2011
11.02

Well, somebody has finally had the vision and budget to start creating the next generation of the Ebook experience.

Traditional Ebook viewers such as Kindle gave a very ho-hum reader experience of just text on a page. For my mind, I never saw the benefit of trading off the tactile experience of a book for a very average screen-text experience, especially when every thing was in predominantly grey tones (yawn).

Then came the iPad. The iPad was designed around user engagement, you can shake it, flip it, touch it (yes, a new kind of tactile experience!). Developers and designers had their hands untied and more creative freedom, everything moving forward from the lauch of the iPad is new territory, we have new ground zero to judge user experience and engagement.

Below is a link to an amazing example of what creativity (with a little budget!) can do for the classic picture book ‘Alice in Wonderland’, and you can get this rocking Ebook for just a measly $9! (Sell, Sell, Sell)

Oh, and yes, all without Flash (which of course iPad does not support), Javascript and other forms of open source, code based animations are raising their heads again and the executions are only limited by inspiration, perspiration, which is of course, has a monetary value.

This approach would also make both Technical publications and Product Manuals (even for a vacumm cleaner!) very, very cool.

I can’t wait to see the Harry Potter version, wands at the ready people!

Remember, true unbridled creativity begins with “what if ..”, then strategy, then refinement, then the execution.
Click to Watch the Alice YouTube promo here

2010
03.12

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving ranking in search engine results. IE: Best ranking on Google for first page results, with the Top number 1 position being the ‘holy grail’.

SEO is a very complex journey, a journey that can in fact be never ending to maintain good ranking due to the natural way Google (and other engines) continually reinvent how they value a site for ranking.

To SEO or not SEO, that is the question!
Let’s face it we don’t all have $10–15,000 to invest in a comprehensive SEO program.

The bottom line is some well thought out ‘SEO entry’ strategies based on your specific business and markets is absolutely better than doing nothing.

To demonstrate this MECCA recently helped one of our clients achieve Number 4 position on Google first page results in under 4 weeks (based on relevant keywords for their category), all for approx 20% of what a major SEO push would require. At the end of the day that 20% investment equated to a good result.

6 weeks on we have secured the Holy Grail position of Number 1!

These types of results are certainly not typical for most SEO programs, though it certainly demonstrates that any SEO investment is better than one at all  as long as it is backed by some strategic thinking.

Find out how to get MECCA thinking about your business here.

2010
10.11

Why has it been so long since our last blog?

Usually we use this blog to share opinions and insights into the world of advertising and strategic visual communications.

Today however, I use it to as a platform to talk about what recent projects have kept us from blogging since June!

In Point form:
1. Packaging: we have designed a new range of Pet Toy packaging for Play N Learn for Pets
2. Print Ads: new creative and execution for Wonder Pads feminine hygene products (National)
3. Strategic Creative: full creative, multi-channel marketing collateral and website for Opera Queensland Season 2011
4. Strategic Creative: currently working on full creative, multi-channel marketing collateral and website for a new Cosmetic Clinic opening 2011
5. A whole array of other projects and communication solutions!

These are just some of the great projects that have kept MECCA people so busy!

Find out more about MECCA’s wide range of Strategic Advertising, Creative, Design and Media services.

2010
16.06

Great products deserve great packaging

We are surrounded by great products. Some we use everyday and therefore now take for granted how our lives have either changed or benefited by them. Some of these products are for the self, others make our daily grind easier. The one thing all these products share is the fact that we have purchased or received them as gifts etc, either way they have an assigned value beyond just the actual cost.

This assigned value is distilled by either our mind, our heart or our wallet. (More than likely a combination of all 3).

For most product purchases we are influenced by the function(s) of the product itself and the belief in the brand stamped on that product, this is generally all wrapped up in some well thought out and believable looking packaging.

When brand equity is low in the market place (or perhaps a new brand is entering a market) then it is critical that the packaging or labelling speaks for the product with both clarity and emotion. This is the first line of offence in the push forward for product success, and getting this right (or as close to right) from start will create the best opportunity for your product to prosper even without large advertising support, though of course, there is generally always a need for some form of Advertising/PR/Communications as part of your total marketing strategy.

Packaging acts as your silent salesman and therefore you should be concerned about what it is saying to your market.

Find out more about how MECCA has been helping brands deliver great products through well crafted, and thought out packaging solutions.

2010
17.05

When is a brief, too brief?

Unfortunately the answer to this question is “too often!”

A good comprehensive brief is the cornerstone of any successful communications project.

Whether your project is design based such as a Brand, Company logo, Brochure or Packaging etc. through to a complete above the line advertising campaign, all projects have one thing in common, they all require a brief.

There are two integral parties responsible for developing not only a comprehensive brief, but also a relevant brief, not based on subjective opinion or assumption. They are the client and the agency (or designer).

The client: First the client must invest time and energy to understand their current markets, potential markets, product/s offering and benefits compared to their competitors as best they can. Not everybody can afford extensive research, but there is no excuse for putting in head-time to gather the best intel you can. This intel can come from your sales force, internal support staff, distributors and customers. Sometimes the product or service differentiation between Company A to B, or product A to B can seem small, but remember there always IS and MUST be a differentiator. Often clients are too close to their own brand or companies to see the differentiators clearly or they have developed a skewed view on what their main point of difference is. This point of difference may change over time as products and services develop or even as customers assign new kudos to a brand, product or service via social media and forums etc. The web has given the customers a new power, the power to speak against and to speak for a brand or service. It is a global soapbox. That is why it is critical to try and understand your point of difference. Customer surveys are often a cost effective way to gather intel on how our customers use our products or services, which may in fact be different to what we think as a company – the golden Faux pas!

The agency (or design firm): Responsibility also lies with the agency to ensure that the best brief possible manages to get on paper. Agencies can become lazy thinkers, it’s human to form assumptions, and we all do it everyday. The key is to leave all assumptions and formed opinions until the end of the briefing process, never at the start. These should then be formed around the best intel and insight we can gather. Just because an agency has worked on a similar product category or service offer previously, doesn’t mean that is applicable now at this new point in time. This ignorance almost never translates to the client receiving the attention they deserve. Consumers are continually evolving and de-evolving towards and away from the way they go about there daily lives, seeking balance. This month they may have a concern on eating more whole grains, next month it may be running shoes with less joint impact or just a migration of personal tastes like replacing vegemite with peanut butter for the morning toast.

This evolution and de-evolution is why the agency must remain a real participant in the briefing process. Has the consumer switched from vegemite to peanut butter simply for change from routine? or is it something deeper? Vegemite/Kraft may say it is both seasonal and human to seek variety so they believe the consumer will once more go back to vegemite, and they probably will. BUT, what if the consumer has actually changed there preference on their spread of choice because they have decided to eat a new style of bread? A new style of bread with substantial health benefits, but due to the texture peanut butter covers easier, quicker and uses less product than say Vegemite does. And what if this new bread achieves a very solid market penetration, where does that leave Vegemite? The answer is, if Vegemite need to form a comprehensive and solid brief with an agency partner to increase unexpected declining sales, then everybody better be asking some questions beyond the usual, what is the budget, what is the benefit and what is the timeline.

Thinking Advertising or Design? Think MECCA.
After all, you can never have too much questioning or thinking when it comes to getting the right brief!

2010
11.05

The continual (R)evolution of advertising

Just as advertising has evolved throughout history, so have the MECCA people.

Volney Palmer opening the very first advertising agency in Philadelphia in 1843 changed the communications landscape forever. From that day forward the Revolution and Evolution of Advertising had really begun. (R)evolution.

During the last 70 years that (R)evolution was privy to new delivery channels allowing broader penetration to the comsumer such as Radio, TV, Digital Cinema, category specific Magazines, eMagazines, the Internet.

Just like the (R)evolution of Advertising and Communications has, and will continue to evolve, so too has MECCA’s people. We’ve learnt to help our clients adapt their messages with the changing communications landscape. Change has been one of the few constants of our industry since the launch of Television in the mid-50’s.

At MECCA we embrace change, so evolution comes naturally!

Thinking Advertising? Think MECCA and join the Advertising (R)evolution!

2010
04.05

In follow up to our previous post, I thought I would share two really engaging viral campaigns that I have come across this week, both call for active engagement with one of the campaigns having you literally travelling overseas for an Island treasure hunt worth $500,000, and the other driving foot traffic in store to get 3D glasses that are required for the online participation component. The increased foot traffic obviously creating exposure to the retailers offer for both current, lapsed and potential customers.

1. Treasure hunt for $500,00 cash: To promote a lesser know (holiday destination) island in the Carribean, and what a great way to get exposure, a PR managers dream!
Discover the Hunt here

2. Dance off 3D: To promote Jay Jays range of youth clothing via a fresh and engaging way to deliver an online catalogue via a Dance Off. 3D will become the norm for not only cinema but also for the home television, so Jay Jays decided to jump on band wagon now – I guess you could say, 3D is the new black!
Dance off here

2010
19.04

Answer: Channel planning

Channel planning is the new set of buzz words weaving their way through marketing corridors all over the globe, and for good reasons. Traditionally, advertisers really only had a couple of main channels to deliver their message: TV, Radio, Billboard and Publications. PR was the other cousin, and often confined to Publications. TV was the pivotable point of any media plan as at that time, it had the most reach for the dollar – simple.
Then in 1992 the world changed when the US Government offered internet access to the general public for the very first time, and in perfect timing the home PC revolution began as costs became less prohibitive due to manufacturing advancements. The internet’s expansion was quicker and bigger beyond anybodies wildest dreams and will continue to self evolve. Now, if we step back a bit we realise that the internet is NOT the Holy Grail of advertising as we may or may not know it. However, the internet has allowed the creation of new ‘channels’ allowing new and engaging ways to be created for how we interact with not only each other, but also with brands and products. Via the internet brands can virtually become ‘real’ and have personalities and preferences. A can of branded beans can have a Facebook page, with a starsign and an entire history and personality can be created including what it likes and dislikes, its favourite movie, music etc. Sure, a brand of beans is not real person, but technology and content allows us to blur the edges, kind of like when Computer graphics replaced Latext make up for horror and sci-fi films – it’s still not real, but we accept it as ‘true’ easier in the context of the film, the special effects allow for seamless boundaries of fantasy.

In a nutshell channel planning is not a new idea, it is however the birth of accountability and deliverability and it is forcing traditional agencies and advertisers to look harder at how we can communicate and enage our brands and products to the consumer.

Traditional Channels: TV, Radio, Billboard, PR
New breed Channels: Online apps, Viral campaigns, user generated online content, blogs and forums, social media and the focus on creating brand experiences in both the real world and the virtual.

What channels should we use then?
The answer used to be “televison”, you have to be on television! Technology has since brought us agency accountability and the metrix and opportunity to look deep into our markets phsyce, the creation of the next generation of the database, the ‘true’ database, not just a bunch of population based anecdotl data.

So, true Channel planning comes from stepping back, assuming nothing, and using whatever media can deliver our message to our market, and yes, sometimes this will not included television, or radio or perhaps print.

If you continue to use TV or Radio as your main touchpoint there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, as long as you DO know that it is really what you NEED, and the only way to find out is through objective and bias free considerations or Channel planning.

For maximum RIO for your Media Channel planning and buying needs, think MECCA.

2010
12.04

Answer: Equity is the ‘value’ assigned to your actual brand by what consumers really think and feel about it, and therefore the trust and belief that they carry for it.

Brand equity is an integral part of customer loyalty and retention. A consumer may often choose another product or service over their preferred brand as part of their ongoing validation process for that brand. This can often be driven by price or a promotional offer etc. Brand equity at this time is the cornerstone for bringing them back to their hero brand after the intitial saving or offer experience is over. We hope to achieve this ‘coming home to their brand’ by creating a conflict in the psyche of the consumer that the newly purchased or trialled brand ‘X’ product, does not offer the same belief of quality, trust and value to the consumer or customer as their preferred ‘hero’ brand, hence they will purchase or visit us again, even if intermittently. This loyalty is created through brand equity and brand building.

2010
07.04

Answer: Media planning and buying of course!

There’s not much point going to all the effort to make a great ad if it can’t be seen, heard or interacted with in the right place by the right people.

That’s where strategic Media planning and buying comes in. MECCA seek out and plan the right media mix to help your advertising messages reach your target market effectively and on budget. Whether it be a mix of Newspaper, Magazine, Television, Radio or online, once we have developed a clear insight into where your ads should appear, we book the space (buying) and run the ads.

Click here to find out just what a ‘full service’ agency like MECCA can do for your business