and unknown, but a refresh is just a recharge, a new look into what your consumers really want. Richardson’s and Carr’s final advice was to listen to your consumers. Your brand doesn’t only live in marketing, and when others “get it,” you’ve got it.
Anna Steely is marketing associate at Carousel30