What happened to the USP?

By George L. San Jose, President and Chief Creative Officer at The San Jose Group In high school, I could typically identify people by their cliques (jocks, cheerleaders, hippies, disco fashionistas, etc.) but not as individuals. So unless I personally knew them, they had no individuality. Today’s consumers see brands as cliques and clicks; they have learned to navigate cyberspace without looking at the obtrusive digital ads popping up wherever they go. Not too appealing for brands campaigning to win consumers. We have conditioned consumers to get free software or new apps in exchange for allowing a provider to bombard them with ads that they have mastered to utterly ignore. Mix this with brands caving to funding in-store promotions instead of branding and you have the perfect ingredients for a brand’s death sentence…lack of differentiation and discount price are always the race to the bottom. Brands that lost their consumer preference entirely have died, so brands must establish the right brand positioning, Unique Selling Proposition “USP,” and creative content to win preference and emotionally connect with consumers. A recent report by Northwestern University’s Don E. Shultz and Martin P. Block, Killing Brands… Softly, presents some alarming news for brands and their advertisers. Over a ten-year study, Shultz and Block found consumers are shifting from having specific brand preferences to no preferences. Although this may sound like brand loyalty’s obituary, the study points out a major flaw in the industry: consumers can’t identify the differences between brands, because in the “smaller competitive space,” consumers find brands “more and more similar.” Rare opportunities for brands to win consumer preference exist because brands scarcely produce actual persuasive content. Today’s brands (with the help of social media) distribute more clutter than they do creative. Since social media’s inception, brands have attempted to use it to establish their brand identity and engagement to win consumers, but just because a consumer favorites your brand’s funny tweet or likes your Facebook page, it doesn’t mean they’ll purchase your brand. Even Coca-Cola...

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Be the Star among the Tinsel: Tactics for Not-for-Profits this Holiday Season

Nov 08, 13 Be the Star among the Tinsel: Tactics for Not-for-Profits this Holiday Season

Posted by in Nonprofit

The season of giving is upon us, and that means an influx of donations for Not-for-profits. While the spirit of the season moves people to contribute (a survey by Ask Your Target Market showed that 57% of respondents said they donate to charity during the holiday season), some Not-for-Profits struggle with getting exposure during the holidays. “Marketing not-for-profits may be tricky and challenging, but ultimately they’re rewarding,” said George L. San Jose, president and chief creative officer at The San Jose Group. “People, especially this time of year, want to know they’re giving back to make a difference.” According to the 2012 Nonprofit Almanac, the United States houses an estimated 2.3 million not-for-profit organizations. While tactics such as not-so-gently reminding donors that the tax deduction deadline (December 31st) is nearing and drawing on the emotions of the season generate an influx of donations during the holidays, not-for-profits can use more creative avenues to break through the tinsel and be heard over the jingle bells. Manners Matter Organizations must prove their validity and can do this by showing donors where past donations have gone and how funds will be distributed. Also, thanking donors on social media or sending thank you emails can increase the odds of future donations. Giving Charitable Gift Cards Not-for-profits can offer and promote donation certificates and cards. With these cards, donors can gift a preloaded card that the recipient can spend on the cause(s) of their choosing—a gift that keeps on giving (at least by one degree). Some successful not-for-profits have already teamed up with charity donation cards like Tisbest.org’s Charity Gift Card and Network for Good’s Good Card. Organizations should use email, newsletters, social media, mobile apps, etc. to alert the public about these and other charitable gift options. Emotional Engagement Emotional connections to causes and recipients generate donations. Including photos of beneficiaries in emails, posting testimonials to YouTube and focusing on subjects in PSAs can all add to donations. Organizations that give specific examples of what contributions go toward...

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