Tuesday, August 22, 2017

#HowAdvertisingWorks (on me) – New Balance

I haven’t owned a pair of New Balance shoes since the ‘90s.  They were my starter “premium” sneakers.

Over time I traded up to “real” running shoes.  First Brooks; now Asics.  New Balance was relegated to a distant, dated, and dusty folder in my consideration set.

I recently re-experienced New Balance, by accident, when I stayed at a Westin and took advantage of the hotel’s Workout Gear Lending Program, in which they lend guests fresh, clean workout gear if you forget to pack right. I was pleasantly surprised.  They looked and felt great.  New Balance had rediscovered its design and performance mojo.

Later that same week I was out for a run when a guy blew by me (not hard to do) wearing a snazzy pair of electric blue running shoes.  Sure enough, he was wearing New Balance.  I doubt I would have registered the brand name if not for my experience at the Westin.

A few days later I noticed an ad for New Balance while flipping through Wired.  I'm quite sure that New Balance ads have been trying to get my attention for years. But its ads were invisible to me because our brain is the original spam blocker.  My first-hand experience made me notice the ad.

The insight:  If a customer knows they don't like prunes, running ads to make prunes seem hip and cool isn't likely to work.  Sampling the all-new lemon-zest prunes at my grocery store will likely be more effective.  If tasty, I may then actually notice and “consume” your ad.

When repositioning a brand, showcase new behaviors, not just new brand messages. Customers judge brands by what they do, not simply by what they say.  Create experiences that allow them to reach their own conclusion — e.g., sampling, public displays, VR experiences, trusted peer reviews.  This sets up the advertising to reinforce these newly formed perceptions. 


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

#HowAdvertisingWorks (on me) – Range Rover Velar

I recently was flipping through Automobile Magazine and came across an article about the new Range Rover Velar. It's stunning. Hadn’t heard of it before seeing that article. Today, the Velar was in my Facebook newsfeed. Remembering the article, I clicked into the content to see a 360-degree view. The insight: Awareness leading directly to engagement, without the help of any mass advertising. Planning earned media in sync with paid media can be a strong integration. Earned media adds third-party credibility.


Monday, August 14, 2017

#HowAdvertisingWorks (on me) – Advil Gel Minis

I’ve been fighting a cold and have been a frequent visitor to CVS.  While reaching for a box of Advil, I accidentally picked up a box of Advil Gel Minis.  Hadn’t heard anything about these mini pills, so I put them back.  I wasn’t sure it would deliver the same dosage as the regular pill.  Yesterday I was leafing through Rolling Stone and came across an ad for these Gel Minis.  My experience at CVS triggered me to take notice.  Yep, same dosage as the big capsule.  Next time I’m at CVS, I’ll get the Advil Gel Minis.

The insight:  Advertising is often actively consumed by its audience.  I notice bank ads when I'm shopping a mortgage.  Or car ads if my lease is coming due.  I noticed this Advil ad because I have a cold, and because I had a previous triggering experience.  


Sunday, August 13, 2017

#HowAdvertisingWorks (on me).

I’ve decided to note and document the ways in which marketing communications influences me. Some of these insights may seem simple. And in a way, that's the point.

We overthink advertising in boardrooms. We put the weight of the entire campaign on the shoulders of a single piece of content, forgetting how elements work together, and how triggers work in the customer's mind.

Stay tuned. Would enjoy hearing examples from others.  


Thursday, July 27, 2017

A new platform for the oldest form of communicating.

I was excited today to help co-host Ford Motor's Marketing Innovation Day because it focused on one of my favorite marketing topics – storytelling.

I've long believed in the power of storytelling.  Stories convey meaning.  And meaning trumps information.  Maya Angelou captured this so well when she said that "people will forget what you said, forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel."

And that's what is at the heart of storytelling.  Storytelling helps us to digest information because it connects information to emotions, and to connect us to each other.

What's old is new again, thanks to "Stories" on Facebook and Instagram.  Our most ancient form of communicating has found a new form of expression.  Traditional IF and FB posts tend to only show the highlights of our day.  Stories, by contrast, are spontaneous:  a more authentic snapshot of a story as it is happening, unedited and not curated.

According to TechCrunch, there were 100 million active users of IG stories within two months of its release.

This is a great opportunity for marketers to engage through deeper and more immersive stories - e.g., placing the brand out in the real world without the slick hand of Madison Avenue; bringing customers "behind the scenes" for an upcoming product launch; even showcasing origin stories and sources of inspiration from the company's designers or engineers.

Here's a link to some more perspectives on the power of storytelling.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wikibranding driving online brand activism.

Ten years ago I coined the term Wikibranding when it occurred to me that social media would cause brands to become increasingly crowd-defined.  Ten years later, The NY Times has reached the same conclusion. :)

From today's article:  "Social media is the new TV.  In the era when television shaped mainstream consumer sentiment, companies enjoyed enormous power to alter their image through advertising. Then came the internet, which didn’t kill advertising, but did dilute its power. Brands now have little say over how their messages get chewed up through our social feeds.  Yes, they can run ads on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and everyplace else. But social media elevates consumers over corporate marketing; suddenly what matters isn’t what an ad says about a company, but what your friends think about that company."

Monday, April 24, 2017

Ford vs Tesla.

Insightful assessment of Tesla vs Ford. From a financial standpoint, Ford has had five straight years of profits amounting to over $24 billion, while Tesla's losses total $2.2 billion over this same period.

From a product standpoint, Ford's Fusion Hybrid is now outselling the Prius. (Plus, Ford is investing $4.5B to create 13 electric vehicles over the next several years.)

Do I admire Tesla and Elon Musk? Absolutely. And I admire even more seeing a 114 year old company reinvent its future.

Here's the article.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Job vs a Profession.

So happy today to be able to spend time with GTB's STRIVE team and talk with young professionals about ways to create a rewarding career in advertising. We discussed the difference between a job and a profession. When viewed as a profession, you commit to being in the business of building brands (not tactics); view your career as a journey of learning; know there is no substitute for hard work and preparation; and always have a POV. Above all, you dare to be wrong!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Facebook and Google want to be your TV network.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has publicly outlined the company's ambitious Video First strategy, an effort likely to be as big as its previous push into mobile.  At its core, the strategy is designed to make FB our first choice when we want to look at video.

The first steps are already in motion:  Introduced a video-only tab; started promoting longer videos in the news feed; launched a video app for Samsung Smart TVs, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV; and now will begin paying content creators for high quality, episodic content.

Not to be outdone, Google announced YouTube TV, a $35 monthly "skinny bundle" for cord-cutters, offering 40 channels and content from all four broadcast networks.

But the big news is the availability of live sports, one of the last viewing experiences that keeps many Americans, myself included, tethered by a cable wire.   But YouTube TV will include some regional sports from ESPN.

It's important to monitor the success and growth of each.  It's also important for marketers to think "video" and not "TV."  They sound the same, but they are not.