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Tag: engagement

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Reporters or Voyeurs? Media Trapped in Real Time

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It always stops me in my tracks when a television anchor utters a phrase that somehow references the real world as separate from the world of television journalism. As in: "Well, I guess out there in the real world...." Say what? As if they forget, for a second, that the sets aren't real and the stories are. So it's probably not surprising that, in the latest CNN Opinion Research poll, 70% of the respondents answered "yes" to the question "Are the media out of touch with average Americans?"

At Issue } essential reading

What These 3 Top Brands Can Teach You About Customer Engagement

Sofie De Beule
Jan 22, 2014

The smartest companies changed their approach on marketing vastly. Their focus is now on personalized interactions, delighting their audience, and understanding customers' unique challenges to make their lives better. This has brought about 'New Rules of Customer Engagement'.

Top CEOs Agree: Let Customers Drive Your Business Strategy, Break Down Silos, And Be Entrepreneurial

Robert Reiss
Dec 17, 2013

As we travel through untrodden territories of our digital new world, the old platitude “The only constant is change” has become our new compass. New competitors – in fact new industries – surface seemingly overnight as old business models flash into obsolescence; creating predictable quarterly growth is becoming harder to navigate.

Why Experience Marketing Is The New Future Of Engagement

Krisztina "Z" Holly
Nov 5, 2013

It is a peek into a new future of entertainment, branding, and marketing that companies can’t ignore: live and immersive experiences. And companies are now starting to explore the power of experience marketing to reach into the hearts and minds of their customers.

Three Signs That You Should Kill an Innovative Idea

Michael Schrage
Sep 24, 2013

Whether you’re a digital start-up or an institutional entrepreneur, three simple heuristics offer an excellent way to determine whether a fledgling innovation initiative should be put out of its misery (and yours).

The Rise Of Content Selling

Peter Mollins
Jun 5, 2013

Content marketing has changed the ways that businesses sell to a B2B audience.

4 Ways To Run An Effective Incentives Program On A Budget

Ranjith Kumaran
Apr 5, 2013

There’s no question that offering incentives can be a powerful way to get your customers and prospects to take the actions you want.

Bullet-Proof Your Earned Media Campaign

Sherry Orel
Mar 21, 2013

Despite the quest, earned media isn’t always a good thing. It works when the right people -- your brand advocates and satisfied customers -- are engaged in the three R’s: rating, reviewing and recommending your brand.

When it Comes To Loyalty, Experience Is Everything

Michael Hemsey
Mar 15, 2013

Summing up loyalty comes down to experiences: positive experiences engendering decades of loyalty and negative ones that take longer to subside.

Corporations: Donate Your Skills, Not Just Your Money

Cathy Benko
Feb 27, 2013

Corporations assume that employer-sponsored volunteerism programs keep employees engaged while also making a difference to the social organizations they serve. And that's true, but there's more to the story.

Emotional Engagement: Where Brands Strike Gold. And Make Money

Robert Passikoff
Feb 7, 2013

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.

Resolution: Embrace Consumer Relevance

Glen Hartman
Jan 21, 2013

As we enter 2013 and technologies and communications channels continue to evolve, it is imperative that brands embrace the new demands of today's empowered consumer -- relevant experiences at every touchpoint.

Data Points: Brand Fans People have more brands as friends than ever on Facebook

Lucia Moses
Jan 16, 2013

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.

What Brands Can Learn from Bands

Rachel Darivoff
Jan 14, 2013

While the digital era has led to many difficulties, challenges and changes for the music industry, it also has opened opportunities for music fans to interact with their favorite acts in ways that were not possible before.

Back To Our Roots For Successful Marketing

Laura Patterson
Jan 9, 2013

As a process and a profession, marketing is increasingly under attack for not delivering business value. This perception is sometimes due to the fact that it is easy for us to become enamored with the “producing” part of marketing.

Participant Media Creates TV Network for Millennials Into Social Change

Jeanine Poggi
Dec 19, 2012

A new TV network targeting millennials is coming next summer. The new channel comes from Participant Media, a producer of 'An Inconvenient Truth.' Participant Media, which finances and produces socially relevant films and documentaries, said Monday that is has acquired The Documentary Channel and entered into an agreement to buy the distribution assets of Halogen TV from The Inspiration Networks.

To Give Your Employees Meaning, Start With Mission

Teresa Amabile and Steve Kramer
Dec 19, 2012

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.

Leverage Paid, Owned, Earned Media For Social Media Success

Brad Carraway
Dec 14, 2012

As social newsfeeds become ever more cluttered, the attention span of the social audience is becoming shorter, prompting brands to enact new strategies to effectively engage their audiences in meaningful ways that will keep attention.

Discount Voucher Sites: Threat To Brand Value?

Dr. Darren Coleman
Feb 3, 2012

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.

The Great Brand Dilution

Brian Solis
Oct 7, 2010

For decades brands basked in the glory of control, control over consumers’ perceptions, impressions and ultimately decisions and ensuing experiences. Or better said, business leaders enjoyed a semblance of control. While businesses concentrated resources on distancing the connections between customers, influencers and representatives, a new democracy was materializing. This movement would inevitably render these faceless actions not only defunct, but also perilous.

Exploring and Defining Influence

Brian Solis
Sep 29, 2010

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.

Forget TV; Today's Consumers More Attached to Google, Amazon

Sep 29, 2010

When you consider popular media properties, the natural tendency is to think about those venues that usually draw consumers in throngs: a particular TV show, magazine or even a website. You might be surprised to find that consumers aren't as old-school as all that. The most engaging media outlets -- the ones that draw the most involved users -- happen to be such things as Google's search engine, AOL's email, Google's YouTube video-sharing service and the Facebook social-networking service. The rankings were compiled by NewMediaMetrics, a Jericho, N.Y., company that studies consumers' emotional attachment to media venues and advertisers' products.

Seth Godin on Brand ‘Tribes’

Sep 28, 2010

Godin discussed the notion that marketers have put themselves in a bit of a predicament. Over the course of the past 50 to 60 years, marketers have learned that the more frequently they hit customers with a message about a product or service, the more they are inclined to purchase. But in doing so, they have cannibalized their own efforts. The challenge now is in finding ways to reach people who have been trained to ignore ads. Godin noted, “there is too much clutter … because we’ve branded ourselves to death.”

Where Are The True Media Brands?

Sep 15, 2010

We are working in times of exponential growth in the media landscape. To the marketer, it seems as though new media channels for reaching/ engaging audiences are emerging in near real-time. The diffusion of innovation curve for digital/mobile innovation is no longer bell-shaped, it's practically vertical. We move from a glimmer of an idea to mass consumption in no longer than a few CPG purchase cycles.

A Cartoon Love Affair

Jonathan Salem Baskin
Sep 9, 2010

A Japanese resort town has created real-world getaway packages for men and their virtual schoolgirl dates. It’s weird and creepy, for sure, but it also demonstrates the power of virtual experience to be, as Dr. Eldon Tyrell once boasted, "more human than human."

How To Use Social Media Monitoring Tools For Outreach Marketing

Sep 3, 2010

Social media is all about engagement. Because of this, it is the perfect tool for outreach marketing efforts. Outreach marketing is the practice of seeking out individuals or organizations that have a shared interest in what you or your company has to offer. Sometimes, it is used in conjunction with direct sales, but often times it is used for more larger goals such as branding. Generally speaking, when planning an outreach marketing campaign online there are two main areas that are important to define before you begin; your target audience, and your method of engagement. Picking the right audience is vital to successful outreach marketing. Engagement is at the core of outreach marketing, the right type of engagement can make or break a campaign.

Think Of Social Media As A Party

Aug 31, 2010

For the first time in history, brands are trying to navigate a two-way channel of communication. Social media requires a value exchange between the consumer and the brand. Here are some reasons to think of it as one giant party.

It's Time To Get Engaged With Content

Len Stein
Aug 27, 2010

The growing dominance of social media compels marketers to abandon their old hard sell in favor of a content-driven marketing conversation that can facilitate meaningful brand relationships with customers and prospects. In this challenging environment, content is a key tool to fostering relationships, but publishing a blog, creating a Facebook fan page or launching a Twitter feed is only the beginning of a strategic content marketing program. Content marketing differs from traditional methods that employ interruption techniques in the belief that delivering helpful, relevant information drives profitable consumer action. The idea of sharing content is increasingly driving marketers to make proprietary intellectual assets available to influential audiences. Savvy content marketers create fresh information to share via all available media channels, on and off-line.

How TED Connects the Idea-Hungry Elite

Anya Kamenetz
Aug 12, 2010

The other day, I got an email from a new friend. The subject line read "Are you a TED talk person?" It linked to an 18-minute video of MIT behavioral economist Dan Ariely talking about the bugs in our moral codes. Other friends have sent me videos of Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert on the spiritual dimension of creativity; rocker David Byrne on how venue architecture affects musical expression; and UC Berkeley professor Robert Full's insights into how geckos' feet stick to a wall. Each of these emails is like a membership card into the club of "TED talk people." I love being a member of this club. The videos give my discovery-seeking brain a little hit of dopamine in the middle of the workday. But just as important, each one I see or recommend makes me part of a group of millions of folks around the world who have checked out these videos. What links us is our desire to learn; TEDsters feel part of a curious, engaged, enlightened, and tech-savvy tribe.

Secrets Of Engaging Customers In Online Communities

Aug 10, 2010

Marketers need to stop blasting messages to consumers and, instead, listen to them. So says Diane Hessan, president and CEO of Communispace, a 10-year-old company in Watertown, Mass., that creates online communities for marketers such as Kraft, Best Buy, Verizon and Mattel. These companies pay Communispace up to $25,000 a month to help them create and communicate with customers online for market research and feedback. Communispace pulled in $37 million in revenue in 2009, up 17% from the year before, according to the Honomichl Top 50 Report of U.S. Marketing Research Firms. Forbes' Ken Brunospoke with Hessan about online customer engagement and how it has changed over the past decade.

Marketers Still Looking for More Data, Lower Costs for IPad Ads

Kunur Patel
Aug 9, 2010

As early data on iPad apps trickle in, one thing is clear: It's going to require mountains of metrics for advertisers to pony up for the new platform's ads -- and their high prices. But early data from Conde Nast will bolster the argument the iPad is worth a premium, as it's delivering on reader attention better than other media channels.

Making Sense Of Buzz

Aug 4, 2010

There can be no doubt that social marketing has been the hot topic for the last few years, but many marketers still have reservations about seriously investing in the space. Whilst many of the reasons for such reticence can be quickly brushed off (it’s just for kids, it’s a fad, etc…) some deserve more attention. One such reason, which continually crops us, is the issue of measuring the effectiveness of social, and understanding how to make real use of it. There has been some great attempts to try to overcome such reservations recently, including the IAB’s measurement framework, and Nielsen’s Facebook work, but still such concerns persist. It’s for this reason that a bunch of enthusiastic people set-up MeasurementCamp, an informal, open-source event, which was recently relaunched in London. I was lucky enough to be asked to speak at the first of the new MeasurementCamp series, and thought that I would share the topics discussed.

Interruption vs. Engagement, Revised

Jul 26, 2010

Last week in Advertising Age, I tried to argue that we marketers should reevaluate our approaches to "interruption" and "engagement" marketing, as I think we're using both terms incorrectly. Budgets are getting shifted away from the short commercials of traditional media into longer social experiences of new media, like Old Spice's recent campaign, as if the latter's entertainment can replace the former's historic utility. Dozens of smart folks chimed in with ideas that either improved on what I'd tried to say, or added thoughts that had never occurred to me. I want to thank all of them...except for the numbnut who declared that "advertising is lies, all lies" and called us "paid prevaricators." I have no idea what he was doing slumming with us in one of the Inferno's outer rings, as he clearly belongs further in. I'd like to riff on what I found to be the most consistent and insightful commentary.

Why Interruption Stills Trumps Engagement

Jonathan Salem Baskin
Jul 21, 2010

I know we're not supposed to say it out loud, but a lot of CMOs and agency types think that advertising is going the way of the dinosaur, the Model T and conversation without emoticons. Consumers want to engage with content instead of get interrupted by ads, or so the logic goes, so we celebrate social campaigns like the recent one from Old Spice, and find favor only for commercials that are entertaining. Making a sales pitch just isn't credible anymore. Now that we're well into the social-media revolution, I think it's time to revisit the three assumptions on which this argument is based.

Now What?

Jonathan Salem Baskin
Jul 19, 2010

Old Spice has made history, dominating YouTube last week with 8 of the 11 most-watched videos on Friday and racking up tens of millions of views. Its "Smell Like a Man" campaign, in which its spokesmodel quickly shot mostly unscripted and hilariously funny replies to nearly 200 online inquiries (including some from famous people). It prompted numerous copycat videos and got covered by just about every news outlet in America. Now what?

Digital Strategy, Generous Interactions And The Engagement Opportunity

Jul 9, 2010

Aki Spicer, digital planning director at Fallon, recently shared a presentation he gave on brand engagement and planning in a digital age. He is also the co-founder of Planning for Good, and seeks to “bring planning into the age of participation.” Spicer’s presentation is insightful, informative and worth reading in its entirety – that said, we culled several ‘guidelines’ from it, for anyone wanting and needing to think as a digital strategist.

In Social Media, Engagement Has Its Rewards

Jun 21, 2010

One of the most sought after answers in Social Media is whether or not engagement in social networks such as Twitter or Facebook directly correlates to customer acquisition, retention, and advocacy. Before we can earn customers however, we have to recognize that at any given time, they are also prospects. And, prospects require information and confidence in order to make decisions, in your favor of course. The answer to our question lies in social engagement.

How Consumers Interact with Brands on Social Networks

Jun 8, 2010

The social networking audience in the US has reached critical mass. eMarketer estimates that 57.5% of all US Internet users, or 127 million people, will use a social network at least once a month in 2010. By 2014, nearly two-thirds of Internet users will be on board. Marketers have been chasing this audience for several years, but the question remains: Do consumers notice, or care? “Those who still think that social network users are too busy engaging with friends to notice marketers must change their viewpoint,” said Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report “Brand Interactions on Social Networks.” “Brand interactions are real, valuable and growing. “ According to a February 2010 survey by Chadwick Martin Bailey, a market research firm, 33% of Facebook users have become fans of brands on the network.

Social Media Strategy from A to Z

Jun 1, 2010

Social media might be old. It might even be a dead buzzword. That’s why you need to paint a picture that’s more meaningful and encompasses what “social media” as a label really is. Some of us have been thrust into social media simply because the online landscape showed potential for online conversations. Others have been there for over a decade. Regardless of the many years of experience you have in the online space, the ideas behind social media and social media marketing are applicable to everyone. Let’s take a look at some lessons, takeaways, and tips.

How Can Brands Best Get In Front Of Digital Audiences?

May 25, 2010

We’re still here at the first TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York. Up on stage right now is an interesting group of people discussing how brands can best engage with digital audiences in this day and age. This is an overview of what Judy Hu, Global Executive Director of Advertising & Branding at GE, Brian Pokorny (CEO of dailybooth), Christopher ‘moot’ Poole of 4chan fame and Andrey Ternovskiy, who started Chatroulette, had to say about that.

21 Rules for Social Media Engagement

May 18, 2010

Social media is reinventing marketing, communications, and the dissemination of information. While businesses now have access to these rich channels, the true promise of social media lies in the direct connections between people who represent companies and the people who define markets of interest. Today, many businesses approach this with the establishment of social media guidelines and policies. This is indeed an important step, and not one worth economizing. But it’s also not enough. I highly recommend establishing official procedures that remind representatives of the importance and privilege of engagement.

Humor Can Create Engagements

Aaron Perlut
Apr 27, 2010

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.

Social Media Use Becomes Pervasive

Apr 15, 2010

New research shows that social media use has become a regular habit for three quarters of the online population. In a survey of 1,700 U.S. Internet users, Nielsen Online found that 73 percent engaged in social media at least once per week. Engagement was defined as reading a blog, visiting a social network or reading (and/or commenting on) a message board. The research pegs the total U.S. social media audience at 127 million.

Twitter's Impact on the Engagement Ad Economy

Apr 15, 2010

From Facebook Engagement Ads, to Twitter's Promoted Tweets, to SocialVibe, ad opportunities within social media are justifiably drifting away from "display" and towards "engagement." It seems only natural. Click-through rates on display ads surrounding content have been falling precipitously for years, and those same clicks take one clicker in one direction with one experience. This new crop of engagement ads is leveraging the highly connected environments they appear within, turning every interaction with them into an opportunity for rebroadcasting, creating impressions between people that are arguably more effective than the initial impression that started the chain of events.

5 Tips For Using LinkedIn To Find Star Employees

Apr 5, 2010

Successful business people are always looking for their next rock star employee. The question is where do you find them? The good news is that the latest LinkedIn stats – 60 million professional profiles spanning 200 countries – would indicate this is a good place to look. Many of us already have a LinkedIn account, and if you don’t, LinkedIn is free and easy to maneuver. The trick is incorporating some strategies (habits, if you will) into using LinkedIn.

Brands Hope 'Community Pages' Make Facebook Presence Clearer

Apr 5, 2010

Facebook last week took another step toward redefining the relationship between its users and brands with the introduction of "community pages." The initiative will encourage users to start community pages for brands, entertainers, and politicians rather than unofficial fan pages, which have been a source of some confusion on the site. Big brands that have seen their official Facebook fan numbers hindered by third-party fan pages will likely welcome the move. For instance, even Coca-Cola - with its Facebook-leading 5.3 million fans - stands to benefit. A Facebook search query for Coca-Cola produces more than 500 fan page results, and some have been started by individuals who have accrued thousands of fans of the beverage company. There's the five-month-old fan page, "Coca-Cola In A Glass Bottle Is Way Better Than Plastic," which has built up a following of nearly 400,000.

When Games Invade Real Life

Jesse Schell
Apr 3, 2010

Games are invading the real world -- and the runaway popularity of Farmville and Guitar Hero is just the beginning, says Jesse Schell. At the DICE Summit, he makes a startling prediction: a future where 1-ups and experience points break "out of the box" and into every part of our daily lives.

YouTube Redesign Focuses On Search And Conversation

Apr 1, 2010

YouTube began pushing out the site's redesign Wednesday after testing the format since January. The cleaner, stripped-down version, which comes after a year of planning, more closely resembles the style and design of pages from parent company Google. The changes might seem subtle at first, but that's only because the site sports a cleaner look. Metrics from preliminary tests that YouTube ran earlier this year suggest that overall video playbacks with the redesign rose 6%. People stay on the site 7% longer to view and comment longer. The cleaner design also helps pages load faster.

Fashion Gets Its Own Web Channel

Mar 31, 2010

While many high end lines have been launching their own web-video campaigns, one site is taking it upon themselves to curate some of its favorite people, designers, and trends in one place. FASHIONAIR (which is still in beta form) celebrates fashion in all its forms, and is inspired as much by personal style, as what we see on the runways. The site includes, styling advice, interviews with industry insiders like Margherita Missoni, as well as daily fashion advice, gossip, and styling tips. The page also features a Personal Style section, where visitors can browse buys by body shape or style, upload your own media, or make digital magazine clippings of their favorite looks.

Innovators: Become Active Experimenters

Mar 29, 2010

One of my favorite Harvard Business Review articles from last year was "The Innovator's DNA." The article by Innosight founder Clayton Christensen (yes, I'm biased), BYU Professor Jeffrey Dyer, and INSEAD Professor Hal Gregersen describes the critical characteristics of successful innovators, and presents practical tips for business leaders looking to strengthen their innovation muscles. And I have begun to see the Innovator's DNA tools and research helping companies improve their ability to successfully innovate.

Marketing Becoming More Immediate, Social

Mar 22, 2010

This year will be a transitional year for marketing as we move toward an era that is "more immediate, more personal, more social, and more engaging," according to recently released survey data from marketing software developer Unica. Really what this means is that marketers have to be much more vigilant about managing their various presences, online and off, in order to stay on top of their brand. While there are more tools and channels for marketers than ever before, marketing budgets haven't risen dramatically. This means that marketers will need to use technology to leverage fast, cheap marketing channels.

The Money Graph

Mar 21, 2010

A new Pew study on the economics of news does not give comfort to news sites planning pay schemes. It also does not give me comfort that we’re wasting precious time futzing over walls when we should be paying attention to the big problems we have — one of which this Pew study points out: dreadful engagement and loyalty — and should be looking at other ways to give and gain value in our relationships with the public.

U.S. Census Fail

Mar 19, 2010

Most people agree that there is need for the 2010 U.S. Census. However, many people are finding flaws with the methods as to which the census is being rolled out and marketed. The census is important because it allows tax dollars and government programs to flow into communities with the most needs, based on information gathered in the census.

The Age Of Social Networks

Mar 17, 2010

Social networks share a common ingredient in design and intent, the connection of people and the facilitation of conversations, sharing, and discovery. What they do not share however, are culture, behavior, and prevailing demographics. Each network is unique in its genetic and cultural composition and it is for that reason that we benefit by becoming digital anthropologists in addition to new media marketers. Demographics are distributed within all social networks, but only concentrated within a select few. Where specific demographics materialize varies from network to network and as such, the more effective social strategies and tactics are designed to reach target audiences where, when and how they engage.

PBS To Premiere The "American Experience" Via Facebook

Mar 17, 2010

Public broadcasting, specifically PBS, is making a historic move, premiering “Earth Day” on Facebook. The full-length documentary, chronicling the growth of the environmental movement in the United States, will air April 11th on Facebook, and be broadcast on PBS eight days later. The reason? A Facebook debut will hopefully generate viral buzz and reach a younger audience attracted to the content but not necessarily devotees of PBS or appointment-viewing television. According to Mark Samels, executive producer of the “American Experience” series, "It's an opportunity, we think, to engage with a new audience, an audience that we may not be bringing to PBS Monday nights at 9 o'clock."

Engagement Is Key for Rich Media Video Ads

Mar 17, 2010

When it comes to rich media ads on the Internet that employ video, engagement matters enormously. Environment, not so much. That's the major and in some ways surprising takeaway from a new study conducted by VideoEgg and comScore. The study examined the effectiveness of rich media video ads vs. traditional banners. The goal was to prove the theory that banner ads containing video are more engaging. In addition, the study gauged whether site environment -- particularly contextual relevance -- played a role in how well such ads performed.

What Behavioral Psychology Can Teach Us About Engagement

Mar 10, 2010

The fundamentals of behavioral psychology, however, can be applied to any kind of experience we can imagine. And the extent to which the experience is meaningful and fulfilling to the participants, and even our society in general, is only limited by the intention of the designers.

Yahoo! Pitches Scale To Advertisers. To Consumers, It's Personal

Mar 2, 2010

Yahoo!, which will celebrate its 15th year in business on Tuesday, is pitching the "science, art and scale" of its enterprise to advertisers. Carol Bartz, company CEO, is working with marketers, including Wal-Mart and TurboTax, to develop advertising and content tailored to specific audiences they want to reach. "We need ads to engage an audience because we want that audience to stick around," Bartz on Monday told a group of advertising and media executives assembled for an American Association of Advertising Agencies (aka the 4A's) conference in San Francisco.

Content Strategy is, in Fact, the Next Big Thing

Kristina Halvorson
Feb 25, 2010

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!

Brand Obituaries

Feb 22, 2010

I’m working with a client to develop a new brand platform and thought I’d share one of the tools I used in my engagement – Brand Obituaries. The client lacks a clear brand identity and their brand seems “forgettable.” The problem is not that they don’t have good products – it’s that they no longer know what they stand for, and so neither do consumers.

Putting the Public Back in PR Measurement

Feb 21, 2010

You get that coveted interview in the Wall Street Journal or your company is covered by AP and the news goes mainstream and you jump for joy. While that's great news, counting the potential eyeballs that glanced at that story is no longer enough. It is specifically not good enough in a digital era where every action can be tracked.

Digital Branded Content Syndication

Pete Caban
Feb 17, 2010

Think of someone you know who is graduating from high school in 2010. Maybe it’s your younger cousin, or a niece or nephew. Perhaps it’s your son or daughter. Or perhaps it’s some young folks in your town you may know. Take a minute to think about someone you have watched grow up for the past 15 or so years. Furthermore, let’s acknowledge that your young high school graduate represents, quite literally, the “18” in the coveted “18-35 demographic” that many marketers are constantly trying to reach. Now think about the fact that the high school graduating “Class of 2010” was born around the time that Netscape Navigator arrived—the time when the Web was born.

ESPN360.com to Rebrand as ESPN3.com on April 4

Feb 11, 2010

ESPN will rebrand its live sports centric Web property ESPN360.com as ESPN3.com starting on April 4. Executives at the sports media giant said that the name change reflects the way the company increasingly views the site, as a full-fledged third network that complements ESPN and ESPN 2. "We have approached this as a network for years, and as users have become more accustomed to engaging with content across various screens,it made sense to make adjustments that reflect both the product’s and the industry’s evolution,” said Sean Bratches, executive vp, sales and marketing.

Why Brands Should Strive for Imperfection

Martin Lindstrom
Feb 9, 2010

We've seen and heard this commercial a thousand times, the one with the flawless model posing in an ad for facial-blemish cream... an extremely powerful cleaner that removes every trace of dirt in one effortless wipe... the picture-perfect baby modeling the 100% waterproof diaper. In these scenarios, there's not even a hint of a single red spot, a stubborn stain, or a bedraggled mother. This is the story of the past 50 years of commercials, and they all have one thing in common: perfect brands in perfect environments. But there is a strong case to be made for imperfection. Nothing is ever perfect, and even when it appears to be so, we are subconsciously looking for the flaw. Because our point of connection lies in imperfection--it's what makes something unique and, ultimately, authentic.

Loyalty Programs Need to Engage

Jack Loechner
Feb 3, 2010

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.

When Virtual Playgrounds Collide With The Mom Next Door, Marketers Win

Feb 3, 2010

Ask any marketer who has been around for a while what the greatest form of marketing is in the mom market, and he or she will undoubtedly answer "word of mouth." Some may even cleverly call it word of mom. A decade ago, a marketer's dream was to have a mom tell other mothers about their brand or product on the playground. We jumped for joy if moms sitting in focus groups told us that they heard about our product from another mom at a play date. It was difficult to quantify this "word of mouth," but we knew in our guts it was either building brand awareness or driving sales. Then, almost miraculously, the mom blogger was born and suddenly marketers could see and track word of mom in comments, tweets and blog posts

Content Needs to Get Most of Your Attention

Feb 2, 2010

Great content doesn't grow on trees, doesn't work in a vacuum, and doesn't need to be driven solely by what your readers tell you -- you need to have a strategy built around content to grow a site. Glen has written a really useful post that can help you see why content needs to get most of your attention -- he built and sold a site. He lists many characteristics that are part of my experience as well. Your results -- in this case mine -- may vary depending on the level of commitment and focus you put on them.

Social Is the Top Priority For Marketers In 2010

Jan 26, 2010

Money spent on social media-related advertising is already expected to grow significantly this year, and now we also know that the medium is considered the top priority in the digital space according to a survey of senior marketers.

Sit Down And Eat With Your Customers

Jan 20, 2010

For me, growing up the dinner table was of course a place to eat, but it was also a time for fellowship, sharing stories, laughing - and sometimes getting in trouble. I had a bad habit growing up of hiding food that I didn’t want to eat. Boy I thought I was smart, but of course it’s hard to fool a mom. So let’s ring the dinner bell - Don’t waste your time setting the table for your customers, if your not going to sit down and eat with them!

Removing The Blindfold That Prevents True Engagement And Measurement

Jan 20, 2010

MarketingProfs recently published a fantastic report on the equality of B2B and B2C adoption and practice of social media. In “The State of Social Media Marketing,” the 242-page report shared how over 5,000 marketers and business professionals use social media to create award winning campaigns, measure ROI, and reach audiences. Jay Baer offers an interesting analysis at Convince and Convert. More of my thoughts on the subject of B2B and B2C social media are shared in my post, “The Business of Social Media.”

No Limit For Better

Jan 15, 2010

I agree with Dan Pink, there is no limit for better. How do you get there? In his latest book, Drive, Pink suggests you do that by taking an approach that has three elements to it. For starters, gaining an appreciation and understanding that people's default settings are self-directed - they actually don't need to be baby-sat - will help you see that people need autonomy over task (what they do), time (when they do it), team (who they do it with), and technique (how they do it).

When I Knew Advertising Had Completely Changed

Jan 4, 2010

During the year-and-a-half I spent researching and writing Adland, I was often asked, usually by people who knew me in my past life, "What are you doing here? Didn't you write a novel? Didn't you gleefully leave this world behind?" The simple answer was that I was writing another book. Not another novel but, ironically, a book about the past, present and future of the world I had supposedly, gleefully, left behind. Many who worked with me found this curious and funny, and not just because of the irony, but because really, who the hell am I to write a book about advertising?

Where Digital Marketing Is Heading in 2010 (Part Two)

Ken Mallon and Duncan Southgate
Dec 31, 2009

Yesterday we posted the first five digital-marketing predictions from Millward Brown and Dynamic Logic, which looked at mobility, geo-location, viral marketing, gaming and online display. Today, we bring you the final five. And we want to know -- do you agree? What do you think will be the big issues of 2010? Here's the rest of the predictions for 2010.

Listening Is Sooo 2009; 2010 Is About The Conversation

Dec 23, 2009

If you oversee a brand and your goal for 2010 is to start listening to people via Social Media, don’t read this post. Bookmark this post and read it in six months. If however, you’ve spent most of 2009 listening then please, by all means, read on.

4 Ways to Use Social Media Cues to Engage People

Dec 23, 2009

As much as we (rightly) praise Google for having transformed our lives for the better, sometimes we all want answers that go beyond the right search query. Sometimes we want to reach out to someONE rather than someTHING. But engaging in a conversation requires trust. And just as no newsletter sign-up form or invitation should be without trust-building assurances and privacy statements, no social media invitation or landing page should be without its own persuasive and trust-building cues.

How "Social" Is Your Bank?

Dec 18, 2009

The banking industry is missing out on a huge opportunity to transform itself from a transactional model to an engagement model. Banks make money on our deposits, our transactions and lending us money. The economic models for banks are old and subsequently there is little differential from one bank to another. The customer experience is largely the same and yet bank after bank uses the tag line “relationship banking.” Bank relations do matter just like any organization selling products and services. But the intent of relations is changing and so must the banking industry. Think about the image we have of banks: a brick building we rarely go into with people behind a counter and the manager sitting in an office with plush furniture. What do these people do? Nothing more than manage transactions and the more they manage the more they make.

Why Marketing Must Leverage an 'Artscience' Philosophy

Michael Fassnacht and James Shuttleworth
Dec 17, 2009

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 Proliferation Of Online Video

Dec 1, 2009

Online video continues to capture the attention of producers and viewers, with the market as well as industry leaders, leading us into a more pervasive form of video entertainment, communication and education. With YouTube quickly transforming from a user-generated video network into an invaluable repository for content, the associated behavior for creating, uploading, discovering, and watching online videos is evolving. What many have yet to realize are the effects YouTube has aroused. It is where many online experiences begin and end.

Measuring The Performance Of Your Social Media Communications

Valeria Maltoni
Dec 1, 2009

Marketing spend these days is all about justification. I'm glad that the use of social media is quickly moving from "shiny object" darling to why should my business use it? The latter is a much better question. One that will get us somewhere, not necessarily faster but more real. The ROI question pops up everywhere these days. I do wonder how do you measure your other business activities? Do you measure marketing? Do you hold advertising accountable? Do you know what works, what doesn't? How about public relations? Finance? HR? IT? Any ROI calculations handy on those?

Stop Looking for the Next Twitter

Nov 25, 2009

If you are a pundit, or get paid to watch trends, then this message doesn't apply to you. It's your job to go out and find the next shiny object that could influence how we live and do business. But if you're in the trenches of an organization, my advice is to stop acting like or listening to pundits. Stop looking for the next Twitter. Why? It's simple—because the odds are you already have plenty of projects and ideas with proven potential that you need to improve on without worrying about the next thing you'll start. Here are a few thought-starters based on observations I've made about all of "yesterday's Twitters" that need some care and feeding before you start looking for the next Twitter. Perhaps some may hit close to home for you.

Shows Online, Brought to You by ...

Nov 24, 2009

Jennie Garth of “Beverly Hills 90210” fame has a new series. But don’t look for it on a broadcast network or a cable channel. Likewise, Candace Bushnell of “Sex and the City” and “Lipstick Jungle” is back at work in the video realm. But her new show cannot be found on ABC, CBS, Lifetime, Oxygen or TNT. Those actors and many more are finding new ways to stay in the public eye in the form of Web series, also known as webisodes. Almost all such Web series are being created specifically for advertisers, borrowing a strategy from the early days of radio and television when shows like “The Kraft Music Hall,” “The Bell Telephone Hour,” “Lux Radio Theater” and “Schlitz Playhouse of Stars” entertained Americans while selling cheese, phone service, soap and beer.

The Social Media (R)evolution: Your Time is Now

Brian Solis
Nov 20, 2009

The Future of the Social Web is here today and we’re learning that engagement is not a matter of if or when, but to what extent, how and what value can we deliver and derive from it. The Social Web is much more than a window into information and interaction, it is a completely transformative medium that is changing how we forge relationships, interact with one another, and distribute and discover information. In many ways, the online social revolution is reminiscent of the Industrial Revolution. Access to free and expansive media platforms and distribution channels has democratized influence and shifted the power of authority from those who previously controlled the media to those who disseminate it.

Did You Forget Your Digital Pants?

Mike Arauz
Nov 18, 2009

Whether you think digital agencies are "ready to lead" or not, failing to bring a digital mindset to marketing and communications challenges is no longer an option. Yesterday, Ben Malbon tweeted a quote by Garrick Schmitt from the Razorfish FEED 09 Report: "Brand marketers neglecting digital is akin to showing up to a cocktail party in sweatpants." This reminded me of the Shel Silverstein poem and illustration above (which Johanna helped me to track down). The digital age is here. And it's permanent. This means that regardless of whether your career has been labeled digital or not, it is essential that you bring a digital mindset to all of the work that you do. This is beyond tools, platforms, and capabilities. This is a new way of understanding our world that changes every aspect of our work.

STUDY: Most Fortune 100 Companies Don’t Get Twitter

Nov 17, 2009

In August we reported that a large number of Fortune 100 companies have embraced Twitter, but how well are they actually using it? A study released today by Weber Shandwick says the answer is not very well, and that the majority of Fortune 100 companies don’t really get Twitter. Though 73 of 100 companies had at least one registered Twitter account (up from 54 reported in an unrelated study released in August), the majority of them weren’t using Twitter effectively to engage their followers, weren’t tweeting often, and didn’t display any personality in their tweets, according to the study. One major result of this ineffective use seems to be low engagement from followers. Out of the 540 total Twitter accounts registered by Fortune 100 companies, 50 percent of the accounts had fewer than 500 followers and another 15 percent weren’t being used at all.

Being Connected

Nov 12, 2009

It used to mean that you knew all the boys at the cricket club. Then it meant that all the people in the industry knew about you. Now it means that with a couple of tools, a bit of work, and a willingness to be open and giving, you can potentially reach anyone who has that same access. But are you connected?

Implementing a B2B Content Strategy: Consider How

Valeria Maltoni
Nov 10, 2009

Businesses are made of people, many of them in the middle. While everyone loves to talk to the C-level, the shift in the way people at all levels work, select and recommend service providers, and get things done is more notable in the thick of things, so to speak. Technology has made it even easier for people to connect with peers, collaborate, and get and give direct and indirect (through search) feedback. There's a reason why social media has put a spotlight on being human - brands forgot how to tell stories. Along with a "me, too" characteristic of many B2Bs always in search of benchmarking and way to validate their value props, companies forgot (more likely stopped funding) media integration. This first set of considerations presents some difficulties in the connected world we live in.

How To Create Advocates For Your Business

David Armano
Nov 3, 2009

So what is customer advocacy anyway? Well for starters, they don't have to be your customers—they can be any part of your entire constituency. Employees, business partners, friends—you name it. But here's the point. You need them more than ever. Right now, if you are planning social initiatives, your biggest challenge is going to be manpower. Someone has to do the listening, the outreach, the customer service, the participation, the engagement with others in the ecosystem. Some parts can be automated (such as an algorithm in a listening tool technology), but many other parts require actual people. So at some point you'll have to scale, and you're going to need a passionate, engaged group of people to advocate on your behalf. So how do you do it?

Ads Aren't Augmented Reality

Oct 26, 2009

Augmented Reality, or "AR," is one of the ideas buzzing around the advertising world these days. The premise is that consumers don't want to look at static ads any longer, so there are various ways to augment them with technology that makes them move, speak, or appear in 3-D. Unlike passive advertising, AR embeds interactivity that lets people engage with marketing content. Cool. Only that's not AR. It's just a fancy name for creating ads for the sake of creating ads. The industry would do well to avoid pursuing the sham.

Coca-Cola to Teach the World to Be Happy via Social Networking Sites

Oct 22, 2009

Coca-Cola is no longer content to merely teach the world to sing in perfect harmony - it now wants to teach the world how to be happy, appointing a team of Happiness Ambassadors to show us the way. A team of three young people are to attempt to visit the 206 countries where Coca-Cola is sold in 365 days, finding out what makes people happy and sharing this with the world through social networking sites.

Mob Rule! How Users Took Over Twitter

Steven Levy
Oct 21, 2009

Last August, the people who putatively run Twitter — the small crew that three years ago launched the world’s fastest-growing communications medium — announced a relatively minor change in the way the site functions. The tweak would have a small effect on retweeting, the convention by which Twitter users repost someone else’s informative or amusing message to their own Twitter followers. Retweets start with RT, for “retweet,” and usually cite the first author by user ID. And, importantly, retweeters often add a word or two of commentary about the repeated content. But there was a problem: Twitter itself didn’t invent retweeting; it was created by Twitter users. In a blog post explaining the changes to retweets, the company’s second-in-command, Biz Stone, called them “a great example of Twitter teaching us what it wants to be.”

Social Media's Clumsy Ad Model Needs New Moves

Mike Shields
Oct 20, 2009

Social media advertising has stumbled in its current form, and needs new choreography. That’s the blunt message that media consultancy Media Link has for MySpace. Media Link has been advising MySpace since August, following a major executive shakeup at the troubled News Corp. unit. That message might as well be aimed at the entire social media landscape, which generates a disproportionate amount of ad impressions but commands such low prices that some in the industry even speculate it could hinder an expected online advertising recovery.

HOW TO: Use Social Media in Your PR Pitch Plan

Oct 12, 2009

It’s clear that the public relations landscape is changing. No longer does emailing a journalist a press release always result in coverage on major news channels (there are exceptions, naturally, but the average business doesn’t get on Oprah). These days, journalists (and yes, bloggers too) are inundated with press releases. It’s easy to hit delete and move on. How do you get your pitch heard above the din? Conversation. Engagement. Interaction.

5 Hours

Oct 12, 2009

Could airlines use digital media to help get themselves out of a rough spot? This past week I traveled to two different destinations with two different airlines - the contrast couldn’t have been starker. What was the difference? One airline uses digital media to its advantage, the other one is still stuck in analog mode. While the first trip went without a glitch - we even got to destination earlier both ways - the second one started horribly - with what turned out to be a 5 hour wait, time none of the passengers will ever get back. As I was waiting in line and meeting others who were in my same predicament, I thought about the many ways in which digital media can help this ailing and tired industry.

Facebook Marketing: Consumers As Friends

Oct 12, 2009

As Facebook passes 300 million active users, it is quickly becoming the favorite engagement-marketing and communications platform of brands. While the robust social platform brings with it abundant opportunity, it also brings new challenges. Brand marketers and their creative agencies are more than ever operating in new territories, forced to rethink their tactical marketing approach and understanding of what metrics matter in this space. On Facebook, consumers and brands are friends. The notion of consumers as friends is inviting to brands, yet most marketers are still somewhat unclear what this really means and how they should approach this friendship. As such, the remainder of this article aims to unlock some of the secrets to a successful friendship between a brand and a consumer on Facebook.

Move Over, Information, It's The Engagement Age

Oct 8, 2009

In case you haven't heard, teenagers have officially abandoned all means of traditional media. Television? Done. Radio? Forget it. Newspapers? Who reads? OK, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. In fact, a Nielsen report published just this past summer suggests that TV watching is actually up with teens and Internet use is actually lower in teens compared to adults. Hmmm ... so does that mean that, as rEvolution's VP of digital marketing and youth culture, I should start looking for a new job? I don't think so.

Market Engagement Optimization (MEO) and NetTrust Score

Chris Heuer
Oct 7, 2009

For over 15 years I have been looking at the world of marketing, advertising and public relations and seeing things a bit differently. I was not alone. Countless others also saw the real need for systemic changes, or dare I say reform, across the board. The fundamental challenge became that the broad concept of “the market” was not fair nor efficient – the ones with the power (and money) won, and they often won at the expense of other’s loss.

Building a Platform

Valeria Maltoni
Oct 5, 2009

When we think about media, we think about reach and volume - how many people will (potentially) see your message at any one time. The message could be relevant to them directly, and to their friends and neighbors indirectly. Unless they see it though, they won't be able to find it. Mainstream media still manages to capture the lion share of distribution and ubiquity. It was curious to see that the Wikipedia definition of mass media now includes the Internet - blogs, message boards, podcasts - because individuals have now the potential to a means to exposure that is comparable in scale to that previously restricted to a select group of mass media producers.

10 Branding and Marketing Trends for 2010

Derrick Daye
Oct 1, 2009

Niels Bohr once noted that "prediction is very difficult, especially about the future," but then he didn't have access to predictive loyalty metrics. Happily, we do. And, as they measure the direction and velocity of consumer values 12 to 18 months in advance of the marketplace and consumer articulations of category needs and expectations, they identify future trends with uncanny accuracy. Having examined these measures, we offer 10 trends for marketers for 2010 that will have direct consequences to the success - or failure – of next year's branding and marketing efforts.

Three Companies that Started Down the Trust Path with Customers First

Sep 29, 2009

They do it by talking about and engaging with topics and content that will make their customers smarter. Or they share tidbits that are fun and engaging, and share the love. These are the secrets of successful corporate blogs - and I’ll share then in less than a thousand words.

Enough With 'Why'; Let's Focus on 'How'

Sep 28, 2009

When we started the Boomer Project back in 2003, we decided to focus on what we called "the second question." The first question was, of course, "Why market to today's older Boomers?" Recent contributors to this column have addressed the "why" quite effectively. Our point-of-view from the beginning was that marketers who woke up to the economic power of the Boomer generation, even beyond age 50, would then ask the next question: "How do we engage Boomers now?" We wanted to be there to answer it.

The Corporate Firewall

Sep 28, 2009

I recently stumbled across the cluetrain manifesto again. It had a big impact on me when I first read it ten years ago. At the time, I was building web sites for big companies and it gave voice to a lot of the frustration I felt trying to get these companies to really embrace the potential of engaging with consumers directly. I worked with an airline that refused to handle any consumer inquiries generated by their web site. They actually had an in-house call center for reservations, but didn't even want their phone number listed on the site (let alone an email address). For them, the web site was a cheaper way to book reservations, and they were trying to lower transaction costs, not increase consumer loyalty. This was particularly odd because the airline prided itself on in-flight customer service.

Sub-Brands Do Battle in Land of Social Media

David Gelles
Sep 23, 2009

Every day, legions of new web sites appear, each competing for eyeballs and dollars. This presents an acute problem for companies. As consumers are presented with a vast array of online campaigns vying for their attention, businesses are grappling with the best way to target and engage them. Many are increasingly adopting an aggressive web-based strategy around sub-branding. So that rather than plaster the internet with, say, glossy blue-and-white logos, Ford, the motor company, is creating online communities for each of its vehicle lines.

4 Ways Social Media is Changing Business

Sep 23, 2009

Social media is helping to forge a new era in business transparency and engagement, creating both new challenges and opportunities. Gone are the days when companies could rely on carefully crafted press releases or flashy ad campaigns to communicate with their customers, often in an attempt to convince people that their products are the best in the field. In the age of social media, the rules have changed radically, and people today demand a more honest and direct relationship with the companies with which they do business. Companies now face a clear choice: wall themselves in and become increasingly controlled and hidden, or use social media and other means to reveal their human side, welcome transparency, and forge new relationships with their customers. The old game is undoubtedly over, and the question now is, “what can businesses do to transition and succeed in this new era?”

Study Finds Retailers are Thinking Socially

Sep 18, 2009

Retailers have a love-hate relationship with social media, according to a study set to be released next week. The E-tailing Group, which specializes in retail sector trends, surveyed 117 companies--from small to large--to assess how retailers and brands view the social Web. The biggest concern among respondents is that consumers will "trash their products in front of a large audience," according to E-tailing Group. At the same time, companies very much want to partake in the social Web. Ninety-three percent of companies surveyed said they are seeking greater customer engagement through social-media efforts. And 76 percent want to use social networks to "mobilize advocates through word of mouth."

Cable Clicks on Interactive Ads Again

Sep 16, 2009

The traditional TV ad is losing luster as viewers get savvier about skipping commercials and some advertisers shift to the Internet to save money and target specific audiences. Cable providers have helped undermine the 30-second spot by supplying digital video recorders to their subscribers and offering ad-free video-on-demand services. Now they are promising to help marketers reach TV watchers with new interactive advertising that seeks to engage viewers and borrows techniques from the Internet.

Capturing, and Keeping, Attention in an Increasingly Noisy World

Sep 15, 2009

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something." -- Plato That may have been true 2,400 years ago, but it may not be so true today. In fact, in our always on, desperately seeking stimulation media environment, you have to say something -- and something meaningful and arresting, or at least communicated in an engaging way -- to keep the hungry masses satiated. Else, they'll go somewhere else. Sometimes it takes smart people a long time to catch on to this new reality (many never do). Sure, they understand that Ali became "The Greatest," Elvis "The King," Gandhi "The Mahatma" et al. through a combination of endowment, passion, and hard work. But they also know, intellectually, that manufactured spectacle played a supremely important role in their progress; spectacle, by the way, that at times both engaged and enraged the masses.

The 5 Feed: Wrigleys Branded Creativity Aggregator

Sep 11, 2009

Not your average brand website, The 5 Feed is the Australian website for Wrigleys ‘5′ gum. Designed by marketing communication group Clemenger BBDO, Wrigleys put aside generic product web design for a site “you’ll actually want to keep heading back to.” Hobo Gestapo, Isobel Knowles, Aeons, Crozynski, and Lilian Darmono are just some of the Australian artists, musicians and designers commissioned to create engaging content that encourages return visits. New elements are added weekly, with site visitors encouraged to actively engage with the website by downloading, remixing and adding their own content.

20 Seconds To Live Or Die

Ted Mininni
Aug 27, 2009

When consumers make purchase decisions, they're spending anywhere from 10 to 20 seconds - according to surveys and research conducted by consumer behavior experts. Studies show that consumers ignore up to two-thirds of category products when they shop. That kind of statistic points to just how difficult it is to successfully package products. And clearly demonstrates why so many products fail at retail.

It's A Good Ning

Aug 25, 2009

Ask Gina Bianchini about the future of traditional media on the Web and she'll point you to a recent experiment by the home-and-garden-focused publishing giant Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Working with Bianchini's social networking outfit, Ning, Martha Stewart developed an online meeting place for female entrepreneurs on the Ning network called "Dreamers into Doers." Women can post tips about running a small business, share videos about their companies and meet other women grappling with the challenges of building a company from scratch while raising families.

Co-Creation Grows Into a Viable Business Model

Aug 25, 2009

There’s been a lot of interesting discussion recently on how to best leverage channels like Twitter to communicate. This post talks about a bit about the co-creation of new social experiences that drive conversation and engagement in innovative ways, with the potential to then communicate the co-creation activity across multiple channels - including Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Flickr.

How To Become A Social Brand

Aug 20, 2009

Giving your brand a social life on the web takes more than a username and an avatar. It takes a lot of time, and a surprising amount of planning and attention. Here are 5 key steps and 3 key continuous activities that brands need to go through in order to successfully participate in online conversations and forge meaningful connections with people who care about their product.

Does Your Company Support Consumer Experience Innovation?

Steve McCallion
Aug 18, 2009

A few years ago, we were asked by a regional coffee roaster to redefine the coffee experience for fine dining. We knew that Americans drank coffee after dinner for functional purposes (to wake/sober up), but we wanted to understand how we could create a more emotional experience. We grabbed our notepads, went into the field, drank a lot of coffee, studied coffee rituals from different cultures and ultimately crafted a compelling coffee experience that could have resurrected the after dinner coffee ritual in America. The client loved it, but never brought it to market. Why?

Rebranding Branding

Lindsay Bazos
Aug 17, 2009

An old yet dominant definition of branding is emotion-driven storytelling in which the brand works to attract and guide us by projecting a desired lifestyle. An established yet fringe definition of branding is storytelling inspired by the tangible qualities of the objects or systems the brand supports. This later definition and approach to branding reverses out of transcendent, emotion-based brand experiences and gives more responsibility to the customer's intelligence to create the experience and meaning. What would our branded world look like if this approach was widely adopted?

Why Starbucks Is the Top Brand on Facebook

Aug 13, 2009

Starbucks has been racking up accolades in the digital and social media space. As of July 23, the coffee chain surpassed Coca-Cola as the most popular brand on Facebook, with more than 3.6 million fans, per InsideFacebook.com, an independent blog that tracks the social networking site’s developments. It was also named the No. 1 “most engaged brand” in a report published by Altimeter Group last month. These recent feats are the result of Starbucks’ aggressive digital and social media strategy, said Starbucks digital strategy director Alexandra Wheeler in an interview with Brandweek. That's because Starbucks has moved from “experimenting” to actively incorporating and utilizing social media channels, such as Twitter and Facebook, in its brand marketing plans.

Facebook Joins Forces with Advertisers

Aug 10, 2009

More than 80 per cent of the largest US advertisers are using Facebook to promote themselves, suggesting that corporate America has embraced the social networking site as a mainstream promotional platform. This marks a striking shift. Companies were initially hesitant to advertise on social networks because users appeared resistant to advertising and there were fears that corporate logos might appear alongside offensive content.

It’s Not About Influence - It’s About Trust

Aug 7, 2009

If you are involved in creating digital strategy or working with social media from a professional point of view, you are bound to hear the word “influence” bandied about. Maybe you have been asked to work up an influencer outreach program for a new product. Perhaps you are thinking about commissioning an influencer engagement strategy to help you tap into the pot of gold that the social graph represents. Whatever your reasons, consider this first …

Active Listening on the Social Web; It’s Overrated

Aug 7, 2009

Wikipedia tells us that active listening is an intent to “listen for meaning”. Others suggest that active listening should “focus on who you are listening to, whether in a group or one-on-one, in order to understand what he or she is saying.” These are excellent definitions. But as it relates to customer interactions on the social web, active listening is only one half of the equation.

Turn Digital Chaos Into Brand Equity

Aug 6, 2009

The explosion in new media channels, and the increasing ease with which consumers can react to, create content about, and generally discuss brands is challenging even the best marketers. How do you manage your brand in such a chaotic consumer empowered world and ensure that consumers understand your brand equity?

Twitter Hasn't Jumped the Shark (And Probably Never Will)

Jul 31, 2009

Internet fads have proven to be short-lived, "jumping the shark" and falling from grace as swiftly as they rose. Twitter will prove to be the exception because of its one permanently-redeeming quality: simplicity.

The Problem of Promoting You, Your Cause, Your Business with Social Media

Jul 31, 2009

If your company wants to know the philosophical basis of social media, many resources indicate it rests in the notion that consumers grew tired of advertising and marketing messages all day, every day. They turned to the Internet in the late 1990s and early 2000s when the access and technology barriers to entry conveniently dropped. There, they found like-minded others to share recommendations and information with.

Reason vs. Emotion in Branding

Jul 30, 2009

On Monday, Roger Dooley posted a short piece on his Neuromarketing blog titled, "Emotional Ads Work Best." Citing an analysis of data regarding successful ad campaigns referenced in the book Brand Immortality by Pringle and Field, Dooley states the following: "Campaigns with purely emotional content performed about twice as well (31% vs. 16%) with only rational content, and those that were purely emotional did a little better (31% vs 26%) those that mixed emotional and rational content."

Social Media Mavens - An Interview With Kodak's Tom Hoehn

Jul 29, 2009

Welcome to the third interview in the Social Media Mavens series, where I talk to some of the top minds in corporate social media, and learn how their companies are crafting their social media efforts. Today's installment features a recent chat I had with Kodak's Director of Interactive Marketing and Convergence Media, Tom Hoehn. Tom has also been a driving force behind Kodak's social media efforts, which includes the stellar A Thousand Words, which is one of the best corporate blogs out there.

Innovative Brand Engagement

Jul 24, 2009

Two of my favorite brands recently introduced innovations that brought me such delight, I was prompted to think about what was so remarkable about them. What was it about them that not only delivered a great experience, but also grew my esteem of their respective brands??

The Most Engaged Brands On The Web

Jul 20, 2009

What big brands do the best job with social media? A new study by analyst Charlene Li of the Altimeter Group and Wetpaint ranks the top 100 brands by social media engagement.

The Elements of a Great Shopping Experience

Jul 17, 2009

Paula Courtney found "wow" when she took her daughter to the employee washroom at her local grocery store. A sign by the door instructed workers to remain physically by the side of any customer experiencing a problem until that problem was resolved. Later, when Courtney was in the checkout line, the cashier noticed Courtney's blueberries were squishy. The cashier insisted on walking back to the produce section to find a fresh box. For Courtney, chief executive of The Verde Group, a Toronto retail research and consulting firm, that was a "wow" shopping experience.

Creating Buzz: It's the Message AND the Medium

Jul 16, 2009

I was delighted to be the email advocate on a panel on “Creating an Environment for Viral Marketing Success,” moderated by entrepreneur and author Guy Kawasaki last Thursday. It was a virtual complement to the SmartBrief Buzz2009 event, held in Washington DC with more than 80 association executives.

Content Creates Engagement

Jul 8, 2009

Engagement is the buzzword of choice when social media experts get together to pontificate. And while I agree that engagement, and ultimately action, is the payoff of social media, few social media experts talk about how it’s really created. Engagement is not really created by being a nice, genuine, caring and attentive sort of chap on twitter. It’s hard to create much momentum in any kind of social network without some of those qualities, but true engagement, engagement that leads to customers and partners, is created with content. Or, perhaps more accurately, engagement is created with engaging content.

Earned Media: Is No Chatter Worse Than Negative Chatter?

Jul 2, 2009

While we discuss how earned media is an output of the combination of paid media and owned media, I think the simplification of the three terms has made a mess out of the expectations of clients everywhere. Earned media isn't an easy acquisition metric like a click. You can't outbid a brand for earned media. It's a continuous, it's laborious, and it requires a large percentage of human engagement to be considered effective.

Tools of Engagement: The New Practice of User-Centered Design

Robert Fabricant
Jul 1, 2009

This is a time to ask questions. Not small questions but big, fundamental questions. What role did Design play in contributing to our current global crisis? And what role should/will Designers play in leading us out of this mess? The gloves have come off over the last few months with a raft of posts by influential design thinkers questioning the impact of Innovation and Design Thinking, two of the most fashionable elements of contemporary design practice, on business practices.

Are *You* Truly Engaged?

Jun 30, 2009

It was a comment from Zoë and a title of a blog post from Chris Brogan that made me ask the question. Twitter can be tiring and pointless noise, and social media can be a bunch of chores, if the intent does not match the intention. If your involvement is not engagement, then what happens to the outcomes?

Why Google & Virgin America's Online Scavenger Hunt Campaign Rocked

Jun 25, 2009

Google Apps partnered with Virgin America to launch a unique campaign where they invited people taking Virgin America flights all day, as well as those sitting on computers at home or work to participate in an online scavenger hunt for clues to answer questions they would pose at you on a website called "Day In The Clouds." The scavenger hunt offered questions requiring you to use many different Google apps and online tools to find the answers, and integrated with Virgin America both for some questions as well as by offering free WiFi to any passenger on one of their flights today.

Results Follow Understanding

Jun 16, 2009

Ask any businessperson what marketing is about and they’ll answer with clichés about satisfying customer needs or “world class” service. Eventually they’ll get around to the 4 Ps, advertising, USPs, viral and social marketing, and a plethora of brand distinctions like: brand promise, brand identity, brand image, brand religion, brand essence, brand personality, and on and on.

Samsung’s High-Def Camera Tricks People on YouTube

Jun 12, 2009

Samsung, for the release of a new phone with a built-in high-def camera, made a YouTube video that tricked the eyes of the people who watched it and encouraged viewers to figure out how the trick was done. The video was filmed using the phone to follow the narrator around his apartment where he describes the camera’s high-def features, suggesting there will be subtle clues in the video that will be noticeable because of the picture quality.

Post-Consumerism: Emerging Needs and Market Opportunities

Jun 11, 2009

In the first part of my article on Post Consumerism, I touched on the drivers of the “Citizen Renaissance,” as Jules Peck coins it. My hypothesis is that there are emerging citizen values, and a shift away from consumerism towards citizens who are actively engaged in behaviors of business, the decisions of government and of involved in communities of interest. In this second part, I attempt to outline the market need and opportunity, and some examples that attempt to address post consumerism.

Writing Engaging Content

Jun 9, 2009

Social media and the explosion of (potential) digital destinations has bubbled up the question about content.

P&G' Multi-brand Makeover Ad 'Quadruples Purchase Intent'

Jun 9, 2009

P&G are launching an innovative new approach to TV advertising this June. The ‘Max Factor Makeover Break’ will three 90 second advertisements shown over consecutive commercial breaks, which see a consumer made over by experts using a range of P&G Beauty & Grooming products. Throughout the series of adverts, experts share tips from how to select the right hair colour to applying moisturiser properly.

How Organizations Can Use Twitter - Some Ideas

Jun 8, 2009

This week I was asked to talk to the Marketing Directors Network in London about how organizations are using Twitter. We’ve written before about how celebrities are using Twitter and how organizations are using Twitter as an engagement tool. In both cases, perhaps the best advice is just to try using Twitter and to see what happens.

Digg Plans Social Ads

Jun 4, 2009

Social news site Digg is rolling out its first major ad product, borrowing a page from Facebook by designing units that mimic the site experience itself.

Is Twitter Evolving from the Facebook to the Myspace of Microblogs?

Jun 4, 2009

When I attended TWTRCON in San Francisco and also the 140 Twitter Conference in Mountain View recently, the intent of businesses was perspicuous. Speakers and attendees were on hand to actively share, inquire, and learn about how to increase visibility, engagement, and brand presence on Twitter and other social networks.

Marketers Bet on Games to Win Consumers

Jun 1, 2009

All the world's a game. Well, at least it could be. Game evangelists paint a picture of a world where planning your retirement, studying for exams, donating to worthy causes and even clipping coupons can be made into a game that will engage consumers and make even the most mundane of tasks fun. It's a lofty goal, but it's the kind of thinking that could change the way marketers engage consumers -- making anything from perusing ads to comparing products to studying user manuals more, well, fun.

Play With This

Jun 1, 2009

How do you impress a Star Trek fan? With a new gadget. This one, in fact, is free. If you use your imagination, you can call it a three-dimensional effect.

Are You Building Concepts or Conversations?

Tom Martin
May 29, 2009

When I first got into the ad biz and during my college studies the big thing that was repeatedly hammered into my young, impressionable mind was the need for every ad and ad campaign to have a "concept." A concept was that big idea, that creative aha that would simultaneously capture the consumer's attention and drive home a key benefit of the brand being advertised. And in the world of interruption based marketing, that makes sense. And to a lesser degree, today, it still does. But here is the rub. Here is the big thing that I think many of my fellow advertising folk haven't quite figured out. In the world of social media and web based marketing, you don't need a concept. Why? Because social and by and large digital isn't an interruption based communication platform. It's invitation based.

Customer Service Is the New Marketing

May 28, 2009

We wrote last month about the Zappos story, about how they have used customer service to extend and enhance the customer experience and how this has had a positive impact on sales, satisfaction and growth. This example highlights the power of customer service - of listening to and then rewarding customers.

Brand Management From The Field

May 28, 2009

The Damned United, a film charting the tumultuous 44-day reign of Brian Clough at Leeds United FC, opened recently. UK Marketers under the age of 30 will probably remember him as a rather melancholy old man, but the young Clough was a wonder to behold. Imagine a manager today leading a club toiling at the bottom of the Championship to win not only the Premier-ship but two back-to-back Champions League finals as well. That was, in essence, the equivalent of Clough's astonishing achievement as manager of Nottingham Forest in 1979 and 1980.

3 Things You Should Know Before Starting a Blog

May 27, 2009

When you start something new, especially if it's something you've not done before, you really have no idea how you will organize around it. One of the most frequently asked questions - and objections raised - to the use of social media is that of time, or rather lack of.

Gifting In a Brain Storm (aka Swapping Credit in the Gift Economy)

Grant McCracken
May 27, 2009

I'm doing a project on the future of food, fitness, sociality and spirituality in America. This morning, I interviewed a planner in the ad biz. We were yakking away on the phone and towards the end of the hour, I noticed something odd. The planner was giving me credit for her ideas. And I was giving her credit for my ideas. You know, the way people do. "I think you're on to something there." "Well, as you say, the thing that matters here is ..." "I loved that thing you said about ..." We were using these stock phrases of acknowledgment...except we were actually referencing our own ideas. We were swapping credit.

Participation is Different from Engagement

May 22, 2009

I’ve been chewing on this idea lately. Maybe it’s because of WOMM-U in Miami last week or maybe it’s the conversations we’ve been having with marketers on the brand side of things. But both the terms “participation” and “engagement” are being throw around a lot these days. And they’re also being interchanged - which I think is a big mistake and is further clouding the word of mouth marketing waters.

Social Media Measurement

May 20, 2009

One of the corporate barriers to going social that David Griner identified in his recent presentation was the lack of ROI. That argument always seems a little odd to me, as arguably anything that happens online is inherently measurable. And while doing a project for a client to identify online influencers I went into Delicious to search for bookmarked pages that combined the tags “socialmedia” and “measurement.” The result? 2302 bookmarks. The fact is we’ve got measurement coming out of our ears.

What Kind of Open Are You Looking For?

May 13, 2009

If you hear someone talking about "open source," it's quite possible that this isn't what they mean. One major soft drink company, for example, was talking about turning their brand open source. Pretty unlikely. Do you think that they meant allowing anyone to use their brand in any way they chose on a share and share alike basis? As change swirls around, the terms matter.

Goodbye, Destination Web, Hello, Online Enlightenment

Steve Rubel
May 11, 2009

For the past 15 years, marketers have lived like kings online. We built ornate palaces in homage to ourselves in the form of websites and microsites. Each acts as a destination that embodies our meticulous choice of aesthetics, content and activities. We still put a lot of time, effort and money into erecting these palaces, much as Louis XIV did in planning Versailles. And, for the most part, we have been rewarded handsomely for our efforts. For years consumers flocked to our sites, reveled in all we had to say, played with our toys and sometimes were motivated enough as a result to buy our stuff. That's what life was like in the good old days. But now we're in the age of online enlightenment.

Mobile Marketing Won't Work Here

May 10, 2009

As recently as the last five years, a new form of marketing has begun to take shape, hoping to be the answer to accessing the 65 million Generation Yers who own a cell phone. This new approach is known as mobile marketing.

No Contest: Twitter And Facebook Can Both Play A Role In Branding

May 7, 2009

I think Twitter and Facebook can both play a role in a branding strategy. Having said this, I also think that just as users think about Twitter and Facebook differently, so too should companies as they go about their branding efforts.

Online Shopping Goes From Solo Experience to Social Interaction

Apr 13, 2009

Online shopping is about to get social. For years retailers have struggled to improve their online experience, but shopping online is still a solo endeavor, devoid of the interaction many consumers seek. Groups of women aren't often found huddled around computer monitors for a shopping trip, after all. Without that interaction and purchase validation, shoppers, plagued by indecision, often abandon retailers' sites, said Andy Lloyd, CEO of Fluid, a San Francisco-based interactive agency.

Marketers Need To Understand Discussion Before Joining It

Apr 9, 2009

Online social networks are here to stay. They've existed, in various forms, even before they were called social networks -- Friendster, GeoCities, and even Yahoo Groups come to mind. People will always want to connect and engage with other people in powerful environments where this happens easily. However, one of the biggest challenges facing brands today is how to effectively monetize these social properties.

Engagements Will Be The Internet's 30-Second Spot

Apr 8, 2009

Six weeks ago I wrote "I'm Sold On Engagement." In the post I proposed that, "given the proper definition and standardization, engagement can provide the right baseline for marketers to plan, buy and measure brand campaigns online." After reading Brian Morrissey's March 23 piece titled "Making More Than a Good Impression," and speaking with Randall Rothenberg, head of the IAB and author of the must-read blog on interactive advertising "I, A Bee," I felt there were a few points I wanted to reiterate about engagement as the future base metric for branding online.

A Strategic Path To The Digital Customer

Jack Loechner
Apr 3, 2009

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.

Get Back to Basics. Win Back the Trust.

Mar 30, 2009

I’ve been thinking about a central marketing issue, as both a consumer and as a branding and design consultant. The issue of trust.

The Right Data Makes Marketing More Effective

Mar 29, 2009

When it comes to analytics, few know the space like Avinash Kaushik, which is why we took your questions to him. He's the author of "Web Analytics: An Hour a Day," a prolific blogger at Occam's Razor and Google's analytics evangelist, where he proudly claims the tagline "Data-driven decision making uncomplexified."

J&J Connects With Celebs, Moms in Social Media

Mar 28, 2009

Johnson & Johnson is venturing into social media to back its eponymous baby- and body-care brands, putting considerable star power behind pushes this month and next on YouTube and MySpace.

Insisting on an iPhone App? Not So Fast

Mar 28, 2009

As agencies herd their clients onto the iPhone-application bandwagon, brands are happy to climb onboard. After all, what marketer wouldn't salivate at the engagement prospects behind the 800 million games, utilities and entertainment downloaded from the App Store? And with handset makers Research In Motion and Nokia set to launch their own app storefronts in the coming weeks, app fever is sure to get more fuel. But the rush to apps has led to a backlash in some quarters, and a call for more measured thinking around branded apps.

From Awareness to Extended Action

Chris Brogan
Mar 26, 2009

We’re all fighting against attention clutter. Our email inboxes are creaking. Our media consumption habits (from newspaper to magazines to TV to radio) are all sporadic and random and very hard to track. It takes more and more for someone to capture our attention and convince us to change our course of action. Let’s consider this to be the continuum: awareness, attention, engagement, execution, extension. I’ll explain all five, and thread into them how social tools can help.

In Praise of Lag

Jonathan Salem Baskin
Mar 25, 2009

The Greek Chorus of technologists and the digerati continue to belittle marketers for their slowness in shifting ad budgets online.

Twitter and Social Networks Usher in a New Era of Social CRM

Brian Solis
Mar 20, 2009

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.

Best Practices For Leveraging Online Communities

Emily Morris
Mar 17, 2009

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.

Are Your Customers About to Defect?

Mar 17, 2009

In today's tough economic environment, the most precious asset an organization has is its current customer base. And maximizing returns on that asset begins with a solid retention strategy. But in many organizations today, retention strategies are simply not proactive enough to pick up on hints that customers are about to defect -- hurting customer profitability.

Avoiding 'Truman Show' Moments

Mar 2, 2009

The proposition "If we build it they will come" is by now nearly universally recognized as a fallacy by marketers, as well as, nowadays, even most real estate developers. Unfortunately in many sectors of the online advertising world, where behavioral is all the buzz, another often unwarranted assumption has taken hold, namely that "If an ad is (apparently) relevant consumers will engage with it," regardless of how inappropriate or irrelevant the context of the page it runs on.

The Panhandler's Secret

Feb 27, 2009

When there were old-school parking meters in New York, quarters were precious. One day, I'm walking down the street and a guy comes up to me and says, "Do you have a dollar for four quarters?" He held out his hand with four quarters in it. Curious, I engaged with him. I took out a dollar bill and took the four quarters. Then he turned to me and said, "can you spare a quarter?" What a fascinating interaction.

I'm Sold On Engagement

Feb 24, 2009

After a great conversation with Mike Barbeau, who has spent his career on the agency side and is now head of account strategy for SocialVibe, I am sold on engagement as a key metric for buying and selling branding online. Given the proper definition and standardization, engagement can provide the right baseline for marketers to plan, buy and measure brand campaigns online. But there is work to be done.

Nestlé Asks Consumers to Help Repackage Candies

Feb 4, 2009

Who needs a design firm? Apparently not Nestlé Confections and Snacks. The candy maker is asking consumers to pick the latest packaging for its Goobers, Sno-Caps and Oh Henry! brands.

The Top Five Most 'Emotionally Engaging' Super Bowl Ads

Feb 4, 2009

Media-research firm Innerscope concluded that the most "emotionally engaging" ads -- surprisingly or not -- were those that in one way or another channeled concerns about the economy. That CareerBuilder and Cash4Gold ranked highest in the firm's subconscious scale only speaks to what many already know; people are worried about their finances.


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