Monday, February 12, 2007

It's About "Biz" Not "Buzz"!

Don't Confuse Brand Awareness With Brand Preference

By David Miranda

What do these "brands" have in common? - The Gap, GM, Ford, John Kerry, Dell, and Gateway. They rank high in brand awareness, but low in brand preference. Brand preference puts revenue in the register and votes in the ballot box.

One would argue that in order for a person to buy (or vote for) something or someone, one would first have to be aware of it. True, but that is only half the story. Awareness must be converted to preference or no sale, no vote.

In marketing today, creating "buzz" seems all the rage. Various and sundry marketing tactics are employed to do just that, e.g. social networking sites, blogs, guerrilla marketing. Typical response to buzz is "okay, now that you've got my attention, why should I buy what you're selling?" More often than not, there is no compelling reason. Ask The Gap, GM, Ford, or Mr. Kerry.

Better yet, ask The Cartoon Network. They recently employed a guerrilla marketing campaign to promote a new show by deploying electronic signs throughout some major markets. The campaign in Boston was a disaster as police and homeland security shut down major traffic arteries in the city because they thought these devices were dangerous. The result - bad publicity; apologies from Turner Broadcasting; a $2 million reimbursement to the city and the resignation of the CEO of the Cartoon Network.

Brand awareness? Yep. Brand preference? Nope.

It is high time that marketers put "buzz" into perspective. Will it create "biz"? Do we have a compelling reason for people to buy once they have been "buzzed"?

It's time to "get bizzy".