Tim Ash keynoting Conversion Convention 2016

Tim Ash Keynote: Conversion Convention 2016

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DISCLAIMER: This post is written as a live blog from Conversion Conference. There may be typos and grammar to make my high school English teachers weep. Please excuse those … it’s a fast-paced conference with back-to-back sessions and no time for proofing or even proper writing.

Full coverage of the event can be found here.

Tim Ash gives the keynote on ending the war between branding and direct response marketers.

Brand marketers are control freaks and live in an environment of HIPPOs (HIghest Paid Person’s Opinion) being right.

They are:

  • Brand is unaccountable
  • Visually obsessed
  • Insist on same approved material across all channels
  • Favorite phrase is “that’s off brand …”

Direct Response folks are:

  • Unprofessional and willing to try anything for a buck
  • Unethical and willing to break or bend rules to get results
  • Inconsistent and out of touch with other campaigns
  • Favorite phrase is “we should test that”

The typical end result is and abomination that “works better than other things that have been tested”.

Brand is very difficult to change if it’s established.  This can make or break companies and users don’t see past the brand leaders.  Brand leading is a shortcut for the brain.

Unconscious backgrounds frame the foreground experience.  Brand and other background signals frame your decisions and perceptions.

Folgers for example used this in their ads framing their instant coffee in Tavern On The Green.  Users listed the coffee as awesome but that was only where they were.  Outside the location an perceived value this disappeared.

Marlboro locked this down with:

  • tall black letters
  • solid color
  • lone cowboy on the range

They are not focused on the action, they are focused on rugged masculinity and independence.  In the 1920s it was a woman’s brand with the tag line “mild as may” due to being filtered.  In the 40s when warning had to go on the ads they pivoted to men.

GoPro is a great example of branding done right. Competitors have no power but can see what works and focus on that.  They can pivot because they don’t have a brand.

Branding: whatever your customer says it is, it is.

A brand is the underlying mental associations evoked in people’s heads.

Align the presentation with the brand frame.

We look for overlap in branding with users perception when designing ads.  This would be a good makeup:

BMW branding

So we need to match our products and messaging with brand perception.  Volvo will never sell sports coupes because it takes 1 mile to turn around an aircraft carrier (i.e. a large object pivots slowly)

So …

  • Reality check your brand
  • Understand unconscious motivations
  • Make sure your offer is congruent with the brand frame
  • Try different triggers to activate the brand congruence
  • Watch what people react to and feed is back into your brand

And go read some books. 🙂

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