Real Leaders Don't Do Focus Groups

Via HarvardBusiness.org 

Apple is famous for not engaging in the focus-grouping that defines most business product and marketing strategy. Which is partly why Apples products and advertising are so insanely great. They have the courage of their own convictions, instead of the opinions of everyone else's whims. On the subject, Steve Jobs loves to quote Henry Ford who once said that if he had asked people what they wanted they would have said "a faster horse."
Focus groups are all about reference points. Make it more like this, less like that. Whether it's business, social business, or charity, breakthroughs are defined by the absence of reference points, and leadership is defined by the courage to leave all of the reference points behind.
That's why it's so rare.
In 1993 my company created the first multiday charitable event that required a four-figure minimum pledge. It created what has become a $250 million a year industry — and that's counting only the fundraising. That first event was called California AIDSRide. The offer was simple: Ride your bike for seven days and 600 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles, sleep in a tent each night, and raise a minimum of $2,000 for the privilege. If we had ever focus-grouped, the event would never have gone forward. The number of people, even in our target, who were prepared to say "yes" to the proposition on the basis of the proposition alone was less than one in a hundred. Maybe less than one in a thousand. If we had done five focus groups of 20 people each, we would have found one person — maybe — who would have said yes. And that would have been the end of it. Or the idea's demise could have been slow suffocation: We would have found plenty of people who'd have said, "I'd do it if you reduce it to a one-day ride," or "I'd do it if I could raise whatever amount I want," or "I'd do it if I could go on one a leg of the trip." Basically, I'll do it if you transform the bold idea you came in here with into something I'm more comfortable and familiar with.
So we never focus-grouped it. Instead, we went out and told people we were doing it and invited them to come. There's a profound difference between asking people what they think of an idea in the abstract versus telling them, "Here it is." The former is following, the latter is leading. People respond to leadership.
They say that the medium is the message. A focus group is a medium. And it lacks the magic of commitment. A full-page ad in the Los Angeles times that says, This Is It, is a message in and of itself. And it's loaded with commitment. You'll never find out the existential truth about anything — a product, service, or anything else — by sending the wrong message. It's the difference between "Will you marry me?" and "I'm trying to decide whether or not to marry you on the basis of whether or not you will say yes to me. I'm not really asking you, but what would you say if I did, hypothetically?
Imagine if they focus-grouped the iPhone:
"Can't you have a physical keyboard that slides out of the back, like all of the other phones?"

Imagine if they focus-grouped Disneyland:
"Can't you make it so I can see everything in a day?"

Imagine if the focus-grouped the Apollo program:
"I think the goal should be 20 years instead of 10."

Imagine if they focus-grouped any of the things that really inspire us. Imagine if they put all of the comfortable reference points back in for us.
Take people to the places where there are no reference points, and leave the focus groups — and the competition — behind.

Cadbury|Creme Egg|Getting the goo out

Cadbury launches a digital treasure hunt in a bit to drum up interest for its Creme Eggs

That time of year has rolled around again. Creme Egg advertisements are being rolled out so it must be near Easter, This time Cadbury’s has produced a dedicated website.

The confectionary manufacturer is sticking with the story that proved so popular last year – Cadbury Crème Eggs have escaped and are on a mission to release their goo. Cue the strapline – your country need goo!
As with last year, visitors to the website can follow all the egg-sploits on the dedicated website but this time those pesky eggs have wandered even further They can be seen popping up on their websites such as MSN, Yahoo and YouTube. Once consumers have located the eggs they can enter a special code onto the dedicated website t win prizes such as spoons, beach balls, red letter days and a trip to New York. The campaign includes a quiz on Facebook and there are several games on the site to keep the most eggs-itable fans busy.
Cadbury’s are building on the success of a campaign that proved popular last year and looks likely to be again.

BRAND: Creme Egg


CATEGORY: Confectionery/ Snacks


DATE: Jan 2010



Mobile or Internet

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cadbury Creme Egg :::Here today, goo tomorrow

CATEGORY:Confectionery/ Snacks
DATE:Jan 2008 - Mar 2008

With Easter coming early in 2008, Cadbury was keen 
to improve upon the previous year’s Creme Egg sales in a shorter sales period.

Cadbury was looking for a new way to engage with the target audience of 16-24 year olds, moving away from the 23 year old ‘how do you eat yours?’ campaign.
The key consumer insight was that people have a unique experience of the Creme Egg brand.
Unlike other chocolate products, Creme Egg brand values are lived through its consumption, developing a unique consumer connection.. For the youth audience Creme Egg is all about play, so the communication strategy was based on bringing Creme Egg to life through play.
The return of Creme Egg was announced through homepage takeovers, placement of the TV ads online, search, Yahoo spoof editorial and synchronized display formats targeted to the core audience.
Creme Egg integrated with Bebo’s hit online soap opera Kate Modern by creating a fake live event in central London. A Creme Egg Bebo profile page enabled consumer conversation and a place to host the Creme Egg content. It also specially commissioned episodes of cult online series Weebl and Bob and hosted it on movie-themed website goovies.co.uk. There were spoofs of cult films (including Goobusters, Goo and the City and the Wizard of Goo) and introduced the new Creme Egg character.
As a result, there were over 3.5m visits to the microsite, 120,000 WAP site visits and 105,000 mobile game downloads. 180 million more Creme Eggs were sold - a sales increase of 1.8% year-on-year.

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