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Dear reader: Welcome to yet another riveting issue of Brand Knew. Pleased to share with our readers that Brand Knew very soon would be unveiling a new media consumption platform that will broaden and diversify the user base whilst enhancing their reading experience. Watch this space for more. As we delve into this issue, you will know why brands should choose to be an interruption (intrusion) or why brands do or do not matter to online shoppers. As a blast from the past we take a look at the Top 20 Ad campaigns of the 20th Century and to crystal ball gaze we take a look at 25 Predictions on what marketing would look like in 2020. While on the subject of marketing we also evaluate it’s role in the ‘content economy‘. The brain remembers only what it least expects, therefore the feature on Expect the Unexpected by Tarun Mitra provides an appropriate heads up. Lot more of actionable brand and marketing intelligence in this issue and hope you relish the issue just as we did when putting it together. Till the next issue, Best always
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Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015 [Infographic] Humanize Your Brand Messages With Mindset Segmentation Understanding marketing’s role in the “content economy” 25 Predictions For What Marketing Will Look Like In 2020 Top AD Campaigns Of The 20th Century Your customers don’t trust your advertising Expect the Unexpected Brands must become a chosen interruption Do Brands Still Matter for Online Shoppers? Seven Tips for Creating a Company Name That Tells a Compelling Story SXSW: Why Your Brand Should Study Political Campaigns Get Creative: 10 Ways to Think Outside the Box 4 Reasons Why Design Is Taking Over Silicon Valley Marketing-Speak And Consumer Research Don’t Mix Book, Line & Sinker
Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015 [Infographic] By Verónica Maria Jarski
What does this year hold for technology? Here’s a look at the top technology trends for 2015 and predictions of where digital business will be in the next five years. Are you prepared? The top trends for 2015 include the Internet of Things; 3-D printing; advanced, pervasive, and invisible analytics; contextrich systems; and risk-based security and self-protection, according to the following infographic by Needa Shredder.
By 2016, “over half of consumer products and service R&D investments will be redirected to customer experience innovations,” according to data cited in the infographic. To prepare for that change, invest in customer insight through persona and ethnographic research. What other changes will affected businesses in the next five years? To find out, check the following infographic:
Veronica Maria Jarski is the Opinions editor and a senior writer at MarketingProfs.
Humanize Your Brand Messages With Mindset Segmentation By Kellie Cummings
Your customers no longer want to be treated as if they are consumers who all think alike and look alike and are therefore replaceable. Today, people are seeking value and meaning in many areas of their lives; unlike consumers in the era of mass consumption, today’s customers expect brands to treat them as people first, and as potential buyers second. For marketing teams, this shift in customer expectations requires an overhaul of customer messages. That overhaul begins with segmentation, which determines what companies know about their customers. The segmentation process is what creates a language and terminology for interpreting customers’ needs. The segmentation methods of yesteryear (demographic, geographic, and psychographic) created a language about customers that was rooted in brand value—not personal value. Those rational and logical customer descriptions created a view of customers that was merely a reflection of a company’s brand. To reach customers today, marketers must embrace a more human-centric and more customer-centric approach.
Three trends are influencing personal customer communications Although emotions have long been derided in business, things are starting to change. Three prominent trends give emotions overdue credibility and lay the groundwork for personal customer communications:
1. Distrust: Lingering anger from the financial crisis, mounting privacy concerns, and fatigue from corporate scandals all contribute to a general sense of distrust toward business and government. That’s a powerful headwind for brand marketers: Deeply cynical people tend to reject all efforts to influence them. To overcome cynicism and distrust, marketers must communicate more honestly, authentically, and openly.
2. Technology: Every part of our lives is besieged by technology, which leaves everyone hungry for human interaction. As a result, customers are craving emotional connections with companies in the form of rich brand experiences and authentic communications. Small craft brands are making headway against the great marketing powerhouses such as Procter & Gamble specifically because customers want to interact with real people.
3. Research: A growing body of research makes a compelling case for the role of emotion in customer communications. Research from the Corporate Executive Board
and Google finds that emotions drive buying decisions—even for B2B customers. After surveying 3,000 B2B buyers from 36 distinct brands, CEB found that emotions trump rational motivators by a two-to-one ratio. Products that offered buyers personal value in addition to product or service value achieved a 42.6% increase in commercial outcomes, the research found. (Personal value included emotional appeals, such as how to be a better leader, to feel more confident, or to improve one’s self-image.) Products with purely functional benefits achieved only a 21.4% increase in commercial outcomes. The research concluded: “Not only do emotions matter in B2B buying, but they actually matter even more than logic and reason.”
Adjust your segmentation strategy Now that you’re ready to connect with your customers on a more human level, it’s time to learn about their mindsets. Following are five categories of audience segment attributes that are used in mindset segmentation:
1. Beliefs: To connect authentically with customers, it’s essential to know their personal values and principles. Focus on customer attributes that reveal personal beliefs: Are your customers active in their community? Do they value loyalty from friends and colleagues? In what ways are your brand values aligned with their personal values?
2. Hopes and fears: Psychological researcher Jeffry A. Simpson says trust is the juxtaposition of people’s loftiest hopes and their deepest fears. Marketers who know people’s fears also know how to avoid disappointing them and thus halt the erosion of trust. Likewise, by knowing customers’ aspirations, marketers learn how to delight customers and fortify trust, because that information engenders empathy for customers by giving them a true human dimension.
3. Emotional needs: Customers’ emotional needs for security and self-esteem are often at the root of financial decisions. To explore undiscovered emotional needs, conduct qualitative interviews with open-ended questions: How do your customers want to be perceived by their friends and colleagues? What aspects of their personal dignity are occasionally at risk? Why? And so on.
4. Expectations: We know that customer trust has less to do with a specific product experience than it does with customer perceptions of the parent company. Discover customers’ rational and emotional expectations of your company. What types of actions would your customers consider unethical? What social value does your parent company provide that gives customers the greatest sense of satisfaction? 5. Brand perceptions: How would your customers describe your company to their peers? Remember, the goal is to capture personal value, not functional value. How does your brand appeal to customers’ self-image and sense of dignity? Through mindset segmentation, marketing teams can develop a shared understanding of customers’ personal aspirations and fears. Once that vocabulary is established, team members will be able to empathize with customers’ personal needs and therefore anticipate customers’ reactions to new products or service changes. This segmentation process enables empathy, thereby humanizing customers in an otherwise rational and data-driven world.
Kellie Cummings is a business consultant specializing in practices that fortify trust with customers. Learn more at www.kelliecummings.com.
Understanding marketing’s role in the “content economy” By Tom Channick
A surprising transformation across the media industry has happened in the span of a few years as content has emerged as the central currency linking brands and publishers. As a result, sweeping changes in media, advertising, and technology are in motion. Publishers and advertisers are changing strategy as fast as you can say “media spinoff,” spurred by audience gravitational pull toward the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Consolidation in advertising and investments in media are in the air. Publishers are becoming brand advertisers as brands are becoming publishers. New winners and losers will shake out as industries collide. What’s at stake are billions of new ad dollars. This is the new content economy. Following are the major forces at play that all stakeholders in the changing ecosystem need to understand and adapt to as they move their businesses into the future.
Publisher Creative Agencies Publishers are in the midst of a wholesale reinvention. Digital native publishers and traditional ones alike are installing brand advertising studios. The coming years will see flameouts and new household names. Buzzfeed landed $50 million from investors this year as a capital injection into its advertising studio. That came after Vice Media scored $500 million from investors after speculation over fast-growing revenue from its native advertising programs. The New York Times followed in their footsteps, unveiling a creative ad studio allowing it to play catch up and move the needle on earnings results from digital advances. Nascent publisher ad agencies also remain laser focused on developing sponsored content that melds well with their editorial. The question is, can publishers, large and emerging, get there fast enough?
Brand Media Publishers Today’s brands are publishing content at a dizzying pace to influence mindshare and buyers. And that requires appearing on social channels and publisher sites to targeted audiences. Parsing what plays well among publishers and resonates with readers is the new domain of social engine optimization. In this environment, “No. 1 is the creative,” says Facebook VP of Global Marketing Solutions Carolyn Everson of the need to form rockstar campaigns. Branded content has boosted its stakes. Take Intel’s The Creator’s Project, a campaign that’s nabbed tens of millions of dollars for Vice Media and tens of millions of YouTube
views for the chipmaker. Meanwhile, Netflix has created stunning campaigns that set a new benchmark in storytelling. Its Wired piece put the industry on its heels. The New York Times ran another, the Netflix-sponsored piece that resonates with the streaming service’s popular Orange Is the New Black series, garnering a top 10 most-read stories position. Who says paid content can’t grab readers by the lapels?
Platforms Morphing into Media Companies While publishers are turning into brand studios and brands are turning into publishers, major platforms on the web are morphing into media companies. LinkedIn is the seminal example of a major technology platform evolving into a media company, with content creators now on its payroll, offering further validation that content is the lifeblood of all businesses. Yahoo has clearly gone all out as a media company under CEO Marissa Mayer, hiring talent. The Internet pioneer is also shifting to mobile media and native advertising via its Tumblr acquisition, which it forecasts will contribute $100 million to 2015 revenue. Expect the likes of Pinterest, Airbnb, and Uber to follow suit with editors and curators.
Looking Ahead Opportunities loom large for winners. Advances by major publishers underscore a vast market for new native advertising revenue beyond the walls of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. This space, the so-called open web, is pegged to reach $5.7 billion in 2018, up more than 5X from $1 billion in 2013, according to BIA/Kelsey. What will it take to win in the new content economy? The best way for publishers to earn more is to interrupt less. The best way for brands to emotionally connect is through meaningful content. But for the new content economy to thrive, all of these efforts need to happen at scale. Ad-tech companies are already working on this problem with native programmatic solutions, and publishers should plan to bake them into their product roadmap for later this year. While the content economy is booming, it’s still early innings for the winners and losers to shake out. What’s clear now is that publishers, brands, and platforms are more aligned today than ever before. All are striving to provide unprecedented reader value from content and be the destination where people create and consume media. Tom Channick is communications director at in-feed ad exchange Sharethough.
25 PREDICTIONS FOR WHAT MARKETING WILL LOOK LIKE IN 2020 By Jeff Beer
Elite players—members of the Most Innovative Companies list—representing key marketing constituencies give us their educated predictions on how the brand landscape will evolve in 5 years. Just as technology and consumer behavior will evolve in unpredictable ways between now and 2020, the ways marketers react to—or perhaps influence?—these new developments will also change in ways we can’t fully imagine now. But if anyone can offer a credible forecast for the nearfuture trends that will change the way brands connect with people, and the way creative companies will work in the next few years, it’s the people who are most influencing the ad and marketing world right now. We asked innovators behind some of the companies on this year’s Most Innovative Companies in Advertising/Marketing list, representing key constituencies in the ad landscape— creative agencies, brands, marketing technology startups, and media platforms—for five predictions for the next five years. While some of their answers spoke to now-familiar trends— the continued growth of mobile and its attendant impact on brand messaging, the continued rise of video and virtual reality, the need for brands to work on a timeline that matches culture, not ad campaigns—their predictions touched on a much wider range of topics, from the shrinking of the product development cycle to data and the place of technology in the marketing continuum (and even a prediction that the banner will work!). That range of topics, in itself, speaks to one, overall, very safe prediction, summed up by Percolate’s Noah Brier: “The complexity of modern marketing is only going to keep increasing.” See more forecasts below.
locomotives, wearables, lights. As marketers, pay particular attention to TV, as the web starts to power your remote control, look for more new players with high-quality content. New faces to news coverage. Emerging publishers who tailor content, context, and media to younger audiences will surge ahead. Mic, Vice, Fusion, Circa, and Quartz are incredibly well-positioned. Many of the hottest new media apps will help filter the clutter. By either evaporating or simplifying communication down to a “Yo,” brands will need to behave in a similar manner in these places to stay relevant. Owning your audience. In a world filled with incredible new tools to cultivate community, customers, consumers, and fans are more accessible than ever. Look for more direct conversations.
THE STARTUP/MARKETING TECH COMPANY Noah Brier, co-founder Percolate All channels are “programmatic.” Programmatic rightly gets a bad name, but the core idea of marketing channels being accessible via an input like an API is a really important concept. Right now that’s true of the social channels, and increasingly, the rest of the digital marketing channels, but over the next five years we’ll also see traditional channels like radio and television open themselves up to receive marketing assets programmatically.
No more social. As counterintuitive as it sounds, you know a new medium has succeeded when we don’t talk about it anymore. No one mentions going online because we’re all just always connected. The same is increasingly true of social and I expect we’ll see the full transition over the next five years. Facebook now makes more money on advertising than most of the major television networks and it’s showing no signs of letting up. Instagram takes 15-second videos that look a lot like commercials. The fact these are social doesn’t really matter anymore; they’re part of the marketing mix and offer brands the sort of reach they only got a few times a year on television. To that end, social will just be folded into the broader marketing discipline.
Linda Boff, executive director of global brand marketing, General Electric
The complexity of modern marketing is only going to keep increasing. The job of being a marketer in 2015 is undoubtedly more difficult than it was 20 years ago. The proliferation of channels, markets, and, importantly, incomes in emerging markets around the world, has made marketing a complex discipline. While this is a big challenge, it’s also a good problem to have, as over the next five years marketers will have an ever-growing customer base who, thanks to the
Virtual reality has become real. It’s a great storytelling platform, particularly for GE, because it gives us another incredible way to show how our big machines perform in extreme conditions. Connected everything: homes, TVs, cars, jet engines,
growth of smartphones, they will be able to reach directly (many for the first time). All of this will drive more complexity inside and outside organizations, but, when accompanied by growth, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Perfect end-to-end attribution (or knowing exactly what messages and actions led someone to buy a product) will remain an industry white whale. We’ve been talking about attribution for at least 80 years in marketing. New technology has given us much better data in some places, for instance, end-to-end attribution in search is a current reality. But for the majority of companies who sell goods in stores will still struggle with end-to-end attribution five years from now. New technologies, especially mobile wallets, offer some compelling possibilities for solving the problem, but at the end of the day, we’re still a long way from being able to tie the billboard exposure in Times Square to the bar of soap being purchased in Target. Technology moves upstream. If you look at how technology has moved through marketing, it started at the edge (distribution of marketing assets) and has continued to move
Good agencies will act like product companies, not service companies. Service companies aspire to a happy customer and a contract renewal. Product companies innovate quickly and offer better value with each iteration. Agencies who get the Silicon Valley fast iteration memo will lead the next generation. Big data will get personal. The revolution that has changed how brands go to market will become personalized and allow individuals to use data to pursue their passions and goals. Products and experiences that help people along on this journey will become a much bigger part of our lives. Marketers who participate in this productively and respectfully will form deeper relationships. Those who intrude will get shut out. Culture will still be king. People will continue to care more about culture than products, so brands that operate on a cultural level will be the winners of the future as they are of the present.
THE MODERN MEDIA COMPANY-SLASHAGENCY Spencer Baim, chief strategic officer, Vice Media Many of today’s brands will become irrelevant after failing to recognize that the millennial consumer is a generation of people, not just a niche “youth” market. Millennials will not turn into generation X when they turn 35, but will take with them all the brand preferences and media habits they have today. The central issue for a marketer will be winning a battle for cultural relevance. The winners will make marketing as valuable as the product or service he or she is selling.
closer and closer to the actual planning and development of marketing itself. Over the next five years we’ll see technology complete this transition and become a part of the core fabric of marketing itself.
Great marketers will find a brand story that is worth following, and will create chapters to this story that evolve over time. They will embrace brands that evolve.
Matt Jarvis, chief strategy officer, 72andSunny
Banner advertising, through innovation, will actually work. Rather than disrupting user experience, media will provide added value to a website, giving the consumer what they want, producing tangible results.
Doing good will be good for business. People will reward brands who do good, and punish the ones who don’t. Brand citizenship will move from a defensive, corporate affairs function to a marketing function that drives transactions at scale and creates advantages for companies in the talent wars.
Creative energy will see a shift away from agencies and towards publishers and platforms. An increasing number of the brightest creative minds will abandon standalone agencies for creative divisions of media companies and tech companies, and in turn, these will become the go-to shops for best-in-class brand services.
Agencies will become connectors. Brands want to connect with people through artist relationships and artists want brand dollars. Agencies will be the force that brings them together in partnerships that are about more than just pay to play.
Jeff Beer is a senior writer with Co.Create. He’s a former staffer at Advertising Age, Creativity and Canadian Business magazine. He lives in Toronto.
THE CREATIVE AGENCY
Top AD Campaigns Of The
20th Century By Ad Age
In 1999, as the 20th century came to a close, the Ad Age staff set out to examine all the ways in which advertising has entertained, moved and motivated us over the years. We decided to rank the 100 best campaigns of the century, in a special issue, to celebrate their creativity and impact. Now, Advertising Age is updating this list with 15 of the best ad campaigns of the 21st Century. In the last 15 years, advertising and marketing, and the media it used to get out its messages, has experienced an incredible upheaval as digital media and interactivity changed the dynamics of how consumers see and pay attention brand messages. Control shifted from marketers and traditional media timing their messages and forcing consumers to see ads as a trade-off for the content they wanted to see to the consumer wielding remote control and computer mouse. Traditional media found itself scrambling to stay relevant as digital media wreaked havoc with the guarantee that consumers were likely to see ad messages. Expensive journalism distributed free online amassed audience but not ad dollars and wiped out a whole generation of magazines and newspapers, while DVRs, podcasts, streaming video services like Netflix and Hulu challenged TV and radio models. Out of this massive shift, marketers and agencies got very innovative in turning these new tools to their advantage. Several of these winning campaigns are on this list because they led the way in thinking about how to use these new tools effectively and entertainingly. Some of these ad campaigns are here because they changed the way consumers thought about the world around them and some are examples of
great solid marketing built on spot-on insights and beautifully, perfectly executed. Advertising Age tapped the expertise of leading creators and marketers to derive this list of 15. We asked our judges to consider three criteria, the same three questions that were used for the original Top 100 Ad Campaigns of the 20th Century: Was it a watershed ad or campaign, discernibly changing the culture of advertising or the popular culture as a whole? If it itself was credited with creating a category, or if by its efforts a brand became entrenched in its category as No. 1. Was it simply unforgettable? We gave the judges a list of 50 nominees from which to vote on their top 15 and then rank them. These winning campaigns are those that got the most judges’ votes to be on the list, and ranked the highest. Ad Age Members were also asked to weigh in on their picks, and you can see the results of that poll here. One of the judges, Greg Hahn, CCO, BBDO New York, noted of the finalists, “Looking at this list you can see what these executions have in common. They all have a strong voice, a POV, and a client that was willing to go outside of the tried and true. These all broke through because they broke out of the norm. They remain as standouts because they were inherently right for the brand. There are a million logical reasons why each of these shouldn’t have worked. Thank God the right people ignored all of them.”
WINNERS No.15 UNICEF: Tap Project On World Water Day 2007, UNICEF launched the “Tap Project” in New York with then relatively new agency Droga5. The idea was simple; a $1 donation tacked onto a restaurant bill could help UNICEF provide a child with drinking water for 40 days. Since then, the “Tap Project” has seen multiple iterations and has raised more than $2.5 million dollars.
No.14 Chipotle: Back to the Start For something that was initially created to be an introductory video for a new-fangled loyalty program, Chipotle’s “Back to the Start” made a splash beyond what the chain—and adland as a whole—ever expected.
No.13 - Budweiser: Whassup Beer brands have been doing bro humor forever. But few have done it better than Budweiser’s “Whassup,” whose singleword catchphrase set the standard for silliness that works.
No.12 - Metro Trains: Dumb Ways to Die How does a safety PSA for a local train company become the juggernaut of awards ceremonies, netting every creative prize going? McCann Melbourne’s “Dumb Ways to Die” tapped into two elements that are loved almost universally: catchy music and cute cartoon characters. Add some really black humor into the mix and you get the beginnings of a cult classic.
No.11 - Dos Equis: Most Interesting Man in the World This classic campaign broke the mold for beer ads. Rather than featuring 20-somethings, Dos Equis aged up, making a star out of gray-haired journeyman actor Jonathan Goldsmith. In the campaign, he plays the debonair “Most Interesting Man in the World,” who has become one of the most revered ad characters of the century. Or as one ad suggests, “If he were to pat you on your back, you would list it on your résumé.”
No.10 - American Legacy: Truth It’s rare for two agencies to pitch a client together and collaborate creatively on every part of a campaign. But that’s what happened when Arnold Worldwide and Crispin Porter & Bogusky joined forces to help newly formed American Legacy, a national public health foundation, take the anti-smoking fight to big tobacco’s doorstep. The result was, “Truth,” a fully integrated marketing campaign launched in February 2000 that visualized the effects of smoking. The push encouraged rebellion and, for the first time, made it cool not to smoke.
No.09 - P&G: Thank You, Mom Procter & Gamble Co.’s “Thank You Mom” campaign had its beginnings not so much in strategy or creativity as in opportunity. P&G and Wieden had the top four best-scoring ads for effectiveness from the 2014 games, according to the Ace Metrix online consumer tracking panel. And with more than 25 million YouTube views between Feb. 7 and 10, 2014, P&G had more than quadruple the number of the next six Olympic sponsors combined, including Visa and Samsung.
No.08 - Apple: Get a Mac Are you a Mac or a PC? No one even asked before Apple and TBWA launched the “Get a Mac” campaign in 2006. And then suddenly everyone knew. The series of 66 commercials, also known commonly as “Mac vs. PC,” featured comedic actors John Hodgman, as a Bill Gates-lookalike-nerdy-workaholic PC, and Justin Long, as a Steve Jobs stand-in personifying a hip Mac computer. The ads were playful and funny, but also aggressively competitive.
No.07 - American Express: Small Business Saturday American Express’s “Small Business Saturday” was almost “Local Tuesday.” Not really, but that was the idea Crispin Porter & Bogusky was tossing around in 2010 when American Express OPEN asked for ideas that would help their smallbusiness merchants boost sales. Crispin brought their local idea to American Express and it turned out the payment processor had a similar idea in mind for the Saturday after Black Friday.
No.06 Burger King: Subservient Chicken Burger King’s “Subservient Chicken” was not only one of the most bizarre marketing ideas in the early part of the 21st century, it was one of the most groundbreaking and popular. The campaign brought a whole new meaning to “Have it your way,” the tagline the chain had recently revived when “Subservient Chicken” was introduced in 2004. The campaign was originally created to promote customization of the TenderCrisp chicken sandwich—in the hopes that Burger King would gain market share in the chicken category—and was centered on the idea that customers could order the chicken sandwich any way they liked.
No.05 Red Bull: Stratos Red Bull insists its mega-stunt, dubbed “the mission to the edge of space,” was not an advertising campaign. And that’s exactly why the ad and marketing industry can’t get enough of it.
No.04 - Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like In late 2009, Wieden & Kennedy’s Old Spice team got a deceptively simple brief, from whence “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” was born. The agency’s Old Spice planner and account team had figured out that women were making the majority of body wash purchases. “They realized a lot of men were just using their wife or girlfriend’s body wash and this really wasn’t good for Old Spice sales,” explained Jason Bagley, who oversaw creative direction on this Old Spice campaign with partner Eric Baldwin. The brief came out of that strategic insight.
No.03 - BMW Films It’s not every day that a company pours $17 million into a brand campaign that involves destroying its product. But that’s exactly what Fallon and BMW did with “The Hire,” a web-based series of short films that broke every rule in the book on its way to becoming a Harvard Business School case study and the first campaign ever to win a Titanium Lion at Cannes.
No.02 - Nike+ On Sept. 9, Apple, one of the world’s most profitable companies, introduced its Apple Watch. Few outside Apple know when the device was first conceived. But its arrival can be traced with certainty to seven years prior, when Apple teamed up with Nike and its creative agency, R/GA. That year the trio introduced Nike+ Running, a software that tracks fitness data from the athletic company’s shoes and syncs it to Apple’s hardware devices. The collaboration lapped up industry praise. Nike+ Running won the Titanium and Cyber Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions at its premiere. Five years later, the threesome introduced the Nike Fuelband, an activitymonitoring wristband, and swept the awards again. It also nearly single-handedly pioneered a new consumer category: wearable computing and the integration of software and mobile apps into our daily lives. And it reshaped advertising.
No.01- Dove: Campaign for Real Beauty
Many ad campaigns over the years have sold soap. Fewer have tried to change societal notions about beauty. Even fewer have tried to do both. Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” is the campaign that did it.
off a conversation about society’s notions of female standards of beauty. It also arrived at a time when digital media allowed consumers to interact and share the campaign’s messages in a way that allowed it to go viral on a global scale. Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” is the only campaign cited by every one of the Advertising Age judges as belonging on this list, and one that was described by the panel as groundbreaking, brave, bold, insightful, transparent and authentic.
The campaign that had its origins in London and Canada with a billboard asking motorists to vote on whether the women pictured were “fat or fit?” or “wrinkled or wonderful?” kicked
Last century, Listerine made it on to the list of Advertising Age’s “Top 100 Ad Campaigns of the 20th Century” with its “Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride” campaign, an approach tailored and imitated often throughout the century to feed on women’s insecurities and remind them they needed to improve their attractiveness. Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” took the polar opposite approach, asking women to look at what attributes already made them beautiful.
Your customers don’t trust your advertising By Karel Kumar
Britvic CEO and ISBA president Simon Litherland gave a warning to us all that consumer trust in advertising is “at all time low”. It made me ask myself whether the saying “honesty is the best policy unless you work in marketing” is still a true and fair representation of our industry today. There was a time when we all believed in the fantastical stories our parents told us – Easter bunnies and fairy godmothers – but today it must be increasingly hard to tell kids fairy tales. Now every question you ever want to ask is only a Google click away. This shift is representative of how our relationship with advertising has evolved, simply put – we’ve all grown up. It’s a real challenge for brands to not be doubted these days and the transparency of digital and social media has made it even easier for customers to tell when a brand is telling the truth or trying to pull a fast one. So, what to do? Do you try the pulling wool over your consumers’ eyes or take the open and honest approach? I applaud the latter. Recent campaigns taking this style on board include McDonald’s effort to counter the supposed ingredient in their McNuggets, that infamous pink slime. The thoroughly watchable “Our Food. Your Questions” is a YouTube series built on top of a social campaign. However they didn’t get it completely right. They used Grant Imahara (from MythBusters fame) as the presenter, which loses them credibility, and a couple of the scenes are overly staged.
Other noteworthy campaigns across multiple industries include the #Lidl Surprises campaign and Nordnet Norge’s brilliant message of transparent banking. Whilst there will always be skeptics, all of these brands have taken negative and viral comments about their products and sectors and have tried to answer them with these campaigns. I wish that more brands would be so daring as to follow their lead, but could we see the likes of BP and Nestle producing content that answers their critics? Unlikely, but this is the start of a change in times and a shift that’s going to become even more apparent as millennials grow up from being teens and young adults to parents and start to wield a larger share of consumer spend. This generation is au fait with the rules of the marketing game and the ways in which brands court them. They can suss out a staged YouTube “viral” that’s masquerading as an organic, honest piece of content in seconds. You can’t just force-feed them your products and services, you have to gain their trust first. We can only rebuild consumer trust in marketing by respecting their intelligence and appreciating that they can detect any deception in a matter of moments. Misleading consumers on any level has the possibility of trending negatively given the wildfire nature of the internet. As they say, the truth will set you free, and the truth my friend is only a click away. Karel Kumar, senior social manager, Collider
Expect the Unexpected The All New ‘i’ experience on ‘e’ world By Tarun Mitra
Throughout the year 2014, Nike+ recorded every mile that its users ran, every second they trained, and every fuel point they earned. Fast forward, Nike partnered with McBess, an acclaimed French illustrator – director, to create more than 1500 hand-crafted animation clips, from the Nike+ movement data. This populated a custom cloud server to extract more than 125 million frames for creating personalized, one minute animated videos for over 100,000 Nike+ users. Each of this video summarized the user’s activity over the past 12 months, and was timed accurately to be sent out in the New Year (2015) to ensure that not only the members hit the ground, but also excel their 2014 achievements. These personalized story videos accomplished the sole objective for which they were created. Their impact can be aptly encapsulated in three words. Surprised. Inspired. Motivated. The Nike+ members went virtual en masse to voice their opinions, and simultaneously pledge to accomplish the goals as shown in their personalized video clip.
Experience Marketing: The Next Big Change Is it truly possible to offer a tailor made experience to every single customer, across all touch points of interaction? Or can the brand go beyond the personalized experience? The experience marketing is leading the brands and the marketers to an iceberg of discovering their customers in all its micro details, thereby unfolding a new opportunity ahead. Let us see what is driving the experience marketing wave.
Big Data Leading this new marketing change is the Big Daddy called BIG DATA. Every single second a multitude of information is on a deluge. Your customer is revealing more of him than ever before – you just need to exploit and explore, connecting the dots across their digital footprints.
The online and print media were also equally thrown off their seats at the mega success of Nike+ campaign. Which, of course, in turn worked in favour of Nike because it generated huge positive PR vibes! Not to forget the 100,000 brand advocates.
Newer platforms of interaction offer better propagation of the message. Alternatively, these platforms also provide you with data to generate valuable insights, thereby giving you 360 degree understanding of customers. Channel proliferation is creating a cross platform identity, to enable informed, two way, direct and measurable customer interactions with the brand.
What would you call this type of phenomenal marketing?
Welcome to Brandknew, an era of crafting an experience for every customer individually at scale; an era called Experience Marketing! Powered by Technology!
Big data and channel proliferation together, have made the need for technology consolidation denser. In order to cross perform and leverage the insights in a better way, from every
channel for use across any channel for the better good of all; the technology has to be strengthened and combined as a universal force. The resulting combustion from these three driving forces is experience marketing, which is broadly a mix of two trending approaches in marketing. • To cover the depth of individual customer needs and wants, likes and dislikes for stronger and meaningful interaction. • To sweep the length and breadth of the market with easy connectivity and stake market reach with a customer delight experience to capture his interest with the brand. Simply put, experience marketing is integrating your brand with a customer’s meta story, to offer what he needs, when he needs, where he needs and in a way he needs, continually to exceed his expectations each and every time both in the real and virtual world.
Managing Expectations Experience marketing ultimately and practically culminates into managing expectations of the customers. The experience of the customer is the difference between what actually happened and what was expected. To bridge this gap, the brands need to be ready to expect the unexpected and develop a proactive, futuristic approach to handle the dynamic landscape of changing customer expectations. This can be explained with a simple equation. Know your customer expectations well to manage his expectations = Sustain Deliver better and effective services that exceed their expectations = Progress “The customers of 2020 will be more informed and in charge of the experience they receive, they will expect companies to know their individual needs and personalize the experience. Immediate resolution will be fast enough as customers will expect companies to proactively address their current and future needs,” states the Walkers Insight, Customers 2020 report. However, the pace of change that has made digital omnipresent and all encompassing too fast in our lives may seem to render the customer’s pattern of interaction random and chaotic now; thus defining two essential prerequisites for a changing paradigm like experience marketing. 1. A comprehensive and consolidated, real time personality of an individual across all his online and offline interaction. 2. A powerful and potent technology platform to unravel this personality with defined analytics, for prediction, automation and delivery across channels to ensure right interactions occurs at the right time in the right channels with the right customer. The digital world is now an integrated and a normal course
of phenomena in the lives of “We need to stop people worldwide. They use thinking about digital the internet to enhance their marketing and think real world experience - be it for workingout or shopping; more about marketing be it for their daily needs to seeking life partners. The in a digital world.” Marc boundaries between the Mathieu, SVP Marketing online and offline world Unilever have blurred; only to seek more personal value and individualized unique experience across channels. Digital marketing now seems to be a limiting option, as far as providing a unique personalization to the customers is concerned. Customers don’t want to be perceived at people who can be ‘”marketed at”. Rather, they are now looking for products and solutions, which can add a personal value and make them feel connected to the brand, across all channels. With a plethora of tools now available in the market to create that magical whole one view of a customer, achieving relevance on a per channel per interaction basis in itself a relevant goal. Technology is Brands need to engage giving marketers the tools consumers at every that they need to do more step of their shopping and do it more effectively, irrespective of the fact that journey. Being “always they source this capability on” everywhere is the in-house or hire an agency new norm. to manage it. That includes buying media programmatically, optimizing creative, placement, and audience, re-targeting likely customers, and measuring the results in near-real time. Like Nike, instead of connecting with a million people at once, brands need to connect with one person at a time and do it a million times. • Capture every single interaction and gather data to understand individual customers and help shape their experiences. • Automate and deliver integrated, relevant experiences 365 days, 24/7 across any channel. • Help to analyze, predict and measure the results both in business and customer value. Customers are shifting to a virtual experiential world. It’s about time that the marketers and brands, too shift their gears from digital marketing to experience marketing. It’s about time to join a revolution that promises audience delight, customer loyalty and revenues. It’s about time to scale up your expectations with the unexpected. The technology is ready and enabled to make the customers a focal point, and drive the brand value and differentiation. Passionate about transforming business digitally @practicenext interested in Strategy, Marketing, Technology, Fashion and Beer. Founder/Ex-CEO @ LurnQ, Ex-VP@aptechltd. You can connect with me on twitter @mtarun or at email@example.com
Brands must become a chosen interruption Unilever’s Marc Mathieu By Shona Ghosh
Consumers no longer welcome untimely interruptions from brands, but now have the control to “pull” them into their lives as and when they wish. That’s according to Unilever’s global senior vice president of marketing, Marc Mathieu, who said the company now tries to make sure its brands “show up” in consumers’ lives in a contextual way. He said that this boils down to a smart multichannel approach. Speaking to Marketing at the ISBA conference, he said: “We still live under the syndrome of TV-first, and we are really trying to think about channel planning ahead of a creative brief to understand where we want a brand to show up. “It’s about recognising that people don’t want to be interrupted, yet choose to interrupt themselves.”
be much more direct.” “Direct to consumer is much more than e-commerce, it’s really the strategy of building direct relationships with people, and we need to do it across all [platforms].”
Stitching together data pictures Inevitably, presence on multiple platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter will lead to a plethora of data, most of which won’t slot together to form a useful picture. Mathieu said: “We have more pilots going on in terms of how to innovate the way we do research - the good thing is more we are able to measure the effectiveness of ad hoc individual platforms.
It’s about recognising that people don’t want to be interrupted, yet choose to interrupt themselves
“The next big challenge is to being able to measure the impact of the sum of them all. We’ve progressed a lot, but I can’t tell you what the combined effect is.”
By this, Mathieu means that consumers increasingly choose to visit a brand’s properties when it is relevant to their lives, rather than wait passively for an ad.
Despite his reputation as a “more magic, less logic” marketer, Mathieu said stitching together and understanding the bigger data picture was “one of the biggest opportunities”.
Mathieu pointed to Lego, whose Lego Movie acted as a “beautiful way” to advertise for the brand, while also netting the number one UK box office spot last year.
He said: “It’s the ability to understand how useful we are in people’s lives, which has a level of authenticity and relevance through the times and places and ways in which we show up.”
Mathieu acknowledged that many marketers might find it difficult to embrace this shift, but said the key was to fully understand different agency skillsets and manage them accordingly. It’s also about identifying useful, up-and-coming tools, which is why Unilever works closely with start-ups.
Mathieu likens this to a dinner party, where a brand could either be a guest speaker who runs off after their speech, or an attendee whose interesting conversation results in an invitation to come back.
He added that more of Unilever’s brands, such as Ben and Jerry’s, were developing their own multi-channel skills as part of a more transparent approach.
When it comes to data science and coding, Mathieu said young marketers didn’t need to be “experts”, but should have enough understanding to be able to brief comfortably.
He said: “Ben and Jerry’s internally has developed some skills in curating and creating content in real time and I think, more and more, given the transparency and humanity consumers expect from brands, that the marketer’s job is to
He said: “It’s about understanding how people develop an app or algorithm, that’s absolutely critical. I’m inviting marketers to be curious and to learn the fundamentals that enable them to brief intelligently.”
Do Brands Still Matter for Online Shoppers?
Researchers puzzle over how consumers make product choices in the digital marketplace. By Louise Lee
Marketers know plenty about how consumers make purchase decisions, but research is not keeping pace with how the internet and mobile devices have transformed the shopping experience, leaving gaping holes in what we understand about how people choose products. “If you look at today’s textbooks about consumer behavior and marketing, they are not as relevant as they used to be,” says Itamar Simonson, a marketing professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Researchers who study how consumers make decisions need a new direction, he says. Years ago, researchers examining behavioral decision theory and judgment and decision-making achieved their main objective: demonstrating convincingly that people often behave irrationally. “By now, there have been more than enough demonstrations that they often violate key principles of rationality,” says Simonson. “I think the point has been made in all kinds of entertaining ways. Books have been written reaching beyond the academic world, including a broad segment of the population.” Also, more recent research in decision-making has examined how to apply that existing knowledge — how to try to use people’s preference for default options to make better healthrelated choices, for example —but so far there has been little research on how the new internet environment has changed the manner in which decisions are made, Simonson says. “People today can easily and quickly access a lot more information that they used to,” says Simonson. “That fundamentally changes how people make decisions, and there’s all kinds of implications and potential new research questions and theories.” Marketing executives, brand managers, and sellers both online and offline are hungry for more information about how consumers think and make decisions when surrounded — even overwhelmed — by information. Consider brand names. One of the main functions of brands has been to serve as proxies for quality. But “if you can access better information about a product’s quality, perhaps you’re less likely to rely on imprecise proxies like brand names, price, and where a product is made,” Simonson says. Researchers might study shoppers’ regard for an item’s brand name in light of online reviews and other information about its quality. Another area to consider is whether old-fashioned drivers of
product adoption — such as the ease of observing and trying innovative products — still matter. Today’s consumers can view product demonstrations on YouTube, read comments on social media, and download PDFs of product specifications and owners’ manuals. “We have a great deal of information about products, sometimes even before they’re introduced,” says Simonson. Researchers could study how those and other types of online information affect consumers’ acceptance of new products. Simonson also suggests that, ironically, even though researchers have finally persuaded the general public that people are often irrational, the new information sources actually make people less susceptible to irrationality. For example, it is much harder today for marketers to lead consumers to buy Product A by showing them a Product B that appears less attractive than Product A. The reason is that consumers can easily check out Products C, D, and E to determine whether A is truly desirable or simply less undesirable than B. Determining how consumers pick and choose among the vast amount of information in cyberspace is another area that marketers still know little about. What factors influence what information they select and how they sort and organize it? This is a key question because what consumers choose to see and how they view it can largely determine what they buy, he says. Online reviews, for example, are everywhere, but more study is needed to determine whether reading them leads consumers to give less weight to other factors such as brand name and price. What makes consumers ignore reviews and how conflicting reviews affect purchase patterns are still largely unknown. Traditionally, the set of products a shopper browsed, or “consideration set,” was predictable and limited to only a few well-known brands or less expensive models, says Simonson. But today’s consumers often consider both familiar and unfamiliar options that appear on search results at the time that they are about to make their decision, significantly broadening the consideration set. These kinds of questions, says Simonson, “put consumer behavior front and center and are important for studying decision-making and marketing in general.”
Tips for Creating a Company Name That Tells a Compelling Story By Mark Skoultchi
A good company name doesn’t have to tell customers exactly what you do. Names that hinge on a compelling narrative are often far more powerful. So approach your naming needs with the following tips in mind, and your brainstorming will be much more likely to yield a robust list of captivating names.
1. Know Thyself Levi’s, Peet’s, Hewlett-Packard, and Disney are all names that allude to the history of the companies through their founders. They seek to start conversations centered on the company’s
origin story. Highlighting the vision and influence of your company’s founders builds an air of trust and relatability among customers. However, this strategy limits options and says little about your company’s mission or positioning. To dive into subtler naming territory, examine your founders’ interests and common values. Consider the software company Asana, which refers to a restorative pose in yoga—a meaningful practice of the company’s founders. Sometimes the greatest names come from within a company.
2. ¿Cómo Se Llama? At a namer’s right hand is the thesaurus, but at a namer’s left are English-paired dictionaries of many foreign languages. Although a name could be taken from any language, Swahili and Hawaiian are worth listing because they have regular, pronounceable word constructions. Many successful companies have built a unique tone with foreign names, such as the online payment service Boku (from the French “beaucoup,” meaning “much” or “many”) or the tomato sauce Prego (Italian for “please”). Such names, when chosen well, can pique interest in your company and make customers ask what language your name comes from or what it means. Those questions are not signs of confusion; they are signs that your company’s name has captured customers’ curiosity.
3. In Touch With Nature Humans’ innate fascination with the natural world makes it a great place to look for names packed with story and emotion. Nature provides great messaging fodder in the form of purity, goodness, ruggedness, climate (cold or hot), or even a down-home quality. Amazon, for example, evokes wildness, wonder, and large scale much more effectively than a name like Bargainland would. And whether the name Apple is meant to evoke freshness, Isaac Newton, Adam and Eve, or education, the name starts a conversation. Burt’s Bees pays homage to the founder’s bee colonies, which he cultivated to make honey and candles to sell at farmers markets, later producing a full line of natural products and sharing his love of nature with customers. Nature names can serve to set your company apart from the competition and bring your message down to earth.
4. Location (Location, Location) Like nature, the names of places and the planet’s physical features are a great place to look for naming inspiration. Cisco (from San Francisco) and Fujifilm (named after Mt. Fuji, in Japan) are companies that looked to geography in the naming process. Geographical names connect you to a community and can evoke a variety of emotions. A mountain name is majestic while a city name is cosmopolitan. And what do you think of when you hear Chevy Tahoe? Timbuk2? Yukon? Taking a good look at a map is a worthwhile step in any naming journey, but keep in mind that geographically descriptive names are not trademarkable unless customers specifically associate the term with your products or services.
mechanism, high definition, and surround sound—in just four letters! Other great metaphorical names are Amazon Kindle and Ford Mustang. Metaphorical names stand for something larger than themselves, and they work for companies that want to do the same.
6. Your Inner Goddess Mythology and religion are humanity’s standbys. Virtually every culture has a collection of symbolic stories full of explanations for life’s great mysteries. Those stories are also full of great name ideas. Nike is named after the Greek Goddess of victory, and Oracle is named after the Oracle of Delphi. From Egyptian to Inuit and Norse to Navajo, there are countless stories to pore over. A word of advice: mythology is a well-trodden area of naming, so dive deeper than the names of characters to find fresh and exciting naming inspiration.
7. Celebrity Shout-Outs We pay homage to the great achievers of the world by naming things after them. Sometimes we get lucky and the great achievers have nice names. Consider electric car company Tesla. When Elon Musk decided to name the company after the great inventor Nikola Tesla, he weaved a story of innovation and divergence into his cars. Who was the first person to summit Mt. Everest? Who discovered bacteria? The answers might just be great names. Just remember to honor only those who are no longer with us; and, even then, exercise caution, because some names are licensed and otherwise protected by the estates of the deceased. *** Too often, companies want a name that will encapsulate their entire business philosophy. Besides the obvious truth that doing so is impossible, names that try to say too much often end up saying nothing at all. Deep-naming is the art of choosing a specific message and generating an extensive list of names to convey it in countless different ways (we usually create over 2,000 names for a naming project). The deeper your company’s name and its message, the more you stand out from the competition. The tips in this article are avenues that can lead you there. A deep name makes your customers ask, “Where did your name come from?”—a question you can then answer with a compelling story.
5. Know It, You’re a Poet! A good metaphor, when used strategically as a name, can speak volumes. Vudu (a name we created at Catchword) delivers online movie and TV content. Derived from “voodoo,” the name aptly conveys the magical qualities of the delivery
Mark Skoultchi is a partner at Catchword, a full-service naming company founded in 1998, with offices in the San Francisco Bay area and New York City.
SXSW: Why Your Brand Should Study Political Campaigns By Jacob Hall
When the modern political campaign emerged more than 50 years ago, it borrowed tactics from Madison Avenue ad agencies. Today, the tables are turned, and while many companies struggle to connect with their market, politicians and their teams are reinventing how they connect with and motivate their base. “The student is now the teacher,” noted David Murphy, the president of ad agency Team Detroit. Murphy shared this insight and others at a panel Friday at SXSW: What Marketers Can Learn From Political Campaigns. He and a team of other experts, including Rich Mintz and Michelle Mullineaux of Blue State Digital and Peter Bouchard of Civis Analytics, shared insights on what brand managers and marketers of any stripe can take from political campaigns.
Stay on message Culture and audiences change on the fly, so a brand should be ready and able to adapt. Murphy says that many modern companies lack “clarity and rigor” when it comes to internal and external messaging because departments such as PR and marketing are not properly integrated. This leads to a company appearing confused and can jeopardize a consistent brand. Once aligned, all departments can efficiently evolve based on new data – and react to emergencies with the same goal and messaging in mind. The panelists suggest establishing the larger message of a brand, and issuing smaller, more pointed messages to pursue on a frequent basis, to stay on the offensive. It’s the best way to avoid the “gotcha” moments that sink unsuccessful candidates -- and weak brands
Rally with stories Storytelling is the key to making voters – or customers – feel passionate and want to promote your brand for you. “Humans are hardwired to understand stories,” Murphy says.
Eyes will gloss over at the sight of hard data, but when that data is re-imagined as an on-brand story, it touches the right nerves. Mintz used photographs from President Obama’s Twitter feed as an example. By crafting his re-election as a triumphant tale (complete with the now-famous photograph of him embracing his wife), a political victory was reframed as a personal victory, a love story. And everyone loves a love story. Of course, every campaign and every company must balance authenticity with performance. Mintz says that brands should seek out “moments of opportunity,” scenes or scenarios that can tell an instant story and carry the weight of your message. Framing your brand in this away isn’t inauthentic, Mintz explains. It simply offers customers a relatable gateway to understanding what you are all about.
Rethink how you find support President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign used carefully gathered statistics to determine the winnability of any given state well in advance of the actual election. The Obama campaign knew exactly where their fans were, knew exactly who wasn’t going to buy what they were selling, and they knew where they could more efficiently advertise themselves to attract potential new followers. Collected data will guide you and keep your already focused-but-malleable message in check. Equally important, the Obama campaign identified the fastest growing groups in the United States. By embracing women, Latinos and the LGBT community, the Obama campaign found an audience that was on the rise. The lesson to brands is to not rely so heavily on time-tested methods or who you believe is your core audience. Instead, build a brand that can survive well into the future and is relevant to the world you will be living in.
Get Creative: 10 Ways to Think Outside the Box By Vivian Wagner
Looking for ways to inspire your staff and boost your business? Try these 10 tips for getting your employees to think more creatively.
Smart business owners encourage their employees to be creative. After all, employees are on the front lines and often know better than anyone how to improve a business. Inspiring and supporting creativity, however, isn’t always easy. If you’d like to get the creativity flowing in your business, try these 10 techniques.
1. Encourage Free Thinking It may seem obvious to promote free thinking, but it’s not always the way that businesses work. We often continue doing what we’ve been doing—and how we’ve been doing it—simply because, on some level, it works. But free thinking is central to keeping your business contemporary, relevant and profitable. It’s all about thinking of things in new ways, leaving behind old, outdated models, and discovering new ones. Create a culture in your business in which employees are encouraged to think freely and express their ideas.
2. Schedule Brainstorming Sessions Sometimes the best way to encourage creativity is to schedule it into the day. This might seem counterintuitive, but the more creative thought that can be scheduled, the more likely it is to happen. Set aside time for a weekly brainstorming session that involves all your employees. Encourage employees from marketing to interact with ones from payroll or from tech services. These kinds of cross-workplace discussions can do wonders for your business.
3. Reward Creative Thought Show that you value creative thinking by rewarding the employees who engage in it. Set up a system of rewards— such as gift certificates, prime parking spaces or vacation time—for employees who come up with ideas that increase sales or target new customers. Such rewards can be powerful motivators for employees and will show everyone that you’re serious about creative thinking.
4. Model Creative Thinking The best way to encourage employees to be creative is to model it from the top. Show them what it means for the owner of the business to be creative, and they’ll be more likely to replicate this behavior on their own.
5. Provide Break Times The best creative thinking comes when the brain has time to relax, make new connections and see things in a new way. This means that frequent and scheduled breaks can actually boost the creative spirit in the workplace.
6. Take Field Trips
Get out of the office or wherever you run your business, and take your employees to visit other companies, conferences or even just parks. Field trips can get them—and you—out of their everyday comfort zone and into a space where new thoughts and ideas can take hold.
7. Support Artistic Expression Encouraging your employees to engage in artistic endeavor— painting, drawing, writing, cartooning or even potterymaking—can get them to see your business’s challenges and issues in a new light. These activities can occur during work time or after hours, and can help bring new life to your business.
8. Communicate Openly No matter how creative your employees are, you’ll never know about it if you’re not talking with them about their ideas. Talk openly with them, both formally and informally, about what can be done better, what can be improved, what can be done differently and what their overall ideas are for changing the business.
9. Bring in a Coach Creativity coaches can prove invaluable in the workplace, offering workshops and one-on-one consulting sessions to help boost creativity. You might be surprised how much they can bring to your business and what they can offer to both you and your employees.
10. Evaluate, Measure, Track When your employees come up with creative ways to improve the business, change processes, boost sales or bring about other improvements, make sure to evaluate the changes over time after you’ve implemented them. The evaluation process is just as important as the implementation stage, since it will give you and your employees a sense of what works, what doesn’t and why. It will also give you the chance to finetune new procedures in order to make them work even more effectively. Creative business practices can seem mysterious and out-ofreach, but in fact, they’re accessible to any business owner who’s willing to foster them. Once you make creativity a priority, your business—and your employees—will flourish. Vivian Wagner, Owner, V Creative Enterprises, LLC Award-winning writer and photographer with an eye for the unusual. Focus on music, food, travel, technology, health, literary journalism, and creative nonfiction.
4 Reasons Why Design Is Taking Over Silicon Valley
By John Brownlee
VC DESIGN PARTNER JOHN MAEDA SAYS THAT THE MOST SUCCESSFUL TECH COMPANIES OF THE FUTURE WILL REALLY BE DESIGN COMPANIES. HERE’S WHY.
Are the fortunes of design on the rise in Silicon Valley? A resounding yes, says John Maeda, design partner at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers. During a presentation at South By Southwest 2015 on Sunday, Maeda argued that not only is Silicon Valley taking design more seriously; design is actually taking over. Here are four key reasons why the most successful tech companies of the future will really be design companies.
MOORE’S LAW NO LONGER CUTS IT Starting with Flextronics’ acquisition of the design consultancy Frog in 2004, the last 10 years have seen an increasing number of tech companies acquiring creative firms. For example, Google now owns industrial design firms, while Facebook owns software and digital design firms Sofa, Teehan+Lax, and Hot Studio. And this trend is starting to hit critical mass: 27 startups co-founded by designers have been acquired by big tech companies since 2010, while six venture capital firms have invited designers onto their teams for the first time in the past year.
DESIGNERS ARE NOW HIRED AT A RATE OF ONE TO FOUR COMPARED TO ENGINEERS AT TECH STARTUPS.
This trend is only going to continue, Maeda said during his presentation, because “Moore’s Law no longer cuts it as the key path to a happier customer” in Silicon Valley. For years, the solution to every problem in tech was to build a faster chip. Now, design—not silicon —is seen as the answer. For example, look at the new MacBook: from a pure silicon perspective, it’s slower than the old MacBook and MacBook Air, but its industrial design pushes the envelope in other ways, from the simplicity of its ports to its effortless portability.
START WITH DESIGN, DON’T END WITH IT With design capturing more and more venture capital dollars, there’s a shift occurring in tech. Before, tech companies saw design as something to spray on a product at the end—think of the generic beige case you might slap a desktop PC into, but increasingly, the companies that are making the biggest splash are integrating design into every product from the beginning, like the Nest smart thermostat. The happy marriage of technology and design long predates Silicon Valley’s rise. Consider, for example, Michael Thonet’s No. 141 chair, also known as Vienna coffee house chair. Designed in 1859, the No. 141 was designed in such a way that exactly 36 chairs could be packed into a one-meter shipping container when disassembled. It’s the original flatpack furniture, and that design allowed Thonet chairs to be manufactured cheaply in Eastern Europe, then shipped to places as far away as New York while keeping the price low.
Over 50 million No. 141 chairs have been sold since 1859, a feat that would be impossible if good design thinking hadn’t informed every part of the manufacturing process. “To achieve great design, you need great business thinking/ doing—to effectively invest in design—and you need great engineering—to achieve unflagging performance,” Maeda argues in his presentation. Letting design lead your business isn’t something Apple came up with. It’s something that the best businesses have always done. Tech is only really figuring out.
TECH IS NO LONGER FOR TECHIES There was a time when tech companies didn’t have to worry about design, because their audiences were techies, just like them. Not only is that no longer true, but the ubiquity of tech has made user interface and experience design more important than ever before. Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, you might only interact with a bad THE HAPPY MARRIAGE user interface a couple of times a day—Maeda calls these “pain OF TECHNOLOGY points”—but now that we check AND DESIGN LONG our smartphones hundreds PREDATES SILICON of times a day, the number of possible “ouch points” that can VALLEY’S RISE. alienate a user have increased tenfold. “User experience matters so much now, because we are experiencing so much,” Maeda says in his presentation. “A pain point can become a ‘pain plane’ on mobile. That’s a lot of ouch.”
WHY DESIGNERS ARE IMPORTANT TO STARTUPS Designers are key to startups and established tech companies alike, Maeda argues. In startups, early hires heavily influence corporate culture, so bringing in designers on the ground floor is hugely important. That’s a fact startups are surely starting to wake up to: designers are now hired at a rate of one to four compared to engineers at tech startups. According to KPCB’s talent partner Jackie Xu, this ratio used to be closer to 1:15 or even 1:30. That’s how designers can help build a company from the ground up. But Maeda also sees a new trend starting to happen. More and more designers are being hired in upper management positions in tech companies, advocating for design from the top down. Take Nike, which has a designer as CEO. John Brownlee is a writer who lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with two irate parakeets and his wife, who has more exquisite plumage. His work has appeared at Wired, Playboy, PopMech, CNN, Boing Boing, Gizmodo, and more. You can email him john. firstname.lastname@example.org.
MARKETING-SPEAK AND CONSUMER RESEARCH DON’T MIX By Megan Averell and Asher Hunter
“Let’s get a reaction to that.” How many times have you heard that phrase uttered as the impetus for a research project? But many times when we set out to do this, we are getting just that-- a reaction. We ought not confuse a reaction with an insight, but this can be an unfortunate byproduct of poor research design. Market research fieldwork often devotes lesser time to exploring the wider world non-marketers actually live in-AKA the real world-- and instead explores the narrow, insular, somewhat naval-gazing world of marketing. To be perfectly brutal, we are very often doing research about ourselves and
our own jobs (more than about consumers and their lives). Positioning statements. Mood boards. Concepts. These are not exactly a natural part of daily life, but instead are false constructions of a world consumers do not occupy. All too often consumers provide feedback on internal marketing materials that were never intended for the general public. We very often show them stimulus made up of the building blocks of marketing and ask them to improve these behindthe-scenes marketing accoutrements. We are, essentially, asking them to have an opinion on and a hand in creating something 1. they fundamentally aren’t that interested in,
and 2. they would never actually see in the real world. At it’s best, this kind of research potentially allows consumers to mitigate their distaste for a brand’s marketing, but at worst, spends time and money getting consumer feedback on things that only exist in “marketing land”-- focusing on constructions made BY marketers FOR marketers that are irrelevant to anyone outside the profession. We are forcing the way marketers organize the world onto consumers-- and in so doing, how could they help but begin to frame their thinking the way we frame ours? Meanwhile, we and our clients are missing the benefits of learning about the bigger and broader picture of how consumers frame their own lives. Instead of doing research earlier in the process about the way consumers see, experience, and organize their lives-- learning that could make products and services and marketing more relevant to them-- it seems many companies are content with tweaking inprogress internal documents that will serve as wall decor for the cubicles of the marketing department. One of the most insistent gripes about market research is that it lacks authenticity. The environment is so fake, the white walls and bad lighting are stark and unwelcoming, and so forth. Basically, the criticism boils down to the idea that consumers cannot possibly give authentic answers in such artificial circumstances--however, this line of thinking is rarely applied to the stimulus itself, which is often the most artificial part of the entire process. It is a wholly invented thing, a thing that consumers will never see or experience in any other setting. What is the actual point of showing consumers something they will never see? Why are we using what little time we have with them to get their reactions to how we speak AT them, rather than listening to them? Do we know foundational things like how our consumers organize their worlds in general, or are we too busy worrying about the way our category and chosen field organize the world? A few ways to address the pitfall of “Marketingland Fieldwork:”
Get further upstream Discover and listen before getting a reaction to stimulus. The goal should be to gain foundational learning as input into the development of strategy vs. feedback on strategy in-progress. Start by developing a deep contextual understanding of the
people you’re trying to connect with and do this without prejudice of your brand or category.
“Real-world” stimulus If it isn’t something they will actual see in the “real-world”, why are we getting feedback on it? There is no doubt we’ll get feedback-- we’re paying them for it-- but need to be more critical about what it actually means. Challenge yourself to create and present stimulus in a way that is reflective of how consumers will be actually be exposed to it in the real world. For example, if you’re getting feedback on a new product concept – visualize the pack and communicate the one or two points that you could realistically get cross in a launch ad. DON’T write a 300 word description of precisely how it meets all their needs.
Examine your ratios How much of each recent discussion guide is exploratory versus soliciting reactions? It is qualitative, and exploratory is not just a valid goal, it’s the name of the game. Time is finite, and so more stimulus means less exploration, by nature. And can mean less time in which respondents are able to share their unfiltered and unrestricted views, not crowded out by an at-hand task.
Bring your brain Once we have the right grounding, we need to apply our OWN brains to taking these insights and turning them into sound strategies, and eventually into end materials. If the insights are gathered in a more foundational way, they are more sound and solid-- and thereby, there is no need to continually do more research for ever-more reactions, spending time and money on “check-ins” on at different stages of the development of internal documents. We are not suggesting that stimulus serves no purpose or should be eliminated--it can be effective, but we believe it should be deployed with much more consideration than it is currently given. Exposing the standard handful of “marketing land” internal documents just doesn’t qualify as insightful, and often is used at the expense of the real insight that could be gained in more foundational research. So let’s drop “getting a reaction” from our research vocabulary, and more insightful research will follow.
Founder, The Insight Inn— an independent, strategic research firm Megan has over a decade of problem-solving experience, working as a strategist at advertising agencies like Hill-Holliday, DDB, and McCann in the United States, and working as a qualitative researcher and brand consultant at GALKAL in Australia. During this time, she worked to bring consumers to the center of decision-making across both large and small client organizations. She has previously worked on brands such as Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Capital One, Valvoline, Dunkin’ Donuts, Chili’s, BIC, Heinz, Wrigley, and Johnson & Johnson. In 2014, Megan was the winner of the International AdMap Prize for her essay titled “The Age of Less,” which is available for download on Warc.com. She also was an invited speaker at the 2014 “Planningness” conference. You can also follow her on Twitter @Meggatron.
Asher Hunter, Managing Director, Melbourne— Metrix Consulting In September 2014, Asher was appointed to open and lead the Melbourne office for the fast growing insights and strategy agency – Metrix Consulting. He recently returned to Melbourne after nearly five years in New York, where he was the Vice President of Consulting for a multinational firm, and won the Advertising Research Foundation Great Mind Award. Asher has worked with a broad range of companies to drive major business and marketing initiatives, including, Nestle, Colgate, General Mills, Danone, Mondelez, Merck, AB InBev, The Good Guys, Walgreens, Coles, Medibank, Commonwealth Bank, Tourism Queensland, Holden and Subaru. His passion and focus is on helping organisations deliver successful innovation that is grounded in deep strategic insight.
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