Hallmark's Ann Herrick Looks Cross-Platform With The Weather Channel

hallmarkTargeting cross-channel effectively remains one of marketing's great challenges. Last week, The Weather Channel (TWC) announced the results of a new study created in partnership with TWC's client Hallmark which showed cross-channel progress.

The four channels - or platforms - identified include television, weather.com, mobile and the tablet. According to the press release, results showed, "Three platforms yielded a 53% lift vs. a 24% lift with exposure to just one platform; and, a coordinated four-screen presence increased effectiveness by 97% vs. a 24% lift with exposure to just one platform." Read the release.

Hallmark National Campaigns Director Ann Herrick discussed her company's brand, campaign objectives and today's advertising landscape with AdExchanger.

AdExchanger: To begin, can you discuss Hallmark's brand positioning?

ANN HERRICK: Here at Hallmark, about two and a half years ago we did some major brand positioning work with what we call the brand idea. First, we did a lot of work about who our consumer is and coined them a "relationship believer." They're a mom, and they tend to have kids, and they are the connector of the relationship.

As part of that, if you think of Hallmark’s brand, people think of us as genuine, as creative and as "when you care enough to send the very best." They think of us as pretty heavily sentimental.

They also think of us when it comes to special occasions and special people. We're all of those things - and we're about your "any day" relationships, which is what Hallmark wants to help you with.

And that is what bore our new brand idea: "Life is a Special Occasion."

What was it that the Weather Channel offered that made you spend with them?

I'll give you a couple of different points on that.

One is, it's no secret if you read all the media and all the stats that the media landscape is evolving. As you're trying to reach Mom, Mom isn't just in one place anymore. She's in multiple places and she's using each one of those places for a different role. We talk a lot about Mom and the different roles that she plays. Obviously, she's a mom, but she's also a spouse, she's also a friend. Then, Mom also has her time where it's her "lean back" time.

For the Weather Channel, part of the insight for us is - especially as you think about during the school timeframe - Mom is always thinking about [her family] in the morning when they get up: "My child is going out to the bus stop. What do I need to dress them in today? Is it shorts? Is it a sweatshirt? What's the weather going to be? If it's sports tonight, is the soccer game going to happen or not happen?"

We think that they're using Weather Channel to basically go for that information seeking. When we partnered with the Weather Channel, one of our things was that they clearly understood where we were trying to move our brand and our positioning with the "any day" special occasions - and then them thinking about how Mom was using [Weather Channel] for that need.

Out of that came the idea of "Family Time Forecast," which is really about Mom going to the [Weather Channel] and where we're saying, "It's raining today. Here's an activity that you can do with Mom, or Mom can do with her child."

And then second piece I'd add to that is the media evolution piece which leads to making sure we're on multiple platforms.

There has been this trend towards audience buying, yet there still seems to be a lot of importance around context. For you, what's more important, getting to the right audience or having the right context which may be a proxy for audience? Do you think of it in those terms?

We look at both, to be honest with you. Our consumer audience is a mom with kids. Then, we know that she's a relationship believer. That's at the heart of everything that we choose. Also, we're looking at the context in which she is viewing things. It's knowing that when she's going to Weather Channel, we think that she's going there to seek information. Now, we're providing her something to do with that information.

We do other partnerships in the digital space with Family Fun - that's now Spoonful - or even Cafe Mom. Those partnerships are more about Mom discussing her bedtime rituals or talking about more of what's going on in her life. It's not necessarily about the functional piece. She's looking at it as a resource for other moms to help her. She’s using a forum just to talk.

We figure out what's the right context to serve our message based on what she's talking about there. It's context and it's who she is.

Regarding cross-channel buying, is it difficult to know where to put your spend since it's hard to know how each channel interacts? Do you feel like you've got a handle on that?

I don't know that anybody has a handle on it. I talk to many people and part of it is because the media landscape is evolving so much. Basically, for us, it's getting harder to reach Mom and we’re using all the resources that we have.

But, we're pretty disciplined about understanding our business objectives and our priorities. I'll give you an example. If a certain business objective is about a season and we need to move sales quickly, then we'll go after reach and we'll push it hard.

At the other times, it may be about something that is maybe not as date-driven, but is more about influencing Mom over time. Then, we'll go to more, "How do we reach her more frequently, ongoing?" - and then make sure she's in the right mindset as we do that.

I'd say we use both, and it's dependent on what our business objective is and what we have to achieve.

I noticed in the press release that you did an Insight Express study. Can you share any more key findings from the study?

One of the things that we looked at with the study is in regards to some very specific product goals, which we were trying to move the sales on. We knew going into this that we'd be thinking about how does this help us reposition the brand about "life as a special occasion." With the study, we saw both brand favorability, but we also saw purchase intent behind the products that were featured. The second thing is we saw that mobile and iPad results were significantly strong with moms.

With mobile and the iPad, we have a more research to do. But, we learned that when we exposed Moms through multiple screens and different touch points throughout her day, and followed her flow of life - that was very successful.

By John Ebbert

 

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