A 4-year-old Girl Shows the Power of a Strong Brand

Recently, I was reminded about the power of a strong brand by my 4-year-old granddaughter who told me, “You know how I can tell when there’s a McDonald’s close by? There’s a sign with yellow M on a red background. That means there’s a McDonald’s near here.”

Recently, I was reminded about the power of a strong brand by my 4-year-old granddaughter who told me, “You know how I can tell when there’s a McDonald’s close by? There’s a sign with yellow M on a red background. That means there’s a McDonald’s near here.”

McDonald’s has certainly built the golden arches “M” brand over the course of many years; my earliest remembrance is from the early 1960s. But the fact that a 4-year-old girl learned the symbolism in a much shorter timeframe illustrates how powerful great branding can be.

When I recently Googled “direct marketing and branding,” I was surprised to see that there are a lot of search results positioning the two as separate marketing strategies. I thought that debate was put to rest years ago — you need both.

The Internet has turned everyone into a direct marketer, and those who have built strong brands are the big winners — think Amazon, 1-800-Flowers, Omaha Steaks, Zappos, etc. When I was with Roska Direct, our results showed over and again that when we did direct response marketing using the umbrella of a strong brand, we achieved better response and conversion rates than when we downplayed the brand in an attempt to juice response.

According to Statista, Google enjoyed a 90%-plus share of searches from 2010 through 2013, before it dipped into the high 80s, sneaking over 90 only in October of 2016 and 2018. So what’s Google doing about it? Running a national brand campaign on television, Here to Help, using The Beatles 1965 hit, “Help.”

Interestingly, if you try to find those branding ads by Googling “Google ad campaign,” you won’t. What you’ll find is Google in direct response mode, helping you construct your own online advertising campaign through Google.

Like I said, you need both.

Who’s Winning Halloween?

We got our first Christmas card this week! That’s crazy. They’re skipping the best holiday: Halloween! Fortunately, not everyone is skipping the year’s most fun holiday. In fact, candy and costumes are flying off the shelves. HookLogic has released a report on the leading costumes and candies of the spooking season.

We got our first Christmas card this week! That’s crazy. They’re skipping the best holiday: Halloween!

Santa on HalloweenFortunately, not everyone is skipping the year’s most fun holiday. In fact, candy and costumes are flying off the shelves. HookLogic, a New York-based performance marketing platform, is tuned in to the research folks are doing for the national masquerade. Aggregating data from U.S. consumer searches and retailers like WalMart, Target, PeaPod and Fresh Direct, HookLogic has released a report on the leading costumes and candies of the spooking season.

Costumes: Halloween of the Mouse

Halloween is the season of monsters, right? Werewolves, vampires, ghosts, slasher film stars? Zombies! Zombies are huge, still, right? I can’t open Facebook without seeing The Walking Dead all over the place.

Not anymore! Here are the Top 10 costumes searches being done in 2016.

  1. Disney
  2. Spiderman
  3. Deadpool
  4. Descendents
  5. Light Saber
  6. Cinderella
  7. Ariel
  8. The Flash
  9. Stormtrooper
  10. firefighter/fireman

When you consider that Marvel and Star Wars are also owned by Disney, that entire list belongs to The House of Mouse except The Flash (DC, owned by Warner Bros.) and the fireman at the bottom.

Disney Fire Department
9 out of 10 ain’t bad.

I didn’t realize just how complete Disney’s pop culture domination had become until I saw that list. It’s hard to escape the fact that Disney is winning at the box office, but now they’ve got Halloween too.That’s a strong brand.

Candy: The Sweet Tradition

Unlike costumes, the list of leading candies doesn’t look much different than the stuff I used to get when I went trick or treating as a greedy teenager.

  1. M & M
  2. Hershey
  3. Reeses
  4. Skittles
  5. Snickers
  6. Ghirardelli
  7. Twizzlers
  8. Lindt
  9. Kisses
  10. Twix
  11. Dum Dums
  12. Orbit
  13. Nerds
  14. Pez
  15. Lifesavers
  16. Airheads
  17. Trident
  18. Smarties
  19. Altoids
  20. Brookside
  21. Pocky
  22. Cadbury
  23. Haribo
  24. Sixlets
  25. Werthers
  26. Toblerone
  27. Payday
  28. Brachs
  29. Warheads
  30. Milka
  31. Mars
  32. Wonka
  33. Rolos
  34. Kitkat
  35. Trolli
  36. Lindor
  37. Whoppers
  38. Crunch
  39. Ferrero
  40. Sweetarts

Next year, I fully expect Disney to launch its own line of confectionery.

Takeaways

What does this mean to us as marketers?

  • Disney’s winning everything; monsters are no match for family entertainment.
  • People want to wear what’s hot, but eat the old faves.
  • And for the love of Jack O’ Lantern, let Santa sleep till Thanksgiving.