Netflix Doesn’t Have a Brand. Does it Matter?

On Tuesday, CNBC reported that AT&T’s new HBO chief Bob Greenblatt threw a little shade at rival Netflix.

Or, was he just stating the obvious?

“Netflix doesn’t have a brand. It’s just a place you go to get anything — it’s like Encyclopedia Britannica,” Greenblatt said. “That’s a great business model when you’re trying to reach as many people on the planet as you can.”

More than anything, Greenblatt is making a point about brand identity.

Namely, it’s the idea that when you offer everything, you’re known for nothing.

Brand Identity Basics

What is brand identity? It’s basically how a product, company or organization presents itself.

What do people think of when your product or business is mentioned? Quality, fair price, good customer service? That’s your brand identity.

So, what does Greenblatt’s statement mean for your business?

When entering a crowded marketplace—let’s say you’re opening a family therapy clinic in a community that has several—it might be a good idea to set yourself apart from the competition.

How? Start with some soul-searching. For example, does your clinic handle learning disabilities particularly well? Trauma? ADHD? Is it based on some specific type of therapy?

By narrowing your field of focus, you help separate yourself from the competition. You might think that this type of narrowing would lead to missed opportunities, but it’s just as easy to argue that becoming known for “something” rather than “everything” helps build your brand.

Netflix: Too Much of a Good Thing?

HBO is known for a particular kind of content. When HBO creates a streaming series, you know it’s going to be well-produced, smart and most likely push the boundaries of risqué content (like nudity, violence, mature themes).

HBO has sort of always been known for this.

Netflix is known for… well, everything. High-quality, low-budget, family, drama, romance, classic TV, cooking—even streaming videos of fireplaces and fish tanks.

And Greenblatt’s point is that Netflix is casting a huge net. Maybe too huge.

The good part: Customers of all ages, genders, etc. can usually find something to watch on Netflix.

The bad part: By offering “everything,” Netflix becomes known for nothing.

Customers have tons of muck to wade through on Netflix (there’s a common joke that one often spends more time looking for something to watch on Netflix than actually watching that thing they found). However, when someone is in the mood for an HBO-style show, they know exactly where to find it. Quickly.

Does It Matter?

Though HBO’s content offerings—by volume—pale in comparison to Netflix, they are winning the brand identity race. That said, is it possible to have your brand identity be basically that you are known for everything? Wal-Mart, for example, is known for “everyday low prices,” yet it’s also known for being a place where you can get everything—from beard trimmers to apples to smartphones—and Wal-Mart is doing okay.

The longer Netflix stays in business and continues to serve as a warehouse of wide-ranging streaming content, its brand identity might actually be that broad, shaggy, non-specific everything HBO rejects.


By |2019-03-06T18:21:57+00:00March 6th, 2019|Categories: Brand Marketing, Content|

Mobile Markets, Brick and Mortar and the Retail Dilemma

A recent article from Tech Crunch explores the idea of autonomous vehicles becoming quasi-mini-malls that bring stores and products the the consumer. According to the article:

… if [retailers don’t make] a shift towards mobile stores, the demand on not just commercial real estate businesses but a wider reach of companies that sell and lease out physical space could drop significantly. Instead of choosing to purchase or lease shop fronts, startup businesses and already established companies could be attracted to the less expensive, more risk averse option of choosing a store on wheels.

Combine that with recent research that millennials and practically everyone else are choosing to spend their money on “experiences” rather than “things,” and traditional retailers are probably feeling very confused if not in a state of panic.

Mammoth has a client with more than 35 physical stores around the country. They constantly deal with issues that prevent people from coming into their stores. In the northeast, for example, heavy winter storms can close one of their stores for days, then several more days can go by before people coming out to shop again. And then you have the overhead costs of rent, utilities, etc.

So, why not move everything online?

Seems like a viable answer, but it’s still worth asking the question of what value physical stores bring. People still like to go shopping. They like to meet friends for coffee, pop in at a few stores, try on clothes and hold things in their hands before purchasing them. It’s similar to asking why someone who has a treadmill in their house still goes to the gym or runs on the trail: We’re not yet done transacting with people and products in spite of all our online conveniences.

Much of what we offer clients is a digital solution to their branding and marketing. However, we occasionally advise our customers to not forget offline marketing solutions as well. Mailers, printed materials, branded hats, mugs, t-shirts and other 3-dimensional marketing materials are still excellent ways to spread your message and create customer loyalty.



By |2017-07-09T17:50:17+00:00July 9th, 2017|Categories: Brand Marketing|

What Motivates Millennials? Not Rent

Millennials: the hottest demographic in marketing. Currently 80 million U.S. residents are 18-34 year olds with an annual buying power of $200 billion. Those numbers are expected to grow and grow. Yet they are a fairly elusive group, and marketers have working diligently to find out what motivates them. Rent and mortgages clearly do not.

According to new Pew Research statistics, 32.1% of millennials are living with their parents.

In 2014, for the first time in more than 130 years, adults ages 18 to 34 were slightly more likely to be living in their parents’ home than they were to be living with a spouse or partner in their own household.

Is this due to economic reasons? No, says the report. Rather, the reasons are completely out of left field. Click here to learn more about this study.

By |2016-05-25T12:40:09+00:00May 25th, 2016|Categories: Brand Marketing|Tags: , |

Beat the Ad Blockers: Spend Less on Ads, More on Content

Once you ignore something for long enough, it becomes invisible. This is what’s happening to online advertising.

With Apple’s iOS9 operating system’s installed ad blockers, most ads on any given web page — ads that businesses have paid to be there — are not visible at all to consumers. Some of these ad blockers replace the ads with something else. Others don’t replace them with anything, leaving holes or broken links on the page.

While most people have applauded these applications for blocking ads that pop up in front of articles or videos they’re trying to enjoy, we can’t forget that these ads provide the revenue to make the content available for free to that audience. Advertising will always be linked to subscription-free and low-cost subscription content platforms. It’s like death and taxes.

(What are the advantages of putting more of your ad dollars into content? Click here to jump ahead.)

Eliminating ad blockers might not make much of a difference, though, thanks to a new phenomenon called “ad blindness,” which occurs when people don’t even notice ads anymore because they’ve already ignored them for so long.

Plus, no one is clicking on these ads even when they’re unblocked. Display ads have an average click-through rate of .1%, and only 8% of all web consumers account for 85% of all ad clicks. On smartphones, 40% of all ad clicks are made by mistake. As a business, when you think about how much of your marketing budget went into that 15-second video or banner ad that’s either being ignored or blocked, it’s enough to make you a little sick.

This is why marketers are turning increasingly more to “native advertising,” which are ads that mimic the content already on the platform. An ad on a magazine site will take the form of a relevant article, while an ad on a retail site will take the form of a featured product. What’s the difference? The ad is simply conceived, developed and presented differently, but not in an effort to trick the consumer: Native advertising is basically content which is designed to be sought out, enjoyed and shared by your customers, not ignored.

According to Business Insider, native advertising spending will eclipse $8 billion this year. By 2018, it will hit $21 billion. Marketers are putting more money, effort and creativity into creating content that will inform, delight and inspire consumers, rather than presenting them merely with images and videos of models with products.

The Content Fix

What are the advantages of putting more of your advertising dollars into content? Here are a few:

  1. It beats ad blockers and ad blindness: When your “ad” is part of a site’s content offering, ad blockers won’t block it and consumers will not ignore it. Early research confirms that people look at native ads 52% more often than display ads, and they look at native ads 25% more than banners.
  2. More engagement: Someone looks at a display ad for less than a second, but they linger longer on content.
  3. More clicks for your money: Native ads get seven times higher click-through stats than display ads.
  4. It’s mobile-friendly: Content is more easily accessed on mobile devices, making it more likely to be looked at.
  5. It lasts and lasts: Ads get taken down over time, and they are almost never shared. Hosted content in the form of things like articles, blog posts, videos, infographics, slideshows, etc. can be found through search engines, shared and posted by your audience on their social channels.

This is not to say that display ads are dead or not worth your time. A good display ad campaign online can do wonders for building and reinforcing your brand awareness. Alongside it, a native advertising or content campaign can give consumers something that actually informs them about the need for your products and services rather than just showing them how great they look in photos.

Interested in learning more about how to develop and share content for your campaign? Call Mammoth at (540) 252-5122 for a chat.

By |2017-06-11T22:05:50+00:00November 25th, 2015|Categories: Brand Marketing, Content, Creative|Tags: , , , |

Facebook Announces Algorithm Changes

Last week, Google announced that it would be changing its search to tag mobile-friendly sites. Now Facebook has announced algorithm changes based on surveys from users who wanted to see more of their friends’ content on news feeds. Whether you’re simply a user of Facebook or internet marketer, this will be of interest.

1. You can now see multiple posts in a row from a single friend. Facebook prevented this from happening in the past (not sure why) but Facebook users who did not have a large friend network will now have access to more content.

2. Content from friends will take priority over news feeds and publisher content.

3. Content that friends have liked or commented on will be hidden further down, since users complained about this. I guess people want to see content their friends’ post but not content they comment on.

All in all, this will be a benefit to the Facebook user as opposed to the marketer on Facebook, but in the long run it will satisfy the Facebook audience and ensure its marketing platform for advertisers.

By |2017-06-11T22:05:50+00:00April 27th, 2015|Categories: Brand Marketing, Content, Social Media|Tags: , |

How’s Your Social Marketing? Grade It!

Social media’s big advantage over traditional print media is the ability to gauge metrics, i.e. crunch the numbers and learn if all those hours spent on Twitter and Facebook are attracting customers. But this capability is in some ways a two-edged sword: Online media metrics can also point out if it’s not working.

Whether you’re a marketer or a small business owner, you might want to do an extensive audit of your website and social networking accounts to make sure your time in front of the computer is maximized.

This is easily done. Google products (like Google Analytics) allow you to access and download reports on web traffic, subscribers, keywords and other ways people are accessing your web site. You can print charts and graphs to gauge traffic, repeat customers, geo-data and more.

Even better, and slightly more fun to play around with, is HubSpot’s Marketing Grader, which works very simply: Just enter your site url and generate a report that grades your site’s accessibility, set-up, SEO and popularity, among other things. This free product also give suggestions on where improvements can be made. Of course, the most extensive reporting must be purchased, but there’s enough free material to satisfy casual users.

If that one doesn’t help you track how your social networking is helping your website, here’s a list of 25 website grader tools that should help.

[I originally wrote this post for ReachFactor, a real estate reputation marketer.]


By |2017-06-11T22:05:50+00:00February 5th, 2015|Categories: Brand Marketing, Content, Creative, Social Media|Tags: , |

Consumer Wallets Are Lighter. Are You in on the Trend?

by Brandon Barker

Every month, you have to make major decisions for your business: where your ad money goes, where to invest, where to allocate resources. No one can predict the future, but staying on top of marketplace trends can help you make the smartest moves.

SurveyMonkey Audience has partnered with investment research firm Blueshift Research to deliver free monthly reports that track consumer trends affecting the business world.

The Trends Tracker Report surveys a network of consumers on a wide spectrum of topics including elections, real estate, technology, finance, and more. All of that data goes into an accessible report that helps you keep tabs on issues that could make the difference between a good month and a not-so-good one.

This month, we surveyed 1,093 US consumers on 20 topics, including voting, home buying, technology, TV services, drug laws and medical robots. What did we learn from the latest report? Mobile wallets are seriously clicking.

Read our analysis.

By |2017-06-11T22:05:50+00:00November 5th, 2014|Categories: Brand Marketing|Tags: , , , |

4 Biggest Trends in Key Sales Markets: September 2014

by Brandon Barker

Before you decide where to put your advertising or investment dollars this month, it would help to know where the market’s headed, right? Consumer trends are constantly in flux, so what’s the best way to find out how your customers are really feeling?

It’s simple—ask them.

SurveyMonkey Audience—a powerful online tool aimed at targeting specific survey respondents—has partnered with investment research firm Blueshift Research to deliver free reports tracking on consumer trends affecting the marketplace. For our next installment, we took a look at key sales markets both from the online world as well as the brick and mortar world.

Here are the 4 biggest consumer sales trends of September 2014.

Click the link above to view our original article at Survey Monkey.


By |2017-06-11T22:05:50+00:00October 9th, 2014|Categories: Brand Marketing, Creative|Tags: , |

Create the Perfect e-Newsletter Campaign

Want to build repeat business? Staying in touch with your client base through effective email marketing is the best way to build customer loyalty.

Some companies decide that the best way to handle email marketing is to hire a branding agency. This is worth the investment in some cases, but often you can build, design and launch an email newsletter all by yourself in a matter of minutes. Before you move forward in creating an email campaign, though, don’t forget to read our primer on when to send marketing emails and how surveys can help your business.

However, if you ever decide that you need a little help reaching out to people, Mammoth provides comprehensive email marketing services. And if you want to sign up for our newsletter, we’ll keep you posted on digital marketing trends that can help you out.

Here are the basic building blocks for launching the perfect e-newsletter campaign:

Choose Your Service

A simple Google search brings up a number of e-newsletter services (Mail Chimp, Campaign Monitor. etc.) that will allow you to build and manage your e-newsletters. But do your research so that you can settle on a program with the best price, support and functionality for your needs.

Compile Your e-Mail Database

If you’ve been gathering contacts the last few years of your business, you probably have an email database of customers, clients and colleagues. Your e-newsletter program should allow you to compile, edit and manage these lists. In addition, most programs will allow clients to opt-out and edit their settings, like if they change e-mail addresses.

Come Up With a Design

Not a designer? Not even tech-savvy in the slightest? Most e-newsletter services provide easy-to-use templates and graphics, not to mention extremely simple newsletter editing tools to put your e-newsletter together. And if you do happen to be a graphics wizard, you can go to town by uploading your own HTML templates.

Choose Your Content

A major dilemma for most businesses is what content they should market. For your e-newsletter, a variety of content (with a clear focus) is ideal. Don’t just showcase products, for example. Provide a little something for everyone. This could be a combination of products, local news, industry trends and information about your business. Think about who your customers are and provide a little something for everyone. The more useful your content, the more likely people will open your emails.

Select a Schedule

Send out too many e-newsletters and people will unsubscribe. Send out too few and people will forget who you are in the intervals. Depending on how active your business is, and depending on your amount of content, you might go with a monthly or quarterly schedule. Most industry insiders will tell you that any more or less than that would not be ideal. Mammoth recommends a quarterly schedule.

Why Am I Doing This Again?

An e-newsletter is a slightly more targeted exercise than social media marketing on Facebook and Twitter because it appears directly in your clients’ inboxes. This provides a clear marketing opportunity but also a risk (as mentioned above), so work with your colleagues and business partners to come up with a safe and effective strategy.

(This original article appeared in a different form on the ReachFactor blog, a Mammoth client)

By |2017-06-11T22:05:50+00:00September 25th, 2014|Categories: Brand Marketing, Content|Tags: , , |