Published on August 20, 2013
PerspectivesVOLUME 6 | ISSUE 2
Inthisedition Volume 6, Issue 2 Can Marketing and Research Become Better by Design? Point of View Published Articles Knowledge Points Amazon Tops Walmart in Ranking of Most Valuable Brands Why China’s Changing Media Landscape is an Opportunity to Build Brands Marketing to Diversity: Lessons from US Politics SXSW Interactive 8 Top Trends of 2013 What’s Behind the BrandZ Top 100 Ranking and Seemingly Unbeatable Apple? It Works for Coca-Cola and Google and it Can Work for You Too Advertising: How to Maximize the Long-Term Effects Why is it Always Price Before Volume? Understanding the Brand Impact of Mobile Advertising Social Measurement Depends on Data Quantity and Quality Marketing Cars: Change Media Gear Navigating the New Path to Purchase The Power of Being Meaningful, Different and Salient What Does ‘Meaningfully Different’ Actually Mean? Relentlessly Relevant Brands What’s in a Name? How to Name a Company in the Global Economy How Do I Use Online Video Effectively in my Campaign? Tracking at the Crossroads Delivering a Meaningful Brand Promise Digital: The Power and the Peril Characteristics of a Passionate Brand Digital & Media Predicitions 2013 Optimizing Ads: Is Less Always More? Effective Advertising: Harnessing the Power of Creativity Reports of Apple’s Demise are Largely Exaggerated The Joy of Six Acknowledgements
Key to the rise of design has been the growing understanding that successful design is user- centric—that is, a product or service must be optimized around the needs of the people who are going to use it. This focus on the needs of the end user has helped design become a factor not only in the development of products, but also services, organizational structures, and brands. At its best, design encompasses form and function, utility and aesthetic appeal. The power of good design as a means to create value is epitomized by the success of Apple. The visual and tactile appeal of Apple’s simple, intuitive products has helped Apple become the most valuable brand in the world, according to the 2013 BrandZTM Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands Ranking. Similarly, good design lies at the heart of the success of Amazon, where it enables both operational efficiencies and a positive shopping experience. Market research has something in common with the field of design. Like designers, market researchers set out to uncover insights into human behavior that are relevant to client objectives. And like designers, market researchers rely on research. (Designers might say they are making “observations,” but their observations are, essentially, ethnographic research.) Thoughthesesimilaritiesexist,thefortunesofdesignandmarketresearchhave gone in opposite directions in recent years, and marketing, the discipline that depends on market research, has struggled as well. We all know the statistics: most new products fail, most viral videos go nowhere, and click-through rates are laughably low. Is it any wonder that a study by the Fournaise Marketing Group finds that 73 percent of CEOs think marketers lack business credibility and fail to drive financial growth? MARKETING AND RESEARCH: DIVIDED WE FALL I believe that one issue underlying many of the problems faced by marketing is the approach that marketers and researchers take to teamwork and collaboration. Contrasting marketers’approach with that of designers may be useful. In the design process, the same group of people is involved from the definition oftheproblemthroughideation,insight,andimplementation.Thecontinuous involvement of the same team of designers creates a seamless process and ensures that the insight remains central to the implementation. By contrast, the practice of marketing is often distanced from the research function that ought to enable its success, and different developmental stages often involve different people. This can result in misunderstandings, inefficiency, and a dilution of purpose. What starts off as a racehorse of an idea often ends up looking like a camel of a product. In my experience, the most successful research projects are those that involve the same team of people during the discovery, analysis, and implementation phases. Bringing together multiple stakeholders with different backgrounds and expertise helps minimize the effects of personal bias. It also helps ensure commitment when a final solution is implemented. To shift toward this type of approach will take time and effort, and there will be a cost involved. But if marketers and researchers learn to work more like designers, the result will be more effective implementation of new and valuable marketing initiatives. DESIGN THINKING: WHAT’S IN IT FOR US? What else can marketers and researchers gain from studying the example of designers? Besides their collaborative methodology, is there something genuinely distinct about their approach to problem solving? What are the hallmarks of “design thinking,” and do they have any applicability to our disciplines? Make it your business Never delegate understanding. – American designer Charles Eames Like many creative people, the influential modern designer Charles Eames is reputed to have avoided the “market research” of his time. But I take Eames’ command to mean that, whether you employ researchers or not, if you don’t have a thorough understanding of a need and its context, you will reduce your chances of implementing an effective solution. One of the biggest problems facing marketing and consumer insight today is the expectation that “insight” is the responsibility of a specific department or agency. If we learn anything at all from design thinking, it should be that without all the stakeholders–and particularly marketing–being involved in the definition of the central question, the risk that research investment is wasted will be high. If you do not really understand what question needs to be addressed, your research is all too likely to produce vast amounts of information and very little understanding or action. The practice of marketing is often distanced from the research function that ought to enable its success NIGEL HOLLIS Chief Global Analyst Millward Brown POINT OF VIEW CanMarketingandResearch BecomeBetterbyDesign? Over the last decade, the importance of design has grown beyond the traditional concept of making an artifact look good to take a more central role in business, academia, and government.
Ask stupid questions Question: How many designers will it take to screw in a light bulb? Answer: Why a light bulb? – from a review of design thinking in Fast Company The quip above may be funny, but it contains more than a grain of truth. An open, curious, and questioning mindset characterizes design thinking. Designers don’t accept a brief at face value; they step back and ensure that the definition of the problem is correct. Don Norman, in his article“Rethinking Design Thinking,” suggests that there is great power in the ability to ask “stupid” questions, the ones that no one inside an organization would ask because they are blinded by what seems obvious. A friend of mine who works in new product development confirms this, saying,“Designers go back to zero – minus five, even – and work to re-envisage and reengineer, not just amend what already exists.” Are consumer researchers equally willing to step back and look at the big picture? We researchers are a challenging and curious bunch, but we may be too quick to accept the premise that is offered to us. That is, instead of asking “Why a light bulb?”we may be more likely to ask“What type of light bulb?”We need to be brave enough to ask the stupid questions and to keep on doing so until we get good answers. Fully understand your customer To create good designs, you first have to understand people—what they need, want and enjoy, as well as how they think and behave. – Bill Moggridge, co-founder of IDEO Designersputhumanneedsatthecenteroftheirapproachtoproblemsolving. ButBillMoggridgecautionshumandesignersaboutassumingtoomuchabout their human end users.“They will probably be surprisingly different from you,” he said, “so it will only be by understanding them that you can avoid the trap of designing for yourself.” Marketers and researchers also strive to understand people, but we need to go beyond their behaviors to understand their underlying motivations if we are to build meaningful and well-differentiated brands. So we need to ask ourselves: Do we really know the people who use our brands, not just as people to be sold to but as people to be served? And if not, how will we go about getting to know them? Designers tend to rely solely on observation to gain insights and so risk misinterpreting why people behave as they do. By contrast, researchers have traditionallygravitatedtowardaskingquestions,usingverbalorwrittenprobes to understand attitudes and behavior. Ideally we would combine observation of both physical and digital behavior with questions designed to elucidate these behaviors. New tools such as facial coding and other implicit techniques can add a deeper understanding, which is particularly useful when people may not be able to vocalize why they do something. Our job as researchers is to draw on the combination of methods that can best help us understand people’s motivations and instinctive responses. Embrace your constraints One of the most interesting design tensions today is between cost constraints - especially given the economic crisis - and sustainability constraints, or the impact on the natural environment. Some of the most attractive design solutions are driven by both constraints. – Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, Interviewed for strategy+business by Art Kleine All design is about working within constraints. No one should know that better than those who design research projects. What can we use as stimulus material? What interview methodology is feasible? What budget do we have? Designers understand that constraints help produce better solutions, even when the constraints are budgetary. That understanding applies equally well to marketing and research. None of us have the budget we think we need. But constraints go far deeper than mere budgets. Marketers are constrained by people’s ability to appreciate their offer. Time after time, failed “innovations” prove that it is truly difficult to get people to adopt new habits. Brands that are not aligned with consumers’ experience and expectations—even if they offer real health benefits or are environmentally friendly—are not going to succeed. Make it tangible Stupid question: What’s the difference between the outcome of a design process and the outcome of a consumer research project? The simple answer, which may evoke the response“So what?”, is that a design process produces something tangible, such as a package, product, or process, while a research project doesn’t. Research delivers potential. The ideas and insights we present will have value only if they are acted upon. Too often the potential of research is not realized. So how can we increase the chances that our marketing insights will be acted upon? We can work to convey our research findings through something more tangible than a slide presentation. At the very least, we can weave our facts and findings into a compellingstory. ButwemightalsogobeyondPowerPointtomoreexperiential methods. For example, we might try to engage our audience in a task, such as drawing up a map of the consumer path to purchase, brainstorming scenarios usingPost-it®Notes,orpresentingthekeyresearchfindingintheformofaslice of cake. Above all, we must move people beyond superficial head-nodding to deeply felt understanding. BACK TO THE FUTURE In writing this Point of View, I have been dogged by the feeling that some of the practices outlined above were once regarded as accepted best practices. Maybe for some companies they still are, but I suspect that for the majority they are not. Why? Because the business of marketing has become overly siloed, fragmented, and data driven. At a time when researchers have more tools than ever to help create insight in a timely manner, we are faced with an evenbiggerchallenge—howtopromulgateunderstandingandinspireaction. Maybe the most important thing we can take away from design thinking is the fundamental question:“Does it have to be this way?” POINT OF VIEW CanMarketingandResearch BecomeBetterbyDesign?
Perhaps the answer lies in a need for short-term results brought about by shareholder pressure, a “now” mentality that needs to see results yesterday, along with a business culture in which people advance quickly through positions, creating a lack of continuity in senior marketing roles. Whatever the cause, the result is a disconnect between short-term volume boosts driven by price cutting (which are easily and immediately measured), and the long-term brand investment that can sustain a price premium and secure margins. We have consistently seen, even during recessions, that consumers are willing to pay more for brands that they perceive are worth it. That is one reason why the share price of the most valuable brands consistently outperforms the S&P 500, even during tough economic times. In fact, during the 2008 global recession the value of the top 100 brands increased by 2 percent to $2 trillion. While pressure from key stakeholders may be considerable, marketers should not make pricing decisions based on short-term targets. Rather, they should invest in research to quantify the role of price in their long-term brand strategies. The understanding gained will result in much better-informed pricing decisions. PRICE ASSOCIATIONS CAN GENERATE DEMAND Most marketers acknowledge that strong brands benefit from positive brand associations in the minds of consumers. However, associations with price are often considered separately from other equity-driving perceptions; price is frequently seen as a different type of influence. But as Gordon Pincott argued in his Point of View “Brand Equity: What’s Price Got to Do with it?”, perceptions of price can in fact be a critical part of the association set that determines brand equity and the resulting long-term volume demand. In the UK airline category, for example, we have found that associations relating to low cost (such as offering more acceptable prices and offering good deals and promotions) are the second most important group of brand associations for generating demand. This importance is driven by the low-cost airlines such as easyJet. However, in spite of the fact that low price is a key factor in generating demand, there are some brands that won’t benefit from an association with low price. For example, for Singapore Airlines, demand is generated by the associations of exclusivity supported by perceptions of high price. There are also some brands that need to avoid strong associations with either high or low prices; British Airways is an example.The airline needs to avoid too strong an association with high prices in order to maintain volume demand for cheaper European hops, but it must also maintain some sense of exclusivity to support demand for long-haul business and first-class flights. Brand ASSOCIATIONS CAN SUPPORT A PRICE PREMIUM Even when marketers recognize that price perceptions may have a role in securing volume demand in the long term, they often still fail to ask themselves what mix of brand associations will best justify a premium price point for their brand. When trying to measure and build brand equity they still default to drivers of preference and volume. But for many brands, the main financial return delivered by brand equity is the ability to charge a price premium. To ensure the long-term financial health of these brands, managers must understand and manage the associations that support this ability. Though there is some overlap between the brand associations that generate volume demand and those that support a price premium, the optimum brand strategies for each task will rarely be identical. We generally find that the best way to drive volume demand is to build very strong associations with core category needs, whereas to justify a price premium, brands usually need to go beyond core needs to show that they offer a meaningful difference—that they are unique or a step ahead of the competition in some way. They may do this by offering exclusive product features or cutting-edge innovation; often, however, a brand may establish a meaningful difference that justifies a price premium through establishing intangible associations that are unique to them. With British Airways, for example, the sense of connection that their customers feel with one another makes the brand stand out from other airlines, thus making consumers willing to pay more. If brand owners continue to design their strategies solely around what drives volume demand while ignoring the perceptions that can defend a price premium, they will inevitably struggle to justify high price points, and even if the brand penetration grows, profits will suffer. Consequently, Millward Brown has developed two metrics to measure equity: “Power,” to measure the equity that delivers volume; and “Premium,” to measure the equity that justifies a higher price. Using the concepts represented by Power and Premium, you can understand your brand’s situation and shape and optimize your pricing strategy. For many brands, the main financial return delivered by brand equity is the ability to charge a price premium Rachel Leaver UK Head of Marketing Science Josh Samuel European Development Director Brand Equity Point of View WhyisitAlwaysVolume BeforePrice? It has been 10 years since McKinsey published proof that a price increase of 1 percent will produce an 8 percent increase in profit, assuming that all other things remain equal. So why are companies ignoring this and focusing on chasing volume instead of securing margins through well- informed pricing strategies?
DETERMINE PRICING STRATEGY USING BOTH POWER AND PREMIUM Figure 1 illustrates the possible relationships between Power and Premium scores and shows how a brand’s standing on these dimensions can help to identify a pricing strategy. For a brand like easyJet, Power far exceeds Premium; thus it would sit in the lower right-hand box. A brand in this position would be right to maintain its primary focus on driving volume (both through equity-driven demand and in-market deals). However, brands like Singapore Airlines, which are low on Power and high on Premium, would sit in the top left-hand box. Brands like these deliver returns by charging a premium price; thus they should keep their price high and focus on building the associations that will justify that premium. Plotting brands on the Power/Premium axes can help managers of brand portfolios ensure that each brand occupies a different position. If we looked at Unilever brands in the U.S. shampoo market, for example, we would see Nexus occupy the top left-hand corner, meaning that it can continue to position itself as a premium brand. Suave, which targets the value shopper, would be situated in the lower right-hand box. Dove and TRESemmé would be right in the middle. Brands in this position couldconceivablybemovedtowardmorepremiumormorevalue-for-money positions.To do this, they would have to increase relevant brand associations and possibly adjust their prices while taking care that the brands remain differentiated from other Unilever offerings. Don’t accept the status quo A brand’s position on the Power/Premium plot is not necessarily its destiny. As discussed earlier, the key is to understand which image associations can generate volume demand and which ones justify a price premium, and then feed that information into your brand strategy. Specifically, you should follow these steps: Having gone through this process, you are in a position to tailor a brand strategy and communications plan that supports your chosen pricing strategy. Actual in-market pricing Finally,onceyouhaveselectedapricingstrategyandtailoredcommunication to support it, you need to understand the in-market price points that any given product variant or SKU can command. A conjoint or econometric sales model will provide you with the tools to answer this question by pinpointing the prices and promotions to use to obtain your sales and profit targets. Too often this type of analysis is done with the objective of deciding what tactics to use to meet short-term targets. The overall brand strategy is not kept in view; hence the current situation of short-term price cutting and possible negative impact on the brand. However, this information, combined with your overall brand-building strategy, will provide you with concrete facts and a strategic plan with which to negotiate terms and build good relationships with suppliers and/or retailers, while supporting the long-term success of your business. Conclusion All too often, pricing decisions are made for specific products based only on a consideration of the short-term return that different price points will deliver. And even when price is considered as a key feed into long-term brand equity, the focus is usually on the impact this future equity will have on volume demand. There has been a lack of emphasis on the role of brand equity in supporting a price premium, and hence potential for further profit has been lost. A holistic understanding of the most suitable pricing strategy for a brand can only come with an understanding of the brand’s dual roles: generating volume and supporting a price premium. Only with that understanding can we make informed decisions about specific price points that will optimize both short-term volume and long-term brand health. When you combine all of these elements in your approach to pricing, you are in a good place to deliver long- and short-term sales targets while at the same time reassuring all stakeholders that your strategy is based on solid research and facts. Point of View WhyisitAlwaysVolume BeforePrice? Identify the images that contribute most to generating volume demand and justifying a price premium in your category, as well as those that may be uniquely important to your brand Understand the current strength of associations for your brand in these areas. Is there room to increase them? Consider the feasibility of your brand owning one or more of these associations and actually communicating them. 1 2 3 Power Premium Brands Underperforming Brands Premium Brands Value Brands POWER PREMIUM Keep price high Keep price high Use tactical price promotions to drive additional volume Keep price lowRefocus brand Best returns at high price point Good returns at any price point Lower returns at any price point Best returns at low price point Figure 1: Pricing Rules Based on Power and Premium
But for those of us behind the wheel of continuous tracking, that’s how it feels at the moment. We are still moving forward well enough, but signs we pass along the road are warning of tough conditions ahead. Are the wheels really going to fall off around the next bend? THE DRIVE SO FAR Continuous tracking was invented by Maurice Millward and Gordon Brown in the 1970s to address specific client questions. Clients commissioned our early studies because they needed insight and actionable advice about marketplace events, such as the launch of new competitors or the start of new advertising campaigns, and continuous tracking enabled them to make informed marketing decisions that helped grow their brands. In time this longitudinal data also proved its value by revealing the underlying dynamics of how marketing worked. It became clear, for instance, that the majority of ads did not wear out in the way marketers anticipated, and that the most important attributes in a category are often the most difficult to change. Learning built up around the measures and how they could be used to predict the sales impact of marketing activity. Over time, another distinct use for tracking emerged: to monitor Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) on an ongoing basis. Because tracking was proving to be so valuable, the demand for tracking studies increased, and soon they became an essential part of the marketing and research landscape. CHALLENGES PAST AND PRESENT Tracking continued to be an invaluable tool in the decades that followed. But as marketers relied on it more and more, some problems became apparent. For example, the dual purposes of tracking cited above (tracking advertising as well as monitoring KPIs) created tensions. As KPI output from tracking became part of dashboards and was reported to senior management, the focus on the immediate actionability of tracking data was often relegated to the backseat. This in turn led to questions about the need for such large studies to produce top-line metrics. Tracking’s versatility, when exploited, actually became a drawback. Tracking studies seemed to be convenient vehicles for carrying any and all questions relatedtomarketing,butasthestudieswereloadedup,theybecameunwieldy. At the same time, pressure on costs led to a reduction of sample sizes, limiting fast,reliablefeedback.Forcedtocarrymoreweightwithalesspowerfulengine, the tracking study struggled to perform as it once had. Tracking also encountered new challenges as the media and research environments changed. For example, a major need has emerged in the last few years: to evaluate the performance of media channels. Existing multipurpose tracking studies can provide a high-level read on two or three major media, but sample sizes and questionnaire space limit the depth of the analysis. Similarly, the broad definition of a tracking sample and the limited sample size make it difficult to give detailed guidance on many digital campaigns. One of the most recent challenges to tracking is the ready availability of data scraped from theWeb. Online data—from social media in particular—provides cheap continuous feedback about brands and their marketing. Thus some advertisers have new reasons to question the value of large-scale tracking surveys. THE VIEW AT THE CROSSROADS The signs are clear: The world is changing and research needs to change with it. Respondents are harder to reach, especially those in the most desirable demographic groups, and they don’t want to engage with long, repetitious surveys. We need to adjust to that reality. But not every blinking light warns of a real hazard. For example, unstructured data from online sources is not going to nullify the need for structured survey data. Social media data is crucially important for certain types of brands, such as those that conduct business online, and service brands that have customer or community relationships to manage. But for most brands, coverage on social media is typically at a low level, is often generated by a vocal minority, and frequently relates to events (marketing or otherwise) rather than to the brand itself. While this information has value, if it is evaluated in isolation it may present a distorted and partial view. Businesses need to know what is changing, and a self-appointed online group will not usually provide the consistent frame of reference that is needed to discern if real change is occurring. GORDON PINCOTT Chairman, Global Solutions POINT OF VIEW TrackingattheCrossroads No one wants to hear that the car that has always felt safe and comfortable now needs a major overhaul.When the ride has always been smooth, it’s hard to believe that the engine will soon be straining to get the car up hills.
THE WAY AHEAD To compete in today’s fast-moving, competitive, and complex markets, brand stewards need regular, timely, and reliable feedback. Now more than ever, they need to monitor the underlying long-term trajectory of their brands as well as the short-term effects of in-market activity. The question is how to capture this information most efficiently. Many improvements and modifications have already been made to tracking over the years. In web-based markets, the look and feel of tracking studies have changed enormously. Questions are designed to make interviews more engaging and enjoyable for respondents, and questionnaires have been shortened. Further remodeling is already under way, as interviews on mobile phones need to be shorter still. But old-style tracking has never been able to cover every aspect of marketing activity, nor was it best placed to do so. As the pressure on questionnaires to become shorter has increased, it has become obvious that there are better ways of tackling some of the important marketing questions. REENGINEERING FOR HIGH PERFORMANCE We need to think about moving from“tracking studies”to“brand performance programs.” A single study can no longer answer all marketing questions, but a brand performance program can employ the individual tools that are best suited to address each issue. To understand how a new ad campaign has broken through, a program can include a short study, executed over two or three days, with a robust sample. To quantify the contribution of individual channels to short- and long-term sales, a program can have a CrossMedia study running over the duration of the campaign with enough questionnaire space to ask the relevant media questions. A program, however, cannot be a series of disconnected ad hoc projects; the components of the program must provide a platform for integrated storytelling.They should be glued together by the brand, not just conceptually but by consistent brand measures selected by the brand and research teams to address the central questions, such as how marketing activities are expected to influence the brand and what attitudes or ideas about the brand need to be changed. The components of a research program will vary according to brand, category, and circumstances, but an effective program should include the following elements: A detailed understanding of brand equity Underpinning the entire program and dictating its components should be brandequityinsightsthatidentifytheprocessthroughwhichassociationsbuild brand equity and how that equity manifests itself in the financial performance of the brand. This understanding will make it clear what marketing actions needtobetakenandwhatKPIsneedtobecapturedintheongoingmonitoring of brand performance. A continuous monitor The second essential piece will be a sleek continuous monitor of the KPIs that signal changes in the health of the brand. For web-enabled studies (via computers or mobile devices), the results will flow automatically to a web-delivered dashboard. Pen-and-paper markets will need more manual intervention but will still be able to input the data to a dashboard via an automated analysis engine. This monitor will cost less than a traditional tracking study, thus freeing up funds to be deployed against other elements of the program. Insights into channel effectiveness and creative power CrossMedia studies and digital deep dives can identify the effectiveness of channels. Feedback on executions and campaigns can be provided either continuously or on an intermittent, fast-turnaround basis immediately after the start of the campaign. Either method will allow timely adjustments to be made if necessary. A complete picture of the brand activities will need to harness social media data as well as survey data. READY FOR THE ROAD AHEAD Cars today serve the same purpose as cars 40 years ago. But today’s cars look and feel different; they go faster, they’re more efficient, and the components and technology that power them have radically changed. And just as cars have evolved to meet today’s driving conditions, research solutions must be adapted for the complexity of our current era. Brand performance programs are, in spirit, totally in tune with the idea that gave birth to tracking 40 years ago. Action oriented and designed to give timely advice on important investment decisions, brand performance programs will provideasetoflinkedsolutions,eachsolutionchosenbecauseitisthebestone to answer a specific question.They will harness the latest available technology to be cost-efficient and timely. And because the most crucial factors for the category will be identified early on through detailed brand equity work, the questionnaires that make up the rest of the program can be short and tightly focused. When designed and implemented effectively, brand performance programs will help brands negotiate the complex interchanges faced at every point of decision-making. Moving smoothly down the highway, through a landscape of challenging and changing conditions, they will carry brands safely and efficiently to profitable outcomes. A single study can no longer answer all marketing questions, but a program can apply the individual tools that are best-suited to address each issue POINT OF VIEW TrackingattheCrossroads
President Obama was reelected due in large part to the strength of his support from Latinos (71%), African Americans (93%), and Asian Americans (73%). Together these groups represented close to 30 percent of the total votes cast, compared to roughly 10 percent in the 1990s. The lessons for politicians are clear, but there is a lesson for marketers as well. Brands that continue to focus their marketing on the traditional non- Hispanic white mainstream will become niche brands—just as Mitt Romney was, in the end, a niche candidate. He had strong support among those who looked like him, i.e., non-Hispanic white males, but that group is no longer large enough to send a candidate to the White House. To stay relevant and grow in today’s America, brands need to change and adapt. While we are not a majority-minority nation yet, ethnic segments already have significant influence on the country’s social, cultural, economic, and political life, and therefore should be treated not as siloed segments but as a fundamental part of a brand’s mainstream marketing strategy. This lesson is applicable for marketers everywhere, since brands all over the worldfacethechallengeofappealingtoincreasinglydiverseaudiences.Thefirst step in meeting this challenge is to develop a research-based understanding of the type of strategy needed for a particular brand. CROSS-CULTURAL OR MULTICULTURAL? OR BOTH? In reaching the different racial and ethnic groups that comprise the new mainstream, two main approaches are considered: cross-cultural marketing and multicultural marketing. While the former aims across demographic groups by appealing to consumer similarities rather than differences, traditional multicultural marketing targets a specific demographic group such as Hispanics. The debate between defenders of each approach has been quite passionate in recent times. Both sides present compelling arguments to support their respective views; consensus has yet to be reached.Why?The business interests of agencies that specialize in one or the other approach are a contributing factor, to be sure. But another obstacle is the assumption that cross-cultural and multicultural marketing are mutually exclusive practices. They are not, and in fact, a combined approach is often needed to achieve the best return on marketing investment. Intheidealworldofone-on-onemarketing, brandswouldaddresstheindividualneeds and desires of one consumer at a time, but this isn’t possible in the real world, so brands need to balance their efforts. They need to develop campaigns that appeal to consumers of different racial or ethnic backgrounds without being so broad and general that they are relevant to no one in particular.The fruitful middle ground is the place where a“total market” perspective leverages similarities and respects cultural nuances. THE ROLE OF RESEARCH Finding the right balance between customization and standardization can be difficult, but some companies, including McDonald’s, Diageo, Coca-Cola, MillerCoors, Kellogg’s, and General Mills, are doing it quite successfully. How? By incorporating the ethnic perspective early on in their brands’foundational research. Before making a major investment such as developing a new product or advertising campaign, they first identify the real role of race or ethnicity in product and brand preference. Only then do they decide if they need a targeted approach for a particular segment, or if their strategy can be based on a universal insight. When cross-cultural and multicultural methods are used together, the cross- cultural insight usually defines what the overarching message should be, while multicultural knowledge informs how the message will be delivered in different settings. In the presidential campaign, a cross-cultural “insight” was easy for both sides to identify—the economy. The economy was clearly the number one issue for the vast majority of voters, regardless of race or ethnicity. And both candidates were able to communicate their perspectives in a relatively consistent way when speaking at national (i.e., cross-cultural) forums such as the debates. However, Mitt Romney’s campaign missed opportunities to effectively tailor his message to targeted forums. One particularly glaring error was his communication with Latinos, who are generally more optimistic than other groups. Seemingly ignorant of this ethnic nuance, Romney continued to hammer away with negative campaigning when he would have done better to adopt a positive tone in describing better days to come. Cross-cultural and multicultural marketing are not mutually exclusive practices; a combined approach is often needed DAVID BURGOS Vice President of Cultural Strategy POINT OF VIEW MarketingtoDiversity: LessonsfromU.S.Politics The 2012 presidential election confirmed something we’ve known for quite some time:There is a new normal in the United States, and that new normal is multiracial, multiethnic, and multicultural.Though Mitt Romney got 59 percent of the non- Hispanic white vote, the highest total for a GOP nominee since 1988, he was not victorious.
But we would suggest that this debate has been misguided. Drawing on learning from thousands of brand equity studies as well as a recent, groundbreaking pilot that linked neuroscience and survey data to consumer shopping behavior, we have established that financial success for brands depends on all three of these qualities. The ideal balance for a specific brand is a function of both the product category and the primary mode of financial return—sales volume or premium pricing. Three Qualities, All Important Successful brands are meaningful, different, and salient. Each of these three elements comes with its own theory and history. Difference (aka differentiation) has been widely adopted as a cornerstone of successfulsalesandmarketingsincethe1940swhenRosserReevesintroduced the term“Unique Selling Proposition”(USP) to the marketing lexicon. And yet, as true differentiation has become more and more difficult to achieve in increasingly commoditized markets, marketers have pursued alternate brand-building strategies. For example, in recent years, many marketers have embraced the idea that brands have to build relationships with consumers, so they have worked to make their brands meaningful, usually by improving product perceptions and strengthening emotional affinity. Other practitioners prefer to rely on salience. Though building brand awareness has always been accepted as a fundamental objective of brand marketing, there is ongoing discussion over whether awareness is important simply as a precursor to brand equity, or if the concept of salience, which goes beyond basic awareness, is actually the most important driver of brand choice. The Proof: Brands, Brains, and Behavior Characteristics of Successful Brands The strongest brands don’t rely only on being meaningful or only on being different or only on being salient—they weave all three qualities together. In his Millward Brown Point of View titled “China’s Top 50: Much Progress but More to Do,” Peter Walshe details the striking success of Chinese brands that are meaningful, different, and salient. A similar analysis of the global BrandZ database, in which we compare brands that are low on all three qualities with those that are high on all three, shows the same pattern. Brands that are meaningful, different, and salient derive three times more of their volume from the strength of the brand, as opposed to factors like availability and promotions. Furthermore, they command a price that is 14 percent higher, and their growth in value share is, on average, six percentage points higher than brands that are low on meaning, difference, and salience. Understanding Consumer Brains We know that successful brands are meaningful, different, and salient, but to maximize the power of marketing, we need to know more than that.We need to understand how these brand qualities act on the minds of consumers to affect purchase decisions. It is relatively easy to understand the effect of salience. Salience gives a brand an advantage because of the habitual nature of much human behavior. In shopping, consumers rely on mental shortcuts or heuristics when they make their brand decisions. One such heuristic is to assign greater importance to things that have ready mental availability, the effect of which is to choose the most salient brand. Comparedtobrandsalience,theroleofbrandmeaninginconsumerdecision- making is complex, as it involves both cognition and affect. However, we have learned that we can measure how meaningful brands are by using some simple and straightforward questions. In his book The Branded Mind, Erik du Plessis builds on the ideas of Antonio Damasio to suggest that simple questions about how the brand makes you feel and how well it satisfies your needs can be used to summarize the overall impact of functional associations and feelings on brand decisions. We use questions like these to measure and define how meaningful brands are. So du Plessis’interpretation of Damasio’s theory helps us understand how brand meaning influences consumer choice. Of the three critical elements, difference is the one that is most often overlooked, with some arguing that being different is just a special case of being meaningful. The argument is that differentiation is delivering a brand property that others don’t deliver, and the effect is the same as delivering a brand property better than others. In either case, the brand just becomes more meaningful. However, experiments in behavioral psychology have demonstrated that when similar alternatives compete against each other, they all become less attractive, while if one option stands apart from the rest, even if the difference is not particularly meaningful, that option becomes more attractive. These experiments have tended to focus on considered human decisions involving relatively unfamiliar objects or concepts. Therefore, this learning is most applicable when for some reason a consumer’s normal habits are disrupted and he or she is considering less familiar brands. This may help explain why difference is one of the strongest markers of future growth, as Helen Fearn notes in her 2010 Point of View, “Growing a Strong Brand: Defining Your Meaningful Point of Difference.” Josh Samuel European Development Director, Brand Equity Point of View Brands that are meaningful, different, and salient derive three times more of their volume from the strength of the brand Of the three critical elements, difference is the one that is most often overlooked ThePowerofBeingMeaningful,DifferentandSalient Members of the marketing community have long debated the secret to marketing success. Many practitioners assert that differentiation is the key factor. Others maintain that salience is uppermost during critical purchase moments, while a significant group believes that great marketing builds positive consumer sentiment by delivering on a meaningful brand promise.
BEYOND RACE AND ETHNICITY Consumers are defined by many things beyond race and ethnicity, including age, gender, life stage, religion, and sexual orientation. In many consumption situations,thefactthatapersonisgayorMuslimortheparentofyoungchildren may be the most important motivator, regardless of whether he or she is black, white, or brown. Understanding how these dimensions are manifested across cultures enables brands to uncover more relevant “human insights” and use them to develop strategies that transcend ethnic boundaries. When this happens, we see cross-cultural advertising in its finest form. P&G’s much-acclaimed Olympic campaign, “Salute to Moms,” was based on the universal instinct of mothers to sacrifice for their children. The ads, which featured mothers and athletes of every color and nationality, were believable, relevant, and heart-warming precisely because this role of mothers is universal and well understood. Unfortunately, many brands try to engage ethnic consumers with “culturally relevant” messages without understanding those consumers holistically. As a result, the campaigns developed tend to focus primarily on racial or ethnic factors and often lapse into stereotypes; thus they fail to connect with their intended audience. Both presidential candidates made this type of mistake whencourtingLatinovoters.Succumbingtomediapressure,theyoftenlimited the conversation with Latinos to the issue of immigration reform, in spite of numerous polls that showed that the economy was actually their biggest concern. Ironically, Romney lost the most due to this oversight because his position on other topics—such as the dangers of big government, trading with Latin America, and abortion—could have resonated quite well with many Latinos. CROSS-CULTURAL INSIGHT CAN BE FOUND ANYWHERE The human insight that forms the foundation of a cross-cultural campaign doesn’thavetocomefromworkdoneamongthenon-Hispanicwhitesegment. An insight can very well originate among ethnic consumers, who are often at the forefront of consumer trends. Two high-profile campaigns of the 2012 Summer Olympics originated this way. The big ideas underlying both “Salute to Moms”and Kellogg’s“From Great Starts Come GreatThings,”which included an ad featuring Olympic swimmer Rebecca Soni, came from research done among the Hispanic population. Sadly, the work done by P&G and Kellogg’s is more often the exception than the rule. It is still common practice for many brands to develop their marketing strategy based solely on the needs of non-Hispanic white consumers. Then, when they have created an entire marketing program, they call their “ethnic” agency and start thinking about how they can adapt it for ethnic segments. As suggested before, the resulting strategy is frequently irrelevant to ethnic consumers, and it is likely to become less relevant to non-Hispanic whites as well, who expect advertising to reflect the diversity of the world they live in. Cross-pollination of creative ideas is feasible even when cultural differences are significant, such as between Muslims and the mainstream in Europe, or the Chinese and Malay segments in Malaysia. Brands just need to go deep into the core human values that shape consumer attitudes and behaviors. HIRING FOR DIVERSITY IS A SMART BUSINESS DECISION If an organization is dominated by people of one race or ethnicity, it is likely that campaigns will be built around insights that are relevant to that group. Therefore, companies should put their own houses in order before making any major attempt to engage with the new mainstream. They must be fully committed from the top down to the idea that the new mainstream is multicultural, and they ought to make serious efforts to build organizations that are as diverse as the markets they serve. Obama’s campaign team seemed to understand this. Whether it was intentional or not, the President assembled such a diverse group of volunteers that pundits and voters alike often commented on how hard it had been for them to find“white people”at the party’s convention in September. This was in stark contrast to what they saw at the Republican convention, where minorities were virtually nonexistent. For the architects of the Obama campaign, keeping the ethnic perspective top of mind was no doubt made easier by the exceptional level of diversity among the campaign workers. We see the same thing happening in the corporate world. Organizations that have a culturally diverse workforce often perform better in a multicultural marketplace thanks to the empathy and life experience that ethnic employees bring to the table. Companies seem to recognize this, as 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies currently have Chief Diversity Officers (CDOs). However, to effect real change and reap all of its benefits, the CDO needs to promote diversity at every level of the organization—the mid and upper levels as well as the lower ones. At this point, we are not certain that most CDOs have the power to do that, as only 25 percent of them report directly to their CEOs. DON’T GO FROM MAINSTREAM TO MARGINAL It is as clear for marketers as it is for politicians. The new normal is here to stay, and it needs to be accepted and embraced. But brands differ from politicians in one important way. A brand is up for reelection every time a consumer goes shopping—so your efforts to engage ethnic consumers should be ongoing and consistent, not seasonal. You can’t succeed by reaching out to African Americans only during Black History Month. Hispanics consume your brands on the 364 days that are not Cinco de Mayo, and Chinese Americans spend money all year, not just before Chinese New Year. Brands that recognize and celebrate diversity will not only continue to grow by winning the hearts and wallets of ethnic consumers, but they will succeed in staying relevant to the ever-evolving non-Hispanic white segment, too. Changing demographics don’t have to be a threat to long-established leading brands—not here in the United States, and certainly not in other parts of the world that are experiencing similar shifts, such as Europe, Latin America, and several countries in Asia. When armed with insights gleaned from comprehensive “total market” research that looks at both the whole and the parts, today’s most flexible and creative marketers can successfully shepherd their brands from the old mainstream into the new. Your efforts to engage ethnic consumers should be ongoing and consistent, not seasonal POINT OF VIEW MarketingtoDiversity: LessonsfromU.S.Politics
Brands stand to gain even more when they offer points of difference that are truly important, even if the importance is only temporary or fleeting. Consider my relationship with three different soft drinks back in my student days. I wasn’t a great fan of Red Bull. I didn’t feel a personal connection with the brand, and I didn’t particularly like the taste. On the other hand, I felt reasonably warm toward Pepsi and did like the taste. Overall, Pepsi was more meaningful to me. However, the trouble for Pepsi was that I felt even warmer toward Coca-Cola and preferred the taste of that, so I tended to choose Coke over Pepsi. But on certain nights out, Red Bull felt like the only drink that delivered the desired combination of an energy hit and social cachet. The result was that I barely ever bought Pepsi, but did occasionally buy Red Bull, and when I did I was willing to pay a high price for it because there was no substitute. It is probably true to say that I was choosing Red Bull because it was the most meaningful brand for my need state at that moment, so in a sense its difference was “just a special case of meaning.” However, for marketers, the crucial point is that brands that achieve this special state of offering something truly different are chosen more often and can charge a higher price. Observing Consumer Behavior Our knowledge of the characteristics of successful brands and the latest thinking on human decision-making underscore the importance of meaning, difference, and salience. But can we quantify the influence of each of these elements on consumer purchase volume and price paid? To investigate this, we ran a groundbreaking global pilot. We linked respondents’ survey responses with their actual purchase behavior as well as neuroscience data to get a full picture of how raw emotional response in the brain links to how brands are perceived, and how that in turn influences their purchase choices. This study helped identify the best ways to measure how meaningful, different, and salient brands are, and confirmed that these are the three most important brand influences on purchase behavior. The contribution of each of the three qualities was different depending on whether we were looking at purchase volume or price paid. To drive volume, it is most important for a brand to first be meaningful and then be salient. Difference is slightly less important. Being meaningful is also the most important quality in justifying a price premium; after that, being different is next in importance, while being salient matters less. The exact proportions vary by category; we can quantify these to help focus marketing efforts. IMPLICATIONS FOR MARKETERS Marketers, ask yourselves: Do you expect your brand to make money by selling a greater volume of product or by selling at a higher price? Only a handful of brands are compelling enough to do both, i.e., to deliver high volume at a premium price. Make Your Brand Meaningful Whether your objective is volume or price, in either case your brand needs to be meaningful, so ask these questions: Does your brand meet the functional needs of consumers? Are you communicating your brand’s story in a meaningful way? And does your combination of story and functional delivery make people feel good? Of the brands we measured in our pilot work, Coca-Cola and British Airways were among the most meaningful. Both achieved that status through great product delivery that met consumers’ core needs, as well as marketing that elevated the brands into emotional territory and made consumers feel good about them. Grow Volume through Being Salient If growing volume is the goal, then salience is the next most important consideration after meaning. But salience is not simply top-of-mind awareness triggered by the category name; our pilot work confirmed that salience is best measured in association with category needs. For example, BritishAirwayswasthestrongestbrandontraditionaltop-of-mindawareness for the airline category in the UK. But when we applied a needs-based approach to salience, it was easyJet that came through as the most salient brand. That’s because easyJet has built an extremely strong association with low price, one of the most important category needs. So, to build salience, you must not only shout louder than the competition, but you must shout about things that relate to category needs. To Command a Higher Price, Be Different Ifyourobjectiveistosellyourbrandatahigherprice,focusonbeingdifferent. For an example of great brand differentiation, we can look to Apple, the most valuable brand in the world according to the 2011 BrandZ Top 100. Though Apple does well on each element, its most outstanding performance in nearly every category and country is on being different. The basis for this success is Apple’s consistently great product innovation, but Apple also goes beyond functional differentiation to project a unique personality and a clear set of values. Not all product innovations can capture people’s imaginations as the Macintosh, the iPhone, and the iPad have done, but all brand owners should work to establish genuine points of meaningful product differentiation. And even where there is limited scope for functional differentiation, brands should still strive to differentiate through their personality and values. CONSIDER THE POWER OF THREE The most successful brands are not just meaningful, just different, or just salient—they are all three. Don’t sell your brand short by using a myopic model of brand building that only acknowledges one of the three ingredients. Instead, acknowledge the importance of all three and use consumer insight, knowledge of the category, and brand objectives to identify the best area of focus. POINT OF VIEW ThePowerofBeingMeaningful, DifferentandSalient Whether your objective is volume or price, your brand needs to be meaningful
Since faster, cheaper, and better is the goal, it’s not surprising that last summer’s release from Nielsen describing their neuro-compression technology generated a flurry of articles in the North American research press. According to the release, “This proprietary technology enables the most effective scenes within a TV spot to be identified and edited into a shorter and often more neurologically impactful version.” It certainly sounded good—the promise of ads that would be shorter (and therefore cheaper) and“more impactful”(according to brain activity recorded on an EEG). The problem is, making ads shorter and “more impactful” does not necessarily make them more effective. The goal of advertising is to build brands. Advertising is effective when it creates or reinforces positive brand associationsinconsumers’minds,andthatcanhappenonlywhentheattention generated by an ad is linked to a brand. So it’s not enough to just light up the brain; an effective ad must cast some light on the brand too. Millward Brown has been helping clients optimize their creative for more than three decades. Our work is based on our empirical understanding of how advertising works, which we have developed through years of in-market observation,testing,andvalidation.Originallywereliedontraditionalresearch that asked direct questions to elicit conscious and introspective reactions from respondents, but in recent years, we have extended our approach to reflect new understanding of how the brain works. We now incorporate a variety of indirect measurement techniques, including some with roots in neuroscience, when they can add depth and nuance to our assessment. But whenever we have advised clients on optimizing any aspect of their communications, including ad length, our recommendations have always been based on a holistic understanding of how an ad is intended to work against its specific objectives. Attention Is Just the Beginning Of course, the first thing an ad has to do is capture the attention of viewers. Advertisers are right to focus on this necessity. But an ad can capture all kinds of attention—and be highly engaging for viewers—without being effective. As Figure 1 clearly shows, there is no correlation between involvement and persuasion. But what is more telling (because not all ads have direct and immediate persuasion as an objective) is what Figure 2 shows: There is no relationship between involvement and branding1. So advertisers should not be satisfied with maximizing attention, whether they measure it by brain scanning or direct questioning. They should set their sights on maximizing branding. Dede Fitch Editor, Global Solutions Point of View FIGURE 1: INVOLVEMENT vs PERSUASION 1.75 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2.00 2.25 2.50 Persuasion Mean Score InvolvementMeanScore 2.75 3.00 3.503.25 r=0.56 UK TV Ads FIGURE 2: INVOLVEMENT vs BRANDING UK TV Ads 2.50 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.00 3.50 4.00 Branding Mean Score InvolvementMeanScore 4.50 5.00 r=0.26 1 The data shown is from the United Kingdom, but all regions we have tested show the same lack of correlation between involvement and either branding or persuasion. OptimizingAds: IsLessAlways More? It’s the relentless imperative of our age: Do everything better, but also faster and at lower cost. Marketers confront this challenge as their own discipline becomes ever more difficult. Not only are their financial resources limited, but the consumer attention they seek is scattered and fragmented across a myriad of media.Therefore, advertising practitioners are understandably eager to explore any option that might help them reach consumers with maximum effectiveness and minimal expense.
BRANDING BASICS Good branding ensures that people will connect an ad with the brand being advertised. But branding cannot be accomplished by brute force.“Brand early, brand often” is not a winning strategy. We know that there is no relationship between the first appearance of a brand in an ad and how well-branded the ad is. Neither is there a correlation between the branding score and how often the brand appears in the ad. The fact is, there are no general rules about branding that apply to all ads. There are no formulas to be applied. But that doesn’t mean that any branding approach can work in any ad. Rather, it means that the critical elements of branding—the when, where, and how—must be optimized for each individual execution. The way in which these crucial factors are handled will depend on the style of the creative, the communication objectives, and the history and personality of the brand being advertised. Poor branding not only limits the power of an ad to build associations, but can also impede understanding. Fortunately, when copy testing points up subpar branding, even on finished film, there are a number of post-production fixes that can be applied. Voiceover can be added or changed. Music can be added or changed. Pack shots, brand logos, and other brand cues can be added. And film can be re-edited to increase the emphasis on key story elements, including the brand. WHAT’S THE BEST APPROACH TO BRANDING? THE ONE THAT WORKS. The appropriate action to take to improve branding depends on the style of the ad. Sometimes the brand needs to be introduced earlier. Sometimes just a hint about the brand provides the necessary cue. And sometimes the brand needs to be held back until later in the ad. It all depends on the role of the brand in the story. When the brand is the object of desire An action-packed ad for a large, established carbonated soft drink in Canada intended to highlight the brand as an object of desire, but was ineffective because the brand was not shown early enough. In the ad, a dehydrated man races across a bleak, sun-scorched urban landscape looking for a drink. Viewer engagement was high, but the absence of brand cues prevented viewers from taking away the key message: that only Brand X would slake his thirst. The ad was improved by adding the product and the logo to the action early in the ad. Engagement declined for the revised version (from above average to average), but branding and advertising efficiency were 100 percent improved. When the brand ties ideas together Someadsworkbymakingthebrandtiethestorytogether.AUKadforSurewith FineFragrances(anewbrandvariantintheSurelineofwomen’santiperspirants) used this approach to explain the inspiration behind the product, which was the realization by a creator of fine perfumes that his fragrances were useless if busy, active women were going to“sweat them out.” For this style of ad to be effective, viewers must appreciate the significance of the brand to the story, but the first version of the Sure ad did not make the brand’s role clear.Though viewers were intrigued and involved with the scenes of the designer being chauffeured to Paris, branding and understanding were low. To strengthen the connection between perfume and antiperspirants, the ad was revised in two important ways. First, signposting was improved. A voiceover of a title card reading “The Story Behind Sure with Fine Fragrance” set the stage, while an application shot near the end reminded viewers of the functional benefit. Second, the voiceover was stripped down to sharpen the focus on the essential points. Involvement slipped slightly in the re-edited version but remained above average,whilebranding,understanding,appeal,andnewsallsharplyincreased. The short-term sales indicator increased from very low to very high, and its prediction was borne out in the market. When the brand is the solution Athird,verycommontypeofadpresentsthebrandasthesolutiontoaproblem. In this style, the approach to branding will vary according to the needs of the story. We tested several versions of such an ad for Johnson & Johnson’s 24 Hour Moisture Body Lotion in the UK. The story of the ad featured a woman floating in an underwater world where dry skin is never a problem, and offered 24 Hour Moisture Body Lotion as the real-world solution. Branding was low for the passive and dreamlike execution, in part because the distinction between the fantasy sequence (a woman in an underwater world) and the real world (the woman in her bathtub) was not clear enough. A revision made this scene change sharper by bringing the music to a climax as the woman’s head emerged from the bath water. Distracting elements in the voiceover were eliminated, most notably the last line of the ad (which alluded to the fantasy “world of hydration” from the opening). The version which ended with viewers hearing the brand name while seeing the bottle on the side of the tub had the strongest branding score by far. POINT OF VIEW OptimizingAds:Is LessAlwa
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