This Week's Herman Trend Alert

in Normal 2.0


  The Herman Trend Alert

November 4, 2009

The Future of Brand-Building

When picking media, we choose the most cost-effective and efficient medium available. From China, where young people spend an average of 16 hours per week surfing the net and only 11 hours watching television, comes the serialized Internet-based medium titled "Lucy's Diary".

In this innovative, successful series, consumers decide what the character Lucy will do every day. This high level of interactivity serves to engage consumers and build brands. Sponsored by Estée Lauder's cosmetic and skin care line Clinique, the story centers on the brand.

According to Marketing Guru Martin Lindstrom, this use of the Internet represents "the next generation of product placement in which the show is built around the brand, the product being the central character". In the future, all brands will be reinforced using online, television, or other media, possibly including mobile platforms, too.

But wait, there's more! There is another brilliant, leading edge brand-building, product placement concept that deserves discussion: A "House Party™" is actually thousands of parties across the United States. Hosted by consumers, these events highlight a product or service the sponsor wants its best fans to experience firsthand and share with their friends. Here's an example:

December 05, 2009, General Mills will sponsor the Betty Crocker® Cookie Mix House Party™. In homes across the country, groups of consumers will celebrate their passion for baking. Interested consumers are encouraged to "invite friends and family over to share recipes, baking tips, and inspiration while creating cookies that are uniquely theirs".

Starting with Betty Crocker Cookie Mixes, the company promotes discovering "the endless [baking] possibilities". Party hosts receive "a robust party pack" full of Betty Crocker Cookie Mixes, recipes, and baking must-haves. Would-be hosts are vetted with a 12-minute survey. Hosts are expected to blog and tweet during the party and post pictures on line.

Both Lindstrom and I forecast that more of these brand-centered, interactive net-shows will appear in the near future, creating a more efficient new product placement standard. Extending to mobile, virtual universes, and other leading edge platforms, these new direct marketing media will allow brand builders to more highly target their markets.

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