Archive for February 2010
Hypercompetition — and hypercollaboration — is accelerating. The people formerly known as consumers are now your peers. Regulators have a keener eye and a longer arm. Stakeholders went from being hippie pacifists to shark-toothed activists. In this world, mere innovation and "strategy" are commodities. Globally, naked consumption must transition into durable investment. Meaning is the new cornerstone of advantage: Does what you produce actually make anyone meaningfully better off?
I came to the conclusion today that marketing is destroying the internet, and a part of the reason why many companies are struggling online.
General Electric, for one, still believes in advertising. As the Olympics begin, the company is introducing its biggest campaign ever aimed at consumers. Called Healthymagination, it publicizes G.E.’s role in the world of doctors and hospitals. In the United States alone, G.E. expects to spend more than $80 million this year on the campaign. Its role in health care is technical: G.E. makes and sells medical devices, like machines that measure bone density and perform M.R.I. scans. But the advertising focuses on the personal.
One of the greatest challenges I encounter today is not the willingness of a brand to engage, but its ability to create. When blueprinting a social media strategy, enthusiasm and support typically derails when examining the resources and commitment required to produce regular content. Indeed, we are programing the social web around our brand hub, which requires a consistent flow of engaging and relevant social objects. Social objects are the catalysts for conversations — online and in real life — and they affect behavior within their respective societies.
Google Buzz, Google's new social networking service announced this week, isn't particularly original. Just like Facebook and Twitter, it lets you share links, updates and media with friends. Even so, it'll probably be a moderate success.
The world's biggest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores, and Procter & Gamble, the world's biggest consumer-products maker, are jointly creating a made-for-TV movie, in an effort to promote "family-friendly" alternatives to what they say is increasingly risqué TV fare. The two advertising heavyweights have teamed up on the two-hour "Secrets of the Mountain," to be broadcast in April on NBC. The movie, which focuses on a single mother who brings her family to a mountainside cabin, highlights values—such as generosity, honesty and togetherness—that Wal-Mart and P&G executives say are in short supply on television.
"To build a global medium as central to people's lives as the telephone or television ... and even more valuable." This was Steve Case's vision in the early 1990s, and everyone wanted to be a part of it. The company he founded, American Online, was one of the nation's most admired. By turning Internet access into a home utility, AOL became one of the nation's most admired brands and workplaces. It was the Google or the Facebook of its time. Then something happened.
Magazines, books, newspapers -- all that printed stuff is supposed to be dying. Advertising pages, which have been steadily declining, dropped 26% in 2009 alone. But here, surely, was some evidence that publishing might have a chance. If an adolescent who otherwise spends every waking hour on a laptop still craves the printed word, then maybe, just maybe, there's a little new growth left in old media.
Advertising agency of the future sounds a bit like horse drawn carriage of the future. I’m not saying for certain that there won’t be agencies in the future, only that the future doesn’t necessarily need agencies. Just like the future doesn’t need printed news but it needs journalism; the future needs commercial communications, but who creates them, the agency or the brand or someone else, is unwritten. And though the future of the agency is unwritten, I have real doubts that agencies will survive or should survive.
In the era of the real-time Web, information travels at a greater velocity than the infrastructure of mainstream media can support as it exists today. As events materialize, the access to social publishing and syndication platforms propels information across attentive and connected nodes that link social graphs all over the world. Current events are now at the epicenter of global attention as social media makes the world a much smaller place.