The ICE Strategy of Marketing

Did you know that we are exposed to an average of 5,000 marketing messages and over 24,000 marketing elements every day? And that hundreds of billions of dollars are spent on marketing every year? Look around you right now and I bet you can see at least a dozen of brand names, logos, slogans, ads, etc…

Life nowadays has become marketing. Brands, brands and more brands are everywhere. As if the purpose of media has become solely for marketing.

There is no doubt that effective marketing, and specifically the promotion aspect of marketing helps brands become stronger. Iconic brands like Apple depend massively on marketing to increase their net worth. It is no surprise that Apple has just emerged this month as “the world’s most valuable brand – worth nearly USD 119 billion, followed by Google at USD 107 billion”.

Apple knows how to promote its brand and products, and promotion is all about that communication with the customer. If the “5 Ws and 1 H” (What, When, Where, Who, Why, and How) of communication are not used properly in every promotion, the communication efforts are futile. At the same time, as important is the consistency of all these elements in that communication. The more consistent the message is, the more likely the brand will become instantly recognizable and etched in the consumer mind.

Hence, the strongest of brands are those that become used in a generic way; i.e. we say give me a “Kleenex” when we mean a tissue, or “coke” when we mean a soft drink, or “Jeep” or “Range” for all 4x4s. Brands as “Xerox” and “Google” are being used as verbs to mean “to photocopy” or “to search” respectively. (Initially Xerox is a trademark and the word google is just a number; 1 followed by 100 zeros).

It’s kind of a public form of loyalty. But even better, is the personal form of loyalty. People identify so much with their favorite brands, to the extent logos of these brands become part of their personality, and sometimes they become literally permanently so. I’ve seen Apple’s, Channel’s and Harley Davidson’s logos as body tattoos.

The challenge has become bigger on marketers. If we are bombarded by an average of 5,000 messages a day, undoubtedly only a few will be retained or a least considered.

A simple strategy to make your promotional communication more effective is ICE: Be Innovative, Creative, and Emotional. The first two is what makes you different and unique, and people are more likely to remember what’s different than what’s ordinary. While innovation and creativity are very closely related and used interchangeably by many, there is a difference between the two. Creativity is a skill, and innovation is a process. Creativity is exercised throughout the process of innovation – you’re creative in creating the idea and innovative in implanting it. And every aspect of a business operation is a candidate for innovation. Let your message, your medium, and your approach be both creative and innovative. Emotional in “ICE” is about how the message makes you feel. As human beings, our memories are built based on our feelings. We will retain only what stimulates our feelings.

Finally, marketing is not only for goods and services. You market a product, a service, an event, a city, and even a person. You may also use one of those to market the other; celebrities are a perfect example. There is plenty of media used in marketing; nonetheless, social media has unquestionably become an ultimate tool in marketing, and every time we use social media we are marketing the person -ourselves- in a way or another. No matter what promotional activity you are using, word of mouth will always be the most effective. And, isn’t social media another electronic version of word of mouth?

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