Mitch and I had a great conversation debate about creativity, the legitimacy and integrity of advertising, Jerry Seinfeld's zinger filled "acceptance speech" for winning an honarary Clio (you can read the full text here) and more.
Personally I think the last 5-10 minutes are particularly powerful.
I'm continuing to experiment with video formats in an effort to produce more content more regularly. This is my man-on-the-street attempt and clearly I haven't yet mastered the selfie video technique, but I'm learning! Be patient, it'll get better (I hope)
In this episode, I comment on an unusual Delta Airlines partnership with Chelsea Football Club. It's a partnership which makes sense on a global scale for both parties...but its the execution that got my attention...
Lately I’ve been describing myself as the Robin Hood of marketing. If I look back at my four books -- “Life after the 30-second spot,” “Join the Conversation,” Flip the Funnel” and “Z.E.R.O.” -- they all have a common theme of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. Or, in marketing speak: budget optimization (sounds less daring when you put it that way).
I challenge marketers to rethink the way they spend other people’s money in favor of a scenario which I believe more realistically reflects reality – or, at least a reality grounded in consumer insights and the actual behavior of the people they call consumers.
Inherent in the final optimization is the belief that we need to create innovation budgets. My co-author and fellow Online Spin writer, Maarten Albarda, dedicates an entire chapter in "Z.E.R.O." to the budget-setting component of the Z.E.R.O. action plan.
The creation of new budgets and allocation of funding is nothing new to marketing or media. I wish I could tell you this was the first time we are discussing this, but if I did it would just be déjà vu all over again. Every new medium has faced the same challenges when it comes to begging for scraps, justifying its existence and making the case for a spending level commensurate with consumer behavior and media consumption.
I only need to think back to my agency days recall the eye rolls when I pleaded for dollars that I believed were justified -- if not right then, certainly in the months to come.
I also remember being told that there are two types of people: pioneers and settlers. The pioneers get killed and the settlers take the land. “Joe, my boy: you are a pioneer!” Gee, thanks (I think…).
It takes a bold individual to put that stake in the ground (versus having it thrust through their heart). Chuck Fruit did it at Anheuser-Busch and The Coca-Cola Company with regards to cable television (ESPN is still grateful), and most recently, Mondelez’ (a client) Bonin Bough did it with respect to mobile.
In the world of digital innovation, we constantly hear about the 60/30/10 -- or 70/20/10 as a slightly more conservative -- rule being applied, led by the uber innovator, Google and in the corporate world, Coca-Cola (again) respectively. Coke refers to it as Now, New and Next.
So with all that said, what percentage of your budget are you spending on innovation -- aka “next”? Do you even have a budget to begin with? And if so, do you have a dedicated champion internally, and partner externally, to help you execute against it?
It dawned on me last week as I was immersing myself in the startup world of Silicon Valley that this 10% dream is really just a pipe dream to marketers. They talk a big game, but walk an entirely different one. I realized that 10%, while realistic and practiced by a handful of progressive brands, is unattainable to many others.
So I thought I would take the hatchet and lop off an entire digit, leaving us with a solitary and pretty binary “1.” I challenge the marketers still standing to get to 1% for innovation. Could you do it? Could you do it this year? And no, the year is NOT almost over. What about next year? How embarrassed will you be when you get to the end of NEXT year with still nothing NEW to show for it? Shouldn’t you take the first step NOW?
For your first step, why not move the decimal place one more time to the left: 0.1%. On a $50 million spend, we’re talking about $50,000. How about 0.1% of your spend on a test, experiment or pilot program. I don’t care what you call it, as long as you call it. As long as it isn’t others calling… time of death. Yours.
The Death Of Anonymity April 29 - Anonymity was once the voice of the meek; now it is the voice of the coward (and bully)
The End Of Advertising April 15 - First Brazil outlawed out of home / billboard advertising and now advertising to children; the end (of advertising) is nigh...
I’m not sure when Nike ceased to be a shoe company for serious athletes and instead become a technology company for average Joes (like me) looking to enjoy a health and active lifestyle.
Perhaps it was Nike ID that first hinted at things to come. Or Nike +, Nike Running, or Nike Fuelband that finally drove home the transformation from Just Do it to Just Digit (sorry).
Thanks to technology, Nike has elevated its relevance and resonance from just a brand to something much more: a community-driven experience. Dare I say, a customer-centric ecosystem powered by technology.
Case in point: #runstronger -- a call to action on the first anniversary of the Boston bombing, offering to donate $1 for every mile completed by volunteer runners.
I’ve become somewhat of a Fuelband fanboy. I wrote about it extensively in my latest book, “Z.E.R.O,” and have dedicated several columns in Mediapost to the same subject.
Last week I was in Australia, where, during a presentation, several members of the audience pointed out that Nike will be discontinuing its Fuelband.
What an embarrassment for Nike. They failed. They lost the battle to Fitbit. They couldn’t cut it with a piece of hardware that just did not iterate or evolve quickly enough.
And if you think the above paragraph is accurate, you couldn’t be further from the truth.
The actual announcement was that Nike is discontinuing its Fuelband production in order to shift its focus from hardware to software. The company is going to focus on the data, analytics, dashboard, gamification and overall experience, versus just producing rubber bands.
Let me repeat the key phrase again in case you missed it: Nike is shifting its focus from hardware to software. This is -- or was -- a shoe company, remember?
Nike is doing a classic pivot, just as an enviable class of past successful startups -- including, but not limited to, GroupOn, Twitter, YouTube and Fab -- did before it.
Playing to its strengths (or weaknesses), and ultimately reconciling this with its business, Nike is choosing to focus and prioritize versus spreading itself too thin.
Company strategists are also choosing to align themselves with an incredibly like-minded brand: namely, Apple, which will most likely be producing the one band to rule them all soon enough. This has not actually been announced yet, but Nike has subtly (about as subtly as a bull in a china shop) hinted at the continuation of this relationship in the wearables market.
As a betting man, I’m going to fairly confidently place my chips in the Nike + Apple camp. It’s a fairly inevitable no-brainer that Apple and Nike will join forces -- and when they do, it’s game over.
Enjoy it while you can, Fitbit.
In making this announcement, Nike has shown -- proven, in fact -- that it is a technology company -- a lean brand of sorts.
It’s demonstrated how an 800-pound gorilla can think and act like an agile gazelle.
At a time when most companies are still debating if they should sell directly to their customers via their website, what their Facebook strategy should be, which mobile platform they should develop in (because for some reason the budget allows only one) or how to approach a one-off pilot program with a startup, Nike has entered the next phase of its evolution.
At the end of my presentation, I challenged the audience to do one thing in the remaining six months of the year: test or pilot an innovation program that took them out of their comfort zones and allowed them to experience an emerging technology or perhaps just one platform they were deficient in.
I invited the brands to call me on New Year’s Eve, saying I would be close to my phone and looked forward to hearing a first-person account of their program, what they’d learned in the process, what they would do differently -- and most importantly, what they would do next.
Dec. 31 came. Dec. 31 went. The phone didn’t ring.
Even sadder was that I always knew it wouldn’t.
Scenario A: The overflowing glass
In this exceptional scenario, the brands were already piloting, accelerating, even investing in technology, platforms, startups and/or projects designed to obliterate their competition. They didn’t call because they didn’t need to call. They had successfully moved beyond dipping their toes in the water and didn’t need me to give them a gentle nudge (shove) into the blue ocean.
To them, I say: You’re awesome, but you still should have called. At the very minimum, I’ll profile you and your company in my next book. While I recognize your need not to share your successes with the outside world, you are in fact so far ahead that the others may never catch up. Plus, this is the sharing economy -- and if you want to learn from others, you should contribute to the growing pool of best practices and case studies.
Scenario B: The glass half-full
Let’s say every marketer left the event energized and emboldened to innovate. They ignored the hundreds of political and yet banal emails. They even delegated the “fires” back at the office to underlings. Instead, they piloted to their heart’s content. So why didn’t they call? Perhaps they thought I was joking. Perhaps they figured their job was done when they checked 1 x pilot program from their 2013 to-do list.
To them, I say: The only way to keep on innovating… is to keep on innovating. Now that you’ve completed one successful program, what will you do next? Innovation is a journey, not a destination and you will NEVER reach the finish line. Whether covering the digital, social, mobile or emerging categories, there will ALWAYS be an area where you’re lagging.
Scenario C: The glass half-empty
Same as earlier, except the programs didn’t work as well as perhaps was anticipated. Why didn’t they call? These brands didn’t want to admit failure, and so they refrained from calling out of empathy and consideration: they just didn’t want to let me down.
To them I say: Keep your head up. You are all winners. There is no such thing as failure in the Age of Improv. It’s all about the pivot. Don’t give up. You’ll be so much better next time.
Scenario D: The empty glass
Flatline. You did nothing. You forgot. You didn’t care. You were distracted. You didn’t have enough bandwidth. Your agency talked you out of it. Your boss talked you out of it. You couldn’t sell it. You gave up. You didn’t believe. You didn’t care. You weren’t motivated enough. Something came up.
Pick your poison. This is not mutually exclusive multiple choice. Check all that apply.
To them I say: you just lost ANOTHER six months. You bet the farm on the status quo, with hope springing eternal that the IPSOS data would be your salvation. You put your stock in the new tagline or campaign or promotion and the result was crickets. And in July of 2014, when the next speaker challenges you, you will have lost yet another six months.
Stop the rot. Make that change. Commit to action. Time flies when you’re stuck in purgatory, waiting in vain and resigned to die.
Those are my four scenarios. If you were in the audience, which one did you fit into? And if you weren’t there, which one do you think was the more likely scenario?
I think you know which one I believe is the more realistic outcome.
Why is this the case?
What needs to change to avoid this mindless reenactment of Groundhog Day?
I haven't posted my Online Spin articles for a while, but I'd like to do so now with 3 related ones that all triangulate on a brand marketer's need to change, move quicker, embrace the "fear" of failure (the only thing to fear is fear itself) and ultimately, adopt a much more progressive lean-forward approach to new media, emerging technology and partnership with startups/entrepreneurs.
Facebook isn't failing marketers. Marketers are failing marketers - This article really isn't about Facebook at all, but rather the approach that marketers take when evaluating and ultimately executing new media or emerging media programs. With respect to the former, it's all about old school reach and therefore replication and with the latter, it's anemic lip-service due to the lack of reach. The unadulterated creativity, originality and disruptive innovation is nowhere to be found...
I have seen the enemy - and the enemy is within - My latest article, which goes back to the notion of "doing nothing" but this time focuses on all the wheel spinning, lost time and therefore expended resources on deciding NOT to move forward on opportunities already under consideration.
Here's the final article in its entirety:
Companies are their own worst enemies. The amount of wheel-spinning that takes place to get an initiative in place or even started, only for the rug to be ripped out underneath due to “a new CMO coming in” (or an existing one going out), “a budget cut” or “a reorg,” translates into significant hours expended, and therefore has a very real price tag.
I think it’s important we recognize the tangible cost of dragging our feet, being stuck in holding patterns and/or ultimately having cold feet as a substantial cost of doing business.
The waste of time -- and therefore money -- is mission critical, especially when dealing in a complex, dynamic and turbulent marketplace, with -- let’s face it -- extremely scarce resource (and by scarce resources, I’m talking about talent and time). While we all complain about budget cuts, in reality we are swimming in obscene excessive amounts of money that go into the temporal renting of multitasking eyeballs (yes, I’m talking about YOU, 30-second spot).
As a writer and speaker, I get to clench my fist and shake it disapprovingly at you a lot. You agree with me and yet you do nothing about it.
As a consultant and “agency” guy, I get to feel the short stick by being on the receiving end of your constant “reorgs” and additional approvals and reviews.
But honestly, don’t worry about me -- this is about you. I’m really worried about you.
Did you ever stop and think that all this time lost is actually hurting the current and future state of your business? In other words, hastening the next reorg and restructure? Your inability to get anything done that is different, original, unique and/or innovative is without question putting your own continuity and value INTO question.
Seriously, consider the ROI of not doing anything. It’s a Return on Inertia that is ironically very measurable both as an opportunity cost (past/hours) and opportunity lost (future/execution).
Instead, consider the analogy of waiting in a very long line. You’ve stood for an hour and you’re strongly considering calling it quits and walking away. Only, you’ve already spent an hour and who knows, the wait might only be another 30 minutes or so. And then before you know it, it’s 90 minutes or 2 hours. Now you DEFINITELY can’t walk away, because you’ve invested 2 hours, which is much more than the hour. And then it’s three hours -- and so on.
Why not apply the same logic to your projects? Stay the course!. Consider all the hours and legwork that got you this far and use that as the incentive to keep going.
And if all else fails, consider this: “If you’re not adding to your legacy, you’re adding to your eulogy.”
For the rest of you, you would know FIR is one of the longest standing P.R. and Communications podcasts out there. Period. And the best.
I also had the pleasure of working with both Shel and Neville during the crayon days.
Last week, my co-author, Maarten Albarda and I had a great conversation about Z.E.R.O. and I particularly enjoyed the questions from a slightly different perspective (P.R. v Advertising)
You can listen to the post directly here (or if you're subscribed to Across the Sound or Jaffe Juice podcasts, it will download automatically via iTunes). The very thoughtful post on the podcast can be found here.
If you're still interested in reviewing the book, I'll send you a copy. Let me know.
If you'd like to purchase the book, you can do so here. It comes with a full 100% money back guarantee...however you do need to pay us a 10% fee on any incremental revenue or cost savings generated beyond $1,000,000 that comes from the book. Hint: The latter scenario is much more likely (you have been warned)
to the reincarnated and reinvigorated Jaffe Juice.
What was once a weekly op-ed column is now an unshackled, uncensored and uninhibited dialogue
on the subjects of new marketing, advertising and creativity.