Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Rule #3, Post 4--Lesson #7 Don't just talk, listen

Read through this blog about the Old Spice Man commercials.

Old Spice capitalized on listening to customers through YouTube. Do you agree with the blog author that this can no longer be done now that Old Spice paved the way with this method? What are some other ways we can spark conversation through listening to customers? And, by listening to them, are we actually sparking conversation or just joining conversation that's already there?

Rule #3, Post 3--Lessons #5&6 Make social apps useful and mobile

Are you a user of Fourthsquare? If yes, tell us what you think? Does it work for you? If not, what are the limitations of 'going mobile', and are there still ways to spark conversation in this field? Are there other apps you can't live without?

Rule #3, Post 2--Lesson 4 Keep it Real

One point Mathieson tries to make clear is that we should be authentic in our attempts at sparking conversation. Do you agree or disagree? Also in light of this, what do you think about the notion that many celebrities are paid upwards of $10,000 per tweet by Ad.ly? Do you think this will be an effective marketing platform in the future? Do you have examples that worked or did not work?

Rule #3, Post 1--Lesson #3 Keep it simple

Hello everyone! One of the lesson learned from this chapter says "keep it simple, social--and preferably events-based." A good example from the chapter was how CSI conducted a murder mystery within the world of Second Life in which fans could actively participate with their avatars. Can you think of another event-based campaign that a company has launched that was either successful or a failure and why? Please feel free to add any links to web-sites or videos.

Rule #4: “There’s No Business Without Show Business”

If you have ever watched a movie, played a video game, seen Viral videos, you have witnessed the use of Branded Marketing. With the ongoing shift in media from television and print to IPods and Mobile Phones, marketers must change their thinking when targeting a specific market. By strategically aligning a good or service with another form of media, one can create a tremendous bond between customer and corporation. Mathieson introduces the concept of building a community around an organization’s brand. www.Scion.com/broadband

Establishing a target market, and reaching that market is essential for branded entertainment. Focusing on the “P-O-S-itive” a brand can create a memorable branded experience.

P- Personalizable – can customer preferences alter the content that is presented
Ex. Head Case

O- Ownable - The ability for a marketing campaign to vary based on customer inputs
Ex. Hotel 626

S- Sharable – Is the customer able to share his/her experience with others
Ex. Band Of Buds

These are three examples of different methods of branded marketing that all use the internet to target the users of each product. Are there any other ideas that focusing on might benefit branded marketers?

Townsend introduces four key elements that maximize an organization’s probability of conducting a successful Viral Internet campaign. These four elements are as follows:

1. Star quality: Getting a celebrity attached to the project

2. Preexisting tie-ins: Campaigns centered around previous successful medias

3. Cross-platform promotions: Multiple media and targeted audiences

4. Community Building: Targeting the core user group, users can directly influence
the brand, users become advocates for the brand

Do you think that any fundamental elements are missing? Do you personally believe that these elements need to work in correlation with one another? Or can each be performed on their own?

We believe that one key element is missing from Townsend’s list, the number one element must be “Understand your Audience” As depicted in the Anheuser-Busch and the www.Bud.tv
example. Anheuser-Busch utilized all four of Townsend’s suggested elements, however the company did not truly understand the core market that they were targeting. Anheuser-Busch attempted to build the wrong type of community around the right kind of campaign. An example of a successfully built community is Candystand.com. http://www.candystand.com/play/sour-patch-battle-karts Candystand.com built their community around its core targeted customers. The sites community is based upon what they enjoy, keeps them involved and is continuously updated.

“Branded entertainment in its truest form really gives the brand a platform to elevate itself outside of the traditional sale of a product into a culture-giving it relevance with ownership of entertainment that is really multipurpose, and played out in a lot of different media to create an ongoing relationship with its customers.”-Doug Scott, President of Ogilvy Entertainment

Do you agree with this quote? Is this really the best way to connect to a customer?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rule # 2: Don’t Repurpose, Reimagine

Why do some marketing ideas fail and some seem to explode going viral? Rick Mathieson sheds light on this by pointing out in this chapter that old marketing tactics of one-way communication are simply not enough to be effective with today’s technology. In order to become an online sensation, companies need to create campaigns that can be customizable, own-able and interact with the target consumer. Additionally, it is imperative that the marketing campaigns continually inventive as to keep consumers actively engaged. Advertising must now be as unconventional as ever. As you can see from last year’s Superbowl Compilation, advertising takes many different routes to grab their customers’ attention.

Several examples were given in the book that directly adds value to the product. One excellent example was Ray-Ban’s use of an online application that allowed customers to try out the sun glasses. This obviously added value to the consumer being that he/she could try on all of the sunglasses offered without having to leave the comfort of home. Another type of marketing was raising brand awareness through interesting experiences that was familiar to the product. A&E’s show Paranormal State used targeted audio to advertise for the television series. This creepy experience associated with the television show caused a very memorable moment. Furthermore, the experience was very relatable to the product that was being advertised (a creepy show). This kind of advertisement would be easily identifiable to why viewers decided to tune in and watch the show. A few of the other advertisements that we thought were interesting were the “When I Grow Up” commercial by Monster.com and “Beauty is Nothing without Brains” by Mercedes. They both give the consumer something they can relate to that force them to relate to the brand itself.

Some companies have created advertisements that attempt to simply raise brand awareness. A great example would be the OfficeMax “Elf Yourself” annual advertisement on www.elfyourself.com. This seasonal page allows users to upload facial photos on to elves that dance to music. Even though this advertisement has nothing to do with OfficeMax or office supplies, I have received multiple emails from family and friends of their elf likeness dancing to Christmas carols. By now I have OfficeMax associated with the Holidays burned into my head. I understand how this would raise brand awareness by sponsoring a site that is highly trafficked, but how do you communicate the value (quantify it) to your boss or the shareholders? Other commercials that have the same focus, on brand awareness are from Honda. The Civic Project” and “The Cog” both raise awareness of Honda spending money to grab customer awareness of either their engineering abilities or their product from the inside out. Something of this magnitude would have an effect on the bottom-line, but how can you communicate that dancing personalized elves are causing people to buy more office supplies?

Does anyone else have any loosely associated marketing campaigns that are similar? We have seen advertisers do this and it does have an effect, but how do you communicate that to the CFO in a quantitative report?

In the Alex Bogusky interview, we learned that as the cochairman of Crispin Porter + Bogusky, he has led his team to breakthrough branding for several companies such as:

Microsoft – I’m a PC

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese –KraftMacNCheeseChannel on YouTube and the Mac N Cheese Cam

Burger King – Tony Stewart

Old Navy – Madame Eva reveals your best booty

Best Buy - Despicable Me translator

Volkswagen – Unpimp your auto

Dominos Pizza – Show us your pizza and Pizza Proverbs

Baby Carrots – Taking on junk food as a snack

The biggest thing for Bogusky is making sure that the consumer is part of the advertisement, something interactive. So as he says, “the consumer is involved in the creation of your brand. So they’re active participants – not just when you invite them to create content, but even if you just make something interesting – they just start to make content [around it].” Looking at his interview, it seems that the hardest part is getting his clients to buy into something different.

Genwow.com companion to The On-Demand Brand

In the introduction, Mathieson (p. xvi) states that the On-Demand Brand is an extension of his blog, GENERATION WOW. (www.genwow.com). In the spirit of the theme of the book, being "on-demand" is accomplished by reliance on the strengths of the media. As Jeff Bezos states, a book is a great piece of technology. Of course he outlines each aspect and then compares them with Kindle (see a recent interview with Charlie Rose at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAo0IfOCevA). and of course Kindle offers books on-demand, which is a strength it offers over its predecessor medium (which of course I still love since I still assign a hardcover book to my class).
But the blog takes the interviews that are summarized in the book, and provides them in the context of video, where the personality of the communicator is allowed to give additional meaning to the words which are static on the printed page.
So, the blog-book connection adds a lot of value both directions. The book provides a concise summary of what is most important (at least up to a point of time) in the blog, and the blog offers life to the book. Synergy.
e-commerce prof

Rule #1 Insight Comes Before Inspiration

I would like to say that this rule lends itself toward common sense, but we all know common sense is not that common!

Anywhere I go, I find that there is always someone that is asking questions pertaining to what I want or am trying to find. If I walk into a store, a greeting is usually followed by questions, starting with "Is there something I can help you find?".

When I buy a gift for someone, I need to know something about that person. They say gift cards are impersonal, and they are right; they can be impersonal. Keep in mind - gift cards are only impersonal if they don't benefit the person receiving them.

Food For Thought: As a Second grade teacher, my sister sometimes receives gives cards from parents at Christmas and the end of the year. It is a wonderful gesture. She especially appreciates gift cards that can be used for her classroom. Parents that know anything about her would never buy her a giftcard from Starbucks...she doesn't drink coffee. Chocolate milk is more her style. Unfortunately, every year she receives multiple gift cards from Starbucks...which is great for me anyway!

Marketing is very similar. In order to reach an audience, a company must understand their customer at a level that in prior times would have been impossible. The availability of information today is impressive. All I need to complete some research today is a smart phone with apps or a computer with access to the internet.

When I was in high school, computers were still a fairly rare find, and they were definitely not found in every home....and I am really not that old! I was one of the lucky few students who had the opportunity to complete my research paper on a computer instead of a typewriter. Adding footnotes and bibliographies with today’s technology is very simple (as long as you know how to use the software). Before then, it was challenging to make sure the footnotes and references ended up on the same page with the correct formatting!

There is a wide gap between technology available today and the audiences that utilize each of the marketing channels. It is more important now than ever to understand your target audience and the channels that reach them. Older populations are reached more readily by the use of television, radio, and print, whereas younger generations are better accessed via technology and social media.

This rule is simple and straight forward: Know your market.

I would like you to consider this Super Bowl ad from 2002:

Do you remember this ad running? Why did Budweiser do it? Why did it run only once, but become a viral phenomenon? What do you think?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Quotes and Phrases of Interest from the Introduction

1. "unbound content" (p. X): I like the way Mathieson takes the idea of "content" from only the receiver standpoint, and even beyond simple interactivity, but making it your own. This takes us beyond Rayport and Sviokla's 1994 HBR article, "Managing in the Marketspace," where they show how content can be separated from its context and infrastructure.
2. "original form of microblogging--text messaging" (p. xiii): Never thought of texting as microblogging. Not sure I do now. Will need to think some more about it.
3. "texting is the lingua franca of teen lifestyles" (p. xiii): Definitely agree.
4. "instant social gratification" (p. xiv): I never saw social as a modifier for gratification before, but I think it makes sense.
5. "Building brands in the digital age comes down to a single word, and that word is 'experience'." (p. xv, quoting John Butler--not of the trio, I assume): I have to think about this one, but I bet Butler's clients agree, but they probably thought it sounded so good that they didn't need to think about it. That's the beauty of clients.
6. "They lack the tools--the philosophical framework--to create the kind of experiences consumers want and demand in the digital era." (p. xvi): Whoever "they" are, I agree. At least that is what every business owner that I talk with says. So "they" must at least include those guys.
7. The On-Demand Lexicon (pp. xx-xxii): Getting tired of roman numerals. Props for putting the glossary up front.
8. This doesn't have anything to do with my blog post, but my daughter would like some feedback on this dress. She is 15 and also agrees about the texting point above (#3).

The Promise of the Book

The introduction of the book suggests the "marketers" (whoever "they" are), are unable to keep up with the consumer and technological changes that brands face today.

I agree.

What's worse is that as an academic that has taught e-commerce for what is now the 10th year, I have to admit that for the most part "we" (i.e. academics) are further behind.

It's not that I don't try to keep up. I tweet, facebook, blog, text YouTube (is it OK to use these nouns in a verb tense?), and so on. But I still have a hard time even keeping my website updated. It's simply too much.

So, I don't blame "marketers" for being behind (and I don't think it's just Madison Ave (p. xiv), since almost everybody else is too.

Perhaps the way to keep up is a new form of organization. I rely on my TAs to bail me out, students who have deep knowledge of a technique that eludes me, a host of really smart guest speakers to talk about the topics that I simply cannot know everything about, and books like The On-Demand Brand to try to bring some sense to it all. The need to find some organization is somewhat akin to Bedecarre's quote (p. xv), "...you need to have software engineers and technology people as part of the creative team...." Yeah, we do need to think broader if we are going to operate in this world that is now networked via the internet as much as it is networked through personal connections.

So, 10 rules provide an approach to make a brand be "on-demand." It's a pretty steep promise given that Mathieson is building his foundation on the same shifting sand that has created the chaos that he presumes to provide directions to navigate. But all the same, in my first reading of the book, it makes sense--or at least it seems to do what it portends: link marketing and technology change in a way that is useful to marketers.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What is the purpose of this blog?

Welcome to DemandingBrands where we explore in depth the book, The On-Demand Brand written by Rick Mathieson.

Each year I select one popular press book that I think somehow grasps the true intersection of marketing and e-commerce. In previous years we have read Paul Gillen's "The New Influencers," and John Battelle's "Search." This year, the honor goes to Mathieson.

During the Fall Semester 2010, my MBA e-commerce class will be reading, dissecting, and reviewing each chapter of this book. Most of the activity will take place between September 16 and November 18, but we can continue the conversation beyond that.

There are 22 students enrolled in the class, and each are authors of the blog. If you are a student in the class you are free to post! If you are simply interested in this book but not in the class, I invite you to join the conversation by commenting on the students' posts.