Archive for August, 2011

The Dethroned King Teaches Us A Brand-Messaging Lesson

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011
The Burger King Dethroned

The Once and No Longer King

Burger King is advertising again, but not with their King.  The second largest burger chain has planned to overhaul everything from strategy and management to their advertising and menu. The reason for the change is obvious.  According to WSJ, Burger King’s same-store sales have been on the decline recently while  major competitors, McDonald’s and Wendy have both seen sales growth at the same time.  Now BK is  focusing on broadening their appeal beyond the original target audience-men in their 20s.  Will this new approach bring the crown back to the King?  Maybe, but the Burger King has taught us a big lesson in marketing messaging–An authentic brand personality goes deeper than having funny commercials.

What did the King do wrong?  The mascot, who wears a large plastic head, frozen smile, and a red-velvet cape, has attracted much attention from men in their 20s.  It was a successful advertisement that generated buzz for Burger King.  Unfortunately it was more a short-term boost than a long-term branding effort, and the creative ad didn’t translate into sales.  The recent mascot has become prevalent but also has a somewhat creepy presence in ads.  Ultimately it was unclear what message, if any (we’d argue none), they were trying to convey.  This discrepancy in ad performance and revenue is not because McDonald’s has more innovative advertising, nor that Ronald McDonald is a hipper mascot.  While Burger King was busy building its’ edgy brand image, McDonald’s has focused on something more down-to-the-earth: promoting its’ burgers and concentrating on building a fresh and “healthy” menu.

Brand Messaging: Personality-Authenticity A brand is everything that is associated with your business, and how consumers think and feel and interact with it.  Messaging gives you direct control in building your brand.  In the fast-food industry, consumers need to make shopping decisions quickly so they tend to recall what they remember of the brand.  A well structured slogan, a favorable advertisement, or simply a goodwill action reported in a newspaper will trigger the memory.  When it comes to Burger King, the frozen smile doesn’t necessarily evoke the appetite, leaving the customer thinking about  McDonald’s or Wendy’s.  Powerful brand messaging has to be recalled quickly.  To make  brand messaging effective, the personality and authenticity have to be consistent with what you want your brand to be and how you want your customers to view your brand.

  • Personality: When interacting with brands, we are attracted to the ones that are intriguing, self-assured, reliant, and unique.  Effective messaging strategy conveys the right attributes of a brand to its’ audience. The king showing up in people’s beds and peeping in windows was intriguing and unique, but that is not a personality that customers consider attractive when choosing a fast-food restaurant.
  • Authenticity: It is understandable that  Burger King wanted to be more than just food, but they went too far–they wanted to be the king!  What is worse is the king doesn’t really speak for their burgers.  When Burger King became more about the “king” than the “burger”, they lost the authenticity of burger quality.  Customers don’t buy kings, they want to buy burgers,  so they went to McDonald’s or Wendy’s.

The mascot is leaving, and the new management and marketing team “has no plan to bring him back anytime soon”.  From a branding and messaging stand point, it’s right the move to refresh the Burger King brand.  Does your brand have the right personality and authenticity?  Do you have the right messaging strategy to speak to your customers?  If you don’t or aren’t sure, FiG is always here to help.

FiG Advertising and Marketing – Rebranding Agreement with Reimbursement Principles, Inc.

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

FiG Advertising and Marketing is happy to announce Reimbursement Principles, Inc (RPI) has expanded their agency agreement with us. With the new agreement in place, FiG will help RPI reinforce their brand by refreshing the visual brand and messaging in addition to our current successful SEO efforts.  To ensure their success, we will use marketing research to assess RPI’s core differentiators, sales language, and customers’ perspectives to inform the development of a new website and branded collateral.  We will then suggest ways to improve and leverage the visual brand and associated meaning to streamline the sales and marketing processes.  This will take several steps:

Brand Audit:

  • Customer Response Research:  to help us understand customers’ attitudes, preferences, and purchase-decision process.
  • Brand Inventory: to assess the mixed marketing inputs and delineate the individual and collective effects.
  • Brand Exploratory: to uncover customers’ logical and emotional connections with the existing brand and its associated marketing.

Messaging Development:

  • Current Data Assessment: to identify the gap between brand meaning and messaging objectives.
  • Competitive Analysis: to identify industry opportunities and competitors’ messaging structure.
  • Messaging Guideline & Content Management: to reinforce the brand’s meaning and differentiate from competitors.

Visual Brand Refresh:

  • Identity, Collateral, Website Redesign: to translate the uncovered sources of brand equity into an updated logo, messaging materials, and  website design.



Social Media Denver Report 2011

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

As marketers absorb evolving social media statistics–including 14% growth (33,330,000 people) in the purchase decision-making influence over the past 6 months–it is increasingly clear that social media is going to play a big role in the future of marketing communications.  In this post, we’d like to share recent study results on Denver area business social media usage.  The study surveyed businesses in the Denver Metro area with the goal of understanding how they are using social media to grow and promote their business.  We also investigated  the challenges and concerns when it comes to integrating social media and business.

Overall the results have been encouraging for social media.  Here are some key findings:

  • Marketers place high value on social media: 96% of businesses are integrating social media in their marketing efforts.
  • Measurement and Interaction are the top areas that marketers want to improve on.
  • One of the biggest concerns with social media is commitment and that it is time consuming.
  • Many companies don’t have a formal and standard system to keep employees informed on social media trends.
Social Media Usage By Denver Businesses

Social Media Usage By Denver Businesses

According to the social media survey, 96% of Denver marketers use social media tools in marketing efforts.  Respondents reports using blogs (26%), Facebook (78%), Twitter (44%), LinkedIn (78%), YouTube (30%), FourSquare (4%).

  • For B2B companies: The usage of LinkedIn is 100% if a company is using any kind of social media, followed by Facebook, Twitter, Blog, and YouTube, of 60%, 40%, 20%, and 20%, respectively.
  • For B2C companies: FaceBook ranks number one among the social media adoption in terms of business usage (87%), followed by LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Blog, and FourSquare, of 67%, 40%, 40%, 33%, and 7%, respectively.


While 96% of respondents have already implemented social media in their marketing activities, only 8% of them actually have a budget for social media related marketing efforts.  “With all the discussion and news stories about social media, you would think this would be a big area of investment by now. Social media is still causing a lot of confusion in the marketplace,” says Jim Tsokanos, president of the Americas for MS&L Group. “Even of the companies using social media, almost half believe their company is lagging behind what others are doing. If marketers feel they are behind the curve it’s because they feel overwhelmed by it, don’t get it, or don’t understand how to use it.”

Social Media based Purpose & Improvements

Why Denver-area businesses use social media

Why Denver-area businesses use social media

The survey shows that the top 2 reasons that B2B companies use social media are for lead generation of 27%, and increasing brand awareness (20%), indicating that B2B companies expect to link social media usage with the bottom line result. The B2C companies on the other hand, consider social media more as a tool to know the consumers.  The top 2 reasons that B2C companies use social media are increasing brand awareness of 33%, and the real time customer interaction of 20%.

Other reasons that ranked high included product launch and that “competitors are using it”.

Do Denver-area businesses react to social media feedback?

Do Denver-area businesses react to social media feedback?

It is not just about why companies are using social media, but actually whether they improve their actions based on feedback they have received via Social Media According to our survey,74% of companies that use social media  utilize variable feedback they receive (Chart on The Right), 63% of companies do not respond to the feedback to help with business improvement.

Improving on marketing efforts and understanding the competitive landscape are the primary business uses of social media. Respondents reported that they were using social media for media relations, market research, reaching key influences, and product/service reviews (statistics vary between b2c and b2b companies).


What is holding Denver-area businesses back in social media marketing?

What is holding Denver-area businesses back in social media marketing?

Businesses recognize one of the biggest challenges with Social Media is the inability to make a link to revenue and difficulties encouraging interaction. Reasons for the challenges were usually companies didn’t  have a specific strategy for social media management.  Their time commitment was limited and content consistency problems prevented them from on-going conversations.

Future Social Media Trends

How do Denver-area companies stay informed on social media marketing trends?

How do Denver-area companies stay informed on social media marketing trends?

Our survey reveals that in the Denver Metro Area, B2B companies have a more formal approach to help staff improve on social media knowledge and experience than B2C companies.  Both B2B and B2C companies realized the potential impact social media could have in the future.  When asked what efforts will have the most impact on a company’s success in the next year, 26% say Facebook presence and 19% says mobile platform as well as blogger relations.



Survey Participant Demographics

Survey Participant Demographics

Survey participants-Those who took the survey work for small Denver-metro area businesses with up to 100 employees. 37% of the participants are focused primarily on attracting businesses (B2B), over half (56%) of the participants primarily  target consumers (B2C), and the other 8% are equally non-profit organizations and companies target both businesses and individuals.



How do you Prevent QR Codes From Failing?

Monday, August 15th, 2011

As a follow up to the blog we did three month ago about QR Codes, in today’s post, FiG will uncover 3 lessons on how to successfully execute a QR Code campaign.

Lesson #1–Size Matters: The size of the QR Code directly influence the success of a QR Code campaign.  To ensure the code works properly, the finished print size of a QR Code should depend on:

  1. The scan distance, which determines the view size of a QR Code in your camera
  2. The size of the dots, which shrink as the data embedded increases

For most smartphones, the relationship between the scan distance and the minimum QR Code size is approximately 10:1 ( 1 inch).  In other words, if you scan a QR Code from a magazine from 10 inches away, the QR Code has to be bigger than 1 inch.  If you try to scan a 5 foot wide QR Codes on a billboard, then you must stand closer than 50 feet.

The size of the dots decreases when the code has to carry more information.  When it becomes too small, your camera will have problems capturing the tiny dots.  To learn how much data is appropriately stored in a QR Code, check out this article.  FiG has a simple solution to the size problem: Shorten the URL before you generate a QR Code. By shortening the URL your QR code also becomes easy to track.  The shortened URL will help isolate the conversion of your QR Code from other marketing activities.

Lesson #2–Location, Location, Location: We mentioned at the end of last QR Code post, currently people can only scan a QR Code by using smartphones.  If you plan on placing your QR Code campaign on the top of a mountain resort or underground in a subway,  chances are the mobile signal is weak and the result won’t be good.  Since not everyone has a smart phone, always, always provide alternatives to QR Codes.

Another inappropriate environment for QR Codes is when the environment is “moving”.  Recently I saw a mini van with an ad wrap of QR Codes. As much as I appreciate the innovation, I would recommend marketers to give put more thought into where they’re placing their codes.  How can people scan your QR Codes when they drive? It’s the same reason that QR Codes won’t work on a billboard on the highway.  People can’t capture the code going 60 miles an hour.

Lesson #3–Do A Final Test: Not just for QR Codes but for every marketing campaign, we always recommend doing a final test before mass production.  Your QR usage may be brilliant but if it doesn’t function, it won’t do you any good.   Do a final test before mass printing so you can identify the problems before it’s too late.