We have to risk being "fools" both as marketers and young lovers because that is what offers all the risk and all the reward of being real and in a relationship.
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2012 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand management and performance comprehensively. It is the only annual ranking of companies that demonstrate overall, balanced approaches to managing the full spectrum of brand and related intangible assets, providing an indicator of total business strength and effectiveness.
Some of the world’s most valuable and well-known companies share a common brand trait that has not been explored in depth. Apple, Dell, Ford, Google, Mars, Microsoft, Nike, Starbucks and Wal-Mart, to name just a few, are “founder brands.” These are brands where the founder or founding family exercises significant influence over the management of the brand and direction of the business. Davis Brand Capital identifies the qualities that define founder brands and explores some of the challenges in managing them for maximum value.
While the Penn State scandal and abdication of leadership is deplorable and unfortunately merits its sad attention, what happened at the venerable University of Virginia this spring is, in another way, astounding. It laid bare the unrelenting business assault roiling educational institutions, their custodians and their brands.
In its August issue, Vanity Fair charges Microsoft with losing its mojo, pinning much of the blame on CEO Steve Ballmer. While the article makes some useful and valid observations, it never completes the circle, relating them back fully to the larger, underlying issue that ails brand Microsoft: the company has strayed far from the management and proper deployment of its founding vision.
Web bots, the “internet of things”, machine learning and other converging technological advancements offer an early glimpse of our artificial intelligence future. And marketers need to start paying attention.
The ultimate proactivity of the Web is the semantic future of marketing. Every interaction is about data, and with enough of it, predictive analytics are possible. Is Big Data simply an idea to you - or do you have a plan to activate around information?
Public posts to Google+ have decreased 41 percent month over month, according to 89n data cited on TechCrunch. After a fast start out of the gates, quickly gaining 25 million users, is Google+ losing steam?
Davis Brand Capital friend and collaborator Kevin Slavin spoke at TED Global this month about how algorithms are increasingly shaping our world. Think that doesn't concern you, your business or your life? Think again.
Unbound Edition today launches a new type of marketing interview: one focused on the struggles of bringing great ideas to market, not just recounting the successes of a few big winners. Our belief is there might be more to learn -- and share -- when talking about the roadblocks to “obvious” successes than merely celebrating them after the fact. We think even Starbuck’s CEO, Howard Schultz, might agree, having recently pondered why his next big hit, the Sorbetto, fell flat with consumers. Our first subject: an alternative flour that has made its way into big food companies but not yet to store shelves.
We spend a lot of time with clients talking about different communication platforms, the best content for each and the approaches that certain media demand versus others. Trying, in other words, to help brands understand seamless communication paired with appropriate voice. But sometimes the best way to understand these different platforms is simply to experience them. I had a particularly elegant social media experience with Sonos recently that's worth sharing because it illustrates graceful, appropriate and effective use of a platform.
Facebook seems unstoppable. The community boasts more than 400 million users, half of whom log on at least once a day, and 35 million of whom update their status at least once a day. In the first week of March, its traffic increased 185 percent compared to the same time last year, briefly beating out Google for most-visited site in the U.S. And according to comScore, it commands a 41 percent share of unique visitors to top social media sites, including Twitter, YouTube, MySpace and Ning. But history suggests that when it comes to destination sites, what goes up must come down. And Facebook has apparently learned a few lessons from AOL, Friendster and MySpace. Facebook Connect and Facebook's recent announcement to extend its popular "Like" feature to the rest of the Internet point to strategic shifts intended to help it avoid a similar fate. In a decidedly Google-like move, Facebook wants to follow you outside of its walls to become a more integral part of your entire Internet experience.
Every second, unfiltered information streams fill a growing data ocean. To sift through the depths, sort the finds and bring exactly what we need to the surface, we rely on the mapping and ranking algorithms of Google and other search leviathans. Their technology fuels our virtual treasure hunt, but without the right coordinates, there's little guarantee we'll salvage anything of value. Two startups, Aardvark and Hunch, think a greater emphasis on the people on both sides of the search will improve their chances of striking gold.
Migros is Switzerland's largest supermarket chain and one of the 500 largest companies in the world. Known as the big M because of its iconic orange logo, the company employs more than 84,000 people and has recently posted sales of more than $20 billion. Turning 85 years old in 2010, Migros' unique history, business savvy and far-reaching vision make it a noteworthy case study for brands in and outside the category. Migros has been ahead of its time from its inception, and is a prime example of how a company can diligently build brand capital through innovation, social responsibility, thoughtful portfolio strategy and a careful management of brand voice.
As the year ends, we look back at the most read and shared posts from Unbound Edition's contributors, and a few more favorites chosen by our editorial team. We appreciate your continued readership and commentary and look forward to more dialog in 2010.
Patrick Davis Partners, the brand capital consultancy, today announced an expanded portfolio of services and a name change to Davis Brand Capital.
Google's autocomplete search recommendations have spawned a new Internet meme. And before you keep reading, let me warn you: this post could rob you of your productivity today.
The functionality of iPhones and other mobile devices represents a fundamental shift in how we view the act of marketing, further blurring the lines between advertising, research, promotions, CRM and entertainment content. As new developments continue to make digital technologies a more integral part of our everyday lives, marketers will be forced to rethink mobile marketing's currently limited role within the marketing mix.
Hulu is hard at work transforming tv-watching into a social experience. They're encouraging viewers to watch the premiers of their favorite programs on Facebook with friends and strangers alike, sharing comments with one another (and with eavesdropping marketers) through streaming status updates. Judging whether television watching can be a social activity based on these efforts alone is to consider only a fraction of the social relationships possible around content sharing. The key players aren't thinking big enough yet. Fully realizing social TV's potential means rethinking all aspects of television watching, distribution and revenue models, and how each can become more social.
The new iPhone with video - coupled with GPS, compass and future iPhone applications - ushers in the Brave New World of augmented reality. And mobile marketing, which until now has been a relative afterthought for brand marketers outside of Japan, is about to go gangbusters.
This weekend I joined Home Depot’s online Garden Club. I spend hundreds of dollars a month at their garden centers every summer, and I’m always looking to learn more and find new ideas for my yard. The site succeeds in providing helpful resources for DIY project planning and detailed information on plants, tools and gardening techniques. It fails, however, to provide features the company could use to offer personalized product recommendations, direct users to the most relevant content and translate the hours members spend on the site into more frequent store purchases.
“Quantiphobes” be forewarned. Marketing metrics are about to move to the forefront. The predictive power of advanced statistical analyses used to calculate risk in the credit and insurance industries for years are quickly becoming an integral part of marketers’ jobs. According to an Association of National Advertisers survey conducted in partnership with Interbrand, 80 percent of CMOs and senior marketers say the board and C-suite are increasingly demanding that marketers be more accountable. And marketers should welcome the change.
I took my first few Facebook quizzes today, one courtesy of the Food Network. Up popped this disclosure: “Allowing Which Food Network Personality Are You? access will let it pull your profile information, photos, your friends' info, and other content that it requires to work.” I won’t give the nice lady at Kohl’s my zip code at the checkout, but there I was sharing the keys to my digital kingdom with Food Network’s marketing department. In return, I got six disjointed questions and the laughable conclusion that Alton Brown is my culinary doppleganger. My compliments to the chef, but if I’m forking this much over, I expect some larger portions.
Fully aware it’s ironic to blog about listening - here I am, “talking” about “listening.” Still, it seems a worthy topic right now - the value of the oft-neglected art of closing your mouth and opening your ears.
Pop culture is a constant, complex data stream unfolding in real time all around us. And you can watch it flow by in text and pictures at Digg Labs using its Stacks, Swarm, BigSpy, Arc, and Pics.
The evolution of data visualization software is merging data and art, and allowing us to convey and digest complicated information in exciting new ways. But used irresponsibly, these technologies have the potential to usher in a new wave of “data porn,” where the dazzle trumps the data.
Advertising Age’s Garrick Schmitt recently wrote that “Data Visualization Is Reinventing Online Storytelling.” He celebrates the brilliant New York Times/IBM Visualization Lab and others for “turning bits and bytes of data... into stories for our digital age.” Admittedly, the Times’ work is groundbreaking, and I applaud Many Eyes and other “visual scientists” for their valuable work in helping us see complex data in clear, useful ways. But storytelling it is not.
Social media platforms, blogs, smart phones, online video conferencing and a host of other technologies will facilitate revolutionary changes for brand research and innovation. Many companies are already leveraging these technologies for more traditional types of data collection, such as survey research. However, few have taken advantage of the real opportunity these technologies collectively provide: crowd-sourced research models for consumer-driven innovation.
Behavioral economist Dan Ariely has a cool job. He studies why people cheat, then devises variables to increase or decrease how likely they are to do so. In this TED talk, Ariely discusses his findings and suggests many of our current Wall Street woes further validate them. Turns out we may not be so different than the hedge fund managers and derivatives traders at whom we’re currently pointing our collective (middle) finger. And maybe the Ten Commandments have a place in our schools after all...
Clive Thompson’s recent article for Wired entitled “The Netbook Effect: How Cheap Little Laptops Hit the Big Time” details the adoption of the Netbook, machines powered by flash drives intended for running bare-bones applications. These low-powered lightweights took the tech industry off guard, and they point to a valuable lesson for companies in every every sector.
I used Wordle to generate tag clouds for both President Obama’s and President Bush’s first addresses to Congress. They share a common political lexicon, with the expected partisan differences, but a few words in particular merit comment.
In December, Drambuie launched a “viral” campaign (it’s viral when it spreads like a disease, not when you say it’s viral, guys) using pseudo in-market research featuring Aussies with unfortunate haircuts resoundingly rejecting the Drambuie cocktail the “market researcher” gives them.
There are a lot of left turns engineered into DLD . There is always the possibility you might look at a scheduled session and think, “what does this have to do with anything?” and then come away with a completely new idea. You might hear someone speak about their work and be certain they are brilliant and equally certain you don’t completely understand what they’re saying or what it actually applies to. Sometimes you are just knocked out by the beauty or ingenuity of thought processes and topics
When are people the most creative? Is there an age where you "peak"? Or does discipline at any age determine how much you'll create?
It’s clear that consumers are increasingly choosing healthier foods. But when we started asking, ‘Why?,’ the literature wasn’t as clear. Many papers point to an evolving consciousness about eating. Yes, consumers today are more educated than ever about the link between health and food, thanks to advances in medical research and a steady accompaniment of mainstream media reports. But consumers, and particularly American consumers, have a well-documented susceptibility to media fads about eating and dieting.
As marketers duke it out in the critical holiday sales season, they'd be wise not to forget about a key demo: men. Yes, men -- who outspend women during almost every annual holiday, according to a study from ESPN Research and Analytics.
Advertisers have been pushing for the online ad industry to address ad viewability for the past several years. It's a reasonable goal, as brands would like to make sure people can actually see the ads they are paying for.
Social-media content has grabbed the spotlight in the last few years, as marketers figure out how to engage consumers through tweets, posts and viral videos, but what of paid advertising? With Twitter's recent IPO, paid social-media advertising is back in focus.
New research sheds more light on the strong ties between an original mind and a troubled one.
Word-of-mouth marketing may be the hot new trend, but when it comes to getting people to recommend a brand, nothing gets people talking up a brand like live experiences do, a new study shows.
Does it seem like your social feeds are jammed with your friends’ latest baby video or vacation pictures? Helped by Snapchat and Instagram, image-sharing has increased significantly in the past year, with more than half of Internet users now posting their own pictures and videos online, a new Pew Internet Project report reveals.
The old six degrees of separation has shrunk, and it's because of Facebook.
How do Axe and Old Spice buyers really differ? What pricey ice-cream brands do food-stamp recipients buy disproportionately? And who's been buying more than their fair share of condoms?
The research group’s quarterly Global AdView Pulse report shows that for all the evolution that we’ve seen in terms of consumer habits — spending more time looking at computer, tablet and mobile screens than ever before — when it comes to ads, the world remains analogue.
America is divided by politics, economics and geography. But it also turns out that we also tend to cluster around people who act the same as us.
So what do all these infographics have in common? What, ultimately, qualified a piece for the designation of one of the year’s best? Intellectual power, aesthetic sophistication, and emotional impact.
Fernan Federici’s microscopic images of plants, bacteria, and crystals are a classic example of finding art in unexpected places.
What messages to convey and when to send them.
Using data compiled by the Harvard Business Review, Domo and CEO.com created an infographic to show us what a top-performing CEO looks like.
The United Nations just released its second World Happiness Report, which ranks countries according to happiness levels.
Adobe Is Becoming a Powerhouse in Nascent Data Management Platform Sector
Geofencing explained with easy-to-understand images
But Publishers Have Ways to Identify It
No amount of advertising, tweeting or direct mailing can impact customers the way an objective peer review can. That’s because in the era of social media and online reviews, it’s not what you say about your business that matters; it’s what others say about you.
As part of its efforts to generate new sources of revenue, Foursquare is working with ad-tech company Turn to allow advertisers to use its treasure-trove of location data to retarget Foursquare users on other websites, according to executives familiar with the situation.
Retailers are already able to track your movements and activities in the physical world like websites do on the Internet. is that creepy? Decide for yourself.
If marketers could land customers with one killer ad or perfectly crafted message, there’d be no need for one of today’s most talked about marketing disciplines: Attribution. But alas, such is not the case.
How is it that clients are not able to produce quality content for their purposes, but I receive an average of 35 emails a day offering me content?
A recent report from Stanford University and Facebook suggests we consistently underestimate the size of our audience on social media.
Thanks to the Apple iPad and other tablets, people are now shopping on the couch, in the bed, and in the kitchen, not to mention the most comfortable of “lean-back” environments: the bathroom.
The revolution will not be televised, but it might be tweeted. A new study shows that Twitter has a lead time on newswires for certain stories--including sports, disasters, and sometimes riots.
The Most-Advertised Brands By 2012 U.S. Measured-Media Spending
As industries shift away from print advertising toward the changing digital frontier, brands need to know which audiences will be most receptive to certain methods.
Do you know what you need to map out your own blueprint?
Data shows that consumers demand value
You might think that when it comes to shopping, everyone wants to get the lowest price and get the job done as fast as possible, right? Apparently not.
These heat maps of the U.S. break down how people use language and pronounce words differently in different parts of the country: Soda vs. pop, sub vs. hero, water fountain vs. … bubbler?
When it comes to technology, you don't stand a chance against your kids. Born into a digital world, tweens—those age 7-13—have unprecedented access to devices and gadgets.
A backgrounder for understanding the storm that hit Moore, Oklahoma.
Merlin: iTunes Remains Biggest Digital Destination; Spotify + Amazon 2nd And 3rd; Streaming Still Ju
“The new generation of digital services has created a new dynamic of consumer freedom, limitless choice and myriad paths to discovery,”
They say email can't replace face-to-face communication. Tell that to the rich, though.
The increased complexity of the job has made CMOs more fulfilled, challenged and respected, resulting in a big shift in how long they stick around.
When it comes to mobile shopping, the gender gap is alive and well.
Some of the nation’s young brainiacs were honored today at the annual White House Science Fair.
Customers are in the midst of a total mind shift. As a result of their perpetual mobile connections, their expectations have changed.
The rich may have more money than the rest of us, but if you think they're all alike, you would be wrong.
The company that tracks what people watch on TV is expanding a new tool that measures what people are looking at online to markets outside the U.S.
New research from Forrester shows that, with consumer faith in digital ads falling again, branded content offers marketers a better way into the customer awareness.
Tracking tags are bits of code that enable ad serving, site analytics, audience-segmentation, and social sharing tools on websites. In other words, tags are what make the web tick.
The new rules of the hyper-social, data-driven, actor-friendly, super-seductive platinum age of television.
When Maya buys a pair of running shoes at a sporting-goods retailer using her store loyalty credit card, that information is almost immediately diffused across a spectrum of consumer-data companies and databases, or as one data consultancy exec put it, "from your wallet to the world."
Clarity Matters. While clarity and brevity may have become a lost art, understanding the importance of clear, lucid, and straight-forward communication is nonetheless critical to your success as a leader.
Data is becoming a very expensive topic on Capitol Hill.
Graphic breakdown from Pew by age, gender, race
Insight used to be considered a personal quality and one that was essential to be a successful marketer. While other corporate functions, such as finance and logistics, were driven by cold, rational calculation, marketers were supposed to thrive at the human side of business.
This sense of secrecy extends to the highest levels of the organization.
To succeed and to stay successful, companies must be “on their game” 24/7. That warrior mindset begins and ends with the business owner.
Mobile phones are found all around the world — ubiquitous even in emerging markets such as China and India — but how you use the device depends greatly on where you live.
Frog Design asked designers to invent wearable tech concepts, with results ranging from interactive tree displays to a wristband that helps wearers navigate NY subways.
Research by IESE professors Carlos Garcia Pont and Paulo Rocha e Oliveira helps you spot if your company is under threat of stagnation by identifying the hidden obstacles preventing innovation – and how to overcome them.
On Wednesday, the search giant launched an application contest to let regular people from all walks of life try out the head-mounted, augmented reality "glasses." They simply have to prove they deserve it.
If brands want to improve their customer perception, having a well-rounded social communications practice that serves both as a marketing outlet and as a place for consumers to solve service issues will help.
Unfortunately, a lot of dealerships subscribe to the old-school philosophy: if research starts online, consideration and choice still happen in the showroom. Clayton Stanfield, senior manager of dealer training at eBay Motors and a former dealership Internet sales manager himself, says things are changing when it comes to how dealerships are handling prospects.
A focus on customer insights is a good thing -- but when marketing organizations fail to anticipate competitors’ moves that affect customers, all the insights may be for naught? When was the last time you and your team took time to consider how your rivals operate, or might operate based on changes that you make?
Marketers in many industries have a “push-pull” problem: They spend a lot of time devising ways to pull in customers -- identifying the right buyer segments, crafting messages and making promises. But their efforts are frequently undermined by company behaviors that push customers away.
We’re more fooled by noise than ever before, and it’s because of a nasty phenomenon called “big data.” With big data, researchers have brought cherry-picking to an industrial level. Modernity provides too many variables, but too little data per variable. So the spurious relationships grow much, much faster than real information.
According to 39,000 consumers, 18 to 65 years of age, drawn from the nine US Census Regions, who self-selected the categories in which they are consumers, and the products and services for which they are customers, the desire for real brands is driven by emotional engagement.
While for-profit companies and governments are able to engage in “building a smarter planet” with the likes of IBM, nonprofits and the organizations that make up the social sector lack the means to engage such sophisticated talent. And yet money is not the major factor keeping the social sector from embracing the data age.
As brewmaster at Anheuser-Busch InBev's ABI.BT +0.44% pilot brewery in St. Louis, the 29-year-old chemical engineer experiments with new beers in a scaled-down replica of the main brewery next door. Almost all of the 500 recipes she and her team brew each year never make it out of the building.
So what's NFC? It technically stands for Near Field Communications, and it enables mobile devices like smartphones to communicate with nearby devices and objects with a simple tap.
Clearly, brands could stand to do more to keep consumers interested; the chief reason given by people who don't engage with brands on social networks is that they only "like" brands to get a deal they're offering.
Colour and Space is a project by designers Mie Frey Damgaard and Peter Ørntoft for decorative paint brand Jotun (Turkey). It digs through Turkish Pinterest boards, analyzing two fairly basic but powerful categories: color and location.
Marketers are blessed to have so much insight into their customers’ behavior and interests, and the volume of this valuable data is growing exponentially. What is clear is that CMOs are struggling to take advantage of this great blessing.
While it’s unlikely that focus groups can create an innovative idea, they can help evolve one--fine-tuning how it will be embraced and determining the feature set, price point, and physical embodiment of the core idea.
Imagine Walt Disney World with no entry turnstiles. Cash? Passe. Visitors would wear rubber bracelets encoded with credit card information, snapping up corn dogs and Mickey Mouse ears with a tap of the wrist. Smartphone alerts would signal when it is time to ride Space Mountain, without standing in line. Fantasyland? Hardly. It happens starting this spring.
Waste in advertising is historically endemic and significant. For example, half of all online display impressions are never viewable. Eliminating waste is a C-suite imperative in the new normal. Big data is the gas tank of the new marketing machine, and analytic systems are becoming the engine, but we're missing a few parts
When organizations give people a sense of meaning in their work, it's not only good for employees, but it's critical to building a healthy organization — one that is well-functioning and competitive.
The DHL Global Connectedness Index 2012 tracks the depth and breadth of trade, capital, information, and people flows across 140 countries that account for 99% of the world's GDP and 95% of its population.
A larger purpose isn't just good karma. Leaders who instill their company with a greater mission have more motivated employees and more loyal customers.
One of the hottest marketing catchphrases of 2012 is "data is the new creative." The premise is that all the creative in the world won't help you if your decisions are not data-driven.
It is a revolutionary breakthrough worthy of Willy Wonka – Cadbury has found a way to make chocolate that doesn’t melt in hot weather. The new bars of Dairy Milk stay completely solid even when exposed to temperatures of 104F for more than three hours.
Whether it is Walmart or Metro, I have found that many of the global retailers’ expansion plans are irrelevant and hurt the bottom line. Tesco is a good example.
People are now using their cell phones for much more than talking. According to a new study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 85 percent of U.S. adults own a mobile phone and 56 percent of them use it to get online.
We are creating a new market and ecosystem of personal preferences and patterns of influence. We are creating an exponential amount of data – 3.2bn likes and comments per day, over 400m tweets per day, and rapidly being joined by Pins and Cinema.grams.
Twitter and Facebook usually aren’t the last click before an ecommerce buy, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t inspire or influence the purchase. Yet IBM’s Black Friday report says Twitter delivered 0 percent of referral traffic and Facebook sent just 0.68 percent.
Just how is Apple able to perform so much better than other consumer electronics retailers and world-renowned brands? And more important, why haven’t any of them been able to duplicate Apple’s magic formula yet?
ROI needs rethinking -- not because it’s no longer effective, but because it may result in the strategic emphasis being placed potentially on the wrong kind of marketing activities.
Ask yourself: do you know how much more valuable these customers are than others? If you could turn another 10% or 20% of your client base into loyal, enthusiastic patrons like these, do you know how much more growth that would generate?
What's going to kill the TV business, or at least challenge it, isn't Apple designing the perfect remote or Microsoft designing a superior guide. It's two things.
It used to be that brands and agencies would create ad campaigns, push them live, and use the resulting consumer reaction to help inform the next campaign. But with the rise of real-time data, marketers can now keep tabs on real-time consumer reaction and use that knowledge to make smarter decisions around all facets of creating, distributing and measuring brand campaigns.
In case you didn’t notice over the past several years the amount of patent battles between some pretty big brands have been waged in the courts. Samsung vs. Apple. Google vs. Facebook. And on and on and on. The folks over at visual.ly put together this handy dandy graphicso you can keep score at home.
Companies like Google and Facebook have had access to vast amounts of data on how consumers behave on the web for years. Now you can get access to this same kind of Big Data, even if you don’t have their scale.
With consumers already uncomfortable about their data being collected for marketing purposes, promoting a term that sounds a lot like other industry-based labels with negative connotations has some marketers scratching their heads.
The answer to that question has dramatic consequences for low-GDP countries and small businesses everywhere. If the cost of innovation is falling, that should enable more of it from poorer countries, companies or cooperatives. If it's not, the already big and already rich will dominate innovation.
If you’re really looking for trouble, try posting something on Facebook about your political preferences! A study from the Pew Research Center discovered the remedy for 20% of social networkers who received political puffery too frequently or political opinions antithetical to their own was – wait for it – unfriending or blocking!
Shoppers at the new International Finance Center Mall in Seoul can find their way around the four-story complex by approaching one of 26 information kiosks. When they do, they also are being watched. Kiosks at a Seoul mall, above, would use facial recognition software to decide what ads to present shoppers. Just above each kiosk's LCD touch screen sit two cameras and a motion detector
When asked to describe the main benefit of a diverse organization, Niloufar Molavi doesn’t mince words. “Innovation,” she says without hesitation.
it's inherently impossible to design a great user experience for bad content. If you're passionate about creating better user experiences, you can't help but care about delivering useful, usable, engaging content.
A two word phrase that marketers concern themselves with all the live-long day or at least a significant part of their day: Big Data. And depending on who you listen to and/or believe either marketers are handling their new found wealth of prodigious piles of information quite well and are using insights gleaned from the data to their benefit or, quite simply they are not.
As the digital interface continues to grow, many companies struggle to find the most effective channels in which to reach customers, and given the infinite number of connections that can be made via the Internet, the task of predicting the best course for communication seems nearly impossible; however, a new start-up has promised to do just that.
A recent IBM study of more than 1,700 CMOs stated that approximately 90% of all the real-time information being created today is unstructured data. CMOs see the data explosion as a game-changer, but continue to struggle with leveraging the data to make smarter business decisions.
Large-scale data gathering and analytics are quickly becoming a new frontier of competitive differentiation. In a recent Harvard Business Review article we explore how companies require three mutually supportive capabilities to fully exploit data and analytics.
It is a device that three quarters of the world's inhabitants have access to, according to the World Bank, but the words to describe it and etiquette of how to use it differ starkly across cultures.
While there is a lot of Hadoopalooza in the technology press about the tools for managing big data, and they are wonderful, it's also true that they are a) widely available, and b) mostly free. Neither can be said of data scientists. Simply put, you can't do much with big data without data scientists. They are the magicians who transform an inchoate mass of bits into a fit subject for analysis.
That consumers are turned off by sites not optimized for smartphones isn’t news to anyone who uses the mobile Web. But marketers need more than anecdotal evidence to get their organizations to invest in the medium.
Well-defined problems lead to breakthrough solutions. When developing new products, processes, or even businesses, most companies aren't sufficiently rigorous in defining the problems they're attempting to solve and articulating why those issues are important.
Historically, companies have decided which markets to focus on and have allocated sales resources based on looking at past results and using gut instincts. But today, "big data" and deep analytical capabilities give sales and marketing leaders a better way to make decisions
How much more profitable would your business be if you had, for free, access to 100 times more data about your customers? That's the question I posed to the attendees of a recent big data workshop in London, all of them senior executives. But not a single executive in this IT-savvy crowd would hazard a guess.
After I wrote about doing personal analytics with data I’ve collected about myself, many people asked how they could do similar things themselves. Now of course most people haven’t been doing the kind of data collecting that I’ve been doing for the past couple of decades. But these days a lot of people do have a rich source of data about themselves: their Facebook histories.
Did you know one comment on Forbes is worth 472 views of an article? And a +1 on Google Plus is worth 169 views, while a Share on Facebook is worth 31 views? Ken Krogue shares his analysis of the currency exchange of digital and social media.
Stationary furniture is the largest segment within the furniture category. To continue to grow the brand needed to shift deep-rooted perceptions and convince female consumers that La-Z-Boy offers more than recliners.
Author and interaction design researcher Richard Banks shares his thoughts on the interaction between storing memories digitally and physically. Richard is the Principal Interaction Designer at Microsoft Research‘s Socio-Digital Systems group, a team analyzing how families use digital and analog media and building technological objects in response.
Seeing things in context is one of the most important features of human intelligence, and it plays a vital role in our relationships with others, including the relationship that a customer has with a company. By focusing on deepening the context of your customer relationships, you can ensure greater customer loyalty and probably higher margins as well.
Human behavior is nuanced and complex, and no matter how robust it is, data can provide only part of the story. Desire and motivation are influenced by psychological, social, and cultural factors that require context and conversation in order to decode.
Selling solutions allows companies to differentiate themselves in commoditizing markets and to benefit from economies of scope across multiple profit and service capabilities. For customers, these solutions offer better value than the products and services that went before. After all, who would not prefer a "solution" to their business problems rather than simply buying services and products?
How much should you know and record about your customers? How about their businesses? What should you do with the information? How much is too much?
More than 750 garage parties for women were hosted by Harley-Davidson dealers last year. These show-and- tell outreach events have also been combined with female-friendly training and a marketing drive heavily focused on women’s empowerment.
Forget loyalty in the body care market. Most consumers seem less interested in the name on the label than on price and attributes, per a new study on the segment by Chicago-based Mintel.
Being relevant-at-scale helps marketers to truly benefit from a competitive advantage in the market. At the heart of being relevant-at-scale is an ongoing commitment to harnessing data and analytics. How can you be relevant to your consumers if you don’t know where to reach them and if you don’t know anything about them when you interact?
Customer experience goes to the heart of everything you do--how you conduct your business, the way your people behave when they interact with customers and each other, the value you provide. You literally can't afford to ignore it, because your customers take it personally each and every time they touch your products, your services, and your support.
Pfizer, like Dove and Prudential before it, has gone topical. The pharma giant’s new corporate image effort eschews gauzy TV ads in favor of a microsite where consumers can find and share third-party information about the vicissitudes of aging.
It's a paradox of the information age. The glut of information that bombards us daily too frequently obscures true insight. Intelligence should drive better innovation, but unless it is strategically collected and used, it functions like a summer beach novel — an engaging distraction.
In the late 1990s the dot-com boom made every organization look at the potential for online presence and examine its business model. But the pace has been heating up with emerging social (Facebook), mobile (smart phones and iPads), "cloud," and "big data" technologies that are creating new ways to compete, and, along with them, new ways of working.
Successful innovators ask users to embrace--or at least tolerate--new values, new skills, new behaviors, new vocabularies, new ideas, new expectations, and new aspirations. They transform their customers. Successful innovators reinvent their customers as well as their businesses. Their innovations make customers better and make better customers.
Welcome to the newest retail concept in Funabashi: a shopping mall designed with the elderly in mind. Here older shoppers can access medical clinics, benefit from 5 per cent discounts on pension day, partake in any of 140 leisure activities ranging from calligraphy to hula dancing and, through the “Begins Partner” programme, find love.
A recent CEB study of nearly 800 marketers at Fortune 1000 companies found the vast majority of marketers still rely too much on intuition — while the few who do use data aggressively for the most part do it badly.
How do you get your message across? And via what channel? Email has long been -- and still remains -- the most effective communication mechanism, but too often the message doesn’t resonate with its recipient, usually due to poor targeting or segmentation.
Autistic children with limited verbal skills are often taught how to communicate and make choices using pictures. Drawing on her experience as a behavioral therapist in college, Adriana Herrera realized that key design principles from her work with Autistic children could also be applied to the website she founded.
Canadian publication Maclean’s this week announced a study from the Advertising Research Foundation in New York City. The article states the respected Foundation recently tested a “blank” ad on Facebook whose click-thru rate performed only .01% less well than regular Facebook ads.
The next great quest in applied science: the assembly of a unified health database, a “big data” project that would collect in one searchable repository all the parameters that measure or could conceivably reflect human well-being.
Companies tend to repeat what has worked for them in the past. In our research on the telecom industry, for example, we found that the great majority of the executives we surveyed preferred internal development to external sourcing when they needed to develop differentiated products and services. We get similar results in other industries, though the preferred growth mode may differ.
The projected growth of data from all kinds of sources is staggering—to the point where some worry that in the foreseeable future our digital systems of storage and dissemination will not be able to keep up with the simple act of finding places to keep the data and move it around to all those who are interested in it. How could Big Data be significant? A 2011 industry report by global management consulting firm McKinsey argued that five new kinds of value might come from abundant data.
The connected TV, sometimes called the smart TV (and even branded as such by Samsung) is a growing phenomenon: TV makers are adding limited apps, Net connectivity, and even streaming media powers to their newer TVs in the hope they'll persuade you to upgrade your newish LCD for a flatter, smarter unit. They're desperate to, given how flat this market is. But according to new research from Pew, the future of TV may actually be a little more closely aligned with the notion of a "connected TV viewer," an important distinction
A monumental question for leaders in any organization to consider is: How much greatness are we willing to grant people? Because it makes all the difference at every level who it is we decide we are leading. The activity of leadership is not limited to conductors, presidents, and CEOs, of course — the player who energizes the orchestra by communicating his newfound appreciation for the tasks of the conductor, or a parent who fashions in her own mind that her children desire to contribute, is exercising leadership of the most profound kind.
The rise of Millennials and the aging of Baby Boomers represent significant challenges for established food brands and traditional grocery stores, according to new study from investment bank Jeffries and business advisory firm AlixPartners. Over the next decade, Millennials (born between 1982 and 2001) will come of age and Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) will enter the next phase of their lives and spending patterns. As a result, established food brands and traditional grocery stores will be pressured at both ends by consumers with different value equations.
People may be using their smartphones as a shopping tool in the stores, but that doesn’t mean they’re buying less from the retailers. In fact, the influence these mobile devices will have on annual in-store sales is expected to increase more than three-fold over the next four years.
Arguing against immigration policies that force foreign-born innovators to leave the United States, a new study to be released on Tuesday shows that immigrants played a role in more than three out of four patents at the nation’s top research universities.
As Wall Street embraces the inevitable tide of social media, fiduciary responsibility is taking on new parameters. In a different kind of security risk as Morgan Stanley Smith Barney is stepping up its social media reach, granting its 17,000 financial advisers partial access to Twitter and LinkedIn over the next several months. The move expands a year-long experiment with 600 employees to test whether social media would be a helpful tool for its employees.
That headline is a big promise. But here it is: The economic history of the world going back to Year 1 showing the major powers' share of world GDP, from a research letter written by Michael Cembalest, an analyst at JP Morgan.
In the sea of horror and despair that is the American shopping mall, the Apple Store is often a singular source of refuge. Check your email -- for as long as you want! Play a game of Angry Birds -- on the iPad of your choice! Ask a bearded blue-shirt named Jon anything at all about about the new MacBook Pro -- he'd be totally happy to talk about whatever! Beneath all the chillness and chirpiness, though, there's one more bit of precision required to make the Apple Store so Apple-y.
Travel is an experience people like to discuss with their friends as they share the details of where they’re going and how they’ll get there. Hertz knew customers’ social activity and conversations were impacting purchase decisions but the company didn’t know how much until now.
Ah! The great P word. Scott McNealy famously declared "you have zero privacy anyway -- get over it". Eric Schmidt told us that anyone concerned about online privacy "had something to hide". But privacy isn't dying. It's being reinvented.
Back in April you may have tweeted how much you hate doing taxes. Sometime later you may have been browsing the Web and noticed ads for TurboTax popping up. That probably wasn't an accident.
The Lipitor For You “Recipes 2 Go” app is aimed at helping consumers manage their heart health on the go. The launch marks the first time that Pfizer has released a consumer mobile app for a prescription product in the U.S.
Every company is struggling to nail down their core target group. If only they could define it, life--or at least business--would be a whole lot easier. They could then channel resources and focus energy in the right direction.
I don’t blame you if your first reaction after reading the headline is to say, “Only 2?” There are probably dozens of significant leadership lessons to be drawn from the JPMorgan Chase debacle. But it’s unlikely I will live long enough to write such a comprehensive piece – so we’ll go for the Big 2.
McDonald’s UK has launched a new social media-integrated content portal that offers a different approach to sharing and listening to its consumers called 'What Makes McDonald's?'
It’s become practically mandatory that brands incorporate social media into their business strategy, causing retailers to compete for popularity in stores and on the Internet, too. Campalyst has provided this infographic, which covers the largest Internet retailers in the U.S., and their presence on the five key social networks: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and Pinterest.
According to a new report from Nielsen, mobile consumers are downloading more apps than ever before, with the average number of apps owned by a smartphone user now at 41 — a rise of 28 percent on the 32 apps owned on average last year.
Online, men are shopping more and at rates higher than before, according to an iProspect study of men with a household income of $100,000 plus.
Users’ ability to access data immediately through apps and web browsers and through contact with their social networks is creating a new culture of real-time information seekers and problem solvers. The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has documented some of the ways that people perform just-in-time services with their cell phones.
Today’s marketers are under-utilizing the large amounts of personal data their customers are sharing publicly every day, according to Adobe’s senior manager of social-media products, Chad Warren. By looking at their customers’ activity not just on social networks but all over the web, brands can potentially engage with them in ways that are much more meaningful.
According to Pied Piper's yearly Prospect Satisfaction Index for the U.S. motorcycle business, Harley-Davidson is number one at retail. In the study, conducted between July 2011 and April 2012 using 1,653 hired “mystery shoppers,” BMW and Ducati finished in a tie for second, followed by Triumph and the Victory and Indian brands from Polaris Industries, in a three-way tie for fourth.
Stanford University might have been the cradle for a hundred Silicon Valley startups and the hothouse for some of its greatest technical innovations, but the Singularity University is an institution that has been made in the valley's own image: highly networked, fuelled by a cocktail of philanthro-capitalism and endowed with an almost mystical sense of its own destiny.
Having a helpful and knowledgeable sales staff and making the shopping process easy are key drivers of customer satisfaction, according to the study, which measures customer satisfaction with home improvement retail stores based on performance in five factors.
On the heels of acquiring sales data analytics company Varicent last week, Big Blue is making another buy in the data space today— Vivisimo. Vivisimo provides enterprises with search software that helps organizations access and analyze big data across the enterprise.
After releasing two generations of iPhones with exactly the same form factor, Apple is expected to show off a new chassis design — and possibly new materials — in its sixth-generation smartphone. And a little-known alloy that Apple has quietly been using for the past two years could be just the ticket to make consumers swoon.
Bringing Ms. Minaj on board to pinch-hit for Pepsi is clearly a strategic move, and a reaction to the drop that Pepsi took this year in the marketplace. The results of 2012’s Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Index reveal that both Pepsi and Diet Pepsi fell flat this year, trailing Coke and Diet Coke for the first time in years. Loyalty is, alas, not a forever thing if you don’t know how best to engage your audience.
Nearly three quarters (72%) of adults are quite attached to following local news and information, and local newspapers are by far the source they rely on for much of the local information they need. In fact, local news enthusiasts are substantially more wedded to their local newspapers than others.
Why do human beings collaborate? Ever since Darwin, biologists have been vexed by the question, because in evolutionary terms, self-less behavior makes no sense. We would expect altruists who act contrary to their own interest to be systematically eliminated from the species.
Susan Fournier looks back on the rocky journey behind her seminal study, and discusses how far the literature on consumer behavior has come and why she despises society's eagerness to equate materialism with consumerism.
Two out of every three adults who are online use social media. That’s amazing. It truly is. Wonder how many are still out there who still think social media is just a fad?
Paul Matsen can only shake his head when he reads yet another study about marketers failing to measure the impact of their work, especially in today’s bottom-line-driven environment. As chief marketing officer at Cleveland Clinic, a highly rated non-profit academic medical center, Matsen says measurement is as critical to marketing success as understanding consumer insights, developing strategy, and evaluating creative.
Adidas will embed its miCoach data tracker in uniforms worn by players competing in the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game on July 25. The “professional soccer team tracking system” riffs on the miCoach Speed Cell introduced last year, and Adidas says it will provide coaches with real-time data about player position and performance.
A South Korean Dunkin’ Donuts campaign is reinventing the traditional radio advertisement using unique technology and the smell of coffee. The campaign, named, Flavor Radio releases coffee aroma via sound recognition technology.
There's a lot of speculation today about why Facebook would spend $1 billion to acquire the uber-hip photo-sharing app Instagram. To some, it seems obvious; to others, it's the biggest sign yet of a growing Web bubble. To me, it just raises question after question, and the biggest one is "why." What does Facebook gain from buying Instagram?
In an era when entire companies and long-time brands are disappearing, why do Americans trust certain brands and not others? What is trust?
New research from analytics firm Nielsen confirms what most have suspected about the symbiotic relationship between tablets and television, and offers some hope for a growing crop of startups looking to capitalize on the second screen experience.
There are legitimate reasons why naming companies is a bit more challenging than it used to be. Marketers must contend with instant backlash from critics on social media and the global reality that one phrase in English might take on a completely different meaning overseas (see Kraft). And they must ensure the moniker is not already trademarked.
Hidden Valley Foods has improved its ranch dressing to be thicker and creamier in hopes to appeal to younger consumers. The company is labeling the dressing as ‘The New Ketchup’ and is calling it the ‘Hidden Valley for Everything’ that be used as a topping or a dip.
Integrating design into your company involves more than just hiring superstar designers. It takes a long-term commitment and developing a culture that brings everyone up to speed.
When PSFK asked if they were concerned about how the next generation of car-buyers are reportedly disinterested in ownership, the Rolls-Royce team spoke about how buying a car is about the owner rewarding themselves. The team described how a billionaire in India in his 20s has a check list of all the good things in life and Rolls Royce is part of it.
Marketers overwhelmingly recognize that leveraging massive data sets can help them improve business, but most feel they lack the tools to mine customer insights adequately, according to a study from marketing technology company DataXu Inc.
When an aircraft crashes, investigators are able to retrieve useful information about what went wrong from the flight data recorder, more commonly known as the black box. (The data recorder itself is actually not black, not until it’s retrieved from charred remains.) Statistically speaking, plane crashes are rare occurrences compared to car crashes, so why not install a black box for cars?
Wikipedia’s Next Big Thing: Wikidata, A Machine-Readable, User-Editable Database Funded By Google, P
Wikidata, the first new project to emerge from the Wikimedia Foundation since 2006, is now beginning development. The organization, known best for its user-edited encyclopedia of knowledge Wikipedia, recently announced the new project at February’s Semantic Tech & Business Conference in Berlin, describing Wikidata as new effort to provide a database of knowledge that can be read and edited by humans and machines alike.
Best Buy is on the same track that two former train wrecks were on, CompUSA and Circuit City. Today, Best Buy reported a fiscal fourth-quarter net loss of $1.7 billion and announced it is closing 50 stores. The basic pattern that CompUSA (closed brick-and-mortar stores in 2007) and Circuit City (closed stores in 2008) followed was: first select stores were closed, then more were closed, then all stores were shuttered or sold off.
Human nature: our curiosity can often be provoked when a conference is prefaced by NDAs that prevent participants from sharing the discussion externally. The net-net? That “next big thing” appears to be for brands to use ‘social’ more strategically, connecting with and engaging their customers more holistically to drive business growth.
There are a couple of things that make a brand great: engendering good feelings to consumers and using those feelings to inspire them to make a purchase.
Companies are learning to turn Big Data into Big Dollars. How are they doing it? With the help of data scientists, a new generation of business leaders who understand that today, data drives revenue.
Today, Eventbrite, the online ticketing startup, got terrestrial too. It's launched the At The Door Card Reader, a credit-card swiping accessory for the iPad that enables merchants to sell tickets, merchandise, drinks, and more on-site. Until now, Eventbrite has focused on pre-sale online transactions. But since a significant number of event attendees are still purchasing tickets at the door, the company figured out a way to tap into that market--without help from Square or another solution.
Yesterday, it was official: Wendy's has usurped Burger King as America's second largest burger chain. It finished 2011 with more U.S. revenue, despite operating 1,300 fewer stores. The news, though largely expected -- The Wall Street Journal anticipated the "palace coup" back in December -- is a milestone in the history of fast food.
While Board of Directors, CEOs, and CFOs these days are demanding proof that marketing dollars work, a new study reveals that 57% of CMOs are simply going with their gut feeling when setting marketing budgets, without any consideration for Return On Investment analysis.
In the faltering economy, the importance of customer service has reached new highs, overtaking even price as a purchase determinant, according to a J.D. Power report.
Conde Nast, the publisher of magazines such as Glamour and Wired, recently gave advertisers metrics concerning tablet editions of its January issues. It now plans to give advertisers data on each new issue about 10 weeks after it comes out.
The role of business linguist for the CMO is probably one of the more challenging aspects of the job. Translating marketing value and priority to other areas of the corporate enterprise, if done ineffectively or ignored, can lead to disaster.
It’s hard to ignore Pinterest‘s explosive growth over the past year. In a very short period of time, the social network has gone from relative obscurity to a top 100 site, with 11.7 million unique monthly U.S. visitors. But how many referrals does Pinterest generate?
Playing a kind of “smartball” on brand teams today means insisting that digital players be leveraged against a larger strategy. In short, that a brand’s playbook is not a story of technological possibilities, but a diagram of brand profitability.
The most recent commercial for the BMW i3 and i8 concept cars is a great example of something enlightened marketers have known for years: emotion is the key driver behind purchasing decisions. Yet, today, most businesspeople still follow the old adage, “Emotions and business don’t mix,” relying on rational data to drive decisions instead.
Today at SXSW, Marvel announced a partnership with Autonomy’s Aurasma platform to lets users watch video trailers of books they see in stores, as well as 3D animation, recaps, and other augmented reality extras by holding their phones up to comics.
LinkedIn and the Council of Economic Advisors mapped the fastest-growing and fastest-shrinking industries since 2007, the year the Great Recession started. Renewables are at the top and newspapers are at the bottom.
In most well-meaning organizations, once important information comes to light, it cannot be ignored, no matter what level of an organization is affected.
A CFO won't make decisions without reliable metrics based on time-tested performance indicators. So why do so many sane, rational marketers think they'll get a pass when it comes to social media?
Brands are spending a great deal of time and energy investing in platforms to get likes or pluses, and not really being social at all.
Brands have historically paid for media to deliver their messages. But now, those brands are becoming the media, attracting their own audiences. And not just within social networks, but through their own online publications. This new strategy is known as content marketing, and it has been embraced by leading brands like American Express, IBM, and General Mills, with more joining the ranks every day.
Best Practices: From First To Worst - Continental In A Post United World, Lessons In Next Gen Custom
Despite the numerous attempts by CEO Jeff Smisek to gloss over the issue with increasingly slicked up, feel good, on board welcome ads, Continental’s customer satisfaction numbers have reached the abyss of United’s. While United Holdings may tout their most admired status in the airline industry by Fortune, the award is measured by corporate executives, airline executives, boards of directors and industry analysts
I have been exploring the importance of brand meaning. My basic premise is that the brands which people find to be different in a good way are the ones they will be willing to pay a price premium for. But as I have explored this topic, I have come to realize that there are some very distinct layers of meaning (how a brand is perceived) and brand marketers need to work differently to motivate people within each level.
"Experience" is the marketing buzzword of our time. It seems like every week someone is extolling the vast untapped potential of experience to move your customers: Starcom recently created a Chief Experience Officer position; SMG Global CEO Laura Desmond has called experience the "future of advertising," and Starbucks is revitalizating through a focus on moments of "human connection."
If you pay attention to advertising, you may have seen some charming, pencil-figured ads entitled “Good to Know” about managing your privacy options. After midnight, Google will start linking your data across all of Google’s products.
Facebook brand timelines went live this morning, and though we've known about these for a while, some of the executions are pretty impressive, including founding documents, early advertising, memos, news clips and photos. It's as if dozens of little corporate museums just launched on Facebook.
FastCompany recently released its list of the world’s 50 most innovative companies. Many of the names on the list come as no surprise, especially the top three (Apple, Facebook, and Google). But what caught my attention was the diversity of companies and industries represented.
As the volume of data skyrockets, it's useful to step back and consider the different types of data, where they come from and how they can be used most effectively. Unique and highly focused data can be used as a signal booster for more effective intent-based targeting.
Design company QA Graphics has created an interactive digital kiosk for a McDonald’s franchise in Richardson, Texas, that provides customers with nutritional information about the menu items and lets them make an informed choice about their meal.
According to a survey by Symantec, enterprises officially understand that “application culture” isn’t going away, and in order to succeed they need to be competitive both online and in the App Store. Both the iPhone and Android have significantly altered a phone’s function, making it a productivity tool, as opposed to a simple mode of communication. Currently, 71 percent of enterprises are either looking to, or are actively deploying their own mobile applications.
None of us would agree to play a card game with cards missing from the deck. We would know that the odds of winning would be significantly diminished. Yet surprisingly, many marketers are willing to implement marketing programs sans analytics.
A Bloomberg report this weekend pointed out that Gap, J.C. Penney, Nordstrom and GameStop have all opened and closed shops on Facebook within the past year — undermining expectations that the social network will become a major revenue driver for retailers over the next decade.
Microsoft and Apple should hate one another right now. I mean, really hate each other. After decades of domination, Microsoft has watched their rival move from death’s door to become the most valuable company in the world
A strong culture is important, and for all the reasons Parr mentions: employee engagement, alignment, motivation, focus, and brand burnishing. But is it the most important element of company success, as the more ferocious of the culture warriors assert?
Tucked in an area north of Cincinnati is an office-warehouse building that looks like a movie set. It contains fully functional mockups of two homes (one upper-middle class, one lower-income) complete with kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms. It has two mock grocery stores and a virtual-reality lab where you can fly over store shelves. This is the Beckett Ridge Innovation Center, or BRIC, in P&G parlance. And P&G, whose innovation record has come under growing scrutiny, hopes it can deliver.
While some may pronounce that Facebook is all the social we’d ever need, users clearly haven’t gotten the memo. Instead, users are rapidly adopting new interest-based social networks such as Pinterest, Instagram, Thumb, Foodspotting, and even the very new Fitocracy.
To fully exploit the opportunity presented by big data, a value chain must be created that helps address the challenges of acquiring data, evaluating its value, distilling it, building models both manually and automatically, analyzing the data, creating applications, and changing business processes based on what is discovered.
Andrew Pole had just started working as a statistician for Target in 2002, when two colleagues from the marketing department stopped by his desk to ask an odd question: “If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know, can you do that?”
NBC Universal's broadcasts of the Olympics from London this summer will be filled with the usual athletic contests: synchronized swimming, basketball and canoe sprinting, among others. Behind the scenes, however, NBC will engage in a different sort of game: tablet counting. Mindful that audiences are no longer relying solely on TV to get all their video content, NBC Universal will use the Olympics to set up a system that purports to count viewers across all the different ways they now watch their shows.
The future of shopping means every garment--and shopping experience--can be customized to fit both your body and your thirst for discovery.
The 54th Annual Grammy Awards was a huge hit across social, digital and broadcast platforms. Excitement for the return of Adele, as well as the tribute to the late Whitney Houston kept viewers engaged online and off. CBS reported that 39.9 million viewers tuned in to Sunday’s award show, the second-largest Grammy audience ever and the best ratings since 1984.
What do you get when you cross Walmart with Mother Teresa? Who would be the Square Deal candidate in 2012? And how in the world do you compare--and rank--such dynamic, eclectic businesses as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google?
Love just isn't enough anymore. In brand relationships, good customer service, high customer satisfaction and even professed brand loyalty won't keep consumers from ditching a product for the competition. In fact, more than half of U.S. consumers did so last year. A global study by Accenture found that even though consumers are more satisfied with customer service than ever before, they are switching brands at a high rate.
Every company wants customers talking about their products. But before they can sing your praises on social media or evangelize to their friends, they need to remember your product’s name. It seems obvious, but many companies – especially in the technology sector – overlook this easy way to connect with their audience.
The burrito chain is revolutionizing food: Why doesn’t it get more respect? Hunting for business success stories in a recession is a difficult (and sometimes depressing) task. Most of the feel-good stories seem to come from the high-tech world and the burgeoning app economy. One important exception is Chipotle Mexican Grill, a company that shows there’s clearly room for growth and innovation in even the most basic sectors of the economy.
Darling social media site Pinterest is taking heat after being revealed to have made a practice of embedding tracking code into links users post on their “boards” to generate revenue.
Bitly shortens URLs on web services like Twitter where space is at a premium. But nowadays, it’s also offering software for big businesses: Bitly Enterprise. With the help of the Kalman Filter, this software identifies which of your shortened URLs are generating the most interest amidst the sea of noise that is the internet. It’s not unlike locking onto a Soviet helicopter simply by turning your head.
We spoke with Colin Westcott-Pitt, VP Marketing, Dos Equis, Amstel Light, Newcastle Brown Ale at Heineken USA, about what’s keeping the Most Interesting Man in the World campaign successful. Delivering consumer craving content and utilizing Facebook as both a research tool and a marketing channel is making Dos Equis a category leader.
The BBC, Sky News and CNN are trying to figure out how to make Twitter play nicely with traditional newsrooms. Sky News and the BBC released new social media guidelines this week, while CNN has suspended an analyst for controversial tweets.
Apple has edged out IBM to become the top brand of 2011, according to an annual list from marketing strategy firm Davis Brand Capital. The Cupertino-based company ousted IBM, which topped the list in 2009 and 2010.
You may have noticed something was missing throughout the nation's most social sporting event of the year. The Super Bowl in-game broadcast had zero social media TV integration. With more than a billion people on Facebook and Twitter alone, many of them watching the game, this was a missed opportunity. Why did NBC and the NFL miss the boat?
As part of its promise last year to improve the nutritional quality of the food it sells, Walmart said on Tuesday that it had devised standards to determine what is healthy and would label the foods that meet those standards. A new label with the words Great for You will appear on Walmart's Great Value and Marketside food items this spring.
Ah, the complex olfactory bouquet of the urban bus shelter! Trying to identify individual odors within such dense scent tapestries can be difficult, and most disturbing! That's not the case, however, at some locations in British cities like London and Manchester, where McCain Foods is installing 3-D ad panels that emit the aroma of freshly baked potatoes at the push of a button.
Coca-Cola is the only Atlanta-headquartered company to make the 2011 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking which “provides an indication of the strength and effectiveness of an entire business.” The annual ranking measures brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact.
Microsoft had the third most "brand capital" among companies in 2011, according to a new report by a company whose business is helping clients boost this. Microsoft held the same spot in Davis Brand Capital's 2010 report, one place up from 2009. Longtime rival Apple topped the list for the first time, moving up from seventh place last year. IBM, whose decision to use Microsoft for its operating system three decades ago made the Redmond tech giant, fell from first to second. Davis' ranking looks at brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact.
Brands are valuable, everyone agrees. But it's hard to say just how valuable because of all the intangibles. Davis Brand Capital, an Atlanta firm that analyzes intangible assets for global clients, just published its list of the top 25 companies with the most brand capital in 2011. Irving-based Exxon Mobil ranked 17th and Dallas-based AT&T ranked 22nd.
The iPhone, iPad, and Mac maker topped the Davis list for the first time this year, ousting IBM, which had come in first in 2009 and 2010. Following those two are a handful of other technology companies including Microsoft, Google, and Hewlett-Packard. "(Apple's) rise in this year's rankings was driven largely by its competitive performance and added brand value," Davis said in a press release. So how does the company come up with these rankings?
More than ever, the core drivers of brand loyalty are emotional rather than rational. That’s the takeaway from the 2012 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI), which marks the survey’s 16th year. While emotional engagement factors have become more critical each year, the influence of two core, overarching components rose markedly in 2012: the brand’s “values” and the consumer’s brand “experience.”
Super Bowl ad prices have risen faster than inflation or viewership. Can they really be worth it? The most-expensive 30-second slot during this weekend’s Super Bowl cost a shocking $4 million. That’s a hundred-fold increase in the inflation-adjusted average price of a spot since Super Bowl I in 1967. Even at the recent 2010 low point, ads sold for $2.65 million, up more than 20 percent from where they stood in 2000. What drives increases of this scale, and how can it possibly make sense for companies to pay such sky-high prices?
Discount voucher sites are all the rage. Groupon, Living Social and a host of other players are entering the mushrooming markdown market. This begs the question if discount sites are good news for brand value? In summary we don’t think so. It may be good for short term revenue spikes and potentially contribution margin boosts but not long term brand value. This is based on our experience with hotels, spas and restaurants to name a few. Let us share how we arrived at this position.
Facebook Inc., the social network that filed for an initial public offering yesterday, listed rivalry with Google Inc., regulatory scrutiny, hacker attacks and the shift to mobile technology among the risks it faces. Facebook’s competition with Google, Twitter Inc. and other social-networking providers could impede growth, the company said in the risk-factors section of its filing. Facebook also said it would face competition in China if it manages to gain access to that market, where it’s currently restricted.
To get a glimpse of what tomorrow's young global managers might be like as leaders, take a look at how today's young people think about communications.
At first glance, it would seem that the new generation of product-bookmarking sites such as Pinterest and Svpply are nothing more than new tools to feed the consumer machine, driving us to buy more stuff. But, counterintuitively, my experience with these services is that they actually help me cut my consumption and to direct my money at goods that more closely align with my values.
While most companies are all over Facebook and Twitter, CMOs confess they are at sixes and sevens with their digital marketing strategy. The Boston Consulting Group reports that 77% aren’t sure where best to reach their customers, a critical component of any digital strategy. And 55% say they have only “minimal or informal metrics to measure the impact and return on investment of digital marketing efforts.”
Most every company says it values its customers, and hates to 'walk away' from them. Leaders are called on to make tough decisions they believe are in the best interests of their companies. And sometimes, these decisions advantage some customers at the expense of others. That doesn't make them bad decisions, just risky ones. But leaders of some of our greatest brands act like they have forgotten (or never knew) what every junior brand manager surely knows --- to test potentially risky messages and find ways to mitigate their negative impact. Instead, senior leaders are acting like bulls in a china shop, awkwardly and prematurely broadcasting their strategic decisions in ways that destroy their company's (and their own) reputation and value.
Companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, and many other digital platforms and services have created a new, virtual public sphere that is largely shaped, built, owned, and operated by private companies. These companies now mediate human relationships of all kinds, including the relationship between citizens and governments. They exercise a new layer of sovereignty over what we can and cannot do with our digital lives, on top of and across the sovereignty of governments. Sometimes—as with the Arab spring—these corporate-run global platforms can help empower citizens to challenge their governments. But at other times, they can constrain our freedom in insidious ways, sometimes in cooperation with governments and sometimes independently. The result is certainly not as rosy as Apple’s marketing department would have us believe.
Puma can’t yet legally discuss its Olympics marketing strategy, according to Remi Carlioz, the company’s head of digital marketing. But to get an idea of how Puma will promote its star athlete and three-time Olympic gold medalist sprinter Usain Bolt, one need only turn to the Middle East. In mid-January, Puma sent 10 bloggers to Abu Dhabi to cover the company’s sponsored boat, Mar Mostro, as it competed in the third leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. Puma has recruited bloggers to talk about the brand before, but this event marked the first time it tested Tumblr. (The bloggers were also encouraged to post to Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #marmostro.)
In January 2012, we sit again on the cusp of three grand technological transformations with the potential to rival that of the past century. All find their epicenters in America: big data, smart manufacturing and the wireless revolution. Information technology has entered a big-data era. Processing power and data storage are virtually free. A hand-held device, the iPhone, has computing power that shames the 1970s-era IBM mainframe. The Internet is evolving into the "cloud"—a network of thousands of data centers any one of which makes a 1990 supercomputer look antediluvian. From social media to medical revolutions anchored in metadata analyses, wherein astronomical feats of data crunching enable heretofore unimaginable services and businesses, we are on the cusp of unimaginable new markets.
When Ridley Scott created Apple's iconic "1984," the company's board didn't want it to air. Newly hired CEO John Sculley, veteran of many a Super Bowl ad as CEO of Pepsi-Cola Co., agreed with the consensus: It's a waste to run an ad that doesn't even show the product. Apple ended up selling off some of its planned Super Bowl ad time and ran "1984" in the 60-second slot it couldn't unload. The rest, as they say, is history. The Macintosh did change the world as Steve Jobs said it would, and Apple is the most valuable company on the planet.
IF the future of media is digital, who would want to buy a newspaper? Many people, it turns out. The notion of newspaper pages whipping through printing presses, then being bundled with twine and tossed onto street corners might be considered romantic by some while others view it as bad business. But while newspaper companies can be bought on the cheap these days, some investors seem persuaded they can turn a quick profit while others may view owning a paper as a civic duty.
There are many people who have gifts for selecting the best items, and helping you buy wisely. This has always been a hot trend. Reviews have an impact on buying behaviors. Aside from trying to game or buy reviews, which I don't recommend, how can you find what really affects behavior? Social influences is part of that. Which is why tools that allow people to display what they read, listen to, and buy are making such strong inroads. For example, my boards on Pinterest are a mix of things I have done, and things I might like to do.
The Internet is celebrated as a machine that runs by itself, but this is not quite accurate. The Web does have oversight, just not by any multinational organization, national government or regulator. It's run by a small, private, nonprofit institution that is rarely in the news. This week will be an exception. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, known by the acronym Icann, is accepting applications for an infinite number of new Web addresses, known as top-level domain names. In addition to the existing two dozen suffixes, such as .com, .org and .net, Icann will let people apply, for a fee of $185,000, to create whatever suffixes they like, which will be reviewed and go live next year. Expect .hitachi and .paris, for example. Icann is also adding local-language Web names in non-Latin characters such as Chinese and Cyrillic.
Trying to figure out what’s on sale when and then waiting for the next sale to buy particular items can be frustrating to consumers so J.C. Penney Co. — in its first major overhaul of its retail arm since former Apple exec Ron Johnson took over as CEO in November — is attempting to make things much easier. The company this week announced that its stores are doing away with having seven kazillion different items on different sales simultaneously and just “marking down all of its merchandise by at least 40% so shoppers will no longer have to wait for a sale to get the lowest prices in its stores.” The move comes as jcpenney, as the chain rebranded itself at the 2011 Oscars, is re-rebranding with a new logo — following the previous year's rebrand at the 2010 Oscars (check out the logo progression below). What was that about trying to avoid consumer confusion?
The opposite of trading up is not trading down. In fact, there is no opposite of trading up; shopping behavior is more nuanced than that. When shopping hit the skids after the financial crisis, there was a lot of talk about a new normal of frugality, as if the only thing possible after a decade-plus of trading up was a generation to come of nothing but trading down. It’s clear now that those prognostications were flawed, not to mention overly pessimistic.
The brand new Land Rover Range Rover Evoque started 2012 off right – with a prestigious North American Truck of the Year win at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. This topped off a terrific 2011 for the Tata Motors-owned brand, with Land Rover sales up an impressive 19.6% to 38,099 in a new car market that grew by 10.6%. The success of this off-road brand is in stark contrast to its former competitor, GM’s Hummer, which logged no new sales last year and like so many Hollywood marriages, failed to survive to the 10-year anniversary it would have celebrated this year. As you may recall, on February 24, 2010, eight months into its post-bankruptcy life, and nearly eight years after debuting the H2, GM officially announced they would begin the wind-down process for the Hummer brand. The last Hummer rolled off the Shreveport production line in 2010. So how did these two brands with arguably analogous products end up with such different fortunes?
Establishing consumer relationships through mobile marketing, as with any successful, productive relationship, inherently requires a mutual exchange of value. Whether consumers are opting-in for brand communications via SMS or engaging with the brand in a single instance through scanning a QR code, the onus is on the brand to deliver value in return for customers’ valuable time and information. Without the perception that value has been exchanged for value, the relationship becomes essentially one-sided and unrequited attempts at interaction on the part of the consumer will spell the end of the relationship – perhaps permanently.
Shortly after taking the top job at J.C. Penney Co. last fall, Chief Executive Ron Johnson signed up for the company's email alerts. He was shocked by what landed in his inbox. The former Apple Inc. retail executive was deluged by sales announcements, sometimes two a day. He and his team counted 590 separate sales last year. They didn't bring in shoppers—Mr. Johnson's team found the average customer purchased only four times a year—but they did crush prices. Alarmingly, he learned nearly three-quarters of Penney's products sold at discounts of 50% or more. Three months into the job, J.C. Penney Chief Executive Ron Johnson is planning a far-reaching but risky overhaul of the department store format.
Risk has come to Facebook. Scrabble is one of the top iPhone apps. And several board games are enjoying a long life on game consoles. In the digital age, you better be ready to Hasbro-down. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away families had a game night--once a week they'd pull out a stack of boxes from a closet and everyone would flex their knowledge of trivia (Trivial Pursuit), vocabulary (Scrabble), or even their real-estate management skills (Monopoly, natch).
Usually the question comes right after I tell an audience that I put former Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley on my "Innovation Mount Rushmore" as a reminder of the importance of investing time and energy to understand the target market.
Some years ago, I hosted a blind tasting beer party where everyone voted for their favorite and least favorite beers from a collection of microbrews and mainstream brands. Although there was no clear winner, there was definitely an outright loser. I was thinking about that party when I read about Coke’s decision to kill its White Coke can before the scheduled end of its holiday season run. This was primarily a story about customer confusion -- there was not enough difference between the White Coke can and the Diet Coke can and people were getting confused and buying the wrong one. But there was a side-story that some people thought that the Coke from the white can did not taste the same/as good as the Coke from the red can. Ridiculous, you might say. Not that surprising, I thought, based on my own experience from that beer-tasting party.
The strategic choices we make every day are determined by the “strategic narratives” we tell ourselves. We face a challenge and we don’t ask, “What does Porter’s Five Forces tell me to think about?” or “What does Clayton Christensen’s Disruptive Innovation model tell me to do?” No, we ask ourselves, “What does this remind me of?”
In the 20th century, a select group of leaders — General Motor's Alfred Sloan, HP's David Packard and Bill Hewlett, and GE's Jack Welch — set the standard for the way corporations are run. In the 21st century only IBM's Sam Palmisano has done so. When Palmisano retired this month, the media chronicled his success by focusing on IBM's 21% annual growth in earnings per share and its increase in market capitalization to $218 billion. But IBM hasn't flourished because it kowtows to Wall Street. In fact, five years after Palmisano took over, IBM stock was stuck where it had been when his tenure began.
Barbara Scott just hit the trifecta of computer security breaches. Since the New Year, Ms. Scott has been a victim of three separate cyberattacks. Two weeks ago, the online auction site eBay said in an e-mail to her that there had been suspicious activity on her account. On Monday, she received an e-mail from Zappos and another from 6PM, two online shoe retailers owned by Amazon. Both messages alerted her that — once again — her information had been compromised.
In its midcentury heyday, Sears, Roebuck & Co. was the Wal-Mart of its era—the largest retailer in the world with more than 350,000 employees. But it is in an epic freefall. After decades of decline, the Sears ended up in the hands of investment manager Edward Lampert, who purchased the company in 2004 and merged it with Kmart. The new combined entity, known as Sears Holdings Corporation, was consistently losing money even before the recession. The Sears Tower, the company’s iconic skyscraper, no longer houses any Sears’ employees and—the ultimate indignity—had its name changed to the Willis Tower in 2009. On Dec. 27, it announced that in light of poor holiday sales, 100-120 Sears and Kmart stores would have to close. An even bigger blow came last Friday when CIT Group said it would no longer provide loans to Sears vendors.
Today, Facebook is publishing a study that disproves some hoary conventional wisdom about the Web. According to this new research, the online echo chamber doesn’t exist. This is of particular interest to me. In 2008, I wrote True Enough, a book that argued that digital technology is splitting society into discrete, ideologically like-minded tribes that read, watch, or listen only to news that confirms their own beliefs. I’m not the only one who’s worried about this. Eli Pariser, the former executive director of MoveOn.org, argued in his recent book The Filter Bubble that Web personalization algorithms like Facebook’s News Feed force us to consume a dangerously narrow range of news. The echo chamber was also central to Cass Sunstein’s thesis, in his book Republic.com, that the Web may be incompatible with democracy itself. If we’re all just echoing our friends’ ideas about the world, is society doomed to become ever more polarized and solipsistic?
Customers, employees, shareholders and taxpayers hate large corporations for many reasons. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed a lengthy list of corporations for which there is substantial research data to choose the 10 most hated in America.
Google is taking Googling yourself to a whole new level, by folding users’ personal data into Google search results. The personalized search results pull data from users’ Google accounts such as Picasa and Google+, and offers users the option to toggle between searching their own personal data and searching the Web as a whole.
The acquisition of Twitter by Google is the ultimate strategic buyout. We know that Twitter turned down a $10 billion buyout offer from Google sometime in early 2011. There have also been other overtures made over the past several years by Google, Facebook and Microsoft. Surprisingly, Twitter is still independent. Why hasn’t Google paid up with all of that cash on its balance sheet? How could Twitter turn down $10 billion when the company isn’t worth anywhere near that based on earnings or even projected earnings (1999 style)?
The business climate, it turns out, is a lot like the weather. And we've entered a next-two-hours era. The pace of change in our economy and our culture is accelerating--fueled by global adoption of social, mobile, and other new technologies--and our visibility about the future is declining. From the rise of Facebook to the fall of Blockbuster, from the downgrading of U.S. government debt to the resurgence of Brazil, predicting what will happen next has gotten exponentially harder. Uncertainty has taken hold in boardrooms and cubicles, as executives and workers (employed and unemployed) struggle with core questions: Which competitive advantages have staying power? What skills matter most? How can you weigh risk and opportunity when the fundamentals of your business may change overnight?
The lead producer of festivalslab Rohan Gunatillake gives four reasons why new thinking and tools can produce better experiences
This year, to celebrate the media world’s tumultuous and always entertaining transformation, Adweek’s Hot List goes 360 to track the best print, TV, and digital properties.
Everyone wants their own mobile application. In the last year, I have heard this consistently. In fact, mobile analytics firm Distimo claims 91 of the top 100 brands have their own mobile app (up from 51 just 18 months ago). On the surface this sounds great, right? I can use my big brand name to get people to install my application, and then I can market to them via the palm of their hand whenever I want. If you're a big brand, I have no doubt you will get a ton of downloads. But downloads are a vanity metric; they don't measure success.
For the past few weeks, the “Google+ is a ghost town” meme has haunted the new social networking site. But maybe the search giant has finally found the hook to draw eyeballs to its floundering Facebook alternative: free music.
Our fifth annual survey on the way organizations use social tools and technologies finds that they continue to seep into many organizations, transforming business processes and raising performance.
The CEO of Amazon.com, in regulation blue oxford shirt and jeans, is sitting in a conference room at his company’s spiffy new headquarters just north of downtown Seattle. It is mid-September, exactly one week before he will introduce a new line of Kindles to the world. He has already shown me two of them—one with a touchscreen, the other costing just $79—but that’s not what’s truly exciting him. It is a third gadget, the long-awaited Amazon tablet called the Kindle Fire, that represents his company’s most ambitious leap into the hearts, minds, and wallets of millions of consumers.
Google+ Pages is the game-changer for brand presence on the web in a leap over the social networking garden wall and the next digital manifest destiny combining search and social.
What if 70 percent of brands in the world disappeared overnight? Most people wouldn’t care, according to a new study of 50,000 people in 14 global markets performed by Havas Media, an international communications firm.
Google+ has been billed as a Facebook killer, its user homepage layout borrows heavily from Facebook, and now there are free self-service branded pages for marketers similar conceptually to what Facebook introduced in November 2007 – almost four years ago to the day. Despite all of this, Google+ is different. This is largely because Facebook the company has only one eponymous flagship product, and Google the company is using Google+ as both a networking hub and a social layer across its diverse suite of digital products.
Big data can change corporate strategy, according to McKinsey. Big Data is a pretty abstract concept, especially in finance where it can be a challenge to see where differences in the quantity of data an shift into a change in the business. This article from McKinsey Global Institute uses concrete, although anonymous, examples for one of the clearest explanations I have seen.
Google+ is the fastest-growing social network in history, with 40 million users since its June launch. To help them focus, Google’s quietly shuttered a number of products, removing iGoogle and Google Reader’s social features and closing Google Labs, Buzz, Jaiku and Code Search in the last two weeks alone. But in doing so, they also killed off one of its oldest and most useful tools, from its most popular product.
Google will roll out major improvements in the next three months to Google+, its new social networking service, as it seeks to close the gap with Facebook, the market leader. Early enhancements will include the incorporation of Google Docs, the word-processing application, which will make collaborating on documents easier “within days”, said Vic Gundotra, senior vice president of engineering, on Wednesday.
In a few days Fast Company’s next magazine issue will begin arriving in newsstands and mailboxes. The issue has four different covers, and one of them features a picture of Steve Jobs. But this is not a commemorative obituary. In fact, the issue had already been printed at our plant when Jobs passed away. Instead the magazine offers a forward-looking analysis of what’s next for Apple--and how it will be battling with America’s three other favorite tech companies: Amazon, Facebook, and Google. We’ve dubbed this coming clash “The Great Tech War of 2012.”
If we're headed into a second-dip of the recession, no one told Google. The company turned in a 33% surge in revenue in the third quarter on big increases in search, display, and increasingly, mobile advertising.
Facebook is driven by a single, unique goal. Its priority isn’t to gain more users (it already has 750 million of those), nor does it feel compelled to find stupid ways to increase pageviews. Its primary goal right now isn’t to increase revenue, either — that will come later. No, Facebook’s goal is to become the social layer that supports, powers and connects every single piece of the web, no matter who or what it is or where it lives.
Is Facebook a friend of news companies, or is it a rival? No matter how much success publishers have piggybacking off its traffic, they can’t escape the cruel math: The more of their time consumers spend on Facebook and other social networking hubs, the less they have left over for news sites.
Exactly what Facebook plans to debut later this week at its f8 conference isn't clear, but it's reportedly big, and will likely reshape the site's core experience with new "read," "watch," and "listen" buttons.
Every now and then, the business world presents us with a lab experiment that we can observe in realtime. Netflix's announcement that it is splitting off its DVD-by-mail business from its streaming business is just such an experiment.
Walmart is in a bind. Its retail empire is based on a simple proposition -- everyday low pricing -- but recent surveys show price gaps between it and rivals have actually narrowed or disappeared. And, in fact, most of its shoppers no longer believe Walmart has the lowest prices.
The American consumer is changeable. He wants X. No, he wants Y. Never mind, he wants Z. We used to quiz him with focus groups and mall intercepts. But these days, he's not sure. It's not that he won't tell us. It's just that he can't.
Not long ago, market research shop Millward Brown released a ranking of the world's most valuable brands. For the first time, Apple topped the list. The value of its brand was $153 billion, up 84 percent year on year. Yes, Apple spends lavishly on promoting its brand, but the study attributed the spike in brand valuation to the impact of two products — the iPad and, to a lesser extent, the iPhone.
Samsung's journey from low-cost OEM producer to a global brand name synonymous with innovation is an admirable one. The process of turning away from the basic elements responsible for your original success is a perilous and brave move. I can only imagine the resistance involved when an established, hierarchical company like the old Samsung decides to introduce practices that threaten the status quo.
1. "Social media accounts for one out of every six minutes spent online in US." (Journalism.co.uk) 2. "Seventy-seven percent report that they use social media to share their love of a show; 65% use it as a platform to help save their favorite shows; and 35% use it to try to introduce new shows to their friends." (TVGuide.com study via TVNewsCheck.com) 3. "Facebook users are overall more trusting than non-internet others. Pew reported, 43% of survey participants were more likely than other internet users to feel that most people can be trusted." (Pew Internet via Social Media Club)
The whole world seems to have woken up to the notion that great ideas can come from anywhere and anyone. Exhibit A is the effort to write a new constitution in Iceland where the surge of crowdsourcing, mass collaboration, co-creation, and open innovation initiatives is seeking to channel those ideas and leverage that talent in every realm of endeavor. But when it comes to taking those ideas and turning them into a comprehensive view of the future, a compelling set of priorities, and a genuinely involving and ongoing collaboration with a community of stakeholders, there aren't many instructive models.
In recent years, one part of the food business has rivaled organics as the hot growth area: "local" food (defined vaguely as coming from the same state or from less than 100 miles away, for example). It's a market segment that has just about doubled in sales and number of outlets over the last decade. The world's biggest food buyer, Wal-Mart, jumped on the bandwagon last fall and announced that it would double the amount of local food it sells (to 9 percent of all its food sales). The idea of buying locally is not new, and farmers' markets have been big for years. It's become almost gospel that the food on our plates has traveled about 1500 miles to get to us. So it would seem logical that the best way to shrink your food-related carbon footprint associated would be to buy from near by. But it turns out that this assumption is wrong.
Brand marketers have long been intrigued with the use of scent as a potential differentiating feature. Maybe it all started with Smell-O-Vision, an ill-fated technology that was used to pump different smells throughout movie theaters in 1960. Smell-O-Vision stunk — it died after just one movie. Nowadays, scent is a key part of any number of beauty and cosmetic products, typically targeting women. Increasingly, though, scent plays an important role in men's products, especially deodorants. And the latest innovation is a masculine knock-off of a concept that was first aimed at women in 2005 — the scented razor.
Last October, BMW introduced a six-year project with the Guggenheim Museum -- the BMW Guggenheim Lab -- aimed at developing new ideas for design and urban living. On Friday, the company unveiled specifics at an event at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. The Lab, designed by Japanese architectural firm Atelier Bow-Wow, will be an open-air installation featuring an open-air loft built largely of carbon fiber (a substance BMW plans to use in its vehicles) and designed almost as a theater space with elements that can drop down from the overhead space, a kind of Swiss Army knife of cultural props and media implements.
Luxury goods marketers in China received some good news last month. After the country's annual policy planning meeting, Minister of Commerce Chen Deming announced that Beijing would soon reduce tariffs and cut red tape on luxury goods imports. The decisions are in line with other policies that will stimulate domestic consumption and, the government hopes, will chip away at the globally contentious trade surplus that China enjoys.
In an uncharted world of boundless data, information designers are our new navigators. They are computer scientists, statisticians, graphic designers, producers and cartographers who map entire oceans of data and turn them into innovative visual displays, like rich graphs and charts, that help both companies and consumers cut through the clutter. These gurus of visual analytics are making interactive data synonymous with attractive data.
Content farms are to online media what tabloids are to print. Neither journalism nor advertising, they are a trashy and addictive product, sussing out what we really want in order to give us something we don't really need—and, in so doing, telling us something important about ourselves.
On this 100th International Women's Day, it is right to reflect on how women have become the heart of the microfinance industry. It is easy to forget that the initial motivation for microfinance roughly 30 years ago was, to a great extent, gender neutral.
HBS Working Knowledge recently celebrated its tenth birthday, and we mark the occasion by looking back and looking forward. We've asked HBS Dean Nitin Nohria and a number of faculty to both remark on what they view as the most significant business management ideas of the first decade of the twenty-first century, and then to tell us what they hope will be the most fertile areas of business research between now and 2020.
Nestlé is a worldwide brand probably known best as a maker of chocolate, not exactly a health food. But the brand is making a serious push to become a global power in the emerging industry of foods that are not just healthy, but that offer specific medical and health benefits.
In recent months, business leaders been embarking on a new conversation in the U.S. about how our business, government and consumers will meet challenges around the environments, infrastructure, and of course, the economy.
When planning new products, companies often start by segmenting their markets and positioning their merchandise accordingly. This segmentation involves either dividing the market into product categories, such as function or price, or dividing the customer base into target demographics, such as age, gender, education, or income level. Unfortunately, neither way works very well, according to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, who notes that each year 30,000 new consumer products are launched—and 95 percent of them fail.
Is Google's Public Data Explorer the first step toward a universal data format?
With little fanfare, Google has made a mammoth database culled from nearly 5.2 million digitized books available to the public for free downloads and online searches, opening a new landscape of possibilities for research and education in the humanities. The digital storehouse, which comprises words and short phrases as well as a year-by-year count of how often they appear, represents the first time a data set of this magnitude and searching tools are at the disposal of Ph.D.’s, middle school students and anyone else who likes to spend time in front of a small screen.
Journalists are coping with the rising information flood by borrowing data visualization techniques from computer scientists, researchers and artists. Some newsrooms are already beginning to retool their staffs and systems to prepare for a future in which data becomes a medium. But how do we communicate with data, how can traditional narratives be fused with sophisticated, interactive information displays?
Influence is bliss… The socialization of media is as transformative as it is empowering. As individuals, we’re tweeting, updating, blogging, commenting, curating, liking and friending our way toward varying levels of stature within our social graphs. With every response and action that results from our engagement, we are slowly introduced to the laws of social physics: for every action there is a reaction – even if that reaction is silence. And, the extent of this resulting activity is measured by levels of influence and other factors such as the size and shape of nicheworks as well as attention aperture and time.
Forrester Research’s largest annual survey of Americans’ technology adoption finds that 73 percent of the 37,000 respondents claim the mobile phone is the electronic device they use the most.
Could Web 2.0 be grounded in nature? Our new research shows that Web users are increasingly conceptualizing the online world and new technology — social networks, mobile phones, and even whole businesses — as ecosystems.
People often credit their ideas to individual "Eureka!" moments. But Steven Johnson shows how history tells a different story. His fascinating tour takes us from the "liquid networks" of London's coffee houses to Charles Darwin's long, slow hunch to today's high-velocity web.
Two years after the economic crisis, executives’ confidence has returned—albeit tenuously—suggesting a better ability to cope with and manage economic volatility.
There are many more ways to get the news these days, and as a consequence Americans are spending more time with the news than over much of the past decade. Digital platforms are playing a larger role in news consumption, and they seem to be more than making up for modest declines in the audience for traditional platforms. As a result, the average time Americans spend with the news on a given day is as high as it was in the mid-1990s, when audiences for traditional news sources were much larger.
If you pull out your smartphone and click the button that says “locate me” on your mapping application, you will see a small dot appear in the middle of your screen. That’s you. If you start walking down the street in any direction, the whole screen will move right along with you, no matter where you go. This is a dramatic change from the print-on-paper world, where maps and locations are based around places and landmarks, not on you or your location. In the print world people don’t go to the store and say, “Oh, excuse me, can I buy a map of me?” Instead, they ask for a map of New York, or Amsterdam, or the subway system. You and I aren’t anywhere to be seen on these maps. The maps are locations that we fit into.
In most businesses, not knowing how well a particular product is performing would be almost unthinkable. But newspapers have always been a peculiar business, one that has stubbornly, proudly clung to a sense that focusing too much on the bottom line can lead nowhere good. Now, because of technology that can pinpoint what people online are viewing and commenting on, how much time they spend with an article and even how much money an article makes in advertising revenue, newspapers can make more scientific decisions about allocating their ever scarcer resources.
What is it about design that makes it so well suited to solving complex problems? Why is design thinking such a promising avenue for business and government tackling seemingly intractable problems?
With the arrival of Hispanic Heritage month, people in the media and marketing worlds have already started to talk about what the new Census results could reveal next year. Jackie Hernandez, the chief operating officer of Telemundo, speaks eloquently and passionately about the "New Now" which is her vision (supported by tons of data) of what lies ahead for these great United States.
After coping with the global economic crisis, companies are beginning to aim for growth again. But their approach to managing innovation and the challenges they face haven’t changed. The survey results suggest a few ways to improve.
If for one reason or another, you’d slept through the past five years, only to find yourself suddenly awake in August 2010, you’d quickly realize the world of advertising and marketing has fundamentally changed in three major ways. First, subconscious or subliminal communication (and research) has become part of the vocabulary of most marketers. Second, power has shifted from brand owners to consumers - even the most powerful brands know that successful campaigns have to systematically engage consumers, who will in turn use their mighty word of mouth to spread the messages opposed to relying on big media budgets do the work. Third, 2010 is shaping up to be dominated by guilt. Guilt for spending money in the midst of a debilitating global recession, guilt for polluting the world, and finally, parental guilt, as kids increasingly engage in their own online world, far removed from traditional values that were previously the exclusive domain of the family. So what does this mean for a marketer in 2010?
How do we read? How do we take the arbitrary, human-made code that is the written word and translate it into thoughts and images that mean something to our brain, an organ that had its basic wiring designed thousands of generations before the appearance of the first written word? What is going on in your skull right now as your eyes scan the black squiggly lines that make up this column?
The third tenet of the Marketers' Constitution states, "Marketing must become more effective -- more creative, insightful and accountable." Marketing as a whole encompasses a wide range of activities geared to address and inform the consumer and provide a return on that marketing investment. However, business leaders are challenged to measure the impact of their marketing strategies. A successful plan involves the implementation of three pillars which serve as the basis for marketing effectiveness: Smart consumer insights, Great creative, and Accountability.
AOL's hyper-local news division Patch launched its 100th news site today, underscoring just how quickly AOL is advancing its bid for original content through journalism. The company says it will launch 400 more such local news sites across the U.S. by year's end as well as hire 300 more journalists. A growing swell of mass-content players are tempting content from a wide variety of freelancers, of course, with more companies sure to adopt the model in their wake. Earlier this month one of the biggest content generators, Demand Media, announced its plans for an initial public offering. Last spring Yahoo bought another one, Associated Content, for some $100 million. But these platforms and companies aren't all the same, whether for advertisers or for freelancers.
For the first time, research shows that American creativity is declining. What went wrong—and how we can fix it.
The second tenet of the Marketers' Constitution states, "Marketing must build real, enduring, tangible brand value." A marketing environment in which brands are launched, built, tracked and precisely valued will allow businesses, across the marketing ecosystem, to make strategic decisions about how best to build and protect their brand.
K-Mart and Marc Jacobs have something in common: low- and high-end fashion products tend to have less conspicuous brand markers than midprice goods, according to a paper soon to be published in The Journal of Consumer Research. Rather than rely on obvious logos, expensive products use more discreet markers, such as distinctive design or detailing. High-end consumers prefer markers of status that are not decipherable by the mainstream. These signal group identity only to others with the connoisseurship to recognize their insider standing.
Recent breakthroughs in neuroscience confirm what we marketers know in our guts, but sometimes forget in the day-to-day rush of preparing the next ad campaign launch. Namely, everybody feels (emotions) before they think (rational decision), and without generating the appropriate emotional response, no ad campaign can succeed.
We’ve heard a lot about listening over the past several years as marketers have sought to make the most of the social web. But are we really listening? Former President Calvin Coolidge once remarked that, “No one ever listened themselves out of a job.” Customer feedback today is easier than ever to come by, and experts and observers have encouraged companies to engage in a real dialogue with customers instead of just talking customers’ ears off. As Umair Haque of the Havas Media Lab wrote back in 2008, “listening beats talking.” Companies claimed to have gotten the message, unveiling elaborate listening programs, such as Starbucks’ mystarbucksidea website. More recently, the Wall Street Journal has taken note that business “are listening” to customer reviews and other feedback on sites like Yelp, City Search, and Urban Spoon.
Americans are spending more on electronics like iPads and flat-screen televisions and less on durable goods like furniture, washing machines and lawn mowers, according to government data released Tuesday. The shift reflects a change in priorities for American consumers. After pouring money into all aspects of their homes during the previous decade, consumers are redirecting their purchases to eye-grabbing technology and socking away more of what's left over into savings. Apparel company executives are worried the lure of electronics will eat into their sales as the back-to-school season gets under way.
The time Americans spent on social media has surged 43% in the past year, leading a substantial shift in how the country spends its online time. That time spent online has also sent e-mail to third behind gaming, according to research by Nielsen Co. The time spent on social media accessed from PCs rose from 15.8% in June 2009 to 22.7% in June 2010, according to Nielsen, while online gaming gained more modestly to 10.2% of online time from 9.3% a year earlier. But that was enough to push gaming past e-mail, which fell to 8.3% of online time spent at the PC from 10.5% a year earlier.
Product cycles aren’t getting shorter. They’re disappearing. Retailers are concentrating on their store brands and giving shorter shrift to national brands and manufacturer partnerships. They’re culling nationally branded products that fall short of sales and turn expectations from shelves. Sometimes, these metrics aren’t even used as justification!
In early 2008, Microsoft Corp.'s product planners for the Internet Explorer 8.0 browser intended to give users a simple, effective way to avoid being tracked online. They wanted to design the software to automatically thwart common tracking tools, unless a user deliberately switched to settings affording less privacy. That triggered heated debate inside Microsoft.
While 2009 was arguably the year brands embraced the iPhone, developing apps left and right, the iPad doesn't seem to have inspired the same enthusiasm. Magazines have embraced the iPad, but despite the product's hype, larger screen and dual-touch technology, brands haven't followed suit.
If you look at the world today, it’s devoid of enough true leaders. We used to have so many. This troubles me. What has happened? Is it because people don’t want to step up to the higher responsibilities of leadership, or don’t know how to be great leaders?
At the heart of the Ryanair business model is differentiation of the finest and most deliberate kind. I would - in all seriousness - rank Ryanair next to Hermès or Pret a Manger in terms of brand positioning and execution. Ryanair’s brand associations centre on three key themes: low-price, no nonsense and aggression. Don’t underestimate points two and three.
To identify the world's most valuable brands we looked at more than 100 with leadership positions in their respective industries. Forbes evaluated these brands along with Jeffrey Parkhurst, managing director of business strategy at Mindshare, a WPP-owned media agency. We required that brands have at least some presence in the United States, because if a brand is to be considered global, it needs to be a player in the United States.
Recent breakthroughs in neuro-science confirm what we marketers know in our guts, but sometimes forget in the day-to-day rush of preparing the next ad campaign launch. Namely, everybody feels (emotions) before they think (rational decision), and without generating the appropriate emotional response, no ad campaign can succeed. Here are some guidelines to help avoid that fate.
In a study out today, Forrester finds that only 4% of U.S. online adults have ever used location-based mobile apps such as Foursquare, Gowalla and Loopt. Only 1% update these services more than once per week. What's more, 84% of respondents said they are not familiar with such apps, leaving the vast majority of Americans online still in the dark about location-based apps, which have had the marketing world obsessing over them in recent months.
Marketer interest in the NFL has been so strong that the league actually moved to reduce its number of sponsors to 21 for the upcoming season from 30 corporate partners in 2001 and 24 in 2008. The purpose was to avoid the sponsor-overload of, say, a Nascar, which has done a good job of delineating the categories for its partners so there are no conflicts but, nonetheless, still has 49 corporate sponsors.
They see life as a game. They enjoy nothing more than outsmarting the system. They don’t trust politicians, medias, nor brands. They see corporations as inefficient and plagued by an outmoded hierarchy. Even if they harbor little hope of doing better than their parents, they don’t see themselves as unhappy. They belong to a group — several, actually — they trust and rely upon. “They”, are the Digital Natives.
A couple of months or so after becoming Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron wanted a few tips from somebody who could tell him how it felt to be responsible for, and accountable to, many millions of people: people who expected things from him, even though in most cases he would never shake their hands. He turned not to a fellow head of government but to…Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and boss of Facebook, the phenomenally successful social network.
The trouble: the T400 doesn’t have “it” quality. It is a business machine in the most pedestrian sense of the term. No trace of elegance. No claim to being the pick of the technological litter. No “wow” factor. The T410 is just another business machine. This takes us into one of the thorniest issue in the branding world. What is “it?” And what’s “it” worth?
Amazon.com Inc. said it reached a milestone, selling more e-books than hardbacks over the past three months. But publishers said it is still too early to gauge for the entire industry whether the growth of e-books is cannibalizing sales of paperback books, a huge and crucial market.
Business leaders face the most disruptive market conditions in decades as competition keeps increasing, large rivals continue to compete aggressively by buying market share, new entrants are more nimble and substitute products seem to pop up almost at every turn. To deal with these changes, telecommunication providers -- telephone companies, cable TV companies, wireless companies and satellite TV companies -- need to change their organizational design as "inside-out" structures that put products, not customers, at the center of the organization. They need to become truly customer-centric, and to get there, they need to take these three critical steps.
As more and more advertising dollars flow into social media, some Madison Avenue firms are seeking to grab a piece of the action. But it will be a tough fight as the space is overrun with companies seeking to own the segment, from start-ups to public-relations firms. "You can't walk out your house without bumping into a social-media expert today, says Sean Corcoran, an analyst at Forrester Research. "The reality is the space is still very much a Wild West."
All year long Forbes comes out with lists of the world's richest people--the youngest billionaires, the most eligible billionaires, the richest women, the wealthiest families on each continent. People find it fascinating to track the waning and waxing of personal wealth, watching as perennial front-runners Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are eclipsed by a Mexican telecom titan and chased by various silver-spoon princes of Asia and the Middle East. To be among the world's wealthiest is the stuff of many a daydream. And yet our communal vision of what it means to be "rich" is changing.
As customers make or break brands online, companies rush to hire social media directors…and figure out what they do.
Audi has spent several years building brand awareness and consideration in the U.S. market. Now the company, which saw sales increase 28% in June, is hoping to join the ranks of bona fide luxury brands. The company has focused much of its marketing muscle on vehicles like the A4, but the next phase will be a raft of premium vehicles positioned against vehicles like Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series, says Loren Angelo, Audi's U.S. brand marketing manager.
The Cannes Film Grand Prix-winning Old Spice campaign has evolved over the last 24 hours to dominate discussion in social media, in what is sure to become the ‘case study du jour’ for the foreseeable future. Yesterday, however, the marketing campaign took a different turn and really got ‘social media right’. It’s been updated and sees Isaiah Mustafa respond directly to YouTube comments, Tweets, Yahoo! Answers and blog posts about him in 117 publicly available, timely and pesonalised video messages. So what are the results? It’s still early to tell, but a few things are apparent.
It wasn't a multi-million dollar television campaign for a Fortune 50 company, nor was it a digital media program for some new-age service. Instead, the Grand Effie award was given to the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) for a very simple, and cost-efficient word-of-mouth program to encourage student enrollment. Here's what they did.
Domino’s last week introduced an industry first: A transparent pizza. The chain, working with Crispin Porter + Bogusky, attempted to one-up competitors on the authenticity front by announcing that all the photographs of its pizza that will appear in ads will from now on be devoid of “fancy food artistry” or “fancy touch-ups.”
Observers are wondering why Canton, Mass.-based Reebok, after successfully readjusting its focus to target the women's market, and making great gains with both its ZigTech training shoe and its Easy Tone sneakers, would get back into the basketball-shoe endorsement business when that sector of the sneaker world is losing market share.
Corporate social responsibility, or CSR, means companies aligning their values with a greater good and taking action to have a positive effect. They often do so through "cause marketing," joining forces with nonprofit organizations and focusing ad campaigns on those philanthropic relationships. Why are more companies than ever flaunting their good works this way? Partly, experts say, because they realize that their employees want to be part of a business that does more than just make money.
Now Kleenex, the brand that invented facial tissues 86 years ago, is hoping to bolster summer sales with packages that resemble wedges of fruit and look more at home on a picnic table than a bedside table. The A-frame packages, featuring fruits like watermelon, orange and lime, were available only at Target last summer, and are being sold at all major retailers this summer.
A citizen of the Internet has a very different experience. The Internet smashes hierarchy and is not marked by deference. Maybe it would be different if it had been invented in Victorian England, but Internet culture is set in contemporary America. Internet culture is egalitarian. The young are more accomplished than the old. The new media is supposedly savvier than the old media. The dominant activity is free-wheeling, disrespectful, antiauthority disputation.
Social Media started out as a bit of a novelty — a playground for the “geekerati.” But it has taken hold as a game changing force that will reshape advertising at its very core. It’s time to move past debates about traditional media co-existing with social media. Madison Avenue should see social media as a wonderful, if not disruptive, gift. It should run hard to catch up with the consumer, let go of legacy business models and build something better.
Social media didn’t invent conversations, it provided us with tools to surface and organize them. Conversations about brands predates the mediums used to connect messages and aspirations with consumers. The motivation for brands to engage in social networks varies based on the culture and agility of each company, but what is constant is the aspiration to connect with customers and prospects to earn awareness, attention and connections.
Google is preparing yet another attempt to crack the social networking market. The project is reportedly called "Google Me," and it will be a Facebook clone. What are the odds that Google finally gets it right with social networking? Not good. At least that's what Silicon Valley's tech insiders think.
Wal-Mart's move to eliminate 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gases from its supply chain in the next five years is impressive. It's also an example of the world's largest retailer exerting a blunt form of regulatory vigilantism.
In 2002 a startling announcement was made: sales of video games had finally surpassed the movie box office in the U.S. Over the past two years, games have catapulted to an even more impressive level. Farmville, a game that allows players to tend to a virtual farm with their friends in Facebook, is currently played by 70 million people per month. That's one in four Americans. Kleiner Perkins, the legendary venture capital firm, announced that Zynga is the fastest-growing investment they've ever made. To give this some context, consider that Kleiner was the first investor in Google. I believe this trend represents something much bigger than just explosive growth in the gaming industry. For years, many of the world's smartest people, from psychologists to behavioral economist to marketers, have been studying what motivates people to perform specific actions. In marketing terms, the most important of these is the purchase impulse. Today, the research on buying behavior is beginning to be reframed in terms of gaming mechanics.
Did you know that the US is the world’s second-largest Spanish-speaking country? It’s true. In fact, there are 46.3 million Hispanics in the US today, and 20 million of them use the internet. Are you targeting the Hispanic market with search? If not, perhaps it’s time you considered doing so.
Calling on brands to help consumers simplify their selection and purchase experiences makes sense; in the past, brands have served as the most important institution and clarifying mechanism there is in the marketing world. They have acted as liaisons between company and customer; they're descriptors, promises, expectations and attitudes, all together. But brands themselves have caused great consumer confusion of late. We recently completed an in-depth study of 1,488 consumers; as the results attest, 70% perceive the brands they know, based on memory, in the categories they want to go shopping for, as confusing. And at the point of sale, brand confusion more often increased rather than decreased.
New technologies begin by imitating older technologies before evolving to their true forms. For example, early automobiles looked like horseless carriages, and early television shows imitated radio programming before finding their own forms. Online experiences have followed this pattern—getting their start by imitating the printed page. Although many of today’s online experiences have evolved to include more function and interactivity, the “Web page” still dominates our thinking. So the question still remains: what new form will the Web take as it continues to evolve over the next five years? Three types of trends are driving online experiences into their next phase: capabilities, consumers and competition.
Brands identify the source or maker of a product. Based on what customers know about the brand, they can form reasonable expectations about its benefits. Companies believe that brands contribute to reducing risk by helping buyers avoid a purchasing mistake. It is also a widely held belief that brands are financially important to companies.
There is a good chance that if you are reading this article you already have a personal Facebook account. There's also a possibility that many of you may be trying your hand at tapping into the power of the 400 million-plus members on Facebook. However, Facebook's recent announcements on how its platform is evolving may be as clear as mud. To that end, the goal of this article is to break the latest news into four areas: 1. Graph API 2. Analytics 3. Storable data 4. Social plug-ins. Within each area, we'll translate the technical into what it means (at a high level) and, most important, how brands will benefit.
I will try to demonstrate here the manner in which social acts and communication result in mediated social realities. And suggest that the relational connections and value-added associations which are the byproduct of social media use create a marketplace of content whose highest value, individually motivated subjective choices, we are only beginning to capture and mine.
24/7 Wall St. regularly compiles a report of brands that are likely to disappear in the near-term. Last April, and again in December, we published our findings. Usually, it would take a full year before such a list could be compiled again. However, the current economic climate has accelerated this process and a majority of the brands on the first two lists are either gone, have been acquired, or have filed for bankruptcy. Last April, 24/7 Wall St. identified twelve brands that our analysis showed would disappear, including Saturn, Borders, Palm, AIG and Eddie Bauer.
At the Center for Future Storytelling, researchers envision how technology can give people more control over TV programs they encounter and stories they follow.
John Ross, president of the research and development arm of Interpublic Group's Mediabrands, thinks retailers have a big problem. Their circulars, which worked in the offline world for decades, haven't caught up with consumer habits online.
Twitter this week began testing a new type of advertising: "Promoted Trends." Under the new system, brands can pay to appear below the "Trending Topics," the most talked-about terms on Twitter at any given moment. The idea is, in a word, ingenious -- the perfect way to generate revenue from the popular social network without infuriating users.
Consensus Advisors just released their 2009-2010 Retailer Health Ratings (RHRs) report. The RHRs measure and compare retailers over a five-year period on: healthy growth, asset utilization, pricing power and balance sheet strength.
Even as we pull out of the economic downturn, many people are still curtailing spending because a new meaning of "value" is taking hold. This shift is particularly prominent among what we call the "Post-88s" -- females, age 22 and under -- who have grown up with social media. Their story of self-identity and its impact on value is so distinct from the older half of the Gen Y population that they can no longer be considered as one market.
Although luxury brands remained surprisingly isolated from the downturn in 2007 and 2008, 2009 was tough on all sectors, including haute couture. Even the acclaimed Christian Lacroix was driven out of business. Naturally, when circumstances call for bold actions, it's tempting to expand your market to enhance your bottom line. But is it possible without compromising the luxury nature of your brand?
Repositioning is all about changing people’s minds. Changing the minds of current customers who know the brand and accept its current state is difficult. The most frequent, loyal customers are the most resistant to change – but if they’re not generating enough sales and profits to keep the business growing, they probably shouldn’t be the priority. Changing the minds of folks who have rejected the brand usually depends on the execution of the concept. So, asking consumers about the appropriateness of a brand change is generally not helpful. Instead of assessing brand fit of the new concept, evaluate its unbranded appeal – and then explore how the company might make the concept believable for its brand.
Infiniti from the very beginning has had a difficult time establishing a brand identity and finding a way to execute it in communications. Introduced in 1989, Infiniti was Nissan's response to the introductions of the other Japanese luxury marques; Acura and Lexus. The original Q45 was a sporty performance alternative to the Lexus. Unfortunately, the brand got off to a rough start when it introduced the car and brand with the infamous "rocks and trees" campaign created by its agency Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos.
Last week we looked a ranking of the top ten brands on Facebook globally, based on the number of people who ‘like’ them. There were no real surprises – Starbucks came top and the rest of the top ten was filled with well-known consumer and fashion brands. The same dataset, from Famecount, can be used to look at brands on Twitter and, unlike with Facebook, it throws up some unexpected findings. For example the most followed brand in the UK isn’t a consumer or fashion brand, an airline or a bank. It’s a museum: @Tate.
They are among the World's Hottest Brands, an Ad Age Insights global report that tells the stories of 30 brands succeeding on a global, regional and local level. The goal was not to create a list of the largest global marketers or rank the brands that contribute the most to their company's market value -- plenty of others tackle those lofty questions. Rather, we sought to chronicle the brands percolating at the local and regional level; sometimes great marketing lessons can happen in your backyard, sometimes halfway around the world.
Pepsi's social media-backed community change effort, dubbed “Refresh Project,” is off to a good start. So far, the soft beverage giant has funded more than 100 projects and given back approximately $5 million to local communities, according to Ana Maria Irazabal, marketing director for Pepsi. With new entries and winners announced every month, the brand is on track to hit its goal of $20 million in grant money this year. "Refresh Project" is also helping Pepsi expands its already massive presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other social nets. The initiative has sparked human interaction and is affecting change in communities, Irazabal said.
Given the variety of needs and considerations by different municipality audiences, the question I most often am asked by stakeholders interested in municipality branding is, “Can one brand position work for a municipality or do we need a separate brand position for each audience?” The answer is “yes.” Yes, one overarching brand position can work but it must be designed to work with more specific brand messages for each audience.
While the Internet and social media are a potential boon to market researchers, they've also raised concerns and ongoing debate about methodology and the ability to project results. Now, one social media-based research firm is charging into the fray with a report that maintains that today's empowered consumers and marketers' need for faster, actionable insights requires an approach that combines the strengths of newer, "humanistic" approaches with those of traditional, experimentally-based research.
The first decisive marketing goal of World Cup 2010 was scored nearly three years before the opening match of the soccer tournament, in which Mexico will face South Africa on Friday. It came when Nike, the American sports shoe and clothing maker, acquired Umbro, a British supplier of soccer gear that is a longtime sponsor of the English national team. The deal signaled a new determination by Nike to challenge Adidas, the German soccer apparel powerhouse, on its European home turf.
Will the idea of a "generation gap" eventually atrophy into obsolescence? We see this not only in the video-game world, but also in other brands: moms and daughters with matching Ugg boots, Juicy Couture sweatsuits, Abercrombie hoodies and Coach handbags. Fathers and sons comparing fantasy football rankings on matching iPhones or killing precious productivity hours on YouTube. Teachers and students sipping from matching Starbucks latte cups or ordering the same items from Pinkberry. Moms and daughters rooting feverishly for their favorite "American Idol" contestants or shaking their heads in utter disgust at the shameless and hygienically dubious conduct of the latest batch of "The Real World" participants.
The Pew Research Center released an interesting study last week that offers some sobering — if unsurprising — insights for the news business. Researchers examined top news stories in the mainstream press as well as what news got traction on blogs, Twitter and YouTube. A main finding was that what’s hot on social media differs — a lot — from what leads in the mainstream press. But what’s even more interesting, I think, is that what’s popular on one form of social media differs significantly from what’s trendy on another. For example, Twitter’s domain is technology, not surprisingly. Blogs and the mainstream press focus more on politics and government. Also not a shocker. As my kids might say: “No duh.” But what isn’t so obvious is what this might mean. I’ve written before about how I believe the real reason many people don’t subscribe to news online — or in print — is about commitment, not money. This study crystallizes my thoughts. I suggest these findings illustrate the radically different way today’s consumers think of news, compared with the past. It’s not brand based. It’s not even platform based. It’s based on niche, which many have said before. But the niche isn’t just in the content or the subject matter; it’s in the mechanism of transmission.
Is quality important? Yes. Is Innovation important? Absolutely. Is service important? Of course. Is it desirable to be the industry leader? Sure. However, in more and more categories, as I perform brand audits, I find that large numbers of companies in many categories make these claims, so much so that the claims have become hollow.
How does a company inspire its consumers and what does it mean for business growth? Inspiration Blvd, a brand-consulting firm in Alpharetta, Ga., surveyed 1,752 consumers to identify America's top motivating companies. Conducted online, the survey asked consumers to pinpoint influential indicators--such as innovation, reliability, growth, charity--and to freely describe companies they see as inspiring. The goal was to determine a correlation between successful companies and companies that inspire their consumers, says Terry Barber, chief inspiration officer of Inspiration Blvd. "We set out asking whether companies that inspired others were more likely to connect and draw shoppers," Barber says. "We see now there's a strong link between the message consumers take away and how they act on it."
Coke & Pepsi are very active in social media and I think their hard work is helping to build up a “trust bank” with their audience. As has been widely reported, Pepsi took their Superbowl ad budget and instead of creating a set of iconic commercials they launched their “Refresh Everything” campaign, in which they asked their audience to come up with ideas to “refresh the world”, in the categories of health, the planet, art & culture, food & shelter, neighborhoods and education.
Social Media marketing is not new nor is it widely established or even understood. However in 2010, it will completely transform the way businesses attract customers and the way consumers find the businesses and services that matter to them. And like that, an overnight landmark, which really is over a decade in the making, will challenge business owners, more so than today, as they now compete for the future, right now. Social Networks are no longer the playgrounds we once perceived. The simple truth is this; social networking is not for just for kids or people with too much free time on their hands.
Mountain Dew took three new Dew flavors to fans, asking for feedback on placing ad media buys. The move represents the latest in a series of attempts through Dew Labs to turn over the entire product development cycle and marketing process to consumers who love the brand most.
Today, much of the marketing world has embraced the spirit of the digital age, and perhaps the strongest evidence is that it's doing a lot of work that's not so, well, "digital." The best companies have harnessed the digital mindset and taken the shareable, ongoing, interactive, participatory nature of digital and created brand experiences that matter to people where they ought to -- in their real, everyday lives.
When top executives set out to build well-regarded companies, most start in their home countries. If they're successful, strong business practices and values they craft there will translate overseas. As companies become more connected and businesses more international, creating a first-class reputation across borders is critical. For some companies, this can be the difference between success and failure. So what is the secret to earning esteem that spans the world? And which companies are best at doing it?
Numbers are the universal language of business. We use them to attract investors for our startup ideas, to win approval for product introductions, to make the case for expanding into new markets or entering new categories. In other words, numbers, when used well, tell a compelling story. So why is it that so many of the numbers we encounter in business — from endless Excel spreadsheets to bloodless calculations in business plans — make our eyes glaze over rather than set our minds racing?
In the massive new Barnes & Noble superstore on Manhattan's Upper East Side, generous display space is devoted to baby blankets, Art Deco flight clocks, stationery and adult games like Risk and Stratego. The eclectic merchandise, which has nothing to do with books, may be a glimpse into the future of Barnes & Noble Inc., the nation's largest book chain. Electronic books are still in their infancy, comprising an estimated 3% to 5% of the market today. But they are fast accelerating the decline of physical books, forcing retailers, publishers, authors and agents to reinvent their business models or be painfully crippled.
Since late 2005, Apple's stock has quintupled. With a market capitalization of close to $250 billion, Apple is (at least today) the third most valuable company in the world, behind ExxonMobil and Microsoft. It's a stunning story that's been dissected to death, but still remarkable enough to warrant reflection. Ten years ago — three years after Chairman and CEO Steve Jobs had returned to "rescue" Apple — the company was still largely treading water, with a relatively meager $3 billion market capitalization. Its personal computer products had a loyal following in niche markets, but that was about it. Over the past decade, Apple has launched five legitimately game-changing innovations.
Comparing Starbucks and McDonald's may not seem to make sense at first, but the two chains actually have a lot in common--namely, they both promise quickie and easy food and beverages on the go, and both companies have recently ramped up sustainability efforts. In the new book The HIP Investor, author R. Paul Herman attempts to compare the two mega-chains. Below, we do the same.
Woody Allen once said that “80 percent of success is just showing up.” Unfortunately, at purchase decision time, the vast majority of brands never show up at all. Getting consumers to “think” about your brand more often, and in more buying situations, is one of the most under-rated marketing challenges that brands face today.
The internet changes over time. That the technology has evolved is obvious. But how we use the internet is also changing. So we have two conceptual distinctions — technology and people — that we frequently conflate into one idea of the internet. This post is about teasing apart the objective and subjective dimensions of social media, to examine what’s behind the relational economy we now live in, and its particular mode of production. All commerce and much personal and social utility implied by use of social media owes to the subjective value added to what was, previously, a mode of production of information (publishing).
Striving to do more good is associated with greater profitability, equity and asset returns, and shareholder value creation. But that's still not good enough. Today, the bar is being raised: success is itself changing. Those are yesterday's metrics of success — more importantly, maximizing good lets companies outperform on tomorrow's measures of success.
For big companies, bounding back from corporate scandal, financial malfeasance or public disaster is difficult--but it isn't impossible. Looking at companies that have come back after business downturns, product problems or corporate scandal, several experts on corporate reputation and crisis management helped Forbes identify 10 companies that have made, or are making, turnarounds after corporate hard times.
Though I often like to riff on smart or silly marketing decisions, I'm more interested in the business strategy behind brands. In considering Dell and Starbucks, I'd have to say that both companies are utterly and somewhat similarly lost.
For Research in Motion, the maker of the popular BlackBerry smartphone, staying No. 1 isn't about apps or fancy hardware, it's about cost effectiveness. For all the hoopla surrounding Apple's iPhone and the various Android smartphones that have hit the market recently, many forget what is still, by a healthy margin tops in the market: RIM's modest BlackBerry. And RIM intends to stay on top by doing what it does best: offering something that's more affordable and can operate on wireless networks more efficiently than its flashier competition.
What can Procter & Gamble learn from Method, the San Francisco purveyor of natural home products? How about Fidelity Investments — could it profit from observing Zurich's Sustainable Asset Management? What lessons are offered to mainstream companies by mission-driven companies, those small- and medium-sized enterprises that balance profitability with social and environmental goals? By studying them, mainstream companies can get beyond the fruitless debate over whether it pays to be responsible, and move onto a far more important issue: How they can make being responsible pay.
Last year was the worst year ever for global luxury goods, with worldwide sales falling 8%. But in a look at the world's most valuable luxury brands, Forbes identifies 10 that are poised to thrive in better economic times. These brands, including BMW and Louis Vuitton, share some qualities that help keep them strong even when wealthy consumers are curtailing spending.
Digital technologies have fundamentally changed the way consumers interact with each other and, by the way, with brands. The role of engaging brand stories has not gone away. However, to truly establish loyalty and advocacy -- the holy grail of marketing in the digital age -- our marketing and brand strategies need to go beyond telling great stories. We have to make marketing focus on how products or services are actually used, not on how we hope they are used. We have to make them more useful by wrapping them in applications that increase their usefulness to the consumer.
Finally, marketers are acknowledging the necessity of listening to consumers - aka "people" - and brands are adjusting to the social networked environment by opening conversations. Market researchers cannot ignore these developments since they dictate the necessity of understanding peoples' identities, not only their interests. We Are People, Not Data Points - See Us Live
For all of the talk about the empowerment of the customer, some industries seemed to have missed this entire conversation. Frankly, airlines (and others, like banks) continue to run their business in complete defiance of anything like putting their customers first. Remember United Breaks Guitars? Today that video has 8,395,275 views. Given the complaints I'm seeing, I'm not sure that United learned anything from that experience.
If a consumer types a brand name into the Google search box, a home-page link should -- and likely will -- appear as one of the top listings. But does the same thing happen when typing in a generic keyword relevant to that business? Say, "home repair" for Home Depot or "gifts" for Harry & David? That depends on how well they're optimized for Google. And in the case of those two examples, Home Depot and Harry & David website links don't even make it to the first page of Google, according to a recent study by Covario that evaluated the search-engine optimization health of 100 branded websites.
You seemingly can’t live without social media these days, or at least, that is what many in our industry believe. Why? Because “everybody” is using it. Everybody is communicating, “everybody is a publisher.” But does that mean that every European is publishing through social media? Well, not exactly. Yes, Europeans are online en masse and are using social media in big numbers. But how are they using social media?
Millions are embracing a hot steaming plate of serious issues served with a side of mockery of the politicians, businessmen and celebrities who populate conventional news. And given this, how big a leap is it for companies to mock themselves as a means to reach audiences? It can be done effectively. Last fall, for instance, we worked with Intuit subsidiary Quicken, issuing a report on Mustached Americans being in greater financial need due to their profligate spending habits on ladies, leather pants and teeth whitening. The result was the most publicity Quicken had ever received and the company reached new consumers in a humorous way.
Marketing campaigns that encourage considerable word of mouth among consumers have a greater impact on sales than more traditional forms of advertising, according to McKinsey. The consultancy argued that word of mouth is the "primary factor" behind between 20% and 50% of purchases, with a particular relevance in relation to expensive products and first-time acquisitions. It added that an advertising "overload", growing mistrust of marketing and the social media-driven shift in control away from companies and towards consumers have all encouraged this trend.
To truly capture the State and Future of Twitter and all that was revealed during its first official conference, requires additional time and space. In Part One, we examined the sociological impact of Twitter on society, the true size of the network, as well as equally exploring its challenges and opportunities. In Part Two, we’ll review and interpret streams, interest graphs, and Twitters new advertising platform.
With big names like Tiger Woods and Toyota Motor stepping into the spotlight of public scrutiny this year, reputation is a hot topic in the media and in corporate boardrooms. No company wants its public image to be the reason it has a hard time rebounding from the recession. So what factors shape the public's image of American businesses? Which companies do consumers trust and admire?
The following 10 companies stand out as prime examples of how social responsibility can be productively coupled with sound strategies to advance goodwill, while building sustainable and impressive businesses. They provide the leadership to demonstrate how marketers can pursue both objectives simultaneously. As such, socially conscious companies have stepped up their efforts with increasing effectiveness and productivity. It is an impressive movement and one that invites society at large to do even more. Let's use these as examples for "how to get it done" so that we can effectively expand our efforts to give back.
Men are, well, men. They live in the 'now.' They are concrete thinkers that like to consummate, finish. A male axiom is "complete what you set out to do." Men are interested in power and in looking good, even more than being good. In short, that's the nature of beauty for the beast. You cannot market to men the same way you market to women. It's not a simple transformation of changing colors, fonts or packaging. Men and women are different biologically, psychologically and socially.
For decades, shoppers have taken advantage of coupons. Now, the coupons are taking advantage of the shoppers. A new breed of coupon, printed from the Internet or sent to mobile phones, is packed with information about the customer who uses it. While the coupons look standard, their bar codes can be loaded with a startling amount of data, including identification about the customer, Internet address, Facebook page information and even the search terms the customer used to find the coupon in the first place.
Marketers have always sought that secret sauce, the data that gives them an edge over their competition. And online, where data is generated faster than anyone can make sense of it, that arms race has taken on an extreme dimension.
Strategy used to be about protecting your existing competitive advantage. Today, it's about finding the next advantage. Strategy starts to decay the moment it's created. That's why corporations must develop strategies that address tomorrow's business realities. Strategic actions that companies take belong in one of three boxes.
OK, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say something that might not make sense at first: the most important outcome of successful web analytics (or SEO effort or landing page testing, etc.) is not a better web site. The most important outcome is a better, more functional company.
Birds of a feather flock together. Or, in the Internet age, a customer's friend is a potential customer. Embracing those truisms, some big marketers, including Sprint and eBay, are turning to small start-ups to help them tap social-networking data to find would-be clients among the friends and acquaintances of existing customers, to the dismay of some privacy advocates.
Twitter. The privately held company received a new round of investment last fall, believed to be $100m, which values the business at a whopping $1bn (£624m). That makes Twitter roughly as valuable as WH Smith - which provides an excellent point of comparison. WH Smith has done well this year. Its annual revenues are likely to be about £1.3bn, and most analysts are expecting those revenues to result in pre-tax profits of about £80m. Over at Twitter, for all its glorious PR and amazing technological impact, there is nothing. Not a cent. Because Twitter does not charge for its service.
"Brands are dying," we're told. As a result, we hear that branding is no longer relevant. So now, what do we do?
Everyone knows there's a critical difference between Brand imagery and User imagery. A brand's personality tells a story about the product. It tells its target market what to expect. It suggests heritage, quality, flavor, status, effectiveness, attractiveness, service, value, when to use it, where to use it, how to use it, etc. Potent brands create rich pictures in the eye of the consumer. User imagery, on the other hand, generally refers to one of two possibilities.
So who the heck owns social? That's a tricky question, not only because every business stakeholder -- marketing, PR, IT, research, investor relations, media, consumer relations -- seems to have a piece of social baked into their new DNA and delivery road map, but also because its definition and scope keep getting pulled in new, arguably more complicated, directions.
The business of marketing is in the midst of a massive cultural shift. While buzzwords like co-creation, mass-collaboration and crowdsourcing are all the rage, there’s actually a much bigger and deeper change going on with the way work gets done. Three disruptive forces: the expectation of transparency, the further digitization of the workforce and the rise of the curator class, all coupled with the current macro-economic conditions, have changed the world of marketing forever. Like it or not, from professional creatives to consumers, people want to be involved with your brand.
For the second year in a row, Southwest Airlines is the top-rated brand among the nation’s small- and midsize-business owners and top executives. That’s the conclusion of a new survey of men and women who lead businesses with less than 500 employees that was conducted by American City Business Journals, the parent company of Portfolio.com. Although this is the sixth year of the survey, it’s the first year ACBJ has released the findings to the general public.
After spending last year atop the retail death-watch list, Talbots Inc. is now a favorite on Wall Street, thanks to cost cuts and a complex financial arrangement for unloading its enormous debt. But to solidify its comeback and boost sales, Talbots must complete a merchandise and image overhaul aimed at attracting younger customers. And that's a tall order for a brand that many women think of as perfect for their grandmothers.
As wary Americans start to crack open their wallets, household-goods makers like Procter & Gamble Co., Colgate-Palmolive Co., Kimberly-Clark Corp. and Clorox Co. are cranking up their advertising, hoping to coax consumers farther out of their shells. Amid signs of an improving economy, recent survey data show consumers are more willing to splurge by eating out or buying new shoes, but the same doesn't necessarily hold for everyday household goods.
How does a great brand like Toyota, built over decades, lose its way so quickly? For that matter, how did General Motors stumble? And how about Kmart, Washington Mutual and Circuit City suddenly become irrelevant? One day these companies were global leaders. The next, seemingly, they were flat on their backs, bleeding years of brand building and future sales and profits.
Advanced technology. Ideas that promise to revolutionize the way businesses are run. Out with the old, in with the new. Not sure how it'll make any money? Mere details. Get going or risk getting left behind. Great riches will come to those with the guts to throw caution and experience to the wind. CRM. Social media. We've seen the story before, and comparisons between the two phenomenon aren't new, either. But looking at things at the company level reveals a sobering possibility: we're about due for The Crash. The parallels are imprecise and sometimes the histories are outright apples and oranges. Get over it. If I'm even partially right, there's a reckoning a'coming.
Guess who says the following attributes are most influential in making "important purchases" today: value, price, overall quality, good design and functionality? A clue: 84% of this group texts from cellphones; 78% use social networking; 66% use the mobile web and 57% use mobile apps. It's not who you think it is. In fact, it's a group whose median age is 45, not 19.
Trending topics reveal much more than the objects that captivate the hearts, minds, and keyboards of Twitter users around the world. Twitter’s trends is a cultural mirror that reflects the state of attention and intention. And as such, Tweets then offer an MRI that visualizes the minds of consumers and more importantly, serve as a crystal ball that reveals the future of products and services before and soon after they’re released. For the most part, however, the vast amount of precious insight is widely untapped. Instead, businesses focus on volume and congregation, enticing brands to engage in the conversation rather than truly capturing and analyzing the activity that inherently inspires empathy and ultimately relevance. I think that’s about to change…
The Considered Purchase Pattern is a powerful model for a business-to-business website because so many businesses have flaccidly chosen to build their site on the brochure pattern. With the strategies outlined here, you will generate new leads and sales at a fraction of the cost of your competitors. Get these strategies right, and you have the opportunity to dominate your competitors on the Web.
Last fall, Mercedes-Benz ran a competition among business schools like Harvard, New York University, Wharton and Kellogg, in cooperation with NYU, to find out what the next critical market for the brand actually thinks of the brand.
In and around last week's New York International Auto Show, Ad Age got in front of marketing leaders at some of the world's major car brands, including Jim Farley, group VP-global marketing and Canada, Mexico and South America operations, Ford Motor Co.; Scott Keogh, CMO, Audi of America; Chris Perry, director-marketing and acting head of marketing, Hyundai Motor America; John Maloney, VP-marketing and product planning, Volvo Cars of North America; and Jack Pitney, VP-marketing, BMW of North America. We asked them how they intend to market through the economic recovery, how they are evolving their global-marketing strategies and what's yet to come.
Mr. Yospe was not a screenwriter, not a producer, not even a studio executive. No, Mr. Yospe was a lawyer with the firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. He was meeting with the writer-producer Roberto Orci, who co-wrote “Transformers” and “Star Trek,” to talk about how to include brands in “The 28th Amendment.”
Today’s consumer is emerging from the recession with a radically new definition of the American Dream and a renewed sense in their own resourcefulness and priorities according to a just released quantitative study of 1200 consumers and qualitative research with nearly 700, conducted by Ogilvy & Mather Chicago in partnership with leading consumer insight company Communispace.
In January 2010, nearly 75 million people visited Twitter according to comScore. While that number seems remarkable, it represents only a fraction of what’s realistically attainable. I believe that Twitter’s growth, to date, is hindered not by its ambition nor potential, but by the company’s ongoing focus on competing priorities rather than showcasing how users can effectively communicate and excel on this unique platform. But that’s all about to change… Every day, millions of potential people are introduced to Twitter through traditional media, online dialogue in other social networks, as well as the content and marketing campaigns of local, national, and global businesses and media properties.
Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that everyone is buzzing, blogging, tweeting, and talking about geolocation. Research firm Borrel forecasts that location-based mobile spending will hit $4 billion in 2015, an increase of nearly 12,000% from the $34 million spent in 2009. With highly anticipated location-centric announcements looming from both Facebook and Apple, the buzz over geolocation is not expected to diminish any time soon.
I attend a lot of marketing conferences where I hear over-excited pitch people telling me all about The New Thing that will Change Every Paradigm Forever. So much over-enthusiasm can jade just about anyone, so it was with relief that I joined a much more sober group for their conference. I spent the last few days at the Advertising Research Federation’s (ARF) re:Think 2010 conference taking place in New York City. I found, however, that even here among the stodgiest of marketing researchers, there’s talk of … a paradigm shift.
It has never been more important to turn your brand into a service. Jaded, time-poor, pragmatic consumers yearn for service and care, while the mobile online revolution (it's finally, truly here!) makes it possible to offer uber-relevant services to consumers anywhere, anytime. Basically, if you're going to embrace one big consumer trend this year, please let it be BRAND BUTLERS!
I used to think that the problem of information is that it turns homo sapiens into fools — we gain disproportionately in confidence, particularly in domains where information is wrapped in a high degree of noise (say, epidemiology, genetics, economics, etc.). So we end up thinking that we know more than we do, which, in economic life, causes foolish risk taking. When I started trading, I went on a news diet and I saw things with more clarity. I also saw how people built too many theories based on sterile news, the fooled by randomness effect. But things are a lot worse. Now I think that, in addition, the supply and spread of information turns the world into Extremistan (a world I describe as one in which random variables are dominated by extremes, with Black Swans playing a large role in them). The Internet, by spreading information, causes an increase in interdependence, the exacerbation of fads (bestsellers like Harry Potter and runs on the banks become planetary). Such world is more "complex", more moody, much less predictable.
It didn't take long for Julie Liu -- late 20s, smartphone-addicted, constant Googler -- to get hooked on the online review site Yelp. Where to eat Friday night? Read some reviews by random anonymous diners. Oh, that looks good. Book a table online, show up, eat. But after Liu and her sister opened Scion restaurant in Dupont Circle, they saw Yelp from a different angle. Liu said Yelp's salespeople phoned repeatedly, telling her that if she advertised on the site, negative reviews would move lower on Scion's page and positive reviews would move up.
Simply put, if marketers are counting on their agencies to lead them into a world of changing consumer behaviors and media habits, they should think again. As digital-marketing channels multiply, agencies are struggling to figure out their own businesses, and a recent Forrester study suggests that marketers may need to force their agencies to evolve rather than wait for them to do it themselves. Ad Age got a peek at the 16-page study, called "The Future of Agency Relationships," for which Forrester spent nearly four months interviewing agency and marketing executives.
Trying to control, or even manage, your online reputation is becoming increasingly difficult. And much like the fight by big labels against the illegal sharing of music, it will soon become pointless to even try. It’s time we all just give up on the small fights and become more accepting of the indiscretions of our fellow humans. Because the skeletons are coming out of the closet and onto the front porch. We’ll look back on the good old days when your reputation was really only on the line with eBay via confirmed, actual transactions and LinkedIn, where you can simply reject anyone who leaves bad feedback on your professional life.
The announcement that Tiger Woods would finally begin his 2010 PGA season with an appearance at the Masters Tournament didn't surprise me. My belief has always been that he would step forward to rebuild his brand. The love of the game, if not the love of the fame, is just too important to him. This announcement, along with the continuous bad news about Toyota and other long-standing brands under duress did, however, get me thinking about how much harder it is to transition and reposition a brand in the digital world than it was in pre-Internet days. With information about everything from culture to commerce immediately accessible and sharable on social media, no topic is immune to scrutiny or commentary. This has marketing folks asking some very good questions about strategies for working through both planned and unavoidable changes in brand status.
Pricing is one of the most powerful--yet underutilized--strategies available to businesses. A McKinsey & Company study of the Global 1200 found that if companies increased prices by just 1%, and demand remained constant, on average operating profits would increase by 11%. Using a 1% increase in price, some companies would see even more growth in percentage of profit: Sears, 155%; McKesson, 100%, Tyson, 81%, Land O'Lakes, 58%, Whirlpool, 35%. Just as important, price is a key attribute that consumers consider before making a purchase.
A smart subordinate should actually want the relationship with the firm to be based at least in some part on things that are qualitative — that require judgment and interpretation because these are what makes it necessary and optimal for him to be an actual part of the firm. A quantitatively based relationship is a shallow one while one that has an important qualitative dimension is a deeper one. The same logic applies to a firm's relationships with customers. If our understanding of customers is based entirely on quantitative analysis, we will have a shallow rather than deep relationship with them.
Coke Zero was launched in 2006 with the ambition of being as big as Diet Coke in 10 years. I posted back in 2006 asking questions about the rationale for Coke Zero and how successful it would be. Well, 4 years into that 10 year journey, and the status is (mkt share 4 weeks to 26 Dec 09): Coke Zero: 2.2% share, lowest share since launch Diet Coke: 26.8% share, +1%pt So, why is Coke having such a hard time?
Since March 2007, when Viacom first accused Google in a $1 billion lawsuit of profiting off thousands of unauthorized copyrighted clips that once appeared on YouTube, most of the conflict had smoldered out of public view. Once the case documents were unsealed on Thursday, all the spite roared into the open. Google attacked Viacom for chopping up e-mails from YouTube's founders in an obvious attempt to invent sinister-sounding messages. In Viacom's motion for summary judgment, the parent company of Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures railed against Google and YouTube for developing "serial amnesia" during depositions and also for failing "to preserve and produce" key documents--a no-no in civil proceedings. So, is this just legal gamesmanship, or have both sides gone too far?
In 2007 Charlene Li, then at Forrester Research, now running the Altimeter Group, along with Forrester ’s Josh Bernoff, Remy Fiorentino, and Sarah Glass released a report that introduced us to Social Technographics. Forrester’s research segmented participation behavior on the social web into six categories, visualized through a ladder metaphor with the rungs at the high end of the ladder indicating a greater level of participation. Social Technographics were designed to help businesses engage in social media with a more human approach, catering to individuals where, when, and how they are participating and contributing to the social Web. According to Forrester research…
Attention: fast food marketers – you’re wasting half of your advertising. But I’m not talking about the waste that John Wanamaker was referring to in his famous quip about not knowing which half of his advertising was being wasted. I’m talking about the average of 48% of people who say there’s a big difference between what you promise in your advertising and what they experience at your restaurants.
The idea of branded utility is nothing new. In fact, it’s an idea that has cycled in and out of popular conversations for almost a decade, and yet there is still debate on exactly what it means and whether or not brands can truly provide branded utility in a way that makes a relevant connection to the brand.
Walmart has decided that national brands are still important -- even ones with relatively small shares that it used to think didn't. The world's-biggest retailer had embarked on an ambitious program to winnow brand assortment in an effort to reduce inventory, improve margins and, it said, offer the consumer a better shopping experience. But realizing the culling actually "aggravated" consumers, it's now restocking hundreds of brands and products eliminated or curtailed months ago and taking a new look at other categories where it has streamlined assortment.
The Apple iPad, hitting stores April 3, is one of the most-hyped products in technology history. There is talk that it could revolutionize computing and media. But when it comes to new products, great expectations can doom products that don't measure up to them.
There's something desperately wrong with consumer brand marketing. We all know it. The brand-building talent and expertise that created the CPG manufacturer are gone. Marketers with the ability to identify an unmet consumer need, develop a product to meet it, create a brand, and then lead it to market dominance are missing. Product managers with a fear of ambiguity have replaced the creative, forward-thinking brand builders. Our biggest consumer brands are now managed by nerds.
A little while ago, I wrote about my current class assignment to reinvigorate a brand that is “dead, dying or defunct”. As we are nearing the semester’s end next month, I thought it would be a good time to begin describing the process of this project. The final deliverable is a book, in which we describe the history of our chosen brand (and why it’s time for a update), outline the new identity guidelines (visual standards manuals, usage considerations etc), and show potential extensions (mock ups of storefronts, products, etc). For this process post I’ll describe my brand choice and eventual logo development.
A new survey of 2,000 U.S. consumers, the second issued by Booz & Company since the early days of the recession in October 2008, confirms that a “new frugality,” born of the Great Recession and evidenced by two consecutive years of declining per capita consumption, is now becoming entrenched among U.S. consumers and is reshaping their consumption patterns in ways that will persist even as the economy starts to recover.
Games like World of Warcraft give players the means to save worlds, and incentive to learn the habits of heroes. What if we could harness this gamer power to solve real-world problems? Jane McGonigal says we can, and explains how.
In today's world of endless choice and prolific product options, brands are confronted with the challenge of gaining mindshare and market penetration. Combined with a stalling economy, many brands have addressed this challenge by rethinking the way they have always done business, altering their core product or trying to attract customers through promotions, giveaways and campaigns. Yet one of the best strategies, if thoughtfully prepared and executed, remains one of the most visible and well-known in the food industry: co-branding.
The internet has changed the way we do research. Sure it's cheap and fast, but is the ability to get instant data actually making executives smarter about market opportunities? Not always. In too many companies, online research creates an illusion of rigor while actually sowing confusion about market truths, leading executives -- in particular CEOs and CMOs -- to miss the big picture and waste opportunities right under their noses.
Digital-marketing companies are rapidly moving to blend information about consumers' Web-surfing behavior with reams of other personal data available offline, seeking to make it easier for online advertisers to reach their target audiences. Advertisers say the push could enhance their ability to target ads at specific types of consumers, but it is drawing scrutiny from Congress, federal regulators and privacy watchdogs, who are already concerned about the use of Web-surfing data.
For years marketing professionals have been telling Wall Street that brand value confers a genuine competitive advantage. For years Wall Street has smiled politely, pulled down its green eyeshades and told us to stick to our knitting. So you can imagine my surprise when a senior manager from Credit Suisse reported recently that, after undertaking an in-depth, facts-and-figures research study on the topic, the company had determined that brand value gives companies a genuine competitive advantage.
Despite improvements in the global economy, chemicals, retail banking, consumer packaged goods, engineered products and services, oil and gas, and technology still need to transform.
Toyota has announced three major recalls covering a total of eight million vehicles globally since October 2009. The recalls are for defects that have been associated with 52 fatalities and 38 injuries so far. Not surprisingly, the business media and notable Toyota experts are starkly pessimistic. We looked at 108 Wall Street Journal articles discussing Toyota during February, 2010, and found that 106 were negative to Toyota. In a recent column by Dennis Seid, Jeffrey Liker, an economist and author of The Toyota Way observed that the hearings and the resultant lawsuits could severely damage the company in many ways.
I'm going to go out on a limb and propose that product crises aren't communications crises. Suggesting otherwise is like giving the play-by-play announcer credit for a sports score, or holding a translator responsible for presenting an untenable negotiating position. Our selective vision makes us focus on how issues are communicated at risk of losing sight of the business reality it narrates. Bad news doesn't influence or have an impact on brands as much as reveal them for what they are. CMOs need to see someone else's misfortune as the opportunity to review and perhaps change how you see your function before the inevitable spotlight finds you.
I’ve been working with a major retail brand and my engagement has included an audit and assessment of retail best practices. Although most of my work is proprietary, I wanted to share some of my findings here because I’ve found some really interesting patterns.
Credit Suisse's report picks its 27 elite brands of tomorrow based on a deeper analysis of their potential. Most of the picks are brands that are "transforming," making the leap from niche/emerging players into powerful mainstream brands. Brands like Trader Joe's and Hyundai. These are brands that offer investors attractive returns, some risk but not as much as early-stage brands that may never make it over the hump once the initial rush of growth and enthusiasm is over. Only two early stage brands make the list: Facebook and Comac, a Chinese aircraft start-up.
Today many marketers are tripping over one another to invade social networks in force. There is a social media land grab underway as businesses rush to set up hubs on the "big three:" Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. All at once, businesses large and small recognize that they need to go where the people congregate. And with 100 million Facebook users in the U.S., this movement is understandable. When your local pizzeria is promoting their Facebook page at the register, as mine does, then you know that marketing has changed.
If any company seems well-positioned to both influence and profit from a generation of environmentally aware youth, it's Walt Disney Co. And Robert Iger, president and chief executive of Disney, insists the company is doing just that. Mr. Iger sat down with The Wall Street Journal's Alan Murray to talk about the new green strategies the company applies to everything from its theme parks to its movie studios, as well as changes Disney has seen in consumer attitudes. They began the conversation by talking about the company's conservation campaign—Friends for Change—which so far has reached more than a million children, he says.
Consumers appear to be slowly returning to big-name brands after fleeing to lower-cost, private labels in the past year. Store brands rose 3.2% at retailers for the four-week period ended Feb. 20, according to a Thursday report released by Credit Suisse analyst Robert Moskow. Such brands account for about 20% of unit sales of food. Figures exclude sales at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. But the increase is down from a 4% gain in January and an about 6% gain, excluding dairy, last July. At the same time, branded-food unit sales rose 2.4% for the February period compared to a 0.2% decline for the four weeks ended Jan. 23. Mr. Moskow said the gains in part could be due to shoppers stocking up on items before and during the recent winter storms.
U.S. consumers haven't stopped pinching pennies, but two months of sales gains show that they are in better shape than feared and have begun the year with a return to more normal buying habits. After spending much of 2009 in a defensive crouch, shoppers braved bad weather and took to the malls in February, snapping up spring merchandise at close to full price. Hard-hit teen retailers, including American Eagle Outfitters Inc. and higher-priced department store chain Nordstrom Inc., both of which reported big sales drops a year earlier, reported sharp improvements from a year ago. The results, on the heels of similar gains in recent months, signal consumers, even if they aren't returning to free-spending ways, are giving up the ultra-frugal habits of last year.
Facebook, the world’s biggest social network, is selling more ad spots to big companies like Wal-Mart Stores, Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo. But the site’s pages are also home to countless ads from smaller companies that can be funny, weird or just plain creepy — those suggesting you are, say, eligible to get a free iPad because you are exactly 26 years old, or entreaties to see what your offspring would look like if you had a child with a celebrity.
It seems like the American marketing community is poised on the brink of an astounding discovery: the value of the post-war baby boom market! With the upcoming (and much anticipated) Tom Brokaw special, "Tom Brokaw Reports: Boomer$," it seems like everyone is trying to jump on this particular wagon. On March 1, Advertising Age published a fun piece by Judann Pollack called "The 15 Biggest Baby Boomer Brands" in which Pollack attempts to lay out the iconic products and their ad campaigns of her generation. This is precisely why marketing to boomers is in such a state of disarray. Folks are trying to take 20 pounds and shove it into a five-pound bag.
Ford Motor Co. surpassed General Motors Co. in sales last month for the first time in at least 50 years, presenting a new headache for the government-owned car maker as it struggles to return to profitability. Hours after the sales results were disclosed Tuesday, GM announced an overhaul of its top managers—the second executive shuffle in three months. The news underscored the impatience of GM Chief Executive Edward E. Whitacre Jr. and the heat the company is feeling from a resurgent Ford.
Organizations love data: numbers, reports, trend lines, graphs, spreadsheets — the more the better. And, as a result, many organizations have a substantial internal factory that churns out data on a regular basis, as well as external resources on call that produce data for onetime studies and questions. But what's the evidence (or dare I say "the data") that all of this data is worth the cost and indeed leads to better business decisions? Is some amount of data collection unnecessary, perhaps even damaging by creating complexity and confusion?
All these examples tell the same story: that the world contains an unimaginably vast amount of digital information which is getting ever vaster ever more rapidly. This makes it possible to do many things that previously could not be done: spot business trends, prevent diseases, combat crime and so on. Managed well, the data can be used to unlock new sources of economic value, provide fresh insights into science and hold governments to account.
Caribou Coffee, a distant No. 2 in the coffee chain category next to Starbucks, is attempting to bolster its appeal as a branded coffee company by playing down the ski lodge imagery and, yes, the caribou, with a sweeping rebranding. The push, which includes a new logo and print work, comes as the brand attempts to foster a more contemporary, less regional image. With locations in 15 Midwestern and Eastern states, Caribou doesn’t have the national retail footprint of Starbucks and has a fraction of the marketing budget. But it is known for its quality—Consumer Reports ranked it No.1 among java purveyors—and a new management team wants to expand upon that and build a national presence. One way to do that is by rolling out branded ground coffee on other retailers’ shelves. Such sales rose 77 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009, per the company. Caribou is now in 7,000 U.S. grocery stores.
I spoke recently with Walter Kiechel about his new book, The Lords of Strategy, which describes the rise of the large strategy consulting firms — BCG, McKinsey, and Bain — as well as the business school professors who contributed conceptual frameworks and pragmatic insights to the strategy revolution. Kiechel, a former Managing Editor at Fortune magazine, was the Editorial Director of Harvard Business Publishing from 1998 to 2002.
A useful survey from global PR firm Burson-Marsteller this week looks at the ways in which the Global Fortune 100 companies are using social media. The tools they are using and how they are developing a social media strategy. The survey looked at 100 firms in the US, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America and examined how these firms are using social media.
In January of 2009, I started telling people that content strategy would be the next big focus for organizations worldwide. I even went so far as to say, “Content strategy will soon be getting more attention than social media.” Lots of folks smiled encouragingly, patted my shoulder, and told me to get back to my style guides. Some people just laughed at me. And that’s when I hit them over the head with my content inventory. Bam!
I had an epiphany recently. The setting: a multi-billion dollar global giant. The topic of discussion: innovation. My epiphany: A simple two-word phrase that can hamstring innovation. What about...
Generations, like people, have personalities, and Millennials – the American teens and twenty-somethings who are making the passage into adulthood at the start of a new millennium – have begun to forge theirs: confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change.
With its traditional video-rental business under assault, Blockbuster Inc. has brought in restructuring advisers, looking to buy yet more time to remake itself in the face of new rivals and technologies. In recent days, Blockbuster tapped law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges and investment bank Rothschild Inc. to look at ways to reduce its roughly $1 billion debt load and explore other strategies, such as acquisitions or partnerships, said people familiar with the matter.
Sears Holding Corp. has undertaken a huge task: To completely revamp and relaunch approximately 450 Kenmore appliance models. The move is part of a larger effort for the home appliance brand, which is sold exclusively at Sears. Right now, the changes are rolling out on washing machines, and soon, on refrigerator units. Kitchen appliances will follow later this year. The goal is to contemporize Kenmore, an 83-year-old, iconic American brand, said Betsy Owens, Kenmore vp and general manager. Female consumers, primarily, saw Kenmore as a brand that their grandmothers and mothers bought, but that didn’t necessarily speak to them, Owens said. So to update the brand and its image, a new television, in-store and social media campaign was launched.
The Kaiser Foundation recently released a study documenting the astounding fact that 8-18 year olds in the United States have increased their media use from 8hrs 33 mins per day in 2004 to 10hrs 45 mins in 2009, which means that except for when they sleeping or in school they are almost always consuming media. I call them the 10:45 generation. Regardless of whether you think this is bad news signaling the demise of our children, or good news expecting our progeny are on the way to be becoming more literate in rich media world, as a business leaders we all must face this new reality. In particular, this short post will deal with the issue of managing your brand for the 10:45 generation.
Data visualization is cool. It's also becoming ever more useful, as the vibrant online community of data visualizers (programmers, designers, artists, and statisticians — sometimes all in one person) grows and the tools to execute their visions improve. Jeff Clark is part of this community. He, like many data visualization enthusiasts, fell into it after being inspired by pioneer Martin Wattenberg's landmark treemap that visualized the stock market. Clark's latest work shows much promise. He's built four engines that visualize that giant pile of data known as Twitter. All four basically search words used in tweets, then look for relationships to other words or to other Tweeters. They function in almost real time.
Editor’s Note: In his inimitable style, Marty Neumeier, author, lecturer and director of transformation at Liquid Agency, makes complex marketing principles seem logical and easy to understand. Here from his book “Zag: The #1 Strategy of High-Performance Brands,” Neumeier explains why in a world of “look-alike products and me-too services” it is important for brand marketers to zag when everyone else zigs.
The bowls are getting bigger and steamier, but the soup spoons are going away. Those are among the biggest changes Campbell Soup Co. is making in decades to the iconic labels and shelf displays of its condensed soups—the company's biggest single business, with more than $1 billion in sales. The changes—expected to be announced Wednesday—will culminate a two-year effort by Campbell to figure out how to get consumers to buy more soup. Condensed soup has been a slow-growing category in which budget-conscious consumers have little tolerance for price increases.
NBC calls it "the world's biggest focus group." With an estimated 185 million unique viewers over a 17-day period, the Olympic Games provide a special audience microcosm, and one that NBC believes will be particularly useful for measuring new-media consumption habits and trends. NBC touts all the different platforms it is bringing to bear for the Games, which began Friday in Vancouver. Viewers can watch on the network, NBC Universal's many cable channels and NBCOlympics.com. They can download clips to their iPhones and receive mobile updates on a favorite skier or figure skater.
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.
For years, my colleagues and I have been conducting experiments about human irrationality. When we present our results, the ‘rational’ economists say, ‘These are very nice experiments that make for great dinner conversation; but when it comes to professionals making decisions that involve money, irrationality simply doesn’t occur’. I never bought this argument: why would the human brain develop two different approaches to decisions that depend upon the importance of the decision? While I allowed that the market could possibly mitigate some irrational behaviour, I also felt that it could increase it.
At a recent client presentation, colleague Steve Rubel said something which I found to be very insightful. Essentially, we are all media. We act like the media, espousing opinions—reporting from the field (Iran etc.) and in turn media has begun to act like us (blogging, tweeting and becoming more opinionated vs. hard news oriented).
Julian Barnes observed that "when you buy a newspaper in America, you watch your country disappear". If you work in advertising or marketing, you can pull off a similar trick: just buy a copy of the Financial Times or The Economist and "watch your discipline disappear". Anyone exposed to current business publications would be forced to conclude that the best means of creating business value and growth lies in mergers, balance-sheet manipulation, takeovers, outsourcing, off-shoring, downsizing, tax-avoidance, restructuring, leverage ... Anything, in other words, that does not involve the tedious business of finding out what people might want and then providing it profitably over time within a relationship of deepening trust.
Be afraid, Madison Avenue. Be very afraid. That seems to be the message in the aftermath of the crowded, frenetic advertising bowl that took place inside Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday. Among those commercials consistently deemed most effective, memorable and talked-about, many were created or suggested by consumers — or produced internally by the sponsors — rather than the work of agency professionals.
Pepsi's Refresh Project, a first-of-its-kind experiment in social media that invests the brand in community-building projects, won't simply leave a legacy for the recipients of its financial grants. It's also a pivotal test case for other brands trying to navigate an ad-cluttered, cynic-rich marketing landscape.
If you're a marketer who has steered clear of Twitter, your (non)strategy may be paying off! It's possible that this Twitter thing may just take care of itself. In the middle of last year, Twitter's growth slowed from 7.8 million new users a month to 6.2 million, according to a recent study from RJ Metrics. That report also found that only 17 percent of Twitter users updated their accounts in December -- an all-time low. An earlier study by the Nielsen Co. revealed 60 percent of Twitter users do not return from one month to the next. Taking that into account, it's tempting to conclude that Twitter is following in the footsteps of another social-media ghost town, Second Life.
Chances are, a good portion of your target audience is actively engaged in online games. And if they're there, you should be there, too. Gamers are not passive observers; they're active and motivated participants. Brands have a chance to be part of that experience -- often in the very moment when players are willing to give something to get ahead in the game. This is a level of attention that few, if any, other media can offer.
What does your search engine say about you? Well, if it's Bing, you're probably an early adopter, but you also visit, shop and ultimately make purchases from Walmart more than other search-engine users. Google searchers, on the other hand, are partial to Target and Amazon, and Yahoo searchers have a strong preference for wireless service from AT&T and Sprint.
Social Media marketing is rapidly earning a role in the integrated marketing mix of small and enterprise businesses and as such, it’s transforming every division from the inside out. What starts with one champion in any given division, be it customer service, marketing, public relations, advertising, interactive, et al, eventually inspires an entire organization to socialize. What starts with one, a domino effect usually ensues toppling each department, gaining momentum, and triggering a sense of urgency through its path. And, it also marks the beginning of our journey through the ten stages of social media integration. But where do we start?
Are companies, with all their good intentions, getting the most from open innovation? We suspect that the initial successes, encouraging as they are, represent only the beginning. What if open innovation were defined more broadly and more ambitiously? Could even greater value be realized? If so, what would the next wave of open innovation look like?
A new report from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council report indicates that marketers are under-valuing perks, discounts, deals and additional service opportunities, as customers give them high marks. Both customers and marketers agree that deeper engagement and personalized contact drives loyalty.
Sounds like a sensationalistic headline, but if you read Morgan Stanley’s latest series of reports on the Mobile Internet, you’ll walk away with the same impression. Morgan Stanley’s global technology and telecom analysts documented the rapidly changing mobile Internet market to provide a framework for emerging trends and direction. To set the stage, Morgan Stanley forecasts that the mobile Internet market will be at least 2x the size of desktop Internet when comparing Internet users to mobile subscribers.
In 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin published a paper titled Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Search Engine, in which they outlined the core technology behind Google and the theory behind PageRank. Now, twelve years after that paper was published, the team behind social search engine Aardvark has drafted its own research paper that looks at the social side of search. Dubbed Anatomy of a Large-Scale Social Search Engine, the paper has just been accepted to WWW2010, the same conference where the classic Google paper was published.
What will the future of social networking look like? Imagine this: your digital video recorder automatically copies a television show that several of your friends were talking about on a social network before the show went on air. Or this: you get into your car, switch on its navigation system and ask it to guide you to a friend’s house. As you pull out of the driveway, the network to which you both belong automatically alerts her that you are on your way. And this: as you are buying a pair of running shoes that you think one of your friends might be interested in, you can send a picture to their network page with a couple of clicks on a keypad next to the checkout counter.
As we focus our attention on 2010, clearly the global marketplace is redefining itself. Not only in economic terms but more importantly in consumer terms. Consumers are more diverse, demanding and connected than ever before. To help give you a clearer look into what’s ahead, Nielsen has assembled videos from our global team to deliver insights into what consumers watch and what they buy. With evidence of a recovery emerging, understanding the global trends and local conditions is essential to success.
Good friend Stowe Boyd recently shared a quote by Gabriel García Márquez, “Everyone has three lives: a public life, a private life, and a secret life.” Indeed, quite simply many of us live life allowing specific, trusted individuals to know us in one or more of our personae. Our moral compass as well as outside influences affect how we balance our three lives. The size and permeability of our personal dividers vary in the separation of each life and resemble doors that open and close based on our desires. We nurture each individually with slight coalescence, but concentrate on the establishment of a distinct ecosystem for cultivating and grooming who we are in public, private, and in secret.
NBC Universal likely won't turn a profit off its broadcast of the Winter Olympics this year, but it hopes the research it performs on the event's massive audience might generate additional ad revenue in the days and months after the last gold-medal hockey skate has left the ice. The media giant, in the midst of parent General Electric's transfer of majority ownership to Comcast Corp., intends to ratchet up its examination of Olympics viewers' media-consumption habits, building off a big test it performed during the 2008 Summer Olympics broadcast from Beijing.
The door of a dry-cleaner-size storefront in an industrial park in Wareham, Massachusetts, an hour south of Boston, might not look like a portal to the future of American manufacturing, but it is. This is the headquarters of Local Motors, the first open source car company to reach production. Step inside and the office reveals itself as a mind-blowing example of the power of micro-factories.
Public confidence in companies, governments and non-governmental organisations has staged a recovery since last year's "trust Armageddon", but the rebound is patchy and fragile, according to data to be presented at the World Economic Forum tomorrow in Davos. Trust in business has risen from 49 per cent to 53 per cent around the world year-on-year, says the annual "trust barometer" of well-educated, highly paid and engaged "informed publics", conducted by Edelman, a communications consultancy.
One of the most common fears I focus on defeating among executives and brand managers is that in new media brands lose control by publishing content and engaging in social networks. The general sentiment is that by sharing information and creating presences within public communities that they, by the nature of democratized participation, invite negative responses in addition to potentially positive and neutral interaction. By not fully embracing the social Web, many believe that they retain a semblance of control. The idea is that if brands abstain from providing a forum for hosting potentially disparaging commentary, it will prevent it from earning an audience – in this case, an audience that can impact the business and the reputation of the brand.
According to the 2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study, an online survey by Opinion Research Corporation among a representative U.S. sample of 1,048 adults, comprising "new media users," 44% of American new media users are searching for, sharing or discussing information about corporate responsibility (CR) efforts and programs and are highly confident they can have an effect on business.
In May 2009, Absolut Vodka launched a limited edition line called "Absolut No Label." The company's global public relations manager, Kristina Hagbard, explained that "For the first time we dare to face the world completely naked. We launch a bottle with no label and no logo, to manifest the idea that no matter what's on the outside, it's the inside that really matters."
For most marketers, the growth of multicultural segments became a business imperative after the 2000 Census and the generational focus shifted from boomer to Gen Y. If you're managing a large brand today, you are likely addressing these opportunities through some combination of targeted Hispanic, African American or Asian, and youth-marketing initiatives. But today that segmentation is not enough; a bigger change is emerging that is more meaningful than just demography.
In 2010, Social Media will rapidly escalate from novelty or perceived necessity to an integrated and strategic business communications, service, and information community and ecosystem. Our experiences and education will foster growth and propel us through each stage of the Social Media Marketing evolution. As MarketingSherpa observes, “2010 is the year where social media marketers gain the experience required to advance from novice to competent practitioner capable of achieving social marketing objectives and proving ROI.” It’s a powerful prediction and it’s one that I also believe. This is your year to excel, teach, and create your own destiny.
Those entering the workforce now will likely make less and save more—not just in the short term but for the rest of their lives.
What makes Barnes & Noble a better brand than Charter Communications--and many others? Customer experience. Forrester Research recently released its third annual Customer Experience Index. The study ranked 133 US companies across 14 industries using feedback from more than 4,600 consumers. Barnes & Noble came in at the top for the second year in a row, slightly ahead of Marriott Hotels and Hampton Inn. Other winners: Amazon.com and Costco. At the other end of the spectrum, Charter Communications took the bottom spot for the third consecutive year. Also at the bottom: Cigna and Medicaid.
I gave myself a deadline of January 15 to do a recap of identity work in the 2000s, assuming that it wouldn’t be an editorial faux pas to do a list of this sort well into the new year. So here it is. An admittedly incomplete — it would take months to do this exhaustively — compilation of the most relevant identities of the past decade. The choices are listed chronologically and there is no ranking system, they are simply there as records of the corporations, products and services that shaped the decade and the identities that helped (or didn’t help) shape their perception in consumers’ eyes and minds.
In the midst of every marketing meeting, there comes that point where the entire room leans forward in their seats. The tension heightens. There's an almost palpable sense of voyeurism; everyone strains toward the reveal of that titillating morsel that represents insider access. And the question is asked: "So, what's the consumer insight?" The strategist slowly rises and says, "We always knew that the consumers say this, but did you know that they really do this?" Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's shock and awe time. As a planner at heart, that's my bread and butter. What this very authentic example of consumer-insight fetishism raises is the question of what to do when your brand represents one thing but consumers are searching for another. Said differently, what can be done when your brand marketing becomes more about reflecting the reality of your consumers and less about your brand's aspirational identity? To keep your unique brand-driven narrative alive and prevent it from turning into a slow-moving episode of "60 Minutes," there are a few things that I believe every marketer should strive to do.
We live in a world obsessed with science, preoccupied with predictability and control, and enraptured with quantitative analysis. Economic forecasters crank out precision predictions of economic growth with their massive econometric models. CEOs give to-the-penny guidance to capital markets on next quarter's predicted earnings. We live by adages like: "Show me the numbers" and truisms such as "If you can't measure it, it doesn't count." What has this obsession gotten us? The economists have gotten it consistently wrong.
The first ten years of the new century may go down as the decade to forget. Terrorists attacks, devastating natural disasters, scary increases in CO2emissions, Wall Street scandals and two market crashes. The stock market is down 26% since 2000, median household income is also down, and unemployment is up. The price of oil has more than tripled, health care costs have spiraled out of control and there appears to be no end in sight to corporate bankruptcies and the mass exodus of loyal employees.
A year-end flurry of ad spending helped moderate steep declines at some newspapers and magazines, and has fueled an uptick at others, raising hopes for a recovery in 2010. Still, following a brutal 2009, when scores of publications closed or made drastic cutbacks, publishers remain wary of declaring an ad rebound as marketers selectively reopen their wallets. Publishing executives attribute the recent influx of ad money in part to marketers hurrying to spend the remainder of their annual ad budgets after doling out those funds sparingly earlier in the year amid fears of an economic collapse.
Imagine a planetarium-style presentation about the future of technology, followed by a tour of dozens of hands-on exhibits — whether of sandlike microparticles that flow like liquid in a beaker, pictures that appear three-dimensional or concrete that floats. Is it the latest science museum, or a new Disney attraction? No, it’s the “World of Innovation” showroom, a cornerstone of the 3M Company’s customer innovation center at its headquarters in St. Paul. In a world of online user communities, social media, interactive blogs and other technological means for companies to elicit customer feedback, you might think that face-to-face interaction is a thing of the past. Think again.
How you use your mobile phone has long reflected where you live. But the spirit of the machines may be wiping away cultural differences.
A spate of new digital gadgets and the fulfilment of the internet’s promise as an interactive medium have dominated popular awareness of information technology in the past 10 years. But what could turn out to be a far more important and lasting transformation has been going on below the surface. It involves a step-change in computing that promises to bring fundamental and irreversible change to many aspects of everyday life – for good or ill.
It’s hard to argue that 2009 wasn’t the year of Twitter. Yes, the questions about monetization loomed over the young web company as soon as it started gaining popularity, and they’re still largely unanswered. But people loved this new way of communicating via 140 character messages that go out to everyone who wants to hear them. So much so, that everything else (even money) wasn’t very important.
Google faced increased global resistance on Friday to its plan to digitise books when a Paris court ruled that the internet group had violated the copyright of authors and publishers by scanning French books held in US libraries without consent. The court ordered the group to stop scanning without prior authorisation titles published by La Matinière, the company that brought the case, and instructed it to pay €300,000 ($429,000) in damages and interest. Google said it would appeal.
As we begin a one-year celebration of the ANA's 100th anniversary, we have created the Marketers' Constitution, which contains 10 essentials of marketing for the next 100 years. Its purpose is to ensure that our industry continues to thrive and contribute to the growth of the U.S. economy and to the well-being of our society.
Popular culture, including TV shows such as "Mad Men," would have us believe the practice of marketing in an ad agency is a straightforward exercise, calling only for understanding the customer, coming up with a big idea, then creating something interesting and relevant to engage consumers. Not quite. Marketing organizations today are under the gun as never before -- from a media landscape growing increasingly convoluted and a fleeting consumer universe to the mounting pressure of accountability for any marketing dollar spent. Today's new universe demands a different approach to the design and execution of any marketing effort. And yet, little intellectual brain power or emotional energy is being invested in improving the fundamental marketing process.
The average American consumes about 34 gigabytes of data and information each day — an increase of about 350 percent over nearly three decades — according to a report published Wednesday by researchers at the University of California, San Diego. According to calculations in the report, that daily information diet includes about 100,000 words, both those read in print and on the Web as well as those heard on television and the radio. By comparison, Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” contains about 460,000 words.
A new study from The Boston Consulting Group confirms what many on the agency or consultancy side already suspect – that many large organizations aren’t fully capitalizing on the potential of marketing research. The study, titled “The Consumer’s Voice – Can Your Company Hear It?”, finds that most companies are using marketing research tactically – to validate and optimize marketing messages with consumers, or to develop new products – vs. designing and executing research strategically to impact a company or brand’s direction moving forward. BCG finds that more than 70 percent of the study participants apply research in those two more tactical contexts, whereas less than 40 percent use consumer insights to set product prices, develop promotions, forecast financial results and forge channel and distribution strategies.
International Business Machines and a handful of other major marketers, including casino operator Harrah's Entertainment and software giant Microsoft, are experimenting with developing ad campaigns based in part on what consumers are chatting about on the Web. For decades, advertisers have relied heavily on sometimes-dated consumer surveys and focus groups to provide grist for their ads. Now, some are using new technologies to scan the Web for key words to find out what consumers are—and aren't—saying about their brands.
A recent study revealed 20 percent of tweets published are actually invitations for product information, answers or responses from peers or directly by brand representatives. Now we learn that Twitter users are actively paying attention to brands on the popular information network. According to research conducted by Performics and ROI Research, about half of Twitter users who were introduced to a brand on Twitter were compelled to search for additional information.
Design thinking translates rigorous trend research into meaningful experiences that lead markets and foster brand loyalty instead of merely following the cult of now. Blue may be the new green, but how is that relevant to an industry, a brand and the evolving desires of its customers? Times and trends can change so quickly that a campaign, product or service can be rendered irrelevant by the time it gets to market.
While they continue to slog through the longest economic downturn in decades, companies are no longer making cost-cutting their primary focus. Innovation is now front and center on the corporate agenda, according to a global survey we recently conducted with 65 senior executives from diverse industries. Executives are adding more breakthrough innovations and business model changes to their portfolio to fuel the growth engine for the recovery. Yet our survey reveals that companies by and large are having trouble making innovation efforts work. Executives are struggling to find the right combination of business strategy, operational model, and execution to deliver profitable growth.
The origin of Google’s power and monopoly is to be traced to the invisible algorithm PageRank. The diagram of this technology is proposed here as the most fitting description of the value machine at the core of what is diversely called knowledge economy, attention economy or cognitive capitalism. This essay stresses the need of a political economy of the PageRank algorithm rather than expanding the dominant critique of Google’s monopoly based on the Panopticon model and similar ‘Big Brother’ issues (dataveillance, privacy, political censorship). First and foremost Google’s power is understood from the perspective of value production (in different forms: attention value, cognitive value, network value, etc.): the biopolitical consequences of its data monopoly come logically later.
“Volkswagen is really down-to-earth.” “Nike is exiting.” These examples show that consumers use personality traits when they communicate about brands among each other. Brand personality is the set of personality traits that consumers associated with a brand. Brand personality is related to human personality theory that explains human behavior and preferences on the basis of personality traits. Personality traits are distinguishing characteristics of a person. They are a readiness to think or act in a similar fashion in response to a variety of different stimuli or situations. So, the traits of a person define behaviour to a large extent and consistent over time: an extravert person will behave in an extravert way, while an introvert person will most of the time behave in an introvert way. The value of human personality is found in the potency of the model to forecast human behavior. If a person is introvert he or she can be expected to behave in this way most of the time. Next, personality steers preference. For example women prefer more than men people who show higher levels of socially desirable traits. Brands, like people, can use the potency of personality.
Monday, I reported my recent culturematic experiment, the tweeting of my train ride from Chicago and Detroit. Today, I thought I'd look at the marketing implications. Specifically, can a culturematic help a marketer help a client? Can it help build the brand? Can it help the brand participate in culture? I think the reply is emphatically "yes."
General business strategy dictates that there are two ways a business responds to a dramatic downturn in consumer spending. They cut costs and/or discount heavily to drive traffic and lure beaten consumers out of their malaise. Both approaches are easy levers to pull because they have a salient short-term impact. The rub lies in not knowing what the long-term impact of these short-term decisions will be. While the long-term implications of cost-cutting is an article in itself, today many retailers find that their most immediate issue is working their way back out of discount-driven brand-price erosion.
The role of influence is changing and diversifying and with it, the rules and responsibilities of engagement are also reshaping. While PR, analyst, and investor relations were clear yesterday, the rise of new influencers, tastemakers and authoritative users and customers becomes both pervasive and uncertain. As such, new opportunities for engagement emerge; creating new opportunities for cultivating distributed relationships. However, each new connection requires management, a support infrastructure, including a dedicated host.
Collaborative design methods play a key role in aligning team members towards a shared and strategic project vision. In this article we describe how user stories stimulate and facilitate discussion and decision making with clients in the development of a User Experience Strategy. In our context (the development of online projects) the User Experience Strategy becomes an ‘in principle agreement’ on the shape of the project (what), its purpose (why), and provides potential implementation strategies (how). It takes into account all perspectives (e.g business, technical, marketing, brand) but privileges the intended user experience.
You know social media is a powerful tool for business when a grocery store attracts more Twitter followers than pop star Lady Gaga and almost as many as Miley Cyrus, whose departure drove her 2 million fans to make #MileyComeBack a trending topic for more than a day. If Whole Foods Market ever followed suit, its 1.5 million registered fans would surely start a virtual food fight.
Every day, there's a barrage of numbers from ComScore, Forrester and others that quantifies our enthusiasm for consuming all things digital. But we're in danger of overlooking three Nielsen metrics that are downright frightening and point to a staggering digital attention deficit. The first: The average American visited 87 domains in September. The second: He or she browsed 2,645 web pages that month. And the third: All of 57 seconds is the average time he or she spent per page.
Brands are busily trying to figure out how to build their followings on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. The secret to success may lie in the most old school of marketing techniques: give people a deal. A new consumer study of "digitally connected" consumers commissioned by Razorfish found that 43 percent of those following brands on Twitter do so because of exclusive deals or offers. That tops interesting content (23 percent), current customers (24 percent) and service support (4 percent). Overall, more than 25 percent said they followed a brand on Twitter
It's the hot design company hired by Apple to create its first mouse, (and by Microsoft to create its second), by the Post Office to rework the postbox, by Muji to create its wall-mounted CD player and by Procter & Gamble to reinvent toothpaste tubes. It made the Nokia N-gage, the Palm V and the Head Airflow tennis racquet. Now IDEO is being retained by Barack Obama's White House to help to reinvigorate the American civil service; by the government of Iceland to help the country to innovate its way out of financial crisis; and by the Kellogg Foundation to reinvent education. It might seem bizarre that a company used to designing products is now solving country-sized problems, but it all comes down to the technique it pioneered and preached to its clients. It calls this philosophy "design thinking".
Google's Android software will soon be powering Motorola phones, but for the 11-year-old Internet giant, advertising is still king. Google beat analysts' estimates last quarter, thanks to brisk advertising sales. In October the company announced that its third-quarter revenue increased 7% from the same period last year, to $5.94 billion. Net income rose 27% to $1.64 billion. Google accounts for roughly a third of all online ad spending in the U.S.
In this thoughtful analysis, Roberto Saco and Alexis Goncalves map the landscape of service design. They define the discipline and key players, and sketch its potential vis-à-vis growth and profitability. Saco and Goncalves elaborate on the multi-faceted realities of this work with examples from the Ritz-Carlton Hotels, Herman Miller, and Egg Banking. And they wrap things up with a discussion of key principles related to practice.
By overlooking cuts in research and development, product design, and worker training, GDP is greatly overstating the economy's strength.
Prior to leaving Forrester to join Altimeter Group, Jeremiah Owyang, along with Josh Bernoff, Cynthia N. Pflaum, and Emily Bowen, published a report that attempted to bring the future of the Social Web into focus. If we viewed the content of his research as a social object, the conversations that would transpire could in fact expedite the development and implementation of the most valuable predictions and observations contained within.
The Amazon Mechanical Turk is, as Wikipedia puts it, "a crowdsourcing marketplace that enables computer programs to co-ordinate the use of human intelligence to perform tasks which computers are unable to do." It consists of thousands of people who stand ready for tasks send them by Amazon or others who may wish to use Amazon's MTurk service. MTurk "providers" work alone, often in their spare time. Standing in line at a 7/11, they can bang out a few turns. They get paid a small fee for each decision. No one gets rich working in a mechanical turk, but many find it interesting.
Global consumer confidence is rebounding, and in the United States has risen for the first time since 2007, amid signs the world economy is picking up although spending is still restrained, a survey showed on Wednesday. Confidence was highest in India, followed by Indonesia and Norway, and was weakest in Japan, Latvia, Portugal and South Korea, although in Korea it had improved markedly, according to a quarterly survey by The Nielsen Company, conducted between September 28 and October 16.
Private label is at something of a crossroads. Rising out of the shadows of its humble, “no-name” generic past, private label today has blossomed into a $100 billion industry. While the media and analysts are fixated on sales numbers and growth expectations another story frequently gets little air play: Private label has the freedom (and not the baggage) to seize opportunities to leapfrog name brands in such critical areas as ingredients, flavors, preparations and even packaging. Looking through the lens of contemporary consumers and shoppers, we see that the rapidly changing private label landscape is far too complicated to be adequately explained by aggregate sales or customer transaction sales data alone. Our Private Label 2010: Redefining Meaning of Brand report moves beyond simplified discussions of sales data to present a holistic consumer and shopper perspective on private label that accounts for the role of the economy, new meaning of value, distinctions in retail formats, product categories, name brands and, of course, private label brands.
Noreena Hertz had to seduce Bono. The Cambridge University economist was writing a book on the developing world, and Bono's personal saga of getting the U.S. government to cancel more than $400 million of debt was just the pop-culture bridge she needed to move her ideas beyond the wonkish corridors of academia. After all, Hertz's motive for The Debt Threat -- a deep dive into the debt trap that, she argued, would have global consequences for all -- was to juice the campaign that had been building slowly in activist ranks. The book itself would be a battle cry (a postcard inside made it easy for U.K. readers to urge the prime minister to cancel billions owed by the world's poorest countries), and its release was pegged to hit before the 2005 G8 meeting. Hertz sent Bono an email, unsure if it would find him. To her astonishment, it did: "I'm so glad you got in touch," read the rock star's reply. "I'm a real fan of your work. Bono."
Around the world, four billion people live in poverty. And Western companies are struggling to turn them into customers. For the past decade, business visionaries have argued that these people, dubbed the Base of the Pyramid, make up an enormous, untapped market. Some of the world's biggest, savviest corporations have aimed to address their basic needs—by selling them everything from clean water to electricity. But, time and again, the initiatives have quietly fizzled out. Why? Because these companies were looking at it all wrong.
In 2007, Self magazine released results from a study titled GOOD, which examined how women react to cause marketing. Its findings encouraged cause-supporting companies to make the move from telling consumers about how the company was giving back, to telling consumers how they were helping the company give back--the consumer feels better about herself when she supports "good" companies. Self recently released GOOD 1.5, which delves deeper into women's responses to cause marketing and is relevant given how different the economy is from 2007. Cynthia Walsh, executive director of marketing for Self, said that while many marketers expect consumers to care less about "good" in this environment, the opposite is actually true.
The world’s largest media markets will return to growth in 2011, according to the latest advertising spending forecast, but with only a “meagre” recovery as emerging markets take a greater share of global ad budgets.
The attention dashboard is rapidly emerging as the online hub for sharing and discovering information, connecting us to people, content, and events in real-time. According to research, we’re already spending more time in social networks than we are in email. New studies are only fortifying these findings, documenting an increase time spent specifically in Social Media and blogs. In fact, the Nielsen Company reports reports that time spent on social networks and blogs accounted for 17 percent of total time spent on the Internet in August 2009. Most notably, but not surprising, however, is that this discovery represents nearly triple the percentage of time spent using Social Media just one year ago.
Honestly, categorizing human behavior and activities in social networks by financial status appears incomplete and almost insular. If we are learning anything in the study of and participation in social networks, it’s that individuals are forming networks that traverse across multiple social networks – and, they will continue to do so, forming one larger, expansive human network in the process. We’re bound by context and interests and it’s why psychographic data overcomes demographics when assessing how to best reach, engage, and galvanize the people who define our communities online.
Managing a brand has always been a slightly odd concept, given that consumers are the real arbiters of brand meaning, and it's become increasingly outmoded in today's two-way world. That's why a new report is going to recommend changing the name "brand manager" to "brand advocate," and fundamentally changing marketer organizations in response to the onset of the digital age. The report, due out next week from Forrester, finally puts the onus on marketers to change their structures -- a welcome conclusion for media owners and agencies who keep hearing how they should change, but often complain that their clients have done little to shift their organizations to cope with an increasingly complex world of media fragmentation and rising retailer and consumer power.
Five years ago, we launched a conference based on a simple idea, and that idea grew into a movement. The original Web 2.0 Conference ( now the Web 2.0 Summit ) was designed to restore confidence in an industry that had lost its way after the dotcom bust. The Web was far from done, we argued. In fact, it was on its way to becoming a robust platform for a culture-changing generation of computer applications and services. In our first program, we asked why some companies survived the dotcom bust, while others had failed so miserably. We also studied a burgeoning group of startups and asked why they were growing so quickly. The answers helped us understand the rules of business on this new platform.
It seems that everyone is excited about social networks. But not quite in the same way as Harvard graduate student Erez Lieberman, whose evolutionary graph theory is encouraging people to think about social networks in a different way: as an evolving population. Lieberman developed the theory with Harvard mathematics professor Martin Nowak, who helped to lay its foundation through the observation that while most of evolutionary theory deals with populations that have either simple shapes or no structure at all, the world around us is full of evolving systems with all kinds of internal structure – whether it's the networks of cells present in the human body or the social networks that occur in cyberspace.
A year after the U.S. economy was brought to its knees by the bursting of the housing bubble, credit for consumers is still being aggressively ratcheted back. Total consumer credit outstanding, which includes everything from credit-card debt to loans for recreational vehicles, fell $12 billion in August, or at a 5.8% seasonally adjusted annual rate, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday. It was the seventh straight month of declines, the longest stretch since 1991. The drop is a stark demonstration of how banks and other lenders are scaling back, owing to their own exposure to the struggling real-estate market. But it also reflects a reluctance by Americans to hold big loads of debt at a time when the job market remains in bad shape and the value of their homes has fallen.
Neuroscientists have found patterns in brain activity that correlate with single digit numbers. They can literally watch your mind count. Research into the physiology of how our noggins work has advanced mightily in recent years, especially when it comes to witnessing perception and memory. Technologies like fMRI -- an imaging tool that notes differences in water pressure, sort of -- have been heralded as objective ways to measure what happens in brains when things that were once believed to be solely subjective occurred in minds. The numbers recognition happens in the intraparietal cortex, and suggest that there are unique "signatures" for single digits, at least. The idea is that we possess some ancient ability to understand groups of things we'd encounter in an average day of gathering plants or running away from mastadons. The researchers thing they'll eventually figure out how brains make calculations, as well as learn more about how people learn. Marketers get really excited about this stuff.
In April, when Domino’s suddenly had to grapple with the fact that a YouTube video of a couple of employees doing disgusting things with the company’s food was circulating rapidly across the Web, it was bad for the pizza chain’s business. But Domino’s problem turned out to be good for business for a fast-growing segment: companies that track Web chatter. Text mining, which is already used by some Wall Street traders to track issues that could affect stock prices, is now employed by many top marketers, including Cisco, Hormel, Microsoft and Intuit, as a sort of blunt instrument to gauge online sentiment about a brand.
This morning, Seth used his much respected blog to reveal the news about Brands In Public. If you missed it (and if you did, you should really adjust the volume on your Internet), Brand in Public was designed to show the world just how much Seth cares about your brand. Yep, he loves you so much that he has sent his team of goblins out to register your Brands in Public company page for you, fill it with scraped content (blog posts, tweets, Google News, Trends, etc) and then lock it down so that you have absolutely no way to touch or control it. Unless you pay him.
It doesn't matter much which marketing publication you pick up or which industry trend piece comes across your desk, it is simply impossible to miss the constant attention being paid to shopper marketing these days. No one should be surprised. With 72% of shoppers deciding what to buy in-store, the marketing world is acutely aware of the importance of the "last mile" and the ultimate moment of truth. Today, clients and agency folk alike are rushing to shopper marketing, searching for the experts and digging for the insights that will lead to stronger commercial programs and real marketplace advantage.
Watch this video by Bruce Nussbaum, BusinessWeek's innovation editor and veteran employee with the company. It's a fascinating illustration of the shifts in business we are seeing in real time. Media outlets in particular have been on the front lines of this shift. As I've said many times before, the Web and its latest social iteration has introduced ultra deep and pervasive niche content and experiences which directly compete with many business models. There is a unique online destination for everyone, no matter how specialized the interest. The network economy is the opposite of mass—it's niche, fragmented and content distributers are feeling the heat.
Companies as diverse as McDonald's, Ford, and American Express are revamping their marketing to win back that most valuable of corporate assets.
Over the past three years, we have tracked the rising adoption of Web 2.0 technologies, as well as the ways organizations are using them. This year, we sought to get a clear idea of whether companies are deriving measurable business benefits from their investments in the Web. Our findings indicate that they are.
The financial markets' collapse and a growing distrust of global leaders both public and private has increased the importance of thinking strategically about communications and its impact on reputation. Government officials, political candidates and all those operating in the public realm are increasingly asking how they can measure with greater certainty the dynamics that drive their communications performance. With upcoming battles in the US on climate change, healthcare, Supreme Court confirmations, financial reform and a new Middle East peace initiative, among others, there is ample opportunity to evaluate communicators’ ability to drive public opinion. The corporate sector has been measuring the impact of communications and reputation for some time, using the results of these analyses to determine how their allocation of resources and themes affect financial outcomes such as stock price, P/E ration, revenues and profits. The earliest iteration of measurement centered on clip counts and evaluations—the most basic tenets of media relations—but has since evolved to include more robust scientific metrics. This is spurred by the diminishing effectiveness of traditional advertising. One recent survey revealed that only 13% of respondents believe advertising claims.
Finding patterns is what Elizabeth F. Churchill does. Patterns that underlie human behaviour and can point to what certain people might want to use their mobile phones for or how they might go about finding a friend online. A psychologist by training with a PhD in cognitive science from the University of Cambridge, Churchill has specialized in observing people and the way they interact with technology for 15 years now.
For decades, companies from Cisco Systems to Staples to Bank of America have worked to embed the basic techniques of Six Sigma, the business approach that relies on measurement and analysis to make operations as efficient as possible. More recently, in the last 5 to 10 years, they have been told they must master a new set of skills known as “design thinking.” Aiming to help companies innovate, design thinking starts with an intense focus on understanding real problems customers face in their day-to-day lives — often using techniques derived from ethnographers — and then entertains a range of possible solutions.
Recently, I discussed the validity of whether or not social networking (the verb) and social networks (as a noun) were impairing our ability to learn. A Stanford study suggested that this might be the case. It seems that the initial research and its supporting data is now emerging to help us further analyze whether or not this is indeed true or merely hypotheses based on the various samplings of individuals who may or may not serve as relevant subjects. I do believe that we are becoming an increasingly social society. It could very well be the era of introversion to extroversion.
The folks at Blackcoffee have been inviting folks to complete the thought, “A Brand Is…”. I was so fascinated to read the range of responses that I decided to take a closer look. I wanted to see what common themes emerged among people’s definitions of “Brand” and what we could learn from them.
For decades, the adoption and use of the latest technologies was limited to a subculture: Whether called “tech enthusiasts” or “gadget geeks,” the implication was that most of the world got along fine with older, established products and services, while a smaller group pursued the most leading-edge technology. But according to a study released Wednesday by Forrester Research, a marketing firm based in Cambridge, Mass., a shift has taken place. What used to be the pursuit of a few has become decidedly mainstream. We’re all gadget geeks now.
How the brain hard-wires us to love Google, Twitter, and texting. And why that's dangerous.
After years of calling the shots, the traditional Mad Men of advertising -- the creative types who cooked up memorable sell-lines like "the ultimate driving machine" -- are increasingly sharing the spotlight with, you guessed it, the nerds. Or as Jon Bond, a co-founder of Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners, which has done work for Target and Panasonic, says, "If we were in India, it would be as if the untouchables had suddenly become the ruling class." What has allowed the lowly quants to sit at the same table as the advertising Brahmin is a new way of thinking about the creation of desire.
Marketing researchers of note, Forrester Research and McKinsey & Company, recently conducted studies on the nature of consumerism today. Their results are important because they point to a shift away from the classic “consumer purchasing funnel.”
We've gained so much in the digital age. We get more entertainment choices, and finding what we’re looking for is certainly fast. Best of all, much of it is free. But we’ve lost something as well: the fortunate discovery of something we never knew we wanted to find. In other words, the digital age is stamping out serendipity.
I love this quote I read recently: The plural of anecdote is not data. Suw Charman-Anderson wrote this in reference to a story published last week about a 15-year-old intern at Morgan Stanley who wrote a report on teen’s use of technology. The report got tons of press from the likes of Bloomberg, the Financial Times, and the Guardian.
Few concepts in business have been as popular and appealing in recent years as the emerging discipline of “open innovation.” The overarching notion is that the Internet opens the door to a new world of democratic idea generation and collaborative production. Early triumphs like the Linux operating system and the Wikipedia Web encyclopedia are seen as harbingers. But a look at recent cases and new research suggests that open-innovation models succeed only when carefully designed for a particular task and when the incentives are tailored to attract the most effective collaborators.
As governments respond to the financial crisis and its reverberations in the real economy, a company’s reputation has begun to matter more now than it has in decades. Companies and industries with reputation problems are more likely to incur the wrath of legislators, regulators, and the public. What’s more, the credibility of the private sector will influence its ability to weigh in on contentious issues, such as protectionism, that have serious implications for the global economy’s future.
Big brands’ best customers have been defecting in droves since the beginning of the US recession, according to a study. By this year, more than half of a typical US brand’s most loyal shoppers in 2007 had switched to rival products. A two-year analysis of 685 grocery and pharmacy-stocked brands, using data from 32m consumers’ supermarket loyalty cards, found that in 2008 the average brand lost a third of its formerly highly loyal customers. The study will alarm packaged goods groups, as the most loyal customers – those choosing one brand for more than 70 per cent of their purchases in a category – should also be their most lucrative.
Contentious though it may be, Google Books is an undeniably powerful tool. Now Google's given the service a shot in the arm and boosted its search functions. Best of all it now lets you embed previews of texts in your own Web pages.
According to Abdallah Jum’ah, Saudi Aramco’s president and CEO, Aramco is the world’s largest oil producing company. And it’s the richest company in the world, worth, according to the latest estimate, $781 billion. Jum’ah gave 60 Minutes a tour of the company’s command center, where engineers scrutinize and analyze every aspect of the company’s operations on a 220-foot digital screen.
Our friend Peggy Ann Salz over at M Search Groove mentioned the diminshing utility of using demographics in marketing segmentation and targeting. I wanted to return to this topic, and argue loud and clear, that the evidence is overwhelming, that we (marketing professional) have experienced in the past few years a total shift where customer demographics have gone from utility to futility. Yes, futility. They are now counter-productive. You, reading this blog, need to start to remove all references to demographics in all of your company marketing.
Behavioral economist Dan Ariely, the author of Predictably Irrational, uses classic visual illusions and his own counterintuitive (and sometimes shocking) research findings to show how we're not as rational as we think when we make decisions.
To extend or not to extend? With apologies to the Bard, allow me to suggest that is the question -- for marketers. The lure of sales growth combined with lower advertising and promotion costs makes brand extensions an attractive move, but success is not guaranteed. For every brand extension win (iTunes), there are countless failures (Google print ads, Hooters airline, Bic underwear ...) Brand extensions are risky - but by following the methods of successful extenders, marketers can increase their chances of a win. Looking at what drove recent brand extension success stories, we find the questions of why, what, and how have been carefully considered.
Once again, the Internet is shifting before our eyes. Information is increasingly being distributed and presented in real-time streams instead of dedicated Web pages. The shift is palpable, even if it is only in its early stages. Web companies large and small are embracing this stream. It is not just Twitter. It is Facebook and Friendfeed and AOL and Digg and Tweetdeck and Seesmic Desktop and Techmeme and Tweetmeme and Ustream and Qik and Kyte and blogs and Google Reader. The stream is winding its way throughout the Web and organizing it by nowness.
The Scientist magazine reported last week that pharma giant Merck had invented its own peer review medical journal in order to better hype its products; of 29 articles, almost two-thirds referred to Fosamax or Vioxx. And we're surprised?
Can a company blunt its innovation edge if it listens to its customers too closely? Can its products become dull if they are tailored to match exactly what users say they want? These questions surfaced recently when Douglas Bowman, a top visual designer, left Google.
March Madness lasts only three weeks, but Metric Madness goes on all year long. What is Metric Madness? It's the notion you can run anything by the numbers, and it's become the hottest concept in business today. One scientist recently predicted that the great discoveries of the future will come from finding patterns in vast archives of data. "The next Jonas Salk will be a mathematician, not a doctor." The marketing community eats this stuff up. Nobody generates more data than they do. Hallelujah! "The Singularity is Near," as Ray Kurzweil wrote in his book of the same name, and marketing people can't wait to join the revolution. I'm not too sure.
We know plenty about Twitter’s crazy growth rates and mushrooming membership. We know about brands on Twitter (Twitter reviews), celebrities on Twitter, politicians on Twitter. We know Twitter apps, hashtags, trends, tools, tips and tricks. But we understand less about the motivations of users: Why do people use Twitter? How do its users feel about common practices there? What are their beliefs about Twitter, and how do they view their experiences?
Recent studies on the effects of the internet and other new media on brain plasticity raises an open research question: Is Google making us smarter?
Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has rendered a verdict: William Shakespeare couldn't have written the plays attributed to his pen. The likely author was Edward de Vere, the 17th earl of Oxford. This says lots about the nature of truth in the chaos of our Information Age...or the changed definition of how we make decisions in our Age of Chaos.
"Know your consumer" is a business commandment certain to be deeply ingrained at the heart of any successful company. Never, however, has that consumer morphed so quickly or become so elusive. It is important for marketers to grasp and understand the key drivers of this new empowered consumer, one who has grown up with brand new perspectives and redefined the interplay of communications, relationships, brands, technology and media. This is Consumer 2.0.
Last October, Gartner unveiled a study that stated that by 2010, 60 percent of the Fortune 1000 companies with a web site will be involved in some form of online community that is utilized for customer relationship purposes. What the research also goes on to state is that 50 percent of those that set out and establish or become involved in these communities will fail in their efforts. That's about 300 Fortune 1000 companies that will fail at social media: a striking number, especially in light of recent economic pitfalls.
In today’s turbulent world, people are hungry for a sense of connection; and in lean economic times, every company needs new ways to do more with what it already has. Unfortunately, although many firms aspire to the customer loyalty, marketing efficiency, and brand authenticity that strong communities deliver, few understand what it takes to achieve such benefits. Worse, most subscribe to serious misconceptions about what brand communities are and how they work.
A new executive brief by IBM Global Business Services, based on an in-depth study by the Institute's research team, reports that to compete in the new era of advertising will require a fundamental change in media and entertainment companies' capabilities. The study findings show that four trends are raising the bar for consumer-centric marketing: consumer adoption of new distribution formats, a shift in advertiser spending, the digital migration of platforms and the emergence of new capabilities due to game-changing moves by both new entrants and existing players.
Research is useless. Some of it, anyway -- if it does not reflect real behavior rather than theoretical models.
What follows is a detailed mission statement and instructional guide to help you successfully endeavor into the social world of online communication and relationships building.
Wikipedia was born in January 2001, at the dawn of a new century -- fitting for a site that would unexpectedly mark a new era in the evolution of human knowledge. In less than a decade, Wikipedia has become the world's most popular encyclopedia, expanding from a lone first article in English (a test post on the site with the text "Hello, World!") to more than 10 million articles in 250 languages. But perhaps even more important than Wikipedia's size is our increasing dependence upon the site.
Over the last decade, Social Media has slowly evolved not only as a new content publishing, sharing, and discovery medium, but more importantly as a peer-to-peer looking glass into the real world conversations that affect the perception, engagement, and overall direction of the brands we represent. Socialized media didn't invent "conversations," it simply organized and amplified them.
The last year's worth of financial news nonsense has got me thinking again about the divergent roles individuals and groups play in our lives. I'm torn between what, or whom, I'm supposed to trust. It seems like the more broad and robust my access to the world gets, the less I know or believe. I rely more on what is immediate and personal, and the things that I know are true get more simple and basic...just as the credibility of larger, more complicated subjects becomes hazy and elusive.
I assume most Social Media Insider readers would agree with the statement that corporate America needs to do a little work on this listening thing. But this column isn't just about not listening. It's about the fact that so often, if companies do, they commit a significant sin of omission, listening to customers who were either not invested in their brand very much or not invested in it at all. Worse, they do this listening in the contrived environment of the focus group.
To generate new ideas, many companies are going beyond traditional R&D groups and in-person focus groups to tap into a new generation of connected consumers through online communities that help generate massive quantities of new ideas.
Executives view their economies as bad but, in a change from recent months, do not see them getting much worse. Government actions have helped, many say. Companies are hanging on, and many are taking long-term actions to cope with economic turmoil.
Carmakers need to let go of their musty business models and start thinking like 21st century companies—like Google.
Marketing expert David Aaker argues that to succeed in today’s global arena, marketers must learn to appeal to consumers whose interests transcend individual products and regions.
It all started with a simple question from Forrester Research analyst Jeremiah Owyang. A few days earlier, blogger Chris Brogan had written about his decision to accept $500 from Kmart to find out what's cool to buy at the discount retailer and then write about it. Owyang posted a question to his readers on microblogging site Twitter, asking whether it's O.K. for brands to approach bloggers in that manner.
Consumers can tell a lot about what a company stands for aside from its corporate values. A new study by MS&L, conducted in partnership with GfK Roper, examines some of the corporate values consumers today find most important and the effects of such perceptions on maintaining long-term business.
Organizations want to change our perceptions rapidly, through communication, rather than by the hard work of shaping our memories and feelings through experience. And they're increasingly finding that they can't.
Taking risk is also almost certainly what will get us out of this mess--at least according to a passel of neuroscientists and behavioral economists.
Consumer choice modeling can help companies improve their market share by offering a better understanding of consumer preferences.
Every year at the Web 2.0 Summit, Morgan Stanley Internet analyst Mary Meeker gives her view of the world, the Web, and the technology industry by quickly going through about 50 slides that illustrate the major trends she is tracking.
There is a lesson in president-elect Barack Obama’s calculated win for all media and advertising players struggling to crack the targeted demographics code: Know your constituents.
The cure for Nascar blindness is a relatively painless and simple one: listening. Which is one of the most underutilized tools in the marketer's arsenal, but also one of the most valuable.
The tumultuous 24 months of presidential campaigning feels like an eternity. It has been bound by digital interactivity that has played an unprecedented role intensifying voices and votes and will continue to redefine American politics and democracy. That is a bipartisan victory for all the people.