Welcome to Brandsmart 2010!

Attend the Chicago AMA Conference on June 24

Join us here for lively discussion and interaction about brand relevance. Find out what topics and issues will be highlighted at the conference and contribute to the conversation.


Brand Trends that Engage Your Consumers

Brands have reached new heights on engaging and influencing their audiences. One-way messaging designed solely to build awareness and increase sales has been replaced by a message that focuses on the consumer’s experience and the role and relationship they have with the brand.

As mentioned in our post on Monday, social media is on the rise. This has given companies a first-hand chance to directly engage consumers. Advertising can be personalized based on the user’s wants and needs. Face it - consumers have a voice in today’s branding mix more than ever before.

Let’s take a look at some recent successful brand engagement campaigns and techniques.


· Dockers. Remember their commercials from the SuperBowl this year – go online during or after the game for a chance to win a free pair of Dockers? Did their giveaway yield results? Yes! Not only was ‘Dockers free pants’ the most searched term on Google in the United States on Sunday and Monday, but maybe more importantly the pants giveaway engaged consumers. Jen Sey, vp of global marketing at Dockers said, “Our objectives for our Super Bowl ad were clear - we wanted to first get consumers' attention back on Dockers, but more importantly, we wanted to engage them in our brand and get them into our new products.”

· Cottonelle. Another popular engagement campaign (and one that was certainly visible throughout the Chicago area) was the Great Debate: Roll Poll done by Cottonelle. Consumers were asked how they roll their toilet paper - over or under. Answers could be submitted online or through text messaging. It was easy to track the results and declare a winner at the end of the poll. This poll challenged consumers to think about how they use the product in a non-traditional way.

· Mountain Dew. Through their campaign – DEWmocracyMountain Dew is allowing consumers to vote on the next new beverage flavor. Users can go to the website to cast their vote and see a timeline and breakdown of votes. This campaign allows consumers to make a product decision. Will DEW drinkers have more loyalty to the brand after being engaged in the decision-making process?


· Old Navy. Who doesn’t want a chance to be a featured mannequin in Old Navy stores and win $100,000 in the process? Old Navy recently featured commercials with people acting as the mannequin in an America’s Next Top Model atmosphere as part of their Supermodelquin Super Search. While the winner still has yet to be announced (June 3), the search drove thousands of entries and certainly increased brand awareness.

· Activia. It’s one thing to have a celebrity talk about her improved regularity when adding Activia yogurt to her diet, it’s another thing to have someone who could be your friend, neighbor or mom tell you. The Activia Challenge web page lets you be the judge of the effectiveness of their yogurt. You can Hear the Real Results from Real People or be one of those voices yourself. While there is no grand prize for being part of the challenge, coupons are available as is a refund if the challenge doesn’t work.

· Pantene Pro-V. Pantene this week announced the World’s First Reality Hair Star. Many women entered for a chance to put Pantene’s hair products to the test. This is yet another example of a company empowering the consumer to be the brand spokesperson.


· Nike Plus. Buy the shoes and gear, track your workouts and connect with others in the Nike community. Nike Plus encourages its consumers to do more than just wear its product. An online community exists for other Nike Plus users to share workout information, join challenges, motivate each other, and have a conversation about their experiences. What does your brand do to build strong relationships with its consumers? Do you have a brand community?

· US Cellular. This telecommunications company is in the business of connecting calls and connecting people. In their “Real Everyday People” advertising efforts, they are highlighting an average, but unique US Cellular customer and then including his/her cell phone number at the end of the commercial. Viewers can then connect directly with this person to learn more about his/her experiences. By doing this, US Cellular is creating a community and a personal touch to their brand.

· Threadless. This Chicago-based tee-shirt company is all about community with their ongoing, open call for designers. Without a strong community Threadless wouldn’t be able to do everything they do. They rely on users to submit and score designs. Your design gets selected and your tees get sold on the website. Way to empower the consumer to participate and support the brand. What feedback do you seek from your users and consumers?

These are just a handful of examples of what some companies are doing to more actively get their consumers to participate in their brand. What examples do you relate to most? What is your company doing to attract and engage consumers? Does it work and, if so, how are you measuring results? Let’s share our ideas!

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