Cheers to Trust!

November 8, 2009

Blackstone Ad SloganHere’s another trust ad campaign example. Blackstone Wines launched new advertising based on the idea that consumers can trust Blackstone to provide fine wine at reasonable prices.

The campaign slogan is “here’s to the things in life you can count on.”
Blackstone Ad
And to back up their promise, the brand is offering a product guarantee. “We’re so sure you’ll enjoy the taste of Blackstone wines that if you don’t, we’ll pay you back. Count on it.” says one ad.

Log in to (enter your legal drinking age, of course) and you can submit your information to receive a refund under their satisfaction guarantee offer terms. The offer, however, it is not available in some states (due to legal constraints), including New York… to which the company follows up with “we are very sorry.”

Especially in tougher economic times, people are not eager to spend more on a brand they haven’t heard of. But a money-back guarantee can be a motivating safety net. It shows the brand is willing to stand behind their product or offering. For potential customers, it can then inspire a “nothing to lose”-type confidence in order to try the new brand. And in fact, most people who do try, don’t request a refund. But even for those that do, if the brand follows through in customer service, there’s still a lingering positive brand image despite the product not being up to expectations.

Having this transaction facilitated online may also score some points even with those unsatisfied customers. Who wants to actually speak to a person or deal with the paperwork when relating an unsatisfactory experience? The extra hassle may be the reason why some people never bother filling in a refund request. But I also believe brands that offer this type of guarantees have to be pretty confident on their product – or the risk of backfiring would be too high.

‘Till next time. Tchau!


Give it to Texas to actually take a stance against big banks. Take a look at some of these great ads by smaller, local banks across the country trying to win over customers… how? By taking advantage of the high level of distrust in larger institutions.

Check out others at

Jets Ad


‘Till next time. Tchau!

Trust for Real?

November 3, 2009

On Air Another way to start intriguing conversations online is with original content. So original it is actually live.

This week’s article in AdWeek, Marketers Get Real, reports that several brands – including Burger King, Adidas and Diet Coke – are streaming live content on their digital platforms as a means of making them appear more real and “relatable.”

“The best way to deliver truth is real time,” said Alex Bogusky, an industry opinion leader featured in the article.

“If brands want to … be seen as ‘friends,’ then they also need to have flaws like real people have,” said another.

Personally, I am not so sure we really hold brands to the same standards as our real friends. In most cases, actually, I expect even more from them than from real people. But again, this is part of the evolution of this type of trust marketing where customers ultimately have the say on what they want or expect from a brand. And brands will either live or die by it.

Experimentation with original content and mediums to deliver it, therefore, is not likely to slow down, experts predict. And the truth is, companies that fear transparency will probably have a harder time surviving.

‘Till next time. Tchau!

Joining in? Everyone?

November 2, 2009

Silence is GoldenAs I mentioned it before, saying nothing actually is saying something. So this particular point of view on how brands can misfire by trying too hard to be our “digital neighbors” should also be considered. Palmer elaborates, “Maybe some brands shouldn’t be conversational. Maybe most shouldn’t.”

  • Read When Silence Can Be Golden – Brands feel pressured to join the ‘conversation,’ but should they always participate? By Benjamin Palmer for AdWeek

Once again, this goes back to the promise a business makes and the expectations for trust that it has set with customers.  If it does not make sense for a business to engage in conversation because of the inherit nature of its product or service, they probably shouldn’t push social networking into their marketing mix. For example, I can’t image many people I know who would actually care to add a bar soap as a Facebook friend or follow it on Twitter. A company should not “join in” because everybody else is. Rather, it should make sure that doing so is consistent with what the brand stands for or how it is expected to behave.

Certain major brands, however – like Dove – may have a different reason to start a conversation with customers. Not about the product attributes of its soap, but because the brand stands for something different in the beauty category that is worth talking about.

So, in the end, it’s still about finding a relevant message and medium to engage customers in conversations. If a brand does not have one that fits, just don’t force it.

‘Till next time. Tchau!


November 1, 2009

Conversation StrategyThere’s a new chief in town. As brands are trying to raise trust levels among customers, marketers evolve their communication strategy into conversation strategy. Feeling the need to engage into the conversations easily enabled by digital technology, companies need to be prepared with a plan to message and respond appropriately. Consequently, this marketing responsibility is evolving into the role of Chief Conversation Officers (CCOs).

If CMOs manage marketing strategies, CCOs will focus on building conversation strategies. But the objectives of a conversation strategy are more than to merely start one. As customers are increasingly cluttered by the number of conversations they are already carrying, brands need to be “intriguing” to get attention and sustain traction to impact ROI.

A website is a brand talking to itself, unless customers are engaged in conversing back. However, the digital medium is highly fragmented and customers relate relevancy with highly personalized communications and customized offerings, so sustaining individual interest and getting customers to care to engage is the challenge.

And how can CCOs do that? One way is to really know your customer. We’ve been exploring motivations based on basic human needs and the same principle applies here. Understanding what motivates the audience to trust a brand is the key to construct a meaningful message they will care to converse with. It’s about knowing enough about them to talk about the same interests, instill respect, and create habitual touchpoints that drive long-term loyalty.

Besides relevant content, the medium also impacts the message. In the AdAge article How to Develop the Right Communications Strategy for a Conversation Economy, by Marsha Lindsay, experts at the World Advertising Research Center recommend a multimedia platform, starting with mainstream media through open and closed networks (such as blogs and social networking sites).  But again, the combination of message and medium needs to reflect the target’s interests and online habits as a mean to accommodate the dialog and invite customer-generated content.

What it is seems to me is that, specially now with the marketing of conversations, brands are trying to blur the lines in traditional business to customer communications more and more. How welcomed is this infiltration is still to be seen. But, in principle, as long as brands (and CCOs) focus on honoring the trust customers place on them by delivering on their promise responsibly, they may be all right.

‘Till next time. Tchau!

Deliverying Trust

October 31, 2009

When times are bad, trust is the fall back. Package shipping is probably the service industry that relies the most on trust. Shipping is the literal delivery of this promise. And it depends on it.

If we did not trust that our package would arrive at the right location on time, then we would send it with someone else. And sometimes we even pay more for this guarantee. But in these tough economic times, when people are looking for any way to save money or not spend it all, the industry has felt the hit. So FedEx is asking customers not to compromise. Even if things are starting to look up.

FedEx AdFedEx recently launched an international online and offline campaign focusing on “its reliability and expertise in helping consumers navigate a fast-changing economic landscape.”

“The economy is up. Your delivery costs don’t have to follow,” one ad reads, and adding, in smaller script, that FedEx International Economy allows users to “save money without compromising on quality and reliability.”

The question that remains is will customer’s trust deliver? Another campaign to watch…

‘Till next time. Tchau!

Trust Me

October 28, 2009

mac-vs-pcI’m traveling this week for work, hence the short posting hiatus. But was able to catch the new Mac TV ad combating the upcoming release of Windows 7 on prime time. Piggybacking on the theme of trust and advertising lately, this was another great example of how the issue of trust and customer confidence is becoming more and more relevant in advertising nowadays.

Are the customer and critic reviews being promoted in the Microsoft ads going to win over the customers’ real (rather frustrating) experiences in the past? This will be an interesting battle to watch.

See the funny, yet sadly true “broken promises” Mac ad here

And here’s the Microsoft customer, feature focused ones…

‘Till next time,