by Jamie Allebac

From most ad agencies all you hear is brand-building, brand-building, and more brand-building. Branding is good, but let’s be honest about what the end goal of advertising is—for consumers to purchase your product!

Branding is about changing consumers’ “attitude” towards your product. Advertising is focused on changing consumers’ “behavior”.See the difference?And here’s the truth of the matter; it’s easier to change consumer behavior than their attitudes.

Consumers are more often driven by impulse or incentive (sometimes brand loyalty plays a role–wink, wink, nod, nod). Let’s look at a simple example.

By Bennett Andelman, Allebach Communications

Recently, we introduced newly designed actionable intelligence software that has the ability to find, monitor and process exact online conversations about your category, brand and competitors. This includes every known blog, social network, user generated vehicle, micro-blog and all other social and digital media platforms.

This is actually decommissioned government spyware that has been modified to meet our needs, and those of our clients - measuring social media against ROI and Share of Voice/Share of Chatter to have a dynamic impact on your brand and marketing program. Through this software, we can more efficiently:

Google Search #1 = Quick and nutritious meals for a toddler.

Wait…Scratch That!

Google Search #2 = Quick and nutritious meals for a PICKY toddler.

Results = 10,400 websites, articles, and blogs that are ready to help me tackle this difficult situation.

As a working Mom on the go, it is not uncommon for this search to come up weekly. Thankfully, there is an entire on-line world dedicated to producing tips and tricks on how to be a successful Mother in the kitchen. While there may be much skepticism about the “Mom Blogger” community, I find it to be an incredibly helpful outlet to search for new ideas for my household.

Social Media. It’s all the buzz. Or rather, all the tweet. However, for all the urgency brands feel to engage, social media also has many experienced, knowledgeable marketers pondering the effectiveness of the new, somewhat uncontrollable, medium. The largest concerns for most: 1) how do I measure the effectiveness of social media and, 2) how can I control what is being said about my brand.

The answers to these questions lay in a social media plan that is based on solid data, strategic planning, and the ability to monitor, down to the smallest blog or tweet, while reading emotion, what is being said about a brand. Now, the buzz just got a whole lot louder. And, it’s measurable.

By first conducting an in depth analysis about your brand, much like what we do here when preparing our client’s social media campaigns, and studying the data, a social media strategy can be developed based on facts – not educated guess’. Facts that rely on user generated content and on key words used in conversations and sub-topics regarding a brand category – so you know what customers are saying, what their concerns are, and what they love.

By Kevin Schluth

“Corporations spend billions of dollars each year on food advertising - Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, and McDonald’s each spent more than $1 billion in advertising in 2007. A new study suggests those advertisers are missing out if their ads only mention taste and ignore our other senses.”

Excerpt from:

‘Taste sensation: Ads engaging all senses more effective’ from Strategies for Conscious Living

“Let’s Get Together on a Social Level”

By Jamie Allebach

Wouldn’t it be enlightening to go to a party with your customers? The people who are buying your products? Personally meet them and spark conversation, answer questions, ask questions, share information and pass along value. It would be awesome, and man, would you build your brand and sell more product!

The problem is…how do you personally meet 1,000 customers, or 100,000 or 1,000,000?

by Todd Bergey

While marketers and brand managers of consumer packaged goods are pursuing every option to reduce their advertising spend without hurting their brand equity among consumers, the consumers are being propelled by the economic news and financial uncertainty to find ways to save money with each trip to the store. In the short term, it feels like the right thing to do for CPG companies, but in the long run, it raises questions like what will this cost and how long will it take to regain your brand exposure in the heart and mind of consumers.

What is interesting in our current market is that CPG companies may very well be more guilty of trading brand loyalty for price, than the consumer. Cutting advertising budgets “to survive” is no different than a consumer trading “down” from your product to a lower-priced product “to survive” — that’s if it’s all about survival. As advertisers, we would love to be able to reach out to each of these consumers to convince them to believe that our product is better and needs to remain part of their life. Yet the very means in which we have used to create brand awareness and foster brand loyalty for our product is the main element of our business that is being reduced – advertising. Seems backwards.

Case Study: 'Join the Family' Online Database: First 2 months, 800 members

Incentive: Online Coupon for '$2 Off Hatfield Family Classics Easy & Complete Family Meals' for all who register.

Supported by: TV Spot, 30 & 60 second radio spots, packaging, website, online coupons, FSI, coupon hand-outs.

With the state of today’s economy, the increasing sales of Private Label brands, and more and more consumers going online to seek out coupons and product news, it’s more important than ever for brands to ‘connect’ with consumers.

In the movie, “What Women Want”(2000), starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt, they humorously depicted what goes on in a woman’s mind. Really knowing a woman and paying attention to what matters to her can make a big difference – in a personal relationship or in marketing your product.

I’ve read recently that women control or influence 85% of all purchase decisions. Often called the CFOs of their families, women influence what food, children’s clothes, home decorating, furniture, appliances, entertaining, vacations, etc., their family purchases. With that much involvement- what matters to a woman, should matter to you.

Consumers today are being bombarded with messages at (almost) every waking moment. Through traditional media - TV, Radio, Billboards, and the many social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn to name a few. All are effective methods of relaying your brand message, however, there is nothing like interacting with your customers face-to-face.

Live event marketing experiences where consumers can interact with your brand, experience your products, and engage in conversation with your "brand ambassadors" face-to-face are some of the most effective ways to influence your current and prospective consumer audiences. These live events could be in the form of conferences, impromptu “street team” events, paid event sponsorships or even community sponsored events. Live events are especially effective in food and beverage marketing, because they create experiences that appeal to all of the senses - fully immersing the consumer in your brand. For example, one of our clients, Hatfield Quality Meats, maximized the experiential aspects of a recent sponsorship opportunity. The event took place over a long weekend with consumers actually “living” on-site for the duration. A “street team” of brand ambassadors randomly visited these temporary residents and gave away free-product that they could throw on their grill and cook-up for dinner as well as product coupons for future purchases. One qualification – the recipient had to be prominently displaying the branded bumper sticker provided to them. The live event was a fantastic success. The street team generated a buzz, got people talking and actually seeking out street team members. The brand was displayed throughout the event area, consumers had the opportunity to taste, smell and experience the product first hand and were engaged with the brand ambassadors. Safe to say they’ll remember this experience and the brand that delivered it to them.