QR codes have become ubiquitous and so has the term digital strategy. Both are often treated by businesses as "silver bullets" without much understanding how to leverage either. QR codes, in particular, have been reduced to gadget status with little meaning but to annoy the consumer.
Some of the world’s most valuable and well-known companies share a common brand trait that has not been explored in depth. Apple, Dell, Ford, Google, Mars, Microsoft, Nike, Starbucks and Wal-Mart, to name just a few, are “founder brands.” These are brands where the founder or founding family exercises significant influence over the management of the brand and direction of the business. Davis Brand Capital identifies the qualities that define founder brands and explores some of the challenges in managing them for maximum value.
While the Penn State scandal and abdication of leadership is deplorable and unfortunately merits its sad attention, what happened at the venerable University of Virginia this spring is, in another way, astounding. It laid bare the unrelenting business assault roiling educational institutions, their custodians and their brands.
In its August issue, Vanity Fair charges Microsoft with losing its mojo, pinning much of the blame on CEO Steve Ballmer. While the article makes some useful and valid observations, it never completes the circle, relating them back fully to the larger, underlying issue that ails brand Microsoft: the company has strayed far from the management and proper deployment of its founding vision.
Marissa Mayer's move to Yahoo as CEO made me reexamine the question of personal brands. I maintain my position: they don't exist in any meaningful way. They are just (not terribly) fancy jargon for bloggers. What Mayer brings to Yahoo is not her personal brand, but the brand capital of Google.
The term "Guggenheim Effect" used to denote the positive role the brand played in Bilbao's resurgence as a destination site. It became well accepted vernacular, not only in the museum community, but among the wider community of brand and marketing experts. In recent weeks, however, the term has been re-appropriated by European media and citizens to express a much more negative and even sarcastic view of the cultural institution.
Most corporations consist of multiple divisions, which set their own strategy (what we generally refer to as "business strategy"). But more often than not, these dvisions have very little to do with one another.
J.C. Penney's disastrous 4th quarter 2012 loss of $2.51 per share, which capped off a year with a greater than 30% same-store sales decline, should have come as no surprise.
What was the purpose? What was the process? Whose ends were being served? How should we judge success? But we seldom look any deeper than first impressions, wallowing instead in a churning maelstrom of snap judgments. Should we be surprised when the general public jumps right in after us?
One of the most courageous acts of leadership is to forgo the temptation to take revenge on those on the other side of an issue or those who opposed the leader's rise to power.
Research by IESE professors Carlos Garcia Pont and Paulo Rocha e Oliveira helps you spot if your company is under threat of stagnation by identifying the hidden obstacles preventing innovation – and how to overcome them.
What's striking about Fast Company's 2013 list of the world's 50 most innovative companies is the relative absence of large, established firms. Instead the list is dominated by the big technology winners of the past 20 years that have built innovation into their DNA, and a lot of smaller, newer start-ups. So why doesn't innovation thrive in mature organizations?
If brands want to improve their customer perception, having a well-rounded social communications practice that serves both as a marketing outlet and as a place for consumers to solve service issues will help.
Microsoft's co-founder and current chairman Bill Gates praised the company's investments in Windows 8 and Bing, but said Microsoft is still not doing enough to innovate.
Unfortunately, a lot of dealerships subscribe to the old-school philosophy: if research starts online, consideration and choice still happen in the showroom. Clayton Stanfield, senior manager of dealer training at eBay Motors and a former dealership Internet sales manager himself, says things are changing when it comes to how dealerships are handling prospects.
A focus on customer insights is a good thing -- but when marketing organizations fail to anticipate competitors’ moves that affect customers, all the insights may be for naught? When was the last time you and your team took time to consider how your rivals operate, or might operate based on changes that you make?
Large companies like IBM, Syngenta, Procter & Gamble, 3M, and Unilever show that innovation can be a repeatable discipline. Yet, with all of this progress it still feels like a positive surprise when you see a large company confidently approach the challenges of innovation.
Content marketing is a hot topic among CMOs, and I see it as one of the primary factors that can make –or break –brand authenticity in today’s marketplace.
Samsung yesterday announced the launch of a new Open Innovation Center in Silicon Valley that aims at connecting the conglomerate with the latest and greatest software ideas.
Is it not ironic that we call customers “targets” and seek to engineer their empathy in “war rooms?" The hostilities are endless. And it’s not enough to win. Someone must lose. Beating the competitor takes precedence over helping the customer.
Marketers in many industries have a “push-pull” problem: They spend a lot of time devising ways to pull in customers -- identifying the right buyer segments, crafting messages and making promises. But their efforts are frequently undermined by company behaviors that push customers away.
Zappos founder Tony Hsieh has added three Cs: collision, community, and co-learning. Hsieh’s big bet is that exposing his employees to serendipity--within both the office and the city--will ultimately make them smarter, happier, and more productive. That means: no hiding behind partitions.
I think there are 3 key shifts going on and each requires a different response from innovation leaders – heck from strategists, CEOs, CIOs, CMos and just about everyone. This is urgent. First – how do we think about innovation? It’s either incremental or disruptive, right? Well, no.
The New York Times is opening up its office space and expertise to media startups through timeSpace. The scheme is opening up office space at the newspaper’s headquarters at 620 8th Avenue, New York City, to provide fledgling businesses with a four-month program.
Strategy is not planning — it is the making of an integrated set of choices that collectively position the firm in its industry so as to create sustainable advantage relative to competition and deliver superior financial returns.
In this "postdigital" era, brands must confront “a new normal and a new basis of competition, with digitalization at its core,” says Mark White, Deloitte principal and CTO. Forward-thinking organizations have to figure out how to bake in the digital forces of mobile, analytics, social and the cloud, he adds.
Clusters are a radical alternative to our traditional notion of teams. They are formed outside a company context, but are hired and paid by companies as a unit, as a permanent part of the company.
Burrito chain Chipotle is branching out and trying to become a lifestyle brand in order to beat it’s rivals. The company has launched a line of organic clothes and accessories, is hosting ‘locavore’ festivals that champion local and sustainable food choices, and backing a dark comedy video series about a PR man defending industrial farming.
Businesses often engage in an analytical and creative process to develop or review their brand positioning. Without a strong strategic foundation, however, the outcome may not be as effective.
The long delayed release is critical to BlackBerry’s attempt to re-enter the marketplace. Once the darling of company-issued smartphones, owning nearly a quarter of the marketplace in the U.S., they currently have about a 4% share.
Design judges at the 2012 Cannes International Festival of Creativity had a "Cocoon" moment. They ran in and out of the jury room with the glee of 5-year-olds, having just gotten their hands on a magical piece of work from Serviceplan, Munich. On the surface, it was a completely blank white book. But all came to light -- literally -- when the book was exposed to the sun and its rays interacted with specially treated paper to reveal the content within.
Marketers are blessed to have so much insight into their customers’ behavior and interests, and the volume of this valuable data is growing exponentially. What is clear is that CMOs are struggling to take advantage of this great blessing.
Millions of otherwise tech-illiterate consumers came to know Intel through its "Intel Inside" campaign, which at the time was an incredibly novel marketing approach. Here's what you can learn from their innovative strategy.
Many times, the ability to remain silent is the best communication strength you could have. When is silence not good?
Waste in advertising is historically endemic and significant. For example, half of all online display impressions are never viewable. Eliminating waste is a C-suite imperative in the new normal. Big data is the gas tank of the new marketing machine, and analytic systems are becoming the engine, but we're missing a few parts
When organizations give people a sense of meaning in their work, it's not only good for employees, but it's critical to building a healthy organization — one that is well-functioning and competitive.
Most companies are the centers of their own universes. It's a natural enough impression; after all, the products and services they offer are on their minds 24/7. The trap is in those companies deluding themselves into thinking that they are as important to their customers as they are to themselves. This is almost never the case. This delusion interferes with understanding customers and their needs, and frequently leads companies to talk to customers in ways that seem foreign or confusing.
Some Brand Positioning, Huh? HSBC spent years positioning itself as the “worldwide local bank.” They did it via a campaign that featured series of similar visuals and single-word observations, which were designed to indicate that HSBC understood the subtleties of cultural differences and were fully invested in understanding multiple perspectives.
Lots of companies have committed, recasting stories through platforms that look more like digital magazines than traditional websites, and more. While all the attention may give it the luster of a fad today, brand content is nothing new.
By putting its talks online in 2006, what was previously a members-only affair—an annual Davos-like conclave of wealthy Silicon Valley and Hollywood types—suddenly became an enormous and almost democratic cultural force, reaching millions of viewers around the world.
A larger purpose isn't just good karma. Leaders who instill their company with a greater mission have more motivated employees and more loyal customers.
What’s caused U.S. firms to lose the most shareholder value in the last 10 years? A new Booz study — actually, a repeat of one it did in 2004 — once again came up with the same result. The culprit wasn’t external shocks like the Great Recession.
Many CMOs seem to be struggling to gain alignment and to build consensus across their lines of business and into the board room. As a result, the C-suite can be plagued with uncertainty and misunderstanding, and CMOs are starting to worry about losing relevance. What does it take to get us all on the same page, pulling together?
Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of the Walmart Foundation, talks about making an impact both globally and locally, and how any company can be a better corporate citizen.
Global mobile traffic is growing so fast that in some places it has already surpassed desktop traffic. That was one of the key conclusions of a year-end Internet trends report.
After years of ignoring it (accompanied by attendant crappy sales), Ford’s Lincoln luxury brand is reintroducing itself under a new name, the Lincoln Motor Company.
One of the hottest marketing catchphrases of 2012 is "data is the new creative." The premise is that all the creative in the world won't help you if your decisions are not data-driven.
News Corp. is shutting down The Daily, its ambitious daily newspaper for the tablet market, after two years.
As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of baby gear and preschool toys, Fisher-Price believes that traditional branding processes no longer guarantee success. To differentiate its brands in a highly competitive industry, the company maintains a laser-like focus on creativity and innovation -- and its sphere of influence is large.
Whether it is Walmart or Metro, I have found that many of the global retailers’ expansion plans are irrelevant and hurt the bottom line. Tesco is a good example.
This month, the chief executive officers of America's biggest companies went on a media blitz to decry the uncertainty caused by the fiscal cliff. In such uncertain times, they say, they are hesitant to invest in the US economy.
2012 has been the year of growth for content marketing. Brands have begun to embrace the discipline as a vital part of their overall strategy. What was once a conversation on “why content marketing” has turned into a conversation on “how to.”
Successful social business starts with transforming your organization internally. This is often overlooked as a crucial step toward social business. Yet not only does having an internal social business system make businesses more effective at the external effort, it’s often critical for a company’s long-term social business success.
There are many vehicles, outlets, and opportunities for great brand storytelling. To make the best use of them, companies need writers who understand narrative, style, and voice. And to do that, they need to support the good writers they employ and foster the development of good writing skills among others.
In the corporate world, the HP Way has been to sell the servers and professional services that companies need, and then to partner with big software companies like Oracle and SAP for the applications. This has left HP holding the bag with low-margin businesses.
Everyone thinks they have a digital strategy these days. But while your company may have a business or IT strategy that incorporates digital technology, an IT strategy does not equal a digital strategy. Why?
ROI needs rethinking -- not because it’s no longer effective, but because it may result in the strategic emphasis being placed potentially on the wrong kind of marketing activities.
Forget about the clicks and check-ins so commonly associated with what many marketers call the "second screen" experience, which typically involves use of a tablet or smartphone while the user watches anything from "The Voice" to "Hoarders." Marketers are starting to use the medium with more in mind than just sparking idle talk.
Social media allow like-minded people to coalesce, and have increased the ability of companies to tap into their customers’ humanity. But there’s a twist: while companies want to use social media to tap into this and because it does a lot of their outreach for them, it also requires something more of the companies that enter the social space.
“We believe the tea category is ripe for reinvention and rapid growth. The Teavana acquisition now positions us to disrupt and lead, just as we did with espresso starting three decades ago,” Starbucks CEO
“As technology marches on, it will lead to the inevitable revolution of businesses acting in the genuine interest of their customers.”
In the 1980s, Ingvar Kamprad, Ikea’s octogenarian founder, started building a series of foundations to protect the business after his death and minimise its tax bills, a contentious move in egalitarian Sweden.
Ask yourself: do you know how much more valuable these customers are than others? If you could turn another 10% or 20% of your client base into loyal, enthusiastic patrons like these, do you know how much more growth that would generate?
How do you launch a brand from scratch? And how do you turn a brand around that has begun to flag? But the third and focus of this article is: How do you push a brand past a plateau?
One factor is emerging as the essential difference between the Obama and Romney campaigns on November 6: the absolute failure of Romney’s get-out-the-vote effort, which underperformed even John McCain’s lackluster 2008 turnout.
Boston.com has begun offering advertisers the chance to write their own blog posts, joining a growing list of web publishers pinning at least some of their hopes on a tactic variously known as native advertising, custom content or branded content.
In the late 1990s, digital marketing debuted to great fanfare, but it was still fundamentally about advertising to customers. But in the past several years, new social and mobile tools have upended that paradigm.
What's going to kill the TV business, or at least challenge it, isn't Apple designing the perfect remote or Microsoft designing a superior guide. It's two things.
A thoughtful identity gives a multinational disease research network a new way to communicate.
It used to be that brands and agencies would create ad campaigns, push them live, and use the resulting consumer reaction to help inform the next campaign. But with the rise of real-time data, marketers can now keep tabs on real-time consumer reaction and use that knowledge to make smarter decisions around all facets of creating, distributing and measuring brand campaigns.
In case you didn’t notice over the past several years the amount of patent battles between some pretty big brands have been waged in the courts. Samsung vs. Apple. Google vs. Facebook. And on and on and on. The folks over at visual.ly put together this handy dandy graphicso you can keep score at home.
Companies like Google and Facebook have had access to vast amounts of data on how consumers behave on the web for years. Now you can get access to this same kind of Big Data, even if you don’t have their scale.
The power of the network effect is fading, at least in its current incarnation. Traditionally defined as a system where each new user on the network increases the value of the service for all others, a network effect often creates a winner-takes-all dynamic, ordaining one dominant company above the rest. Moreover, these companies often wield monopoly-like powers over their industries.
Companies are engaging customers every day, and pitching their wares to new prospects just as often. Why, then, is it so hard to come up with a compelling and agreed-upon “Why Us” story?
Holiday Inn is celebrating its 60th year in business by going back to its roots as an innovator in the hospitality industry. Here are the highlights.
D'Aloisio's company released a news reading app today that summarizes news articles, creating a sort of Cliff Notes for the news, for the iPhone. It'll be the second time the London-based teenager has repackaged his product, and this time he did it because he feels like the consumption of news on mobile devices hasn't been properly addressed.
We continuously hear of the ever-changing digital age and predictions now and then, of doom and gloom within the newspaper, magazine, radio and outdoor media marketplaces, among others. Forward-thinking marketers and media executives, however, continually find ways to adapt, evolve and reinvent traditional communication platforms.
The key for every firm — regardless of size — is to figure out how to consistently create value in a demanding, ever-changing market. That is hard no matter what size you are, no matter what industry you're in.
Penguin, the most famous name in British publishing, has confirmed its merger with the German-owned Random House, creating the biggest book publisher seen, accounting for about one in four of all books sold.
For years, Microsoft sidelined itself from the world of Web standards. Internet Explorer, especially the now-despised IE6, exemplified how spurning standards held back the Web. But Microsoft has performed an about-face.
With consumers already uncomfortable about their data being collected for marketing purposes, promoting a term that sounds a lot like other industry-based labels with negative connotations has some marketers scratching their heads.
The answer to that question has dramatic consequences for low-GDP countries and small businesses everywhere. If the cost of innovation is falling, that should enable more of it from poorer countries, companies or cooperatives. If it's not, the already big and already rich will dominate innovation.
At any given moment, Diageo has between 2.5 billion and 3 billion bottles sitting in stores around the world, acting as passive "pitchmen" for its brands. Now Diageo has found a way for the bottles to literally speak to the consumers who buy them.
According to Booz & Company research, the most successful acquisitions are not for diversification. In analyzing the 2011 deals in three industries, the consulting firm found that purchases of like companies were much more likely to be winners than losers.
Midwest retailer Meijer is supporting United Way literacy programs across the Midwest through a new partnership with Better World Books.
When it comes to brands and marketing, the application of story now needs to go beyond the traditional and ubiquitous tool of brand story; rather, it’s about engaging consumers in a brand’s stories and using the construct of stories and storytelling to create powerful connections.
Time had social media users high on its mind when it decided to move to responsive design. Social media now accounts for at least 12 percent of referrals to Time.com, and most people who click on Time links from Facebook, Twitter and the like are doing so on a mobile.
Why do some advertisers and agencies look at the world one silo at a time when, in fact, our media world is cross-referenced but brand messages across them are not completely integrated?
Newspapers in Brazil have uncoupled themselves from Google News, claiming that their presence on the search engine is preventing their online operations from growing. It's a pre-emptive strike on the firm, involving all 154 members of the Associacao Nacional de Journais--that's 90% of the country's circulation of dailies.
To Starbucks, baristas are not just baristas--they are ambassadors of brand, merchants of romance, disciples of delight. The company recently invested millions in a "Leadership Lab" designed to drill that message in for 9,600 store managers. So did it work?
Kohl’s has struggled to regain sales momentum. Total sales in the past year increased only 2.2% despite a continuing store opening program which last year increased its store base by 3.4% to 1127 units. The Kohl’s formula of beating competition on product value, combined with a powerful promotional program is not motivating the consumer anymore.
After almost a decade of self-imposed corporate exile, Mr. Pittman is back in the corporate saddle and on a mission. In his new role heading Clear Channel, the MTV founder and high-profile AOL alum has a grandiose goal: to reinvent radio, a business many have left for dead.
Since 2005, micro-blogging platforms like Facebook and Twitter have changed the medium in which IBM often communicates, but the company remains committed to blogging and is an especially enthusiastic user of Tumblr, though you can find IBMers on Instagram, Pinterest and any other up-and-coming social media site.
From rooftop bashes and acquisition talks to staff clashes and layoffs, Hipstamatic’s founders and ex-employees describe the startup’s losing struggle to keep pace with Instagram, Facebook, and others in the white-hot photo-sharing space.
Starting in March, Wendy’s will introduce its first logo makeover since 1983. The redesign, only the fifth since Wendy’s was launched in 1969, features an updated, more prominent cameo graphic of the iconic pigtailed Wendy’s character and a sleeker, more contemporary script font.
Throughout the succinct two-year history of social television, successes and failures have taught practitioners three valuable lessons. In fact, these lessons apply to practitioners in any major medium (radio, film, television, journalism).
Why is it that some brands launch like meteors, captivating our imaginations and our wallets, only to fall spectacularly into marketing oblivion? And perhaps more importantly for marketers today: How can this fate be avoided? The answer lies in the difference between what is required to generate initial trial of a new product, versus building a relevant equity that stimulates ongoing interest and repeat business.
When asked to describe the main benefit of a diverse organization, Niloufar Molavi doesn’t mince words. “Innovation,” she says without hesitation.
So fervent is our desire for Design, we have created “Design Thinking”. And to prove its theorems, Stanford now has a D School to remind us that we can’t just create things from blue sky. From sea to shining sea, the U.S. has become obsessed with Design.
Digital accountability, a new breed of thinking challenging the historical tinkering mindset of digital marketers. Digital accountability has its roots in the simplest of principles –- digital marketing is a mature art. Like events, sponsorships, branding and advertising, digital now takes its permanent place in the marketer’s toolbox -- a defined skill with defined outcomes that eliminates mystery, and most importantly, eliminates marketing waste.
it's inherently impossible to design a great user experience for bad content. If you're passionate about creating better user experiences, you can't help but care about delivering useful, usable, engaging content.
Clearly Defining What a Brand Stands for Provides a Competitive Edge and Leads to Increased Productivity. The heads of marketing for three of the country's best-known brands eagerly picked one another's brains about the strategies that are working and the campaigns that are resonating.
Corporate America is questioning the return on their advertising investment, and agencies continue to struggle to prove their value. There is an impatience for efficiency and effectiveness, and there are higher expectations of accountability.
A two word phrase that marketers concern themselves with all the live-long day or at least a significant part of their day: Big Data. And depending on who you listen to and/or believe either marketers are handling their new found wealth of prodigious piles of information quite well and are using insights gleaned from the data to their benefit or, quite simply they are not.
Relevant customer experience now involves much more than just pushing out content to available channels. It requires an understanding of how customers use these channels, identifying where opportunities lie and optimizing the experience for each channel. How can companies accomplish this?
Apple's apology for the shortcomings of its Maps app demonstrates once again why its branding goes so far beyond what most marketers are willing to consider. Every CMO should take note of the power of acknowledging reality.
A recent IBM study of more than 1,700 CMOs stated that approximately 90% of all the real-time information being created today is unstructured data. CMOs see the data explosion as a game-changer, but continue to struggle with leveraging the data to make smarter business decisions.
It’s Advertising Week, which means it’s time for a barrage of panels full of questions like “Are banners dead?” and “Native advertising: the wave of the future?” And while some will dismiss this chattering as manufactured drama, the proliferation of these existential questions is a solid indicator that the digital publishing industry needs to change.
Large-scale data gathering and analytics are quickly becoming a new frontier of competitive differentiation. In a recent Harvard Business Review article we explore how companies require three mutually supportive capabilities to fully exploit data and analytics.
Sony dominated consumer electronics for decades, but that was a long time ago.
While there is a lot of Hadoopalooza in the technology press about the tools for managing big data, and they are wonderful, it's also true that they are a) widely available, and b) mostly free. Neither can be said of data scientists. Simply put, you can't do much with big data without data scientists. They are the magicians who transform an inchoate mass of bits into a fit subject for analysis.
To its groaning shelf of National Magazine Awards and bulging portfolio of stories extolling its business success, New York magazine can add one more credit: It's having its best year in a decade. Both profits and revenue are the highest they've been since financier Bruce Wasserstein bought the barely profitable publication.
Well-defined problems lead to breakthrough solutions. When developing new products, processes, or even businesses, most companies aren't sufficiently rigorous in defining the problems they're attempting to solve and articulating why those issues are important.
Historically, companies have decided which markets to focus on and have allocated sales resources based on looking at past results and using gut instincts. But today, "big data" and deep analytical capabilities give sales and marketing leaders a better way to make decisions
The lifeblood of college football fandom is changing. The painted faces crammed into the student section of stadiums nationwide have turned away from newspapers and talk radio toward social media to get stats, scores and even messages from coaches and players in real time. As social media infiltrates stadiums and clubhouses, teams are scrambling on and off the field to reach students and young alumni
Publications like WIRED and Popular Science were quick out of the gate with sophisticated iPad apps, and while they did offer some compelling multimedia experiences that couldn’t be done in print, the apps lacked the ease of use that’s central to enjoying a magazine.
In short, what was a tired, nearly bankrupt Macintosh company has become the leading marketer of innovation that makes our lives remarkably better. So we care – a lot – about the products Apple offers, how it sells them and how much they cost. We want to know how we can apply them to solve even more problems for ourselves, colleagues, customers and suppliers.
Martha Stewart’s remarkable career demonstrates the marketing power of a distinct personal brand, one that’s become so iconic that it has transcended all the challenges, both legal and financial, within the lifestyle guru’s business.
A mix of factors, ranging from commoditization to evaporating barriers to competition, are conspiring to push design to the fore of business thinking.
In a bold first-day speech, the BBC’s new boss says the corporation must stop thinking that online innovation means repurposing broadcast content and instead ‘create genuinely digital content for the first time’.
How much more profitable would your business be if you had, for free, access to 100 times more data about your customers? That's the question I posed to the attendees of a recent big data workshop in London, all of them senior executives. But not a single executive in this IT-savvy crowd would hazard a guess.
USA Today, with its colorful omnipresence on airport newsstands and outside the doors of hotel rooms, is showing off its new look on Friday. And the makeover for the newspaper, based just outside the Washington Beltway, comes straight from Silicon Valley.
Last week’s sweeping victory for the [Apple] in a bitter patent dispute with Samsung came exactly a year after its reins were passed from Jobs to Tim Cook – who duly used the legal victory to rally Apple’s employees and restate values such as “originality and innovation” that Jobs had epitomised. In doing so, Mr Cook illustrated how brands can try to cope with being orphaned by a founding figurehead.
How predictable are competitive conditions in your industry? How much power does your company have to shape its underlying competitive environment? These questions are critical to strategists, since clearly the kinds of strategies that work in predictable industries are likely to be worlds apart from those geared to shaping highly volatile environments.
Seeing things in context is one of the most important features of human intelligence, and it plays a vital role in our relationships with others, including the relationship that a customer has with a company. By focusing on deepening the context of your customer relationships, you can ensure greater customer loyalty and probably higher margins as well.
Human behavior is nuanced and complex, and no matter how robust it is, data can provide only part of the story. Desire and motivation are influenced by psychological, social, and cultural factors that require context and conversation in order to decode.
Selling solutions allows companies to differentiate themselves in commoditizing markets and to benefit from economies of scope across multiple profit and service capabilities. For customers, these solutions offer better value than the products and services that went before. After all, who would not prefer a "solution" to their business problems rather than simply buying services and products?
More than 750 garage parties for women were hosted by Harley-Davidson dealers last year. These show-and- tell outreach events have also been combined with female-friendly training and a marketing drive heavily focused on women’s empowerment.
My most important decisions are about adjusting to change. Over the last 20 years, we’ve reinvent-ed ourselves five or six times. Some were positive reinventions, some were very painful.
While the tangible benefits of conducting business digitally are manyfold, companies that are moving their employees online have largely ignored one of the most important factors of success: corporate culture.
Because these outfits cater to a certain niche, they don’t have to appeal to everyone, which in turn, liberates them to take the risks that yield creative rewards.
Being relevant-at-scale helps marketers to truly benefit from a competitive advantage in the market. At the heart of being relevant-at-scale is an ongoing commitment to harnessing data and analytics. How can you be relevant to your consumers if you don’t know where to reach them and if you don’t know anything about them when you interact?
In discussions with social media pioneers, it’s apparent that there are some common pitfalls that marketers make as they begin leveraging social media. As a follow-up to an earlier post regarding social media, I’ll address three common mistakes many CMOs are making.
Facebook's stock price slide has raised doubts about Mark Zuckerberg's role as CEO. Some say he should hand the reins to a more seasoned executive.
Culture, and, by association, brand, is so important and prevalent, you could almost test it like Rorschach — Hold up a name of a company to a user and they’ll immediately know what it stands for. This association thing happens on the less positive side of the spectrum as well.
Kodak's auction of intellectual property has yet to produce a sale. But it has had one unlikely result: turning the fiercest rivals in the global patent battle into potential collaborators.
In today’s rapidly transforming, consumer-empowered digital world, as a CMO, do you operate with a Silicon Valley state of mind for today’s state of business?
It looks as if the fair-and-square-fewer-price-promotions-more-celebrity-and-any-high-tech-we-can-get approach of Mr. Johnson, ex of Apple’s retail division, isn’t quite working out the way he had planned. Which is exactly what our loyalty and engagement metrics predicted back in January.
In the early 2000s Aetna was struggling mightily on all fronts. While on the surface revenues remained strong, its rapport with customers and physicians was rapidly eroding, and its reputation was being bludgeoned by lawsuits and a national backlash against health maintenance organizations and managed care (which Aetna had championed). To boot, the company was losing roughly $1 million a day, thanks to cumbersome processes and enormous overhead, as well as unwise acquisitions. Many of the problems Aetna faced were attributed to its culture.
If we want to successfully navigate this new world, spark economic resurgence and close the gaps in equity that threaten stability, we need new thinking, new partners--we need to elevate a new paradigm of power. We need leaders who understand local nuances and global interdependence. We need decisions to be predicated on sustainability not opportunism. We need leadership that leverages power for collective empowerment. I see a solution in women.
In business, a dull existence means a weak brand. If you want some people to love you, you’ve got to accept that others may hate you. With your company clamoring for new customers and more business, it takes a certain amount of nerve to deliberately ignore people that many within your organization might consider prospects.
The use of apps as a way to gain an advantage over others is clearest in categories where there is already significant competition for consumer attention, including quick-service restaurants, banking, hospitality, fashion and beauty.
Is it possible for the world’s largest companies to incorporate sustainability and responsible business into their DNA? Or is a large corporation inherently more concerned with profit than people?
Getting older can also mean getting better if you keep a fresh outlook and stay young at heart. The wisdom that comes with age is priceless but don’t get too stuck in your ways. Look at Madonna who rose to fame in the 80s topping the charts in the 90s and can still fill large arenas and entertain Super Bowl crowds in the 2000s! How does she do it and what can we in business learn from her success?
The domestic diva, Martha Stewart, is watching her media conglomerate do not so good things. It just reported plunging sales and a second quarter operating loss of $2.9 million. Publishing and broadcast units reported losses, down 16%. Ad pages are evaporating for most titles. Wherever did all those loyal fans go?
Nobody can deny that the ledgers at NBC are looking mighty nice as of now, yet while the TV performance data has been easily accessible and widely disseminated since Monday, one crucial element appears to be missing: just how are NBC's digital audience numbers are shaping up?
A survey conducted by Women’s Marketing Inc. published new findings that shed light on social media marketing and women. We’ve pulled three important lessons from the data, which will help businesses to refine their marketing tactics, especially as they pertain to the female demographic.
Sophisticated sales organizations now have the ability to combine, sift, and sort vast troves of data to develop highly efficient strategies for selling into micromarkets. While B2C companies have become adept at mining the petabytes of transactional and other purchasing data that consumers generate as they interact online, B2B sales organizations have only recently begun to use big data to inform overall strategy and tailor sales pitches for specific customers in real time. Yet the payoff is huge.
Today, companies are starting new entrepreneurship initiatives because they need fuel for innovation, desire top talent and need to sustain a competitive advantage. Smart companies are catering to entrepreneurs, allowing workers to pitch their ideas, and even funding them. They are holding entrepreneurship contests, investing in startups and bringing on entrepreneurs in residence (EIR). In the war for talent and innovation, companies have to think entrepreneurially in order to survive and thrive.
Those "Will It Blend?" videos of some guy throwing an iPhone in a blender and the instantly viral Shakeweight ads have millions and millions of views. Your company's new "viral" spot has 500. Here's what separates great branded video content from the flops.
Microsoft is reimagining its entire business model, and they’ve laid out the details for anyone to inspect. You just have to read between the boilerplate sections in the company's most recent 10-K.
The next great quest in applied science: the assembly of a unified health database, a “big data” project that would collect in one searchable repository all the parameters that measure or could conceivably reflect human well-being.
As part of its sponsorship of Team USA for the Olympic Games, AT&T is launching a campaign to bring several of these stories to life via short films and its social networking channels. The effort, called “My Journey,” will feature 30-second teasers during the primetime broadcasts of the London Olympic Games, but the extended stories will live online.
Companies tend to repeat what has worked for them in the past. In our research on the telecom industry, for example, we found that the great majority of the executives we surveyed preferred internal development to external sourcing when they needed to develop differentiated products and services. We get similar results in other industries, though the preferred growth mode may differ.
Venture capitalists exhibit some strange behaviors, but none is more bizarre than the near-inevitable scheming to remove a company's founder-CEO. Odder still is that these plans are often hatched just as the company begins to really perform.
A 2012 Road King Classic in all its spaghetti-piped splendor lists for $19,599—and that becomes a hard sell when the economy goes soft. But a bigger challenge lay not with the bike or its price, but the ever-changing image of the rider. As the ads here show, the ability to shift gears quickly can apply to the marketing just as much as the motorcycle.
“What’s becoming clear is that in order to stay relevant and remain competitive in today’s uber-digital and social world, the CIO and the CMO must work together. Today and in the future you’ll see this connection grow tighter than ever before,” said Jeff Schick, VP, Social Software.
Co-design from business to product design solutions is seen as a potential new avenue for breakthrough innovation in design. Co-design is when firms and non-design users jointly design offerings. Examples range from surgical tools and sport equipment to Lego elements and software.
In the race to find culpability, what doesn't get talked about is the very climate that creates the conditions for people to behave badly and feel perfectly justified in their behavior. It is, in fact, the very same thing that creates an environment and provides the fuel for people to conversely do great, generous and far-reaching things. It boils down to cultural permission.
Our future is as much threatened by the lack of imaginative connection making as it is from a dearth of engineers or mathematicians. Here are practical lessons from 35 years of writing poetry that can help individuals and teams deliver more innovative products, processes and services.
Most leaders are unbalanced. They are relatively stronger in some areas than others. The secret to making them more productive is to let them play to their strengths, while at the same time bringing in someone to work with them that has complementary strengths.
In one sense, perhaps the most important sense, a brand is a promise. Think of some top brands and you immediately know what they promise: McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Budweiser, Ford, Apple, MetLife. It takes a lot of time, money and very hard work to build and maintain great brands like that, brands that can speak volumes in just a few syllables.
I don’t blame you if your first reaction after reading the headline is to say, “Only 2?” There are probably dozens of significant leadership lessons to be drawn from the JPMorgan Chase debacle. But it’s unlikely I will live long enough to write such a comprehensive piece – so we’ll go for the Big 2.
The hierarchy of customer interaction methods starts with face-to-face, followed by websites, channel partners, call centers, traditional media, advisory groups and finally, social media. That won’t be the case in a few years. According to an IBM survey of 1,709 CEOs from 64 countries and 18 industries, social media will leap to the number-two spot while traditional media plunges to the bottom within the next three-to-five years.
Patagonia has long been a sustainability leader, and pokes its competitors in the eye with programs, from asking consumers to buy less to working with fisheries to the preservation of salmon populations while rolling out new snacks. Now the outdoor clothing and gear company is pushing supply chain transparency to a new level.
We sat down with Julia Fitzgerald, Chief Digital Officer, Fitness, Sporting Goods & Toys at Sears Holdings and Gilad de Vries from best of breed content discovery platform, Outbrain.
The longest-term impact of the $2 billion dollar loss will not be on the bank itself, and maybe not even on future regulation, but on the overall perceptions of a society as it clings to the hope that someone somewhere is doing the right thing and always will
As the marketplace undergoes a rapid transformation, it’s forcing leading brands to rethink everything—from where and how they compete to what capabilities they will need to thrive in this new world order. The fast-changing world of consumer products is at the confluence of a number of significant trends.
The strategy address recently delivered by the corporation's new CEO, Kazuo Hirai, earned press coverage that verged on mocking, with The Wall Street Journal noting that the brand's "once-sterling cachet has deteriorated," and The New York Times going further, placing Sony in "a fight for its life," and accusing it of "an astonishing lack of ideas." Both observations are correct, but they only hint at the underlying question: why is the strategy that once served Sony so well now failing so badly?
Social media is important. CMOs get it. There are plenty of articles that detail how important social media is and many others talking about how unprepared CMOs are to handle it. However, few articles focus on the gap – the space between knowing social media is important and being able to successfully leverage it.
Innovation is the name of the game in many industries, certainly in all of those that we recruit for. Innovation fosters new products, new categories and new consumerism -- which leads to what we are all in business for: to make money.
Most of the luster of the company is gone and recent reports worry me and I wonder if the company can reverse its course and will survive. Essentially I ask myself if Sears is a dynamic merchandising company or an albatross in the making.
According to Pied Piper's yearly Prospect Satisfaction Index for the U.S. motorcycle business, Harley-Davidson is number one at retail. In the study, conducted between July 2011 and April 2012 using 1,653 hired “mystery shoppers,” BMW and Ducati finished in a tie for second, followed by Triumph and the Victory and Indian brands from Polaris Industries, in a three-way tie for fourth.
A couple of years ago, Yvon Chouinard—founder of the outdoor-clothing brand Patagonia—gave a talk at a sustainable-fisheries conference in Vancouver. He'd been invited to speak in recognition of Patagonia's longtime commitment to environmental issues and its reputation as a company that manages to churn out profit while minimizing ecological impact. Chouinard delivered his spiel, but he came away frustrated by the surprising ignorance of his audience.
Beth Comstock is the chief marketing officer at General Electric-–a company that no one would accuse of having a free-wheeling or laissez-faire culture. Yet Comstock, along with GE chairman Jeffrey Immelt and fellow senior executives, have embraced the fact that the challenges they face—in areas from healthcare to energy to transportation—are too ‘wicked’ to be solved by GE alone.
What no one seems to do is go back and ask: Why did Kodak make the poor strategic decisions they made? In 1993 they brought in from the outside a technology expert to be CEO. George Fisher was believed to be almost as good as Jack Welch or Lou Gerstner. Great CEO, people buried in the hierarchy who had all sorts of good ideas, and still poor strategic decisions. Why?
Dolby Laboratories, Inc and CIM announced a 20-year agreement to name the Dolby Theatre™ — the iconic theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center® and home of the Academy Awards since 2002– a showcase of technology innovation.
There’s a new search program at Google, but one without a magic algorithm. This program lets you search inside yourself so you can find, well, yourself. Cleverly titled “Search Inside Yourself,” it’s a free course Google provides employees that is designed to teach emotional intelligence through meditation, a practical real-world meditation you take with you wherever you go.
Take a look at the first-class section on any airplane today; it’s full of corporate leaders lugging around Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography, searching for insights they can use to make their companies as successful as Apple.
Stanford University might have been the cradle for a hundred Silicon Valley startups and the hothouse for some of its greatest technical innovations, but the Singularity University is an institution that has been made in the valley's own image: highly networked, fuelled by a cocktail of philanthro-capitalism and endowed with an almost mystical sense of its own destiny.
If you have a Facebook page, you likely know how important it is to get likes and comments. Without those, your EdgeRank suffers, and your posts are seen by fewer fans in the future. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind as you determine how best to engage your Facebook customers.
At one time or another all great leaders experience something so big and so impactful it literally changes the landscape – it’s what I call a “Game Changer.” A game changer is that ah-ha moment where you see something others don’t. It’s the transformational magic that takes organizations from a slow idle to redline.
Recently, PSFK launched our inaugural print magazine: the first offline publication that we hope to release every quarter. Some reasoning why a new media entity like PSFK.com decided to trial the analog.
Consumers today can no longer rely on a few trusted editorial sources to filter the noise and deliver the most important news and information. Instead, consumers must make sense of the vast amount of information that reaches them daily and constantly make decisions about what to take seriously and what to ignore. Increasingly, they are turning to Social Curation
Two-thirds of advertising spending is brand advertising, but online only one quarter is. In fact, if brand advertising dollars moved online in the same proportion that sales advertising has, it would almost exactly close the famous gap between time spent online and ad dollars spent online.
Best Buy should use Dunn’s departure as an opportunity to rethink how it sells gadgets. In particular, it’s time to abandon the idea of endless selection. If Best Buy wants to survive, it’s got to replace its hulking, teeming stores with smaller, less crowded, more intimate spaces.
More than ever, people are using Twitter, Facebook and other social media sources to learn about what’s happening in the world as traditional news outlets become increasingly less relevant to the digital generation.
Call it a strategic inflection point for these companies, a common trend in the Valley, where scrappy startups are always a threat to stagnant corporations--not so much because of some new piece of technology but because of the disruptive idea behind it.
Sony, which once defined Japan’s technological prowess, wowed the world with the Walkman and the Trinitron TV and shocked Hollywood with bold acquisitions like Columbia Pictures, is now in the fight of its life.
Why do human beings collaborate? Ever since Darwin, biologists have been vexed by the question, because in evolutionary terms, self-less behavior makes no sense. We would expect altruists who act contrary to their own interest to be systematically eliminated from the species.
With the recent software available to allow easy creation of interactive books and with the race to bring these products to market, there seems to be a more and more dilution of quality and a loss for the meaning of interactivity. When publishers create new eBook titles or convert a traditional printed book to a digital interactive eBook, they often miss the added value this new medium can provide.
Two out of every three adults who are online use social media. That’s amazing. It truly is. Wonder how many are still out there who still think social media is just a fad?
Paul Matsen can only shake his head when he reads yet another study about marketers failing to measure the impact of their work, especially in today’s bottom-line-driven environment. As chief marketing officer at Cleveland Clinic, a highly rated non-profit academic medical center, Matsen says measurement is as critical to marketing success as understanding consumer insights, developing strategy, and evaluating creative.
A South Korean Dunkin’ Donuts campaign is reinventing the traditional radio advertisement using unique technology and the smell of coffee. The campaign, named, Flavor Radio releases coffee aroma via sound recognition technology.
While so many eyes have been on magazine and newspaper media and their desperate embrace of mobile technology, one of the most interesting sectors of old media on new platforms is the comics. Long before Apple instituted its newsstand, for instance, DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse and others like powerhouse distributor Comixology were demonstrating how mobile or tablet apps could make superb periodical merchandising machine and reader/library.
In an era when entire companies and long-time brands are disappearing, why do Americans trust certain brands and not others? What is trust?
For my daughter, and my assistant, and other people I know in their 20s and 30s, using social media is part of their native language. They built websites in college (or even high school); they explore and evolve their use of facebook and/or twitter and/or Pinterest and/or iGoogle as easily as they change clothes.
Hidden Valley Foods has improved its ranch dressing to be thicker and creamier in hopes to appeal to younger consumers. The company is labeling the dressing as ‘The New Ketchup’ and is calling it the ‘Hidden Valley for Everything’ that be used as a topping or a dip.
Integrating design into your company involves more than just hiring superstar designers. It takes a long-term commitment and developing a culture that brings everyone up to speed.
Sports apparel giant Under Armour is taking its message across the pond. On Monday, the apparel company owned by billionaire Kevin Plank announced it was hiring former Adidas executive Karl-Heinz Maurath to run its international business.
How does a multi-national mega-brand, responsible for crafting a consistent image all over the globe, manage to navigate the potentially treacherous waters of hot-button cultural and political issues in the places where it does business?
Spotify and Hulu are among the companies that have taken advantage of the Facebook Timeline format to create long histories despite their relative youth. It’s an accessible form of brand content, but what happens when the novelty wears off?
Every day it seems that we read about the launch of a new startup or technology application claiming to disrupt and reinvent the health care system. This flood of activity comes at a time when the health care industry is in dire need of entrepreneurial spirit, fresh perspectives and new skills. But to create products and services that have the potential to make a large impact, entrepreneurs and health care professionals need to work together.
The era of social media is bringing more transparency to ski resorts' daily snow reports, with skiers and riders using smartphone apps, websites, tweets and video to spread the word in real time, particularly if traditional reports are off. And the industry itself has been quick to embrace social media to get the word out
Marketers overwhelmingly recognize that leveraging massive data sets can help them improve business, but most feel they lack the tools to mine customer insights adequately, according to a study from marketing technology company DataXu Inc.
While Apple and Google are busy getting bad press for their privacy issues, labor practices and general big-evil-company wrongdoings, Microsoft has done some brand regeneration, making it look like the hippest tech company on the block these days.
When an aircraft crashes, investigators are able to retrieve useful information about what went wrong from the flight data recorder, more commonly known as the black box. (The data recorder itself is actually not black, not until it’s retrieved from charred remains.) Statistically speaking, plane crashes are rare occurrences compared to car crashes, so why not install a black box for cars?
Auto makers are deeply concerned that Millennials don’t care about vehicles nearly as much as they do about the next iPhone. So the companies have become decidedly more intent on roping in these car-reluctant twenty-somethings. That’s one big reason why, for instance, Ford has decided to set up shop, literally, in Silicon Valley, and why General Motors has turned for marketing advice to MTV.
Emirates is launching a campaign aimed at evolving the airline from a travel brand to a global lifestyle brand. With the tagline “Hello Tomorrow,” the creative seeks to paint the Dubai-based airline as an “enabler of global connectivity and meaningful experiences,” according to the company.
When Best Buy Co. (BBY) said yesterday it was closing 50 big stores and opening 100 smaller ones, the world’s largest electronics retailer was adjusting to reality: The era of big-box retail dominance is coming to an end. The new mantra is small box.
Best Buy is on the same track that two former train wrecks were on, CompUSA and Circuit City. Today, Best Buy reported a fiscal fourth-quarter net loss of $1.7 billion and announced it is closing 50 stores. The basic pattern that CompUSA (closed brick-and-mortar stores in 2007) and Circuit City (closed stores in 2008) followed was: first select stores were closed, then more were closed, then all stores were shuttered or sold off.
What ideas are you building your company on? It’s an important question for all organizations, and some companies are responding with innovative and inspiring answers. Ideas shape our thinking, animate our endeavors, and serve as the foundation upon which we scale our institutions and companies.
Human nature: our curiosity can often be provoked when a conference is prefaced by NDAs that prevent participants from sharing the discussion externally. The net-net? That “next big thing” appears to be for brands to use ‘social’ more strategically, connecting with and engaging their customers more holistically to drive business growth.
When marketing is in alignment with the business, you are more likely to travel in the same direction. Alignment and accountability are the first steps every aspiring marketing organization must take to improve its performance management and measurement.
There are a couple of things that make a brand great: engendering good feelings to consumers and using those feelings to inspire them to make a purchase.
Companies are learning to turn Big Data into Big Dollars. How are they doing it? With the help of data scientists, a new generation of business leaders who understand that today, data drives revenue.
Brand architecture often comes down to an evaluation of tradeoffs. In my experience, there’s rarely a cost-free benefit or a no-foul cost. That’s why I have found the concept of brand value so helpful. It focuses on the net effect of an initiative -- are the benefits worth more than the costs of getting those benefits or are cost-saving initiatives doing more harm than good?
With its 2011 corporate revenue estimated at $54 billion and brands in practically every aisle of the grocery store, Kraft is the largest producer of branded, packaged food and beverages in America. So it’s hard to believe that before MiO, the last new category Kraft created was DiGiorno frozen pizza in 1995 and its last new beverage brand was Crystal Light, launched in 1988.
While Board of Directors, CEOs, and CFOs these days are demanding proof that marketing dollars work, a new study reveals that 57% of CMOs are simply going with their gut feeling when setting marketing budgets, without any consideration for Return On Investment analysis.
Conde Nast, the publisher of magazines such as Glamour and Wired, recently gave advertisers metrics concerning tablet editions of its January issues. It now plans to give advertisers data on each new issue about 10 weeks after it comes out.
The role of business linguist for the CMO is probably one of the more challenging aspects of the job. Translating marketing value and priority to other areas of the corporate enterprise, if done ineffectively or ignored, can lead to disaster.
Encyclopaedia Britannica will stop publishing print editions and go digital-only — a huge step for the encyclopedia which has been in print since 1768. The sales of Britannica print editions has been on the decline since 1990, when 120,000 32-volume sets were sold.
Playing a kind of “smartball” on brand teams today means insisting that digital players be leveraged against a larger strategy. In short, that a brand’s playbook is not a story of technological possibilities, but a diagram of brand profitability.
LinkedIn and the Council of Economic Advisors mapped the fastest-growing and fastest-shrinking industries since 2007, the year the Great Recession started. Renewables are at the top and newspapers are at the bottom.
Buying someone a drink in person is a nice gesture, but buying someone a drink via Twitter is, well, not something you do often. Online networking app Tweet-A-Beer hopes to change that and make paying for other Twitter users’ drinks more of a habit.
In what may be the most overdue brand extension in history, Kraft is using the 100-year-old Planters name to speed growth of its mature grocery business.
In most well-meaning organizations, once important information comes to light, it cannot be ignored, no matter what level of an organization is affected.
A CFO won't make decisions without reliable metrics based on time-tested performance indicators. So why do so many sane, rational marketers think they'll get a pass when it comes to social media?
Brands are spending a great deal of time and energy investing in platforms to get likes or pluses, and not really being social at all.
Brands have historically paid for media to deliver their messages. But now, those brands are becoming the media, attracting their own audiences. And not just within social networks, but through their own online publications. This new strategy is known as content marketing, and it has been embraced by leading brands like American Express, IBM, and General Mills, with more joining the ranks every day.
The Power of Habit, by New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg, examines habits good and bad. Duhigg talks us through four companies that found success by swapping business-as-usual routines with smarter habits.
If there’s one thing Burstein has learned over the years of producing the arts and culture radio show Studio 360, it’s that telling stories is the best way to learn about empathy. So now she tells of four qualities she believes help us all when looking to embrace our own creativity
Back in November, Square told us that 20,000 merchants had signed up for Card Case, and four months later that number has more than doubled to over 40,000 businesses using the loyalty and mobile wallet platform.
As the volume of data skyrockets, it's useful to step back and consider the different types of data, where they come from and how they can be used most effectively. Unique and highly focused data can be used as a signal booster for more effective intent-based targeting.
According to a survey by Symantec, enterprises officially understand that “application culture” isn’t going away, and in order to succeed they need to be competitive both online and in the App Store. Both the iPhone and Android have significantly altered a phone’s function, making it a productivity tool, as opposed to a simple mode of communication. Currently, 71 percent of enterprises are either looking to, or are actively deploying their own mobile applications.
None of us would agree to play a card game with cards missing from the deck. We would know that the odds of winning would be significantly diminished. Yet surprisingly, many marketers are willing to implement marketing programs sans analytics.
A Bloomberg report this weekend pointed out that Gap, J.C. Penney, Nordstrom and GameStop have all opened and closed shops on Facebook within the past year — undermining expectations that the social network will become a major revenue driver for retailers over the next decade.
Microsoft and Apple should hate one another right now. I mean, really hate each other. After decades of domination, Microsoft has watched their rival move from death’s door to become the most valuable company in the world
The trends that are rocking B2C companies are just as relevant to the B2B world: multiplying customer touch points, changing customer behaviors, massive floods of big data. And like their B2C counterparts, B2B companies need to put the customer at the center of everything they do.
Is now a good time to have a Jerry Maguire moment? To refresh your memory, the story goes when a sports agent has a moral epiphany and is fired for expressing it, he decides to put his new philosophy to the test as an independent with the only athlete who stays with him. We say people matter, do we mean it?
NBC Universal's broadcasts of the Olympics from London this summer will be filled with the usual athletic contests: synchronized swimming, basketball and canoe sprinting, among others. Behind the scenes, however, NBC will engage in a different sort of game: tablet counting. Mindful that audiences are no longer relying solely on TV to get all their video content, NBC Universal will use the Olympics to set up a system that purports to count viewers across all the different ways they now watch their shows.
Facebook, KickStarter, Kiva, Twitter, and other companies thriving in the social era are operating by the rules of the Social Era. They get it. They live it. And to them, it's ridiculously obvious. But too many major companies — Bank of America, Sony, Gap, Yahoo, Nokia — that need to get it, don't.
Kodak is going to stop doing what they were once the first to ever do. No, not produce Kodachrome. They stopped that 10 years ago. They’re stopping the manufacture of digital cameras. “Did Kodak manufacture digital cameras?” I hear you ask. They invented digital.
It’s no mystery that the area with the most important long-term implications for an organization is recruiting and staffing employees. One of the biggest and oldest problems for companies revolves around acquiring a talented and creative team — and digital gives the old, traditional methods a new spin.
To get a glimpse of what tomorrow's young global managers might be like as leaders, take a look at how today's young people think about communications.
Tom Brady and Eli Manning will square off this Super Bowl Sunday as the two quarterbacks tasked with leading their teams to a championship. Brady and Manning both possess many leadership and athletic qualities that have led them to the top of their sport and to this game. However, one of the primary skills of each of these quarterbacks is an in-depth knowledge of his teammates, and in particular the receivers who are supposed to be on the other end of the quarterback’s passes. That knowledge allows these two elite quarterbacks to play at the highest level and make the people around them better, which is an essential leadership skill in football or business.
Most every company says it values its customers, and hates to 'walk away' from them. Leaders are called on to make tough decisions they believe are in the best interests of their companies. And sometimes, these decisions advantage some customers at the expense of others. That doesn't make them bad decisions, just risky ones. But leaders of some of our greatest brands act like they have forgotten (or never knew) what every junior brand manager surely knows --- to test potentially risky messages and find ways to mitigate their negative impact. Instead, senior leaders are acting like bulls in a china shop, awkwardly and prematurely broadcasting their strategic decisions in ways that destroy their company's (and their own) reputation and value.
Senior management teams set the course for their organizations and are often the leaders who first recognize when big change is needed. These teams are also often made up of people with drastically different styles, personalities, and visions. Bringing these voices into alignment around key goals and opportunities is the essential first step toward accelerating strategic results for the organization.
Carnival has a massive PR crisis on its hands, and its handling of it is making things even worse for the cruise line. The Costa Concordia disaster has left at least 16 people dead, with 17 still missing. But it's not so much the circumstances of the crash ruining the brand, it's the company's terrible management of the crisis.
Usually the question comes right after I tell an audience that I put former Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley on my "Innovation Mount Rushmore" as a reminder of the importance of investing time and energy to understand the target market.
There is an old saying that hindsight is the only exact science, and it's true. The news that Kodak's long fade to black has finally ended with the company filing for Chapter 11 protection (a way of protecting it from bankruptcy while it attempts to restructure) has prompted an avalanche of retrospective wisdom about great companies "fumbling the future" (as the title of a book about Xerox once put it). And it's easy to see why. Kodak is like Coca-Cola, a brand-name that defined an industry. One of its products – the color film Kodachrome – even became the title of one of Paul Simon's most famous songs. You can't get more iconic than that. And the company was an industrial giant – at one time (1976), for example, it had 90% of film and 85% of camera sales in the US and was regularly rated one of the world's five most valuable brands. So it seemed inconceivable that a company as large and successful could disappear. And yet it might.
The strategic choices we make every day are determined by the “strategic narratives” we tell ourselves. We face a challenge and we don’t ask, “What does Porter’s Five Forces tell me to think about?” or “What does Clayton Christensen’s Disruptive Innovation model tell me to do?” No, we ask ourselves, “What does this remind me of?”
In the 20th century, a select group of leaders — General Motor's Alfred Sloan, HP's David Packard and Bill Hewlett, and GE's Jack Welch — set the standard for the way corporations are run. In the 21st century only IBM's Sam Palmisano has done so. When Palmisano retired this month, the media chronicled his success by focusing on IBM's 21% annual growth in earnings per share and its increase in market capitalization to $218 billion. But IBM hasn't flourished because it kowtows to Wall Street. In fact, five years after Palmisano took over, IBM stock was stuck where it had been when his tenure began.
Sydney Finkelstein, the Steven Roth, Professor of Management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, published “Why Smart Executives Fail” 8 years ago. In it, he shared some of his research on what over 50 former high-flying companies – like Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, Rubbermaid, and Schwinn – did to become complete failures. It turns out that the senior executives at the companies all had 7 Habits in common. Finkelstein calls them the Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives.
The whole world seems to have woken up to the notion that great ideas can come from anywhere and anyone. Exhibit A is the effort to write a new constitution in Iceland where the surge of crowdsourcing, mass collaboration, co-creation, and open innovation initiatives is seeking to channel those ideas and leverage that talent in every realm of endeavor. But when it comes to taking those ideas and turning them into a comprehensive view of the future, a compelling set of priorities, and a genuinely involving and ongoing collaboration with a community of stakeholders, there aren't many instructive models.
HBS Working Knowledge recently celebrated its tenth birthday, and we mark the occasion by looking back and looking forward. We've asked HBS Dean Nitin Nohria and a number of faculty to both remark on what they view as the most significant business management ideas of the first decade of the twenty-first century, and then to tell us what they hope will be the most fertile areas of business research between now and 2020.
Two years after the economic crisis, executives’ confidence has returned—albeit tenuously—suggesting a better ability to cope with and manage economic volatility.
Product cycles aren’t getting shorter. They’re disappearing. Retailers are concentrating on their store brands and giving shorter shrift to national brands and manufacturer partnerships. They’re culling nationally branded products that fall short of sales and turn expectations from shelves. Sometimes, these metrics aren’t even used as justification!
If you look at the world today, it’s devoid of enough true leaders. We used to have so many. This troubles me. What has happened? Is it because people don’t want to step up to the higher responsibilities of leadership, or don’t know how to be great leaders?
Isaiah Mustafa, aka "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like," has clearly broken through all previous viral-video records and achieved pop-icon status. The question is: How much Old Spice body wash has he sold? And the answer is a bit of a mystery.
For years, Seventh Generation Inc. co-founder Jeffrey Hollender liked to say "hell would freeze over" before his company's environmentally friendly household products would be sold by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. He feels differently now. Starting next month, Seventh Generation staples, including laundry detergent, dish soap, all-purpose sprays and disinfectant wipes, will be sold in about 1,500 Wal-Mart stores. By September, other cleaners, diapers and baby wipes will be available on Walmart.com.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs addressed these issues Friday from the company's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. His take? There's a small problem, but one that was blown out of proportion by the press. For once, it may be hard to argue with Apple's best salesperson. What are the ramifications for a brand that rarely deals with a crisis on this level? Experts agree that Apple will be just fine.
One of the modern Holy Grails of advertising is to translate a successful TV campaign into a monster viral Internet phenom. Working with their client Procter and Gamble, the advertising firm Wieden+Kennedy opened the ark with its online work for Old Spice. The campaign is simple: The manly star from the TV spots responds to queries on Twitter via humorous 30-second YouTube videos that are being watched and re-tweeted with abandon.
The world may not need another social network. But Google does. Google needs a place where people can easily congregate and communicate. A place that's as easy to understand and use as Google.com. A place that people "like." Why?
As marketers, we’re all ultimately in the conversion optimization business. The success of your venture depends on how many people you get to sign-up, register or order. You weigh the value of each conversion against how much it cost you to win it, and that’s the driving engine of ROI for your organization. The higher your conversion rate, the higher your ROI. But that equation is deceptively oversimplified. In the real world, there are many confounding factors.
It’d be an understatement to say that this has been a terrible week for Apple, and we haven’t even reached the halfway point. On Monday, Consumer Reports dealt a devastating blow to the iPhone 4 when it declined to recommend the device to consumers due to the antenna reception problem. Consumer Reports concluded from its tests that cell reception is indeed lost if you cover up the small gap between the two metal bands on the bottom right corner of the phone. The media quickly picked up the story.
I've just gone through a very lengthy and painful technology transfer, and I think my takeaway is this: instead of making life easier for customers, maybe a viable brand loyalty strategy is to make it harder for them? I know it sounds counterintuitive but what if marketers chose to deliver brand "engagement" as habit, routine, and as something so extensively embedded in customers' lives that it wouldn't be worth it -- or even consciously imaginable -- to ever change?
Mister Rogers frequently told his audiences, “It’s hard not to like someone once your know their story.” I latched onto that phrase the first time I heard it because I think it delivers a powerful business lesson. People connect with stories that move them and most every business can and should tell a story that helps prospects and customers connect at a deeper level. I truly believe the Internet, while making it easy to find information, has left us craving real connections, with real people, and the companies they serve.
Brands identify the source or maker of a product. Based on what customers know about the brand, they can form reasonable expectations about its benefits. Companies believe that brands contribute to reducing risk by helping buyers avoid a purchasing mistake. It is also a widely held belief that brands are financially important to companies.
According to Giving USA Foundation chair Edith H. Falk, “In addition to support from individuals and foundations, some nonprofits received exceptional support from the corporate sector, which included billions of dollars’ worth of in-kind donations, particularly from information technology firms and pharmaceutical manufacturers.” This is great news, of course. But, do you have to be a big corporation to do good? From cause marketing, to grants, to buying tables at fund-raising events, businesses of all types are flying their corporate social responsibility flags by investing in their communities. And why?
Consensus Advisors just released their 2009-2010 Retailer Health Ratings (RHRs) report. The RHRs measure and compare retailers over a five-year period on: healthy growth, asset utilization, pricing power and balance sheet strength.
It's not exactly about cars, but Ford Motor's latest Sustainability Report might matter to people who are rethinking not just the products they use but the companies that make them, perhaps more so now in light of the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico.
To influence these key consumers, it's critical for marketers to develop a better understanding of their media consumption patterns. GfK MRI provides rich data on "category influentials" -- people who have a great deal of knowledge about a product and are trusted sources for advice. When analyzing their media habits, an interesting pattern emerges -- influentials tend to be heavy users of radio.
Advertising spending in the United States will not begin to grow again until next year, according to an annual forecast from PricewaterhouseCoopers. The 11th annual entertainment and media outlook report, to be released on Tuesday morning, predicts that ad spending will fall 0.5 percent this year compared with last year.
Brandchannel’s weekly Digital Watch feature takes a deeper look at brands’ digital strategy. Our latest case study, McDonald’s, takes a multi-tiered approach to digital branding that cozies up to moms to reinforce its nutritional, family values.
As Nike's top marketer, Trevor Edwards, VP-global brand and category management, has helped the world's leading footwear and apparel company grow its market-share lead by becoming possibly the world's most accomplished digital marketer.
General Motors Co. on Thursday backed off a "poorly worded" internal memo that asked employees to refer to the brand only as "Chevrolet" in an effort to create consistency. GM says in a statement that it "in no way" is discouraging anybody from using the name Chevy. The internal memo was part of an effort to develop a consistent brand name as it tries to broaden its global presence.
Many media properties have started to license their own brands in addition to their programs and franchises. This trend has been gaining traction over the past several years as media companies have come to the realization that consumers can and do associate their favorite TV and magazine brands with certain lifestyle or product categories.
While sales have been strengthening at Nordstrom, executives from the Seattle-based retailer told a group of investors that one of the best lessons it learned in the recession was a savvier balance between its full-line Nordstrom stores and the Rack, its rapidly growing off-price division.
Given the variety of needs and considerations by different municipality audiences, the question I most often am asked by stakeholders interested in municipality branding is, “Can one brand position work for a municipality or do we need a separate brand position for each audience?” The answer is “yes.” Yes, one overarching brand position can work but it must be designed to work with more specific brand messages for each audience.
A couple of days ago I wrote a post about exposure and visibility and how quality content that is valuable takes time to create. Everyone agrees with that sentiment. However, when push comes to shove, with very few exceptions, people tend to spread content that is more popular -- even when popularity means less helpful, sometimes incomplete. The ability to think critically is a gift -- it's also the underpinning of an effective business strategy, where you work from your core competencies. I worry that much of that ability gets lost to the desire to fit in and become popular -- to make the quick list, in blog parlance.
Undeterred by criticism of a new TV commercial featuring its leader, BP PLC is pressing ahead with a major ad campaign—in an effort to rescue its badly damaged image—as torrents of oil continue to spew into the Gulf of Mexico. "We are preparing a series of ads to air over the next days and weeks," said Andrew Gowers, a spokesman for the British oil company. President Barack Obama blasted the company on Friday for reportedly spending $50 million on television advertising as the company scrambles to fix its leaking well.
Gap Inc. is searching for "a creative partner for our holiday 2010 campaign," according to Advertising Age. In the spirit of helping the brand’s managers with their decision, I hereby offer up some straight and very dim suggestions.
Six weeks after oil began gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, BP is letting the public see live pictures from all 12 of the underwater cameras that are trained on its damaged well. There it is, streaming at all times on a panoply of Web sites, hard to miss in the lower right corner on CNN and other cable news channels: the oil gusher cam, a remarkable view of an unfolding disaster. “Among viewers, the initial reaction is shock and awe,” said Travis Daub, the creative director for the “PBS NewsHour,” which is one of the outlets that has encoded the live feeds so that any Web site can republish them. Commentators have called the images of the gusher grotesque, frustrating and simply too distressing to watch.
Mr. Burke, speaking at the All Things Digital conference on Wednesday morning, said he believes that putting content and distribution under one roof would allow Comcast to expand its offerings to customers. "If you think of distribution as technology, and the ability to get content to consumers, the ability to have that content will let you do more," he said.
All of these are disconnected events; a Polaroid snapshot of our psychology at a single moment in time. Some of these memes are ephemeral. Others may be lasting. However, our success as marketers increasingly hinges on having a deep, real-time understanding of our networked environment and how these themes can impact our programs. Enter situational awareness--an essential skill every CMO-level executive and his staff must build and evolve.
I would encourage marketers to graduate to Social Media 3.0, an entirely new dynamic that requires a high degree of professionalism, new strategic platforms, new metrics for success, new monitoring tools, cross-disciplined planning and an open-mindedness to social media in just about any business category. To that end, here are four courses of action that marketers should consider to really make the grade in social media.
Fascinating research from Oded Shenkar of Ohio State University, published in the HBR. This shows that it pays to be an imitator, not an innovator. According to this study, 98% of the value of a given innovation goes to the company who imitates it, not the one who launches it.
As business professors at Kettering University, formerly General Motors Institute (GMI) in Flint, Michigan, we have focused on trying to identify strategic solutions for the automobile industry. Our search led us to Nashville, where unemployment runs only 4%, to talk with Henry Juszkiewicz, Chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar. Juszkiewicz began his career as a student at GMI in an automotive engineering co-op program and later moved on to Gibson, where he revived the now-thriving guitar company. We asked him what he thinks the auto industry can learn from the music industry.
Can social media be used for branding? Or to state the question in an even clearer and more tangible way, "Can a marketer abandon conventional broadcast methods and use social media to build reach and drive brand awareness?" First, let's define the terms "branding" and "social media." Through careless overuse, these fundamental advertising concepts have been deprived of their essential essence.
I saw Sir Ken Robinson speak last year in London. It was without exception the best talk I've ever been to. Witty, erudite, fun, insightful and hugely compelling. A version of it has just been posted as a TED talk in which Sir Ken asserts the need to move away from an industrial, manufacturing model of education based on linearity, conformity and 'batching' people (sound familiar?), toward a model which is based more on principles of agriculture that sees human flourishing as an organic rather than mechanical process. You cannot predict the outcome of human development, says Sir Ken, all you can do is create the conditions under which it will flourish. Which reminded me of this typically erudite post by JP Rangaswami on the desire for predictability in business. Quoting from The Power of Pull, he lists a number of beliefs and assumptions (what I might call Toxic Assumptions) that make up 'the philosophy of push'. Principles that have been the basis of management and economics thinking for the best part of a century.
We've all heard the saying, "Don't call us, we'll call you." Normally, it's reserved for that scene in a movie where someone in a position of power is giving the blow-off move to a salesman, interviewee, or otherwise faceless subordinate. These days, brands and marketers are hearing the phrase more and more from disenchanted and disinterested teens. More than other demographics, teens are all too ready to give marketers the brush-off. So how do brands and marketers avoid falling victim to this dismissal from such a powerful target group?
Over the last couple of years I've posted on several small but beautifully formed brands. They are premium priced brands that target a specific occasion or consumer segment, and aim to lead in this part of the market. Examples have included innocent (not so small now), Gu and Fresh Italy. Well. Time to add a new find to the list: Charlie Bigham's.
By all official indications, the Great Recession has very likely ended. But as marketers, we know better than to interpret this to mean we can pick up right where we left off prior to the steep economic slide. Many consumers have readjusted their budgets and some continue to cope with concerns about the security of their jobs. Even those who have not been directly touched are still anxious about the future. Things that once mattered to our customers no longer seem so important to them. That's why we have to reconnect with them in a way that reflects their new reality.
Expect to see a lot more of Dr Pepper, Snapple, 7Up and Sunkist on television this year. Parent company Dr Pepper Snapple Group plans to increase ad spending behind these—and several other—brands by $25 million in the second quarter. The soft drink company is also introducing new products, like a new line of Snapple teas created by The Celebrity Apprentice finalists Bret Michaels and Holly Robinson Peete (unveiled today). Svp of marketing Andrew Springate and evp Jim Trebilcock (pictured far left) said the reality show tie-in was part of a yearlong restage—a term they used to describe new packaging and drink formulation. In an interview with Brandweek, Springate and Trebilcock discussed the new products inspired by The Celebrity Apprentice and other changes the brand is making to stand out in a crowded category.
You would think that BP would be fretting over the hijacking of its brand on Twitter, because, in less than a week, the handle @bpglobalpr has amassed a following double the size of BP's real feed. But part of the reason the impostor is still going strong is the company hasn't contacted Twitter to take it down, and it might not, BP told Ad Age today.
We've all been there. It's that dreaded moment of truth when you realize that having The Talk, The Big Conversation, perhaps even The Great Ultimatum, is inescapable. It could involve your child, your spouse, your subordinate or your colleague. But in every case, it only arrives when it's too late to pretend that the conflicts aren't there or don't really matter. If you're in marketing, that moment often means getting to the bottom of differences that, in so many companies, force your own professional efforts out of phase with those of sales. And in a dicey economy, when doing more with less has become a mantra, alignment between the two functions has now become a core survival strategy.
Like motherhood and apple pie, corporate social responsibility has achieved iconic status as a feel-good pursuit. Corporations around the world have embraced its charitable philosophy and created divisions devoted to its pursuit. The problem, however, is that corporate social responsibility — by design and definition — can only go so far. Because no matter how widely a firm defines its reach, and how generous its leadership grows, the primary objective of any for-profit firm in a capitalist system will still be as Friedman described it: to maximize the returns of its shareholders. Or at least not to engage in any activity that undermines those returns.
The South Korean company's plans may include pushing interactive advertisements from other companies through Samsung's phones and flat-screen TVs. Ads will likely be built into Samsung's new application store that, similar to Apple's for its iPhone, lets consumers stream content from the Internet to--in Samsung's case--a Web-connected television. Millions of Samsung's ipTV owners now have access to 30 ad-free applications, such as movie-streaming programs Netflix and Blockbuster. By year-end they will be able to tap into more than 100 of them. Then marketers may start doing it, too, piping their own messages into the apps.
Facebook, MySpace and several other social-networking sites have been sending data to advertising companies that could be used to find consumers' names and other personal details, despite promises they don't share such information without consent. The practice, which most of the companies defended, sends user names or ID numbers tied to personal profiles being viewed when users click on ads. After questions were raised by The Wall Street Journal, Facebook and MySpace moved to make changes. By Thursday morning Facebook had rewritten some of the offending computer code
Since late 2005, Apple's stock has quintupled. With a market capitalization of close to $250 billion, Apple is (at least today) the third most valuable company in the world, behind ExxonMobil and Microsoft. It's a stunning story that's been dissected to death, but still remarkable enough to warrant reflection. Ten years ago — three years after Chairman and CEO Steve Jobs had returned to "rescue" Apple — the company was still largely treading water, with a relatively meager $3 billion market capitalization. Its personal computer products had a loyal following in niche markets, but that was about it. Over the past decade, Apple has launched five legitimately game-changing innovations.
Comparing Starbucks and McDonald's may not seem to make sense at first, but the two chains actually have a lot in common--namely, they both promise quickie and easy food and beverages on the go, and both companies have recently ramped up sustainability efforts. In the new book The HIP Investor, author R. Paul Herman attempts to compare the two mega-chains. Below, we do the same.
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.
This is one of those important posts to forward to your marketing team, agency partners, and to Facebook themselves. While there’s been plenty of coverage about user privacy concerns, attention on Facebook’s changes on brands hasn’t been adequately covered, this analysis is intended to unravel what’s at stake –and what brands should do. I’ve spoken to a handful of brands and their representatives to learn what’s eating at them.
Global marketers such as Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Nike are describing the 2010 FIFA World Cup as a larger event than even the 2008 Beijing Olympics. That scale -- combined with the intensity of interest in the sport, the national pride of fans and the fact that it's the first major global sporting event ever held on the African continent -- figures to sell a lot of sneakers and soft drinks.
For big companies, bounding back from corporate scandal, financial malfeasance or public disaster is difficult--but it isn't impossible. Looking at companies that have come back after business downturns, product problems or corporate scandal, several experts on corporate reputation and crisis management helped Forbes identify 10 companies that have made, or are making, turnarounds after corporate hard times.
Defensive branding is protecting and defending brand equity and reputation in an increasingly consumer-driven environment. Think media planning plus actuarial viral risk management. It's first strategic, then tactical. The logic goes something like this: Sandbag before you sell. Protect before you promote. Defend before you dance. Self-critique before you self-destruct.
BP's chief said the company could have done more to prepare for a deepwater oil leak, as the British oil giant met with affected residents Thursday and embarked on fresh efforts to stem the vast slick now threatening the Gulf of Mexico shoreline. BP PLC Chief Executive Tony Hayward has come under mounting pressure over the spill, caused after a drilling rig BP was leasing, the Deepwater Horizon, caught fire and sank last month. The accident killed 11 workers and raised fears of widespread ecological damage.
To best help you understand how to expand the licensing value of your brand, let's take a step back and reflect on why companies choose to brand their products in the first place. Companies brand their products to differentiate them from their competitors'. For example, most consumers have no problem differentiating a Coke from a Pepsi. By giving their products a brand, companies can begin a dialogue with their consumers about their products’ attributes. Over time, a consumer learns she can rely on the brand to deliver a consistent and expected value.
Your gut is overrated. Really. Don't trust it. It deserves skeptical vigilance, not quiet deference. In the heat of the moment or — sorry, Malcolm — the blink of an eye, your gut instincts and gut feelings will betray you. No business cliché is more worthy of repudiation, annihilation, and eradication than "you've got to trust your gut."
We gathered up expert advice from Tim Bray of Google (Google), Guy Kawasaki of Alltop (formerly Apple), Doug Ulman of Livestrong, John Battelle of Federated Media and Steve Rubel of Edelman on the why and the how when it comes to C-level executives and social media. Their tips and advice range from practice to crucial and point to the need for C-suite executives of this generation to heed social media.
Hit by a tough market and rough competition, Nokia is hoping that yet another reorganization will shake up the status quo. The Finnish handset maker announced Tuesday that it will reorganize itself into what it calls a "simplified company structure." To better distinguish its various mobile phones and services, Nokia will revamp its business units into three separate entities--Mobile Solutions, Mobile Phones, and Markets. The new Mobile Solutions unit will handle Nokia's high-end mobile computer and smartphone products, which run under the Symbian and new MeeGo operating systems. The revamped Mobile Phones unit will turn its attention to Nokia's more affordable mobile phones, concentrating on devices that run under the Series 40 OS.
Nike Inc. Chief Executive Mark Parker took an unusual path to the top: The former Penn State University runner spent years as a shoe designer before starting to climb the corporate ladder. Now, he's taking Nike in a new direction, targeting overseas expansion—and not just with the Nike "swoosh." Last week he set the ambitious goal of increasing sales 40%, to $27 billion, by 2015. To achieve that while Nike sales growth in the U.S. is slowing, he's betting on such markets as China, India and Brazil, and on their burgeoning middle classes.
Fast-fashion retailer H&M is a bit frosty toward warm climates. The trendy company has stores in 37 countries, but none in Texas. Miami shoppers won't find a place to purchase H&M's cheap chic clothes, either. The problem isn't a lack of demand. It's that the chain's Swedish parent company, H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB, isn't sure how to sell clothes in cities that are always warm.
There are many ways a merchant can create a choosing — not just a shopping — experience. For example we know from extensive research in the online realm (and from common sense) that ratings and popularity drive increases in sales. Yet nowhere in the stores could customers find reviews or any information about which items were most popular.
Digital technologies have fundamentally changed the way consumers interact with each other and, by the way, with brands. The role of engaging brand stories has not gone away. However, to truly establish loyalty and advocacy -- the holy grail of marketing in the digital age -- our marketing and brand strategies need to go beyond telling great stories. We have to make marketing focus on how products or services are actually used, not on how we hope they are used. We have to make them more useful by wrapping them in applications that increase their usefulness to the consumer.
The news is in the news yet again. People familiar with the situation are throwing cold water on an online report from New York magazine that suggests CNN and CBS News are once again on the cusp of a partnership -- although there are plenty of reasons why a deal could make sense for either side.
"Not all recalls are equal, and in this case, McNeil was proactive, instituting the recall before anyone got hurt," he says. "And the very fact that they are doing it is likely to generate a 'yes, they are the brand that is doing the right thing at the right time' response." When the company announced the voluntary recall, it made a point of saying that there was little possibility of the products causing any harm or untoward side effects to people using them. "This recall is not being undertaken on the basis of adverse medical events."
After less than two years, Richard Gerstein, senior-VP marketing of Sears Holdings, has resigned. Mr. Gerstein joined the company in July 2007 as CMO of Sears, ascending to the top marketing slot in August 2008, following the departure of Maureen McGuire. He is the second top marketer to leave since Edward Lampert took control of the company five years ago.
I’ve been mulling over a debate for the past few weeks and haven’t been able to resolve it, so I thought I’d share it here and get your input. The issue is whether marketers should try to increase the marketing function in the organization or whether they should try to increase the marketing capability of the entire organization. The debate was prompted by an op-ed written by Larry Light, marketing guru and former McDonald’s CMO, in Forbes a few weeks ago.
In business and in life we set all kinds of goals — build a company, meet sales objectives, be a supportive manager — and then we define a strategy for achieving that goal. The goal is the destination; the strategy is our trail to get there. Only sometimes we get so absorbed in the trail — in how we're going to achieve the goal, in our method or process — that we lose sight of the destination, of where we were going in the first place. And we walk right by the opportunities that would have propelled us forward toward our planned destination.
To change an organization from within, it helps to understand four basic circulatory systems, analogous to the channels of communication in a living body.
Steel Partners, the US hedge fund , suffered another setback in its campaign to reform Japanese companies after Sapporo shareholders rejected its proposal to replace most of the directors. At Sapporo's annual meeting yesterday, Steel Partners failed to shake up the board when only about 30 per cent of voting shareholders supported its proposed move. The activist fund headed by Warren Lichtenstein has been struggling to push reform at the group since 2004, when it first invested in the company. The defeat underscores how difficult it can be to change corporate Japan, where investors often hold stakes in companies for reasons other than direct financial return.
Given all the problems our world faces — in teaching, technology, health care, or finance — we need many more social entrepreneurs and change makers. Progress against these problems will be intolerably slow if only 3% to 5% of world's population thinks they can solve them. We need to teach our youth that they can help people; that they can lead; that they can make lasting and important change in their communities and across the globe. Society, employers, educators, and parents need to recognize that our kids' successful personal and social development must start with a mastery of several complex skills — empathy, teamwork, leadership, and change making.
Things have changed a great deal in the last 18 months. Companies are getting serious about social media. And we've seen enough cases recently about mishandled situations in social media to bethinking about what makes sense as a team mix. In a quick email exchange about his post good agencies don't hire social media strategists, Sean Howard and I were musing that outsourcing digital is as much a risk as is hoping that a social media expert will save the day. Is there a role for agencies in the digital space?
It’s worth revisiting and re-crafting this refrain today — in a marketing arena in which the whole world’s gone topsy-turvy. As Social Media has blown up the silos between Advertising, Corp Comms, Direct Marketing, Public Relations, Customer Service, and even Information Technology, it’s easy to get caught up in the tools and techniques rather than focus on the sea change underlying this new madness. What’s this Social Media stuff really all about? It’s about the people.
Simply put, if marketers are counting on their agencies to lead them into a world of changing consumer behaviors and media habits, they should think again. As digital-marketing channels multiply, agencies are struggling to figure out their own businesses, and a recent Forrester study suggests that marketers may need to force their agencies to evolve rather than wait for them to do it themselves. Ad Age got a peek at the 16-page study, called "The Future of Agency Relationships," for which Forrester spent nearly four months interviewing agency and marketing executives.
Today's consumers are more intuitive, more informed, more skeptical and more demanding than ever. They live in a world of immense choice and personalization. They want the benefits of increased choice without the complexity of increased choice. With the economic anxiety of our times, there is a growing generation of shoppers for whom frugality is fashionable. These changes are tailor-made for the talents of marketers. But marketers be warned: We need to be concerned about the degradation of marketing. We must redefine it--or be part of its deadly decline.
Since March 2007, when Viacom first accused Google in a $1 billion lawsuit of profiting off thousands of unauthorized copyrighted clips that once appeared on YouTube, most of the conflict had smoldered out of public view. Once the case documents were unsealed on Thursday, all the spite roared into the open. Google attacked Viacom for chopping up e-mails from YouTube's founders in an obvious attempt to invent sinister-sounding messages. In Viacom's motion for summary judgment, the parent company of Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures railed against Google and YouTube for developing "serial amnesia" during depositions and also for failing "to preserve and produce" key documents--a no-no in civil proceedings. So, is this just legal gamesmanship, or have both sides gone too far?
Why do some companies thrive at conversion optimization, while others languish? I’d argue that the biggest factor is not technology, testing tactics or creative brilliance. It’s the agility of your marketing team. The more agile you are, the better your conversion optimization will be. So if you really want to boost your online marketing performance—in a game-changing way—consider adopting agile methodologies in your management.
Attention: fast food marketers – you’re wasting half of your advertising. But I’m not talking about the waste that John Wanamaker was referring to in his famous quip about not knowing which half of his advertising was being wasted. I’m talking about the average of 48% of people who say there’s a big difference between what you promise in your advertising and what they experience at your restaurants.
Last week, Nestle got itself into a bit of a situation on its Facebook page. Following accusations by Greenpeace that the confectionery company was using palm oil sourced from deforested areas in Indonesia, the company's Facebook page was overrun by disgruntled campaigners urging a boycott of its products, and the firm was forced to put out a statement on its corporate website.
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.
How do you talk about your business's strategy so that your employees get it? Well, you've probably heard the phrase "Keep it simple, stupid." And often the subtext of that is: "Keep it simple, because your people are stupid." But the point of simplicity isn't to dumb things down. You're not trying to solve a comprehension problem. You're trying to solve a problem called decision paralysis.
Estée Lauder Cos. CEO Fabrizio Freda, only the second nonfamily member to lead the company since its founding in 1946, would like to change the way department stores sell cosmetics. Mr. Freda wants to woo customers who are still hesitant to splurge on upscale cosmetics. To make shopping less intimidating, some beauty counters now display prices, loosening a taboo. He is also designing counters to cater to varied shopping preferences.
General Motors has blamed a supplier partly owned by Toyota for a faulty car part that led to the recall of 1.3m Chevrolet and Pontiac cars in North America. Bob Lutz, GM’s vice-chairman, on Tuesday told the BBC in Geneva that the supplier – separately identified as JTEKT, a joint venture between Toyoda Machine Works and Koyo Seiko – had not met “all requirements for reliability and durability”. His criticism came as Toyota, its reputation battered after recalls affecting more than 8m cars and trucks, sought to reassure US lawmakers at the third congressional hearing in the past 10 days into the safety and reliability of its vehicles.
Close your eyes and listen to the fight. One side says we have to change the way we do things now and the other warns grimly that if we do, the end result will be the Dark Ages. This isn't Washington, D.C., but the Madison Avenue echo chamber, with corporate America pushing for cost consciousness and efficiency from its ad agencies and those agencies railing against companies' bean counters being sicced on them. With each soul-crushing Ad Age item about the rising influence of procurement departments, creatives' agita rises.
We’ve all been there. Right? We’ve had those managers that have asked us to do things that they themselves would never do. In fact most of the time they have asked us to do certain tasks because they refused to do those tasks themselves.
Are companies, with all their good intentions, getting the most from open innovation? We suspect that the initial successes, encouraging as they are, represent only the beginning. What if open innovation were defined more broadly and more ambitiously? Could even greater value be realized? If so, what would the next wave of open innovation look like?
Gannett Co., the largest U.S. newspaper publisher, said Monday it turned a profit in the fourth quarter, helped by a drop in one-time costs and a smaller decline in ad sales. The earnings report showed Gannett has been able to slash expenses enough to stay profitable despite steady revenue declines. Other big publishers, such as Miami Herald owner McClatchy Co., have followed a similar course in trimming staff and consolidating printing and delivery operations.
Modern capitalism can be broken down into two major eras. The first, managerial capitalism, began in 1932 and was defined by the then radical notion that firms ought to have professional management. The second, shareholder value capitalism, began in 1976. Its governing premise is that the purpose of every corporation should be to maximize shareholders’ wealth. If firms pursue this goal, the thinking goes, both shareholders and society will benefit. This is a tragically flawed premise, and it is time we abandoned it and made the shift to a third era: customer-driven capitalism.
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.”
Typography, like the other infrastructural elements of our daily life, from subways to electricity, passes by most people unnoticed--except when something goes really wrong. So when type makes it into the news, the stories are about screw-ups (Ikea switching to Verdana) or fixes (the Federal Highway Administration updating its hard-to-read signs). A recent tale is no different, except for one thing: Al Gore.
General Motors has shaken up its management team just three days after Fritz Henderson was sacked as chief executive. Ed Whitacre, GM’s chairman and acting CEO, put his stamp further on the majority US government-owned carmaker by announcing a new management line-up. Nick Reilly, head of GM’s international operations, was sent to Europe to finish the contentious restructuring of Opel and Vauxhall that has taken nearly a year, and 77-year-old industry legend Bob Lutz has moved into an advisory role.
JPMorgan Chase announced earlier this week that it plans to hire 1,500 new mortgage and small business bankers by the end of 2010. I think this is a tremendous branding opportunity. "We have invested in new systems, aggressively grown our capacity and are now looking to increase our sales force," said its head of home lending in a statement reported on CNN.
Get a bunch of longtime chief marketing officers in a room and you'll hear one thing for certain: lots and lots of questions about staying power. The Association of National Advertisers CMO Roundtable this past weekend was no exception. The group, comprised of Best Buy's Barry Judge, General Mills' Mark Addicks, Con Agra's Joan Chow and Fidelity Investment's Jim Speros, underscored the importance of transparency, relationship building and making sure you're right for the job in the first place.
The marketing at McDonald's is informed first and foremost by ethnic insights that shape the chain's marketing to African Americans, Asians and Hispanics. Then McDonald's lays those insights over work for the general market. "Ethnic segments are leading lifestyle trends," Neil Golden, chief marketer officer of McDonald's USA, told the ANA assembly. He added that his team decided to "start with the ones who are setting the pace." They're also where a lot of the money is. Mr. Golden said 40% of McDonald's current U.S. business comes from the Hispanic, Asian and African-American markets, and 50% of consumers under the age of 13 are from those segments. "And they're among our most loyal users," Mr. Golden said.
A broken brand is a business that has no idea where it’s going; has no way of communicating its purpose (since none exists); and therefore cannot align its activities nor inspire its people. It’s in disorder. And this disorder leads to people walking around concluding that no one cares and that no one is in charge. Employees may see problems or opportunities, but they stop complaining and suggesting ideas, since they’re convinced management can’t do anything, or won’t. I’ve read the results of recent surveys, which showed that fewer than 10 percent of employees believe their daily activities are actually related to corporate goals. That’s pitiful.
According to recent research from the Nielsen Three Screen Report ("More Looks, More Screens"), consumers are viewing vast amounts of video across multiple screens: televisions, computers, and mobile phones. Surprised? The research is simply catching up to what consumers already know: It's all a screen (movie screen, television screen, computer screen, mobile phone screen). Consumers will take their content on any screen that is readily available. Just ask any parent ... why do you think they coined the term "screen time" in the first place?
The Amazon Mechanical Turk is, as Wikipedia puts it, "a crowdsourcing marketplace that enables computer programs to co-ordinate the use of human intelligence to perform tasks which computers are unable to do." It consists of thousands of people who stand ready for tasks send them by Amazon or others who may wish to use Amazon's MTurk service. MTurk "providers" work alone, often in their spare time. Standing in line at a 7/11, they can bang out a few turns. They get paid a small fee for each decision. No one gets rich working in a mechanical turk, but many find it interesting.
Nielsen executive, book author and Ad Age columnist Pete Blackshaw is astounded by the number of brand managers who still have no coherent strategy for dealing with negative blog posts. The customer service guru was keynote speaker at the Children's Advertising Review Unit Conference. But during the Q&A, audience members seemed more interested in tips about how to deal with negative blog posts -- than children's advertising issues.
Television is going cross-platform. Video content is becoming unshackled from the broadcast transmission towers, terrestrial coaxial cable plant and the living room television sets of old. While the business models for Web-distributed video are far from developed and proven, video content creators and producers can now use the Internet to deliver their programming directly to the vast majority of U.S. households. This trend is already impacting the television industry in a significant and disruptive way, and its effect is intensifying. Many companies are now taking steps to try to control their destiny in a future where TV can be consumed "everywhere," on a multitude of different and widely distributed devices and platforms. So today, I am going to discuss my thoughts on how this future might play out -- who might find the elusive business model for profitable cross-platform video scale, and who might not.
Following the upheaval in the financial services sector, many marketers have forfeited breakthrough communications in favor of safety and stability. Who can blame them? With the market down significantly from its 2007 highs, an estimated $1 trillion+ in motion, and nearly every conventional wisdom about investing thrown into question, marketers are understandably concerned that their existing strategies and tools won't be enough to meet the demands of today's rapidly evolving marketplace. In addition, key success factors are not getting the attention they deserve -- ideas that may ultimately prove as important for a financial services company's marketing effectiveness as cash is to the balance sheet. Here are 10 tips marketers should stock up on.
This is a Japanese phrase meaning “go and see for yourself”, which is a central pillar of the Toyota Way, the famous management system adopted by the Japanese car company. Genchi genbutsu is sometimes referred to as “get your boots on”, which has a similar cadence and meaning. It is not dissimilar to the idea behind management by walking about (MBWA), an all-too-briefly popular American version of the same principle. Both MBWA and genchi genbutsu are more a frame of mind than a plan of action. They acknowledge that when information is passed around within organisations it is inevitably simplified and generalised. The only real way to understand a problem is to go and see it on the ground.
It's an increasingly common dilemma for CMOs with brands in the middle or top end of the market. Should you tackle the threat head-on and reduce existing prices on your premium brand, knowing it will reduce profits and potentially damage brand equity? Or should you maintain prices, hope for better times to return, and in the meantime lose sales from customers and support from your CEO? With both of these alternatives often proving equally unpalatable, many marketers have decided on a third option: launching a fighter brand.
A recent survey from eMarketer.com seems to show that U.S. executives are warming up to social media usage in the workplace. Out of 438 management, marketing and human resources executives polled, 81% saw social media as being useful for both brand-building and enhancing customer or client relationships. Just under 70% see it as a valuable recruitment tool, 64% think social media is useful for customer service, and a lower sampling at 46% saw it as improving employee morale.
I frequently preach to my peers at Clickable that the marketing team is NOT the "marketing business unit." Rather, the marketing team IS the entire company and our external stakeholders. We all contribute to the product, experience and culture that forges our reputation and business success. Departmental structures help drive accountability. But if marketing is not fully embraced as part of everyone's job, then the firm is strategically disadvantaged. Which is why I was delighted by three events that occurred at our startup this week. Specifically, three significant marketing and business development contributions came from unexpected places.
Are you more loyal to brands than you were 10 years ago? Are there any businesses that provide such a great product or service that you would never price-shop, and you'll declare your brand loyalty across your social networks? My guess is that you and your customers are much less loyal than you were in the '90s.
March Madness lasts only three weeks, but Metric Madness goes on all year long. What is Metric Madness? It's the notion you can run anything by the numbers, and it's become the hottest concept in business today.
How Big Blue is forging cutting-edge partnerships around the world.
According to David Aaker, today's CMO may wear up to five potential hats: facilitator, consultant, service provider, strategic partner, strategic captain. "The CMO and the central marketing group can assume a spectrum of roles," says Aaker, author of Spanning Silos: The New CMO Imperative. "The roles of the CMO can and often will vary with the activity and the silo, and additionally, will evolve over time."
I was talking with a few executives from one of the biggest technology companies in Europe, and they were explaining how their hands were tied in moving forward on the internet. They were doing the best they could under the circumstances, of course, but there were units in their organization that needed to be protected, prices that needed to be supported, sacred cows that couldn't be touched. After all, they argued, how could they wipe out their current business just to succeed online?
On the morning of April 15, 2009, everything looked bright for Domino’s Pizza. The company’s share price had risen overnight, the group’s expansion plan was on track, and the brand was as strong as ever. But at 3:32 pm that very afternoon, the first text messages began beeping their arrival on the CEO’s mobile phone. They kept coming – one after the next, after the next. The phone’s inbox maxed out. The voicemail message light was blinking in overdrive, and soon filled to capacity.
Deciding whether to adopt a customer-centric orientation is a significant decision for organizations, not to be made casually. It results in debates defining customer centricity, often with the question, "How customer-centric do we need to be?" Inevitably, it means organizing around the customer and the further proliferation of the types of marketing needed to do so effectively. The many companies that have embraced a customer-centric orientation have experienced some real and often unexpected challenges. At the center of these challenges is the role of the chief marketing officer -- the person who needs to deliver thought leadership, lead the strategy debate and reorganization, and then integrate the various marketing types into a company-wide, customer-centric orientation.
Up until a year ago, innovation was the toast of the business world. Companies around the world were investing heavily in design, launching new products, and even building virtual retail stores in Second Life. Then the financial crisis erupted, destroying shareholder value, corporate budgets, and family income alike. In the wake of that disaster, it's entirely legitimate to wonder: is innovation relevant anymore?
North of the Arctic Circle, a top priority for fishermen is to catch and dry enough char to last the winter. Fishermen near the equator race to market before insects and bacteria spoil their catch. Climate is the driving factor shaping these vastly different fishing practices. In many corporations, the same is true for marketing and IT departments.
In the evolution of techniques to speed shoppers to checkout, most supermarkets are near the back of the line. While Americans spend relatively little time in queues, a wait they perceive as too long or unjust could curtail repeat purchases. To combat this, some retailers and fast-food restaurants have gone the way of banks and airports, shuttling customers into a single line where the person in front goes to the next open cash register. Other retailers are dabbling in technological upgrades to improve the waiting experience with updates on wait times or pleasant distractions.
I had a fantastic conversation with Frank Eliason, Duncan Riley, and Chris Brogan last night during the Microsoft Windows Mobile Developer event at Chapel in Seattle. We explored the drivers that propel companies into social labyrinths and how they participate, react and in turn, strategically plan (or should) once they’ve arrived.
Whole Foods aficionados who assumed the company's management was as crunchy as the brand are feeling betrayed. They have stormed Twitter, Facebook and the blogosphere to vent their rage at John Mackey, the chief executive. In an op-ed column in the Wall Street Journal last week, he argued for health-care savings accounts and declared that health care is not an intrinsic right-- ideas with a conservative bent, which made Whole Foods' liberal customer base go ballistic.
Put down your guard. It’s about people, not logos. These are the two primary tenets of effective social media. In practice, executing on them requires that you communicate with your customers and prospects across a variety of social media outposts, with significant frequency.
With market uncertainty, rampant budget cutting and corporate retrenching, it's safe to say most businesses are content to lay low, stick with the status quo, and go with what they know works. Bold initiatives? Let's save 'em for when the going's really good. Once things turn around, we'll turn our brains back on. Till then, automatic pilot is just fine, thank you very much. Once our balance sheets return to black, that's when we'll once again let our freak flag fly. In other words, most companies are going to be content to focus on tactics aimed at defending market share. Nonsense. Now is the THE perfect time for big ideas.
General Motors’ new advertising and marketing czar is Bob Lutz, who until April of this year headed global product development. According to CEO Fritz Henderson: “Bob’s responsibilities beyond creative design will include brands, marketing, advertising and communications.” (I can visualize Bob at his first meeting with one of GM’s agencies: “I’m not a marketing expert, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.”)
Community marketing strategies are now common. Years of research have demonstrated that transforming customers into community members yields higher repeat purchase, greater loyalty and stronger brand advocacy. This, in turn, creates a virtuous cycle of greater brand authenticity, increased marketing efficiency and the ability to reinvest marketing dollars in building the community.
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?
When it comes to this recession, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says it best: "Maybe we should think of today as normal ... as opposed [to] today as the tough times, and yesterday as normal." The pre-2007 economy is gone for years, and some elements might be gone for good. And that means that marketers must adapt to four new, here-to-stay realities.
There are as many opinions about what got us into economic trouble as there are pundits in the world. Most blame the economic debacle on Wall Street, poor regulatory oversight or aggressive no-money-down mortgage lenders. However, what remains overlooked in the financial blame game is not a particular of "who," but "what."
Having powered its way to the top in U.S. retailing, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has struggled to extend its dominance across the globe. But the world's largest retailer is learning in Brazil and elsewhere that the most successful ideas don't necessarily flow from its headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. That has it tailoring inventories and stores to local tastes -- and exporting ideas and products pioneered outside the U.S.
Can Chinese companies capitalize on the global recession to better establish and develop their brands overseas? Many Chinese companies will likely invest in American companies (or brands) given the massive decline in asset values in the United States and Europe. But what do we mean when we say "better establish and develop" brands? We are asking whether Chinese corporations have intentions to promote their own brands in foreign markets. And whether any are in a position to compete at a price premium directly against established brands in Europe, America and Japan.
It all started with Pedro the Dog. Early in 2008, Pepsi marketers were still figuring out their new top executive, Massimo d'Amore, recently named head of PepsiCo Americas Beverages. But they quickly got a taste of what was to come as Mr. d'Amore did an end run around the brand's marketing team and then-Gatorade agency Element 79 by working with Peter Arnell to create a Super Bowl ad. The spot, which consisted of little more than a big, black dog lapping Gatorade from a bowl, was widely criticized. Since then, an exodus of key marketing and brand executives has plagued a company once known for incubating top talent.
What makes a sports dynasty? How do some teams, like the New England Patriots and Duke basketball, succeed season after season, occasionally failing, but regrouping right away? In business, what enables P&G, Johnson & Johnson, Wal-Mart, Toyota and others to stay great while others fall to upstarts?
Starbucks' iconoclastic founder has gone through a reeducation in the rigors of running a more typical company. That doesn't mean he has to like it.
Are you building a business? Or are you building a brand? Silly questions, you might be thinking. Naturally, you are trying to do both. But that might be a mistake. What's good for the business is not necessarily good for the brand. And vice versa.
Take a deep breath, and repeat after me: "My [business model, product, business unit, brand, offering] has a finite life. I'm going to make that life as happy and productive as possible, but I also have to think about what's next."
New media creates a blizzard of tactical opportunities for marketers, and many of them cost nothing but time, which means you don't need as much approval and support to launch them. As a result, marketers are like kids at Rita's candy shoppe, gazing at all the pretty opportunities.
Conventional wisdom says that to be successful, our ideas—be they designs, strategies, products, performances, or services—must be concrete, complete, and certain. And when it comes to managing a company big or small, we need organizations to be highly ordered, with a strong and well-defined structure. But what if that’s wrong?
I’m guessing that most of you have already seen this deck that made its way around the Interwebs yesterday but if not, it’s definitely worth a read. It’s another example of why Netflix is so successful – because they haven’t left culture to chance. Additionally it’s also a great example of a favourite theme of mine – operations as marketing. This presentation is catnip for investors because it points to an extremely well run company and a management team who are focused on the right things.
I have always had a deep respect for and synergistic relationship with marketing. I understand the importance of strategic positioning and believe good design is informed design. I love diving deep into the customer demographic, walking a mile in the prospective buyer's shoes, and listening intently to the salesperson's insight. But there is one thing that I find to be not only a waste of time but a buzzkill to the creative process: the focus group.
I got a recommendation from someone to read Martin Lindstrom's book, "Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy." It describes the new neuromarketing sciences exploring how the brain's physical reaction to our thoughts, sensory stimulation or even rituals can evoke brand loyalty or apathy. According to Lindstrom, this new understanding of the biology behind our unconscious mind's ability to make "decisions" faster than our conscious mind represents a "historic meeting between science and marketing. A union of apparent opposites."
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?
Companies from Boeing to Sepracor are retaining innovation consultants to get a head start on economic recovery
Greetings from the wonderful, if rather wet, city of Shanghai. About seven years ago I signed on with a big multi-national to train its marketing teams here in China. To be honest, when I started running the program I had little idea what to expect. Now, however, many years later, China exerts a strong pull over me.
We live in a conversation driven world. Even if your brand is not an active user of social media, your customers and potential customers are. This is revolutionizing the way brands have to think about themselves and how they choose to compete. In a conversation driven world, the real threat is not conversation itself, but commoditization. Unless customers have reason to talk, they won't. And a brand that generates little or no conversation will be killed by one that does.
In 1999, Whirlpool's (WHR) then-Chief Executive David R. Whitwam set a goal: He wanted the leading maker of big-ticket appliances to be No. 1 in innovation as well. Whitwam's pronouncement kicked off a flurry of ideas. Not all of them were sensible. "There were some wacky ones—bicycles, tennis shoes," recalls Moises Norena, director of global innovation. Whirlpool needed a system to evaluate and screen ideas, advancing promising concepts and culling out those that were better forgotten.
Starbucks Corp. built its business as the anti-fast-food joint. Now, the recession and growing competition are forcing the coffeehouse giant to see the virtues of behaving more like its streamlined competitors. Under a new initiative being put into practice at its more than 11,000 U.S. stores, there will be no more bending over to scoop coffee from below the counter, no more idle moments waiting for expired coffee to drain and no more dillydallying at the pastry case.
"It seems like there is always another social network to join or another tool I'm supposed to learn. How can I keep up?" At every talk I give, somebody asks this question. Here's the answer: you can't.
Umair Haque yet again demonstrates thinking that's pushing the envelope with regards to strategy and economy. Umair's presentation centers around the problem with corporations that generate value by exploiting resources in an unsustainable manner.
If six months from now, "GM ads look the same as they did six months ago," said Bob Lutz, "then somebody really needs to ask, 'Why is Lutz here?'" The 77-year-old vice chairman and chief marketer of General Motors wants to "recapture the attention of the American public" and to achieve that, he told Automotive News, he's looking toward more product-driven advertising in which designers will have a greater hand, and he will rely more on PR and viral marketing.
A number of dim bulbers emailed me this week to complain that it was dumb for spokesceleb Mike Rowe to add the phrase "why not?" to the end of Ford's tagline "why Ford, why now" in a new TV commercial. I actually don't like the "why now" part.
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.
The focus on the role of the leader in society has been at the heart of the development of much of modern political and social thought. Aristotle captured the essence of the proposition of the “altruistic” or “virtuous” leader: "But since we say that the virtue of the citizen and ruler is the same as that of the good man and that the same person must first be a subject and then a ruler, the legislator has to see that they become good men and by what means this may be accomplished." But for the want of a few good men (and women) at the top of the world’s financial services industry and its regulators, the world’s economic system was nearly destroyed. Now, business leaders are as ill-regarded as politicians. Indeed, there is a crisis of confidence in them that is global and worsening.
After months in development, the new product is ready for worldwide launch. The product manager tells the creative team to use a picture of a globe. "But our brand is about what we do for people. Our brand guidelines specify images of humanity," the designer pleads. "I don't care. Use the globe," the product manager demands. Unfortunately, there's always the need to balance business objectives with branding goals. Says the VP of Global Branding for a major commercial information data base company, "It's not that product managers ignore branding. They don't understand how to leverage it."
Microsoft Corp.'s deal to join forces with Yahoo Inc. in the Internet search and advertising businesses could create a counterweight to the online muscle of Google Inc. It may also help Steve Ballmer end the worst slump in his career at the helm of Microsoft.
Your customers are talking about you — and the whole world is listening. Local review sites are reshaping the world of small business by becoming the new Yellow Pages, one-stop platforms where customers can find a business — and also see independent critiques of its performance. How do you manage your reputation when everybody is a critic?
I just re-read The Economist's "Future Tense: The Global CMO" survey from late last year. And I'm not encouraged that there's even a future for the job description. The report reflected results from a survey of 250+ senior marketing execs around the world, so it's far more of a snapshot of the present than an insight into what the future might reveal. EIU.com normally studies countries and other substantive subjects; this report was sponsored by Google, which has an obvious interest in what CMOs think they're supposed to be doing.
Once upon a time, there was a talented young girl in PR called Vanessa. Vanessa rocked PR: she wrote like a pro, could spin fabulous yarns and had relationships with masses of journalists and media outlets around the land. And then something scary happened... A big, bad monster called Social Media came to town.
When what you teach and develop every day has the title “Innovation” attached to it, you reach a point where you tire of hearing about Apple. Without question, nearly everyone believes the equation Apple = Innovation is a fundamental truth. Discover what makes them different.
The word "customer" implies a transactional relationship conditioned upon the satisfying exchange of value. "Loyalty," on the other hand, is devotion to someone or something that matters more to a person than the value or benefit that someone or something provides. You may be thinking, "Same difference." It is not the same difference (and that's an oxymoron, too).
There was a time when airlines mimicked the hotel business, sending out their own version of concierges in airport lobbies. But lately, the airport terminal has seemed more like a test kitchen of ways to eliminate all human contact with customers.
General Motors' new advertising and marketing czar is Bob Lutz, who until April of this year headed global product development. According to CEO Fritz Henderson: "Bob's responsibilities beyond creative design will include brands, marketing, advertising and communications." (I can visualize Bob at his first meeting with one of GM's agencies: "I'm not a marketing expert, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.")
I want to love my cable company – honestly, I do. They bring me things I love and depend upon. I love TV. I really, really love the internet. (The phone? Well, I love that, too – but unfortunately for the cable company, it’s my iPhone I adore.)
Two items in the Wall Street Journal caught my eye today. Both show us the American corporation as it struggles to divine the mysteries of American culture.
A new role is gaining prominence in the C-suite, as companies increasingly are hiring chief commercial officers to oversee sales, marketing and innovation. That's the finding detailed in a new white paper from executive-search firm Heidrick & Struggles. According to the firm, 56 companies appointed CCOs in 2008, up from just five in 2001. And already in the first half of this year, 36 companies have appointed CCOs.
How companies are finding creative ways to come up with new products and services faster and more efficiently—with fewer resources.
Brand managers are facing a huge shift in power from brands to retailers. So it makes sense that they are pondering the questions: What is the difference between consumer and shopper marketing? When should we use one or the other? Are separate agencies even necessary?
In nearly every conference room across the business landscape it's inevitable that at some point the phrase "social media" enters the discussion. Marketers, PR and salespeople are among the first to engage in the discussions, trying to figure how networks can be leveraged to sell more stuff. But I'd like to propose another way to approach the topic. What if we looked at "social media" as a design problem?
A wise Rabbi once said, "If I am I because you are you. And you are you because I am I. Then I am not I and you are not you." We are not separate. We define each other. We are fronts and backs of each other." In order to describe a particular brand -- what it is -- you must describe its behavior -- what it does. And to describe what it does, you must describe it in relationship to its audience and its audience's behavior (customers, fans, members, et al). Which means that a brand is one, interdependent system of behavior, and not a separate thing.
When a basketball-size hole opened earlier this week in the fuselage of a Southwest plane, which was rerouted and landed safely, Twitter helped the airline manage the story.
With all the news coverage today on financial mismanagement, I can tell you from first-hand experience about a company that continues to prosper amid all the chaos. And I think it is worth trying to understand why.
In these difficult economic times, chief marketing officers seeking to help their companies grow revenue and remain viable in an unstable market need to pull out all the stops. One often overlooked and underused yet highly effective tool is brand licensing. Brand licensing can help provide some real financial relief during tough times and help marketers replenish and energize their brands, positioning them for even greater success when the economic engine starts whirring again and we start using the word "upturn" instead of "downturn."
Things are changing at a pill-popping rate in today's marketplace. Marketing messages are mushrooming (try saying that three times fast) and people's preferences are changing rapidly, which turns today's peacock into tomorrow's feather duster. And that's really why branding is today's most powerful business concept.
People ask me all the time about the success of McDonalds, HP, Virgin America, and Walmart with new products and services, and their ongoing buzz. For me one key factor is the strength of their marketing leadership and the fact that their CMOs have an active seat at the C-Level table.
It has become almost a cliché to say that cross-disciplinary teams are a key component for successful innovation. If certain problems are beyond the scope of any individual—and most of them are—the way to address them is with a team with complementary skills and a common language in which they can all communicate. But useful guidance starts to dry up rather quickly beyond that. Since there is no reliable secret formula that can be used by a hiring manager or someone trying to build up appropriate skill sets, I thought that I would share a way of thinking that I have found really useful.
Sailboat races almost always start into the wind. Much like a business strategy, boats are forced to pick a side or stay close to the center of the course by tacking back and forth since it is impossible to sail directly into the wind. The first leg of the race is critical since it quickly separates the good boats from the weaker ones.
As governments respond to the financial crisis and its reverberations in the real economy, a company’s reputation has begun to matter more now than it has in decades. Companies and industries with reputation problems are more likely to incur the wrath of legislators, regulators, and the public. What’s more, the credibility of the private sector will influence its ability to weigh in on contentious issues, such as protectionism, that have serious implications for the global economy’s future.
I've been working with companies on SEO for over a decade now, and there's one thing I've noticed: all things being equal, healthy companies with great cultures seem to do much better in organic search results. And by organic success, I mean the good, white-hat, Matt Cutts-approved kind of success. I bet that if you found the companies that do well in organic search, you'd also find companies that Jim Collins (author of "Built to Last" and "Good to Great") would be proud of. This correlation can't be coincidence, so I've outlined some reasons why this might be so.
Recently, the CEO of a leading financial institution asked us, "How do we kick-start innovation throughout the organization and how do I make it self-sustaining?" This CEO seemed to be 'done' with hiring companies or consultants to do one-off innovation projects only to find that the momentum stopped the day they walked out of the door. And clearly she did not believe that one specific outside company could change the corporate culture by themselves.
Creating an enduring brand is a huge challenge in today’s rapidly evolving marketplace. It’s similar to raising a child: it requires focused attention, intuition, and a lot of patience. It also requires a desire to change and adapt. Our natural instinct, however, is to shelter our brands, like our children, from the knocks and bumps that come in life. We want to keep our arms around them, keep them safe and under our control.
Brands do not die natural deaths. However, brands can be murdered through mismanagement. Some brands are beyond hope -- but others can be revitalized.
If you want to understand why some companies lack innovative ideas, think about the man who can’t find his car keys. His friend asks him why he’s looking for the keys under the lamppost when he dropped them over on the lawn. “Because there’s more light over here,” the man explains. For too many companies, that describes their search for new ideas, and it pretty much guarantees they won’t go anywhere fast. While such a company can marginally improve what it’s already good at, it misses out on the breakthroughs—those eureka moments when a new concept pops up, as if from nowhere, and changes a company’s fortunes forever.
Marketing is possibly the most widely misunderstood business topic in the managerial world today. The problem of marketing ignorance stems not from the difficulty of the topic. After all, marketing at its core is just about as simple as it gets. The problem is that to understand what a concept like marketing means is one thing, to actually apply the marketing principle to your day to day business life is an altogether more difficult challenge.
What can consumer companies do to make sure that their brands aren’t among the losers? Our research revealed that the most successful brands today — including Adidas and iPhone and Pixar and Wikipedia — resonate with consumers in a special way: They communicate excitement, dynamism, and creativity in ways that the vast majority of brands do not. We call this quality “energized differentiation,” and we have identified, out of dozens of brand attributes in our consumer-research database, the metrics that capture this quality. By focusing on these attributes, marketers can keep their brands constantly moving and gaining value. In a world of excess capacity and diminishing trust, creating these kinds of energy-infused brands can help companies reinvigorate their brand management practices.
I can remember three major downturns during my career. Each hit most agencies like one of those thunderstorms where everyone makes a mad dash for shelter. Agencies ultimately adapt and develop new business models and positions, but not before embracing more cautious versions of themselves rarely seen in good times. Pretty soon that caution becomes a reality that everybody accepts. What we forget is that there's a flip side to a bad economy. This may be counterintuitive, but just as you must retool your business during a recession, you need to plan for an economic recovery. I think it's time to start planning.
Marketers can take full advantage of Gen Y's unique situation in the workforce. Members of this demographic can add value to their companies by being corporate citizens and brand ambassadors. They are marketing tools that can be leveraged by their own marketing organizations to reach customers, prospects, the press and various other stakeholders. As long as they maintain a positive reputation, their companies will benefit, and they will have better careers as a result.
Traditionally, new product development has been a linear process. The "new product" team creates many alternative versions of the core idea, winnows them down in various stages of testing and re-development until a winner emerges and gets launched. Things are changing. Great ideas are not only coming top-down; they're coming from interns, they're coming from customers sharing their best ideas out of love for your brand (like Dell Idea Storm), from ethnography in third world countries. Innovation is about inspiration coming from continuously listening for the unexpected which can come at anytime from anywhere; nothing linear about that!
Times are tough. People are hurting. Your mission to help people is critically important. But please don't confuse "mission" with "strategy."
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.
A soured economy has prompted a boom in crowdsourcing, but this is a creative, efficient trend that will outlast the recession?
As recession-racked companies search for ways to cut costs, some are rediscovering automated innovation. In the early 2000s, auto-innovation was trumpeted as the Next Big Thing. Instead of relying on engineers and designers, HAL-like computers would create goods on their own by exhaustively combining bits and pieces of previously successful products.
No project is conceived in a vacuum, no decision in isolation and no negotiation with a clean sheet of paper.
Everyone asks me, "Now that I'm getting a better idea of what social media is, How do I actually apply it? Where do I start?" Start with these, The Five P's of Social Media. The Five P's are: Profiles, Propagate, Produce, Participate, and Progress.
How the term “trial balloon” originated: The Montgolfiere brothers came up with a design for the hot air balloon but wanted to make sure it would really work before getting in one themselves. So they first released several unmanned trial hot air balloons. Then they sent up several farm animals to make sure the air at higher levels was safe to breathe. After that, they tried a manned expedition.
In my last post I identified three things that can turn leaders into laggards: the practical difficulties of sustaining above-average performance, the natural obsolescence of once-vital strategies, and the corrosive impact of discontinuous change. Now let me add a fourth: success corrupts.
GM says it is reinventing itself. And what makes them or the government think they can do that on top of old infrastructure and old ways even with our billions? Good fucking luck.
It's no secret that the CMO position is perhaps the least secure job in top management, with a turnover rate that's faster than major league managers but slower than that among quick service restaurant employees. According to Greg Welch, who launched Spencer Stuart's marketing practice and now heads the firm's global consumer goods and services business, the average CMO tenure has grown to just over 28 months in 2008, up four months since Welch started measuring CMO tenure in 2004. The average CIO lasts 38 months, and no other c-level executive checks in under 46.
David’s victory over Goliath, in the Biblical account, is held to be an anomaly. It was not. Davids win all the time.
In tough economic times, many companies launch new brands to keep the attention of consumers and stimulate demand at distribution channels. Nothing is wrong with launching new brands. As a matter of fact, now is a very good time to do that. But to hedge their bets, top management at most companies have chosen to launch line-extensions instead of launching products with new brand names.
Now it is time to listen to Right-Brain Marketing to help get us out.
"Why do we have trouble selling our ideas to top management?" I recently asked my daughter and partner, Laura. "Dad," she replied, "they're not like us. They're left-brainers." And therein lies the biggest problem in business today: Left-brain management and right-brain marketing don't see eye to eye. Management is verbal, logical and analytical. Marketing is visual, intuitive and holistic.