Over the last year, CBD has been working with James Hardie Building Products to develop the Hardie Ambassador Program, which we rolled out in the suburbs of Chicago and D.C. The program is a unique lead-generation campaign designed to generate interest in James Hardie siding and create brand awareness in the market. At the same time, our goal is to build a large pipeline of high-quality leads and help prospects through the sales cycle.
While there is a robust and intricate digital component, the heart of this program lies with the Hardie Ambassadors. The teams are tasked with getting into the markets in Chicago and D.C. to engage in a grassroots marketing campaign, and I’ve been working alongside them since the program launched in March. From knocking on doors to attending local events and festivals, it is the job of the Ambassadors to generate leads and help spread the word about James Hardie — and they’re doing a great job.
Also important to the success of the program are the great tools we’ve developed at CBD for the Ambassadors to use in the field. This includes all new customer-facing marketing materials, a custom lead management app, a highly targeted email campaign, and a custom wrapped truck and mobile exhibit. Especially as we enter prime festival and event season, the mobile exhibits are an integral part of our campaign.
As you can see in the pictures, the mobile exhibit makes a statement, even before you open it up! The outside has been wrapped to look like James Hardie siding, and is done in colors you can actually buy. The trailer was custom built from the ground up to be a great display at festivals and events that can attract customers not just to see, but to interact with the products.
One side of the exhibit has a scaled-down corner of a home built with all James Hardie — shingle, plank, and batten board as well as trim and soffit. This gives consumers a great overview of all of the James Hardie products available and the chance to see what they look like on a building, not just on a shelf. There is also a magnetized display where people can mix and match all of the different siding and trim colors to compare all of the different combinations available.
On the other side of the trailer is our “knock-knock” test. We’re giving people the chance to feel James Hardie fiber cement siding and compare it to wood and vinyl siding. There is also a tablet playing stories of homeowners who have installed James Hardie products on their homes. All in all, the mobile exhibit provides a wealth of information in a fun and unique way. Feedback from customers and guests has been positive, and we’re starting to see the results of all the preparation that went into creating this interactive exhibit.
If you live in the Chicago or D.C. area, don’t be surprised if you see our mobile exhibit or Hardie Ambassadors in your neighborhood or local event. If you see us, please stop by to chat and check out the mobile exhibit first hand.
The annual Shopper Marketing Summit brought together over 60 manufacturers and over 30 agencies in Chicago, where the great speakers and great attendees generated meaningful conversation for those of us interested in shopper marketing.
Looking at the broad exhibitor base, presentations and discussions, it makes one think, “What is shopper marketing, really?” One presenter pointed out that their panelists differed on the definition of shopper marketing. So how does CBD describe this growing discipline?
Much of the disagreement is predicted on the evolving shopper landscape. In its early days, shopper marketing was built around the POP(Point of Purchase) display industry, which focused on the in-store environment. At the time, the Path to Purchase Institute’s publication was called “POP Times.” This publication featured content regarding industry issues and advancements, brand executions and vendor features with a single focus on in-store signage.
Later, as the store environment importance grew and POPAI asserted that 66 percent of shopper decisions were made in-store, more emphasis was placed on communication strategy. Further, as retailers consolidated and sophistication increased, focus expanded beyond POP displays to other retailer activities designed to engage and keep shoppers in their stores.
Realizing a more strategic understanding of today’s shopper was needed, so retailers and manufacturers banded together to develop shared programming. A greater emphasis was placed on shopper insight messaging to speak to shared needs while creating a more meaningful in-store experience. P&G coined the phrase FMOT (First Moment of Truth) referring to the importance of at-shelf messaging and experience. Later, Google expanded this to recognize the strong influence digital played in the shopper’s path to purchase, calling it ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth). Not only did this recognize that shoppers were seeking information before the physical shopping journey, it recognized the emerging growth of online retailers such as Amazon.
As the digital age continues to evolve and mobile and social/WOM shopper influences increase, the definition needs to constantly evolve. Consider these points brought up at the summit:
- 8 of the top 10 resources shoppers use for research are digital.
- 80 percent of shoppers use smart phones to check product information/ inventory.
- 81 percent of mobile shoppers use their phones for getting second opinions.
- The online population spends 6.9 hours on Facebook per month.
At CBD, we lean toward the broader assertion that shopper marketing refers to all insight-driven communication activities once someone enters shopper mode. And more importantly, the shopper is the center of attention. Since the shopper’s path to purchase is dynamic and not linear, we must consider all relevant touchpoints in and out of the store. Finally, shopper marketing must treat every shopper communication as an opportunity to build/reinforce a relationship designed to reduce the influence of other products and brands along the purchase pathway.
If you’re a fan of Kitchen Nightmares, the show where Gordon Ramsay tries to re-launch unsuccessful restaurants using his years of experience and streaks of curse words, then you’re likely familiar with the brouhaha surrounding Friday night’s episode. For those who aren’t: Ramsay gave up on helping the Bouzaglos, owners of Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale, Ariz., when it seemed they were uninterested in changing the way they ran their business.
Instead of the credits signaling the end of the story, it spilled out onto various social media sites, including Reddit, Facebook and Yelp, where viewers and past customers alike began reviewing the restaurant negatively, uncovering faked photos of the restaurant’s food on Facebook, and generally undoing the Bouzaglos’ business — which prompted the owners to take the kind of drastic step one should never take with social media: FREAKING OUT IN CAPS LOCK ON FACEBOOK.
We won’t repeat what’s been said here, not only because it’s repetitive, but also because it’s offensive. Sheez. Let this be a reminder to all of us: Whether you’re with company face-to-face or in front of a keyboard, mind those Ps and Qs!
“This example violates a cardinal rule of social media for businesses: Do not respond defensively to criticism, which could initiate a virtual battle with your audience,” explains Katie Whitmore, our Account Supervisor for Public Relations and Social Media. Katie, who oversees content development and community management on behalf of several CBD clients, works diligently to help them maintain a stellar rep through social media as well as traditional media channels. So she knows a thing or two about how, when feeling like they’re under attack, many people try to fan the flames by engaging in arguments on Facebook or Twitter.
“Receiving online criticism gives businesses an opportunity to identify a problem, be proactive by offering a solution and to demonstrate superior customer service to change negative opinions. If businesses instead respond negatively, a somewhat small issue can rapidly grow out of control and the integrity of the business will suffer.”
With each inflammatory response the Bouzaglos clan posts, the comments continue to climb — but not their business. And that is some serious food for thought.
When you’re hungry, is your first instinct to cook a meal or grab a snack from the cabinet? According to a recent article in Ad Age, snacking is the new eating. This trend is shaping the way brands target their customers when it comes to the snack aisle. One brand in particular recently strayed from its traditional role by introducing a line of unexpected flavors. Triscuit’s new Brown Rice lineup is taking supermarkets by storm and piquing the interests of snackers in the U.S.
Triscuit rolled out a new line of the classic crunchy treat by introducing flavors with “real food” ingredients such as brown rice with sweet potato or red beans. When I think of a snack, red beans and sweet onions don’t come to mind, but the trend towards better-for-you foods seems to have plenty of interested consumers. While the new line of Triscuits is not necessarily “better for you” when it comes to calorie count, the name and look alone give it a healthy vibe.
In the Ad Age article, Jimmy Wu, senior brand manager for Triscuit, said, “Consumers are looking for a lot of the same things they used to find in meals in snacks, and that’s really foods with real food ingredients and real food value in them.” According to a recent Rabobank Group report, snacks account for one third of the calories consumed daily by adults.
From Greek yogurt and hummus to pita chips and Triscuits, there is no doubt that the category of healthier snacks is growing. As people become more observant and cautious of the ingredients they put into their bodies, and as dietary and allergy restrictions play a larger role in the food habits of many people, the demand for better-for-you foods will grow. Whether for health reasons or lack of time, (or a combination of the two) the snack culture is changing.
Would you pull a Brown Rice and Wheat Triscuit off the shelves to try? Maybe their commercial will convince you.
What better way to celebrate our 4.54 billion year old earth than to explore it?
Our Amazing Planet has created an interactive infographic to demonstrate the complexity of earth’s surface from top to bottom (Note: FireFox is the recommended browser for viewing).
The infographic does an excellent job of illustrating our ancient world through the use of a more recent tool, HTML 5. It also poses an important question: how can we continue to share content in fresh, exciting ways?
With emerging web technology like HTML 5, it seems that anything is possible. As creative marketers, we now have the ability to create fun, colorful infographics — and then encourage consumers to interact with them.
CBD’s Director of Interactive Design, Aaron Marx, feels positive about the possibilities as well. “HTML 5 is going to allow marketers to move away from the dying ‘publishing model’ and into the ‘application model’ for online communications,” he said. “This allows for a richer, purposeful experience for users that doesn’t have to be watered down to work on mobile and tablet platforms.”
Technology gives us new ways to look at our world. So this Earth Day, take some time to enjoy the great outdoors — and the World Wide Web.
In addition to the traditional branding work that I do, I also consult with clients on their trade show presence. Exhibiting at a trade show is often about presenting a distillation of your corporate or product brand to your key audiences. To ensure that you’re making an impact at your trade shows, keep these concepts in mind:
- 1. Ask yourself what you’re doing there. The most common issue I’ve seen companies wrestle with when it comes to their trade show presence is why they’re exhibiting. It should be something more than “It’s the largest show in our industry — we have to be there,” or “A lot of our clients will be there.” Is it to generate new leads? Announce a new product or service? To position yourself as an expert in a certain part of your market? Once you know what you want to accomplish, developing messaging for that show becomes a lot easier.
- 2. Be about one impactful idea. Too often companies at trade shows try to be all things to all people. Ask yourself what is the one idea or impression that you want those who visit or pass your booth to come away with. Exhibit halls at trade shows are packed with messages competing for the attention of your target audiences. Focus on one thing at each show that you can make an impression with. To that end, it’s important to…
- 3. Know your audiences that will be at the show. Figure out what these audiences need, and how you meet that need. If you can explain that clearly at your trade show booth, you’ll give attendees a reason to come by and engage with you. Think about what’s driving your target audiences to attend the show, and build your booth strategy around telling them how you address those drivers.
- 4. Treat your exhibit space like point-of-sale signage. You only have a few seconds to engage people walking by your booth, so be sure your graphics and messaging are eye-catching and get attendees to stop and engage. You can pose a compelling question, or tout what makes you unique from your competitors.
- 5. Have something for those who know and don’t know you. The people who you most want to engage with at trade shows fall into one of two categories: those who know who you are and what you can do for them, and those who don’t. Make sure you have messages at the booth for both of these types of people.
Using these basic guidelines as you think about your brand’s trade show strategy will help you develop a more impactful presence and make the best use of your resource investment.
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