Apparently the "Bull" in Red Bull stands for false or misleading advertising as a court recently ruled in favor of customers who did not sprout wings. Who knew?!
PS Please subscribe to the channel if you like these videos.
Apparently the "Bull" in Red Bull stands for false or misleading advertising as a court recently ruled in favor of customers who did not sprout wings. Who knew?!
PS Please subscribe to the channel if you like these videos.
Posted at 03:33 PM in Consumer Central , Creativity, Current Affairs, From the "I told you so" files, JaffeJuiceTV, Make advertising relevant again, Mediapost Column, Medium - neither rare nor well done, New Branding, Pithy Conversation Catalysts, Proof of Life after the 30-second spot, Television, The Engagement Wars, Ugly Stuff, Z.E.R.O. | Permalink | 0 Comments | TrackBack (0)
I was keynoting at a Satmetrix (the Net Promoter People) customer experience conference earlier this month in London -- and over fish ‘n chips during lunch, I ended up chatting with one of my fellow keynoters, Ian Williams (@CustExpMan), about making mistakes.
Ian had a rather controversial point of view that organizations should go out of their way to make mistakes ON PURPOSE. I immediately thought of Apple versus Microsoft. While the former seemingly makes mistake after mistake (remember AntennaGate?) and seemingly gets away with it every time, the latter -- in an effort to be perfect to market -- gets vilified for even the tiniest deviations from the norm.
In the startup world, there is a popular saying: “Done is better than perfect.” This statement speaks to the ability get a release in the market warts and all, as opposed to obsessing on ironing out all glitches and gremlins before allowing consumers in.
Failing fast, embracing failure, pivoting and “iterating, iterating, iterating” are all healthy signs of life in the entrepreneurial world, but how does this translate into the corporate world of innovation? Or in this particular case, the world of customer service and customer experience?
Furthermore, what about the ability to purposely make mistakes? It’s one thing to make a mistake (that’s why they call it a mistake), but when this is deliberate, surely it falls somewhere on the continuum of corporate sabotage to corporate insanity?
When I’m asked what makes a brand social, or how a company can become more social, I talk about R.E.A.C.H., an acronym (hey, I’m a consultant) for responsive, empathetic, accessible, connected and HUMAN. What is it to be human? Corporations aren’t human, but their employees are. Brands are not human, but they are symbols that reflect the beliefs, ideals and philosophy of the founders, leaders, employees, partners -- and customers of the company it keeps.
The Starbucks promise is that if you aren’t absolutely happy with your drink, they’ll make another for you. That’s their assurance to you if the barista at the register, the one with the Sharpie or the one that presses the buttons at the machine, isn’t always on top of his game.
If it is true that “to err is human, but to forgive, divine,” surely this is a sign to empower our front line to make more honest mistakes. Humans aren’t perfect, and it is precisely this imperfection that endears us to one another. Surely our customers would be the first to recognize this. Surely empathy works both ways.
I saw a stat that shows that companies who aren’t able to sufficiently solve a problem, but went about it in a genuine, compassionate way, scored higher net promoter scores than companies who did solve a particular problem, but did so in a rude, uncaring or abrasive way. That’s an incredible insight into aptitude versus attitude.
In a world where we punish our customer service agents if they spend too much time on the phone, what if we rewarded them based on how many times they messed up? What if we incentivized our people based on their ability to volunteer times they were prepared to take a chance to tackle a challenge, versus handing it off to the next in line? And if they were to fail, celebrate and encourage them to share the learnings and insights that have the potential to iterate, evolve and grow with the entire company?
Of course, I recognize the irony that if one sets out to make a mistake on purpose, it isn’t a mistake at all, is it? Which is in of itself… perfect!
Posted at 02:20 PM in Books, Customer Experience, Customer Service, Evol8tion, Flip the Funnel, Inside the fish bowl, Mediapost Column, New Branding, Startups for Brands, Web/Tech, Z.E.R.O. | Permalink | 0 Comments | TrackBack (0)
Technorati Tags: "Customer Experience", "Customer Service", "Flip the Funnel", "Ian Williams", "Jaffe Juice", "Joseph Jaffe", "Net Promoter Score", "Net Promoter", "Startups for Brands", "Thought Leadership", Amazon, Apple, Evol8tion, Microsoft, Satmetrix, Starbucks, Startups
My latest MediaPost Online Spin column below, which introduces a concept about "earning" versus "commanding" a bundle of products or brands. Whether you're Panasonic, Nike, Apple or Procter & Gamble...this notion applies.
A month ago, Procter & Gamble announced it would be culling about 90 to 100 of its brands globally, in a restructure that would instead focus on the company’s top 70-80 brands.
On the surface, the move makes complete sense. After all, the remaining brands have accounted for 90% of sales and 95% of profit over the past three years.
So if I read that correctly (and the math is rather simple), we’re talking about 90-100 brands responsible for 10% of sales and only 5% of profit.
If that’s the case, one might ask what on earth the company was doing in the first place carrying so much dead weight relative to the remaining rock stars.
Or perhaps you were astounded by the tremendous lopsided contribution of sales and margin within the family of brands. You shouldn’t be, as your own customer base is probably not that radically different from this kind of 80/20 split. Certainly this is true within the B2B world -- and although less so in the B2C space, I wonder what Zappos, Starbucks, Amazon.com or Coca-Cola would say when it comes to their power products.
But I digress.
So back to P&G and the announcement, which came from Chairman and CEO A.G. Lafley, who himself had returned to the company 14 months prior to steady a rather behemothic ship. Lafley had indicated disappointment with the company’s financial situation, and this move was a decisive step to get things back on track.
And yet, I didn’t interpret any strength in this move at all. To me, it was all about consolidating the status quo; the known versus unknown; the “safe bets” or sure things versus the wildcards or anomalies.
I would contend that there are no sure things or safe bets nowadays. Just look at the threat Dollar Shave Club presents to the incumbent, P&G’s Gillette brand.
My gut feeling is that P&G’s brand-cutting move will be followed by a tried and tested approach, including mass/paid media and reach-heavy digital or social plays like Facebook, and doubling down on massive global sponsorships like the Olympics, as opposed to riskier and less proven approaches on the innovation front.
In my previous startup boutique, I did some work with Panasonic. I recall how excited execs were about an SD card that could be interchanged and used in all their devices, from camcorders to cameras to HD TV’s to their Toughbook P.C. They believed that this interoperability (or compatibility) would be key to developing an unequivocal reason for consumers to choose every product within Panasonic’s portfolio.
I remember telling them to “earn the bundle,” not “command the bundle.” Instead of creating a walled garden or closed system, let people decide for themselves what to use, and based on your great functionality, service and experience, they would give you more of their hard-earned money and loyalty.
If you think about it, the walled garden didn’t even work for Apple. And thankfully so, when you look at how many iPods the company subsequently sold to PC users.
Nike “earned the bundle” with me. I started with the obvious pair of shoes and hodge-podged the rest of my outfit from every other brand. Today, my shoes, socks, , GPS watch, shirt, shorts, windbreaker, gloves and hat are all part of the earned “Just Do It” bundle.
Instead of cutting brands, why wouldn’t P&G have looked to invest in its existing suite, creating creative, lateral and bold pairings or partnerships, bundled around “reasons to behave” versus “reasons to believe.” Like P&G did with Potty Palooza during frigid Times Square days, with Duracell (charge your phones and cameras) and Charmin (go to the loo). Or what Charmin did with its Sit or Squat acquisition. Although truth be told, we still haven’t seen this live up to its potential -- for example, a tour de force combination of Always, Pampers and Charmin owning the public restroom for entire families!
As the old saying goes: "If you're digging yourself into a hole, the smart thing is to stop digging.” Personally, I would choose to earn the bundle from a much larger portfolio of everyday products, as opposed to commanding the bundle from a smaller set – which no doubt will be under even more financial scrutiny, competitive pressure and startup disintermediation in the future.
But that’s just me.
Posted at 11:41 AM in Books, Consumer Central , Customer Experience, Customer Service, Evol8tion, Flip the Funnel, Inside the fish bowl, Interactive, Living in High Definition, Mediapost Column, New Branding, Startups for Brands, Z.E.R.O. | Permalink | 0 Comments | TrackBack (0)
Technorati Tags: "A.G. Lafley", "Amazon.com", "Coca-Cola", "Dollar Shave Club", "Jaffe Juice", "Joseph Jaffe", "Online Spin", "Potty Palooza", "Procter & Gamble", "Sit or Squat", "Startups for Brands", "Thought Leadership", Amazon, Apple, Charmin, Evol8tion, Gillette, Innovation, Mediapost, Nike, Panasonic, Starbucks
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.
Posted at 02:10 PM in Creativity, Evol8tion, Flip the Funnel, Interactive, Madison & Mountain View, Make advertising relevant again, Mediapost Column, New Branding, New Marketing, Startups for Brands, The Engagement Wars | Permalink | 0 Comments | TrackBack (0)
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Last week, I popped into my local Apple store for back-to-back-to-back appointments with the Geniuses (or Genii) at the Bar.
First port of call was my own iPhone and its radical draining battery. Turns out the problem was my 17,000 apps independently calling for “background app refresh” and “location services” all at the same time. Problem solved, one for one.
Next up was my daughter’s beyond-smashed and dysfunctional iPhone. This is when things got hairy. I was told it would cost $199 for a new phone. I explained I had AppleCare and they acknowledged this, but informed me that my two-year warranty had expired.
Enter the worst bait-and-switch in the history of not-so-smartphones. Obviously the idea is to get people to upgrade to new phones. In this case, my daughter’s iPhone 4S could easily have been upgraded to a 5 or 5S (with Two-year contract of course), but as it turns out, she -- quite understandably -- is holding out for an iPhone 6.
Only Apple is not operating on the same page as my daughter (who I suspect she is not the exception, but the overwhelming majority now) and as a result, is lagging behind pretty radically in the high-stakes game of innovation. The Apple 4S came out on Oct. 14, 2011 and my daughter’s phone was purchased in May, 2012. It’s now August 2014 and all we hear from the too-cool-for-school Blueshirts is thestandard response: “We don’t know when the anticipated mythical iPhone 6 announcement is going to echo from the heavens.”
Why not? Why wouldn’t you inform your own people when your overdue phone is ready? Why constantly trade on innuendo, hype and secrecy? That’s soooo Steve Jobs-era and 2011!
After switching Blueshirts three times and apparently talking to the store “manager,” I found out that I could purchase a phone for $199 and then trade it in when I was ready. At today’s rate, I would get $125 for the phone. But a) the rate fluctuates daily (I’m a day trader now?), b) the phone would have to be in pristine condition (did I mention, this was for my teenage daughter?) and c) I would have to use the store credit for a new iPhone from the Apple store.
The problem here is that Apple is being out-innovated (outsmarted?) by AT&T and the like. AT&T now has “Next” that allows customers to swap out old phones (defined as older than a day) for the latest and greatest with two provisions: 1. The “lease” renews and 2. It has to be done in an AT&T store. That’s AT&T 1, Apple 0 for those keeping score in-store.
To make matters worse, I explained to “the manager” that I was literally (my third appointment that day) about to purchase a new MacBook Air and spend up to $3,000 in the process in their store, making it the 11th active i-device in my household. Yes, there is a “kick me” sign on my back right now.
You would think the manager would be “empowered” to make me an offer. How about meeting me halfway at $100? Nope.
How many people were in the exact same situation as myself, do you think? I didn’t have to think for too long. There was one person sitting right next to me with the exact same problem: a horribly cracked iPhone 4S screen, waiting for the 6, and oops… expired AppleCare.
How many tens, hundreds, thousands of people are walking into Apple stores every single day experiencing the exact same poor customer experience? The mind boggles.
It would appear that innovation -- or rather, the lack thereof -- has a value: It’s $199. When multiplied by tens of thousands of dissatisfied customers, that comes at a rather steep price.
Posted at 01:58 PM in Consumer Central , Customer Experience, Customer Service, Evol8tion, Flip the Funnel, From the "I told you so" files, Inside the fish bowl, Mediapost Column, Ugly Stuff | Permalink | 0 Comments | TrackBack (0)
Last week I attended a fantastic event in Chicago called “The League of Leaders,” an initiative run by the Path to Purchase Institute. Heard of them? Of course you haven’t.
That’s because the subject matter focused on shopper marketing, the red-headed stepchild of the marketing ecosystem.
I delivered a keynote to this group of marketers representing pretty much the crème de la crème of the entire consumer packaged goods spectrum. In my opening remarks, I made a joke about the fact that the advertising industry was slumming it in Cannes, whereas I’d hit the proverbial jackpot at the Westin O’Hare Airport Hotel, instead of puking off the port side of a luxury yacht.
Unfair comparison, really. The reality is, the only place to be was in Chicago. That's where the REAL money is! Case in point: Total U.S. retail sales projected for 2014 is a whopping $4.7 trillion (according to eMarketer), with in-store representing $4.4 trillion of this amount.
So why then is the overwhelming majority of marketers’ budgets being spent on acquisition marketing, designed at worst to deliver reach, frequency, awareness and whiffs of consideration, or, at best, to get someone into a store or supermarket, as opposed to completing the process and closing the deal in-store?
Observation 1: There is a complete disconnect between what is spent on prospecting, persuading and reminding versus what’s spent on sampling, converting and closing.
According to Veronis Suhler, $51.53 billion will be spent in 2014 on point-of-purchase, coupons, promotional licensing, premiums, loyalty programs, product sampling, and finally sponsored games, contests and sweeps. As a rough benchmark, eMarketer projects 2014 US media ad spending to be $177.8 billion (that’s ad spending, not marketing).
If you are familiar with my Marketing Bowtie™ framework that essentially unifies the traditional and flipped funnels (picture them side by side, where outside-in meets inside-out to deliver a bowtie), then we would be talking about what I call P.O.P. (place of purchase and/or point of purchase).
Observation 2: There is an acute lack of investment, intellect and/or innovation in the last three feet (in-store).
Speaking of P.O.P., there’s also a third expression, namely “proof of purchase.” This gets into flip the funnel territory, or retention as the new acquisition wheelhouse. In an era of mobile wallets and Passbooks, there is an extremely limited showcase of viable technologies, platforms and/or apps designed to deliver “from the cart into the heart” (stick a ™ on that for me, please).
Observation 3: The marketing machine abandons ship at the sale, and does not continue the momentum and relationship building post-sale.
The fact is that shopper marketing (increasingly being referred to as customer marketing) is still thought of superficially and tactically instead of from a more holistic and integrated perspective. If only there was a way to connect the dots…
Which brings us to the final piece of the puzzle, the one device to rule them all, the true common thread throughout the entire contact management continuum.
Of course I’m talking about mobile.
Observation 4: Mobile suffers from the same neglect in-store as it does everywhere else in the marketing world.
Arguably, mobile is even more important in-store.
As is innovation.
Fortunately, I did see a handful of incredible technologies and startups at this meeting that are looking to revolutionize the blue ocean of shopper marketing. These companies are also coupled with startups experimenting in areas like multiscreen integration, heat mapping, conductive ink, augmented reality, in-store mapping and big data.
And so, to those executives frequenting the aisles of their favorite supermarket for Pepto-Bismol to nurse those post-Cannes blues, I humbly suggest “canning” next year’s festival for a much shorter, less costly trip.
You don’t even need to leave the premises to have arrived.
Posted at 09:30 AM in Consumer Central , Flip the Funnel, Madison & Mountain View, Mediapost Column, Medium - neither rare nor well done, New Marketing, Social Commerce, Startups for Brands, Television, The Engagement Wars | Permalink | 0 Comments | TrackBack (0)
Technorati Tags: "Joseph Jaffe", "League of Leaders", "Online Spin", "Path to Purchase Institute", "Path to Purchase", "Shopper Marketing", "Startups for Brands", "Thought Leadership", Evol8tion, Innovation, MediaPost, Mobile
My last 3 Online Spin columns:
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.
By my count, v2.0 beats v0.1 any day of the week.
Not bad for a loser.
Posted at 02:41 PM in Books, Creativity, Evol8tion, Experiential Marketing, Inside the fish bowl, Interactive, Join the Conversation, Madison & Mountain View, Mediapost Column, Television, Web/Tech | Permalink | 0 Comments | TrackBack (0)
My last 4 Online Spin articles are pasted below for your convenience and reading pleasure:
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.
Serendipity reinvented in a social age and social world. A report back on SxSW and how relationships are being rediscovered and shaped in a world of digital connections.
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.
Posted at 06:05 PM in Evol8tion, Join the Conversation, Madison & Mountain View, Make advertising relevant again, Mediapost Column, New Branding, New Marketing, Startups for Brands | Permalink | 0 Comments | TrackBack (0)
My latest MediaPost Online Spin column:
In a previous Online Spin, "The Opportunity Cost of Inertia,” I wrote about a keynote I delivered to a room filled with senior brand marketers at the ANA’s (Association of National Advertisers) digital and social media conference last July.
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?
The clock is ticking. Or maybe it’s just stuck.
Posted at 04:52 PM in Creativity, Evol8tion, Madison & Mountain View, Make advertising relevant again, Mediapost Column, New Branding, New Marketing, Startups for Brands, Ugly Stuff | Permalink | 0 Comments | TrackBack (0)
Actually what I really hope is that less brands will be doing the WRONG things with startups and more brands will be doing the RIGHT kind of partnership and collaboration.
Read on and weigh in...
My friend David Berkowitz, CMO of MRY, just wrote an opinion piece titled “Why Brands will Focus Less on Startups in 2014.” In the piece, he cites (1) clutter, (2) too much P.R, and (3) lack of results as the three reasons why “brand and agency love for startups is going to fizzle.”
What David is referring to is a sickness that seems to strike many marketers and is passed on to their agencies (or perhaps it is the other way round): namely TNBTS, or The Next Big Thing Syndrome. The good news is that there is a cure. It’s called strategy. When there is none present, I strongly recommend abstinence (hence, the title of David’s article, and why I chose to take the same title although I have a divergent opinion.).
“Clutter” represents all the noise out there; the tonnage; the quantity of startup candidates. In fact, when TechCrunch pretty much opened its entire startup database to the public, I rejoiced. 30,000+ one-liner descriptions in an Excel spreadsheet! That’s like referring to the phone book as your list of potential dates. Good luck with that! The antidote to noise is the filter, curation or vetting that helps weed “too many” and weave “too few” into “just right.”
The problem with P.R. is P.R. itself. Ever since I stumbled into the world of P.R. during my social media days, I keep coming back to “those who can, do; those who can’t, P.R.” as I wrote in an Online Spin six+ months ago. I do recognize, however, that there is value to both internal and external merchandising. I think where David and I diverge is that he is referring to P.R. as being first to market with Vine, Snapchat or Google Glass – ALL OF WHICH are hyped up by the very P.R. and trade engine that accepts or rejects what is newsworthy on their terms. In addition, none of these platforms are early stage; none of the collaborations are strategic; all of them benefit the trade publications and the platforms themselves (can you say acquisition or IPO?) as opposed to the brands that helped them get there in the first place!
Then there’s “results.” Certainly if a startup collaboration is being attached to quarterly earnings, then we would do well to cut off funding to them altogether and instead invest this money to determine the same “results” from “working” media – specifically, how many millions of dollars are being completely wasted and negligently justified through outdated marketing mix modeling.
I hope 2014 is not the year of the startup. It’s very simple: 2013 was the year of the startup. 2012 was the year of the startup. Every single year in which the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and kicking is the year of the startup. Startups are nothing new. They were, are and always will exist.
To cover startups so prolifically (Berkowitz notes that the word startup was mentioned in Ad Age more times in 2012 than 2005-2009 combined) and then summarily declare, “it’s over” is proof positive of TNBTS.
I hope 2014 puts an end to endless “speed dating” without any intention of a second date; hack-a-thons with an emphasis on the word “hack”; brand accelerators that are led by agencies who implode when their one-man-band startup-guy leaves to join another agency or, more likely, a startup; and, last but least, the $5,000 pilot program, which is nothing more than a checkmark on the Next Big Thing checklist.
When the dust settles, fewer brands will be standing, and these brands will continue to enjoy unprecedented competitive advantages from profoundly partnering with startups. Brands like Under Armor, which just acquired MapMyFitness. Brands like Intuit, which acquired Mint. Brands like Avis, which acquired ZipCar. Or Brands like Mondelēz International (an Evol8tion client) that just won Mobile Marketer of the Year based in part on their Mobile Futures Program.
They all thank you for reading David’s article and taking it at face value.
As do I.
Posted at 01:40 PM in Consumer Central , Content is King, Evol8tion, From the "I told you so" files, Inside the fish bowl, Interactive, Madison & Mountain View, Make advertising relevant again, Mediapost Column, New Marketing, Startups for Brands, The Engagement Wars, Web/Tech | Permalink | 0 Comments | TrackBack (0)
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