Value in Being Memorable

This morning, thanks to RSS, the following headline in Forbes came in through an email :

The Most Memorable Product Launches Of 2010

I breezed past the summary of findings, and then read the following ending slapper:

“When it comes to determining which brands jump to the forefront [people’s recall], it’s usually the
companies that “people look for, the ones that they are familiar with,” says Patrick Richardson “

The conclusion is pretty obvious right? I’m more likely to remember something that I already know.  So, if I read the article correctly, this is what I learned.

  • New product launches have an  85-90% failure rate.
  • 75% of survey participants were unable to recall any of those products listed in the top 10
  • 45% couldn’t name a single one at all.

“The results were per unaided recall studies, meaning experiments conducted with very little or no prompting from researchers.”

OK, so what is going on here?  If you haven’t seen the list of most memorable launches, you might guess that Apple and Microsoft were in the #1 and 2 spot.  I’m betting in a survey of the most recognized brand names Apple and Microsoft would top that list too.  Steve Jobs is legendary especially when it comes to new product launches.  Microsoft, however has a completely different mojo about it, but its mere size impacts the market.  The actual products that made the list, surprised me a bit.

Apple’s iPAD, as I recall had a few hiccups on its launch; but that weak start out of the gate  didn’t last. Instead,  the product generated  that much more news coverage.  It seems that there wasn’t a corner in the world that hadn’t heard or reported on this launch, and the reports just kept coming.

By comparison, in spite of the automatic announcements to every windows PC ,  2010’s #2 from Microsoft,  the release of Windows 7 , surprised me.  Yup, I don’t know how many pings from Microsoft I got encouraging me to upgrade, but the news certainly didn’t have the same excitement that surrounded Apple’s iPad.

So,  no surprise to read that most new products that hit the shelves go unnoticed; and that even more new products never even hit the shelves.  In a survey where brands that dominate their market stack up against every other consumer product being launched, there’s no secret to dominion. Of course holding  a  market position is another matter.

Value ContributioN of BuZZ

Can you separate out the value of being memorable?  Elaine Wong, writing for  Forbes takes this view:

“sales aside, a product launch that’s effortlessly recalled by the public proves that marketers–and their brands–have staying power. “

The power of Brand is an old story, and certainly when there are more than 250,000 products launched in a given year, one can see why being top of mind does readily correlate with sales. This is the ongoing case for advertising, creating buzz still matters.  It’s Buzz that increasingly makes social media matter too.  Proof is in the success of  companies that made the memorable list this year and waged significant integrated social media strategies.

Take Kimberly Clark,  Kleenex, has been a household name for a long time.  The brand is so synonymous with the product that it’s hard to believe that anyone calls a tissue by any other name.  Why would more buzz matter?

At the point of purchase , the Brand can command a higher price on the shelf  than the surrounding competition.  Kleenex to seal the sale needs to imprint more than its brand name.  That’s where social media can help.

Not long ago, I copied the following comment from a social media analyst , but sadly failed to keep the source link. ( If you know or are the author please let me know and I’ll credit you).

The companies that try to understand the return on investment to their social engagement don’t get the picture. I mean, of course you have to do that, but if you have the best intentions of the brand and the
company, you understand that social media is the biggest marathon we’ve  ever run. This is a marathon, not a sprint. If you want to build a  brand, it’s a marathon. It’s not trackable.

Are you trying to track, or correlate your social media efforts?

I’d love to know whether the decision-makers in your firm, or your clients, understand the changing nature of the game.  Do they buy into the idea of the marathon? Or,  are they still stuck in the old “campaign” cause and effect paradigm?  Not sure my a solution  guarantees your budget;  but, word of mouth is still the king-maker in my world.  If your buyers are talking, help them talk positively about your brand and the bottom line–receipts will speak for testify to its value .

FYI, here is the full survey from Sentient