Archive for July 2009
After participating in a Digital Brand Think Tank in Munich a couple of weeks ago (a lively discussion with 20 marketing executives from Audi, BMW, Google, Continental, and other top-tier brands), I must admit that I’m a bit tired of having to evangelize (or even justify) the value of brands using social media. It is astonishing to me that companies still ask for evidence when the tweet is on the wall. The event showed that there is a new Digital Divide that cuts straight through the ranks of the marketing industry--some executives get the Social Web, some don’t. No one has figured it out yet. Most would admit that they need to catch up and keep learning.
The focus on the role of the leader in society has been at the heart of the development of much of modern political and social thought. Aristotle captured the essence of the proposition of the “altruistic” or “virtuous” leader: "But since we say that the virtue of the citizen and ruler is the same as that of the good man and that the same person must first be a subject and then a ruler, the legislator has to see that they become good men and by what means this may be accomplished." But for the want of a few good men (and women) at the top of the world’s financial services industry and its regulators, the world’s economic system was nearly destroyed. Now, business leaders are as ill-regarded as politicians. Indeed, there is a crisis of confidence in them that is global and worsening.
All too frequently, someone makes a comment about how a large number of Facebook Friends must mean a high degree of social capital. Or how we can determine who is closest to who by measuring their email messages. Or that the Dunbar number can explain the average number of Facebook friends. These are just three examples of how people mistakenly assume that 1) any social network that can be boiled down to a graph can be compared and 2) any theory of social networks is transitive to any graph representing connections between people. Such mistaken views result in broad misinterpretations of social networks and social network sites.
After months in development, the new product is ready for worldwide launch. The product manager tells the creative team to use a picture of a globe. "But our brand is about what we do for people. Our brand guidelines specify images of humanity," the designer pleads. "I don't care. Use the globe," the product manager demands. Unfortunately, there's always the need to balance business objectives with branding goals. Says the VP of Global Branding for a major commercial information data base company, "It's not that product managers ignore branding. They don't understand how to leverage it."
Open source technology and lead user innovation: two subjects very much in evidence across a diverse number of business sectors today. But how can they help companies grow, and what can we learn from the likes of open innovators ranging from small communities of windsurfers to digital giant Google?
A popular blogger can create as much impact as a 30-second spot. Should personal influence be the next CPM? Marketers seem to have realized only recently that people can be brands. Madonna constantly reinvents herself. Martha Stewart is now a redeemed domestic diva. But personal branding has been around for as long as mass media. In the heyday of the silver screen, studios managed their stars like brands in a portfolio. They carefully positioned, packaged and presented each one. Stars could launch a look or a way of walking and could influence millions of consumers.
General knowledge, from capital cities to key dates, has long been a marker of an educated mind. But what happens when facts can be Googled? Brian Cathcart confers with educationalists, quiz-show winners and Bamber Gascoigne ...
When what you teach and develop every day has the title “Innovation” attached to it, you reach a point where you tire of hearing about Apple. Without question, nearly everyone believes the equation Apple = Innovation is a fundamental truth. Discover what makes them different.
Successful businesses are always making choices and sacrifices, strategically looking as to how they are going to prioritize their resources, including human capital, budgets, and, of course, time. As the world around them adapts, so too do they need to make changes internally to respond, or to predict where trends are going – and if they guess right, the business could catapult ahead of less-agile competition.
Marketers are finally beginning to understand that, like any intimate relationship, a dialogue works better than "talking at" someone. When a marketer has a deep understanding of people's habits and needs, it's a pretty intimate thing. Who else knows about the double fudge ice cream buried in the grocery cart under the reduced calorie, low-fat frozen dinners?