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Tag: strategy

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The Year in Brand: Strategic

Davis Brand Capital
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

“User experience” no longer belongs just to tech companies. It now drives brand strategies all over the globe. This year, the most dynamic brands served as platforms for tangible experiences that brought their stories to life.

Founder Brands: From Original Vision to Sustained Value

Thursday, September 20, 2012

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.

#FounderBrands: Not your Founding Father’s Brand

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

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.

#FounderBrands: Microsoft

Monday, August 6, 2012

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 Brings Brand Capital to Yahoo

Monday, July 16, 2012

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 Guggenheim Effect

Thursday, May 10, 2012

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.

How Google Will Shape CMO Strategy

Monday, April 9, 2012

The ultimate proactivity of the Web is the semantic future of marketing. Every interaction is about data, and with enough of it, predictive analytics are possible. Is Big Data simply an idea to you - or do you have a plan to activate around information?

Tesco: Let the Store Come to the People

Friday, April 6, 2012

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.

Frank’s RedHot: “I put that $#@* on everything”

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

As a rule of thumb, marketers tend to avoid likening their products to excrement, even when its an apt comparison.

At Issue } essential reading

The Finish Line For Digital Marketing Does Not Exist

David Cooperstein
Apr 17, 2014

Marketers are uncomfortable because they can’t see the finish line, which motivates some and scares most. But they all realize that the finish line is conceptual these days, and winning means crossing into the next tier of leadership, whether that means leading marketing into its next era, or leading the company to new success.

Leadership Lesson: Keeping Strategic Focus In A Changing Environment

Cameron Welter
Apr 14, 2014

It is easy to say “we are customer focused” and overlook subtle changes in consumer demand, or to justify cost cutting as a rational business maneuver in a tough market environment. But if these measures don’t accomplish your strategic vision or sync with the reality of your customer, there is little hope for leading the market.

Six Reasons Why You Don't Want To Start With An Idea But With A Market Need Instead

Paul B. Brown
Mar 19, 2014

Tempting though it may be, don’t start with a blank piece of paper when you contemplating creating something new. You always want to start with a market need. There are at least six reasons why.

6 Brand Strategies Most CMOs Fail To Execute

Glenn Llopis
Mar 10, 2014

The ground rules for branding are rapidly evolving. Social media, content marketing, the younger generation, second screening, thought-leadership and the demographic shift are just some of the many things that are challenging brands to think differently. Creating and sustaining customer trust and loyalty is more difficult than ever before. Building relationships with consumers has never been more challenging, with so much competition for their attention. Look at the constant barrage of pop-up and video ads that flash before our eyes every time we use our phones, turn on our computers or tablets.

How Do You Get People to Pay for Content?

Greg Satell
Mar 7, 2014

Today, rather than paying for a daily newspaper, most people get their news for free online and many incumbent media businesses have begun erecting paywalls for their content. Yet, as I’ve said before, paywalls aren’t generally a smart way to go. Successfully implementing a paid platform requires a smart business model, not a moral crusade.

Microsoft Rebooting Its Marketing System

Thom Forbes
Mar 4, 2014

CEO Satya Nadella rolled out a new version of Microsoft’s marketing OS yesterday, announcing in a memo that Chris Capossela is replacing the departing Tami Reller as EVP and CMO. Meanwhile, Mark Penn — the pot-stirring ex-politico who is fond of data-driven decision-making and skeptical about good old intuition — is moving up from directly overseeing advertising to the more nebulous title of EVP and chief strategy officer.

This Is How Leading Consumer Brands Are Winning With Content

Feb 26, 2014

Just a few years ago, consumer packaged goods brands didn’t know what success in a new world powered by content and social media looked like—never mind how to achieve it. But the recent past has brought a slew of content marketing breakthroughs and successes for CPG brands, which in turn has led to bolder experimentation.

Six Ways To Become A Brand Leader

Phil Laboon
Feb 12, 2014

Building a brand is best achieved by developing a reputation in the community for having expert knowledge within your industry niche. While everyone wants to have their brand become an overnight sensation, it is important to keep in mind that becoming a leader within a niche takes time and determination.

The First Strategic Question Every Business Must Ask

Anthony K. Tjan
Feb 6, 2014

What business are you in? It seems like a straightforward question, and one that should take no time to answer. But the truth is that most company leaders are too narrow in defining their competitive landscape or market space. They fail to see the potential for “non-traditional” competitors, and therefore often misperceive their basic business definition and future market space.

General Mills Transforms Its Convenience & Foodservice Division

Convenience Store News
Jan 17, 2014

Over the past five years, General Mills has transformed its lesser-known $2-billion Convenience & Foodservice division, bringing more innovative new products to key growth channels such as convenience stores, schools, hotels, hospitals, restaurants and bakeries throughout the United States, according to the company's new case study on the division. Recently, General Mills further committed to the shift in focus by changing the division's name from Bakeries & Foodservice to its current title.

With Stunning New Stores, Starbucks Has a New Design Strategy: Act Local

Liz Stinson
Jan 9, 2014

“What you don’t want is a customer walking into a store in downtown Seattle, walking into a store in the suburbs of Seattle and then going into a store in San Jose, and seeing the same store,” Sleeth explains. So how do you make the world’s largest coffee house feel like a neighborhood haunt? The answer: good design.

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

Robert Reiss
Dec 17, 2013

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

8 Tips For Planning Your Small Business’ 2014 Marketing Strategy

Wesley Young
Dec 9, 2013

While the holiday season is undoubtedly a busy period for small business owners, it’s important to set aside time to plan your marketing strategy for the year ahead. How will you continue to maintain and grow your business in 2014? What plans do you have to keep your business on track and stay ahead of the competition?

When Marketing Is Strategy

Niraj Dawar
Nov 22, 2013

The strategic question that drives business today is not “What else can we make?” but “What else can we do for our customers?” Customers and the market—not the factory or the product—now stand at the core of the business. This new center of gravity demands a rethink of some long-standing pillars of strategy.

How Chinese Companies Can Develop Global Brands

Martin Roll
Nov 20, 2013

To many skeptical consumers in developed markets, Brand China still means lower quality. As has been the case elsewhere in Asia, companies in China traditionally focused on asset-intensive industries and low-cost manufacturing and paid little attention to intangibles such as brands and human capital. To become major branded players away from home, Chinese companies must address their challenges in three strategic ways.

A New Model for Innovation in Big Companies

Beth Altringer
Nov 19, 2013

It seems we’re all racing to get more entrepreneurial. Increasing creativity and innovation is not only on the priority list for start-ups; it’s also a strategic goal for CEOs of small, medium, and large-sized companies. Despite this growing obsession, however, big companies are still not very good at it.

Email marketing: Think inside the new inbox

Nora Aufreiter, Julien Boudet & Vivian Weng
Nov 19, 2013

Marketing investments in new channels are certainly necessary, as companies learn to master omni-channel marketing. But marketers should also remember that email marketing also requires investment, as it continues to evolve. Marketers need to adapt to a new inbox in order to harness the full power of email.

What’s Missing From Your "Growth Hacking" Strategy

Ryan Hoover
Nov 14, 2013

Growth hacking is sexy these days: surrounded with hype but often misunderstood. Most people equate it with viral user acquisition, when virality is actually just one part of the methodology. Another big piece--which will be the focus of this post--is word of mouth.

What Strategists Can Learn from Architecture

Andrew Campbell & Mark Lancelott
Nov 13, 2013

Managers routinely claim that their strategic planning process creates large, detailed documents, but often little else. It’s as if the process serves no purpose other than to create the plan, and execution is somehow separate. An approach that we think might work better would be to treat strategy making as if it were a design process.

Why Ad Agencies Aren't Going Away Anytime Soon

Al Ries
Nov 6, 2013

Shops Can Provide a Critical Objectivity That Marketers Are Incapable Of

Why Sales and Marketing Don’t Get Along

Andris A. Zoltners, PK Sinha, & Sally E. Lorimer
Nov 4, 2013

Sales teams and marketing teams pursue a common objective: create customer value and drive company results. But sales and marketing don’t always get along. Certainly, all-out war between the two teams drains productivity.

SEO & Social Media Alignment

Warren Lee
Oct 25, 2013

Traditionally, SEO has focused on content, website architecture and linking. These areas of focus are still critical, but as social media gradually becomes more important for SEO, it’s also about identity, relationships and content.

How Strategic Are You?

Scott Edinger
Oct 23, 2013

Few things are more important for a leader than the ability to formulate and implement strategy. Not only is it one of the primary roles of a great leader, it is also one of the critical areas of competence that inspires and motivates people in an organization.

Get the Right People to Notice Your Ideas

Dorie Clark
Oct 9, 2013

It’s a common question: why bother to blog (or use other forms of social media) when it’s so hard to build a following, and you may toil in obscurity for years before finding an audience?

How To Build An Effective Social Marketing Strategy

Greg Satell
Oct 7, 2013

The basic function of marketing promotion has changed. It is no longer enough to simply grab attention, you need to be able to hold attention and that’s where social strategy comes in.

Just Make a Decision Already

Nick Tasler
Oct 4, 2013

Strategic decisiveness is one of the most vital success attributes for leaders in every position and every industry, but few leaders understand where it comes from or how to find more of it.

Everyone Wants In on Content, But What's the Best Approach?

Natalie Zmuda & Alexandra Bruell
Sep 24, 2013

Marketers Left to Sift Through Flurry of Options as Agencies, Talent Houses, Productions Studios Look for a Piece of the Action.

How To Build a High-Performing Digital Team

Perry Hewitt
Aug 21, 2013

Digital skills are in high demand and short supply. But first things first — how do you define a digital team when nearly everything is digital?

If You Want to Raise Prices, Tell a Better Story

Ty Montague
Jul 31, 2013

Ask a CEO if they want to spend a pile of money on an analysis of their company's story, and they'll probably throw you out of their office. But if you tell them that you have a powerful insight that can help them raise the prices on all of their products, they might ask you over to their house for dinner.

Rewards-Based Mobile Ads Perform Best, Per Study

Christopher Heine
Jun 17, 2013

Data shows that consumers demand value

How Advertisers Can Maximize Mobile Conversions

Mahi de Silva
Jun 12, 2013

In the beginning, mobile advertising was all about conversions. Remember QR codes? Vouchers? What got people excited about mobile were the opportunities that didn't exist at all on desktop.

The Digital Mindset: The Future Of Finance

Joydeep Bhattacharya & Piercarlo Gera
Mar 28, 2013

To be competitive, financial services providers must look to embrace new technologies and find innovative ways to cater to today’s connected customer.

Corporate Strategy Is a Fool's Errand

Freek Vermeulen
Mar 20, 2013

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.

The Hidden Benefits of Social Media Marketing Why Your Strategy May Be Working Better Than You Think

Stephanie Chandler
Mar 12, 2013

If you’re feeling a bit skeptical about social media marketing and whether or not it’s worth the effort, following are some reasons why it may be working better than you realize.

J.C. Penney Desperately Needs a Strategy

Roger Martin
Mar 11, 2013

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.

Graphic Design Criticism as a Spectator Sport

Michael Bierut
Mar 4, 2013

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?

The Most Common B-to-B Social Media Question (And the Answer)

Ethan Hays
Feb 21, 2013

The most common question B-to-B marketers ask me is: “How do I use social media to get more leads?” And the answer is:...

Seven Simple Steps to Sell More Mobile Advertising

Jay Sears
Feb 20, 2013

Advertisers always knew there would come a time when budgets would need to shift to mobile to keep pace with changing consumption habits. That time is now. The mobile web is growing 14 times faster than desktop traffic, as consumers interact with apps, social network and email from a slew of smart devices.

Want Google Glass? Tell Google How You'll Use it

Lance Ulanoff
Feb 20, 2013

On Wednesday, the search giant launched an application contest to let regular people from all walks of life try out the head-mounted, augmented reality "glasses." They simply have to prove they deserve it.

Panera Bread Doubles Digital Spend From Last Year

Brandon Gutman
Feb 20, 2013

This week Panera Bread launched its largest campaign to date, which includes an increase in digital spending of just under 100%.

Steve Blank on Why Big Companies Can't Innovate

Ron Ashkenas
Feb 19, 2013

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?

Social Interactions Affect Brand Perception

Aaron Baar
Feb 19, 2013

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.

Bill Gates: Microsoft is Not Doing Enough to Innovate

Seth Fiegerman
Feb 19, 2013

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.

What's Your 4G Marketing Plan - Interruption or Disruption?

Chris Baylis
Feb 15, 2013

All agencies think innovation = digital. As a result, we’re not seeing genuine innovation; instead we’re seeing more interruption, in more places, on more devices. Ad agencies need to innovate, and innovate fast, but are caught in what is known as, ‘the innovator’s paradox.’

Dealers Must Adapt To Mobile Millennials

Karl Greenberg
Feb 15, 2013

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.

Think Like The Competition

Laura Patterson
Feb 15, 2013

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?

A Unique Approach to Marketing Coca-Cola in Hong Kong

Julia Kirby
Feb 14, 2013

Coca-Cola China's TV ad for the Hong Kong market invited viewers to use their smartphones to "chok" bottle caps flying across their TV screens. The new wrinkle is that gaming can be embedded in ads — perhaps the only hope of engaging some people's interest long enough to get a message across.

Your Innovation Problem Is Really a Leadership Problem

Scott Anthony
Feb 13, 2013

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.

Nike CEO Mark Parker On His Company's Digital Future: Body-Controlled Music, Color-Coded Heart Rates

Austin Carr
Feb 13, 2013

"Nike has broken out of apparel and into tech, data, and services, which is so hard for any company to do." In the coming years, Nike will expand its footprint in the digital space, especially through partnerships like the one it struck with TechStars, to attract startups to build on the Nike+ platform.

Is Your Content Authentic? Three Ways To Keep It Real

Lisa Arthur
Feb 13, 2013

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.

Brand Messaging Focused Only on Women Is Stuck in the Past

Michelle Fenstermaker
Feb 12, 2013

Dozens of studies have searched in vain for the equivalent rethink of gender stereotypes in advertising. In a recent meta-analysis of 64 advertising-content studies, sexist stereotypes dominate.

Samsung's Open Innovation Center aims at startup innovation

Ron Reisinger
Feb 12, 2013

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.

We're Marketers, Not Soldiers: How Combative Competition Is Killing Creativity

Douglas Van Praet
Feb 11, 2013

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.

Marketing's Push-Pull Problem

Robert Wollan
Feb 11, 2013

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.

Hearst Is Revamping All Of Its Online Magazines With A Responsive, Personalized Design

Anthony Ha
Feb 11, 2013

Over the next few months, all of Hearst Digital Media‘s titles are getting a new look. The new responsive design is the more obvious change. It’s an increasingly popular strategy for companies to adapt to mobile by creating websites that rearrange themselves based on the size of the screen.

Online Mag Wages War on Modern Culture

Arthur Soleimanpour
Feb 8, 2013

With nothing more than carefully selected images and a few poignant words the mysterious man known as Steve Okyln has the fashion world chatting, clicking, gawking, laughing and fuming. Maybe if the world knew who he was people would have a place to direct their anger, but his anonymity is clearly one of his strongest weapons.

From Zappos: 4 Simple Hacks To Foster Office Collaboration

Greg Lindsay
Feb 8, 2013

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.

Beware the Big Errors of ‘Big Data’

Nassim Taleb
Feb 8, 2013

We’re more fooled by noise than ever before, and it’s because of a nasty phenomenon called “big data.” With big data, researchers have brought cherry-picking to an industrial level. Modernity provides too many variables, but too little data per variable. So the spurious relationships grow much, much faster than real information.

Emotional Engagement: Where Brands Strike Gold. And Make Money

Robert Passikoff
Feb 7, 2013

According to 39,000 consumers, 18 to 65 years of age, drawn from the nine US Census Regions, who self-selected the categories in which they are consumers, and the products and services for which they are customers, the desire for real brands is driven by emotional engagement.

The 3 Ways Innovation Is Changing (And How To Adapt Fast)

Haydn Shaughnessy
Feb 7, 2013

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.

How The Social Sector Can Better Use Data

Joshua Middleman
Feb 6, 2013

While for-profit companies and governments are able to engage in “building a smarter planet” with the likes of IBM, nonprofits and the organizations that make up the social sector lack the means to engage such sophisticated talent. And yet money is not the major factor keeping the social sector from embracing the data age.

Influencer Marketing: How Your Business Can Benefit From Popchips' Secret Recipe

Meghan Casserly
Feb 6, 2013

Belling says influencer marketing was critical from day one, when popchips was just a little indie brand that could. They knew they didn’t have the budget for a traditional ad campaign, so how else to get the word out? By getting as many snacks into the hands that mattered.

The New York Times invites media startups to work from its headquarters

Feb 6, 2013

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.

Don't Let Strategy Become Planning

Roger Martin
Feb 5, 2013

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.

College Branding: The Tipping Point

Roger Dooley
Feb 5, 2013

Somehow, almost all of these institutions have continued to attract enough students to stay in business year after year. That’s about to change, and one of the key differences in who survives won’t be the academic output of the faculty or the amenities available to students. It will be a factor seemingly unrelated to the schools’ mission: branding.

The End of the Web, Search, and Computer as We Know It

David Gelernter
Feb 4, 2013

The space-based web we currently have will gradually be replaced by a time-based worldstream. It’s already happening, and it all began with the lifestream, a phenomenon that I (with Eric Freeman) predicted in the 1990s and shared in the pages of Wired almost exactly 16 years ago.

P&G, Bud, and Jeep Know the Three Things That Give a Brand -- and a Super Bowl Ad - the Edge

Allen Adamson
Feb 4, 2013

The formula is simple. It involves just three basic ingredients. And yet, year after year, so many generally decent practitioners get it so embarrassingly wrong. I am, of course, talking about what it takes to create a super Super Bowl advertisement.

Where Brands Go to be Born Again

Joan Voight
Feb 4, 2013

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.

The Future of Talent is In Clusters

Dave Aron
Feb 1, 2013

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.

Chipotle Sells Organic Hoodies in A Bid to Become A Lifestyle Brand

Emma Hutchings
Feb 1, 2013

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.

The Best Super Bowl Ads of All Time

Forbes Editor
Jan 31, 2013

Forbes lists the best Superbowl ads of all time...

Six Brand Archetypes To Guide Positioning Strategy

Joselph Gelman
Jan 31, 2013

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 New BlackBerry Brand (Please Don't Ask "Who's That?")

Robert Passikoff
Jan 31, 2013

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.

Measuring the Distance Between a Brand Promise and a Brand Experience

Phil Johnson
Jan 30, 2013

How often do you come face-to-face with a hotel employee, fast food entrée, or piece of technology and say, “this is not quite living up to the dream?” Most of the time, we sigh and accept the perceptual gap between the brand promise and our experience.

The Secret Sauce Gesture Behind Vine And Snapchat

Mark Wilson
Jan 30, 2013

Vine and Snapchat both use the simplest of interactions--holding your finger anywhere on the screen (which I’ll call “tap-and-hold”)--to power core functions in their interface. And in each case, that single interaction changes everything about the app.

Five Ways to Adapt Your Media For a Post-PC World

Andrew Lipsman
Jan 30, 2013

With media consumption shifting to mobile platforms in an increasingly fragmented environment, media companies face the uncomfortable prospect of trading dollars for dimes, while marketers and agencies are challenged with greater complexity in reaching desired audiences. But what may appear as a dark cloud is actually full of silver linings, and those who get ahead of the curve in embracing this change can not only survive but thrive in the post-PC paradigm.

How the Usually Dry Annual Report Has Become Brands' Secret Marketing Weapon

Ann-Christine Diaz
Jan 28, 2013

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.

Magazines Cross the Digital Divide

Keach Hagey
Jan 28, 2013

Buffeted by declining advertising, which accounted for about 75% of their revenue historically, magazines are turning to tablet computers and digital editions to boost circulation revenue. In doing so, they are hoping to reset decades of subscription discounting so deep that a year's supply of magazines like Esquire currently costs just $8.

Why 'The Guardian' Is Forgoing Paywalls — For Now

Lauren Indvik
Jan 21, 2013

Following The New York Times' recent success, online paywalls (particularly the metered-access kind) have been popping up on newspaper websites across the globe. In the U.S. alone, nearly half of all newspapers now have some sort of online paywall.

Resolution: Embrace Consumer Relevance

Glen Hartman
Jan 21, 2013

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

Three Marketing Insights from Oprah Winfrey's Lance Armstrong Interview

Judy Begehr
Jan 21, 2013

Much like Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and other newsmakers before him, Lance Armstrong opted to tell his story to Oprah Winfrey. In the wake of Armstrong’s tell-all, there are three crystallized marketing insights that we can all learn from.

The Future of Commerce Starts With a Tap

Mark Bonchek
Jan 16, 2013

So what's NFC? It technically stands for Near Field Communications, and it enables mobile devices like smartphones to communicate with nearby devices and objects with a simple tap.

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

Lucia Moses
Jan 16, 2013

Clearly, brands could stand to do more to keep consumers interested; the chief reason given by people who don't engage with brands on social networks is that they only "like" brands to get a deal they're offering.

Don't Struggle With Big Data

Joelle Kaufman
Jan 14, 2013

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.

Startups Skip Video, Hang Hopes On Shareable Multimedia

Sarah Kessler
Jan 14, 2013

When Instagram joined Facebook last April, a race to crown a “Instagram for Video” revved into full throttle. With Instagram's $1 billion price tag fresh in their minds, investors rushed to fund or acquire a piece of what seemed to be the next step in the evolution of social media.

What Brands Can Learn from Bands

Rachel Darivoff
Jan 14, 2013

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

Nissan Launches "Brand Smell" at 2012 Detroit Auto Show

Anita Lienert
Jan 10, 2013

Nissan will dabble in automotive aromatherapy at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, launching a "brand smell" that it hopes to eventually roll out to its dealerships. Nissan describes the fragrance as "quite a modern smell — a bit Oriental."

Amazon’s New Deal: Buy a CD and Get the Digital Album for Free

Tricia Duryee
Jan 10, 2013

Amazon is announcing “AutoRip,” a new service that will give anyone who has ever purchased a CD on Amazon over the past 15 years a free digital copy of that album.

Focus Groups Are Dangerous. Know When To Use Them

Gianfranco Zaccai
Jan 9, 2013

While it’s unlikely that focus groups can create an innovative idea, they can help evolve one--fine-tuning how it will be embraced and determining the feature set, price point, and physical embodiment of the core idea.

Back To Our Roots For Successful Marketing

Laura Patterson
Jan 9, 2013

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

Bank of America Is At the Crossroads (Again)

Richard Levick
Jan 9, 2013

How can the banks seize on ongoing events – legal, economic, political – to energize recovery in a strict business sense and to reverse the inexorable tide of public acrimony?

The Marketing Backstory Of How Intel Became A Household Name

Gary Shapiro
Jan 8, 2013

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.

Communication's Biggest Secret: Knowing When To Keep Your Mouth Closed

Cheryl Conner
Jan 8, 2013

Many times, the ability to remain silent is the best communication strength you could have. When is silence not good?

Trade Shows - From One-Time Events To Year-Round Engagement

Tom Groenfeldt
Jan 8, 2013

Even in the internet age, events are big, and important, business. The Aberdeen Group finds that 9 percent of an organization’s total budget is spent on events and that figure is expected to climb 20 percent over the next two years.

Disney to make standing in line — and cash — passe

Brooks Barnes
Jan 7, 2013

Imagine Walt Disney World with no entry turnstiles. Cash? Passe. Visitors would wear rubber bracelets encoded with credit card information, snapping up corn dogs and Mickey Mouse ears with a tap of the wrist. Smartphone alerts would signal when it is time to ride Space Mountain, without standing in line. Fantasyland? Hardly. It happens starting this spring.

New Marketing Machine Has Powerful Engine But Bad Drivers, Few Mechanics

Ted McConnell
Jan 7, 2013

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

Participant Media Creates TV Network for Millennials Into Social Change

Jeanine Poggi
Dec 19, 2012

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

Companies Still Lack Content Marketing Skills

Tanya Irwin
Dec 19, 2012

Regardless of industry, finding and sourcing relevant content and internal resource constraints were the top two roadblocks to successful content marketing programs.

To Give Your Employees Meaning, Start With Mission

Teresa Amabile and Steve Kramer
Dec 19, 2012

When organizations give people a sense of meaning in their work, it's not only good for employees, but it's critical to building a healthy organization — one that is well-functioning and competitive.

Don't Assume You Know Your Customers

Adam Richardson
Dec 18, 2012

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.

Disney Raises Bar On Customer Experience With New Fantasy Land

Brandon Gutman
Dec 18, 2012

With New Fantasyland, we seized the opportunity to bring to life some new classic stories — Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid — using innovative technology and entertainment approaches that elevate the guest experience beyond anything we’ve ever delivered.

A Look at Newspapers Turning a Profit -- Yes, There Are Some

Nat Ives
Dec 18, 2012

Despite all the talk about newspapers being a dying business, plenty of them are profitable. Recent history shows that profits are hardly necessary for a sale if the buyer's motivation and the price are right.

Turning Your Name into a Brand

Marian Salzman
Dec 17, 2012

To a certain extent—in this age of marketing ourselves, finding our niches and explaining how our distinctive personal backstories make for unique selling propositions—all our names are brand names. But some have gone above and way beyond.

For Publishers, Social Media Still Stingy on Monetization

Nat Ives
Dec 17, 2012

Many publishers are finding clever ways to use social media to expand the reach of their ad programs or to make their paid products more appealing.

Content Is Great, But How Is Your Website's Navigation?

Frank Lockwood
Dec 17, 2012

Content is all the rage these days, but it falls flat if you don’t consider one of the most important aspects of your site: navigation.

The Branding Secrets Of The Rolling Stones

Jonathan Salem Baskin
Dec 14, 2012

While endless bands and consumer brands of all shapes busily chase the latest glib advice on how to connect with the marketplace…and fail…this band has defied today’s Conventional Wisdom and built a reliable, sustainable, and profitable franchise.

Leverage Paid, Owned, Earned Media For Social Media Success

Brad Carraway
Dec 14, 2012

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

HSBC: the Worldwide Local Bank . . . for Money Laundering and Rogue Nations.

Robert Passikoff
Dec 13, 2012

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.

3 Ideas For Cultivating Creativity At Work

Kevon Saber
Dec 13, 2012

Associational thinking takes unrelated ideas and restructures them in novel ways. It's responsible for innovations from the theory of dinosaur extinction to Pinterest's groundbreaking layout. So how do you apply this principle to your business?

Why The Brand Content Trend Is One Marketers Can't Bypass

Chris Perry
Dec 12, 2012

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.

Lacoste Imagines The Polo of the Future [Video]

Allie Walker
Dec 12, 2012

What can we expect from Lacoste, the traditionally ‘preppy’ brand that arguably hit its stride in the 1980s?

Ownshelf Helps Readers Share Their Digital Libraries With Friends

Seth Fiegerman
Dec 12, 2012

Rick Marazzani believes readers should be able to share and discover e-books through their friends' personal libraries just like they do with print books. That's why he built Ownshelf. Ownshelf, a free web service that launched in beta Friday, provides readers with a cloud storage platform to share e-books with friends and family.

The Big McThink! How TED Became a Consumer Franchise

Bill Wasik
Dec 10, 2012

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.

Washington Post Plans a Paywall

Keach Hagey
Dec 10, 2012

Most other newspapers in the country, including the New York Times and Gannett Co.'s local papers, have introduced paywalls in the past year or so, generating increased circulation revenues that offset print advertising losses. But among major newspapers, the Post has stood almost alone in its decision to keep its website free.

Purpose: How Truly Great Leaders Measure Their Companies

Joey Reiman
Dec 10, 2012

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.

Morning Advantage: Lessons from the Worst-Performing Companies in America

Andrea Ovans
Dec 6, 2012

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.

Video-Hungry Newspapers Let Outsider Play Editor

Lucia Moses
Dec 6, 2012

NDN has grown because online publishers can’t get enough video content (and the ad dollars that come with it). The company's selling point is that it provides the platform and video content and sells the advertising at no cost to its partner publishers—while giving content creators wider distribution for their video content.

Kicking The Can: Campbell's CEO Bets On Soup-In-A-Bag For 20-Somethings

Jenna Goudreau
Dec 6, 2012

Campbell’s soup held a special place on the American dinner table for the better part of the 20th century. But in the last few years its core soup business, which accounts for half the company’s $7.7 billion in annual revenues, has faded to 46% market share from 51% in 2007, an ever smaller part of an ever smaller food category. An ill-advised move into low-sodium formulations under Morrison’s predecessor, Doug Conant, accelerated the decline.

CMOs: Here's How To Stay Relevant In 2013

Lisa Arthur
Dec 6, 2012

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?

How The Walmart Foundation Innovates Corporate Giving For A Bigger Impact

Lydia Dishman
Dec 4, 2012

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.

Freeing the Lincoln Brand

Robert Passikoff
Dec 4, 2012

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.

Data: The New Creative

Louis Winokur
Dec 3, 2012

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.

Cadbury's Willy Wonka invention - chocolate that doesn't melt!

Dana Golger
Dec 3, 2012

It is a revolutionary breakthrough worthy of Willy Wonka – Cadbury has found a way to make chocolate that doesn’t melt in hot weather. The new bars of Dairy Milk stay completely solid even when exposed to temperatures of 104F for more than three hours.

News Corp. Kills ‘The Daily’

Todd Wasserman
Dec 3, 2012

News Corp. is shutting down The Daily, its ambitious daily newspaper for the tablet market, after two years.

A Holistic Approach To Creativity

Ken Beaulieu
Nov 28, 2012

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.

Tesco is Retrenching -- It May Be The New Mandate for Global Companies

Walter Loeb
Nov 28, 2012

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.

American CEOs Should Stop Complaining About Uncertainty

Jonathan Berman
Nov 28, 2012

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.

5 Big Brands Confirm That Content Marketing Is The Key To Your Consumer

Brandon Gutman
Nov 27, 2012

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.”

Old Media, New Tricks

Charlie Warzel
Nov 27, 2012

With the newsroom housed 24 floors below, the seven-year-old R&D Lab acts as a tech startup of sorts inside the New York Times Co., home of the 161-year-old, self-styled newspaper of record. With 20 staffers, the lab’s mix of crazy smart technologists, programmers, designers and business brains are charged with the Sisyphean task of developing tech innovations and new business models to help the struggling Times weather an uncertain future following five consecutive years of falling revenue and net losses totaling more than $300 million over seven years.

The Social Commerce Attribution Problem: IBM Says Twitter Referred 0% Of Black Friday Traffic

Josh Constine
Nov 27, 2012

Twitter and Facebook usually aren’t the last click before an ecommerce buy, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t inspire or influence the purchase. Yet IBM’s Black Friday report says Twitter delivered 0 percent of referral traffic and Facebook sent just 0.68 percent.

Chipotle Leaps Forward With 'Back to the Start'

Maureen Morrison
Nov 26, 2012

For a few years now, Chipotle has regarded traditional marketing as largely irrelevant for its needs. But the one TV buy it made this year -- its first national TV ad, no less -- garnered more attention than most marketers dream of getting.

Why Apple stores are raking in bags full of cash, and no one can dupe the formula

Geoff Duncan
Nov 26, 2012

Just how is Apple able to perform so much better than other consumer electronics retailers and world-renowned brands? And more important, why haven’t any of them been able to duplicate Apple’s magic formula yet?

Social Media Isn't Just For Your Customers--It's For Your Employees, Too

Mark Fidelmen
Nov 26, 2012

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.

Mediation Could Never Have Saved Hostess: Its Problems Ran Much Deeper

Frederick E. Allen
Nov 21, 2012

Hostess’ management never figured out how to transition its product portfolio amid a sea change in consumer tastes, to have the kind of product-line evolution that companies such as Coca-Cola, General Mills, and Danone all mastered.

Why Good Writing Is Essential For Business

Christa Carone
Nov 21, 2012

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.

The HP Way, and How It Completely Screwed HP

Robert McMillan
Nov 21, 2012

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.

Digital Strategy Does Not Equal IT Strategy

Mark P. McDonald
Nov 19, 2012

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?

Rethinking Social Media's ROI

Bryan Urbick
Nov 19, 2012

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.

Social TV Is Getting Down to Business

Brian Steinberg
Nov 19, 2012

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.

How Arianna Huffington Uses The Powerful Potential Of Social Media To Create Change

Rachael Chong
Nov 19, 2012

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.

Starbucks Just Acquired A Huge Tea Company

Ashley Lutz
Nov 16, 2012

“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

3 Big Insights From Today’s Top Design Thinkers

Mark Wilson
Nov 16, 2012

A few weeks ago, at the Fast Company offices, we convened an all-star panel of designers and design leaders to talk about the problems that they found most vexing in the past year, and what they were trying to do to solve them.

In The Era Of Transparency, Trust Is The Key To Success

Alex Knapp
Nov 16, 2012

“As technology marches on, it will lead to the inevitable revolution of businesses acting in the genuine interest of their customers.”

Viewability And The Wrong End Of The Billboard

Scott Knoll
Nov 16, 2012

Lately we’ve heard a chorus of skepticism regarding the importance of viewability, and some say that there is no correlation between viewability and conversion rate. In reality, there are only three reasons why one could legitimately argue that viewability doesn't matter.

Ikea’s fiendishly complex construction

Richard Milne
Nov 15, 2012

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.

Calculating The Economics Of Loyalty

Rob Markey and Fred Reichheld
Nov 15, 2012

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 Push a Brand Past a Plateau?

Sara Rotman
Nov 15, 2012

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?

Exclusive - Inside Orca: How The Romney Campaign Suppressed Its Own Vote

Joel B. Pollak
Nov 13, 2012

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 Joins Native Advertising Push With Sponsored Posts

Nat Ives
Nov 13, 2012

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.

The End of the Expert: Why No One in Marketing Knows What They're Doing

Dorie Clark
Nov 13, 2012

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?

Derek Thompson
Nov 9, 2012

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.

Need Branding That Transcends Cultures? Invent Your Own Language

Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan
Nov 9, 2012

A thoughtful identity gives a multinational disease research network a new way to communicate.

How Networked Inisghts Makes Sense of Internet Chatter to Help Big Brands Create Better Ads

Christina Chaey
Nov 9, 2012

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.

Is This The #1 Thing That Keeps Marketers Up At Night?

Steve Olenski
Nov 7, 2012

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.

Microsoft Reveals Strategy Turning Towards Entertainment And Content

Addy Dugdale
Nov 7, 2012

Ahead of today's Halo 4 release The Verge has revealed that plans are underfoot at Redmond to develop a gaming tablet, the Xbox Surface. It's a seven-incher and its production has so far been kept apart from existing Xbox lines.

4 Big Data Insights From 42 Billion Page Views

Dave Feinleib
Nov 7, 2012

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 Network Effect Isn’t Good Enough

Nir Eyal and Sangeet Paul Choudary
Nov 5, 2012

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.

Getting Your 'Why Us' Story Straight

Scott Gillum
Nov 5, 2012

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 Turns 60, Refines Brand Strategy

John Ellett
Nov 5, 2012

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.

Teenage CEO of Summly wants to 'Cliff Note' the news

Donna Tam
Nov 1, 2012

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.

Disrupting Advertising Media's 'Big Glass Cases'

Tom Ferry
Nov 1, 2012

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.

Hurricane Sandy Boosts Local Online News Brands

Cotton Delo
Oct 31, 2012

"Hyperlocal" news sites that focus their coverage on small towns and city neighborhoods are reporting big traffic surges from Sandy, with local residents keen to find out about their towns' storm preparedness yesterday and about property damage and when power will be restored today, with much of it driven by search.

Innovation Isn't Tied to Size, but to Operating Rules

Nilofer Merchant
Oct 31, 2012

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.

Better Copy Thanks to George Orwell

Phil Pinn
Oct 31, 2012

What could we learn from the masters of English about great communications? Is there a set of rules we could apply?

Penguin and Random House merger to create biggest book publisher ever seen

Mark Sweney
Oct 30, 2012

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.

Shaping the future of the Web (Q&A)

Stephen Shankland
Oct 30, 2012

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.

Big Data's Big Image Problem

Christopher Heine
Oct 30, 2012

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.

Is the Cost of Innovation Falling?

Bright B. Simons
Oct 29, 2012

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.

‘New York Times,’ ‘Wall Street Journal’ Take Down Paywalls for Hurricane Sandy

Lauren Indvik
Oct 29, 2012

The New York Times suspended the paywall on its site and apps Sunday afternoon, as people turn to online news outlets to get more information about Hurricane Sandy. The storm is scheduled to make landfall in New Jersey Monday night.

The Sad State of Video Apps

Armando Kirwin
Oct 29, 2012

I would argue that we have yet to see a startup nail ANY part of the video experience except for sharing. Apps in this category include Viddy, SocialCam, Klip, Chill, Vodio, and more. To me, this is classic Silicon Valley just building something they’re comfortable building: platforms, social graphs, viral hooks, blah, blah, blah.

Pssst, That Bottle Is Talking to You

Emma Hall
Oct 29, 2012

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.

More interactive Tweets, in more than 2000 ways

Oct 26, 2012

Today there are more than 2,000 ways to bring more interactive and engaging Tweets to your stream –– on twitter.com, as well as Twitter for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry.

Reducing the Risks of a Deadly Diversification

Robert Sher
Oct 26, 2012

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.

Why Digital Marketers Need to Get More Personal

Paul Dunay
Oct 25, 2012

The potential of personalized online marketing, when done well, is enormous—and for that reason, it’s a compelling sell. The problem is, it hasn’t been done successfully thus far. And thanks to vendor hype and overpromise, just mention the word “personalization,” and most have learned to greet it with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Meijer Supports Literacy Programs

Tanya Irwin
Oct 25, 2012

Midwest retailer Meijer is supporting United Way literacy programs across the Midwest through a new partnership with Better World Books.

For Brands, 2012 Is The Year Of The Story. So Who's Telling It Best?

Kathy Oneto
Oct 25, 2012

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 Moves to Responsive Design

Lucia Moses
Oct 22, 2012

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.

Where Has 'Integration' Gone?

Michael Miller
Oct 22, 2012

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?

Brazil's Newspapers Samba Away From Google

Addy Dugdale
Oct 22, 2012

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.

Inside Starbucks's $35 Million Mission To Make Brand Evangelists Of Its Front-Line Workers

Sarah Kessler
Oct 22, 2012

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?

The Politics of Social Networks

Robert Passikoff
Oct 16, 2012

If you’re really looking for trouble, try posting something on Facebook about your political preferences! A study from the Pew Research Center discovered the remedy for 20% of social networkers who received political puffery too frequently or political opinions antithetical to their own was – wait for it – unfriending or blocking!

Kohl's -- Some things are very wrong

Walter Loeb
Oct 16, 2012

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.

Microsoft Plans Large Volume Production of Surface

Lorraine Luk
Oct 16, 2012

Microsoft Corp. seems to be serious about its foray into the tablet market – the software giant is planning large volume production of its first tablet computer, Surface, in the fourth quarter.

Dark Social: We Have the Whole History of the Web Wrong

Alexis C. Madrigal
Oct 15, 2012

One dirty secret of web analytics is that the information we get is limited. If you want to see how someone came to your site, it's usually pretty easy. When you follow a link from Facebook to The Atlantic, a little piece of metadata hitches a ride that tells our servers. There are circumstances, however, when there is no referrer data. This means that this vast trove of social traffic is essentially invisible to most analytics programs.

Pittman Envisions New Life for Radio

Merissa Marr
Oct 15, 2012

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.

IBM Has Become a Publisher. Is It Any Good?

Todd Wasserman
Oct 15, 2012

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.

Big Brother, Now at the Mall

Evan Ramstad
Oct 12, 2012

Shoppers at the new International Finance Center Mall in Seoul can find their way around the four-story complex by approaching one of 26 information kiosks. When they do, they also are being watched. Kiosks at a Seoul mall, above, would use facial recognition software to decide what ads to present shoppers. Just above each kiosk's LCD touch screen sit two cameras and a motion detector

ESPN’s ‘Social Highlights’ Mash Ups Show Big Moments From Fans’ Lens

Sam Laird
Oct 12, 2012

The sports highlight is extremely predictable by now: an amazing play, sequence or moment is replayed from one or more angles, while a news anchor or announcer recaps what happened. Sometimes the video runs along with its original play-by-play audio, or maybe with the live radio call. But, in the age of social media permeation and mobile video proliferation, this is no longer enough, according to UNITE.

An Intimate Portrait Of Innovation, Risk, And Failure Through Hipstamatic's Lens

Austin Carr
Oct 12, 2012

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.

Wendy's To Introduce New Logo

Karlene Lukovitz
Oct 12, 2012

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.

Must-Tweet TV: How The Pioneers Of Social Television Turn Viewers Into VIPs

Amy Jo Martin
Oct 11, 2012

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).

The Tale Of TiVo And Why Great Brands Fall From Grace

Bruce Levinson
Oct 11, 2012

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.

Making Diversity A Priority

Jen Beaulieu
Oct 10, 2012

When asked to describe the main benefit of a diverse organization, Niloufar Molavi doesn’t mince words. “Innovation,” she says without hesitation.

Jay Penske Buys Variety Magazine From Reed Elsevier

Kristen Schweizer
Oct 10, 2012

Reed Elsevier is selling the 107-year-old magazine as the company refocuses on electronic data services and research offerings, the two companies said in a statement today.

USA: The United States Of Design?

Patrick Hanlon
Oct 10, 2012

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 Begins Now

Shawn Burns
Oct 9, 2012

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.

Future of Mobile News

Oct 9, 2012

Are New Devices Adding to News Consumption? What does the growing expansion of mobile mean for news consumption overall? Are people who own mobile technology getting more news now that they have more ready access to it? Or are they merely replacing one platform with another? Here, the findings are as strong as in 2011, and in some cases even stronger, in suggesting that mobile technology is increasing news consumption.

Facebook To Introduce Want Button For Retailers

Addy Dugdale
Oct 9, 2012

The social media site, whose attempts at monetizing the brand are currently coming thick and fast, has launched Facebook Collections. No, not that long-awaited range of sportwear in Poke Me Blue, but a new button it's trying out in conjunction with a select bunch of retailers in the U.S.

Content Strategy and UX: A Modern Love Story

Kristina Halvorson
Oct 8, 2012

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.

How Purpose Affects the Bottom Line

Natalie Zmuda
Oct 8, 2012

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.

Getting To The Bottom Of What Clients Think Of Agencies

Avi Dan
Oct 8, 2012

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.

Marketers Continue To Struggle With Big Data

Steve Olenski
Oct 5, 2012

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.

Pinkification: how breast cancer awareness got commodified for profit

SE Smith
Oct 5, 2012

What began as a social movement serving urgent health needs for women has been hollowed out by cynical marketeering. The gradual commodification of breast cancer reflected a failure of the movement, in that it wasn't able to adapt quickly enough to fight the commercialisation of breast cancer awareness.

Relevance In An 'Always On' World

Ingrid Froelich
Oct 4, 2012

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?

Service Helps Businesses Identify Their Key Social Media Influencers

Karen Summerson
Oct 4, 2012

As the digital interface continues to grow, many companies struggle to find the most effective channels in which to reach customers, and given the infinite number of connections that can be made via the Internet, the task of predicting the best course for communication seems nearly impossible; however, a new start-up has promised to do just that.

Owning Its Maps-App Flop Is a Brilliant Marketing Stroke by Apple

Jonathan Salem Baskin
Oct 4, 2012

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.

Does Every Marketer Need to Build an App for Mobile?

Melissa Parrish
Oct 2, 2012

In a world where consumers increasingly are storming the internet with queries, downloads and page views from their mobile devices, marketers need a mobile-optimized or mobile-specific website. The question of whether or not you need to build a mobile app is a little less clear cut.

Sign Of The Times: The New York Times Debuts An HTML5 Web App For iPad

Darrell Etherington
Oct 2, 2012

The New York Times this morning announced a new HTML5 web app for iPad, rounding out their lineup of web and tablet products for digital subscribers. The Times is soliciting feedback from its users about the app and its features, which suggests that it’s looking at this as a way to experiment with a non-native delivery method, but isn’t quite sure about how consumers will respond.

The Four Data Waves And How They Help Us Meet Marketing Goals

Mark Marinacci
Oct 2, 2012

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.

Digital Has an Ad Problem and Lots of Solutions

Charlie Warzel
Oct 2, 2012

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.

Hearst Reboots Mobile Mag Sites in Ad Push

Lucia Moses
Oct 1, 2012

There’s no question about it­—mobile traffic is booming as people spend more time hunched over their little screens. For magazines, it represents an opportunity to capture more readers and try to convert them to paying ones.

Get Started with Big Data: Tie Strategy to Performance

Dominic Barton and David Court
Oct 1, 2012

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.

Do you remember when Sony was Apple?

Steve Guttenberg
Oct 1, 2012

Sony dominated consumer electronics for decades, but that was a long time ago.

Cell phone culture: How cultural differences affect mobile use

Naomi Canton
Sep 28, 2012

It is a device that three quarters of the world's inhabitants have access to, according to the World Bank, but the words to describe it and etiquette of how to use it differ starkly across cultures.

Sorry, Marketers, You’re Doing Facebook Wrong

Todd Wasserman
Sep 28, 2012

Analysis found that marketers are still posting too little on weekends and at night and when they do post, they’re way too verbose. Weekends, when brands post too little, the audience appears primed for interaction.

Instagram Use Is Exploding

Ryan Tate
Sep 28, 2012

In just six months, Instagram use has more than septupled, growing from around 900,000 people per day to around 7.3 million, according to ComScore. The photo-sharing app’s astonishing growth underscores the growing momentum of mobile-native apps, and the potential of said apps to open wide leads over traditional websites.

News Corp. Backs Down On Anti-Google Stance, Plans Searchable Article Previews, Keeps Paywall Intact

Ingrid Lunden
Sep 26, 2012

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is planning once again to let stories from its paywalled UK newspaper The Times get indexed by the search giant Google. This reverses a two-year-old policy in which News Corp.’s UK newspaper division, News International, dramatically yanked stories from Google as it prepared a paywall to better monetize that content and do away with low-value single-story visitors from sites like Google.

What Do Harvard Business Publishing and Harlequin Have in Common?

Nick Morgan
Sep 26, 2012

What do Harvard Business Publishing and Harlequin – the publisher of a gazillion romance novels – have in common? More than you might think. I’ve blogged before about Harvard’s efforts to create a community of readers, thinkers, and kibitzers. It turns out that Harlequin has been doing the same for nearly 15 years – long before the Internet made it easy, or at least easier.

Can You Live Without a Data Scientist?

Tom Davenport
Sep 26, 2012

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.

New York Magazine Cashing in Online

Matthew Flamm
Sep 25, 2012

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.

72% of Consumers Expect Brands to Have Mobile-Friendly Sites

Tim Peterson
Sep 25, 2012

That consumers are turned off by sites not optimized for smartphones isn’t news to anyone who uses the mobile Web. But marketers need more than anecdotal evidence to get their organizations to invest in the medium.

The Power of Defining the Problem

Dwayne Spradlin
Sep 25, 2012

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.

Lex in depth: Volkswagen

Nikki Tait and Stuart Kirk
Sep 24, 2012

Despite its growth, investors see the carmaker’s structure and the founding family’s grip on ownership as a liability. Why is a company that is widely admired for its industrial performance and well on its way to meeting lofty growth targets viewed with such scepticism?

Mining Big Data to Find New Markets

Jason Sylva
Sep 24, 2012

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

College Football Fans Go Social for Sports News

Brian Mossop
Sep 24, 2012

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

Lessons For Building A Tablet Magazine That’s Actually Worth Using

Kyle Vanhemert
Sep 21, 2012

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.

McDonald's Enters the Age of Transparency

Larry Popelka
Sep 21, 2012

McDonald’s announced last week that it will start posting calories for all its food on its in-store menu boards. Starting this week, when customers walk into a McDonald’s (MCD) restaurant they will see in bright lights that a Big Mac and large fries weighs in at 1,050 calories.

Herman Miller Asks Creator of the Aeron Chair, 'Why Design?'

Karen Summerson
Sep 21, 2012

Don Chadwick, whose ergonomic Aeron chair for Herman Miller has been so influential in furniture design that it has been honored with the ‘Design of the Decade’ Award and given a spot in MoMA’s permanent collection.

Google Maps Gets All Up In Your Business

Christina Chaey
Sep 19, 2012

Google Maps Street View is fine for eyeing what a business looks like on the outside. But Google just made it much easier to open up Maps, then open up doors of select businesses to see what it looks like on the inside. Now when you open up Google Maps, you can pull out the orange Pegman and drop him on top of any of the new orange dots that will appear to take a tour inside a business.

Innovation Matters; It's Why You Care More About Apple than Kraft

Adam Hartung
Sep 19, 2012

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 Opens Up On Philanthropy, Her "Grave Setback" And What She Learned

Moira Forbes
Sep 18, 2012

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.

Why Good Design Is Finally A Bottom Line Investment

Cliff Kuang
Sep 18, 2012

A mix of factors, ranging from commoditization to evaporating barriers to competition, are conspiring to push design to the fore of business thinking.

New BBC chief vows to re-invent content, not just re-purpose it

Robert Andrews
Sep 18, 2012

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’.

What Executives Don't Understand About Big Data

Michael Schrage
Sep 14, 2012

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.

E-book settlement has publishing world in turmoil

Dawn Chmielewski and Carolyn Kellogg
Sep 14, 2012

Publishing insiders worry that a decisive court ruling benefiting retailer Amazon.com Inc. will undermine an industry already struggling with the transition to e-books.

Taking Pointers From Web Sites, USA Today Modernizes Its Look

Christine Haughney
Sep 14, 2012

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.

How ‘orphaned brands’ survive

Alecia Clegg
Aug 31, 2012

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.

Retailers Are Media Companies In Denial

Barry Judge
Aug 31, 2012

The technology surrounding today’s retail landscape has changed, and with this change comes a myriad of innovative opportunities that extend beyond our conventional way of thinking. Viewing these opportunities as “distractions” rather than opportunities risks losing ground to the competition.

The Currency of Digital Media: Views, Shares, and Comments

Ken Krogue
Aug 30, 2012

Did you know one comment on Forbes is worth 472 views of an article? And a +1 on Google Plus is worth 169 views, while a Share on Facebook is worth 31 views? Ken Krogue shares his analysis of the currency exchange of digital and social media.

Urban Outfitteres Brings Online-Only Items Offline In Latest Pop-Up Shop

Jackie Rangel
Aug 30, 2012

The lifestyle retailer puts shopping for home furnishings and decor back in the real world for maximum product interaction and shared experience.

Customer Experience Should Be Part of Your Business

Harley Manning
Aug 30, 2012

We researched a number of companies that overcame the multi-channel dilemma — systematically — by applying business discipline to the practice of customer experience in an integrated way. Here are three of their most effective strategies.

Does Your Strategy Match Your Competitive Environment?

Martin Reeves
Aug 29, 2012

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.

Embracing Brand Equity While Changing Perception To Reach New Customers

Avi Dan
Aug 29, 2012

Stationary furniture is the largest segment within the furniture category. To continue to grow the brand needed to shift deep-rooted perceptions and convince female consumers that La-Z-Boy offers more than recliners.

The Rise Of Visual Social Media

Ekaterina Walter
Aug 29, 2012

Blog posts became Facebook updates and Tumblr posts, which shrunk to Tweets and finally to Instagram or Pinterest. Here's how smart brands are navigating the new visual social-media era.

In Customer Relationships, Context Is King

Don Peppers
Aug 28, 2012

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.

What Data Can't Tell You About Customers

Lara Lee and Daniel Sobol
Aug 28, 2012

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.

In Digital World, Advertising Age Redesigns Print Publication

Stuart Elliott
Aug 27, 2012

A WEEKLY trade publication covering Madison Avenue since the Hoover administration will soon introduce its most significant redesign in years, as part of efforts to further redirect its editorial focus in a digital world toward analysis from breaking news.

Understanding Customers in the Solution Economy

David Midgley
Aug 27, 2012

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?

Is It Possible To Gather Too Much Customer Data? No!

David K. Williams
Aug 27, 2012

How much should you know and record about your customers? How about their businesses? What should you do with the information? How much is too much?

Starbucks Schools Other Retailers on Mobile Payments

Olga Kharif
Aug 24, 2012

The Seattle-based coffee giant’s year-and-a-half-old mobile payment program may be the largest of any retailer in North America. Even before its recent $25 million investment in San Francisco mobile payments startup Square, the company had been processing a million mobile-phone transactions per week.

New road for a macho brand

Anjli Raval
Aug 24, 2012

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.

Bloomberg Sports Takes Teams, Fans Into the Future

Sam Laird
Aug 24, 2012

Two years after launch, Bloomberg Sports is rapidly expanding its offering of data-driven technology tools, signaling the growing demand for advanced analytics by fans and teams alike as the digital capability to deliver such content matures.

John Chambers on Keeping Cisco on Top

Diane Brady
Aug 24, 2012

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.

Mintel: Brand Loyalty In The Dumps For Body Care

Karl Greenberg
Aug 24, 2012

Forget loyalty in the body care market. Most consumers seem less interested in the name on the label than on price and attributes, per a new study on the segment by Chicago-based Mintel.

Can A Corporate Culture Be Built With Digital Tools?

Austin Carr
Aug 24, 2012

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.

IKEA's New Catalogs: Less Pine, More Pixels

Jens Hansegard
Aug 23, 2012

This year 12% of IKEA's content for the Web, catalog and brochures were rendered virtually; that number will increase to 25% next year.

10 Inspiring Examples Of Small-Biz Branding

Belinda Lanks
Aug 23, 2012

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.

Need For Data Forces CIO-CMO Alliance

Baiju Shah
Aug 23, 2012

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?

Outsourcing Your Voice: Lessons For Brands

Jaime Hoerbelt
Aug 23, 2012

Who’s controlling your brand message? Recent high-profile Twitter blunders from Progressive Insurance and online store CelebBoutique underscore the challenges of outsourcing your voice as a brand.

The Beginning of the End of Print: The Lessons of an Amazingly Prescient 1992 WaPo Memo

Jordan Weissmann
Aug 22, 2012

"I am not here dreaming of (or worrying about) a world in which computers have displaced the printed word, and us too. I could find no one at this conference who would predict the demise of the newspaper. No one. All saw an important place for us."

How CMOs Can Avoid The Common Social Media Mistakes

Kimberly Whitler
Aug 22, 2012

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.

Introducing Social Reading on Slate

Aug 22, 2012

A great new way for you and your Facebook friends to share your favorite articles.

Grammar Grows Up

Ken Makovsky
Aug 21, 2012

We received a reprieve most of the time in colloquial English, but never in written English. Splitting infinitives is not just forgivable; it is, in fact, “a sacred duty.” Especially when not splitting the infinitive clouds the meaning of your communications.

How FedEx Revamped Its Brand Perception By Fixing Its "Leaning Tower Of Packages"

Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine
Aug 21, 2012

Customer experience goes to the heart of everything you do--how you conduct your business, the way your people behave when they interact with customers and each other, the value you provide. You literally can't afford to ignore it, because your customers take it personally each and every time they touch your products, your services, and your support.

A New Spin on an Old Topic

Andrew McMains
Aug 21, 2012

Pfizer, like Dove and Prudential before it, has gone topical. The pharma giant’s new corporate image effort eschews gauzy TV ads in favor of a microsite where consumers can find and share third-party information about the vicissitudes of aging.

Is Mark Zuckerberg in over his hoodie as Facebook CEO?

Walter Hamilton and Jessica Guynn
Aug 20, 2012

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.

Turning Customer Intelligence into Innovation

Scott Anthony
Aug 20, 2012

It's a paradox of the information age. The glut of information that bombards us daily too frequently obscures true insight. Intelligence should drive better innovation, but unless it is strategically collected and used, it functions like a summer beach novel — an engaging distraction.

Culture Clash

Alexia Tsotsis
Aug 20, 2012

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.

What Google Gets That Others Don’t: Innovation Evolves Customers

Michael Schrage
Aug 17, 2012

Successful innovators ask users to embrace--or at least tolerate--new values, new skills, new behaviors, new vocabularies, new ideas, new expectations, and new aspirations. They transform their customers. Successful innovators reinvent their customers as well as their businesses. Their innovations make customers better and make better customers.

Kodak Auction Makes Odd Bedfellows

Mike Spector, Ashby Jones and Dana Mattioli
Aug 17, 2012

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.

Retailers target grey spending power

Louise Lucas
Aug 16, 2012

Welcome to the newest retail concept in Funabashi: a shopping mall designed with the elderly in mind. Here older shoppers can access medical clinics, benefit from 5 per cent discounts on pension day, partake in any of 140 leisure activities ranging from calligraphy to hula dancing and, through the “Begins Partner” programme, find love.

What CMOs Can Learn From VCs

Steven Cook
Aug 16, 2012

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?

Four Digital Trends to Worry Media Companies

Shiv Singh
Aug 15, 2012

If there's any sign that the media ecosystem is on the verge of dramatic change, then these four digital trends bubbling to the surface are the latest proof points of that. These aren't random trends but are illustrative of tectonic shifts that will change the media business dramatically.

Magazines Make Branded Content, So Why Don't They Act More Like Brands?

Todd Pruzan
Aug 15, 2012

Marketers' Obsession With Audience Data Could Teach Media a Thing or Two. Brand marketers research their audiences exhaustively until they understand them instinctively. So it's strange to remember how magazines I've known kept their editorial and advertising sides operating not just separately, as they should, but entirely divorced from each other, with each side in near-denial of the other's existence.

Keeping zombies out of the mall

Philip Delves Broughton
Aug 15, 2012

A lethal combination of thrifty consumers and a commercial real estate slump have turned malls into the walking dead of retail. In 2009, General Growth Properties, one of the largest mall operators in America, filed for bankruptcy, unable to service more than $25bn in debt. The vacancy rates in regional and strip malls in the US nearly doubled between late 2007 and the middle of last year.

Payments Network Takes On Google

Robin Sidel
Aug 15, 2012

More than a dozen big merchants are expected to announce Wednesday their plans to jointly develop a mobile-payments network that would battle similar services from Google Inc. and other companies, people involved in the effort said.

4 Rules for Creating Interactive Content for a Multi-Platform, Multi-Device World

Miller Medeiros and David Vale
Aug 14, 2012

Put simply, responsive design is the creation of a single website with a fluid proportion-based grid that automatically adapts to users’ browsers and the devices they are using. This is not a trend—it’s the future.

So Long, Segmentation

Neil Capel
Aug 14, 2012

How do you get your message across? And via what channel? Email has long been -- and still remains -- the most effective communication mechanism, but too often the message doesn’t resonate with its recipient, usually due to poor targeting or segmentation.

When Will The Penny Finally Drop For J.C. Penney's Ron Johnson

Robert Passikoff
Aug 14, 2012

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.

Trapit Promises Better Browsing and Targeted Content on iPad

Rae Ann Fera
Aug 13, 2012

Trapit For iPad is the latest in a wave of news-reading apps designed to make finding and reading online content on a tablet easier, more intuitive and elegant.

Is Your Brand Ready For 'Generation S' (Screen)?

Adam Shlachter
Aug 13, 2012

Every generation experiences advances in technology that change people's lives and expectations; children are almost always born into a different technological world than were their parents. This is particularly true when it comes to how they discover, consume and share content and information.

Taco Bell’s Sophisticated Side

Matthew Yglesias
Aug 13, 2012

In the circles that count, it’s clear that Chipotle is regarded as a major innovator, attracting what all major innovators attract: copycatting. So it’s no coincidence that after a couple of years of crazy growth from Chipotle, Taco Bell feels it has to step up its game. Thus, this summer the country’s leading quasi-Mexican fast-food chain has rolled out its new Cantina Bell line of upscale menu items.

Stop Fighting Your Culture

Jon R. Katzenbach, Ilona Steffen, and Caroline Kronley
Aug 10, 2012

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.

Nike Goes For The Gold

Robert Passikoff
Aug 10, 2012

Lots of sporting events are used to promote brands. The Olympics, perhaps, more than most. So it's no surprise that the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is hard at work to ensure that brands that are not “official sponsors” of the games do not gain financially

Social still can't beat search in online shopping

Donna Tam
Aug 10, 2012

search engine and e-mail referrals are more than holding their own against social media sites when it comes to generating sales in the second quarter of 2012. Social media sites only contributed to 2.85 percent of online shopping traffic in the second quarter.

How Women Lead Differently, And Why It Matters

Alyse Nelson
Aug 9, 2012

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.

Pulse Comes To The Web (With A Little Help From Microsoft)

Frederic Lardinois
Aug 9, 2012

Pulse, the popular news reading app for iOS and Android, is finally available on the web. The service, which launched two years ago and now has over 15 million users, only focused on mobile platforms until now.

Why Your Brand Should Piss Someone Off

Austin McGhie
Aug 8, 2012

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.

Square’s Starbucks Deal Puts It At The Epicenter Of The ‘Seismic Change’ Away From Cash

Ingrid Lunden
Aug 8, 2012

The $25 million funding and sales deal announced late yesterday between mobile payments startup Square and coffee giant Starbucks is big, but it is only the tip of the iceberg for what the implications will be for Square and for mobile payments in general.

Not All Brands Get The Gold

Greg Christoforides
Aug 8, 2012

With such high stakes, brands should assess their fit with the Olympic Games before jumping into the arena. Not all players are a perfect match. Brands that are compatible with the Games, in both product offering and Ideal, can expect greater impact on their equity.

The Trend For London 2012: Super Minimal Olympic Sites

Mark Wilson
Aug 7, 2012

With London 2012 come three, totally minimal olympic sites that leverage rapid development to celebrate this fleeting worldwide event. They’re the collective antithesis to nbcolympics.com, covering granular information with an unfettered layout devoid of audio clips, listicles and even ads. They’re also a sign of current web technologies.

Nielsen Uses TV and Web Data in New Targeting Effort

Christopher Heine
Aug 7, 2012

Nielsen’s been fairly busy attempting to connect the dots between TV and online advertising. Today, the research firm is announcing Nielsen Online Audience Segments—TV Viewing, a program that’s designed to let a brand target online consumers based on their television and Web-viewing habits.

Why Turner Bought Bleacher Report

Jeanine Poggi
Aug 7, 2012

Turner Broadcasting said today that it acquired Bleacher Report to broaden the scope of sports coverage it can offer advertisers as well as bolster its scale, which has significantly decreased in recent months.

Competition is fierce among leading brands to have the best app

Chantal Tode
Aug 6, 2012

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.

The Legacy Of 'Brand Marilyn'

Brenda Fiala
Aug 6, 2012

Any group that manages a celebrity brand must focus on the authenticity and aspirational aspects that connect with their audience. Violate that, and the brand and the brand’s value can be significantly devalued.

Can Brands Be Too Big To Do Good?

Daniel Baylis
Aug 6, 2012

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?

The Platform Ecosystem Wars: Rome Is Burning

Keith Teare
Aug 3, 2012

There are common themes underlying the three major players struggles with how to grow revenue, particularly mobile revenue, while their web traffic is declining as a percentage of the total. They are all in a life or death fight, both with each other, but more importantly with the emerging mobile ecosystem, largely dominated by Apple.

How New Platforms Are Lowering the Barriers to Learning

Karen Baker
Aug 3, 2012

The emergence of online platforms is bringing a wave of disruptive innovations to traditional education. From 40,000 person classes that you can take from anywhere to Twitter-moderated discussion forums with trending hashtags, technology is fundamentally changing the way we learn today.

How Boar's Head Became a Deli Meat Beast

E.J. Schultz
Aug 3, 2012

"Boar's Head is pretty much everywhere," said Mitchell Sejzer, who works in the deli at a Sunset Foods store in the affluent Chicago suburb of Highland Park, noting that the brand accounts for about 75% of the store's deli counter selection. So just how did this brand -- which is oddly named after a swine's head -- get to the top?

With Online Video, You Have 20 Seconds To Capture Your Viewer. Go.

Kerrin Sheldon
Aug 2, 2012

With ever-increasing YouTube lunch breaks and Vimeo dinner dates, online video is becoming a constant companion--one that every brand is rushing to take advantage of. Follow these five tips so you don't turn off would-be viewers.

What to Do When Your Brand Goes to the Dogs

Robert Passikoff
Aug 2, 2012

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?

So How Are the Olympics Performing Online? NBC Won't Say

Charlie Warzel
Aug 2, 2012

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?

How A UI For Autistics Led To Better Online Shopping

Sarah Kessler
Aug 1, 2012

Autistic children with limited verbal skills are often taught how to communicate and make choices using pictures. Drawing on her experience as a behavioral therapist in college, Adriana Herrera realized that key design principles from her work with Autistic children could also be applied to the website she founded.

Is FB Becoming BS?

Patrick Hanlon
Aug 1, 2012

Canadian publication Maclean’s this week announced a study from the Advertising Research Foundation in New York City. The article states the respected Foundation recently tested a “blank” ad on Facebook whose click-thru rate performed only .01% less well than regular Facebook ads.

Marketing to Women? Keep These 3 Facts in Mind

Stephanie Buck
Aug 1, 2012

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.

Google Maps Adds Service Alerts for New York City Subways

Samantha Murphy
Jul 31, 2012

To make it easier for New Yorkers to commute and keep them posted on scheduled maintenance and delays, Google is adding information about service alerts that occur throughout the city’s 468 subway stations labeled on Google Maps.

Instead Of Tracking Your Activities, Saga Tracks You

Sarah Kessler
Jul 31, 2012

Apps may already track your workouts, your finances, and your temperature preferences, but until now they’ve largely overlooked the most telling data feed of all: your location. Saga, which is launching on Tuesday, uses your phone’s GPS, Wi-Fi capabilities, and accelerometer to track every move you make

Use Big Data to Find New Micromarkets

Manish Goyal, Maryanne Q. Hancock, and Homayoun Hatami
Jul 31, 2012

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.

How Big Companies Are Becoming Entrepreneurial

Dan Schawbel
Jul 30, 2012

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.

Why No One Will Watch Your Crappy Corporate "Viral" Video, And How To Fix It

Scott Stratten
Jul 30, 2012

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's radical new business plan is hidden in plain sight

Ed Bott
Jul 30, 2012

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.

Time For Biopharma To Jump On The "Big Data" Train?

David Shaywitz
Jul 27, 2012

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.

AT&T Showcases Athletes' Digital Lives

Aaron Baar
Jul 27, 2012

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.

Financial Times: Our Digital Subscribers Now Outnumber Print

Ingrid Lunden
Jul 27, 2012

A milestone reached as the world of old media continues its push in a digital direction: the storied, pink-sheeted daily newspaper the Financial Times, read by 2.1 million readers daily, today said digital subscribers now outnumber those in print, and that digital revenues now account for half of all sales in the FT Group.

When to Change a Winning Strategy

Laurence Capron
Jul 26, 2012

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.

VCs' Strange, Instinctual Need to Replace Founders

Bruce Gibney
Jul 26, 2012

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.

Perspective: A Whole Different Hog

Robert Klara
Jul 26, 2012

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.

IBM to CMOs and CIOs: Work Together or Become Irrelevant

Mark Fidelman
Jul 25, 2012

“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.

Five Signs This Will Be the Most Social Olympics Ever

Lisa Arthur
Jul 25, 2012

This year, more than 4.9 billion people (including 211 million Americans) are expected to tune into the games. The IOC is anticipating a record-breaking “Socialympics,” and with all the feel-good stories, athlete spokespeople and corporate sponsorships surrounding the games, it’s hard to imagine it any other way.

The Future of Big Data

Janna Anderson
Jul 24, 2012

The projected growth of data from all kinds of sources is staggering—to the point where some worry that in the foreseeable future our digital systems of storage and dissemination will not be able to keep up with the simple act of finding places to keep the data and move it around to all those who are interested in it. How could Big Data be significant? A 2011 industry report by global management consulting firm McKinsey argued that five new kinds of value might come from abundant data.

Co-Design in Innovation

Soren Petersen
Jul 24, 2012

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.

How Language Shapes Your Organization

Kevin Allen
Jul 24, 2012

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.

How Innovation Is More Poetry Than Science

Daniel W. Rasmus
Jul 19, 2012

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.

Act Fast, but Not Necessarily First

Frank Partnoy
Jul 13, 2012

Speed is killing our decisions. The crush of technology forces us to snap react. We blink, when we should think. E-mail, social media, and 24-hour news are relentless. Our time cycle gets faster every day. Yet as our decision-making accelerates, long-term strategy becomes even more crucial. Those of us who find time to step back and think about the big picture, even for a few minutes, have a major advantage. If every one else moves too quickly, we can win by going slow.

Local 'Web' Marketing For National Brands

Shane Vaughan
Jul 11, 2012

Most national brands are strategically positioned at the national Web level with strong awareness and branding, but these companies often lack insight into how their brands are represented at this level. Their local presence becomes clear when you conduct local searches on national brands using the “Local Web Test.”

Caribou Coffee Revels in Its Role as the Little Guy

Maureen Morrison
Jun 18, 2012

"We don't have any interest in being the biggest," said the senior VP-marketing and product management at Caribou. "We don't want to be in every aisle of the grocery chains in America. We'd rather be great at what we do." But Caribou, despite an acceptance of its stature as a smaller chain, hasn't sat idly by.

Bad Tech Etiquette To Avoid at Work

Angie Reed
May 29, 2012

Technology has simplified communications for most businesses, but the increased use of conference calls, video conferencing, and instant messaging has created a new list of off-putting behaviors that could land your business in an awkward situation. Here is a list of some pet peeves and how to avoid them.

Pink Noise Minimizes Workplace Distractions & Complaints

Yi Chen
May 23, 2012

With more companies preferring an open space layout, this has led to rising complaints of office noise and the lack of privacy for informal chats. Software company Autodesk has come up with a solution that tackles the issues.

2 Huge Leadership Lessons from JPMorgan

Geoff Loftus
May 23, 2012

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.

CEOs Get(ting) Social, Per IBM Study Data divides top execs from the rest

Tim Peterson
May 22, 2012

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.

J.C. Penney: Ditch the Risky Pricing Strategy

Rafi Mohammed
May 21, 2012

J.C. Penney's "Fair and Square Everyday Low Pricing Strategy" is not as successful as new CEO Ron Johnson expected. During its first quarter under the new pricing strategy, same store sales dropped by 18.9%, store visits decreased by 10%, and the average spend was down by 5%. As a result, the retailer lost $163 million (compared to earning $64 million in the first quarter of 2011) and suspended its quarterly dividend. J.C. Penny's stock, which bounced above $43 per share after CEO Ron Johnson enthusiastically announced the new pricing strategy in January, now trades below $30.

House Beautiful Lets Readers Post to Pinterest From Print

Nat Ives
May 21, 2012

House Beautiful is letting users post photos from its print edition directly to Pinterest using smartphone apps, the latest effort by a magazine to make print more interactive.

Who Are the Top Retailers on Social Media? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Christine Erickson
May 18, 2012

It’s become practically mandatory that brands incorporate social media into their business strategy, causing retailers to compete for popularity in stores and on the Internet, too. Campalyst has provided this infographic, which covers the largest Internet retailers in the U.S., and their presence on the five key social networks: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and Pinterest.

Patagonia Creates An Interactive Story Of Its Supply Chain For Customers

Triple Pundit
May 18, 2012

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.

Sears Explains Their Success In Content Marketing

Brandon Gutman
May 18, 2012

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.

What’s the Right Facebook Strategy for Brands With Several Locations?

Lauren Drell
May 17, 2012

For some companies, one Page might not be enough. For example, if a restaurant chain prides itself on local ingredients or a business seeks to cultivate a strong community around each brick-and-mortar outlet, it might make sense to have a Brand Page for each location. But then again, does a brand really want to divvy up its audience and dilute it among several similar pages?

Social Sharing Data Vampires: They Vant to Suck Your Data

Jamie Beckland
May 17, 2012

Publishers are bleeding themselves dry, giving up the very customer data that hold the promise of their continued relevance in the digital age. They struggle to monetize online users, as the dimes from digital will never replace the analog dollars they no longer receive from print. They see social sharing as a way to drive page views on their traffic-starved websites. But many of these social-sharing tools are data vampires.

Transparency: The Key to Collecting and Using Customer Data

Alex Fitzpatrick
May 16, 2012

If customers suspect you’re using their data in less-than-desirable ways, they may lash out and possibly stop using your product. What’s a data-driven business owner to do?

Data Points: Online, There Are No Crowds [Infographic]

Lucia Moses
May 16, 2012

Online, men are shopping more and at rates higher than before, according to an iProspect study of men with a household income of $100,000 plus.

For Brands, The Need To Rethink Everything

Bain Insights
May 16, 2012

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.

Strategy, Context, and the Decline of Sony

Sohrab Vossoughi
May 14, 2012

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?

Welcome to the Era of Design

Adam Swan
May 10, 2012

Design has finally become democratized, and we marketers find ourselves with new standards to meet in this new “era of design.” To illustrate, Apple, the epitome of a design-led organization, now has a market capitalization of $570 billion, larger than the GDP of Switzerland. Its revenue is double Microsoft’s, a similar type of technology organization but one not truly led by design.

How Social TV Is Changing the Field for Sports

Thomas Pardee
May 10, 2012

All kinds of media companies are trying to crack the social TV code -- and those that produce live sports are no exception. The traditional TV platform will persist at least as well in sports as in any other genre, Mr. Bowman suggested. "People will always watch sports on the largest screen they can find," he said. The second screen is just complementing viewers' traditional experience.

5 Steps CMOs Can Take To Make Social Media Work

Kimberly Whitler
May 10, 2012

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.

Why Apple Won by Betting Against the Web

Sarah Kessler
May 10, 2012

Roger McNamee, the managing director and co-founder of venture capital firm Elevation Partners, has a theory about how Apple became the biggest U.S. technology growth story of all time: “The thing that made Apple successful was betting against the web,” he said.

Culture Fosters Innovation

Kate Benson
May 9, 2012

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.

Why Publishers Don't Like Apps

Jason Pontin
May 8, 2012

The future of media on mobile devices isn't with applications but with the Web. For publishers whose businesses evolved during the long day of print newspapers and magazines, the expansion of the Internet was tremendously disorienting. The Internet taught readers they might read stories whenever they liked without charge, and it offered companies more efficient ways to advertise. Both parties spent less.

The Spot: High on the Hogs

Tim Nudd
May 8, 2012

'The Guardian' huffed and puffed and made one of the year's best ads. Did it sell papers? Newspapers aren't known for their compelling self-promotion. Yet in the grip of their existential crisis, that's what they need—a riveting argument for their own value, evolution and place in the cultural conversation. In late February, London ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty delivered just that for The Guardian.

Draw Something Has Users Draw Brands To Get Their Ad Dollars

Allie Walker
May 8, 2012

Popular game Draw Something is now rolling out a new type of ad model–instead of seeing traditional banner ads, users will be actually drawing the ads, as the new model integrates ads into the game in the form of branded word choices.

Sears Holding (SHLD) - An Opportunity Missed - A Tragedy in the Making

Walter Loeb
May 8, 2012

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.

Could These Start-Ups Become the Next Big Thing?

Jenna Wortham and Nicole Perlroth
May 7, 2012

When Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion last month, it raised a lot of questions about which buzzed-about start-ups might be on track for similar success. The start-up scene is flooded with apps and services that are attracting users and backing from investors. But it can be hard to work out which companies are worthy of the kind of attention Instagram was receiving when Facebook came calling.

Why Marketers Should Get to Know Customers' 'Digital Selves'

Peter Pachal
May 7, 2012

Today’s marketers are under-utilizing the large amounts of personal data their customers are sharing publicly every day, according to Adobe’s senior manager of social-media products, Chad Warren. By looking at their customers’ activity not just on social networks but all over the web, brands can potentially engage with them in ways that are much more meaningful.

Study: Harley-Davidson Rules Retail

Karl Greenberg
May 7, 2012

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.

The Simplicity Thesis

Aaron Levie
May 7, 2012

A fascinating trend is consuming Silicon Valley and beginning to eat away at rest of the world: the radical simplification of everything. Want to spot the next great technology or business opportunity? Just look for any market that lacks a minimally complex solution to a sufficiently large problem.

Meet Signal, the Instagram of Citizen Journalism

Sonia Paul
May 3, 2012

What do you get when you combine a photo-sharing mobile platform like Instagram with more geo-location awareness and a Reddit-style voting system for stories breaking all over the world? Answer: Signal, the app citizen journalism may well have been been waiting for.

Patagonia's Founder Is America's Most Unlikely Business Guru

Seth Stevenson
May 3, 2012

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.

Help Wanted 2.0: Engaging Others To Tackle Wicked Problems

Bansi Nagji
May 3, 2012

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.

Yesterday The Boston Globe ended all your tomorrows

Justin Ellis
May 2, 2012

In adjusting its style guide to use calendar days instead of “yesterday,” “today,” or “tomorrow,” the Globe is trying to adapt to the pace of online news.

Barriers to Change: The Real Reason Behind the Kodak Downfall

John Kotter
May 2, 2012

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?

Oscars Stay in Hollywood, At Dolby Theater

Roger Friedman
May 2, 2012

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.

How to change your habits

Charles Duhigg
May 1, 2012

We like to think of habits as traits that can't be changed, but it turns out that habits are malleable and knowing how to change them has profound implications, not just at the personal level, but also for companies and governments.

Google Teaches Employees To "Search Inside Yourself"

Todd Essig
May 1, 2012

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.

Anything They Can Do, You Can Do Better

Aaron Shapiro
May 1, 2012

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.

Inside Forbes: The 9 Realities of Building a Sustainable Model for Journalism

Lewis DVorkin
Apr 30, 2012

From Jeff Zucker, NBC Universal’s former CEO. In talking about digital video, he said: “Our challenge with all these ventures is to effectively monetize them so that we do not end up trading analog dollars for digital pennies.”

Agile, social, cheap: The new way NPR is trying to make radio

Andrew Phelps
Apr 30, 2012

NPR is taking another stab at creating new programming, but the approach looks quite different. What’s different this time? The network seems to be taking a page from agile software development, the philosophy that products should be released early and iterated often.

Singularity University: meet the people who are building our future

Carole Cadwalladr
Apr 30, 2012

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.

How to Maximize Your Facebook Engagement

Brian Carter
Apr 28, 2012

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.

Something Is Rotten In The State Of E-Book Publishing

Kim Eaton
Apr 26, 2012

The publishing industry has a problem. The old guard haven't innovated. And neither their business models nor their products embrace the digital books revolution.

More Proof Moms Are Your Best Target: Their Brains Are Built For Shopping

Caroline Winnett
Apr 26, 2012

With an estimated $2.1 trillion in spending power, moms influence 85% of all purchase decisions and buy nearly everything for everybody. What’s more, we now know that moms are even better shoppers than might be perceived in the marketplace due in large part to neurological research that didn’t exist until recently.

How Great Leaders Create Game Changers

Mike Myatt
Apr 26, 2012

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.

IBM Acquires Enterprise Search Software Company Vivisimo To Boost Big Data Analytics

Leena Rao
Apr 25, 2012

On the heels of acquiring sales data analytics company Varicent last week, Big Blue is making another buy in the data space today— Vivisimo. Vivisimo provides enterprises with search software that helps organizations access and analyze big data across the enterprise.

How Digital Journalists Used Data to Report on Murdoch Scandal

Stephanie Haberman
Apr 25, 2012

Innovative digital journalism played a starring role in the wake of a massive document release during an inquiry into British media ethics. Three major news organizations sifted through the information and collaboratively covered the investigation stemming from British journalism’s biggest scandal in recent memory.

Three Brand Ideas For Burger King. Love, Ideasicle.

Will Burns
Apr 25, 2012

Amidst falling sales, a revolving door of chief executives, countless attempts to be cool with “The King,” and even a fresh rift with pop diva, Mary J. Blige, we’re told in the latest Burger King ad campaign that “Exciting things are happening at Burger King.” Oh really?

Better Pics Of Those Amazing Knitted Nikes

Belinda Lanks
Apr 25, 2012

You'll see Flyknit on the feet of olympic marathoners this year. This limited-edition collection shows the real-world application of Nike's newfangled technology. The limited-edition HTM is intended for the rest of us: plain old sneaker geeks.

Is the New York Times making paywalls pay?

Frédéric Filloux
Apr 24, 2012

The New York Times company's latest quarterly numbers contain a rich trove of data regarding the health of the digital news industry. Today, we'll focus on the transition from traditional advertising to paywall strategies being implemented across the world. Paywalls appear as a credible way to offset – alas too partially – the declining revenue from print operations.

Piers Fawkes: Why We Launched A Print Magazine

Piers Fawkes
Apr 24, 2012

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.

AT&T's CMO Cathy Coughlin Talks Innovation, And How The Brand Is Evolving

Avi Dan
Apr 23, 2012

Intense competition drives the U.S. wireless industry. When one looks at major market indicators, competition is the reason why we lead the world in efficiency and value for consumers. These indicators include capital expenditures and network investments; infrastructure deployments; subscriber levels; subscriber growth; continued evolution of operating system choices; and application development.

Use Social Curation To Build Brand Presence

Robert Egert
Apr 23, 2012

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

Avon Is Late to Social Media's Party

Emily Glazer
Apr 23, 2012

Avon remains slow to catch up to the Internet, a platform that is increasingly important for hooking new consumers on brands. The New York-based beauty company has dabbled with iPhone and Android apps for smaller brands like Mark and has developed e-catalogs, but sales representatives say it isn't doing enough to help them win customers through new tools like social media, smartphones and tablets.

Tumblr’s Tough Road to Media Company

Brian Morrissey
Apr 19, 2012

It can be a bit comical when tech companies inch their way into media. They usually do so after decrying ad models and living off venture capital. But everyone grows up, even tech platforms. Tumblr is the latest tech service to travel this road, announcing that it would allow advertisers to buy a “Radar” placement on the dashboard where Tumblr users aggregate their feeds.

What If Online Doesn’t Work For Branding?

Jerry Neumann
Apr 19, 2012

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.

Bottle uses active charcoal to make tap water taste better

Apr 19, 2012

UK-based Black+Blum’s Eau Good water bottle embraces the centuries-old use of active charcoal to make every day tap water taste better.

Ford Web Series Focuses On Eco Education

Ross Fadner
Apr 19, 2012

Every day, more and more brands are creating compelling, original content, and the medium of choice for these initiatives is Web video. The latest example is Ford Motor Company’s collaboration with eco-focused media company SHFT.com, “The Big SHFT: 10 Innovators Changing Our World”, a documentary series profiling industry professionals who are trying to transform their industries with eco-friendly sustainability solutions.

Making Best Buy Better

Farhad Manjoo
Apr 18, 2012

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.

How Social Media Is Taking Over the News Industry [INFOGRAPHIC]

Sam Laird
Apr 18, 2012

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.

The Apple Way: How The Second-Gen Nest Thermostat Evolves To Help Users

Cliff Kuang
Apr 18, 2012

Just a few months after the Nest’s introduction, it’s clear that Fadell and his new company also took another Apple lesson to heart: the constant need for tiny tweaks that are laser focused on making the user’s life easier. And also: the need to introduce big changes to the consumer slowly, over time. By looking at how Nest’s second-generation thermostat has evolved, we can see those two crucial ideals at work.

Square Vs. NCR: Disruptive Innovation In Action

Austin Carr
Apr 18, 2012

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.

IBM Partnership Enables EVs To Charge More Sustainably

Emma Hutchings
Apr 17, 2012

IBM has partnered with Honda and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) to develop a pilot project that will allow electric vehicles to communicate with the power grid, receiving and responding to charge instructions based on the grid and the vehicle’s battery level.

Coke Clobbers Pepsi

Robert Passikoff
Apr 17, 2012

Bringing Ms. Minaj on board to pinch-hit for Pepsi is clearly a strategic move, and a reaction to the drop that Pepsi took this year in the marketplace. The results of 2012’s Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Index reveal that both Pepsi and Diet Pepsi fell flat this year, trailing Coke and Diet Coke for the first time in years. Loyalty is, alas, not a forever thing if you don’t know how best to engage your audience.

Most adults follow local news closely, relying on local newspapers and other sources

Carolyn Miller
Apr 17, 2012

Nearly three quarters (72%) of adults are quite attached to following local news and information, and local newspapers are by far the source they rely on for much of the local information they need. In fact, local news enthusiasts are substantially more wedded to their local newspapers than others.

The Age Of Uprisings, Brand Movements, And Ad Backlashes

Scott Goodson
Apr 16, 2012

It’s a new era where consumers will punish a company for taking a wrong stand, but also for taking no stands at all. In these volatile times, brands actually should become more willing to take a stand.

How the Tech Parade Passed Sony By

Hiroko Tabuchi
Apr 16, 2012

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 We Collaborate?

Steve Denning
Apr 16, 2012

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.

Interactive eBook Apps: The Reinvention of Reading and Interactivity

Avi Itzkovitch
Apr 16, 2012

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.

Men Are From Google+, Women Are From Pinterest [Infographic]

Steve Olenski
Apr 13, 2012

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?

Measurement-Driven Marketer

Ken Beaulieu
Apr 13, 2012

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.

What's in a name?

Robert Passikoff
Apr 12, 2012

A Rose-Gold Alloy Mostly Made of Copper Wouldn't Smell As Sweet Coming From Anywhere But Tiffany's. Press releases trumpeting Tiffany’s posh “new jeweler’s metal,” coined and trademarked Rubedo (Latin for “red”), continues unabated. But many specialists have taken umbrage with both the “new” and the “metal” portions of Tiffany’s claim.

Tumblr Tests New Tools for Users and Brands

David Teicher
Apr 12, 2012

One of the first clues to Tumblr's future as a business came in February with the launch of "highlighted posts," which allow Tumblr users to pay $1 to gain more visibility for their work. In 2010, Tumblr CEO David Karp told the Los Angeles Times that the thought of ads "turns our stomachs." But can it be a business without them?

Excelsior! Augmented: Marvel's AR Comics Show Promise Of Enhanced Print

Steve Smith
Apr 11, 2012

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.

Facebook buys Instagram ...but for what?

Molly Wood
Apr 10, 2012

There's a lot of speculation today about why Facebook would spend $1 billion to acquire the uber-hip photo-sharing app Instagram. To some, it seems obvious; to others, it's the biggest sign yet of a growing Web bubble. To me, it just raises question after question, and the biggest one is "why." What does Facebook gain from buying Instagram?

10 of the most trusted brands in America

Paul Sakuma
Apr 9, 2012

In an era when entire companies and long-time brands are disappearing, why do Americans trust certain brands and not others? What is trust?

Companies Spend Money, Time on New Corporate Names

EJ Schultz
Apr 9, 2012

There are legitimate reasons why naming companies is a bit more challenging than it used to be. Marketers must contend with instant backlash from critics on social media and the global reality that one phrase in English might take on a completely different meaning overseas (see Kraft). And they must ensure the moniker is not already trademarked.

Warning, Executives: Avoid Social Media at Your Peril

Erika Andersen
Apr 9, 2012

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.

New IBM App Presents Nearly 1,000 Years of Math History

Alexandra Chang
Apr 6, 2012

Math nerds and historians, it’s time to get excited. Minds of Modern Mathematics, a new iPad app released Thursday by IBM, presents an interactive timeline of the history of mathematics and its impact on society from 1000 to 1960. The app is based on an original, 50-foot-long “Men of Modern Mathematics” installation created in 1964 by Charles and Ray Eames. Minds of Modern Mathematics users can view a digitized version of the original infographic as well as browse through an interactive timeline with more than 500 biographies, math milestones and images of relevant artifacts.

Is Ranch Dressing the New Ketchup?

Yi Chen
Apr 6, 2012

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.

6 Keys For Turning Your Company Into A Design Powerhouse

Jeneanne Rae
Apr 6, 2012

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.

Ad Age Picks First Three Startups to Hack Budweiser

Apr 5, 2012

There's two weeks left until Ad Age Digital 2012, where six promising startups will fast-pitch Anheuser Busch-InBev execs for the chance to work on one of two iconic brands: Budweiser and Bud Light.

Google unveils 'Project Glass' virtual-reality glasses

David Goldman
Apr 5, 2012

Siri is about to get one-upped by Google. The company on Wednesday unveiled a long-rumored concept called "Project Glass," which takes all the functionality of a smartphone and places it into a wearable device that resembles eyeglasses. The see-through lens could display everything from text messages to maps to reminders.

VW CMO Tim Mahoney On How It Became America's Fastest Growing Car Company

Avi Dan
Apr 5, 2012

Following a sales increase of 26 percent in 2011, and 20 percent in 2010, this is a far cry for a company that considered pulling out of the U.S. market in the early 1990’s, when sales plummeted to 40,000 vehicles. The company plans to deliver double-digit growth this year and next, CMO Tim Mahoney told me, terming it “Quality growth”, meaning it has to be profitable and sustainable. That should put VW comfortably over the 400,000 vehicles mark.

Nest thermostat gets 2.0 software

Martin LaMonica
Apr 5, 2012

The gadgets of your smart home now come with software updates. Nest Labs today released the equivalent of version 2.0 software for its smart thermostat available for the Web, iOS or Android. The software tweaks for the $249 Learning Thermostat are designed to help people better understand how thermostat changes affect energy usage.

How Rolls-Royce Differentiates With Personal Experience

Piers Fawkes
Apr 5, 2012

When PSFK asked if they were concerned about how the next generation of car-buyers are reportedly disinterested in ownership, the Rolls-Royce team spoke about how buying a car is about the owner rewarding themselves. The team described how a billionaire in India in his 20s has a check list of all the good things in life and Rolls Royce is part of it.

Nike's NFL Buzz: How Much Is Enough?

Sarah Mahoney
Apr 5, 2012

Nike is milking its moment in the sports world spotlight, with fans and football players alike buzzing about its new National Football League uniforms. Between the heavily-hyped unveiling ceremony in Brooklyn, the massive pop-up shop in Manhattan showcasing the new look, and the big anticipation of the draft April 26, it looks like Nike is barreling into its five-year NFL contract just fine. And outgoing Reebok’s fan jerseys are finding their way into bargain bins.

How Longreads Is Integrating Brands (And A Renowned Advertising Creative)

Apr 4, 2012

When Longreads, the acclaimed source for exceptional long form journalism and short fiction, launched its spinoff service Travelreads in late March, it went from being a Twitter feed and blog favored by the literati to an appealing springboard for brands wanting to reach engaged consumers through content. Sponsored by Virgin Atlantic, Travelreads curates compelling in-depth stories about far-flung places--perfect plane fare.

Finally, a Reason to Read Magazines on a Tablet

Peter Kafka
Apr 4, 2012

Remember Next Issue Media, the “Hulu for Digital Magazines” consortium made up of the biggest names in publishing? It has finally delivered something worth talking about: Call it Netflix for Magazines. The pitch is simple and intuitive: All the magazines you want, delivered digitally to your tablet, for a flat fee of either $10 or $15 a month.

Under Armour Flexing Its Muscles Overseas

Fred Dreier
Apr 4, 2012

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.

Brewing Controversy - How Starbucks Embraces Social Media

Felicia Dorng
Apr 4, 2012

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?

Facebook Timelines Allow For Brand Storytelling, but What's the Next Chapter?

Austin Carr
Apr 3, 2012

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?

Hotel enables its top customers to choose their own check-in and check-out times

Apr 3, 2012

It’s not uncommon for hotels to extend frequent customers the courtesy of a late check-out option, but Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide recently announced an initiative that takes that premise even further. Now available to top-tier members of the company’s loyalty program, Your24 is a new service that lets guests choose their own check-in and check-out times.

Social At Work: Facebook's Lessons For The Enterprise

Ram Menon
Apr 3, 2012

The forthcoming Facebook IPO, set for May, will be one of the greatest events in recent tech memory. It’s an irrefutable indicator of how far social networking has come and where it’s going. But what does this mean for the workplace? Is enterprise social networking, the so-called Facebook-like model at work, starting to take off as well or is it still in its infancy?

Social media keeps ski resorts from exaggerating snowfall

Steven K. Paulson
Apr 3, 2012

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

Study: 'Big Data' poses opportunities, challenges

BtoB Online
Apr 2, 2012

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.

Suddenly Microsoft is the Hippest Tech Company Around

Rebecca Greenfield
Apr 2, 2012

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.

Does Salesforce.com Own The Social Enterprise?

Shel Israel
Apr 2, 2012

What may be as out-of-date today is the fast-growing, feisty, focused, powerhouse’s core name. The .com part went out-of-fashion with the implosion of a bubble more than a decade ago, and as was made resoundingly clear last week, the San Francisco-based global entity is about a lot more than sales force automation. In fact, that is no longer the core focus. I spent a day at Cloudforce Expo Worldtour in San Francisco’s Moscone Center. The company updates were significant.

Cars in the Cloud: Trackable and Time-Stamped

Victor Cruz
Apr 2, 2012

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?

From Apple to Zipcar, Auto Brands Hunt Millennials

Dale Buss
Apr 2, 2012

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 Airline Repositions Brand

Tanya Irwin
Apr 2, 2012

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.

The Era of Big Box Retail Dominance Is Coming to an End

David Welch
Mar 30, 2012

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.

Is Best Buy following CompUSA, Circuit City to certain doom?

Brooke Crothers
Mar 30, 2012

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.

Google Partners With Publishers on a New Kind of Paywall

Lauren Indvik
Mar 30, 2012

You might not be willing to fork over a monthly subscription fee to read some of your favorite news sites, but would you answer a survey question? That’s what Google and a handful of well-known online publishers are aiming to find out.

Business IS Personal

Dov Seidman
Mar 30, 2012

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.

The Future Of Social Media Is Holistic Engagement

Paloma M Vazquez
Mar 29, 2012

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.

Alignment: Key To Marketing Performance

Laura Patterson
Mar 29, 2012

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.

What Does it Take to Turn Big Data into Big Dollars?

Lisa Arthur
Mar 28, 2012

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: Building Brand Value

Martin Bishop
Mar 27, 2012

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?

Google Pushes Play Front And Center: Is Selling Content Now King?

Rip Empson
Mar 27, 2012

Google is marching steadily towards Larry Page’s reported goal of a “single, unified, ‘beautiful’ product, across everything.” It started last year, as redesigns came to all of Google’s big products, Search, Maps, Translate, Reader, Gmail, YouTube, etc, etc. A black navbar appeared, which Google later announced it was removing, only to then reverse course and keep it. And then, earlier this month, it announced Google Play.

New Refrigerator Magnet Makes Ordering Pizza Even Easier

Caleb Melby
Mar 27, 2012

Enter Red Tomato Pizza, a single wood-fired joint in Dubai, UAE, and their disruptive new model for easy ordering: The idea is nothing short of brilliant.

Amazon vs. Apple: Competing Ecosystem Strategies

Ron Adner
Mar 21, 2012

The innovation game is changing. Delivering great products is no longer sufficient for success. And as the Fire's limited memory, ho-hum processor, and and lack of camera demonstrate, great products may not even be necessary. Rather, what matters is delivering great solutions.

Dethroned! How Wendy's Slayed Burger King in the Fast Food Wars

Jordan Weissmann
Mar 21, 2012

Yesterday, it was official: Wendy's has usurped Burger King as America's second largest burger chain. It finished 2011 with more U.S. revenue, despite operating 1,300 fewer stores. The news, though largely expected -- The Wall Street Journal anticipated the "palace coup" back in December -- is a milestone in the history of fast food.

How Pinterest Can Turn Your Brand Red-Hot [INFOGRAPHIC]

Jeremy Cabalona
Mar 19, 2012

If your brand isn’t on Pinterest, you could be missing out on a growing stream of potential customers.

Is Marketing Too Undisciplined For Its Own Good?

Avi Dan
Mar 19, 2012

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.

Newly redesigned Pinterest profile pages go live

Jon Russell
Mar 16, 2012

Pinterest has rolled out its first significant makeover since gaining popular attention in a move that sees it streamline the look of profile pages on the service.

London’s Interactive NikeFuel Station Breaks Digital Design Boundaries via PSFK: http://www.psfk.co

Emma Hutchings
Mar 15, 2012

Nike has opened the world’s first NikeFuel Station at the Boxpark in Shoreditch, London. The retail space breaks new boundaries in digital displays and design, aiming to appeal to today’s digitally-enabled athlete.

CMOs Must Be Linguists to Survive and Thrive

Bryan Thomas
Mar 15, 2012

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.

How to Track Traffic From Pinterest in Google Analytics

Jim Gianoglio
Mar 14, 2012

It’s hard to ignore Pinterest‘s explosive growth over the past year. In a very short period of time, the social network has gone from relative obscurity to a top 100 site, with 11.7 million unique monthly U.S. visitors. But how many referrals does Pinterest generate?

Encyclopaedia Britannica Gives Up On Print Edition

Stan Schroeder
Mar 14, 2012

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.

Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann’s Lesson for Start-Ups: Go Your Own Way

Liz Gannes
Mar 13, 2012

In an interview with Hunch co-founder and investor Chris Dixon at SXSW today, it was remarkable how often the conversation hit upon ways that Pinterest bucked Silicon Valley’s conventional wisdom. And yet these days, the visual social curation service is one of the fastest growing and most influential of start-ups.

Moneyball in the Digital Space

Robert Passikoff
Mar 13, 2012

Playing a kind of “smartball” on brand teams today means insisting that digital players be leveraged against a larger strategy. In short, that a brand’s playbook is not a story of technological possibilities, but a diagram of brand profitability.

The Economics Of Emotion

Alan Zorfas
Mar 12, 2012

The most recent commercial for the BMW i3 and i8 concept cars is a great example of something enlightened marketers have known for years: emotion is the key driver behind purchasing decisions. Yet, today, most businesspeople still follow the old adage, “Emotions and business don’t mix,” relying on rational data to drive decisions instead.

Marvel and Aurasma Show Off New Line Of Augmented Reality Comics

Josh Constine
Mar 12, 2012

Today at SXSW, Marvel announced a partnership with Autonomy’s Aurasma platform to lets users watch video trailers of books they see in stores, as well as 3D animation, recaps, and other augmented reality extras by holding their phones up to comics.

Tweet-A-Beer Lets You Buy Drinks for Twitter Pals

Brian Anthony Hernandez
Mar 9, 2012

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.

Kraft's Planters Heads for the Peanut Butter Aisle

David Welch
Mar 9, 2012

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.

How A Major Hospital Got Healthier With Big Data

Dan Woods
Mar 9, 2012

In most well-meaning organizations, once important information comes to light, it cannot be ignored, no matter what level of an organization is affected.

It's New Media, But You Can Measure ROI Using Old Tools

Brian Cavoli
Mar 8, 2012

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?

Why Social Marketing Is So Hard

Nilofer Merchant
Mar 8, 2012

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.

Top 50 Brands in Content Marketing

Toby Murdock
Mar 8, 2012

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.

Marketers: 7 Ways NOT to Ruin Pinterest

Barrett Condy
Mar 6, 2012

Have you heard of Pinterest? It’s a (relatively) new social site where users share — or “pin” – visual content. Brands such as GE, HGTV and Martha Stewart Living have made deft use of Pinterest already. As a marketer, you should be too.

How Alcoa, Starbucks, Arista, And Febreze Kicked Normal Habits And Found Success

Philip Butta
Mar 5, 2012

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.

Best Practices: From First To Worst - Continental In A Post United World, Lessons In Next Gen Custom

Ray Wang
Mar 2, 2012

Despite the numerous attempts by CEO Jeff Smisek to gloss over the issue with increasingly slicked up, feel good, on board welcome ads, Continental’s customer satisfaction numbers have reached the abyss of United’s. While United Holdings may tout their most admired status in the airline industry by Fortune, the award is measured by corporate executives, airline executives, boards of directors and industry analysts

The Three Layers Of Brand Perception

Nigel Hollis
Mar 2, 2012

I have been exploring the importance of brand meaning. My basic premise is that the brands which people find to be different in a good way are the ones they will be willing to pay a price premium for. But as I have explored this topic, I have come to realize that there are some very distinct layers of meaning (how a brand is perceived) and brand marketers need to work differently to motivate people within each level.

Experience Is The Next Frontier In Marketing

Jacob Braude
Mar 1, 2012

"Experience" is the marketing buzzword of our time. It seems like every week someone is extolling the vast untapped potential of experience to move your customers: Starcom recently created a Chief Experience Officer position; SMG Global CEO Laura Desmond has called experience the "future of advertising," and Starbucks is revitalizating through a focus on moments of "human connection."

Did Google Break The Brand At Midnight?

David Vinjamuri
Mar 1, 2012

If you pay attention to advertising, you may have seen some charming, pencil-figured ads entitled “Good to Know” about managing your privacy options. After midnight, Google will start linking your data across all of Google’s products.

The Case of the Disappearing Airline

Robert Passikoff
Mar 1, 2012

When you get into work on Monday you’ll find that the Continental Airlines brand has vanished for good. That’s when the airline and United, the 4th and 3rd largest carriers respectively, will adopt a single passenger reservation system.

Meet the Coolest Facebook Brand Timelines From Coke to ESPN to Ford

Michael Learmonth
Feb 29, 2012

Facebook brand timelines went live this morning, and though we've known about these for a while, some of the executions are pretty impressive, including founding documents, early advertising, memos, news clips and photos. It's as if dozens of little corporate museums just launched on Facebook.

How to spark inner creativity

Julie Burstein
Feb 29, 2012

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

How to Be a Top 50 Innovator

Holly Green
Feb 29, 2012

FastCompany recently released its list of the world’s 50 most innovative companies. Many of the names on the list come as no surprise, especially the top three (Apple, Facebook, and Google). But what caught my attention was the diversity of companies and industries represented.

Merchants Accepting Square’s Card Case Doubles In Four Months To 40,000

Leena Rao
Feb 28, 2012

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.

Focused Data and Intent-Based Targeting

Mark Rabe
Feb 27, 2012

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.

Pinterest Becomes Top Traffic Driver for Women’s Magazines

Lauren Indvik
Feb 27, 2012

Pinterest hasn’t just become a significant source of referral traffic for retailers; it’s also becoming a top traffic driver for women’s lifestyle, home decor and cooking magazines, some of which are seeing bigger referral numbers from the image-collecting service than from major portals like Facebook and Yahoo.

LPGA CMO Jon Podany Discusses Rebuilding Trust

John Ellett
Feb 27, 2012

As both an avid golf fan and a curious marketer, I’ve noticed a renewed enthusiasm for the premier professional ladies golf tour, the LPGA. To learn more about the LPGA’s turnaround, I had a conversation with the organization’s CMO, Jon Podany.

So how much is a fair price to pay for an e-book?

Charles Cooper
Feb 24, 2012

why is it that consumers are still paying through the nose for e-book titles that ought to cost a fraction of the price charged for the used hardcover version?

Washington Post Tests Personalized News Program

Anthony Ha
Feb 24, 2012

If you’re tired of seeing the same news as everyone else, The Washington Post is now experimenting with personalized headlines. That experiment is called Personal Post, and it’s available at personal.washingtonpost.com, where you’ll see a river of content that you can customize.

71 percent of enterprises creating their own mobile apps, says Symantec

Meghan Kelly
Feb 24, 2012

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.

Analytics: The Essential Ace in Every Hand

Laura Patterson
Feb 24, 2012

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.

High-End Pinterest Competitor Fancy Launches Commerce Platform With Help From Jack Dorsey

Austin Carr
Feb 23, 2012

"People are 'Fancy-ing' what they like, forming communities around these products or experiences, and now we allow merchants and brands to come in and fill that interest and demand in real-time, which no one is doing," says founder Joseph Einhorn.

Why Are Retailers Shutting Their Facebook Stores?

Lauren Indvik
Feb 23, 2012

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.

Harley-Davidson Follows The Passion

Karl Greenberg
Feb 22, 2012

What do superheroes ride? Unless they're from a Japanese Manga comic, it would probably be an American motorcycle brand. Harley-Davidson, to be specific. The Milwaukee-based, all-American bike maker has signed a pact with the iconic American comic book and production company Marvel

Google to Sell Heads-Up Display Glasses by Year’s End

Nick Bilton
Feb 22, 2012

People who constantly reach into a pocket to check a smartphone for bits of information will soon have another option: a pair of Google-made glasses that will be able to stream information to the wearer’s eyeballs in real time.

What Makes an Idea a Meme?

Larry Downes
Feb 22, 2012

Network effects are an economic principle that suggests certain goods and services experience increasing returns to scale. That means the more users a particular product or service has, the more valuable the product becomes and the more rapidly its overall value increases.

The Enemy Of My Enemy Is My Friend

MG Siegler
Feb 21, 2012

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

Culture Vs. Strategy Is A False Choice

Bob Frisch
Feb 21, 2012

A strong culture is important, and for all the reasons Parr mentions: employee engagement, alignment, motivation, focus, and brand burnishing. But is it the most important element of company success, as the more ferocious of the culture warriors assert?

B2B Marketers: It's time to become a growth engine

McKinsey and Company
Feb 21, 2012

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.

Why Some Think P&G's Innovation Is Slipping

Jack Neff
Feb 20, 2012

Tucked in an area north of Cincinnati is an office-warehouse building that looks like a movie set. It contains fully functional mockups of two homes (one upper-middle class, one lower-income) complete with kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms. It has two mock grocery stores and a virtual-reality lab where you can fly over store shelves. This is the Beckett Ridge Innovation Center, or BRIC, in P&G parlance. And P&G, whose innovation record has come under growing scrutiny, hopes it can deliver.

Beyond Facebook: The Rise Of Interest-Based Social Networks

Jay Jamison
Feb 20, 2012

While some may pronounce that Facebook is all the social we’d ever need, users clearly haven’t gotten the memo. Instead, users are rapidly adopting new interest-based social networks such as Pinterest, Instagram, Thumb, Foodspotting, and even the very new Fitocracy.

How Marketers Selective Learning has Become Consumers Selective Hearing

Valeria Maltoni
Feb 20, 2012

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?

Bessemer Ventures: Why We Invested In Pinterest

E. B. Boyd
Feb 17, 2012

Jeremy Levine, who led Bessemer's investment, tells us about all the ways Pinterest can make money, why it's not thinking about that right now, and why the company is more like Google than you might imagine.

Four Weird Things the Internet Is Doing to Our Understanding of Television

Eric Spiegelman
Feb 17, 2012

People seem really intent these days on fusing television with the Internet. On one level this makes no sense. Television technology works just fine and we all understand how to use it. We’re also in the midst of a golden age when it comes to programming; I can’t remember another time when there were this many good shows on. Also, television advertising rates are enormous compared to the Internet. There are people on YouTube who have more subscribers than top network sitcoms have viewers, yet they earn a minuscule fraction of the revenue. Television, as an industry, is strong. So there is the scent of blood in the water, and out of the resulting frenzy a few lessons have appeared. Here are four of them.

NBC Universal's New Olympics Challenge: Screen-Jumping

Brian Steinberg
Feb 15, 2012

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.

Customized Jeans That Will Never Make Your Butt Look Big Are The Future Of Shopping

Douglas Crets
Feb 15, 2012

The future of shopping means every garment--and shopping experience--can be customized to fit both your body and your thirst for discovery.

Rules For the Social Era

Nilofer Merchant
Feb 15, 2012

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.

Social Media Helps Grammys Achieve Huge Ratings in Broadcast and Social TV

Christina Warren
Feb 14, 2012

The 54th Annual Grammy Awards was a huge hit across social, digital and broadcast platforms. Excitement for the return of Adele, as well as the tribute to the late Whitney Houston kept viewers engaged online and off. CBS reported that 39.9 million viewers tuned in to Sunday’s award show, the second-largest Grammy audience ever and the best ratings since 1984.

Letter From The Editor: The Lessons Of Innovation

Robert Safian
Feb 14, 2012

What do you get when you cross Walmart with Mother Teresa? Who would be the Square Deal candidate in 2012? And how in the world do you compare--and rank--such dynamic, eclectic businesses as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google?

A Newspaper, and a Legacy, Reordered

Jeremy W. Peters
Feb 13, 2012

ON a Sunday in early December, Marcus Brauchli, the executive editor of The Washington Post, summoned some of the newspaper’s most celebrated journalists to a lunch at his home, a red brick arts-and-crafts style in the suburb of Bethesda, Md. The Post faces the same problems as other daily newspapers, whose revenues have sunk as the Web and the tough economy have sapped advertising. But in some ways, its situation is even more daunting.

How Social Media Can Help You Snag Top Talent For Your Company

Curt Finch
Feb 13, 2012

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.

How Pinterest Is Changing Website Design Forever

Sarah Kessler
Feb 10, 2012

Even if you haven’t ever visited popular visual bookmarking site Pinterest, you might recognize its design elements — which have been popping up everywhere since the startup burst onto the mainstream scene in 2011. The site doesn’t use traditional web building blocks.

UK Supreme Court Now Accepts Official Requests Via Twitter

Emma Hutchings
Feb 10, 2012

The Supreme Court in the United Kingdom announced this week that it would accept freedom of information (FOI) requests (used by the public and media to ask for access to government documents) via Twitter after launching its own account. The social network could possibly become a new tool for legal and government institutions who choose to join.

Curate Your Brand's Content With Pinterest

Rodney Hazard
Feb 9, 2012

Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard. Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use Pinterest to communicate through vibrant images and share their personal interests.

Stick It To Pinterest: Move Fast To Cash In On Your Own Pins

Meghan Casserly
Feb 9, 2012

Darling social media site Pinterest is taking heat after being revealed to have made a practice of embedding tracking code into links users post on their “boards” to generate revenue.

How Dos Equis Uses Facebook To Keep Their Man Interesting To Consumers

Brandon Gutman
Feb 9, 2012

We spoke with Colin Westcott-Pitt, VP Marketing, Dos Equis, Amstel Light, Newcastle Brown Ale at Heineken USA, about what’s keeping the Most Interesting Man in the World campaign successful. Delivering consumer craving content and utilizing Facebook as both a research tool and a marketing channel is making Dos Equis a category leader.

Walmart to Label Healthy Foods

Stephanie Strom
Feb 8, 2012

As part of its promise last year to improve the nutritional quality of the food it sells, Walmart said on Tuesday that it had devised standards to determine what is healthy and would label the foods that meet those standards. A new label with the words Great for You will appear on Walmart's Great Value and Marketside food items this spring.

The Thermostat Wars

Farhad Manjoo
Feb 8, 2012

The thermostat business is getting ugly. I understand that sounds crazy, but it’s true. Late last year Tony Fadell, the guy who created the iPod at Apple, launched Nest, a new company that aims to reinvent household devices. Nest’s first product is a beautiful, easy-to-use, $249 “learning thermostat.” It launched to rave reviews, and sold out instantly. In retrospect it’s clear why Honeywell put on a full-court press to show me all the ways its thermostat was superior to the Nest.

In Britain, Bus-Shelter Ads Smell Like Delicious Baked Potatoes

David Gianatasio
Feb 8, 2012

Ah, the complex olfactory bouquet of the urban bus shelter! Trying to identify individual odors within such dense scent tapestries can be difficult, and most disturbing! That's not the case, however, at some locations in British cities like London and Manchester, where McCain Foods is installing 3-D ad panels that emit the aroma of freshly baked potatoes at the push of a button.

Learn From Adele – Build Your Platform

Chris Brogan
Feb 3, 2012

Jacq and I just watched Adele Live At The Royal Albert Hall (amazon affiliate link), and though every song was just wonderfully done, I found myself fascinated by what Adele was doing in between each song. Because even though most people would be interested in hearing her belt out her amazing repertoire of hits, what I took away from the performance was Adele’s real magical ability: the ability to resonate with her audience.

Know Your Teammates: Leadership Lessons from the Super Bowl Quarterbacks

Karl Moore
Feb 2, 2012

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.

Brand Threat: The Out-Of-Touch CEO

Carol Phillips and Judy Hopelain
Feb 1, 2012

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.

JCPenney Re-Refreshes Brand - Third Time's the Charm?

Mark J. Miller
Jan 27, 2012

Trying to figure out what’s on sale when and then waiting for the next sale to buy particular items can be frustrating to consumers so J.C. Penney Co. — in its first major overhaul of its retail arm since former Apple exec Ron Johnson took over as CEO in November — is attempting to make things much easier. The company this week announced that its stores are doing away with having seven kazillion different items on different sales simultaneously and just “marking down all of its merchandise by at least 40% so shoppers will no longer have to wait for a sale to get the lowest prices in its stores.” The move comes as jcpenney, as the chain rebranded itself at the 2011 Oscars, is re-rebranding with a new logo — following the previous year's rebrand at the 2010 Oscars (check out the logo progression below). What was that about trying to avoid consumer confusion?

Consumer Behavior: From Trading Up To Trading Off

J. Walker Smith
Jan 27, 2012

The opposite of trading up is not trading down. In fact, there is no opposite of trading up; shopping behavior is more nuanced than that. When shopping hit the skids after the financial crisis, there was a lot of talk about a new normal of frugality, as if the only thing possible after a decade-plus of trading up was a generation to come of nothing but trading down. It’s clear now that those prognostications were flawed, not to mention overly pessimistic.

Target doesn't want to be the showroom for online retailers

David Sims
Jan 26, 2012

Remember all that talk before the holidays about the blissful union between brick-and-mortar retailers and mobile users? Retailers seemed to have accepted that many of their customers shop with smartphones in hand — and retailers even appeared to be embracing it. A Deloitte consultant who follows these things, Kasey Lobaugh, told Internet Retailer that retailers: "... need to invest in providing customer connectivity in the store, including in-store Wi-Fi, ... building functionality that best serves the customer at the 'point of need' and thinking about the capabilities that align with the customer's location and context, as the customer may be in the store with a smartphone in hand or in a variety of other locations and scenarios." Indeed, Macy's, Sears, and Nordstrom boasted about their in-store free Wi-Fi. Personally, I realized this meant I no longer had to chase after the Home Depot staff whose "Ask Me" shirts always seem to be disappearing just around the far end of the aisle. I could now ask my iPhone.

A Tale of Two Brands: How Land Rover Makes 14 MPG Sexy

Rebecca Lindland
Jan 26, 2012

The brand new Land Rover Range Rover Evoque started 2012 off right – with a prestigious North American Truck of the Year win at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. This topped off a terrific 2011 for the Tata Motors-owned brand, with Land Rover sales up an impressive 19.6% to 38,099 in a new car market that grew by 10.6%. The success of this off-road brand is in stark contrast to its former competitor, GM’s Hummer, which logged no new sales last year and like so many Hollywood marriages, failed to survive to the 10-year anniversary it would have celebrated this year. As you may recall, on February 24, 2010, eight months into its post-bankruptcy life, and nearly eight years after debuting the H2, GM officially announced they would begin the wind-down process for the Hummer brand. The last Hummer rolled off the Shreveport production line in 2010. So how did these two brands with arguably analogous products end up with such different fortunes?

J.C. Penney Chief Thinks Different

Dana Mattioli
Jan 26, 2012

Shortly after taking the top job at J.C. Penney Co. last fall, Chief Executive Ron Johnson signed up for the company's email alerts. He was shocked by what landed in his inbox. The former Apple Inc. retail executive was deluged by sales announcements, sometimes two a day. He and his team counted 590 separate sales last year. They didn't bring in shoppers—Mr. Johnson's team found the average customer purchased only four times a year—but they did crush prices. Alarmingly, he learned nearly three-quarters of Penney's products sold at discounts of 50% or more. Three months into the job, J.C. Penney Chief Executive Ron Johnson is planning a far-reaching but risky overhaul of the department store format.

Three Ways to Pull Your Senior Team Together

Jan 25, 2012

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.

How Esquire Survived Publishing’s Dark Days

David Carr
Jan 23, 2012

Esquire magazine, a monument to male vitality, seemed about to keel over in 2009. Famous for laying down a much-followed literary track with an article in 1966 by Gay Talese titled “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold,” the magazine found itself gasping for breath and fighting for survival. Amid the plague that hit the magazine industry back then, Esquire was worse off than most. Beaten up by a crop of lad magazines like Maxim, then hammered by the flight of advertisers and readers to the Web, Esquire suffered a 24.3 percent loss in advertising pages compared with 2008, which was almost as bad, by the way. A Web site for investors, 24/7 Wall Street, predicted in 2009 that Esquire would be one of “Twelve Major Brands that Will Disappear” the following year.

Bowing to Critics and Market Forces, RIM’s Co-Chiefs Step Aside

Ian Austen
Jan 23, 2012

Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, who made the BlackBerry a leading business tool but then presided over its precipitous decline, said they would step down on Monday as co-chairmen and co-chief executives of Research in Motion. The two men, in developing the innovative device that was the first to reliably deliver e-mail over airwaves, turned a tiny Canadian company into a global electronics giant. But they are stepping aside after disappointing investors and leaving customers wondering whether RIM still has the ability to compete, and perhaps even survive, in the rapidly changing markets for smartphones and tablet computers.

Training Yourself To See New Strategic Options

Jan 19, 2012

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?”

How IBM's Sam Palmisano Redefined the Global Corporation

Bill George
Jan 19, 2012

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.

To Market, To Market Your Business During An Economic Slowdown?

Deborah Sweeney
Jan 17, 2012

It’s an age-old question that small businesses and corporations alike seem to be divided on at the start of each year and beyond. When business is slow, is it better to market your business more using every marketing and social media tool available or taper off until the economy picks up? Or in some cases, just stop marketing altogether?

The Twitter-Google Chess Match

Ari Kuchinsky
Jan 9, 2012

The acquisition of Twitter by Google is the ultimate strategic buyout. We know that Twitter turned down a $10 billion buyout offer from Google sometime in early 2011. There have also been other overtures made over the past several years by Google, Facebook and Microsoft. Surprisingly, Twitter is still independent. Why hasn’t Google paid up with all of that cash on its balance sheet? How could Twitter turn down $10 billion when the company isn’t worth anywhere near that based on earnings or even projected earnings (1999 style)?

What Do Social Media Influencers Do That You Don't (but Could)

Haydn Shaughnessy
Jan 4, 2012

The differences between social media influencers and the online strategies of other groups are so marked that it is worth asking the question what do social media influencers do that the rest of us don’t? What can we learn from these differences?

6 Steps for Protecting Corporate Reputation in the Social Media Age

Layla Revis
Jan 3, 2012

It takes years to build a good reputation, but seconds to damage it beyond repair, as executives at companies from Dell to Domino’s certainly have found out. This was a sentiment echoed by executives at the Senior Corporate Communication Management Conference in New York when discussing social media and corporate reputation and how to embrace the new reality of immediate communications.

Building a Mobile App Is Not a Mobile Strategy

Jason Gurwin
Nov 22, 2011

Everyone wants their own mobile application. In the last year, I have heard this consistently. In fact, mobile analytics firm Distimo claims 91 of the top 100 brands have their own mobile app (up from 51 just 18 months ago). On the surface this sounds great, right? I can use my big brand name to get people to install my application, and then I can market to them via the palm of their hand whenever I want. If you're a big brand, I have no doubt you will get a ton of downloads. But downloads are a vanity metric; they don't measure success.

Why We Need Storytellers at the Heart of Product Development

Sarah Doody
Apr 15, 2011

There's an interesting question on Quora right now: If you had to pick between an amazing product designer or an amazing engineer to build a new company around, which would you pick and why? This question reflects a painful problem that is common at both small startups and large corporate organizations. Far too often, teams focus on execution before defining the product opportunity and unique value proposition. The result is a familiar set of symptoms including scope creep, missed deadlines, overspent budgets, frustrated teams and, ultimately, confused users. The root cause of these symptoms is the fact that execution focuses on the how and what of a product. But in a world where consumers are inundated with choices, products that want to be noticed and adopted must be rooted in the why.

When Going Viral is Not Engagement, but Ebola

Umair Haque
Oct 15, 2010

So was the Gap's logo debacle really a debacle, or was it a clever sleight of hand? In response to my post last week, some of you said: wait a second — what if this was a genius move by the Gap, garnering a boatload attention with minimum effort?

Celebrity Endorsements Still Push Product

Sep 23, 2010

"Everybody lives by selling something," wrote Robert Louis Stevenson, author of "Treasure Island." Agents, CMOs and deal makers will always get starry-eyed by the big names of "celebrity" because brands love endorsements, and consumers buy into "celebrity." Questions remain, however, as to whether the international obloquy related to the Tiger Woods crisis dealt a devastating blow to celebrity endorsement. In light of the risks, is the celebrity endorsement deal still worth it?

Winning Strategies Start With The End In Mind

Scott Davis and Fred Geyer
Sep 2, 2010

What does winning look like at your organization? Defining success may sound simple, but few strategic plans come to grips with this question. Instead, management teams fall back on broad-brushed vision statements. "To be the best ... the biggest ... the leading ..." that lack the specificity employees need to implement the strategy or provide the benchmarks that leaders can use to measure progress. Should growth strategies be visionary? Certainly. But they should also be concrete. That's what Plan to Win is all about.

How Social Media Is Helping Public-Relations Sector Not Just Survive, but Thrive

Michael Bush
Aug 23, 2010

In 2009 Katie O'Brien was looking for an agency partner to help her launch a major digital effort. The global digital marketing manager at Ben & Jerry's issued a brief to a traditional digital shop and a traditional PR agency, Edelman. The plans they brought back were, in Ms. O'Brien's own words, "night and day." The biggest difference, she said, was that one understood social media better than the other -- and it wasn't the digital agency.

The Elastic Brand: Virgin Expands in Every Direction

Aug 10, 2010

Business strategists who analyze Sir Richard Branson's methodology for opening new businesses might think it consists of "Throw it against the wall and see what sticks." They might be right. Branson, the iconoclastic founder of Virgin, a name that represents almost anything you can imagine these days, continues to confound business media, impress investors, and delight consumers with one unusually innovative, breakthrough idea after another. In addition to launching a new media brand, the aptly-named Maverick, exclusively for the iPad, Branson and Co. have been busy on the branding front across a staggering 360-plus companies. Virgin, as ever, is spreading its wings with some novel brand exercises.

A Return, Not to Normal, But to Reality

Art Kleiner
Aug 6, 2010

Mark Anderson, the high-tech industry’s most accurate prognosticator, foresees an economic landscape still under the stress of too much liquidity — and decision makers still in denial.

Ad Age Sits Down With GM's Joel Ewanick

Aug 6, 2010

If there's one thing Joel Ewanick has made clear since joining General Motors Co. three months ago, it's that he doesn't let grass grow under his feet. And the company's VP-marketing isn't slowing down anytime soon: In a wide-ranging interview with Ad Age today, Mr. Ewanick let drop that the automaker will return to the Super Bowl in 2011; that an ad campaign will break next month for Chevy Camaro; and that there's a new tagline coming for Cadillac, "The new standard for the world."

A Fashion Identity Crisis at Wal-Mart

Jul 29, 2010

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. cannot seem to find the right fit when it comes to selling clothing. By quietly ousting its U.S. division apparel chief last week, the world's largest retailer acknowledged that its clothing strategy has been a dud. Again. Over the past decade, Wal-Mart has veered from one approach to clothing to another. The discount giant has even tried to emulate rival Target Corp. by stocking its own lines of trendy outfits. At other times the Bentonville, Ark., retailer has placed its bets on bulk packs of everyday wear, like tube socks and T-shirts. "Wal-Mart has suffered from not knowing who they want to be," said Allen Questrom, the former chief executive of J.C. Penney Co. who recently left Wal-Mart's board. "They're either trying to be too fashionable or too basic."

Scary Good

Jul 8, 2010

Allstate Insurance is running a campaign in which the threats of trees falling on cars, teens nicking car bumpers, and pets trashing upholstery are portrayed by a character named "Mayhem." I think it's scary good advertising. The actor, Dean Winters, is wonderfully smarmy. He was hilariously memorable as Tina Fey's self-adoring idiot ex-boyfriend on "30 Rock," and in these spots he cheerfully promises mayhem on dark roads and in crowded parking lots. He's perfect because he's sinister in the same way that stripes threaten to clash with plaid. I get the point but I'm not scared. Which is why the critics' complaints that the spots resort to fear mongering are plain wrong. Mayhem's mischief is an expression of reality; fate (or chance) is capricious, and that's why there's such a thing as insurance in the first place. So these ads manage to tell the truth, which is 1) an immense accomplishment for the category, and 2) directionally illustrative of what other advertisers should do.

Old School Design Methods and the Value of Craft in Our Digital World

Brian Ling
Jul 7, 2010

No one is an expert, and it is only through a multidisciplinary process that it all comes together; materials, process and design. There must be a meaningful confluence of the elements otherwise it will be like sticking wood laminate on a laptop to make it more valuable. Furthermore, this requires stepping away from the computer and getting reacquainted with materials and processes. Indeed this is quite a hat tip to the old school craftsman approach to design.

Woot + Amazon = Real-Time Social Shopping

Jul 1, 2010

Shopping giant Amazon bought online auction phenomenon Woot today, and given the relative sizes of the companies, it can only be a move made with long-term Amazon strategy in mind. Earlier this afternoon we wrote about the deal as a victory for freaks and a marriage of light- and heavy-weight supply chains, but there's something else going on here, too. Woot is bringing real-time social shopping to Amazon.

HOW TO: Better Serve the Social Media Customer

Jun 29, 2010

When it comes to social media for business, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy. But to ensure results, you must align it with your overall business objectives and avoid falling for “shiny new objects” simply because they are trendy or hyped. For example, a new business or “first mover” may want to focus on establishing thought leadership, while a more mature business should aim for customer support. In all cases, creating a product that actually solves problems for customers, present and future, should be every business’s top priority — and you should be using social media to help you figure out what that product is. Below, we’ll take a closer look at how each department can blend traditional and social media to drive business goals and collaborate on a seamless customer experience.

The Ad Cannes Job

Jonathan Salem Baskin
Jun 29, 2010

An annual orgasm of self-love -- remember, the awards aren't voted by clients or consumers -- suggests to me that the advertising industry is still unable to talk to itself about what's happening. Creative ain't what it used to be. Actually, it never was. For the entirety of human history, advertising was a vehicle to get people to buy things. Creativity was important as long as it was applied to this goal; even corporate ads from the late 1800s had a direct link to a sales strategy.

Know Your Competition, And Avoid Customer Break-Ups

Jun 25, 2010

Customers are fickle. Just when you think you’re in a steady relationship … their eyes are drawn to a more attractive suitor. We spend so much of our time time trying to make and keep our customers happy that we may forget others—the competition—are trying to make them happier. Blasted competition!

7 Business Lessons From World Cup 2010

Jun 24, 2010

When Landon Donovan scored a winning goal yesterday in overtime, he put the U.S. World Cup team at the top of its group for the first time since 1930. And people who never cared about soccer were suddenly talking about it everywhere in the media. Some of them might even start watching World Cup 2010. To the soccer newbie, the World Cup might seem like just a bunch of guys running and kicking the ball, but watch a few matches, and you’ll see the mindset and behaviors required to win. And you might actually learn a little about business, too.

Perils of a Tarnished Brand

Morgen Witzel and Ravi Mattu
Jun 24, 2010

The public image of Goldman Sachs, the investment bank, has suffered in the wake of the credit crunch with a famous article in Rolling Stone magazine describing the organisation as a “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity”. BP is widely perceived to have compounded the damage done to its image by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico through a poor public relations and crisis management strategy in its aftermath. What affects reputations in turn affects brands. It is too soon to say how badly the Goldman Sachs and BP brands will be affected but it seems certain that they will be. And what all of these examples highlight is how hard it is to manage reputations.

In Social Media, Engagement Has Its Rewards

Jun 21, 2010

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

Opinion: Orphan Brands Need Good Corporate Homes

Jun 15, 2010

Solid brand equity that’s carefully built up over years or even decades is, of course, the commodity that every upstart hopes it will one day have. Chances are you still recognize legendary brand names such as Paine Webber or AlliedSignal. The chances are even better that you recall brand names like Handi Wrap from its having been in your own kitchen drawer. Now, I have a question: How can you build brand equity as strong and durable as that enjoyed by these names? Here’s one way: You could just buy it.

The Stars Could Be Aligned for Growth at Starbucks

Jun 14, 2010

In retail, success comes with a curse. A long line of retailers have been tempted into rapid store growth to maximize sales, only to hit a wall and need to shrink. Starbucks may be the best example. It likely set a record for the fastest long-term expansion of any big retailer. Morgan Stanley's John Glass says Starbucks added U.S. stores at an annual 27% rate from 1995 to 2005, reaching almost 12,000. That is even faster than the 17% rate of McDonald's from 1965 to 1975.

The Global CMO Interview: Trevor Edwards, Nike

Jeremy Mullman
Jun 14, 2010

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.

On a Quest to Build 'Brands That Matter'

Jack Neff
Jun 7, 2010

Newell Rubbermaid Senior VP-Chief Marketing Officer Ted Woehrle admits it wasn't always easy going from a world of big budgets at his alma mater, Procter & Gamble Co., to a world of smaller brands with smaller budgets at Newell Rubbermaid in 2007. Nearly three years in, Mr. Woehrle discusses how he's beaten the two-year CMO curse, how he's helped build a marketing culture at a product-focused company and why he's willing to wait for social-media programs to develop organically without big-budget pushes.

The Situationally Aware Business

Steve Rubel
Jun 3, 2010

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.

Don't Call Us, We'll Call You

May 28, 2010

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?

Freer Ad Spending Buoys TV's Upfront

Suzanne Vranica and Sam Schechner
May 27, 2010

The upfront market, the annual mating dance in which ad buyers and major broadcast networks haggle over ad time for the new TV season, is heating up, and could be sold out in a matter of weeks, ad buyers and marketers say. It's a major reversal from last year when talks dragged on through much of the summer in a harsh economic climate.

Give The Brand A Personality

Len Stein
May 27, 2010

With the meaning of a brand wide open to public interpretation and prone to hyperbole and misconception, corporate managers must thread a thicket of sticky challenges to successfully communicate brand mission, values and philosophy. Moreover, as brands become the publishers of their own unfolding stories, they need intelligent editors who can provide stakeholders with a stream of high-value content that is packed with utility, seeded with inspiration, and that is honestly empathetic. Anything less will not suffice in a world where consumers can simply click away or spin around and mount a web-wide counter-attack on brands that refuse to walk their talk.

We Are The Champions

Brian Solis
May 27, 2010

Social Media marketing is not new nor is it widely established or even understood. However in 2010, it will completely transform the way businesses attract customers and the way consumers find the businesses and services that matter to them. And like that, an overnight landmark, which really is over a decade in the making, will challenge business owners, more so than today, as they now compete for the future, right now. Social Networks are no longer the playgrounds we once perceived. The simple truth is this; social networking is not for just for kids or people with too much free time on their hands.

Bezos Boasts of Kindle's Edge With Serious Readers

May 26, 2010

f the new Apple iPad is for multitaskers, then Amazon.com's Kindle is for die-hard readers, and that's OK with Chief Executive Jeff Bezos. Speaking at Amazon's annual shareholder meeting Tuesday in downtown Seattle, Bezos acknowledged nine out of 10 households don't necessarily do a lot of serious reading. Still, he said the Kindle can compete with the iPad by focusing on die-hard readers, just as heavy-duty cameras remain relevant despite the spread of camera phones.

Twitter Bans Sponsored Tweets, Saves Itself

May 25, 2010

Twitter has banned third party ad networks like Ad.ly, Sponsored Tweets and MyLikes. Like the multilevel marketer who used the pretence of friendship as a recruiting tool, these ad services are all about monetizing personal relationships. Each third party ad network offers a different spin on the same basic business model: you sign up as a sponsored tweeter, and based on the number of people who follow you, you are assigned a price for referring to various advertisers in your tweets. You select from a list of advertisers, and then tweet a link to that advertiser's product, either using your own text or a message that is provided by the advertiser. Your followers click the link, and you get paid.

Marketing And Sales: Bracing For The Big Conversation

Christine Crandell
May 21, 2010

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.

Facebook, MySpace Confront Privacy Loophole

May 21, 2010

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

Henkel Looks To Lock Down Brand Awareness

May 21, 2010

Henkel Corp. is launching a national campaign for its Loctite product line of adhesives and sealants. The campaign -- the first-ever Loctite brand effort -- is designed to build awareness for the brand, although it is a widely used product in U.S. households. Via the Milwaukee, Wis. office of Cramer-Krasselt, the effort comprises TV, print, out-of-home, a new site and point-of-sale materials. Two TV spots show how the adhesive brand that can do everything from fixing toys to patching boats is the same one used by professionals. Print and out-of-home ads visually contrast the uses of the product in split-screen style between home uses and professional, high-profile uses such as race cars and space vehicles. One ad shows a space shuttle on one side with a high-heeled shoe on the other. Others show planes vs. Porsches and a Formula One racer opposite a coffee mug.

Growth through Focus: A Blueprint for Driving Profitable Expansion

Sanjay Khosla and Mohanbir Sawhney
May 19, 2010

Rather than seek increased revenues and profits by expanding products and markets, companies should follow a seven-step strategy for achieving more with less.

Sustainability Faceoff: McDonald's vs. Starbucks

Ariel Schwartz
May 19, 2010

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.

Rethink Your Business

May 18, 2010

Pam Kufahl, CI’s editor, and I spoke after Malcolm Gladwell delivered the keynote at the recent IHRSA convention and trade show. Gladwell had called for a revolution in the fitness industry through a “re-branding” of exercise. In order to reach the 84% of the adult U.S. population which does not belong to a fitness facility, Gladwell argued, exercise must be made relevant and exciting to them. As I thought about the point, it became clear to me the fitness club industry needed more than simply a new label or marketing program. Fitness club operators must think differently about their business. They must come up with new and different answers to some fundamental questions.

21 Rules for Social Media Engagement

May 18, 2010

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

The Big Companies of the Future Will All Be Shape-Shifters

Nilofer Merchant
May 11, 2010

A great deal of my community has given up on large organizations, stating that the “true” innovation is now happening at start-ups. What that story misses is that many of the “free agents” we see around us as consultants, and so on are actually part of a larger enterprise, albeit in a loose relationship. Larger organizations will survive if only because of the human need to be apart of something larger and the efficiencies of those ecosystems.

Listening to AND Asking the Customer

May 11, 2010

The older I get, the more I become convinced that the average person in our "sound byte society" has the attention span of a gnat. Worse, I fear that in making this assertion, I may be describing myself. I've traditionally been a bit of a cynic for the latest fads. My elders drilled it into me that you "stick with something that works." Yet despite being the immediate past president of the Marketing Research Association (MRA) and a staunch advocate of classical marketing research methodologies, I'm actually starting to buy into some of the "buzz du jour" about social media as a viable tool for measuring fan sentiment.

Generation Prototype

May 7, 2010

If you are in the "consumer durables" market, you already know that it's a label that doesn't make much sense to Gen Y. For Gen Yers, the consumer durables equation seems to look like this: Product Lifespan = Adopted + Adapted + Left Behind for the Next Version

GM Appoints New U.S. Marketing Chief

Sharon Terlep
May 6, 2010

General Motors Co. removed a recently named marketing chief Wednesday and replaced her with an executive known in the car industry for a clever campaign that helped Hyundai Motor Co. bolster its U.S. sales. The move reflects the urgency Chairman and Chief Executive Edward E. Whitacre Jr. places on winning customers and increasing sales in the critical U.S. market. Since becoming chairman last summer, Mr. Whitacre has made it no secret that he expects GM to gain share in the U.S. market, and sees raising sales as critical to its turnaround.

Striking Out Cancer

May 5, 2010

Originally established by the Texas Legislature as the Texas State Cancer Hospital and the Division of Cancer Research in 1941, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center — named after Houston cotton merchant Monroe D. Anderson whose philanthropic foundation made great contributions to the center early on — is today one of the leading cancer research and treatment facilities in the world. Up to 2009, it has been as ranked No. 1 in cancer care in the “America’s Best Hospitals” survey published by U.S. News & World Report in six of the past eight years. Employing more than 17,000 people, MD Anderson treated over 96,000 patients in 2009. A new identity, introduced yesterday, aims to visualize the center’s mission, “to eliminate cancer in Texas, the nation and the world.”

J&J Recall to Hurt Sales, Not Brand Image

May 5, 2010

"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."

How Non-Profits Are Using Social Media For Real Results

May 3, 2010

While non-profits may not allocate extra funds to stakeholders, charitable organizations still have a bottom line — to spread their message and accomplish their mission. To do this, strategic planning, which includes digital outreach, is involved. That’s why a growing number of non-profits are using social media to draw attention to their goals.

Sears CMO Richard Gerstein Resigns

May 1, 2010

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.

Keep the Marketing Mind

Apr 27, 2010

I want to talk about your marketing mind, and why it’s important. I just saw a really decent ad placement for Field Notes, a little writing pad that looks like everyone’s favorite Moleskine products. It was on my Twitterific for iPad app, up at the top. I liked the look of the ad. I liked the tag line they used. I clicked through and checked out the site and found that it was themed really nicely, and that it compelled me to want to buy some.

What You Don't Know about Crowdsourcing and Why They Often Fail?

Apr 27, 2010

Spend a few days around the world stopping over in Shenzen, Shanghai, Mumbai and Seoul and you know what’s really happening out there. Companies are getting desperate and now reaching out to suppliers and customers for ideas. Some even go to the extreme of sourcing ideas from the everyone - the crowd. There’s this naive belief that the crowd is smarter than individual. This is a dangerous theory. Engaging suppliers, advanced users and front-end employees are good practices, but not letting them do your job.

Democracy is a Poor Man’s Marketing

Apr 23, 2010

With two weeks to go before the British general election, the media seems to have gone politically bonkers. You can’t turn a page or switch on the TV without an immediate update on the upcoming election. Marketers are not exempt from all this either. We suddenly seem obsessed with the different marketing strategies being applied by the three major political parties. The Lib Dems have gone guerrilla. Labour is relying on user-generated content. And the Tories are using traditional, above-the-line media.

Know The ‘Why’ Before The ‘How’ Of Social Media

Apr 21, 2010

I was in a Barnes & Noble store recently and noticed a shelf area called “Trends in Business.” On it was one book after the other touting the virtues of social media for marketing purposes. What concerned me was that most of the titles related directly to tools. At least six of them were about Facebook, another six about Twitter, two were focused on blogging, there was one about YouTube, and so on. This was evidence of a focus that, to me, is unhealthy. Consumers are putting much more emphasis on the “how” and less on the “why” … tactics before strategy. I think that is a mistake. It’s classic putting the cart before the horse. Unless you understand why you’re doing something, it makes little sense to learn how.

Study: Marketers Shifting Online Budgets To Content Sites, Away From Networks

Apr 21, 2010

With their ability to cheaply reach eyeballs, online ad networks have commanded more money and attention from marketers in the past few years, thus edging out content sites in the conversation for ad dollars. A recent study, however, claims content is back. A survey of agencies and marketers revealed that 52% of them plan to spend more on content sites this year, whereas only 35% said they were likely to increase budgets for ad networks. As examples of content destinations, the study cited ESPN and WebMD.

Spinning Straw Into Online Gold Through Science of Data

Michael Learmonth
Apr 19, 2010

Marketers have always sought that secret sauce, the data that gives them an edge over their competition. And online, where data is generated faster than anyone can make sense of it, that arms race has taken on an extreme dimension.

Modern Strategy and Hinduism: Finding Parallels

Vijay Govindarajan
Apr 16, 2010

Strategy used to be about protecting your existing competitive advantage. Today, it's about finding the next advantage. Strategy starts to decay the moment it's created. That's why corporations must develop strategies that address tomorrow's business realities. Strategic actions that companies take belong in one of three boxes.

The Real Value Of Web Analytics

Evan LaPointe
Apr 16, 2010

OK, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say something that might not make sense at first: the most important outcome of successful web analytics (or SEO effort or landing page testing, etc.) is not a better web site. The most important outcome is a better, more functional company.

Nissan's Joel Ewanick Puts It All On Leaf

Apr 14, 2010

Joel Ewanick became VP marketing, Nissan Division, on March 22. Literally. Ewanick, who replaces Christian Meunier (tapped as president, Nissan Brazil) went right to work, attending agency strategy sessions and dealer meetings. The former VP marketing at Hyundai Motor American since early 2007 now orchestrates the whole marching band, from marketing communications to incentives to pricing and product management.

Going Glocal: Managing A Brand’s Global Social Profiles On Facebook

Apr 14, 2010

While Twitter’s growth is apparently stalling, Facebook goes from strength to strength and is now, arguably, the world’s largest digital media ‘owner’ other than Google. Its audience is now a very international one, with 70% of users being outside of the US, and its largest audiences are in countries as varied as the UK, Indonesia and Turkey. With this massive growth has come massive opportunities; not just for Facebook but for brands too. But it has also brought challenges, including one that is cropping up more and more frequently – how should multinational companies manage their Facebook profiles? Globally? Locally? Or, dare I say it, somewhere in between: glocally? For brands with a presence in multiple markets, understanding how best to manage their resources to best provide users with relevant content and ensure the highest possible chance of success in the social marketing efforts, this is a challenge that deserves attention.

P&G Pushes Design In Brand-Building Strategy

Apr 12, 2010

As in-store marketing grows in importance and marketers focus more at winning over consumers at the shelf, one discipline is seeing its star rise: design. No less a giant than Procter & Gamble Co. has incorporated design into its comprehensive brand-building function under the group headed by Global Brand-Building Officer Marc Pritchard. After initially carving design shops out of its new "Brand Agency Leader" model for managing and paying marketing-services shops, P&G now increasingly includes them in the system, in which lead creative agencies essentially function as general contractors over other marketing services shops.

How Businesses Can Harness The Power Of Online Communities

Apr 9, 2010

Today, everything is social -– social commerce, social business, social CRM. The list goes on and on. But are consumer technologies like Twitter and Facebook strategic for implementing a social media business strategy? Can you measure the investment? What are the best options for getting tangible value? Once you remove the shiny wrapper, there is an incredible amount of depth and value in using social technologies as a way to reach your customers. However, I personally find the word “social” to be a poor descriptor. Terms like community or collaboration tend to be more meaningful. Here are some ways that businesses and tap into the power of online community.

What The Long Tail Of Search Actually Looks Like

Apr 8, 2010

Much has been written about how savvy search marketers can exploit the long tail in both organic SEO and for paid search campaigns. The formal definition of the long tail refers to the statistical property that a larger share of population rests within the “tail” of a probability distribution than the “head.”

US Airways, United in Talks

Apr 8, 2010

UAL Corp.'s United Airlines and US Airways Group Inc. have resumed discussions of a potential merger that would create a global behemoth, people familiar with the matter said Wednesday. The talks are the latest in a decade long dance between the two big airlines and have recently heated up after months of off-and-on conversation, these people said. The talks aren't that far along and could falter again, these people said.

How To Start A Movement

Apr 6, 2010

Some ideas are a banquet. They go on and on, and invite us to consider what they really mean for hours or days - or sometimes much much longer. Then there are the flashes of insight. The quick sparks that we immediately react to and understand when we hear or see or touch them. These are the types of ideas I wish I could find and share more often. Ideas that inspire in a moment. Starting a movement, for most people, is much more complicated than just having an idea. If you happen to work in a place where this is part of your goal, your questions are often about stakeholders and messages and creating something "viral." We are all seeking the formula that turns that idea into a movement.

5 Tips For Using LinkedIn To Find Star Employees

Apr 5, 2010

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

How the Social Media Really Gets Made at Agencies

Mar 30, 2010

Advertising, PR, and marketing agencies are rapidly waking up to the fact that they can no longer be competitive without including social and emerging media in the work they propose to clients. But in many, if not most, agencies, social media is suffering from Slide 29 Syndrome. That's when an account exec calls the digital gurus and says something like this: "For the past few weeks, we've been working on an RFP that we need to send to the client tomorrow. Please add some social media recommendations to the deck and get it us by COB today." They say that because they think social media is Twitter and Facebook and that you pretty much just need to throw up a page so you can broadcast your press releases and announcements.

Viral Marketing: A Recipe for Success

Mar 29, 2010

Content doesn’t make something viral; people are the primary source of powering social objects across the attention nodes that connect the human network. Despite what appears commonsensical, we’re surprised when our brainchild doesn’t attract the views, attention, and circulation we believe it deserves. The reality of social media is this, in the attention economy, information isn’t randomly discovered and broadly disseminated. It is strategically positioned to either appear when someone searches for a related keyword or it’s presented to someone manually and deliberately.

It's The People, Stupid

Mar 29, 2010

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.

State Farm Sounding Like Its Rivals to Stay on Top of Them

Mar 29, 2010

Geico outguns it by more than double when it comes to auto insurance ad spending. Progressive outspends it by nearly 40%. And Allstate matches its outlays on auto-insurance ads. Yet State Farm -- the country's leading auto insurer -- gained market share last year despite raising its rates and dwelling as a distant third in ad spending in the category. When rival Allstate raised rates, its policy sales declined, but after State Farm did the same, its share actually advanced due to a small increase (less than 1%) in policies sold during a down market.

Memo to Marketers: It's Your Fault if Your Shops Flounder

Michael Bush
Mar 29, 2010

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.

Brand Leaders Should Have A 'What If' Disaster Strategy

Allen Adamson
Mar 26, 2010

The announcement that Tiger Woods would finally begin his 2010 PGA season with an appearance at the Masters Tournament didn't surprise me. My belief has always been that he would step forward to rebuild his brand. The love of the game, if not the love of the fame, is just too important to him. This announcement, along with the continuous bad news about Toyota and other long-standing brands under duress did, however, get me thinking about how much harder it is to transition and reposition a brand in the digital world than it was in pre-Internet days. With information about everything from culture to commerce immediately accessible and sharable on social media, no topic is immune to scrutiny or commentary. This has marketing folks asking some very good questions about strategies for working through both planned and unavoidable changes in brand status.

Use Price To Profit And Grow

Rafi Mohammed
Mar 26, 2010

Pricing is one of the most powerful--yet underutilized--strategies available to businesses. A McKinsey & Company study of the Global 1200 found that if companies increased prices by just 1%, and demand remained constant, on average operating profits would increase by 11%. Using a 1% increase in price, some companies would see even more growth in percentage of profit: Sears, 155%; McKesson, 100%, Tyson, 81%, Land O'Lakes, 58%, Whirlpool, 35%. Just as important, price is a key attribute that consumers consider before making a purchase.

Creating An Emotional Response From Your Web Site

Mar 26, 2010

I hadn’t seen my artist friend in nearly a year, nor was I even sure he was still painting. But there I was the other day, standing with him in his art studio, chatting about the new things he wanted me to add to his web site. Suddenly he led me to one large 80” x 64” canvas of swirling brush strokes that is his style. “This one is for you,” he announced, “for all the help you’ve given me with the web site.”

Telling a Story on the Label

Mar 24, 2010

Here's a $20 bottle of soap. Functionally identical to a $3 bottle, so what's the $17 for? Let's assume the people buying it aren't stupid. What are they paying $17 for? A story. A feeling. A souvenir of a shopping expedition or perhaps just a little bit of joy in the shower every morning. Let's dissect.

Creating Strategic Value: Examples Of Branded Utility

Chris Wilson
Mar 22, 2010

The idea of branded utility is nothing new. In fact, it’s an idea that has cycled in and out of popular conversations for almost a decade, and yet there is still debate on exactly what it means and whether or not brands can truly provide branded utility in a way that makes a relevant connection to the brand.

Walmart Reversal Marks Victory for Brands

Jack Neff
Mar 22, 2010

Walmart has decided that national brands are still important -- even ones with relatively small shares that it used to think didn't. The world's-biggest retailer had embarked on an ambitious program to winnow brand assortment in an effort to reduce inventory, improve margins and, it said, offer the consumer a better shopping experience. But realizing the culling actually "aggravated" consumers, it's now restocking hundreds of brands and products eliminated or curtailed months ago and taking a new look at other categories where it has streamlined assortment.

The Seven Harsh Realities of Social Media for Any Brand

Matt Rhodes
Mar 22, 2010

A lot of people are excited about social media and think it could have a hugely positive impact on their brand, their marketing and communications, the insight they get, the way in which they deal with customer service and many other benefits it can bring to an organisation and to the way it interacts with and engages customers. They are right to be excited, the opportunities are great but brands should not hide from the fact that getting an engaging social media presence takes proper thought, some effort and may take time to embed.

When Profit And Social Impact Unite

Mar 18, 2010

Until the late 1980s, you could clearly see the difference between the business and public sectors. Business was fast-moving, productive, and focused exclusively on profits. The public sector (government, nonprofits, foundations) was slow and unresponsive but full of people who cared about the world and its people. With the emergence of the citizen sector, all that has changed.

Twitter, SXSW, and Building a 21st Century Business

Mar 18, 2010

So, how was your week? Mine's been interesting. In case you haven't heard, I interviewed Twitter CEO Evan Williams at the keynote at this year's South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Conference on Monday in Austin, Texas. In short, the Twitterati in the audience thought our hour-long chat was about as interesting as watching a pair of grandmothers play Canasta. I'll be the first to admit to being a bit green as an interviewer, and entirely new to SXSW. Maybe, in hindsight, I should have monitored Twitter on my laptop from the stage so I could have adjusted our conversation... especially in front of a raucous audience not known for leniency. In any case, I apologize to the SXSW community that our conversation didn't live up to the significant pre-event hype. But let's get beyond the hype.

Making Strategy Simple

Mar 17, 2010

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.

A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action

Mar 16, 2010

While I have spent some time pondering social media in 2006, this topic is getting dear to my heart again. Partially because – here at Futurelab - there has been a marked increase in the number of requests from large organisations to help develop a “social media strategy”. This is often accompanied by the words Facebook, Twitter, buzz and monetization. My usual one-line response to these queries is that developing a strategy for social media, is about as useful as developing of a strategy for a fax machine.

Online Research: Don't Confuse More With Better

Constance O'Hare
Mar 16, 2010

The internet has changed the way we do research. Sure it's cheap and fast, but is the ability to get instant data actually making executives smarter about market opportunities? Not always. In too many companies, online research creates an illusion of rigor while actually sowing confusion about market truths, leading executives -- in particular CEOs and CMOs -- to miss the big picture and waste opportunities right under their noses.

To Take on Botox, Rival Tries Rebate

Natasha Singer
Mar 12, 2010

Allergan and Medicis Pharmaceutical are the Coke and Pepsi of vanity medicine. Allergan makes Botox Cosmetic, the well-known injectable anti-wrinkle treatment. Medicis markets Dysport, a competing anti-wrinkle shot, in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration has approved both drugs to smooth skin furrows between the eyebrows. And now Medicis has introduced a new marketing campaign that pits Dysport directly against Botox, essentially issuing a Pepsi challenge for the wrinkle wars. The campaign is even called the Dysport challenge.

Labor Tensions Threaten Airline Recovery

Mar 12, 2010

Increasingly turbulent labor negotiations are threatening to knock U.S. airlines off their recovery course just as the battered industry starts to emerge from a deep recession. Airlines slashed pay and benefits over the past decade, often during stays in bankruptcy court. Now, their restive workers are pressing for wage increases, in some cases by double-digit percentages.

Green with Ennui

Jonathan Salem Baskin
Mar 2, 2010

Judging from its branding and the griping of its competitors, Apple customers are hip, aware, and enlightened, yet its shareholders recently defeated resolutions to make the company more environmentally responsible and affirmed instead their uncool unconcern about anything other than profits. There isn't just a disconnect here, but an entirely topsy-turvy arrangement.

Do You Need All That Data?

Ron Ashkenas
Mar 2, 2010

Organizations love data: numbers, reports, trend lines, graphs, spreadsheets — the more the better. And, as a result, many organizations have a substantial internal factory that churns out data on a regular basis, as well as external resources on call that produce data for onetime studies and questions. But what's the evidence (or dare I say "the data") that all of this data is worth the cost and indeed leads to better business decisions? Is some amount of data collection unnecessary, perhaps even damaging by creating complexity and confusion?

Companies Map Routes to Recovery

Mar 2, 2010

Corporate America is emerging from the worst downturn since the Great Depression smaller and thriftier. To survive, companies have laid off millions of workers, closed hundreds of factories and vacated acres of office space. Like those who grew up in the Depression and still reuse sheets of aluminum foil, the experience has left them financially conservative and wary of risk. The road to recovery will likely be marked by slow and steady acceleration, rather than speed. Some companies will see opportunities to amass undervalued assets or steal customers. But it is unclear if their efforts will create enough new jobs to spark broader economic growth

How To Keep Good Employees In A Bad Economy

Feb 26, 2010

As we make our way through the challenges of the global economic crisis, high-impact performers are in demand. I'm speaking here of the indispensible workers who are willing to do what it takes to help the company succeed even in the most difficult of times. Those who pick up the slack when the organization is forced to cut back; those whose ideas save time, money, and effort; those with a positive outlook who help keep the organization moving forward.

For Foursquare, Social Media Challenges Are Fourfold

Feb 26, 2010

I hate the word "buzz," especially when it's being stoked by a calculated PR push, so I'm going to start using a new word, "puzz" (publicity + buzz) to describe that phenomenon. The last couple weeks have seen a lot of puzz about Foursquare, a very interesting, cutting-edge social media application that combines digital, mobile distribution of data with the real-world physical locations of its users. Basically, it's a social network site that tells your friends where you are. This is a very cool idea, bringing online social media -- previously restricted to the infinite, abstract Internet -- into the limited, concrete geography of the real world. The latest Foursquare puzz has it partnering with IGN Entertainment's AskMen.com site, for a deal that will distribute content about local travel and entertainment from the AskMen A. List newsletter to Foursquare users, complementing the highly targeted local social focus of the latter.

Lords of Strategy: A Conversation with Walter Kiechel

Sarah Cliffe
Feb 26, 2010

I spoke recently with Walter Kiechel about his new book, The Lords of Strategy, which describes the rise of the large strategy consulting firms — BCG, McKinsey, and Bain — as well as the business school professors who contributed conceptual frameworks and pragmatic insights to the strategy revolution. Kiechel, a former Managing Editor at Fortune magazine, was the Editorial Director of Harvard Business Publishing from 1998 to 2002.

Coca-Cola Deal Marks Major Shift in U.S. Strategy

Feb 26, 2010

Coca-Cola Co.'s deal Thursday to acquire the bulk of its largest bottler is likely to spell major changes in the way beverages reach stores and consumers in the U.S. Coke shares slipped 4% to $53.12 in 4 p.m. composite trading on the New York Stock Exchange following the company's announcement that it will acquire Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc.'s North American operations, representing about 75% of the volume of Coke products sold in the U.S. and all of its Canadian volume. At the same time, CCE will expand its European operations, acquiring Coke's bottling units in Norway and Sweden, and later possibly its 83% stake in its large German bottling operations.

In CSR, Nike Just Does It

Feb 25, 2010

Nike recently released their “Corporate Responsibility Report FY07-09” and I was so impressed by it, I just had to share my thoughts about it. Many of you know how big of a Nike fan I am, so it’s probably not surprising that the report resonated so strongly with me. But actually, I don’t think my positive brand bias has much to do with my reaction to the report. After all, I take a very skeptical stance when it comes to corporate social responsibility because many companies’ CSR efforts lack integrity the way their brand efforts do – they emphasize the saying vs. the doing.

Measuring the Strength of Brand Identity

Larry Ackerman
Feb 25, 2010

Ever wonder what is really behind this thing we call "identity? " It's one of those words that attracts a variety of meanings, ranging from a company's name and logo, to its business definition (Fuji: We're a digital imaging company), to its image in the marketplace, to its values.

Know It, But Don't Include It

Feb 25, 2010

The New York Times brings this story of an economist who has been predicting - disconcertingly accurately - the medals tally for the last few Olympics. Daniel Johnson - the economist in question - is currently in the news for his predictions for the current Winter Olympics. The strange thing about Daniel's predictions is not that they have a record of 94% accuracy with actual medal counts. It is his methology. Rather than basing his predictions on individual athletes, the events or even any knowledge of sport, he bases them on something far more removed.

Coca-Cola Strikes Deal With Bottler

Feb 25, 2010

Coca-Cola Co. agreed to buy the bulk of its largest bottler, the company announced Thursday morning. Under the terms of the deal, Coke would give up its 34% stake in Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., worth $3.4 billion, and assume $8.88 billion in debt. In a separate deal, Coca-Cola will sell its own Norwegian and Swedish bottling operations to Coca-Cola Enterprises for $822 million. CCE has an option to buy Coca-Cola's 83% stake in its German bottling operations. "We have a strong and unrelenting belief in our unique and thriving global bottling system. Our new North American structure will create an unparalleled combination of businesses," Coca-Cola Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Muhtar Kent said in a statement.

'Paranormal Activity' Wins by Listening to Fans' 'Demands'

Feb 22, 2010

For almost two years, "Paranormal Activity" quietly maintained modern-day cult movie status, traveling from film festivals to the occasional midnight screening in a college town for anyone who wanted to see -- and scream at -- the ultralow-budget horror thriller. But after Paramount Pictures picked up the $15,000 film from corporate sibling DreamWorks last summer, it was time to redefine what "cult" could mean in the digital age of 2009. Paramount teamed with Eventful, a user-generated event marketing site, for a first-of-its-kind "Demand It" campaign in which movie fans could "demand" the movie come to their hometown. If the film got 1 million demands, Paramount promised, the studio would roll out the film nationwide to all the markets that asked for it. The studio reached that lofty goal in less than a week.

Burger King, Franchisees Start Making Nice

Feb 19, 2010

After months of public acrimony, Burger King appears to be letting franchisees have it their way. The chain will raise the price of its $1 double cheeseburger, and is working to resolve pending litigation related to a proposed advertising increase. Burger King has been embroiled in two lawsuits with franchisees, one relating to whether the company can set prices -- stemming from the cheeseburger promotion -- and another pertaining to the chain's right to divert rebates from soft-drink companies to boost advertising spending.

New Rum Campaign Has a Sophisticated Tone

Feb 18, 2010

The raucous, party-hardy image of rum is not for the rum distillers of Puerto Rico. They are taking another tack in a campaign that is now under way. The campaign, which carries the theme “A reflection of who you are,” has a tone that is intended to be more sophisticated and upscale. The ads are aimed at younger urban professionals who look forward to other parts of the day besides happy hour.

For Redbox, 28 Days Later Is a Horror

Feb 18, 2010

Has Redbox just put itself into a wooden box? The DVD-kiosk chain's agreement with Warner Bros. means Redbox customers won't be able to rent new Warner DVDs until 28 days after their release. That may make sourcing its movies easier. But it also may shorten the Coinstar unit's life expectancy.

Secret to Breaking the 2-Year Curse: It's the Sales, Stupid

Mark Chmiel
Feb 15, 2010

We all know the statistic and scratch our heads: The average tenure of a CMO is around two years or less. Why? Usually it takes that long to fully understand the intricacies and true insights of most industries, companies and brands. Repeating an action over and over again anticipating a different outcome is a humorous definition of insanity. So are CEOs and boards insane?

Who Says the Future Needs an Advertising Agency?

Bud Caddell
Feb 10, 2010

Advertising agency of the future sounds a bit like horse drawn carriage of the future. I’m not saying for certain that there won’t be agencies in the future, only that the future doesn’t necessarily need agencies. Just like the future doesn’t need printed news but it needs journalism; the future needs commercial communications, but who creates them, the agency or the brand or someone else, is unwritten. And though the future of the agency is unwritten, I have real doubts that agencies will survive or should survive.

Why You Need a Strategy for Social Media

Feb 10, 2010

Social media has matured to the point where marketers are no longer asking whether it should be part of their marketing mix but how and where they should participate. A clear strategy for the channel is now necessary. “The low cost of social media can lull marketers into improvising solutions,” said Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the Insight Brief “Five Reasons Why Marketers Need to Have a Social Media Strategy.” “But taking account of the time spent debating, formulating, managing and executing social media campaigns—not to mention creating content—makes it clear that money is at stake and a well-thought-out plan is needed,” Mr. Verna said.

Wikimedia Strategy: Ideas for Strengthening Online Communities

Barry Newstead
Feb 10, 2010

For those of you who have been following Wikimedia's open strategy initiative on this blog, you'll know that one of the goals of the work has been to strengthen the health of the Wikipedia community of contributors who create and use its online encyclopedias. In a healthy community, contributors feel a sense of affiliation and social bonding, they come from diverse backgrounds and expertise areas required to accomplish the project's expansive work, remain open to differences of perspective and able to resolve disputes respectfully. "Community health" is a hot topic among participants engaged in developing the Wikimedia strategy, both within the broader Wikimedia community and outside it.

Facebook, AOL Link Instant Messaging

Feb 10, 2010

Facebook's and AOL's instant-messaging systems now can link together. It's a step forward--but one that also shows how backward Net communications are today. "AIM has teamed up with Facebook, and now you can chat with your Facebook friends--right from AIM!" gushes the AIM beta download site. "After you sign into AIM, click the 'Facebook Connect' button at the top of your buddy list to set up Facebook chat. When you are done your Facebook friends will be added to your buddy list. You can now chat with your friends who are using the Facebook site!" Maybe I should be happier about this than I am. I can't begrudge Facebook's effort to enrich its members communications' options through its 2008 launch of instant messaging, but I also can't help feeling this is a case of a new-era Internet company making the same missteps as its dot-com 1.0 predecessors.

International Sales Boost Coca-Cola Results

Feb 10, 2010

Strong soda sales in developing economies such as Brazil and India pushed Coca-Cola Co.'s fourth-quarter profit up 55%, but tepid consumer spending continued to pressure its business in North America. The company's earnings reflect a trend reported by other consumer-product makers in recent weeks: Consumer spending has generally bounced back in fast-growing markets in Asia and Latin America, but has yet to make a comeback in the U.S.

The Tweet Hereafter

Todd Wasserman
Feb 8, 2010

If you're a marketer who has steered clear of Twitter, your (non)strategy may be paying off! It's possible that this Twitter thing may just take care of itself. In the middle of last year, Twitter's growth slowed from 7.8 million new users a month to 6.2 million, according to a recent study from RJ Metrics. That report also found that only 17 percent of Twitter users updated their accounts in December -- an all-time low. An earlier study by the Nielsen Co. revealed 60 percent of Twitter users do not return from one month to the next. Taking that into account, it's tempting to conclude that Twitter is following in the footsteps of another social-media ghost town, Second Life.

Four Ways To Create Intangible Value

Norm Smallwood
Feb 4, 2010

Several years ago, my colleague Dave Ulrich and I looked at how leaders build value by building employee confidence in the future. Our findings bear revisiting as companies begin to emerge after the devastation of the last 18 months and work to create new value.

Is Diamond Foods Nuts For Squeezing 2 Brands Into 1 Ad?

Feb 3, 2010

Does $3 million for one 30-second spot sound like a lot of money to promote your brand during this year’s Super Bowl? Well, if you cram two of your products into one ad, like Diamond Foods is planning, then it’s only $1.5 million per brand.

5 Ways To Rock Customer Review Sites

Feb 1, 2010

There’s been a fair amount of coverage recently about the ins and outs, good and evil, usefulness and rudeness of customer rating and reviews sites. No matter how you feel about these social recommendation sites, if you own a small business of any kind, it’s time to get serious about figuring out and playing the game.

Stop Spreading Viruses & Start Giving Gifts

Jan 27, 2010

Agencies and clients alike often talk about “viral marketing” as if it’s something we choose to create. We describe viral as if it’s an inherent quality we can design into our campaigns, or a deliberate strategy we can execute on. But for the handful of “viral campaigns” that explode into cultural phenomena each year, hundreds of other efforts have little or no impact at all. In spite of this, we often continue to insist that we know how to “make things viral,” while also reassuring ourselves that some efforts “just catch on better than others.” Unless we want to spend another year burning time and resources in the pursuit of that belief, it’s time to accept a difficult truth: viral isn’t a quality that we, as marketers, have the power to bestow. In fact, viral isn’t an inherent trait that advertising can have at all. Viral isn’t what a marketing campaign is, but how that campaign spreads. And when a campaign does achieve viral propagation, it’s not simply a function of what we do as designers and planners. Instead, it’s a function of deliberate choices that each consumer makes about what is worth sharing and why.

Tactic Lust

Jan 25, 2010

We’ve all experienced it. Perhaps you’ve even felt it yourself. You learn of a new marketing tactic – and you just gotta have it… you gotta do it. Your factory needs to be on Facebook. Your team needs to tweet. Alas, sometimes love can be blinding. While your passion may be genuine, there are two things you could be forgetting…

Why Are Superbowl Ads Cheaper This Year?

Jan 21, 2010

It seems like everything I read about the reduction in price of Superbowl Ads blames the economy. But, could it be there is something bigger going on here? As we move from an economy based on scarcity (Superbowl ads are the very definition of a scarce commodity) to one based on abundance there other ways to have a more powerful and long lasting relationship at a reduced cost emerge.

How To Launch An In-Language Internet Program

Jan 21, 2010

When our clients ask me whether an in-language Internet program is necessary to the success of their Spanish-language advertising campaign, I ask them if their marketing goals long- or short-term. If a client's goal is short-term testing of a product or service, an in-language Internet program is nice to have but not necessary, but if a client has long-term marketing goals that aim to build loyalty among Spanish-speaking consumers, then an active digital campaign is essential.

Foreign Auto Makers Suit Up for Super Bowl

Jan 21, 2010

Foreign car makers are marketing their vehicles more aggressively in the U.S., and are making the Super Bowl a high-profile part of their strategies for wresting market share from American rivals. On Feb. 7, tens of millions of football fans will see about a half-dozen auto commercials from at least four overseas manufacturers flicker across their TV screens during the big game. Last year, three auto makers, advertised on the Super Bowl broadcast.

NYT To Charge For Online Access

Jan 20, 2010

The New York Times will begin charging for online access to its website by 2011, reversing the prevailing policy among general news brands to give away their best work for free. The publisher of the International Herald Tribune, Boston Globe and the namesake daily newspaper will adopt a metered model, similar to a system used by the Financial Times, that will offer a set number of articles for free monthly and begin charging readers after they exceed the limit.

Static Clouds Google TV

Jan 18, 2010

By almost any measure, Google is an extraordinary success -- except when it comes to traditional media. After launching ambitious plays to digitize the radio and print businesses in recent years, the search giant eventually bailed on them. Now, several media executives are wondering about the company’s long-term commitment to its fledgling Google TV business. “I think 2010 is a make-or-break year for Google TV,” said Tracey Scheppach, senior vp/director of video innovation for SMG. “A lot of people are wondering what role it will ultimately play for Google -- big, small or not at all.”

Social Media’s Brand-Building Potential

Jan 18, 2010

Right before the holidays, MarketingSherpa released its “2010 Social Media Marketing Benchmark Report.” The report indicated that “improving brand or product reputation” and “increasing brand or product awareness” did not rank highly in the list of social media objectives targeted and measured by U.S. marketers. This confirms my own findings that companies are overlooking the importance of using social media tools for strategic, proactive brand-building.

What Makes Your Advocates Feel Like Rockstars?

Jan 16, 2010

What Makes Your Advocates Feel Like Rockstars? Lavishing them with freebies? Flying them all over the country? Throwing monthly parties for them? Maybe for a while. But not only is that not sustainable, it’s not good business, either. So here are some simple ways to engage with your fans and make them feel like the rockstars that they are.

For Sale: Business Culture

Jan 13, 2010

A recent Business Week article, “Zappos Retails its Culture” offered a tantalizing proposition. After all, if an entrepreneur creates a successful business, why not sell the concept to other entrepreneurs interested in starting up new ventures? So thought Tony Hsieh, Zappos Chief Executive. So, beginning last summer, Zappos began offering two day seminars at $4,000 a pop to share the successful Internet retailer’s recipe for recreating “the essence of its corporate culture”. Now, there are plans to offer these seminars once per quarter in 2010.

Why Good Spreadsheets Make Bad Strategies

Roger Martin
Jan 12, 2010

We live in a world obsessed with science, preoccupied with predictability and control, and enraptured with quantitative analysis. Economic forecasters crank out precision predictions of economic growth with their massive econometric models. CEOs give to-the-penny guidance to capital markets on next quarter's predicted earnings. We live by adages like: "Show me the numbers" and truisms such as "If you can't measure it, it doesn't count." What has this obsession gotten us? The economists have gotten it consistently wrong.

Ford's Message: We Are The Medium

Jan 12, 2010

Ford is first off the blocks in 2010 with its clinching of both car and truck of the year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The company won top honors for its hybrid Fusion and Transit Connect wagon. This year, Ford launches two critical vehicles that articulate in sheet metal CEO Alan Mulally's "One Ford" strategy of developing global automobiles, rather than distinct cars and trucks for distinct markets. On Monday, Ford did a live chat from Detroit with Jim Farley, group VP of marketing at the Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker. He fielded questions about how the company will use social media and the company's One Ford plan, and of course, the vehicles. He said the key to Ford's One Ford idea is, at its simplest, one car across the world.

Google’s Approach to Social for 2010

Jan 12, 2010

Though Google’s social strategy has been catch-up at best to date, the company does have a master plan — at least according to engineering director David Glazer, whom I spoke with last week at Google HQ. He said across a variety of products, Google wants to make it valuable and easy to harness social information. In 2010, Google plans to expose and elicit more of the social network built into the tools that many of us already use — Gmail, Google Talk, etc. If you use Google products, the company already knows who your most important contacts are, what your core interests are, and where your default locations are. Glazer said to expect many product and feature launches that start to connect that information in useful ways.

Sears Reveals Online 'Marketplace'

Jan 8, 2010

Keeping quiet works when operating elite hedge funds, but it's usually not a great strategy when running a retailer. For the past six months, Sears Holdings Corp. has been operating an online marketplace that allows third-party vendors to sell goods on its Web site. But few consumers knew about it. Sears waited until Thursday to unveil "Marketplace at Sears.com," disclosing that its Web site carries more than 10 million products, including furniture, art, cosmetics, appliances, sporting goods and shoes. Perhaps Sears could learn a lesson from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which at the start of this decade also shunned the spotlight, but changed its strategy after too much bad publicity. Now, Wal-Mart goes out of its way to be heard, even as it spends relatively little on advertising.

Changed Perceptions Are The Result of Changed Behaviour.

Jan 6, 2010

I think you’ll probably agree that a lot of our current marketing theory is based upon the almost invisible assumption that thought precedes action. This made sense in an era when marketing was limited to generating thoughts, but when we can build digital and physical experiences, thought is often a barrier to action. Things are often more complicated to explain than they are to do, and thinking about something too much is often paralysing.

Japan Unveils New Plan for Growth

Dec 30, 2009

Still struggling after its worst recession in generations, Japan announced a long-term growth strategy Wednesday that seeks to tap into the dynamism of its Asian neighbors, create millions of jobs in new industries and fuel economic expansion of at least 2 percent a year over the next decade.

Retailers Turn to Internet to Spur Late Holiday Business

Miguel Bustillo and Geoffrey Fowler
Dec 26, 2009

As a relatively subdued last-minute rush brought pre-Christmas shopping to a close, retailers were hoping to entice procrastinating consumers to keep on buying through the holiday and after. More retailers planned Internet sales on Christmas Day this year in an attempt to cash in on the growth of e-commerce, one of the few bright spots in an otherwise lackluster holiday shopping season. Shoppers and stores have engaged in a tug-of-war this year, as consumers postponed shopping in hopes of deep discounts and retailers tried to preserve their profit margins, offering limited deals designed to drive traffic into stores.

How Vevo Makes Google More Like Coca-Cola

Dec 11, 2009

They used to be polar opposites. One was the epitome of 20th century business; the other, the textbook example of a better kind of business. By mass-producing, mass-marketing, and relentlessly hard-selling sugar water to kids and the poor, Coca-Cola rose to global prominence and market dominance: thin, artificial value had little better example. But Google's rise was powered by exactly the opposite: building a more meaningful media marketplace, that created authentic value for all. That was yesterday. Today, Google is the new Coke.

Target Opens Urban Pop-Up Stores to Attract Holiday Shoppers

Dec 11, 2009

Target Corp., the retailer expanding in U.S. cities, opened so-called pop-up stores in three urban centers to generate holiday-season sales and publicity. The second-biggest U.S. discount chain is running Target To-Gos in New York, San Francisco and Washington today through Dec. 13. The temporary stores offer 50 products, including 99- cent Christmas tree ornaments, Sony Corp.’s PSP Go handheld video-game player for $249.99 and pieces from Target’s Rodarte fashion line that won’t be available nationwide until Dec. 20.

Are Your Sources Of Strategic Advantage Eroding?

John Hagel III, John Seely Brown and Lang Davison
Dec 11, 2009

Until now, executives have focused on two forms of strategic advantage: structural and capability-based. The Big Shift challenges both. It undermines traditional approaches to structural advantage by systematically reducing barriers to entry and movement. Static capabilities are also increasingly vulnerable - they represent knowledge stocks that depreciate at an accelerating rate. Unless they are rapidly refreshed by knowledge flows, these capabilities rapidly lose their power to differentiate. The findings from our recently released 2009 Shift Index provide graphic evidence on these points. Our analysis shows a sustained and significant deterioration in ROA for all public companies in the US since 1965 - ROA declined by over 75% during this period.

Glimmer: The Power Of Design Thinking

Nov 19, 2009

Fast Company reports that a new book by Warren Berger, Glimmer, poses that basic design strategies can be adapted to everyday issues – at global, social, business and even personal levels. The book’s title captures that moment when one arrives at a new solution to an old problem, and strives to learn how designers solve everyday problems and create alternative solutions.

Social Media's Promise in 2010

Jonathan Salem Baskin
Nov 16, 2009

All the incessant chanting of new media's Greek chorus notwithstanding, 2009 revealed two emergent facts about the promise of social media: first, it's not really "social," and second, "media" is its least important quality. Instead, the opportunities it presents arise from what goes into it, and what comes out of it. Ignoring these inputs and outputs are its downside, too.

Windows 7 Shrugs Off Viral Jabs

Nov 12, 2009

Microsoft Windows 7's launch video was a viral smash. And while some believed it was because people thought "HostingYourParty" was a riotously bad -- Microsoft is enjoying the last laugh. Still, despite the negative attention directed at the instructional video, which was intended for people hosting Windows 7 "house parties," the tech giant managed to reach a lot of consumers. In fact, from Oct. 22-29, more than 800,000 people attended more than 10,000 parties in 12 countries hosted by Windows 7.

Why 2010 Is the Year to Rethink Discounts, Pricing Strategy

Chris Dickey
Nov 11, 2009

General business strategy dictates that there are two ways a business responds to a dramatic downturn in consumer spending. They cut costs and/or discount heavily to drive traffic and lure beaten consumers out of their malaise. Both approaches are easy levers to pull because they have a salient short-term impact. The rub lies in not knowing what the long-term impact of these short-term decisions will be. While the long-term implications of cost-cutting is an article in itself, today many retailers find that their most immediate issue is working their way back out of discount-driven brand-price erosion.

User Stories: A Strategic Design Tool

Penny Hagen & Michelle Gilmore
Nov 11, 2009

Collaborative design methods play a key role in aligning team members towards a shared and strategic project vision. In this article we describe how user stories stimulate and facilitate discussion and decision making with clients in the development of a User Experience Strategy. In our context (the development of online projects) the User Experience Strategy becomes an ‘in principle agreement’ on the shape of the project (what), its purpose (why), and provides potential implementation strategies (how). It takes into account all perspectives (e.g business, technical, marketing, brand) but privileges the intended user experience.

Transparency and Chemistry Key to CMO Longevity

Nov 10, 2009

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.

Big Marketers are Urged to Stay Focused on Customers, Brands

Melanie Wells
Nov 9, 2009

A group of 1,200 marketing and advertising executives at the 99th annual conference of the Association of National Advertisers in Phoenix are anxious about the economy--but many see opportunity as they look toward 2010. Executives from Walmart ( WMT - news - people ), McDonald's ( MCD - news - people ) and MillerCoors on Friday spoke about how their companies, which sell "value" products, have profited from the recession and changes in their businesses. The takeaway message from these executives: Don't be too distracted by fads and trends--stay focused on customers and the brand basics.

Fighting Digital Attention Deficit Begins at Home

Steve Rubel
Nov 9, 2009

Every day, there's a barrage of numbers from ComScore, Forrester and others that quantifies our enthusiasm for consuming all things digital. But we're in danger of overlooking three Nielsen metrics that are downright frightening and point to a staggering digital attention deficit. The first: The average American visited 87 domains in September. The second: He or she browsed 2,645 web pages that month. And the third: All of 57 seconds is the average time he or she spent per page.

How Six Flags Markets Through Its Bankruptcy

Nov 9, 2009

When Angie Vieira Barocas joined Six Flags nearly four years ago, her challenge was to rebuild the brand with a new team, stimulate renewed excitement and drive attendance. Of course, when she joined Six Flags in January 2006, the company, which that year shifted its corporate headquarters from Oklahoma to New York under new ownership by parent Six Flags Inc., hadn't yet filed for bankruptcy. When it did so this past June, saddled with more than $2 billion in debt that it was unable to refinance, Ms. Vieira Barocas' job took on new complexity.

Efficiency Farming

Nov 9, 2009

There's constant pressure in business to make things as efficient as possible. In every project, the fat is trimmed, the edges are sanded, and the processes are streamlined. It’s how you bring scale to ideas. It’s how you improve margins over time. But far too often, the uniqueness of an idea gets lost in all the efficiency. I was reminded of this recently when evaluating a couple different bottle designs. One was incredibly unique and differentiated, but inefficient all the way through the supply chain to the retail shelf. Another was über-efficient, but, not surprisingly, too close to the rest of the category.

Amid Transition, Rivals are Descending on Apple

Nov 9, 2009

Apple, once untouchable in terms of marketing, has gotten a little roughed up lately. For much of the decade, Apple got away with bashing longtime adversary Microsoft without repercussions. Apple also dominated the MP3 player category without a serious rival. But now, as Microsoft has reinvigorated its marketing and it navigates into the phone handset category, suddenly everyone is bashing Apple.

Micro-Pulse: How Small Touches Impact the Heartbeat of Your Brand

Chris Wilson
Nov 6, 2009

Think about all the brands you interacted with today. Nearly everything you have done so far today involved a brand, was enabled by a brand or was accompanied by a brand. These interactions are just one of many touchpoints with a specific brand. Touchpoints, or touches for short, work in a way similar to that of how blood flows through our bodies. Your heart pumps blood through your body, providing it with the oxygen and nutrients it needs, but the heart alone isn’t solely responsible for enabling a steady, healthy heartbeat. Every vein, artery and vessel has an impact on your heartbeat. No matter how small a constricted vein may be, it has an impact on the flow of blood.

Forget About Harley and Apple

Jonathan Salem Baskin
Nov 5, 2009

Have you noticed that most conversations about branding inevitably include references to Harley-Davidson and Apple? Sprinkle in mentions of Coke, Facebook, and Zappos, and you get the context of every agency pitch for more spending on brand engagement, loyalty, or whatever else these examples might suggest. I suggest you ban these references from your next conversation. Forget about them altogether.

Recovering Before the Recovery

Angela Hribar
Nov 4, 2009

The important question during a downturn is not whether or not the economy will recover -- it will; it always does. What's important to ask is whether your company will be in position to surge as the economy begins to grow. To a large degree, the level of your success will depend on your marketing efforts and capabilities -- what you have done during the downturn and what you put in place now to win business during the recovery. You will need to make strategic decisions about choosing new media, entering new markets, and positioning products.

Brand Marketers Rethink Their Roles and Their Ad Strategies

Melanie Wells
Nov 3, 2009

The recession has battered some of the nation's biggest companies. Even so, top marketing executives believe social media and behavioral targeting technologies will help them boost business as the economy stabilizes and consumer sentiment improves. A cautiously optimistic group of marketing executives from big companies, including Bank of America, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Mercedes-Benz USA and Xerox, gathered in Palm Beach, Fla., at the Fifth annual Forbes CMO Summit late last week. There they discussed ways they can rebuild trust and boost sales at their companies as the economy stabilizes.

The Art of Retail

Nov 3, 2009

Last Sunday’s New York Times included a piece, “At MoMA, ‘Permanent’ Learns to Be Flexible.” It outlined how the museum’s new chief curator of painting and sculpture, Ann Temkin, is challenging the rules of museum display. In the piece, I found some instructive parallels for struggling retailers. If the idea of retailers learning from museums sounds familiar, it may be because earlier this year I wrote a post recommending that retailers follow in the footsteps of three museums’ attempts to reinvigorate visitor and donor interest. I believe retailers and museums experience some of the challenges:

Luxury Marketing in a Recession and Beyond

Nov 3, 2009

As Coco Chanel once remarked, "Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury." These words ring true in today's lackluster global luxury market and business environment. As we shift from recession into recovery mode, it is important for marketers to take a step back and evaluate what worked and what failed for luxury marketers during this economic crisis. With recognized brands, such as Versace, shuttering stores around the world, LVMH sales plummeting 20% in the first half of the year and the luxury car market struggling to stay above water, branding and how we build and communicate luxury brands, will become even more relevant as we move into 2010 and beyond.

K-C Makes an Upscale Zag as Competition Focuses on Value Plays During Recession

Jack Neff
Nov 2, 2009

A recession seems like a funny time to move your product mix upscale, but Kimberly-Clark Corp. has been doing just that of late, focusing more on premium and super-premium offerings and brands such as Cottonelle, Viva and Huggies Pure and Natural, while watching distribution of its Scott value brand shrink. It's a bold strategy to zag upscale as most of the market, including archrival Procter & Gamble Co., have been zigging more toward value products and private-label sales have been rising.

Bridge the Gap Between User Experience and Brand Value

Matthew Schwartz
Nov 2, 2009

If you run a business or are in charge of marketing one, you know that your Web site is often the first interaction a potential customer has with your brand. For many of today's businesses, particularly those in the digital media and technology space, Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) have become the primary point of customer interaction. With online experiences contributing so heavily to how people feel about brands, an effective union of user experience design and brand strategy has become critical to sustaining business success.

The World’s First Crowdsourced Ad Agency

Oct 29, 2009

Victors & Spoils launched today, touting itself as the “world’s first creative (ad) agency built on crowdsourcing principles.” The agency’s crowdsourced approach stems from identifying the need for companies, brands and agencies to be radically transparent, to address the consumer’s demand to be more involved and from a growing cost consciousness regarding clients’ budgets. Recognizing that the crowdsourcing paradigm can feel a bit unruly for most clients, Victors & Spoils will face the daunting challenge of identifying an array of possible crowdsourced solutions and keeping them on-strategy for their clients.

When it Comes to Innovations, Simplicity Rocks

Oct 23, 2009

Innovation is the lifeblood of consumer product companies. It has pushed design to higher levels and resulted in making life better, more convenient, safer; it continually adds value to products. Without it, brands max out the sales potential of existing products. They risk becoming stale and passé over time. Unless innovative products are constantly in the pipeline, brands run the risk of being upstaged by competitors, as well. However, there are times when the push for constant innovation can lead consumer product companies astray. Some well-planned, well-executed ideas have been a bust in spite of, or rather because of the fact they represented some kind of innovation.

The Billion Designers of Window 7

Stuart Elliot
Oct 22, 2009

Microsoft Corporation regularly asks PC users for feedback about its products. But after the debacle with Vista, the operating system nobody liked, the company and its advertising agency, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, realized that the concept of consumers as an intrinsic part of the development process could be an effective selling point for the Vista replacement, Windows 7. And so was born a campaign, getting under way on Thursday in six countries, carrying the theme “I’m a PC and Windows 7 was my idea.”

'Pop-up' Stores are Becoming an Overnight Sensation

Oct 19, 2009

For most retail stores, staying in business for only a few days would be considered a major flop. But a growing number of merchants are opening shops and abruptly shutting them down soon after -- on purpose. These quickie retail operations -- known as pop-ups -- are showing up throughout Southern California and around the nation, filling in the gaps at recession-battered shopping centers for a fraction of the regular rents. Once limited to seasonal shops and dusty liquidation centers, pop-up stores are now being opened by some of the nation's biggest retailers.

Communications In The "New Normal"

Oct 15, 2009

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.

When Great Design Becomes Its Own Language

Oct 15, 2009

The basic elements of a brand's visual language--type, color, photographic/illustration style and layout also establish a filter for making decisions on how to best "speak" from the heart. If all the basics are in sync, it will make choices like story, set design, talent, wardrobe, physical space, dialog and tone of voice easy to make.

Is Your Fighter Brand Strong Enough to Win the Battle?

Mark Ritson
Oct 14, 2009

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.

Managing Your Brand To Perform In Universal Search Results

Oct 14, 2009

Achieving and sustaining top ranking visibility for your brand on important organic terms is increasingly getting tougher. This is because natural text listings no longer rule on the search result page. There are many other elements that appear sometimes ahead of or intertwined with the natural results, including local listings with a map, shopping listings, latest news, top blogs, images, videos and even book reviews can appear. Google calls these mixed result types Universal search; others call it blended search. These other elements can push what were once top performing organic listings into second or third page positions.

Subway Strives to Keep Strategy Fresh

Oct 9, 2009

From Domino’s sandwich launch and in-your-face ad campaign to Quiznos attacking at every price point, Subway has had more than its share of competition this year. However, the chain continues to see gains on top of the double-digit growth it experienced last year. Sales may be coming in $5 as a time, but that’s the way Subway wants it. The $5 footlong has given the chain a weapon to battle the recession—one that competitors continue to search for an answer to combat. CEO of the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust Jeff Moody sat down with Brandweek to discuss the competition, the economy and the chain’s plans for future growth.

Why Duane Reade Renovated Its Image

Oct 1, 2009

Duane Reade this week introduced an exclusive line of food and beverage products dubbed DR Delish. The line currently includes 25 products, such as baked potato crisps and raisin oatmeal cookies. The drugstore chain, which has 256 locations in metropolitan New York, expects the total number of offerings to grow to 100 or more by Christmas. The move is part of Duane Reade’s overall strategy to spruce up its image. The 50-year-old drugstore chain recently debuted an outdoor campaign, via privately held agency DeVito/Verdi, with the tagline: “Your City. Your Drugstore.” To date, Duane Reade has either “completely rebuilt or remodeled” 30 of its 256 locations—to include pre-packaged foods like sandwiches and salads, and more improvements are coming, said acting chief marketing officer Joe Jackman. Although bold, marketing strides like these are contemporizing and keeping the Duane Reade brand top-of-mind among consumers, and so far, the feedback has been positive, Jackman told Brandweek.

Stinking It Up: Lessons From a PR Failure

Sep 18, 2009

I've been thinking a lot about poop lately, and not just because I have two young kids. In particular, I've been pondering that clichéd philosophical question: If a bear poops in the woods and nobody's around, does it still stink? Recently, DoSomething.org hosted what I'd normally consider a successful party. The event raised half a million dollars. We honored five amazing youths for doing amazing things, from building an orphanage in Nepal to registering thousands of new voters. Our red carpet at Harlem's Apollo Theater was packed with celebs, and performers including Boys Like Girls and Akon -- who crowdsurfed -- rocked the place. The 1,600 people there were floored. But did anybody else smell what we were cooking? Nope.

Toyota Sets a Big Sales Drive

Sep 17, 2009

Toyota Motor Corp. is preparing a $1 billion marketing blitz to juice U.S. sales in the fourth quarter and plans to expand its line of gas-electric hybrid models under the Prius name, people briefed on the plans said. The strategy, aimed at revitalizing its key North American operations, was laid out by Toyota President Akio Toyoda and his top U.S. lieutenants at a meeting in Las Vegas with the company's U.S. dealers. The world's largest auto maker needs to turn around its North American business after acknowledging it expects to report a loss in its current fiscal year, which would be its second annual deficit in a row. Toyota executives vowed to go "pedal to the metal" in the fourth quarter, using financial strength to drive sales as the U.S. economy appears to be recovering, these people said.

Fallacious Celebrations of Facebook Fans

Dr. Mark Drapeau
Sep 16, 2009

Publishing “top 10″ lists is unfortunately a staple of modern journalism. But alas, writers must drive readers’ eyeballs, even when discussing serious topics like the government. And so we find a new list that mixes Web 2.0 with the government: “Top 10 agencies with the most Facebook fans.” For the record, this list is topped by the White House with 327,592 fans, followed by the Marine Corps, Army, CDC, State Department, NASA, NASA JPL, Library of Congress, Air Force, and Environmental Protection Agency. Congratulations to all these hard-working agencies. But what exactly are we celebrating here?

Can Catchy Product Naming Save Crocs from Extinction?

Aug 30, 2009

If you haven't heard, the Crocs brand is in deep trouble. This is a brand that seemed headed for extinction, but like their namesake, have proven that with the help of a little strategic naming they are a brand that can endure the toughest of times. Recent "business improvements" have given Crocs a chance to actually pull itself into the black by 2010.

Is Customer Loyalty Dead?

Mike Linton
Aug 29, 2009

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.

Marketing and Mathematics

Aug 29, 2009

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 To Beat the Kindle

Aug 28, 2009

Study everything the iPod's rivals did. Then do the exact opposite.

Big Blue's Global Lab

Aug 28, 2009

How Big Blue is forging cutting-edge partnerships around the world.

Act Now, and We'll Double Your Market Share!

Aug 28, 2009

The phrase "As seen on TV" might bring to mind Snuggie, ShamWow and PedEgg but probably not a venerable American brand that invites you to share the most important moments of your life. Yet for Kodak, direct-response TV has become an effective and preferred way to reach consumers in the year and a half that the company has used it.

Branding No-Brand Brands

Jonathan Salem Baskin
Aug 28, 2009

Street fashion designer Rick Klotz has announced that he's going to forsake any brand logos or names on his Freshjive products next year. Is it an anti-branding move, or something more? I say something more.

The Craigslist Credo: Craigslist vs. eBay

Aug 27, 2009

In 2005 Fortune magazine published a piece by Adam Lashinsky called Burning Sensation, which described the threat craigslist posed to newspapers. But it didn’t ignore the threat that other tech companies posed to craigslist: “Even as Craigslist flexes its considerable muscles, the disruptor is facing the challenge of disruption… eBay has started Kijiji, a classified business for non-U.S. markets that can only be described as Craigslist-like. Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen is behind a company called Ning, whose software includes an application called Anytown Marketplace that can build online classified sites. The biggest threat, as usual, is Google. It has introduced Google Base, where users can upload anything — e.g., “49ers tickets for sale” — into its searchable database… Google’s technological prowess — and money — mean it can add features in weeks that Craigslist has contemplated for years.” Three years later the story was still the same.

The Five Roles of the CMO

Aug 27, 2009

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."

Why InterContinental Chose to Relaunch Holiday Inn

Aug 27, 2009

InterContinental Hotels Group earlier this summer announced the opening of its 1,000th relaunched Holiday Inn hotel: the Holiday Inn Express New York Times Square. The opening was part of an overall $1 billion relaunch of more than 3,200 Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels worldwide, as well as the opening of another 1,050 hotels featuring the new branding over the next few years, with the completion of the global relaunch set for 2010.

'Green' Consumers Out to Save Money

Aug 27, 2009

Green consumers are more concerned about saving money than saving the planet, according to new research from advertising agency the Shelton Group. The study found that while 59 percent of green consumers identify the economy as their top concern in making purchases, a mere 8 percent consider the environment.

The Recession Impression

Aug 26, 2009

On Monday, Sept. 15, 2008, Lehman Brothers imploded, the world tilted and all the Fiji Artesian water came tumbling off the table, crashing along with the stock market. Suddenly the conspicuous consumer became the conspicuous coupon clipper. Bad if you own a Hummer dealership. Good if you own a real value proposition.

Forget Design Thinking and Try Hybrid Thinking

Dev Patnaik
Aug 26, 2009

When A.G. Lafley was named CEO of Procter & Gamble during the summer of 2000, the task of turning the organization around looked overwhelming. The price of a share in the consumer packaged goods giant had declined by nearly 55% in just two months. The company was missing revenue and profit targets as it learned to grapple with the Internet and new global competitors. To remain the world's preeminent maker of useful stuff for the house, P&G needed to make a lot of changes very quickly. Lafley saw design as being central to P&G's transformation. Design promised to unleash the creativity of the organization and find new ways to unlock value that a marketing-driven company might not have discovered.

Competing with the Singleminded

Aug 26, 2009

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?

5 Social Media Lessons Learned From Whole Foods

Aug 26, 2009

As a company, Whole Foods has impressively embraced social media more than most, gathering over 1.2 million followers on Twitter and 123,000 fans on Facebook in the process. While it is easy to understand why a relatively young company or one started by a tech-savvy founder would so completely embrace social media communication tools, it is quite a bit more remarkable for an almost 30 year old established brick and mortar company with roughly 50,000 employees and over 270 stores worldwide to have done so.

Can Yahoo Make E-Mail Pay Off?

Aug 25, 2009

Yahoo! may have thrown in the towel on the business of searching for information online. But the company is doubling down on a technology where it already has the lead over search king Google: in free e-mail service offered over the Web.

The CMO's Role in a Customer-Centric Organization

Aug 25, 2009

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.

How Real Innovation Moves the Needle

Dev Patnaik
Aug 25, 2009

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?

For Twitter, Sharing Data With Google Would Be Suicide

Aug 25, 2009

In a way we are all virtual stock holders in Twitter. We all have a vested interest in its success. Facebook is soon to monopolize the social stream to the same extent that Google has done with search. That is not good for anyone, including Facebook. I have had many discussions with people in recent weeks about the face-off between Twitter and Facebook and also about the high probability of Twitter cutting a deal with Google. When I was asked by Erick Schonfeld at the Real Tiime Stream Crunchup (Video) event about my opinion on Twitter giving Google their firehose feed, I responded that they could do that if they don’t plan to sell their company in the future.

Five Reasons Companies Should be Integrating Social Media with Facebook Connect

Aug 24, 2009

Quick explanation for those not familiar with Facebook Connect. It is a service developed by Facebook that lets Facebook users login into partner sites using their Facebook account and share information with Facebook friends. Basically, a single sign-on authentication solution that websites can use instead of relying on building it for themselves.

Mark Zuckerberg: The Post-Content King as Future of Media

Simon Dumenco
Aug 24, 2009

Picture this: it's the year 2062 and Mark Zuckerberg, having recently celebrated his 78th birthday, is still, against all odds, running Facebook. The once-invincible social-networking behemoth has seen better days, and financially it's coasting on fumes -- Facebook's 38th round of venture-capital funding is about to run dry -- but no matter. Zuckerberg's still large and in charge, even as competitors eat away at his market share. The problem, of course, is that he never took TCOL -- total consciousness osmotic lifestreaming -- seriously, and now upstarts are using the device-free technology to run circles around Facebook.

Market The Company, Not The Product

Aug 22, 2009

It goes without fail, whenever a new product is released from a Gen Y "it" company, my phone rings off the hook. So why are people calling a financial guy when a new product is released? Because these "it" companies market so well that the consumer wants to be an owner ... of the company.

Businesses Seek Relief From Rain

Aug 22, 2009

In June, revenues for Marilyn Schlossbach and Scott Szegeski's four New Jersey restaurants shrank by 40% from a year ago. The recession was partly to blame, but so was another culprit: rain.

Companies Seek A Fresh Start With New Names

Aug 22, 2009

Beleaguered insurer AIG is renaming its property-casualty and general insurance business "Chartis," which it derived from the Greek word for map. It is giving Chartis a compass logo, which AIG, which began the rebranding effort last month, hopes will represent the franchise's approach to "navigating changing marketplaces and complex risks worldwide."

What Promises Can Your Consumer Experience Make?

Aug 21, 2009

"I promise." It's a simple statement. One uttered by children trying to convince their parents that they will be good, by husband and wife on their wedding day (and every week on trash day). A promise builds a strong emotional connection between two people. They are simple words, but when spoken from the heart (and delivered on), they form the foundation for meaningful relationships--and consumer experiences.

Key to Marketing in Complex Times: Simplicity

Aug 20, 2009

In an era when marketing strategies seem more complicated than ever before, author Jonathan Cahill is selling simplicity. And he backs it up with 115 case studies. Prior to opening his own London firm, Spring Marketing Innovation and Research, Cahill spent 30 years as an ad man with major agencies in the UK and Italy. His recently published book is entitled "Igniting the Brand: Strategies That Have Shot Brands to Success." And one of his conclusions is that marketers and their agencies are trying so hard to devise strategies that they often look right past simple truths.

Listening Literacy For Nonprofits

Beth Kanter
Aug 20, 2009

I am an early adopter of social media and set up my listening post 5 years ago to scan for people, trends, and ideas related to social media and nonprofits. Listening and engaging with people has been critical to any success I’ve achieved as a social media practitioner – whether I’m blogging or fundraising for Cambodian children. For the past five years, I’ve been teaching social media workshops for nonprofits and lately doing deeper dives on the techniques of listening both for nonprofits and in my role as Visiting Scholar in Residence at the Packard Foundation. This is a four-part series about listening for nonprofit organizations summarizes the insights I’ve learned about listening.

How to Build a Culture of Innovation

Aug 20, 2009

India's Tata Group has made innovation part of its DNA, setting up a way for handling new ideas and making creative thinking a performance criterion.

It’s Who You Know – Maximizing Your Company’s Social Reach

Aug 20, 2009

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.

In Tough Times, Big Ideas Become Even Bigger

Aug 20, 2009

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.

The Message Is the Message

Aug 20, 2009

Barack Obama’s ubiquitous appearances as professor-in-chief, preacher-in-chief, father-in-chief, may turn out to be the most salient feature of his presidency.

GM Appointment Shows No Respect for Marketing

Aug 19, 2009

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.”)

Build a Marketing Platform Like a Celebrity

Aug 19, 2009

Historically, marketing has been departmentalized in corporations and positioned as a college major. With the advent of social media and our current economic situation, marketing has become a topic that everyone should—and can—care about and have expertise in. Now anyone with an Internet connection and some ambition can develop their own marketing platform, which can be harnessed for both career and financial success.

Four Opportunities to Strengthen a Brand Community

Aug 19, 2009

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.

Scarcity as a Benefit

Aug 18, 2009

Knob Creek bourbon has announced that it may run out of stock yet this summer, and that thirsty customers will have to wait until the next batch arrives on store shelves in November. I think this is brilliant, old-school marketing. One of the most important brand attributes of successful products and services is success; consumers want to know that other consumers want stuff, and sales is a qualifier that goes far beyond conversation as proof of that interest.

The Future of Facebook

Aug 18, 2009

Facebook continues to make a series of evolutionary moves in recent months, rather than react to the news, let’s take a holistic look at where the company is headed. I’ve given my perspective to SFGate, now but want to dive into details here. I’ll give my perspective, but as we’ve seen time and time before, the real value is the collective contributions in the comments.

Lessons Learned From Five Media Bright Spots

Aug 17, 2009

Sure, 2009 has been tough so far, with most trend lines pointing way, way down. But for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Here at Ad Age, we decided to find some media properties that are actually moving the needle northward this year to see what's working in these difficult times. So what is working? First up, great, must-have editorial and entertainment is a common thread. Know your audience. Help marketers tailor ads for that audience. And constantly revamp a trusted brand to stay relevant and indispensable. Easy, right?

Four New Marketing Realities To Live By

Aug 17, 2009

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.

'New' GM Leaner and Meaner, but Not by Much

Aug 17, 2009

General Motors Co. doesn't appear to be learning from its mistakes: The trimmed-down, "new" GM still looks a lot like the old one, with too many vehicle brands and too many overlapping U.S. models.

How CMOs Can Help End the Recession

Aug 15, 2009

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."

After Early Errors, Wal-Mart Thinks Locally to Act Globally

Aug 14, 2009

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.

Only P&G, Reckitt Convey Value of Marketing in Annual Reports

Aug 14, 2009

Only two companies, Procter & Gamble and Reckitt Benckiser, have figured out how to communicate the importance of brand to the bottom line in their annual reports, according to a survey of these documents from major marketers. The lesson: If marketers want to win the battle for company resources, they must work harder to promote their contribution to the bottom line in annual reports, according to a new global survey by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising in the U.K.

Why a Chinese Multinational Brand Is Still Years Away

Aug 14, 2009

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.

As Media Brands Build Their Own Communities, They Must Evolve Their Business Model

Aug 14, 2009

Media companies know that they’re not the only voices in the auditorium –the audience now talks back. They create media, content, and share it directly with each other on social sites —now brands, like Warner seek to embrace them closer. Rather than allow this inevitable social interaction on social networks like MySpace, they want to take it back by launching their own social features.

Indirect Influencers and Purchase Decisions

Aug 12, 2009

A company has multiple constituencies when it offers the same product to different market segments. Why is this an important discipline in Marketing? Often times, your direct buyer is not the most important influencer. Children, doctors, relatives and social referential leaders often assume major positions in the purchasing decision. As a result, it is important to understand these indirect customers and influencers and integrate this understanding into marketing strategy.

How Social Media Is Like Sharecropping

Valeria Maltoni
Aug 12, 2009

In a world where the real social media players count their subscribers in the tens or hundreds of millions, Friendfeed hardly moves the needle. Mired at a million or so unique visitors a month and facing the likelihood of being crushed to a fine powder when Google Wave hits the streets, Friendfeed's investors and managers decided to take the first convenient off ramp when Facebook came a-calling. By now you've probably heard the specifics, since practically anyone with a keyboard has been breathlessly tapping away since the deal was made public late Monday: $50 million, most of which will be paid in Facebook stock. A nice payday for Friendfeed's small team (and most likely a relief to the company's investors, who must have known Friendfeed wasn't going anywhere as a solo act). But not a vast sum of money for a company that pays a million dollars a month just the keep the lights on. So why all the attention?

Experts Critique Business Logos

Aug 11, 2009

Logos can bring a business glory (Nike) or shame (Tropicana). That's why, before attempting to design a logo for your company or product, you need a clear understanding of exactly what the logo should convey. What is your story? Your selling point, brand attitude, competitive edge, and place in your industry? Do you want to fit in with the market, or do you want to set yourself apart?

How Web-Savvy Edupunks Are Transforming American Higher Education

Anya Kamenetz
Aug 10, 2009

Is a college education really like a string quartet? Back in 1966, that was the assertion of economists William Bowen, later president of Princeton, and William Baumol. In a seminal study, Bowen and Baumol used the analogy to show why universities can't easily improve efficiency.

Do You Have Any Offense?

Aug 10, 2009

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: Howard Schultz vs. Howard Schultz

Aug 10, 2009

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.

Zippo Reignites Brand With Social Media, New Products

Aug 10, 2009

Paragon of Rust Belt manufacturing and an icon since World War II, Zippo wears its American-ness on its sleeve. So does its VP-sales and marketing, Mark Paup, who has spent his entire 15-year career at Zippo and now leads all sales, marketing, design and product development for the Bradford, Pa.-based company. A smoker who rides a Soft Tail Nightrain Harley, you could say Mr. Paup, 44, fits the psychographic of the Zippo consumer.

Building a Brand vs. Building a Business

Al Ries
Aug 10, 2009

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.

Your Innovations Aren't Immortal

Aug 7, 2009

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."

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

Aug 7, 2009

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

How Britannica Defied the Odds

Aug 7, 2009

Conventional wisdom would have us believe that in a world where Wikipedia is the first port of call for millions of people, an encyclopaedia, such as Britannica, should no longer exist: There is nothing "Blue Ocean" about leather bound books. As far as its competitive position is concerned, it could not be worse: why pay for information when the same information is available for free?

When Tactics Drown Out Strategy

Seth Godin
Aug 7, 2009

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.

How to Design a Flat Organization

Aug 7, 2009

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?

New Marketing in Action: Netflix

Aug 6, 2009

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.

Focus Groups: It's Like Saying the F-Word to Creatives

Aug 6, 2009

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.

Celebrate the Primacy of the Creative Marketing Heart

Judy Shapiro
Aug 6, 2009

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."

Turn Digital Chaos Into Brand Equity

Aug 6, 2009

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

Why Outsourcing Innovation Makes Sense

Reena Jana and Venessa Wong
Aug 6, 2009

Companies from Boeing to Sepracor are retaining innovation consultants to get a head start on economic recovery

How To Catch A Man

Aug 5, 2009

Experts predict a surge in the men's grooming market -- just as they've been doing for the past decade. The men's grooming market is only about one-fifth the size of the women's market, according to Euromonitor. But if the men's market is so dramatically underdeveloped, why has the oft- predicted explosion failed to materialize? Why is it so hard for men's grooming brands to catch a man?

Don't Underestimate Chinese Marketers

Aug 5, 2009

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.

How Successful Brands Live Their Difference

Paul Worthington
Aug 5, 2009

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.

How Whirlpool Puts New Ideas Through the Wringer

Aug 4, 2009

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.

Stop Saying Sorry, Start Getting Really Social

Aug 4, 2009

With the recent spate of companies such as United Airways, Domino’s Pizza and Habitat UK, being hit by negative publicity online, one could be forgiven for thinking that social media can be used as a cure-all for such issues. But in fact, social media will only ever be a band-aid for such problems, unless it’s tied into fundamental changes in the way such companies operate.

Don't Forget the 4 M's...

Aug 4, 2009

Its relatively easy with all the tools and metrics available in today's marketing landscape to find yourself lost in the shuffle. Many marketers lose sight of their goals and find it hard to craft strategies that will actually produce results. Even experienced marketers resort to "wait and see" approaches when trying to jumpstart a campaign and then wonder why they are falling short.

Don't Keep Up With Social Technology

Aug 4, 2009

"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.

Escaping the Zombie Economy

Aug 4, 2009

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.

How Bob Lutz Plans to Recapture America's Attention

Aug 3, 2009

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.

How to Defeat McDonald’s

Aug 3, 2009

Quick-serves fight in a hypercompetitive environment. Brands duke it out with surprising new products which seem like punches coming out of nowhere and low blows of heavy discounts or free giveaways—not to mention the pot shots lobbed between dueling sassy advertising campaigns.

Why Packaging Matters More Than Ever

Ted Minini
Aug 3, 2009

Marketing researchers of note, Forrester Research and McKinsey & Company, recently conducted studies on the nature of consumerism today. Their results are important because they point to a shift away from the classic “consumer purchasing funnel.”

Why Now?

Jul 31, 2009

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.

Does Brand Differentiation Matter with No Competitors?

Jul 31, 2009

When it comes building a strong brand that matters to consumers, differentiation is a key in separating your offerings from competitors. But what if you don’t have any competitors? Does brand differentiation matter then?

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

Jul 31, 2009

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

Break Through the Bottleneck

Larry Oakner
Jul 31, 2009

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."

With Yahoo Search Gone, Content Becomes King

Jul 31, 2009

Yahoo's long nightmare is over, having finally offloaded its search business to Microsoft after years of rumors, negotiations and reversals. Now all it has to do is figure out what comes next. A new era at Yahoo began the minute CEO Carol Bartz signed the paperwork turning over the right to conduct searches on Yahoo's huge network of Web sites to Microsoft in exchange for 88 percent of the revenue generated by Microsoft's Bing. Now Yahoo is first and foremost a media company, in the business of attracting as many people to its properties as possible in hopes of selling lucrative ad deals on those pages.

Chinese Marketers Tackle Global Expansion

Jul 30, 2009

The global recession has turned cash-hungry Western companies into takeover targets for Chinese marketers, and foreign countries into tempting new markets for Chinese brands and retail stores. Chinese companies haven't been hit to the same extent by the economic crisis as those in the U.S. and other major countries.

Yahoo Tie-Up Is Latest Sign Tide Turning for Microsoft's Ballmer

Jul 30, 2009

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.

Can Microsoft and Yahoo Co-Create New Businesses?

Jul 30, 2009

Microsoft and Google's increasingly captivating competitive dance took another turn on July 29 with the announcement of a search partnership between Microsoft and Yahoo. The deal could create a viable competitor to Google--or even more enticingly build very different kinds of growth businesses.

15 Years

Jul 29, 2009

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.

Just Cause: Finding the Perfect Cause-Marketing Fit

Jul 29, 2009

During the early 1980s, American Express created a marketing campaign to help restore the Statue of Liberty. A penny for each use of the American Express card and a dollar for each new card issued were given to the Statue of Liberty Restoration program. In just four months, $2 million was raised and transaction activity increased by 28% -- proving that doing good could also be good for business.

A Tale of PR And Social Media

Jul 29, 2009

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.

How Verizon, Campbell Soup, Scotts Find Value on Air

Jul 29, 2009

Radio companies, like all media companies, are under more pressure than ever to prove their medium's value to marketers. But when three brands opened up their strategies to radio executives at the Advertising Research Foundation's Audio Council in New York, the industry got an insightful look as to what else marketers are looking for from radio.

Why the Starbucks "15th Ave" Store Is Doomed to Fail

Jul 29, 2009

Late last week, Starbucks opened a new coffeehouse. Considering they have around 15,000 outlets, this might not seem like news. But there's a wrinkle: the new coffeehouse is called 15th Ave. Coffee & Tea, and is an attempt by SBUX to create a distinct, bespoke, of-the-neighborhood coffeehouse.

The Influencer’s Dilemma: The Battle For Mindshare Amid Media Turmoil

Louis Gray
Jul 29, 2009

Successful businesses are always making choices and sacrifices, strategically looking as to how they are going to prioritize their resources, including human capital, budgets, and, of course, time. As the world around them adapts, so too do they need to make changes internally to respond, or to predict where trends are going – and if they guess right, the business could catapult ahead of less-agile competition.

Usage and Experience Doesn’t Equate to Social Expertise

Jul 28, 2009

Those who are seeking social media careers need to remember that social media technologies are secondary to meeting business and customer needs. I’ve been interviewing social media strategists at corporations or their bosses for my upcoming report on social skills needed in brands. I also get emails from hiring managers who are trying to hire folks to develop strategy and manage ongoing social programs at large brands. Lastly, I’ve spoken to social media recruiters who have a very hard time finding qualified candidates. One theme comes across many of these conversations: many candidates are incorrectly positioning themselves.

GM's Appointment of Lutz Shows No Respect for Marketing

Jul 28, 2009

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.")

Private Equity Loves Orphan Brands

Jul 25, 2009

Private equity players and corporate buyers are betting they can breathe new life into old brands. In recent months dealmakers have been scooping up once-mighty companies and business units. On July 16 private equity firm Golden Gate Capital Partners paid $286 million for defunct retailer Eddie Bauer.

True Lies

Jonathan Salem Baskin
Jul 24, 2009

A recent Nielsen study revealed that people most trust what their friends say about stuff, and that they trust generic online consumer opinions as much as they do branded communications. I think this has more to do with the contextual reality of the expectations than it does with any inherent trustworthiness in a particular communications medium (or lack thereof).

Designers in the C-Suite: Creating Value, Wrecking Havoc

Grant McCracken
Jul 24, 2009

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.

The Growing Importance of Chief Commercial Officers

Jul 24, 2009

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.

Creating Competitive Advantage Through Sustainability

Jul 23, 2009

I just published a post on Triple Pundit that fleshes out the market-facing aspects of a model I’ve been working on with The FairRidge Group. Called the Sustainability Management Maturity Model (SM3), it’s a tool to help businesses assess their readiness to address business sustainability challenges and opportunities. The internal management components were outlined last month on Triple Pundit – Strategy, Organization, Process, Measurement and People – which all relate to an inside-out perspective of the business.

Social Media: Taking Cues from Indie Music

Jul 23, 2009

Who is Claude VonStroke? Is Dan Deacon familiar? Perhaps you have heard of Amanda Palmer? Or Erol Alkan? If you are a serious fan of independent music it's likely one or more of these names rings a bell. What might be surprising is the extent to which these four -- and many dozens of independent musicians like them -- can teach both scrappy startup brands and major CPG players how to most effectively make social media work.

The ROI of Social Networking

Jul 23, 2009

One of the most common reason stated by small businesses for not embracing social networking is that they can’t measure or, worse yet, don’t believe there is any solid return on the investment of participation. I get emails almost daily from frustrated marketers who want to dive more fully into social networking, but can’t convince the boss that it’s worth it.

10 Ways to Invent Winning Products

Jul 23, 2009

Apple, Louis Vuitton, and SAP represent three very different sectors. But all share one thing in common: Their brands and products were shaped in part by designer and innovation strategist Hartmut Esslinger.

Yes, Your Social Media Strategy Needs Design

David Armano
Jul 22, 2009

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 Brand is Not a Separate Thing

Tom Asacker
Jul 21, 2009

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.

Chipotle's Hot Spot: The Vulnerability of Authenticity

Jul 20, 2009

The Chipotle restaurant chain just announced that it will sponsor free screenings of the newly released documentary film, Food Inc. Kudos to them. There is something very authentic about allowing your brand to become vulnerable in this way. By inviting its customers to see the ugly truth, Chiptole is walking its talk of a responsible and healthy food movement.


Jul 20, 2009

Your users, employees, consumers and donors are obsessed with data now. Are you helping them solve their knowledge problem? Years ago, I had an automatic transmission car with a tachometer. Why I needed to know my RPMs when I couldn't do a thing about it is beyond me.

The Pros and Cons of Co-Branding

Jul 17, 2009

It can enhance both partners—or put a dent in one. Make sure you pick a partner that's a good fit with your company's products, values, and image.

Should YouTube Charge a Fee to Upload Video?

Jul 16, 2009

Gene Munster, the analyst with Piper Jaffray, put a report out Thursday looking at the finances of YouTube, and he makes a suggestion that I haven’t seen before: Google should charge a “nominal fee” to people to upload videos to YouTube if the video isn’t appropriate for advertising.

You Think ‘Free’ is Only About the Price? It’s Not.

Jul 16, 2009

Time and time again I see the discussion about free content, free services, free products, and how they’re going to liberate/destroy/change the current economy, especially when it comes to the Internet. Often, one important point is neglected. When it comes to free, it’s not the price that’s crucial.

How to Grow Your Business When Everything Else Is Shrinking

Scott Morgan
Jul 16, 2009

Budgets continue to be slashed. Brands are disappearing. Media is getting more fragmented. The only thing getting bigger is our federal deficit. So as a marketer, how do you capitalize on a world that is getting smaller in so many respects?

What McDonald's Can Teach Us About Recovery

Mats Lederhausen
Jul 16, 2009

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.

Framing of Cause Critical to Consumers

Jul 15, 2009

With Cause-Related Marketing (CRM) growing increasingly more popular as Fortune 500 companies "go green" and try to be socially responsible, advertisers and marketers should be aware that the "framing" or presentation of the cause is critical to consumers. People are more willing to purchase products and support causes that have an immediate or short-term benefit to a non-profit than a future or long-term benefit.

Looking for Financial Relief in Tough Times? Try Brand Licensing

Jul 15, 2009

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."

Brand Thinking Keeps You Tuned-In

Jul 15, 2009

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.

Why Strategy Is Like Sailboat Racing

Jul 13, 2009

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.

Design Is a Point of View: Seven Truths in Designing

Jul 10, 2009

Designers at all levels of experience could probably list hundreds of opinions about what makes design successful. After two decades of designing and leading numerous design teams I have quite a few myself. But I've filtered them down to seven core perspectives I like to call ASTRO Theory.

Free To Be Free

Jul 10, 2009

Chris Anderson’s new book, Free: The Future of a Radical Price, is on the top of my to-read list. Based on BusinessWeek’s review, it sounds like a provocative read about the how economy and technology have evolved the concept of Free.

5 Steps for Successful Social Media Damage Control

Jul 10, 2009

I spent many years of my career in the hospitality business and the first rule of thumb when dealing with customers was, “if a guest had a positive experience, they’ll tell 3 people and if they had a negative experience, they’ll tell 10.” That same idea holds true in the new media world, except the numbers have grown exponentially. Instead of it being 3 people – it’s 3,000, or instead of 10 – it’s perhaps 100,000. The numbers aren’t meant to scare you. But what should you do when something goes wrong?

To Challenge Google, Microsoft Might Want to Think Apple

Jul 9, 2009

The announcement of Google's Chrome OS plan puts an exclamation point on the challenge faced by Microsoft, but actually doesn't really change the core threat to Microsoft. In short, Google is aiming to render desktop software irrelevant. To thwart them, Microsoft needs Windows to do things that a browser can't--or do the same things significantly better.

Content Creates Engagement

Jul 8, 2009

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

Learning Twitter? Don't Take Your Cues From These Agencies

Jul 6, 2009

As Twitter moves into the business mainstream -- nearing some 35 million unique global visitors, according to ComScore -- it's increasingly clear that one community has yet to fully embrace the social-networking tool du jour: agencies.

The Male Version of Customer Loyalty

Jul 6, 2009

A paper recently published in the Journal of Marketing reassesses the conventional wisdom that women are more loyal customers than men. In fact, the study finds, women are more loyal than men to individual service providers, like hairdressers. But men exhibit more loyalty to groups and companies, like barbershops.

Simplicity: A Powerful Brand Strategy

Jul 6, 2009

The basic concept of some products predicts failure. Not because they don’t work, but because they don’t make sense. Consider Mennen’s vitamin E deodorant. That’s right, you sprayed a vitamin under your arm. It doesn’t make sense unless you want the healthiest, best-fed armpits in the nation. It quickly failed.

Email and Social Media- 7 Tips for Getting the Most out of Your Campaigns

Jul 1, 2009

Recent news stories about Social Media being bigger than email as well as the recent beta release of Google Wave have made marketers rethink their email strategies, but should we really be moving our email efforts to social media? And if not, should they be kept apart, or can they truly work in unison?

Change Leads to Insight

Tom Asacker
Jun 30, 2009

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.

Using Design to Drive Innovation

Jun 30, 2009

In a previous era, all the talk was of strategy, strategy, strategy. More recently, it's been innovation, innovation, innovation. As design thinking seems poised to sweep away some of today's celebrated innovation practices, we must be wondering what new provocation is on the horizon. Relax, I'm not planning to conjure one up.

Social Media is Rife with “Experts” but Starved of Authorities

Brian Solis
Jun 23, 2009

Essentially, experts are purporting the use of new tools and not necessarily connecting businesses to their customers and influencers where and how they congregate and interact.

Design Determines Results

Tom Asacker
Jun 23, 2009

I’m sure you’ve heard the definition of madness: Doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. But have you heard of the "First Rule of Holes?” When you’re in one, stop digging! I see it all the time. Organizations are lost, but they’re making really good time. Ask yourself, and really think about it: Is my organization producing the growth in customers, members, revenues, donations, profits, etc. that it is designed to produce? Like it or not your answer has to be “yes,” because the design determines the results.

Circling the Big Domino

Jun 22, 2009

Clay taught me a good lesson about making things happen with your brand. Envision the events that might happen to a brand (shelf space at Walmart, an appearance on Oprah, a bestseller, worldwide recognition, a new edition, worldwide rights, chosen by the Queen, whatever) as a series of dominoes.

Marketing Warfare Revisited

Jun 21, 2009

Marketing is war my friends. By now most of you have figured that out. And most of you are familiar with Marketing Warfare, a book I wrote with my former partner Al Ries on the strategy and tactics that can and should be implemented on the front lines of marketing. With help from Prussian General Karl von Clausewitz we concluded many things about the battlefield marketers face. Today on Branding Strategy Insider, I offer a brief re-cap on some of the greater points as you head into the fray...

How to Evolve Products in Turbulent Times

Jun 17, 2009

During periods of relative economic stability, innovation and branding work well together. Powerful brands help companies bring innovation to the market by providing a low-risk "guarantee" for brand loyalists to adopt the new thing. Innovation returns the favor by enhancing brand appeal. In normal times, this equation works well, with incremental innovation inside a brand's well-defined identity creating steady and profitable growth. But the partnership can be an uneasy one, and it is especially uneasy during periods of market transformation, when investing in new brands or sub-brands can be perceived as too risky. The difficult choices imposed by hard times force managers to confront the challenge of "brand stretch" more acutely.

A Mission is Not a Strategy

Tom Asacker
Jun 17, 2009

Times are tough. People are hurting. Your mission to help people is critically important. But please don't confuse "mission" with "strategy."

Results Follow Understanding

Jun 16, 2009

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

Web Is Great Equalizer for Producers and Consumers

Jonathan Salem Baskin
Jun 16, 2009

I miss the good ol' days of global brand strategy. It used to be so simple: Develop a single, absolute definition of your brand, then produce content -- mostly TV spots and print -- that was generic enough for local voice-over talent to translate, perhaps augmented with an image or two for local color. What was important was that those absolutes of brand were constant; the delivery component was tactical. "Think global, act local" was the mantra we stole from the world's do-gooders in the 1970s, and it was supposed to save money on production costs while ensuring consistent delivery of our messaging.

What's Off the Table?

Jun 16, 2009

No project is conceived in a vacuum, no decision in isolation and no negotiation with a clean sheet of paper.

What Social Media Isn’t

Jun 12, 2009

Social media is everywhere and for a lot of businesses they approach it likes it’s the magic wand that’s going to be the savior to their business. When you begin to talk to them, usually the conversation starts like this. “Can you help us with that Twitter thing and that Facebook thing, not to mention it’s vital if you can produce for us one of those viral videos. Second, this has to help our business look hip and cool and last but not least, we don’t have the time to really be involved in any conversations.” The other component that comes out in this conversation isn’t just what they want, but also what they don’t want. I’m still amazed when I hear the fear factor about the potential of negative comments being made about their brand or products. Which I wonder, if it’s really fear about negativity or it’s fear of being in a conversational space and having to deal with negative feedback.

AOL Buys Two Companies Specializing in Local Online Media

Jun 12, 2009

Time Warner Inc.'s AOL unit has acquired local online media companies Patch Media Corp. and Going Inc. as part of a broader strategy to build the company's position in the relatively fast-growing local online advertising market. The acquisitions come as Time Warner moves to split off AOL into an independent company and AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong, who joined the company in April, is working on putting together a new structure and strategy, in which local content is one major push.

Why It's Wise to Launch Softly

Jun 11, 2009

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.

What Have You Done For Me Lately?

Jun 11, 2009

Here are two things I struggle to reconcile: The belief in the power of “relationship” or “community” marketing as something that demands more than just an online message board … and … the hesitancy to do something about it without a demonstrated immediate (or at least near-term) return.

Bartz Continues Torpedoing Yahoo Search

Danny Sullivan
Jun 10, 2009

Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz has been talking a lot over the past two weeks about Yahoo and how it competes against Google and Microsoft. Each time she does, I feel like she’s digging the hole even deeper for Yahoo’s prospects in search. Rather than communicate a clear search strategy — which you’d better have if you’re in a war against Google and Microsoft — she resonates mixed messages that Yahoo can ill afford to send.

Simplicity Sells

Jun 9, 2009

Sometimes, if not most times, the best solution is also the simplest one. Why develop a complex device to connect two irregularly sized shapes when a bit of sellotape will do? Why ask people a series of complex questions about improving your product when what you really want to know is “how could we do things better”? And why provide complex levels of interactivity and engagement on your website when all you want is to get a few conversations going?

Writing Engaging Content

Jun 9, 2009

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

Supermarket Strategies: What's New at the Grocer

Jun 9, 2009

From ready-to-eat meals to eco-friendly offerings, food retailers are finding more ways to distinguish themselves and win customers

In Ads, Banks Try the Warm, Cozy Approach

Jun 9, 2009

There is Ally Bank: “A better kind of bank.” And A.I.U.: “A unique franchise.” And — really — Redneck Bank: “Where bankin’s funner!” All are new names and new slogans for old companies with big worries and, in some cases, even bigger image problems.

Luxury Looks To Packaged Goods

Jun 9, 2009

As the recession keeps depressing, luxury brands are experiencing a wake-up call from this nasty cycle and from chastened luxury buyers.

Rewards Card, Step Two

Jun 9, 2009

How many "reward cards" do you have, or loyalty programs do you participate in? When I think of a typical day, I can't think of a commercial transaction that doesn't come with a clerk or cashier who asks, "are you a member in our blah blah blah program?" Books. Office supplies. Gas. Pizza. Grocery.

Design Is Too Important to Be Left to the Thinkers

Jun 8, 2009

Recently, at a conference reception (think wine and cubes of cheese), a well-known and influential member of the academic community said to me: "Design strategy is far too important to be left to designers." What a pile of crap, I think. I am pissed, but in a moment of cowardice, I sip my wine, chew my pepper jack, and slink off to lighter conversation. If only I were able to channel Clint Eastwood at will.

Social Media Bashing on the Rise

Jun 8, 2009

I’ve noticed more and more folks taking shots at the value of social media. For example there’s Beware of Social Media Marketing Myths from Gene Marks in Business Week. It’s a natural evolution, I suppose, since social media has pretty much been hyped as the way to riches, better looks, and total self-actualization. I mean, this weekend my local paper had articles on twitter in three different sections, including sports. I get it, I’m tired of the hype too.

Five Brands Bucking the Downtrend in Beverages

Jun 8, 2009

Like every other category, the beverage market has been pounded by the recession, with 2008 marking its first volume decline on record as consumers buy fewer bottled beverages. Still, thousands of products continue to launch each year, making it one of the most competitive categories around. Backed by smart marketing strategies, some drink brands are breaking away from the crowd and amassing loyal consumer bases.

Sound: Differentiating Brand Builder

Jun 8, 2009

Some time ago, I was flicking through a copy of ‘People’ magazine, when I beheld something on its pages that caused me to just about fall off my chair. An ad promoting a TV series about Elvis, which was to run on CBS, was the source of my surprise. “The King is Hear…”, proclaimed, typographically, what turned out to be the first part of this innovative notice. On turning to the next page of the magazine, sure enough, I did hear the King. Elvis was singing from the pages and a voiceover was promoting the series. If you managed to see this copy of the magazine, I’m quite sure you’d have found the advertisement as unforgettable as I did.

P&G Buys Art of Shaving Retail Stores

Jun 4, 2009

Undeterred by recession or getting into a retail business with which it has little experience, Procter & Gamble Co. is buying the Art of Shaving, seller of pricey men's shaving products at upscale shopping malls.

Audience or Community

Jun 4, 2009

The only difference between an audience and a community is which direction the chairs are pointing. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. When we say community and we mean our selling demographic, that’s not the same thing. When we say community and we mean audience to absorb our message, that’s not the same thing. It’s important to understand this.

The Importance of Brand Heritage

Jun 4, 2009

I'm calling out British marketers today. They have a lot to learn about the importance of provenance, heritage and history.

Daydreaming Key to Creativity

Jun 3, 2009

When I want to solve a problem or come up with a creative idea, I usually sit down and think about it. This could be the wrong strategy, according to University of British Columbia psychology professor Kalina Christoff. The UBC prof is an expert in the unlikely subject of daydreaming, and has released findings that our brains are MORE activated than normal when we let them wander.

The '20% Insight' Factor That Drives Coors Marketing

Jun 2, 2009

Coors Light has enjoyed fourteen consecutive quarters of sales growth but back in 2003 that brand was tanking. What turned it around so dramatically? On the surface it appeared to be a simple new marketing strategy focused on the refreshing nature of cold beer. But what really drove the success was a disciplined approach to the management of creative ideas and insights inside the company.

Business Creation is About Value Creation

Jun 2, 2009

Last week a friend of mine invited me for a libation at a recently opened restaurant bar. "Where is it, exactly?" I asked. "It's right behind 'X' (a restaurant with a bar), he replied. "You know, across from 'Y' (another restaurant with a bar). If you walk out the back door of 'Z' (another restaurant with a bar) you'll be facing it." I found it.

Now's the Time for CMOs to Adopt the 7-S Framework

Jun 2, 2009

Marketing is facing its first real existential crisis, as pressure builds on CMOs to achieve what many are referring to as "the same impact for 60% of the dollars." That's why now's the time for CMOs to adopt and apply to their marketing operations the 7-S Framework, an analytical tool that's been successfully used by hundreds of corporations.

Six Ways to Avoid Landing in the Product Failure Bin

Jun 1, 2009

A decade ago the ability to generate ideas for businesses was a terrific and unique offering, and often a good business. Many companies and consultants were conducting workshops aimed at coming up with ideas, hundreds of ideas, and getting paid handsomely to do it. Today, it seems most of the businesses I deal with have more than enough ideas, it's determining the right ones to invest time and energy into that is the trick.

Perceived Quality: Critical Asset For Brands

David Aaker
Jun 1, 2009

Perceived quality is a brand association that is elevated to the status of a brand asset for several reasons.

Punishing Your Fans: A Lesson From Kraft

May 29, 2009

I recently received this email from Brandy Amidon, the Princess of Particulars and CPA at Brains on Fire, yesterday.

Managing Transparency

May 29, 2009

What are the strategies we can use to deal with unrelenting transparency? Fight it. Accept it. Deceive it.

The Difference Between Marketing and Sales

May 29, 2009

Marketing tells a story that spreads. Sales overcomes the natural resistance to say yes.

Challenging Convention

May 28, 2009

The smart guys at Contrast came by the office to talk about their thesis of abandoning conventions. It's the intent of changing what we expect when we use something. Obvious things like the design of a cell phone or subtle things like the design of a door knob. There are terrific benefits to successfully coming up with a solution that invents and leverages a new convention.

Don’t Dial ‘M’ for Murder, Type ‘A’ for Altruistic

May 28, 2009

Most appeals to donate blood treat the subject as if it was a matter of life and death -- and, often, to be sure, it is. But a new campaign is taking a different tack, on the theory that a light-hearted approach may attract more donors.

SeaWorld Marketing: A Story In Three Acts

May 27, 2009

Earlier this week SeaWorld invited me out for a press event for the opening of their newest roller-coaster, the Manta. Usually, these things involve doing something that would theoretically be fun if it wasn’t for the fact that you have to spend the entire time being pitched.

Ten Things to Demand From Design Thinkers

Mark Dziersk
May 27, 2009

Design thinking is currently an "It" concept, the topic of countless books and blogs and conference panels. While it can mean a lot of different things to different people, for me, design thinking is a methodology, a tool, a killer app, and a problem-solving protocol to be used on virtually any problem. It can be equally effective in designing a new product or creating a new brand, to envisioning a new approach to health care or to reinventing city management. Mayor Daley in Chicago, where I live, is a pretty effective design thinker. That's right, Mayor Daley.

We Read Too Many Business Books

May 27, 2009

That's the sentiment expressed by Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman of Wal-Mart Stores, in an interview in The New York Times this past weekend. Despite that fact that I write business books, I happen to strongly agree with him.

Is Social Media Making Corporate Websites Irrelevant?

May 26, 2009

There was a time when having a dotcom was absolutely key to your brand, and once you had one, it was the URL you pointed everyone to in all of your marketing. But with the emergence of the social web, and opportunities to engage with fans elsewhere, is that really the right strategy – or even a requirement at all?

Del Monte Social Media Strategy Creates A New Pet Food

May 25, 2009

It's one thing to debate the potential power of social media marketing to influence product sales but quite another to watch a social media project actually create a popular new product. In his keynote address at last week's Interactive Advertising Bureau's Social Media Conference, Forrester Research's Josh Bernoff explained how Del Monte Foods did that very thing in just six weeks.

Facebook And Twitter Hunt for Revenue

May 24, 2009

Facebook and Twitter have helped make social networking a household word. Now they need to make money. Efforts to monetize the popular Internet services are increasingly a priority within the two companies.

Branding According To Trump

May 22, 2009

Lies. Exaggerations. Facts and figures thrown around based on popularity and something called "mental math" Welcome to Branding 101, courtesy of Professor Donald Trump.

Short-Term Success Or Long-Term Vision?

Michael Brunner
May 21, 2009

Today, everyone knows we have to be smarter about how we spend marketing dollars regardless of whether we're increasing, decreasing or holding steady. But with an ever-changing media landscape and our country in an economic slump, the question becomes: is now the time to focus on short-term success, or do we wait patiently with a long-term vision in place?

P&G Social-Media Strategy Increases Tampon Sales

May 21, 2009

Josh Bernoff is vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research and co-author of the book "Groundswell." Keynoting the Interactive Advertising Bureau's Social Media Conference this week, he discussed how major marketers such as Procter & Gamble are using social media in increasingly potent ways. With the social-community effort detailed in this video, P&G significantly increased sales of its feminine-care products.

Attention, Attention, My Kingdom For Attention.

Tom Asacker
May 20, 2009

Unlike the ironic sentiment often expressed when quoting (or, as in this case, vitiating) Shakespeare's Richard III, I am not suggesting that attention is unimportant. I am, however, suggesting that businesses obsession with attention is misplaced, at best. And the fact that major industries have evolved to feed this obsession, simply adds to the problem.

How Big Business Weathers the Economic Storm

Ellen McGirt and Chuck Salter
May 19, 2009

Cisco, Corning, IBM, Intel, and Schwab have weathered worse economic storms. Five strategies to come out of this one even stronger.

A Want to Break Free

Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson
May 18, 2009

How much would you pay to read this page? At about 2,000 of the roughly 50,000 printed words in a typical copy of the Financial Times, it should in theory be worth about 4 per cent of the newspaper's cover price - 10 US cents, 17½ euro cents or eight pence. To readers particularly interested in the subject, perhaps, it may be worth more. To others, though no journalist would like to admit as much, it will be worth nothing. Similar questions are being asked with growing urgency in boardrooms across the news industry and the wider media sector, as stalling economies challenge the foundation on which most content owners' digital strategies have been built.

Five Strategies for Building Your Ethical Brand

May 11, 2009

There’s been a lot of discussion about elevating corporate responsibility to become a strategic driver of your business. Most companies would like to benefit from their ethical efforts in the form of increased customer attraction and loyalty, yet few have figured out how to do it successfully. When marketing and PR are relied on, it can often backfire in accusations of greenwashing. The secret is to apply brand-strategy principles to build your ethical reputation.

Dealing with Recessionary Times

Apr 28, 2009

I am constantly asked for "strategies/'secrets' for surviving the recession." I try to appear wise and informed—and parade original, sophisticated thoughts. But if you want to know what's going through my head, read the list below:

Searching For The Watercooler

Apr 28, 2009

It appears that something interesting has happened with the growth of social media. There was a time when media experts talked about mass fragmentation with audiences splintering into tiny interest groups that consumed media in unique ways. The proliferation of cable channels, digital radio stations and websites suggested this would be the way of the future. The assumption was that people would come together a few times of the year for big events like The Oscars or The Superbowl. This was before social networks, now we are all in these loosely affiliated networks. On Twitter, we have followers we've never met and in many cases have never heard of.

Social Media Ain't About One-Night Stands, It's About Relationships

Apr 14, 2009

Too many companies are approaching social media as a tool to generate buzz, instead of as a way to connect with their customers.

Most Corporate Social Media Efforts Will Fail

Liana Evans
Apr 13, 2009

Last October, Gartner unveiled a study that stated that by 2010, 60 percent of the Fortune 1000 companies with a web site will be involved in some form of online community that is utilized for customer relationship purposes. What the research also goes on to state is that 50 percent of those that set out and establish or become involved in these communities will fail in their efforts. That's about 300 Fortune 1000 companies that will fail at social media: a striking number, especially in light of recent economic pitfalls.

The Secret to Obama's Success: Mixing Old Media With New

Apr 9, 2009

Joe Rospars, the man behind President Barack Obama's new-media effort during his election, said the campaign didn't win because it used the latest technology. Rather, its secret was a holistic approach -- one easily copied by regular marketers -- that integrated digital tools into the overall strategy.

Rethinking 'Blue Ocean Strategy' in a Down Economy

Mar 31, 2009

Is "Blue Ocean Strategy" obsolete? No. Instead, its lessons need to be reinterpreted in relation to new economic realities. It offers many useful insights, whether a category is ripe for transformation or not.

Starbucks To Present Recession Strategy

Mar 17, 2009

A broad series of changes at Starbucks Corp., from instant coffee to new menu boards that leave off drink prices, show how the company is adjusting its upscale formula to the economic downturn.

Why Charging a Digital or PR Agency With Social Media Is a Flawed Strategy

Joseph Jaffe
Mar 16, 2009

My latest Adweek column is up and it's already getting its fair share of comments - with some particularly negative ones leveled at me. The piece is about where I think "social" media really fits and why - based on this assessment - I think it's a flawed strategy to charge a digital or PR agency with the AOR responsibilities associated with this imperative.

Marketers Need to KISS: Keep it strategic silly!

Mar 13, 2009

Every day I get a call or an email from a company - often a household brand - that wants to do something fast, cheap, measurable, and blockbusting in social media. I tell them: you need to KISS - keep it strategic silly! They want to employ Twitter, or do blogger outreach, or set up a Facebook page. Those are tactics. What they need is strategy. Otherwise, they'll just waste time and money.

Ford Leaving Chrysler, GM in Its Rearview

Mar 11, 2009

Suddenly, the wind is at Ford's back. Maybe it's the rising quality of its cars. Maybe it's the halo surrounding Ford for passing up federal funds being devoured by its Detroit rivals. Or it could simply be Ford's focus on building image in its marketing while others flog incentives. But for whatever reason, America seems to have decided that Ford is a better idea after all.

Twitter Marketing Successes

Mar 6, 2009

Countless brands are doing great things with Twitter, but most fall into one of two categories with their approach. I'll call them "organic" and "deliberate." Both can work wonderfully well, depending on your overall marketing strategy and where Twitter fits into it. Here are two companies, each with a fiercely loyal customer base, that take a vastly different approach to using Twitter to promote their brands.

CEO Profile: Campbell Exec Nears 'Extraordinary' Goal

Jan 26, 2009

Sip. Slurp. Repeat. That sums up the business plan at Campbell Soup (CPB) before Douglas Conant took over as CEO eight years ago this month. It was the same old company doing much of the same old stuff it had been doing since it was founded in 1869. It had no clear direction. No red-hot brands. Its innovation cupboard was bare. Conant went to work.

Dear Facebook: Don’t Forget the Marketers

Nov 21, 2008

An open letter to Facebook


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