Wednesday, February 23, 2011

3 Business Lessons From Brand Bowl 2011

Below is an email blast from our Marketing Coordinator, Katlyn Kugler, that I thought was worth sharing. Enjoy the read - Roy

3 Business Lessons From Brand Bowl 2011

When you hear the words "Super Bowl ads" you probably start to cringe a little bit. We know what you are thinking: "Enough with the analyzing and ranking of the Super Bowl ads! That was over two weeks ago!" Don't worry, we are not about to grade the ads or assign them gold stars. Instead, we are going to take a closer look at some of the Brand Bowl's stand out spots and pull three important business lessons from them.

Lesson # 1: Extras can derail the original agenda.
Who didn't love Volkswagen's "The Force" spot? The commercial was a huge hit filling whole living rooms with "aww"s and "how adorable!"s. But how many of these people know that this commercial was specifically for the Passat? Very few. It could be that Volkswagen was simply trying to foster a positive brand perception for the company, but if that were the case the mention of the Passat would be unnecessary to begin with.
Moral of the story: Don't let fluff detract from your priorities. More people remember the 5 year old Darth Vader in the Volkswagen commercial than the model of the car. At work, don't let distractions interfere with what you need to accomplish. Incorporating flashy extras into projects will only confuse your audience and detract from the intended message. Concentrating on original objectives will ensure successful communication.

Lesson # 2: When you goof up, say you're sorry and move on.
Groupon's ads raised a lot of controversy and left the majority of audiences offended. Groupon CEO Andrew Mason responded the next day via blog post opening with "I've been spending the day listening to the negative feedback about our Tibet Super Bowl commercial, and want to take a crack at explaining why we created this campaign." The blog post is five lengthy paragraphs which try to shift attention to other Super Bowl spots that were "truly offensive", list excuses for the ad's execution, and worst of all, there is not one mention of an apology. Groupon decided to pull all three commercials from broadcast and issued a "we're sorry" five days after the initial backlash.
Moral of the story: When you mess up (because we all do at one point or another), don't pass blame, spit out a list of excuses, or provide an 'explanation' as to why you are not wrong. A quick and direct apology not only displays professionalism but allows the company to move on to more positive efforts and be viewed in a more respectable light by customers.

Lesson # 3: Customer and communication are top priority.
The Chrysler 200 spot stole the show in Super Bowl 2011 because it kept the viewer in mind and tied the product benefit to ad execution. Heavy emotional appeal was used in the unheard of 2:00 minute commercial. People do not remember the spot's poetic verse word for word and they may not remember every image flashing across the screen, but what they do remember is the feeling of inspiration at the end and the last thought they are left with: Chrysler 200. 
Moral of the story: When executing business strategy keep the customer in mind. Your customer might not remember verbatim the phone calls you've had with them or small favors you have done for them along the way, but they will remember that you made them feel like a priority. If you put your customer's needs first they will feel positively about you. Additionally, if you can communicate product benefits during positive customer interactions the customer will remember the product and parlay positive associations to it.

Now that we have gained some knowledge from the yearly phenomenon, the subject of Super Bowl ads can finally be laid to rest - at least until 2012 when the rankings, gold stars, nacho dip, and plasma screen televisions emerge once again. In the mean time stay focused on business goals, apologize when necessary, and keep customers and communication your top priorities.

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