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.
Using a Texting and Driving case study, I draw an analogy with marketing innovation in general and ask why we hold back investing in innovation efforts (in particular when it comes to incusive coverage across all mobile platforms), especially when we're talking about rounding errors.
This one got a lot of traction and deals with the idea that startups are much more active "testers" or experimenters of consumer action, reaction, behavior and ultimately insights....than brands. The best way to understand consumers is not through one-way mirrors and focus groups, but rather through actual interactions. Startups remind us to "learn" by "doing".
I draw an analogy between weight loss and innovation as it relates to change. Best laid plans or fear of making the first move lead to the same outcome: lethargy, inactivity and essentially stagnation or decay.
Enjoy the articles and feel free to "join the conversation" with your thoughts, feedback and/or pushback.
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)
It's like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, but much scarier, especially if you don't know what you're doing with respect to dealing with "backlashing" customer. Fortunately for you, author Paul Gillin, who - along with Greg Gianforte - wrote "Attack of the Customers' does know a thing or two about the emerging space.
It's hard to resist making this a looooooooooooong post, so instead I'll do my best to be as brief and succinct as possible, so here goes...
My good friend and ex-client, Maarten Albarda and I are co-authoring a book together. It's my 4th book (after Life after the 30-second spot, Join the Conversation and Flip the Funnel) and Maarten's first. Besides sharing the same vision and passion for the subject, we're bringing a 1-2 punch to the table in the form of advertising-agency perspective on the giant elephant in the room: media or rather paid media.
The book is called z.e.r.o. and the sub-title, "zero paid media as the new marketing model" kind of says it all (and in less than 140 characters).
The book posits that in a perfect world, your paid media budget would be z.e.r.o. - literally, but also figuratively in the form of an acronym which stands for Zealots (advocacy), Entrepreneurship (innovation), Retention (customer centricity) and Owned Assets (moving from tenant to landlord)
On one hand, it's me returning to my "Life after" roots, but on the other other (and more poignantly), it's our set up of our premonition of a perfect storm approaching in marketing; one in which the bottom could conceivably fall out of the media model. Fortunately, the world is not perfect and change takes longer than we expect, but then again...just look at how your world has changed in the past few years to validate the fact that sitting and doing nothing is not a viable solution.
For me, it's a bold move for two reasons:
I've made the move from being a 3-time published author to self-publishing (thanks to Richard @ Wiley for everything to get me this far and props to my new home, Archway Publishing)
Review the various pledge rewards and become a backer. We've named them after famous misers.
From the Hetty Green and Warren Buffet (digital and hardcover copies respectively) to the maximum reward, which delivers 10 autographed books and an in-person keynote from either Maarten or myself (only 2 available per person)
The no-brainer and value rewards are the Mr Burns and Mr Krabs respectively, that also include a 140-character acknowledgement (plug) in the book itself
We just pre-launched the book and Kickstarter campaign at the Festival of Media in Montreux, but here's the crazy part...in just over 24 hours after I hit the publish button (in stealth mode), we've almost hit our initial funding goal of $10,000. With your help, we'll push this over the edge and see how far we can take it.
The wild thing is that the book will become it's own case study insofar that it will demonstrate how we were able to self-publish our book for "z.e.r.o." by tapping into our advocates and leveraging our owned assets. It's U.N.M.2.P.N.M. circa 2005 retooled for 2013.
So...if you're part of my community and/or appreciate my content, show your support on Kickstarter with the pledge amount (or more if your heart desires). I will post regular updates over the 6 week period to acknowledge my backers (which would be you)
And all things being equal, Z.E.R.O. will launch in September of 2013 and will contain the 10-point action plan towards implementing this bold vision towards helping marketing evolve, normalize and allocate scarce resources to a re-prioritized hierarchy of connection points.
My latest MediaPost column is up, which focuses on how Nike used Fuelband to activate their #FindyourGreatness platform. Or perhaps it was the other way round.
It's a great example of what happens when "you put 1 (technology) and 1 (creativity) together? You get 12, August 12, 2012 to be specific. #findyourgreatness Day. On August 12, all Fuelband users had an opportunity to set a “world” record of Fuel earned in a single day. A global challenge uniting every single customer. In addition, individuals had the opportunity to set their own personal best and break their records."
I began my thought leadership/writing career with a column on Mediapost and so it is fitting to return to the scene of the crime so to speak for a new weekly column on all things Innovation.
My primary focus will be on technology-led innovation, which is about as wide and deep as the blue ocean (digital, social, mobile, emerging, startups etc), but I hope to also dial into true originality, disruptive thinking and creative flair as it relates to the ability to tell stories, surprise and delight (some might call it classic advertising...or at least my good friend Don would)
Mediapost were very kind to write up this piece, which outlines my return to weekly thought leadership columns and also gives a pretty good update on my update so to speak.
Its crusaders are the passionate pioneers that represent a new marketing reality never seen before in history. This is the story of the evolution of the Internet -- and its progression from a superficial flavor of the month to quite possibly, the most profound weapon ever presented to the treasure-chest of the marketing community.
The war in question is a war against ignorance and those who resist change. It is being fought on two playing fields, by two very different armies. Their insignias are the head and the heart. Progress has been varied.
The infantry of the head, earmarked by research, data, metrics and media has emerged victorious.
The warriors of the heart, however, have not fared as well. Along the way, there have been many casualties, but when the dust settled, the brave and the dedicated creative community stood firm, supremely focused on their prime directive: to win the battle for the heart.
I wrote that blurb in 2004 when I put together a roadshow called “The Battle for the HeArt”. You’ll notice that I capitalized the A in Heart, as this was about art; the right brain; creativity…or the lack thereof in the online space. My position was that online was dominated by science; the left brain; analytics; metrics.
And in the vacuum, was an infinite void of desolate inspiration.
Battle for the HeArt was a Creative Roadshow, designed to celebrate, uplift and showcase the best online creative you’d never seen or perhaps had, but you couldn’t quite articulate or put your finger on exactly what made it unique or special.
The show lasted two years and save for the fact I founded my first company, crayon, it would have continued. Interestingly enough, 2006’s Battle (the third year) would have been sub-branded as Madison + Mountain View (I even registered the URL www.madisonandmountainview.com, with a positioning that the future of advertising lay in technology.)
It’s kind of sad and even pathetic that we’re asking the same questions today. We're questioning the lack of creativity and innovation in the online space. It’s not too late for an intervention though, but I fear that soon enough, it will be unless we inject a good dose of truly game-changing digital whoopass into the mix.
My antidote is the intersection of technology and advertising; Mountain View meets Madison Avenue. I’ll use Albert Einstein's famous quote to illustrate my point: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."
Dictionary.com defines creativity as “productive originality.”
Originality = Doing things Differently Productive = Getting a Result
“Doing things differently to get a result” is, in fact, the exact opposite of doing the same thing over and over again to get a different result. So it hit me: Creativity is the solution to insanity; the remedy to mediocrity and status quo.
Similarly, the dictionary defines innovation as new approaches that achieve positive outcomes. Is it coincidence that this is a synonym for creativity? I think not.
I think this underscores that the future of marketing is a digital one, a tech-laden one. Brands have got to innovate in order to evolve and arguably, survive. I believe that the intersection between marketing and start-ups is one way to mix together creativity and innovation into a powerful cocktail.
The catch perhaps is that innovation is typically associated with product or packaging R&D, as opposed to marketing itself. It’s time to change that.
I always like to quote photographer Diane Arbus who said: “It's what I've never seen before that I recognize."
Our consumers are the same. They ignore what they’ve seen before time and time again. And they notice the unanticipated. They crave the unexpected, the unpredictable, the surprise and delight. They long for the intellectual sparring that comes with an idea that provokes, irks, challenges or dares them to think or act different.
And they’re not insane, although we might be if we don’t rethink the way we go to market, or the way we utilize the full potential of the Internet and its social portfolio of gizmos and gadgets. The way we partner with our consumers -- and the way we combine what we do best (creativity) in a form, function and utility-laded service that truly delivers transformational (innovation) value.
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.