Sunday, January 24, 2010

The power of a big brand idea.

All of us at BD'M are very proud of our new work for Compellent.

Compellent is one of the country's fastest growing network storage companies.  Their "secret sauce" is a unique technology that is extremely dynamic, scalable and efficient.  The company enlisted BD'M in 2009 to dissect the brand and develop a new plaftform to help fuel Compellent's next phase of growth.

The result?  "Fluid Data", a big brand idea that marries the essential truth of Compellent's technology with a clear point of view on what the future of data storage should be.

This brand video is the tip of the iceberg.  There's more cool stuff in the pipeline.  Stay tuned, because the future is fluid.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Viewing event marketing as mass media.

I really like this Coke video that's sweeping YouTube.  It nails the brand idea (happiness).  It's also and interesting blend of event marketing and viral marketing.

The basis of event marketing used to be to stage something provocative to get customers to in a specific location to experience the brand in a new and engaging manner.  The event would be seen by the 500 or 5,000 people at the event, whether on a street, a campus or at a sporting event.

Social media changes everything.  Now we need to think about event marketing as a form of mass media.  Stage an interesting event that can be documented and seen by the 500,000 people who will view it and share it on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.  At last count Coke has racked up over 784,000 views so far.  I would imagine that is slightly more than the number of folks on the campus where they staged the event.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The PayPal of mobile commerce?

The Red Cross text message campaign to raise donations for Haiti is brilliant.  It's simple and immediate, two things that tend to resonate in America.

It's also been hugely effective, raising about $22 million in donations as of this past Sunday, or nearly one in every five dollars raised so far by the Red Cross for Haiti.

(By the way, if you haven't done so already, please text "Haiti" to 9099 and and $10 donation to the Red Cross relief effort for Haiti will be added to your phone bill.)

This makes me wonder about the future applications of this idea.  Why couldn't I do the same thing to buy a product?  Why can't AT&T or Verizon step forward to become the new PayPal for mobile commerce?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The BD'M culture club

Culture Club
By David Gee

“Do you want to start an agency?” said Fallon vet Stuart D’Rozario to his former and current colleague, Bob Barrie, over cocktails late one afternoon several years ago. The reply, “Can I tell you in the morning?” As you might imagine since you are reading this story, the answer did indeed come back in the affirmative and thus began a new agency called Barrie D’Rozario. Astute readers, however, will no doubt note there is a Murphy missing from the BDM triumvirate.

“We agreed that we needed a third partner on the strategy side,” continues D’Rozario, “and I told Bob I had once met this cool ad guy, David Murphy, several years earlier and that he might be a fit. At that time, Murphy was president of the combined offices of Young Rubicam and Wunderman in Southern California. I looked him up and found he had moved on and was running the 300-person Saatchi & Saatchi LA office. So we both said to ourselves, ‘Good luck with that.’ called David anyway and said, ‘Do you remember me? We met five years ago. How would you like to leave your job, and run away and join the circus?’ One thing led to another, and four or five months after the phone call it all came together.”

On April 1, 2007, Barrie D’Rozario did, indeed, become Barrie D’Rozario Murphy.

“The draw and the lure is having the opportunity to partner with other people who have a similar vision of what the culture should be like,” says Murphy answering his own question—and mine. “The world doesn’t need another ad agency, but when you have people who understand the role of culture, the right culture, the right people will be attracted to that and the right clients will value that. We have the same passion, the same interests and it’s very collaborative.”

“That said, we are very different people with different perspectives,” interjects Barrie. “I’m the guy who has spent my entire career in Minneapolis; five years at a couple of retail shops and then 24 at Fallon. Stuart, on the other hand, has worked in Seattle, Hong Kong, Boston and Bombay, and David was born in Pakistan and has worked all over the world as well.”

Having given up successful jobs in other places, the three now work together in a clean, crisp, open space on the second floor of the Wyman Building, to create and collaborate and run an “agency with no walls.” And, as per their own verbiage, they do just that:

No walls between BD'M and the clients …

“We think of it as one team,” says Murphy. “We don’t think of it as us and them. Clients say to us all the time, ‘don’t give me the org chart, just give me a handful of people that are going to make us successful.’”

No walls between BD'M and other partners working for clients …

“We’re obviously independent, and that has its blessings,” says Barrie. “We can collaborate with virtually anyone in the world without undue influence to use a certain company or person simply because they’re ‘in the network.’ The model has become that clients don’t have just one agency anyway, they tend to work with a lot of agencies. Whether we are the lead brand agency, like we are with United, or a supplemental support agency, like we are with Best Buy, we play well and collaborate with others. A lot of agencies are real competitive and constantly jostle for position, but we found our work is better and the mood is better if we approach it as ‘we’re all in this together.’”

No walls between people of different disciplines in the agency…

“My pet peeve has long been the creative department,” says D’Rozario, a former creative director at Fallon. “Everyone thinks it’s ‘hallowed ground,’ this special place. The one thing we will never have at BDM is a creative dept. It’s all just smushed together.”

Of course, there are only a couple of dozen people “smushed together” at BDM, as opposed to the several hundred people at places where the three principals have worked previously. What about the head count? The infrastructure? The heads of the big agencies in New York, Chicago and L.A. will obviously always say size matters. Does it still in the ad agency world? I asked David Murphy.

“When I was running the Y&R shop in LA, I developed this game that I used with people in response to the question, ‘What’s the agency going to do about this or that?’ I’d say there’s no such thing as ‘the agency.’ Because for Callaway Golf, one of our clients, there were seven people. That was the agency to the client. For Sony it was 22 people. So it really comes down to small teams. There are never 200 or 300 people working on one client’s business. The team we have working for BD'M on United’s account is no different than the number of people who would be working on it at a bigger agency. One thing that is different, however, is that bureaucracy and compartmental silos do not encumber our team. We have the same brain power, the same resources, but they are more directly applied to the client and their jobs.”

So you can make the argument size doesn’t matter, but awards always do. And the BD'M crew scored a big one this past fall when they came out on top in the small agency category for the American Association of Advertising Agencies O’Toole Award for Creative Excellence. And they took out a full-page ad in the New York Times (see sidebar) to tell the world about it.

“We got phone calls and emails for days, including from people who aren’t even in advertising!” says Barrie excitedly. “They were sitting in a coffee shop and calling saying how much they loved this ad because it spoke for the little guy.”

“We had a lot of fun with it, but it was actually kind of a risk,” adds Murphy. “The industry is starved to have a point of view and it was really kind of cheeky.”

“I actually wrote the ad sitting at the kitchen table,” says D’Rozario. “It has helped bring us some business, and we enjoyed it, but then you move on. The biggest thing about awards is that clients are hiring us to make them more successful and it gives them confidence that we are successful ourselves.”

And as the ad says, the agency’s principals do want BD'M to grow. However, they are quick to add—in unison—they want responsible, healthy, organic growth so the agency doesn’t get too big, too fast, and implode on itself as they have seen others do. And that involves not only paying attention to revenue and head count and clients, but also the culture.

“One thing I have learned here at BD'M is it really is all about the culture,” Murphy closes. “Everyone has the same processes, the same flow charts, etc, but it’s the culture that makes things happen.”

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The decade of analytics.

I believe the new decade will be defined in marketing circles as the analytics decade.

Over the past ten years marketers have become adept at using ones and zeros to market to customers.  We now must use these same digital tools to learn more about satisfying our customers.

Traditional forms of market research have long revealed the chasm between what customers say versus what they actually do.  What people say in focus groups is often quite different than how they actually spend their time and money.  We often find clearer insights when we observe real behavior.  We used to rely solely on field work to see consumer-erectus in its natural environs.  Now we can use their actual online shopping behavior to get a real-time fix on their behaviors, wants and needs.

A recent NY Times article ("A Data Explosion Is Remaking Retail") illustrates this point in action.

I particularly like the example of Wet Seal, the teen fashion retailer, which bases its merchandising and inventory decisions on the trends it observes when customers use the Outfitter feature on its website to see how different items might look when paired together -- e.g., which tops go with which jeans, color combinations, dressy/casual mash-ups, etc.

To be sure, we've long been able to gauge behavior by looking at what people buy online.  What's interesting about Wet Seal's Outfitter application is its ability to analyze what people would like to buy in the future, based on real behaviors on the retailer's website.