Peggy Noonan recently wrote an opinion piece in the WSJ detailing what she interpreted as the depression we are feeling as we sense “something slipping away, a world receding, not only an economic one but a world of old structures, old ways and assumptions.” I agree with her overarching sentiment – and know a lot of people who are anxious and depressed in the current environment, and for good reason. But holding a glass to the cultural wall and listening closely - pardon me Peggy, but the loudest voice I hear is petulance.
I know a high school English teacher who refuses to use red pen when editing her students' work. "It's like bloodletting, all that red ink on paper. It weakens writers," she says. So she bisects her students' sentences in blue, convinced the color, not the cutting itself, does the damage. Similarly, employees from cubicle to corner office play a "track-changes" version of pass-the-patient with nothing but the best intentions. More often than not, what starts as a second opinion leads to a few minor stitches for a split infinitive, then escalates to invasive surgery as personal styles and legal hedging trump purpose. At the end of the procedure, the writer's left with a Frankenstein's monster of crowdsourced pieces and parts that no longer effectively communicates or resembles anything remotely human.
On July 30, 1993, the Missouri river’s Monarch Levee buckled, flooding Chesterfield Valley, Missouri. The rising waters quickly submerged a 10x30 public storage locker a few miles from the breach, drowning 15 years of my family’s accumulated artifacts. 15 years of photo albums. Within hours, our Kodak moments dissolved in a toxic bath of runoff and gasoline. Gone forever.
As interesting and important as micro-blogging and other momentary, disposable bits of culture might be, I tend to be more interested in the larger patterns they can help reveal — not the chatter itself. Recently, the former has helped me tune into something intriguing: an emerging meme about brand voice.
These lessons work in companies, communities, countries, sports teams, and even families. The key is to spot symptoms of decline before they accumulate, and then shift toward the actions that build positive momentum
It’s a constant struggle for brands to make themselves be seen and heard above all the noise that’s out there, especially when their “prime” consumers have minimal attention spans and are far less forgiving of faulty, uninspired experiences with brands.
The ability to reach out, in a human way, to a Sara or Harry can quickly create either positive or negative momentum for your brand. That makes human interaction more important than ever.
Before you create a blog, draft content for your brand-spanking-new website or start tweeting, first define your “brand voice.”
This means that brands are suddenly jumping into intense conversations with a real point of view, on issues that could be seen as quite controversial. All this for what feels like the first time ever!
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.
Brand mascots are rebounding as marketers redeploy old characters in new ways, create fresh ones from scratch and use digital media to spin out rich storylines not possible in the past, when critters and cartoon characters were pretty much confined to TV. While it might be too early to declare a full-fledged mascot revival, brand characters are undoubtedly regaining attention.
How do you make a decentralized global apparel company without a single, cohesive voice around the world, no e-commerce, and a lagging digital presence into a unified global brand with a vibrant digital, social and e-commerce strategy, with eight million Facebook fans, dwarfing any other jeans marketer and e-commerce growing 40% per year?
Attention hipsters planning to give an “ironic” Christmas present this year: Snuggie is in on the joke, too.
On Madison Avenue, there are talking dogs, talking horses, even talking margarine tubs, not to mention talking brand characters like the E*Trade babies and the Keebler elves. But Mr. Peanut, the dapper Planters mascot since 1916, has never spoken — until now.
After forcing callers into automated customer-service lines, some companies are trying to sweeten the experience—by making the recorded voices less annoying.
Steve Jobs denied that Apple is developing a search engine when he was asked on stage at the D8 conference recently - not that that tells us anything about what's really going on in Cupertino's labs. But the speculation persists not about if Apple will move into search, but when, how and why.
A hot new social-networking service dubbed Bubbly, which is essentially a voice-based Twitter, is quickly gaining popularity among Indians. And thanks to Bollywood celebs being early adopters, Bubbly is growing virally and with virtually zero marketing spend.
A personal bond with customers lets your company escape the commodity pricing wars and provides you with a powerful new marketing arm: loyal customers who will promote and defend your company online and off--for free. Here are seven tips for getting the process started of building customer loyalty in a big way.
User interfaces—the way we interact with our technologies—have evolved a lot over the years. From the original punch cards and printouts to monitors, mouses, and keyboards, all the way to the track pad, voice recognition, and interfaces designed to make it easier for the disabled to use computers, interfaces have progressed rapidly within the last few decades. But there’s still a long way to go and there are many possible directions that future interface designs could take. We’re already seeing some start to crop up and its exciting to think about how they’ll change our lives.
Recently, at CUNY, we held a roundtable for ad sales people from hyperlocal blogs to big newspapers to hear what they are hearing from local merchants. We’re wrapping up our research for the New Business Models for News Project — indeed, it was Alberto Ibargüen, head of the Knight Foundation that funded this work, who said he really wanted to hear sales people’s perspective — and beginning research for Carnegie-funded work on new ad models, products, service, and sales methods, working with The New York Times on The Local.
What makes Barnes & Noble a better brand than Charter Communications--and many others? Customer experience. Forrester Research recently released its third annual Customer Experience Index. The study ranked 133 US companies across 14 industries using feedback from more than 4,600 consumers. Barnes & Noble came in at the top for the second year in a row, slightly ahead of Marriott Hotels and Hampton Inn. Other winners: Amazon.com and Costco. At the other end of the spectrum, Charter Communications took the bottom spot for the third consecutive year. Also at the bottom: Cigna and Medicaid.
Google wants to own the search experience across every mobile media platform, and its latest offering is a universal search box that lets users of Android-based smartphones look for apps, contact information and web content right from the device's home screens. This means users never have to leave their phone's home page or open a web browser to look up stock quotes, weather or a flight's status. The Quick Search Box,as it's called, also ranks search results by what a user has searched for and has used most often. Android users can also search and call contacts by voice with a tap of the microphone button next to the query box.
Twitter users on Thursday will, for the first time, be able to make voice calls directly to each other through the microblogging service. A new third-party offering from Jajah known as Jajah@call is expected to go into beta Thursday morning that will allow Twitter users to initiate a two-way voice chat with other users by typing "@call @username"--where "username" is someone's Twitter ID--into any Twitter client. During the beta period, the company said, the calls will be limited to two minutes, but the company will evaluate that length during beta. However, it sees the two minute period--after which the call will end--as "the verbal equivalent of a tweet."
The battle for the minds, and throats, of consumers who drink lower-calorie beverages is intensifying as a leading brand enters the category. Glacéau Vitaminwater, sold by a unit of the Coca-Cola Company, is bringing out on Thursday a low-calorie line called Vitaminwater10. The number refers to the calories in each eight-ounce serving and compares with 50 calories in an eight-ounce serving of the regular varieties of Vitaminwater.
Coke has launched a new iteration of its "Destapa La Felicidad" ("Open Happiness") Hispanic-market campaign. The new effort, bearing the tag "Destapa Tus Sueños" or "Unleash Your Dreams," includes new point-of-sale, shopper experiences, consumer promotions, television, radio, print and out-of-home advertising, and mobile, digital and music components.
Quick service chicken chain Popeyes has introduced a campaign featuring a feisty, truth-talking character, as part of its continued strategy of using real people in ads.
Once again Microsoft’s ad strategy is off-base. Their newest ad criticizes Apple for being expensive by “documenting” one woman’s quest to find a laptop that meets her needs for under $1000.
We're now in what I am starting to call the perfect storm for social media. On one side we have lots of very smart and accomplished professionals who are and have been using these tools to network, learn, and some to market themselves successfully to new jobs and careers. On the other we have many companies that are starting to see the need for different answers to growth than the diminishing returns not guaranteed by traditional channels.
Mass marketers have generally taken a wary stance toward blogs, but Frito-Lay isn't just embracing bloggers, it's letting them define their brand.
It's a recurring pipe dream for technophiles and luddites alike: computers that not only listen but understand our every command. And each year, like clockwork, someone claims this day is upon us—that we can toss out our keyboards and warm up our larynges for a new relationship with our machines.
For a span of nearly seven years, Coke struggled to find its voice. CEOs Douglas Daft and then Neville Isdell made bold proclamations to crowded ballrooms that Coke would return to its roots of creating "iconic advertising."
When The Wizard of Oz goes from black-and-white to color, the story springs to life all the more vividly; extraordinarily. In the eyes of today’s audiences, many companies’ stories, images and messages are missing a richly individual character: a truly distinctive color, contrast, aura, personality.
Much has been made of Mr. Obama’s eloquence — his ability to use words in his speeches to persuade and uplift and inspire. But his appreciation of the magic of language and his ardent love of reading have not only endowed him with a rare ability to communicate his ideas to millions of Americans while contextualizing complex ideas about race and religion, they have also shaped his sense of who he is and his apprehension of the world.