In the marketing world we used to always talk about the importance of consistency in message and actions when it comes to building your brand. This is still largely true but more recently, the marketing world has been obsessed with other "c-words" such as "context" and "content." At the end of the day, however, the most important rule of all is simply that you're interesting. And this morning, there is nothing more interesting to me than 8 year-olds in the UK covering "Enter Sandman."
Which brands do you think do the most interesting, and therefore memorable work?
The most fascinating part of the past few weeks for me was the realization that with my 36th birthday came the notion that I could have been born and graduated from high school all over again since graduating from high school.
And sure with modern medicine, 55 is the new 40, and with modern economics, 80 is the new 65, really though, it's a lot more fascinating than depressing. Just last month, a friend that I only know from Facebook and Twitter (because most of my friends are now digital), @adityaanupkumar posted the below image:
This made me realize that I never saw the Beloit College Mindset List for the class of 2015. Pardon me for being a bit behind (I never miss this – it's a planner must see) but as the good folks at NBC used to say, "If you haven't seen it, it's new to you." Read it below… or scroll down a bit more to watch the creators talk through it.
The Mindset List for the Class of 2015
Andre the Giant, River Phoenix, Frank Zappa, Arthur Ashe and the Commodore 64 have always been dead.
Their classmates could include Taylor Momsen, Angus Jones, Howard Stern's daughter Ashley, and the Dilley Sextuplets.
1.There has always been an Internet ramp onto the information highway.
2.Ferris Bueller and Sloane Peterson could be their parents.
3.States and Velcro parents have always been requiring that they wear their bike helmets.
4.The only significant labor disputes in their lifetimes have been in major league sports.
5.There have nearly always been at least two women on the Supreme Court, and women have always commanded U.S. Navy ships.
6.They “swipe” cards, not merchandise.
7.As they’ve grown up on websites and cell phones, adult experts have constantly fretted about their alleged deficits of empathy and concentration.
8.Their school’s “blackboards” have always been getting smarter.
9.“Don’t touch that dial!”….what's dial?
10.American tax forms have always been available in Spanish.
11.More Americans have always traveled to Latin America than to Europe.
12.Amazon has never been just a river in South America.
13.Refer to LBJ, and they might assume you're talking about LeBron James.
14.All their lives, Whitney Houston has always been declaring “I Will Always Love You.”
15.O.J. Simpson has always been looking for the killers of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
16.Women have never been too old to have children.
17.Japan has always been importing rice.
18.Jim Carrey has always been bigger than a pet detective.
19.We have never asked, and they have never had to tell.
20.Life has always been like a box of chocolates.
21.They’ve always gone to school with Mohammed and Jesus.
22.John Wayne Bobbitt has always slept with one eye open.
23.The Communist Party has never been the official political party in Russia.
24.“Yadda, yadda, yadda” has always come in handy to make long stories short.
25.Video games have always had ratings.
26.Chicken soup has always been soul food.
27.The Rocky Horror Picture Show has always been available on TV.
28.Jimmy Carter has always been a smiling elderly man who shows up on TV to promote fair elections and disaster relief.
29.Arnold Palmer has always been a drink.
30.Dial-up is soooooooooo last century!
31.Women have always been kissing women on television.
32.Their older siblings have told them about the days when Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera were Mouseketeers.
33.Most have grown up with a faux Christmas Tree in the house at the holidays.
34.They’ve always been able to dismiss boring old ideas with “been there, done that, gotten the T-shirt.”
35.The bloody conflict between the government and a religious cult has always made Waco sound a little whacko.
36.Unlike their older siblings, they spent bedtime on their backs until they learned to roll over.
37.Music has always been available via free downloads.
38.Grown-ups have always been arguing about health care policy.
39.Moderate amounts of red wine and baby aspirin have always been thought good for the heart.
40.Sears has never sold anything out of a Big Book that could also serve as a doorstop.
41.The United States has always been shedding fur.
42.Electric cars have always been humming in relative silence on the road.
43.No longer known for just gambling and quickie divorces, Nevada has always been one of the fastest growing states in the Union.
44.They’re the first generation to grow up hearing about the dangerous overuse of antibiotics.
45.They pressured their parents to take them to Taco Bell or Burger King to get free pogs.
46.Russian courts have always had juries.
47.No state has ever failed to observe Martin Luther King Day.
48.While they’ve been playing outside, their parents have always worried about nasty new bugs borne by birds and mosquitoes.
49.Public schools have always made space available for advertising.
50.Some of them have been inspired to actually cook by watching the Food Channel.
51.Fidel Castro’s daughter and granddaughter have always lived in the United States.
52.Their parents have always been able to create a will and other legal documents online.
53.Charter schools have always been an alternative.
54.They’ve grown up with George Stephanopoulos as the Dick Clark of political analysts.
55.New Kids have always been known as NKOTB.
56.They’ve always wanted to be like Shaq or Kobe: Michael Who?
A word of caution: Too much "Reply all" will damage your personal brand. Your recipients begin to associate you with annoying pings, rather than interesting or important content. If you're going to invite yourself into someone's inbox, say something worth reading.
Bottom's up to that, Sally. Cheers (and I don't even drink).
Is it just me or is there a stop motion trend that is going on that will be bigger than just a few people at trend-spotting websites noticing (whether they utilize an actual stop motion technique or a digital treatment)? Of course Nokia did this bit…
…which won all sorts of well-deserved recognition, including some from TED. So of course they followed up recently with…
Just this week alone, however, the introductions of several really interesting pieces have occurred (commercial and otherwise). For instance:
What are your thoughts? Personally, I love the effect – visually and spiritually, if you will. Where will this go next? Where is Will Vinton?
A few years ago, fellow Likeminder and fellow planner, Noah Brier wrote a great piece for AdAge called How to Make Display Ads Suck Less. He nailed it. Unfortunately, not much has changed since his post as context is still largely a lost cause with banner ads. Worse yet, more of them interrupt me now than they used to, and still few if any of them are engaging or emotionally moving in any sort of way.
A prime example of this is the above BlackBerry PlayBook ad that I unfortunately was forced to experience just a few moments ago. The ad actually works in Apple's favor. Seriously. While I'm reading about Apple's plans for their new headquarters; the new 2.8- million square-foot, forested architectural masterpiece of Steve Jobs – a building that will generate its own power and contain the largest piece of glass ever made… am I really supposed to get excited about a BlackBerry available at Walmart?
Again, everything communicates. And as Noah pointed out, even ads need to get to know their neighbors.
All that said, I should make the caveat that display advertising, while mostly sucky… doesn't have to suck. With a keen understanding of your audience – why they're going to the site on which the ad appears, what they're looking to achieve, and other contextual elements… the format can be highly effective. Leveraging the large volume of digital junk, that is display, and doing something truly interesting, unique and differentiating could work to your advantage. What Chic-fil-A achieved with outdoor is very possible with online display. If only more advertisers understood this.
Nike, Starbucks, Apple. Nike, Starbucks, Apple. We've all heard enough about these three brands when it comes to great branding stories or case studies to make our ears bleed. But I have to say, Starbucks, who more than anything is famous for building their brand off of the personalities and skills of their baristas, hasn't lost its stride.
As it has become easier for smaller coffee companies to make a mark on cool (Stumptown, Intelligentsia, Counter Culture, etc.) Starbucks, rightfully or not, has somewhat become the AT&T of coffee shops – good enough to still tolerate for the typical coffee snob, but no longer very interesting, - and far from special.
Regardless, while standing in line on Sunday night, my thumb (totally out of the blue – it has never done this before) decided to cramp. Without missing a beat, the barista (I didn't even ask) jumped into action and gave me a three minute long hand massage, cured my cramp and reminded me why Starbucks, as a brand, is still spoken about in the same company as Nike, Apple and a small handful of other great brands.
Every so often I post things to this blog and Michael Kogon (Definition 6, CEO) says: "Great post... I'll be sure my kids don't see it." I can't guarantee that this will be a great post, but I can pretty much guarantee that he won't let his kids read (or at least watch) it.
Launched about a week ago, this K-Swiss video, where the fictional Kenny Powers of HBO's Eastbound & Down is promoted to CEO of K-Swiss and hires real athletes and fitness celebrities to run the show with him will, in some way or another, someday make a wonderful marketing case study. No doubt, the five minute video is creative, funny and doesn't in any way water-down the Kenny Powers character (as I first expected it would). And as much as I enjoyed watching it, sharing it and discussing it... it leaves me with many questions.
Will it garner much deserved attention?
It already has. I'm likely a few days late in writing this.
Will it sell more shoes?
In the short term... probably.
Will it endear people to a brand that - until the first Kenny Powers video (posted 1 year ago on Funny or Die) - was pretty much for old school tennis players?
Long-form content is great for quick awareness gains. But once it's been viewed, it's rarely something people re-watch. An awareness spike is great, but without a relevant follow-up, what did you really accomplish? I'll be curious to see how they plan on continuing this... or better yet, how they plan on topping it. As a marketer, I'm more impressed by the client's bravery and willingness to push the limits. It makes me want to work with K-Swiss more than it makes me want to buy their shoes or feel close to their brand.
Cheers for being brave and getting noticed. Now what's next and can you move me beyond laughter?
Hi. I'm Chris Wojda. And I'm here to talk with you today about a very important and utterly baffling situation. Whether you call it "viral" or "sharable" content, the truth of the matter is, sometimes "social" just isn't meant to be. Every day people, possibly even you, make profound statements on Facebook, Twitter, or quite possibly even MySpace, only to have few and sometimes even no likes, retweets or even comments congratulating them on their pithiness, mastery of language or keen observational skills. These moments can be damaging to one's ego. But, of course, the truth of the matter is, sometimes social just isn't meant to be.
Take for instance this lovely bit of content that's over a month old on YouTube. With the exception of cats, babies and someone getting injured it has all the right ingredients for sharable success. From the man who brought us his D**k in a Box (Justin Timberlake) to the 2011 Teen Choice Award, Choice Female Hottie nominated voice of Meg Griffin (Mila Kunis) all the way to the laugh-out-loud funniness. Yet somehow, a month later, this is still only registering about 32,000 views on YouTube. They even tell you to like it and share it, for the love of boy bands. But until this week, even MTV hadn't covered it.
The truth is... I don't know. I'm not sure that anyone does. Which by all accounts makes this a bad post... and by the apparent rules of social, likely to be one of my most successful.
... there is just something about a New York Post headline that can't be replicated on my iPad. The look, the feel, the aura... like a New Yorker cartoon... they're just a thing of beauty in their own weird way. A few days ago, The Post had this to announce:
Now, call me childish or immature, but in the game of grabbing attention (and when you really boil it down that is what we all get paid to do as marketers... lets be honest here), Obama may beat Weiner... but nothing beats The Post. Printed tabloid newspaper headlines are truly something to behold and The Post is the all-time master. There's just something about them that I love and fear I will surely miss in the very near future.
The above scene from Airplane remains funny for many reasons 31 years after the movie first launched. In the early-80s, part of that joke was the image of children drinking coffee. Today that is just about normal.
Being from the Pacific Northwest, my love for and familiarity of coffee shops and coffee culture isn't new. What makes a great coffee shop great is a variety of things... of which only about 50% has to do with coffee. The other 50%, depending on the shop's brand, comes from the atmosphere - the space and the people. And while teens have been going to Starbucks for years, this morning while at Starbucks, something occurred to me in a way I hadn't really thought of before: Marketers no longer have control of their brands... all the way down to the in-store experience.
Starbucks is especially interesting in this regard, as their brand was built almost entirely from the in-store experience that they created. The friendly baristas who knew you preferred your drink at 172 degrees or that you liked your shots best when pulled at eleven seconds, coupled with the furniture, music and the ability to quietly contemplate things on your own or discuss matters with friends or colleagues... it was all part of the experience. Starbucks understood this better than anyone and possibly before anyone.
While it's entertaining to see ten-year olds with their parents, drinking from a cup that is wrapped in a sleeve (mostly made from post-consumer content, of course), it is equally fascinating and annoying that the morning coffee, a seemingly very adult experience, has become a hangout for young people who can't get into bars but can get away from their parents. Caffeinated teens at 7:00 am have somewhat killed my expectation of the Starbucks experience. And I'm pretty sure I'm not alone.
It's been said over and over again that marketers no longer have control of their brand - I know I'm not saying anything new here. But keep in mind, that doesn't just refer to what might happen online or with your product after someone buys it. In the end, you don't even necessarily have control of your in-store experience.
We discuss what it means to live in a Unified World a lot at Definition 6. Brands and people in motion are blurry. So too are the lines that define them.
A week ago, TEDxAtlanta put on its fifth event. The subject was creativity and the speakers were absolutely awesome. I believe it is safe to say that this was our best overall show. All of the speakers were engaging, the crowd was at capacity and as aways, the food and music were fantastic. A recap of the day can be found here.
And speaking of the fantastic music that is always a big part of TEDxAtlanta... just yesterday, Intel released the below video starring TEDxAtlanta alum, Zoe Keating as part of its Visual Life Contest.
Here is Zoe's performance from TEDxAtlanta. Note: it was after this performance that I realized while "Ideas Worth Spreading" is a fantastic tagline, TED could actually get away with the tagline, "Making Successful People Feel Unaccomplished."
Our friends at the Red Cross have made a lot of news lately by demonstrating their grasp of social media. First, they had that fantastically wonderful social media "emergency" that they handled with such grace and charm that they actually made money from the ordeal. This mashable post explains it well.
Last week, Chicago Red Cross launched a new website (http://every80seconds.com/) that further demonstrates their understanding of the medium, while more importantly creating an emotional experience that demonstrates the emotional toll caused by house fires - the cause behind the ad and the disaster that the Red Cross actually responds to most. The first portion of the experience is interesting and makes the point. Once you hit the Facebook Connect portion, however... the impact of house fires is really driven home.
Marketers have been talking for years about "creating experiences." The Chicago Red Cross delivered. Is your brand tapping the true power of social media?
This coming Tuesday (March 15th) will be a busy one for Definition 6. Not only do we have World Consumer Rights Day and Andrew Jackson's birthday to celebrate (he'd be 244 if he were still alive), but Definition 6's own ECD, John Harne will be speaking at South by Southwest in Austin. Additionally, TEDxAtlanta, of which Definition 6 continues to proudly support, will be holding its fifth event.
John's Core Conversation is Right Brain to Left: Art of Persuasive Presentations...
Why so many creative professionals in the interactive design and agency business struggle to sell their concepts, executions and creative work to the business decision makers. What are the potential issues of communicating concepts containing emotion and aesthetic content to analytical thinkers. How some creative professionals are able to sell just about anything to their clients.
And if you go looking for John in the crowd, this is what he looks like:
TEDxAtlanta's focus this time around will be on Creativity...
Some ideas are too big to capture in language but glitter in our understanding of the world. Creativity is just such an idea. TEDxAtlanta will explore creativity: not just the beauty, humor and ingenuity, but what's behind it. We'll experience the wonder but also ask the questions. Can creativity be measured? Where does creativity live in our brains? How can we grow more of it?
The other day, Definition 6's Executive Creative Director, John Harne was asked to respond to JCPenney's new logo.
1. Don’t change a logo and/or brand if you do not have to
2. Remember your customers have a relationship with that logo.
It may have a place in their hearts and minds
3. If you have to make a change, make it relevant
and memorable for the 100 years to come
4. Be yourself and buck the trends
5. Repeat rule number one
Though very different, interestingly the rules for tapping into cultural trends follow a similar pattern:
1. Be timely
2. Remember, people already have relationships with what you're trying to
hijack. You're going to have to share space in the hearts and minds
3. Don't worry about the future, make it relevant and remarkable for
4. Be yourself but be willing to change to be in context with the trend
5. Repeat rule number one
Twitter once again proves its worth in staging and supporting political rallies, protests and even revolutions.Only this time, it's not just fueling the emotional fire of the disenchanted, it's also feeding their bellies... and doing so on a suprisingly global level.Check it out.
I wish I could call this the #RaganSM Re-Retrospective but I must say, even with the presence of Astronaut Douglas Wheelock, the conference, fortunately or unfortunately, just didn't cover Social Media Wormholes. I suppose that's why we have Stephen Colbert.
The story continues... you can click here for more, or perhaps with the start of the week and fresh TV it will re-trend on Twitter.
The Ragan Social Media for PR and Corporate Communications Conference, perhaps better known to its attendees as #RaganSM, proved to be a good show on several new and fun fronts – one of our D6ers who has requested anonymity and will be referred to as "Sunshine" repeatedly proved that what happens in Vegas doesn’t necessarily have to stay in Vegas (keep reading).But before we get to "Sunshine," I’d like to discuss some of the key ideas from the conference:
1)The concept of “brand journalism” – where brands have a more important and significant voice in culture was introduced by Mark Ragan and echoed by various other speakers.This idea is fascinating for several reasons.Moving brands to a more utilitarian and culturally relevant space has been talked about at conferences for years.However, brand journalism is especially interesting when you consider how so many “experts” in recent years have discussed the death of traditional media and reporting.Perhaps the next move for journalists is brand journalism.Think about it.
2)CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT!While this seems to be a popular message at a lot of conferences these days, Ragan’s focus on content produced by people who truly understand how to tell stories + truly emotional engagement showcased the importance of great content in a way that is rarely explained at conferences.Story telling reigns supreme.
3)Microfailure is constructive.In social, failure (i.e. prematurely tweeting, tweeting from the wrong address, etc.) needs to be embraced for social to succeed.Social is clearly a situation where creating to think, rather than thinking to create should be the norm.This couldn’t have been demonstrated any better that by the Red Cross “oops” tweet and their magnificent recovery.How fortuitous was it having the Red Cross as a speaker?Which reminds me…
4)Listening is more important than talking – find out what’s important to people and become a part of the conversation to create connections.An example of this is how The Red Cross of Chicago seeks out and aids people who have suffered house fires.They didn’t create the reason for interaction, but they inserted themselves into the situation and helped people in need – thus fulfilling their mission.How is your business heroic?
And now back to "Sunshine."Above is a rare video of "Sunshine" besting Brooks Thomas of Southwest Airlines by a smidgen in the Inaugural Definition 6 - Ragan Communications Sprint For No Reason.
As shown in the above pictures and previous video, Definition 6 hosted a great impromptu party in "Sunshine’s" humble suite (he somehow only got it with a $100 upgrade) that was attended by about 100 conference-goers, possibly one female escort (we still aren’t sure) and Alan Garner, of course.Perhaps this should be an annual happening.
As you likely can tell by now, "Sunshine" of Atlanta, GA practically owned Las Vegas from February 14-February 16, 2011.At one point he even lost his BlackBerry in a taxi, tweeted about it, connected with another conference attendee who, after seeing the tweet, miraculously connected the dots and reunited "Sunshine" with the cabbie who had his CrackBerry--Keith Nichols of Western Cab.(If you’re in Vegas and need a ride – 702.736.8000 – they deserve the business).
A joyful "Sunshine" getting the cabbie’s phone number from Bo Edwards of Lockheed Martin.
"Sunshine" getting his Blackberry back from Keith
"Sunshine" dropping Keith some of his winnings for his honesty and generosity. It was a Ragan Conference miracle and a timely case example for the power of social media.
But enough about "Sunshine" and back to the conference.From the first astronaut to check into Foursquare from space (and who funnily enough, only realized much later that he has to do it twice before becoming mayor – #fail) to a singing David Pogue from the New York Times, the presenters were varied and provided a broad range of takeaways for the equally varied audience.The 17 tools that everyone should know about for social media seemed to be the 17,000 tools that everyone should know about for social media and an always-entertaining Shel Holtz was equally as informative.Congratulations Ragan on a great conference.
As a Portland native and brand planner, I’ve found the IFC series Portlandia to be an accurate, almost ethnographic in detail, portrayal of my hometown (so far). To dismiss the show as weird (which it is) would be missing the point. Portland, as much as I love it, is an odd duck.
Some of the jokes in the show are nuanced to the point that I’m rather sure many people won’t catch them if they haven’t at least driven among Portland’s herds of Volvos and Subarus. This scene, however, is something that I’m sure almost anyone reading this blog can relate to. Enjoy:
A few times per month an email called “Know New Ideas” with some of the top news stories that have captured our attention over the past few weeks gets circulated around Definition 6. The stories (no matter what they are or where they come from) make us ponder, somehow inspire us, or perhaps make us wince.These are some of the stories that piqued our attention in the latter half of January.
This is about a year old, but may be new to some.If you haven’t seen the Logorama movie by H5, it’s worth a watch.Check it out here.Apparently it took six years to make.Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics.
Hello Ladies... CBS Newsapparently finds Isaiah Mustafa’s return to TV newsworthy.Do you?
We are a unified marketing agency, connecting brands with people in motion. Through imagination, innovation and insight, we execute ideas that deliver continued value across all brand interactions - while unifying the disciplines of marketing and technology.