I just came across an article about Netflix saving The Killing. As a brand marketer who has had the opportunity to work on a few brand reinventions, I’m very impressed with how Netflix has re-energized the brand (after the short- lived Qwikster disaster – killing the project before it even had time to launch) and how it has set its path to the future.
In the 1990s we raced to get the newest releases at our nearest Blockbuster only to leave with our second choices (sometimes third) because THE movie we wanted to see was already taken. On top of that, we had to rush to finish watching the movie before we started accruing late fees. (Just for fun, what was your highest late fee?) It was a rite that will live in our memories.
Netflix, established in 1997 quickly grew its library and its subscriber base and changed the playing field. Like Tower Records, Blockbuster was slow to respond to a model that seemed too “different” to last. Netflix started with a simple idea (no late fees) and a radical delivery system (no stores) and evolved by listening to its customers, nay “fans”. They were right to think streaming content was the next step. The problem was they didn’t execute well when they thought Qwikster to be their next step. So, they cut their losses and regrouped. Took the kernel of the good strategy and looked at it from a different perspective – the customer. Now they’re reviving loved content and creating new content. Content has solidly placed them in a new arena and created fans for the brand rather than just customers, as well as creating shareholder value. What more could you ask for?
My takeaway (as always): Listen to your customers. They will let you know what they want…and don’t want.
Recently I had the honor to sit on a panel discussion about the current state of casino advertising. I was amazed how well everyone’s messages linked together to a bigger topic even though we worked independently on our own advertising specialties.
As casino operators, we want gamblers who have the discretionary dollars available and who have a pre-set budget for themselves that is within their ability to spend. Repeatedly, customers tell us a source of satisfaction is how long they can play with their budget. They want to say “in play” for the allotted amount of time they have and within the allotted budget.
If you’ve been a longtime reader, you’ll recall my casino glossary for Agency Post. I defined “hold” as the amount the casino keeps as net gaming revenue. It is calculated by “Total in – amount paid out = hold.” Typically, this is referred to in percentages.
“Hold”. This is a notion we casino marketers have historically loved. Loosest Slots … More Winners … The Most Winners .. Best Slots … Best Payouts. But often these were merely advertising headlines without any relationship to the overall experience. I’m not calling anyone less than truthful. The fact is any of us have used one or more of these lines because there was some bank of slots somewhere on our casino floors that made these headlines true.
Over the years, I’ve been part of way too many heated arguments about slot hold. In general, there are two camps. Camp A feels that customers can’t possibly tell when we raise hold because mathematically, it takes millions of spins to hit the target hold. Camp B (the one I’m in) agrees that a customer can’t calculate the hold (because of those million spins), but they can FEEL how fast their gambling budget takes them today versus how far it went yesterday.
To me, this (hold) experience is part of what the brand delivers which in turn should drive the message you communicate. This is why customers don’t believe the loose slots messages no matter how great your ad is. Nothing kills a bad experience like a great ad.
I’m sure the hold controversy will never be resolved if you think purely in terms of math. However, I think you can find a resolution if you think in terms of the guest experience you want to deliver. Put yourself in your guest’s shoes. Do you really want to take her $20, $50 or $100 in a matter of minutes or do you want her to have a great time and return with another $20, $50 or $100.
At the end of the day, if we’re in the business of entertainment, shouldn’t we entertain?
Vacation is over and it’s time for the Friday Five. These are the five articles, posts and readings that got me thinking.
It really is in the design. So often the guest experience, marketing, operations and architecture & design are developed and implemented in their own little silos. However, I think the design of the guest experience has to be central to anything. Think like the guest. Walk like the guest. The smart people at Forrester seem to think so too in this Loyalty 360post.
Hello. Remember me? Your actual customer. One of my pet peeves is when I get an offer from a company I’m already buying from and it’s better than what I’m getting as a loyal customer. I guess that’s why I’m not necessarily a fan of theirs. Mack Collier explains the difference between businesses and rock stars in his latest post. Oh, and if you haven’t read his book yet, I recommend you do.
My latest adventure. A friend has asked me to help market a new book. This is absolutely new territory for me, but I think it will be very eye-opening to see how all my casino marketing tools apply. This thought leadership post by Peter Winick outlines a great roadmap.
Stay tuned for more on the book I’ll be marketing.
It’s all about soul. There are a handful of classic brands I love because they’ve got a soul that is undeniable. Harley Davidson is one of them. In this article, CMO Mark-Hans Richer tells the story of why it’s not about getting from A to B.
Clicks to bricks. I read this article about how online retailers want to move into physical spaces. It made me wonder about online gaming. We’ve been wondering if the advent of legalized online gaming is going to translate to revenue generated at our bricks and mortar facilities. Perhaps we should be thinking about increased bricks and mortar competition from online gaming companies.
I am LOVING Erika Napoletano. She doesn’t hold back, and why should she? This post was a favorite. We read article after article about managing a social media crisis. Perhaps the best course of action is to examine our brand culture and clear these land mines before they go “boom”.
Unplug? This seems to be the latest advice coming from all of those smart people. I have every opportunity to do this right now because I’m not working. This might be my personal goal for the Summer. Could you make this your morning routine?
Humor and your brand. I’ve said this before. Humor is an approach you should take with caution. You just never know what people think is funny or how it’s going to be received. The last thing you want to do is try something out of left field that falls flat. I wasn’t put off by the Lululemon want ad. In fact, I might just become a first-time customer. What did you think? Winnie Kao didn’t think it was the best move and explains it in this Fast Company article.
Can you build loyalty? The notion of a loyalty program continues to be a puzzle unsolved. In the casino industry, you wouldn’t imaging not having a players card program. Sometimes we drink our own Kool-Aid and refer to these as loyalty programs, but are they? This BrandUniq post makes me wonder.
Do you hire a contractor or DIY. I LOVE the analogy of how building a brand is like building a house. I think Jason Cohen of the O Group has given every agency a really good way to answer the question the next time. I also think this definitely applies to any brands, not just those in the luxury category. Read his thoughts here.
5 Tips for Better Branding. This article by Nora Richardson made me smile because it’s all the things I’m constantly working toward. The pity is some folks are afraid to break through the norms and try something different. Think about how you can apply her advice.
Lagniappe. This week’s lagniappe comes in the form of an article and a podcast.
You can’t just decide to call yourself something and change your brand overnight, but Dunkin Donuts is sure taking the right steps to make the changes they need for growth. Read how they’re aiming for Starbucks.
I listened again to the May 16th Vegas Gang Podcast. As part of their conversations, talked about brands and I found it really interesting that I was involved with two of these brands they mentioned, Roger Thomasand Steve Wynn. I think about how they developed their brands and realize they did it by doing what they do really well and consistently. Derek Stevens is a new kid on the block where Vegas in concerned, but he seems to be establishing a great brand for downtown. On a personal side note, I was really pleased to hear the great reviews Rob Oseland received at the recent RD&E Experience.
It’s the end of another great week of great thinking from so many people. It’s always hard to narrow it down to five. Thank goodness, I’m a New Orleans girl and can throw in some lagniappe!
Location, location, location…I’m always amazed at the decline of Atlantic City. I really am, but I can see how easily customers opt for convenience than the trek to AC and how that’s become a “getaway” versus the place to get your gambling fill. Read more about the good news for regional operators!
Know your audience…Although I think I could fit into something at Abercrombie & Fitch, I was just never attracted to the brand. Obviously, I’m not their target…and I’m ok with that. While I do think Mike Jeffries could have rephrased his comment, I couldn’t help thinking, “So what? It’s obviously not their target. And that’s ok with me.” Companies have to understand who they are marketing to in order to design and deliver the right experiences. You can’t be everything to everyone. Brands are not required to market to everyone. Read more here.
Mmmmm…There are days when there is nothing better than biting into a fresh hot donut. Just to hear the name Krispy Kreme brings back memories. I guess it’s a good thing they realized they needed to build memories rather than a brand…and yet, somehow, they did both. Here’s how they did it.
Magic…Customer service always seems like it’s part magic, but Erika Anderson makes you realize just how simple it is. Then, why do so many companies seem to ignore these three simple keys?
…or empowerment…I guess I taken with Barbara Apple Sullivan’s tale because I’m always afraid I’ll lose my id in some way or another with each trip I take. I check and double-check and then check again that I have it in my possession. It’s probably bordering a little on OCD, but I think that’s the only evidence of such. My big takeaway from her article is that employees should be given permission to use their judgment. It’s the most important thing you can do if you’re trying to deliver excellent service. Of course, there are other things such as hiring and training, but allowing employees to use their good judgment implies to me that you’ve hired and trained properly. You can read her amazing story here. Given all the bad PR airlines are getting lately, this may come as a surprise.
This week’s lagniappe is about a lawsuit that has been filed to have the oh-so-popular commonly sung birthday song declared to be in the public domain. As a brand marketer, I’m often looking for usable names for new brands. Have you tried naming a restaurant lately? It’s quite a challenge to develop something usable, ownable and desirable. I’ll be watching this one closely as I can see both sides of this intellectual property argument. Read about it hereand let me know what you think.
It’s been far too long since I’ve taken care of my blog and it’s time to fix that. I’m starting slowly with the return of my Friday Five. Here are the articles that inspired me the most this week. I hope they spark something in you as well.
The human brand. I often read about what brands should be doing online and in social, but this is the first I’ve seen about being just human. Making connections is a human-to-human exchange. If your brand isn’t human, how will you touch customers? Make sure you read this whole post from Pam Moore. There are some great links at the end.
To followup. I was cleaning out my email and (as I’m sure you do as well), I had a plethora of emails I marked “unread” so that I could go back and read them “when I have time”. Well, I have time now and I’m glad I saved this one. It’s from Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Instituteon Coca-Cola’s Content 2020. It’s over 18 months old. I can’t believe how long I let this sit in my inbox. Wow! I loved this one. It made me think of CPG in a whole new light. You really can’t think in terms of a :30 television spot anymore. Read and watch.
It’s like connective tissue. The notion of integrated marketing isn’t new, but it just seems you can’t say it enough. Marketing has to be a combination of all the channels and touch points in the customer’s experience. Brian Bennet of STIR Advertising does a great job of illustrating this in his MarketingProfs post.
Is it really a loyalty program? Here’s a pet peeve I have…the notion that frequent visitor/buyer and player card programs are called “loyalty” programs as a matter of course when very few of them drive loyalty. It’s no wonder the programs have grown but participation has dropped. As the article states: “… it’s crucial for companies to strengthen loyalty programs through innovation and relevancy.” See if you agree with this post.
That being said, I love what MGM Resorts International is doing with MLife. Experiences are the key for their most frequent guests and they’re making sure they are having them by collaborating with SouthwestandHyatt. I was recently at a luncheon where Scott Voeller, SVP of brand strategy and advertising for MGM Resorts International, spoke about the changes and developments for the program. I think they may be poised to become THE casino player card program because of the way they understand their guests and try to give them the experiences they’re looking for. You can read about the partnerships with Southwest at this Vegas Inc. post and the Hyatt partnership in this Howard Stutz post.
Yes, I realize there are six articles. Where I’m from, we call that “lagniappe”!
I’d love to know what articles inspired your marketing this week.
In the back of your mind, you always know this could happen, but your conscience self just keeps working away at preventing that. I won’t get into the whys or hows, but this is what happened to me just this week. Wow!
Day 1 was a decompression day, getting to do some of the odd chores I never seemed to squeeze in to my schedule and planning to tackle some of the others.
Day 2? Time to dust off that resume.
As I look back on this last chapter of my career I realize…I’m good with where I am. I came to reshape the brand presence of Isle of Capri Casinos, and that is what happened. Of course, when I got here, I wanted it to be immediate. It wasn’t. Six years in the making. One of the deepest economic dips any of us will remember. Restricted capital markets and yet somehow, this company has come out the other end as a more relevant, contemporary experience for over a million active customers. Check out the Isle House of Brands.
It took a partnership with our agency The Media & Marketing Group, a partnership with the senior leadership of our company, a partnership in the field and a great team of clever creative people, but it happened slowly and solidly over time.
Mission completed. Time to move on.
Day 3 of “Jules Rules 2.0″ ahead. P.S. Thanks to Jan Talamo for my new mantra.
Brand Positioning Statements provide the most useful function of taking everything you know about your brand, everything that could be said about the consumer and making choices to pick one target that you'll serve and one brand promise you will stand behind. While we think this brand positioning statement sets up the creative brief, it should really set up everything the brand does--equally important for internal as everyone should follow to what the positioning statement says.
Today, I have the honor of sitting amongst several women who have marked achievements in business, community, family and sometimes all three. One such woman is someone I have the honor of working with every day, Elissa Plastino. She’s our brand manager, a volunteer with the heart to get all around her involved, and, most importantly, a wife and mother.
I decided to give you a little glimpse into Elissa the Brand Manager. Hopefully, you’ll see why she was an easy choice for me to have her join my team and honor today.
JC: Tell us a little about your background and what brought you to Isle?
EP: I’ve worked in public relations for 12 years in a variety of industries like sports, tourism, education and mental health. I joined Isle in 2006 when the company moved its corporate office (and my husband’s job) to St. Louis. Thankfully the company had a new job opening up in the marketing department that I was a perfect fit for. Not long after moving I was offered the position and started my new career in the casino industry!
JC: I remember when I asked you to move to brand marketing, you were visibly surprised. What was your biggest fear and did it come to fruition?
EP: My biggest fear was failure; I don’t like to fail. PR was where I was strong, but the new position also added advertising, brand marketing and various other duties that were unfamiliar to me. It was a whole new ballgame. I can confidently say that I didn’t fail and I think that’s because I’m not afraid to ask questions and/or admit when I don’t know the answer. If I didn’t understand a question/task/decision, I questioned it and gained a better understanding.
JC: What was the biggest surprise or challenge you encountered and how did you handle it?
EP: I think the biggest surprise was the increase in emails I started receiving on a daily basis! Wow! Suddenly there were lots of emails with questions, comments, different creative visions that needed to be worked through and more! I had to figure out my own system for staying on top of these things and not let something slip through the cracks.
JC: So, now that you’ve tackled brand marketing, what do you want to be when you grow up?
EP: Hmmm. Funny, this question comes up every year during annual review time! I love my job and hope to stay with Isle for a long time. I’m always up for taking on new projects and there’s never a shortage of those, so I hope my drive & work ethic will allow me to earn leadership positions within the company.
Want to know more about Elissa? Follow her on Twitter at @eplastinobut be prepared (like me) to get involved in a host of non-profit work!
There are a number of reasons why this year’s big game was important to me. First and most important, there is the economic impact of the game on my hometown of New Orleans. Second is probably the opportunity to once again review the collection of ads in this year’s game with Debbie Laskey.
My winners are a mix of ads that moved me, ads that I felt were on brand strategy, ads that made me smile, ads that reminded me how much I miss New Orleans and the ads my fellow co-workers found to be the best. Here they go, in no particular order.
Taco Bell’s interpretation of “Cocoon” made me smile and it made an entire bar full of people stand up and cheer. For that I say, “Viva Young”
Hyundai’s ad “Stuck” speaks to me every single time I’ve been behind someone on the road leaving behind mementos of their time in front of me. I usually try to drop back a little further. Now I see there is another turbocharged option.
Hyundai scores again in this homage to “Ferris Beuller’s Day Off”. Who wouldn’t want to give their family an Epic Playdate?
Bravo Jared and bravo to Subway for delivering the point that always seems to be the downfall of the diet du jour….keeping it off. No flash. No sizzle. Just the heart of the message.
Was it a good commercial, or do I just love the vibe of New Orleans? Either way, I’m in for the Mercedes CLA Soul spot…so much so that I might even forgive the billboard across from Napoleon House.
It used to be that the first break was the marquee spot. Chrysler, however, has repositioned halftime as the “it” placement. Most purists would argue that they are forgoing a spotlight on their products. Some might say they are positioning themselves as the all-American option. Ford, anyone?
In a past life, I sold radio. That station featured a segment by Paul Harvey. Chrysler’s Dodge Ram salute to American Farmers was very moving to me.
I’m not a St. Louisan, but the Budweiser Clydesdale spots have always been among my favorites. There is just something about them that makes me feel un-American if I don’t cry. This spot seemed to be a hit among most of the marketers I work with on a daily basis.
As the officials on the field say, “failed to convert”.
That penalty goes to Go Daddy(even though they did somewhat redeem themselves with “Your Next Big Idea”
Go Daddy’s Perfect Match spot just made me feel a little dirty. Even if you’re not in the same room, the sound of that kissing is enough to just send shivers down my spine. To quote one of the marketing directors I work with, “I don’t like the way they subjugate web developers.”
Also, missing the point was Toyota. I guess Kaley Cuoco is the latest hot property and I should be blown away with her part in this Rav4 commercial. I’m not. In fact I had the name of the car make and model wrong when I wrote this sentence. Sorry Toyota. I guess your wish wasn’t granted.
Honorable mention goes to Kia’s Space Babies. Babylandia looks so much more interesting than being slung in a sheet flying through the air on the beak of a stork!
Of course, this Super Bowl will go down in the record books for also creating the biggest delay of game thanks to a pesky power outage. Although media maven and social media expert alike is always touting extending your ad buys into social, Oreo and Tide were fast to take advantage of the hiccup. Clever…timely…and absolutely on brand, they might be my winners for the night.
Thanks again for letting me share my thoughts on the ads we all seem to look forward to. I’ll be posting Debbie’s thoughts soon, but in the meantime let me know your winners and losers.