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Logic+Emotion



Logic+Emotion explores the thinking and practice of building responsive & resilient brands in a connected world



Updated: 2017-02-13T15:57:04-06:00

 



When Should a Brand Take a Stand? When It's Values are Clearly Defined.

2017-02-14T08:44:24-06:00

Whether SNL knows it or not—they have just nailed the kinds of meetings marketing executives on both the brand and agency side will be having for the months if not years to come. While one team pitches "Cheeto executives" the... allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/imUigBNF-TE" width="700">Whether SNL knows it or not—they have just nailed the kinds of meetings marketing executives on both the brand and agency side will be having for the months if not years to come. While one team pitches "Cheeto executives" the same idea over and over again involving political hot topics—the other team in futility keeps trying to bring the brand back to more basic truths. People eat Cheetos because it's fun and they taste good. The spoof was in reaction to the 2017 Superbowl, where several brands in reflection of a polarized climate took a definitive stance on where they stood. Knowingly or not, SNL hits a very real chord that marketers must carefully evaluate. Brands don't like being irrelevant or out of touch with culture, and when a culture is divided and polarized—it puts pressure on the brand to become or stay relevant. But in that rush to relevancy, brands are going to have to answer some key questions or risk out of touch with what they actually are. Key Questions Brands Will Need Answered Before Taking a Definitive Stance Do we have a right to weigh in on a specific societal issue?When marketers wax poetic over the effectiveness of value-driven campaigns such as #Likeagirl, they often overlook that the brand in such case (Always) has a built in right to cultivate a conversation around woman empowerment. Without a genuine right to join or lead a conversation—a brand stance will fall flat. Have we uncovered and articulated our core values?Brands have personalities like people—and they can often hold values. Not all brands have done the work needed to define what that guiding "north star" is and without this—they risk sailing into consumer activist waters without a compass. Do our core values align with our value proposition to the consumer/customer?Does the average Nordstrom consumer have the same values as a Budweiser consumer? Brands must go beyond traditional demographic data and see their consumers in more nuanced ways. Is our brand's business operations a good representative of the values we are championing? Audi's Superbowl ad looked different from the faces and gender of their executive ranks. Brands that haven't aligned marketing with business operations must way the risk and rewards of taking a stance especially if there is a gap between communications and operations.  Does the societal issue fit into our higher purpose at the company/corporate level?Does your brand operate under a broader "corporate" brand structure or are they the same? Either way when engaging with consumer's and taking a stance—a brand's values should align with the corporation. Who will we possibly alienate—who doesn't share the same values we do? Taking a stance doesn't guarantee that everyone will agree with you even if the company and CMO think it's the right thing to do. Brands will need to be prepared to handle scenarios where even the most positive messaging may be as interpreted as offensive or disingenuous.   SNL's Cheeto skit may have been fictitious but it's closer than they likely know in terms of how brands will wrestle with when they should stand for something or not or if so, how. And in polarizing times—the stakes have never been so high.  Related articles Nike CEO Mark Parker Slams Donald Trump's Muslim Ban adidas Slams Donald Trump's Muslim Ban Shoppers weigh boycott calls as buying gets more political The Product Plus Politics Equation. | TWIST Creative Inc. - A Full Service Advertising Agency Audi: DriveProgress Big Game Commercial - "Daughter" - DAILY COMMERCIALS Audi is under a heap of criticism over its gender pay equality Super Bowl ad Nordstrom broke the curse of the Trump tweet The Action-Reaction Cycle: Consumer Activism Ignites Brand R[...]



Superbowl Helps Brand Activism Go Mainstream

2017-02-06T11:56:59-06:00

This year's Superbowl was historic on two accounts: 1. It is the first Superbowl to have ever been won in overtime 2. It will be known as the Superbowl that brought Brand Activism into the mainstream What Is Brand Activism?... This year's Superbowl was historic on two accounts: 1. It is the first Superbowl to have ever been won in overtime 2. It will be known as the Superbowl that brought Brand Activism into the mainstreamWhat Is Brand Activism?Simply put—it's when a brand decides to take a definitive stance on a societal issue and bring it front and center into its messaging or value proposition. And it's not totally new—one of the most well known examples of Brand Activism is P&G's #Likeagirl campaign which artfully brought the societal issue if gender equality into its core message of empowerment. Brand activism is part art, part science and part sociology. When done right, it aligns the brand and company's values with the values of consumers. When done wrong—it's heavy handed, forced, contrived or disconnected from how the company and brand functions. When Should a Brand Take a Stance?A complex question to answer and it's a different answer for different brands. Some brands will look to Brand Activism as a way to remain or obtain relevancy with consumers and audiences. Others will do it because it is in line with either the company's or brand's stated values. And yet others may have a direct stake in the issue.  allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nPo2B-vjZ28" width="700"> 84 Lumber for example (a brand most people have never heard of) is in the midst of a recruiting campaign and logically who and how they hire is an issue likely on their minds:"Under owner Maggie Hardy Magerko, the daughter of founder Joe Hardy, 84 Lumber currently operates more that 250 stores across the U.S. and it's planning to expand further by putting up new outlets on the West Coast. Sunday's Super Bowl ad comes as the company is in the middle of a recruitment campaign." Source: FortuneBut there may be more than just employment at stake—from 84 Lumber's Website: Brand Activism When Done Right Means Both Living and Speaking a Brand's Values One can make the case that what 84 Lumber is doing is using a platform and compelling storytelling that supports the values which are true to the company. It took a chance to communicate those values on such a large stage and as a result—has the attention and awareness of a broader audience. Is this what the brand hoped to achieve? Likely—but there may be deeper foundational forces at play. Brand Activism in a Politically Charged ClimateGiven recent events regarding Brexit and the election of Donald Trump in the U.S.—the world is debating with itself. Individuals are questioning traditional institutions such as government and media and an air of uncertainty remains constant. In this world, brands are beginning to become more vocal around the issues they know their consumers think about and in the next four years at minimum, as brands look to fill the trust gap left by government and media—Brand Activism will become part of how they are built and maintained.  Related articles A construction company has released what will probably be the most controversial ad of the Super Bowl Super Bowl LI: Airbnb, Coca-Cola Get Political in Ads | 101.7 Chuck FM - We Play Everything Here's everything we know about the Super Bowl ads so far Fox rejected a construction company's Super Bowl ad because it was too political Is Super Bowl advertising worth it? Well, perhaps not. This Company's Inspirational Ad Is Now Banned From The Super Bowl [...]



In The Rush to Remain Relevant: Brands Must Reevaluate ROI

2017-02-05T16:46:46-06:00

If a brand is irrelevant in our lives—it is a brand on the decline. Some brands have to work harder than others to remain relevant. Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon and other brands that we interact with on an hourly, daily...If a brand is irrelevant in our lives—it is a brand on the decline. Some brands have to work harder than others to remain relevant. Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon and other brands that we interact with on an hourly, daily or weekly basis are easily made relevant in our lives given our interactions as users. Other brands often have to work harder to remain relevant. This year's Super Bowl is a good gut check for brands who will be working to remain highly relevant in the hearts and minds of consumers already in a committed relationship with the brand as well as those who aren't. Advertising and brand storytelling often reflects the culture, trends and increasingly the societal issues of the day. But in bringing the three together it also presents a tall order for today's brands who will likely hit the target with some and totally miss with others:Culture:The context of which we live in often reflected by entertainment, news, media etc. Trends: What's getting our attention at the time—things that impact how we live and work ranging from technology to art, music etc. Societal Issues: The topics of our time reflecting social-economical and cultural context. The things we debate or deem critical to society.  Source: NPRMany advertisers during this year's big game find themselves at the intersection of culture, trends and societal issues. As a result, they are going to need to answer the question of "was it worth it" in a more nuanced ways. On face value—measuring the effectiveness by a Super Bowl ad in terms of views is the most traditional way to do it. But for brands who are dialed up at the intersection of culture, trends and societal issues—measuring views will not be enough. They must also break down sentiment indicators such as:• Likes/Dislikes• Positive Responses (media, social, search)• Negative Responses media, social, search)• New Subscriptions and Followers• Lost Subscriptions and Followers One of this year's Superbowl Ads which is operating at the intersection of culture, trends and societal issues is Audi—taking on equal pay through its ad and subsequent hashtag #Driveprogess. From Adweek:The 60-second spot, posted Wednesday to YouTube and Facebook and closing in on 5 million views as of noon Friday, has a remarkably high ratio of negative sentiment—almost 40,000 dislikes to just 4,000 likes. There are two separate criticisms—one, that the ad is simply leftist propaganda; and two, that it is hypocritical because of the company’s heavily male leadership team. (Audi AG’s board of directors, too, has six men and no women.)The Pressure to Remain Relevant for Brands In a Politically Charged Culture is High2017's Superbowl advertising is a reflection of today's culture in that brands increasingly feel the need to be a part of the dialogue despite societal divisions—so we're likely to see more brands attempting to be relevant at the intersection of culture, trends and societal issues. As a bonus—it also demonstrates a level of "responsibility" especially if the brand feels like it's taking the right stance on the right issues. However, success in this space cannot be discerned by reach alone. Sentiment metrics will become increasingly important for brands asking the question:"Was it worth it'?  Related articles Audi is under a heap of criticism over its gender pay equality Super Bowl ad Survey Finds 29% Of U.S. Millennials Watch Skippable YouTube Ads To Completion Attorneys General Condemn Trump's Executive Action On Immigration Audi: DriveProgress Big Game Commercial - "Daughter" - DAILY COMMERCIALS 3 Critical Factors for Cultural Sensitivity in Business The 25 Most Influential Super Bowl Ads of All Time [...]



The Action-Reaction Cycle: Consumer Activism Ignites Brand Response

2017-02-03T16:09:33-06:00

We're entering a new era of consumer activism as a result of societal divisions, a lack of distrust in once trusted institutions such as media and the mainstreaming of peer to peer information sharing enabled through social media. But how...We're entering a new era of consumer activism as a result of societal divisions, a lack of distrust in once trusted institutions such as media and the mainstreaming of peer to peer information sharing enabled through social media. But how far should brands go to take a stance? Source: Vanity FairThe answer to this question is as complex as the issue itself. For some brands, it's a matter of public perception, for others— a matter of principle and for others, it means aligning the values of their brand with the values of their consumers:  Source: Greatcompany.orgTaking a Stance Is Not Without RiskThis Sunday, Budweiser will be airing an ad that takes on the issue of immigration head on. It does so in a powerful and emotive way—tying it to to its heritage and making the case that the brand would not be what it is today without immigration.  allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/HtBZvl7dIu4" width="700"> Source: The Virginian PilotBudweiser's message for what they stand for and believe in is clear—but the question left unanswered at this point is how the message will resonate with the millions of consumers who have affinity for the brand. Will some cheer the move while others feel alienated by it? Will the typical Budweiser consumer appreciate the not so subtle stance? For every action there is a reaction which prompts a response from brands and for Budweiser, what's yet to be seen is the full reaction to their message. Balancing Consumer With Brand ActivismIf we're seeing a perfect storm for consumer activism, then by logic the cause and effect becomes a form of brand activism. And this is where brands will need to do a gut check on their values and the alignment with the values of their consumers. Much like how social sentiment and search engines provided indicators for what people REALLY thought about Donald Trump—brands will have to have the finger on the pulse of their core consumers now more than ever. The stakes could not be any higher for the relationship between consumer and brand.   Related articles The Rise of Consumer Activism in an Era of Distrust Budweiser focus on immigration in Super Bowl LI ad [...]



The Rise of Consumer Activism in an Era of Distrust

2017-02-03T10:57:07-06:00

Consumer Activism: Just Getting Started Since the inauguration of president Trump, we've seen protests seemingly organized on a dime whether it be The Women's March, The March for Life or the recent immigration protests at local airports. These actions, however...Consumer Activism: Just Getting StartedSince the inauguration of president Trump, we've seen protests seemingly organized on a dime whether it be The Women's March, The March for Life or the recent immigration protests at local airports. These actions, however will not be limited to the protests in public but also in protests of the purse or at least the #hashtag. Case in point—when Uber announced that it would be removing surge pricing to pick up the slack caused by NYC cab drivers who joined immigration protests it was seen by some customers as profiting from an issue they vehemently disagreed with. And from this, the #Deleteuber "movement" was born with people screen grabbing their deletion of the app, swearing allegiance to Uber's competition and encouraging peers to do the same. While consumer activism isn't new by any stretch of the imagination—today's record levels of distrust in once trusted institutions (see Edelman's Trust Barometer) combined with peer connectivity sets the stage for a dramatic increase of the phenomena. From Brand Awareness to Consumer ActivismFor brands to raise their level of readiness in an era where consumer activism becomes more commonplace—marketers must think about four key stages in addition to the traditional funnel. Each stage carries with it a positive or negative impact for a brand. Awareness+ Positive: Consumer has general awareness of a brand and its values and finds them relevant-  Negative: Consumer has low awareness of brand and its values and brand is not relevant Affinity + Positive: Consumer has a high affinity for the brand and preference as a result -  Negative: Consumer has low affinity for the brand and does not show loyalty Advocacy + Positive: Consumer will recommend brand to others and actively promote it -  Negative: Consumer will speak negatively about brand and actively criticize it Activism + Positive: Consumer will actively defend or take action which benefits brand-  Negative: Consumer will actively take action which damages brand (reputation or financial) Source: BuzzfeedEarning Trust in an Era of Consumer Activism Emerging societal demands and divides combined with peer connectivity provide the perfect storm for consumer activism and brands must find ways to earn not only the loyalty but trust of their consumers. Edelman's 2016 Earned Brand study outlines that most brands engage consumers in a way that interest and involve them but fall short of getting them invested to the point where consumers would advocate on their behalf or act as "activists" in their favor.  Some brands are taking a proactive stance as this emerging dynamic intensifies. *Starbucks recently committed to hiring 10,000 refugees in in five years while clearly articulating their values. AirBnB announced that stranded refugees could stay for free and Lyft pledged a million dollars to support the ACLU.Handle With Care: Consumer Activism Will Force Brands to Examine Their ValuesIf nothing else, consumer activists will force brands to ask themselves "what do we stand for"? The biggest risk for a brand in dealing with a low trust environment is to act inauthentically, contrived or in a way that feels opportunistic. Still, consumers will continue to evaluate brands not only by how relevant they are in their lives—but how responsible they feel they are. Or to put it another way, how much they feel they have in common in terms of their values. If a brand today cannot express or articulate those values—it risks leaving its intent and action open to interpretation.  *Starbucks is an Edelman client Related articles Why #DeleteUber is trending - Jan. 29, 2017 Resistance and reluctance Lyft pled[...]



Awareness, Action and Activism: What's Happening To Our Social Newsfeeds?

2017-01-29T16:33:29-06:00

Gotten into an argument on Facebook lately? You're not alone. Find yourself nodding violently in agreement with something someone posted? Even more common. We find ourselves in an environment where everyone seems to be acting like an "activist" for the...Gotten into an argument on Facebook lately? You're not alone. Find yourself nodding violently in agreement with something someone posted? Even more common. We find ourselves in an environment where everyone seems to be acting like an "activist" for the views they find themselves aligning with. The rub? It's not easy being a good activist. The worst ones tend to alienate others because they become so deafening, vociferous and one dimensional in service of their cause—they become difficult to relate to. The best ones are able to mobilize those who share their views while building bridges to those who don't. But many of us are mistaking being engaged for taking action or skipping taking action all together and leveraging social media as a form of activism. These things are not the same and build off one another. Awareness In Today's Filter BubbleOne of the most impactful societal measures of social networks is that they've become our go to sources of information, news, opinions, and an ever stream of feedback based on what's happening in our world. However, as the recent U.S. election underscored—networks are flawed by design in that we often surround ourselves with peer groups "like us" which creates a phenomena that's been labeled "filter bubbles". Our awareness is filtered by our often likeminded peers—and so a steady stream of content and feedback loops that are reflective of our own bias reinforces the way we see things. Engagement vs. Action Another side-effect of social media is that it tricks our brains into thinking being engaged is actually taking a tangible action. It is not.  I was recently reminded of this when I read a story about a mosque burning down not long after the Trump administration has signed executive orders to pause immigration from select countries. My first inclination was to "react" to the story and then share it with my peers to raise awareness. I stopped myself however because I realized that although I was engaging around an event that troubled me—I wasn't taking any tangible action to change the outcome of the event. I stopped myself and made a donation to the Go Fund Me page associated with the story. Only after that did I share the story and encourage others to take similar action. Engagement is desirable and on social media—likes, comments, shares are all forms of engagement but they are not outcome altering actions and many of us have confused engagement for action.  The Risks and Rewards of Social Media Activism Social networks have empowered us to in some ways mimic the dynamics of activism. It gives us a street corner, a megaphone and even a soap box to stand on so our friends, business contacts and peers know exactly what we stand for. And like the crowds who pass the activist and megaphone—some if not many will engage, after all most of us share the same filter bubbles. But for how long? After passing the activist on the street corner, when we just want to get home after a long days work—we begin to tune out the words no matter how sincere or earnest. With the megaphone and empowerment to become an "activist" for our beliefs and values comes the burden of alienation—there will be times when people just won't want to engage, no matter what their stance on an issue. What's happening to our social newsfeeds? They've become a reflection of what we've curated over time. In some cases, they are a daily validation mechanism for ourselves and like minded peers. In other cases—they foster dialogue and debate. But they aren't a substitute for taking meaningful action even if a like, share or comment satisfies our urge in the moment.  Related articles Social Media Etiquette [...]



Six Near-term Trends Influencing The Business of Marketing

2016-11-29T15:31:26-06:00

If you’ve come here looking for the latest thinking on virtual reality, drones and autonomous driving—you’ve come to the wrong place. Marketers are an interesting bunch—we pride ourselves on “being in the know”, with some good reason… Part of our...If you’ve come here looking for the latest thinking on virtual reality, drones and autonomous driving—you’ve come to the wrong place. Marketers are an interesting bunch—we pride ourselves on “being in the know”, with some good reason… Part of our jobs are to stay one step ahead of the game so we are better prepared for the changes that inevitably effect the business of our industry. But in the pursuit of staying ahead of future trends—we often overlook massive shifts that need to be operationalized over the next five years, if not decade. In the pursuit of keeping our eye on the ball—I’ve identified six near term trends influencing the business of marketing: From Media Channels To Media Ecosystem Blame Digital. Just when we were getting used to shifting efforts and dollars to reflect not only print, television, radio and the internet—the internet itself has fragmented into a million tiny little pieces which blur the lines between paid, owned, earned and even social when it comes to dollar spend—and that’s not even getting into how it all get’s measured. Case in point—in the past year, MTV has seen it’s traditional television viewership of the Video Music Awards decline 34%. However if you look closely at the numbers, digital views including Facebook Live Streaming increased 70%. The problem here? MTV has yet to monetize the ever fragmented and complex digital media ecosystem and still relies on traditional TV advertisers to make money. This makes the jobs of the media creators, buyers, sellers and strategists, well—complicated. Marketers are reluctant to embrace this complexity in their need to reach the largest and most targeted audiences they can. But in the near term—this complexity must be dealt with by diving deeper into digital and re-defining how, where and when dollars are spent within the complete media ecosystem vs. the easiest parts of it to put spend against. From Text That Tells To Visuals That ShowThe entire Web is being re-built for visual and video content. Before you dismiss this as “obvious”—we must take into account that the previous and dominant version of the Internet became mainstream with the advent of Google’s search engine and search was and to some extent still is a game of text, meta tags, keywords and text based organic content popularity. Now let’s look at demographics: Boomers, and GenX grew up on traditional literacy in the written word. Millennials and GenZ are growing up on what I call “visual literacy” which is accentuated by platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube which are video and visual dominated as opposed to text driven. It is this visual literacy combined with the changing face of how we not only search for but receive content which is changing before our very eyes. marketers have spent years perfecting their Keywords and then finding ways to get text based links to their written content shared on social media but increasingly it’s video that gets shared directly through a multitude of apps that is becoming the dominant social currency. Brands have yet to master modern forms of video and visual storytelling as even the rules are changing in this space. Snapchat for example favors short, compelling vertical video formats which tend to perform well. For marketers—many who built their craft on taglines or standard 30 second television commercials—these forms of video content (not ads) are foreign and still largely untapped. Marketers will need to re-think video, visual storytelling and the production of these things from the ground up in this new world if they are to remain relevant. [...]



Election 2016: When “Data” In Isolation Steers Us Wrong

2016-11-10T13:15:09-06:00

Instincts vs. Insights Like many of you, I was wrong about who I thought would win the US election. But it wasn’t always that way — I had changed my opinion based on the “data” I was seeing and that’s where many... Instincts vs. InsightsLike many of you, I was wrong about who I thought would win the US election. But it wasn’t always that way — I had changed my opinion based on the “data” I was seeing and that’s where many of us are scratching our heads. My first gut instinct was formed around the time of both party conventions. Having followed both, sensing the momentum and enthusiasm of the unconventional GOP convention, I remember thinking to myself, Trump really has a chance — he’s going to tap millions of people displaced by a global economy. He’s speaking directly to the working class disenfranchised — people holding down multiple jobs in some cases and feeling like they can never get ahead. He’s giving a voice to those who feel like they have been ignored or are underrepresented. And above it all, I was picking up something in the air that felt like a change agent was wanted, even if that agent was more rough around the edges than many would have preferred…I grew up in working class Long Island. I intuitively grasped how he could win and I was hesitant to rush to judgement over how or why millions of Americans were supporting him. Over the course of weeks and months, being the news addict that I am, I began to change my outlook on Trump’s chances.Why? Because the polling data and news media sentiment. The Limitations of Polling & Media InfluenceDay after day, I would pour over polls and read headlines that would point to trends making the case that while both candidates were unpopular, Hillary seemed to always come out on top. The media painted a picture of a Trump campaign in disarray and the tone of the majority of the coverage I could see from multiple media outlets was largely negative. Polls while far from perfect are data points. Media sentiment is also a set of data points. When you pour over this information, it begins to inform your opinions. And that’s what happened to me. My informed view shifted from Trump has a chance to Hillary is a definite win. And I think there’s an important lesson in all of this. Was the data bad? I don’t think it’s that simple. Like some analysts have stated, it’s likely that the polling data was incomplete. Which means this data cannot be fully trusted. If a significant portion of voters didn’t feel comfortable polling but instead voiced their opinions with their votes, then the data is meaningless. Sampling is an art that becomes harder and harder to deliver well against. All research methodologies for polling have inherent biases and it becomes clear that relying on a sample of people willing to speak to an interviewer or take a survey online is becoming more difficult to pull off accurately. Political polling is disrupted and old models don’t work. But they are still very valuable if cross analyzed through other intelligence methodologies that focus on “harder data”.The lesson reminds me of similar learnings I’ve seen in marketing focus groups. People aren’t always honest or clearly articulate their beliefs and/or needs.Reading Between The LinesYou have to read between the lines. This is something that ethnographers often do. They immerse themselves in the lives of the people they seek to derive insights from. They go deep in place of skimming vast quantities of data points both quantitative and qualitative. They go heavy on empathy but also possess the right amount of analytical rigor to translate observations into insights. And what about the media sentiment? Did I misread it? No, I read it accurately but like many others, I underestimated the impact that media sentiment would have on potential Trump suppo[...]



The Death of Content Marketing: Why Brands Must Become Cultural Currency

2016-10-03T09:46:32-05:00

Before there was social media—before there was mobile and the video revolution, there was blogging. Once heralded as a revolution in communications and to a degree, marketing—self expression and direct publishing of the written word became an influential force to... Before there was social media—before there was mobile and the video revolution, there was blogging. Once heralded as a revolution in communications and to a degree, marketing—self expression and direct publishing of the written word became an influential force to be dealt with. Blogging, in written word form of has been a commodity for some time. Even as I write this on the reality is less people are taking in the written word, opting instead for “junk food” media which comes in highly shareable and snackable bits of sticky, mobile optimized content. Today however, it is content itself that has and will continue to become the commodity. Content in all forms—even mobile optimized and snackable content. There’s simply too much of it. Most of it is not very good and even if it is—the amount of effort it takes to make sure that content will travel far and wide makes for considerable effort. Many will do this well but more will fail. So what is value in today’s connected marketing and media landscape? Culture The ability to create it, influence it, co-create it and integrate a brand so seamlessly in culture and relevant sub cultures. This is the next frontier of marketing and communications and while it has much to do with things like social, mobile and content—it is the cultural aspect that must lead while everything else follows. A very excellent article in Harvard Business Review reflects some of this shift, labeling it within the context of something Douglas Holt calls “Crowdculture”: “While companies have put their faith in branded content for the past decade, brute empirical evidence is now forcing them to reconsider. In YouTube or Instagram rankings of channels by number of subscribers, corporate brands barely appear. Only three have cracked the YouTube Top 500. Instead you’ll find entertainers you’ve never heard of, appearing as if from nowhere. YouTube’s greatest success by far is PewDiePie, a Swede who posts barely edited films with snarky voice-over commentary on the video games he plays. By January 2016 he had racked up nearly 11 billion views, and his YouTube channel had more than 41 million subscribers.” The challenge for brands is that they often times cannot create culture by themselves. Today’s culture creators often thrive in “sub cultures”—niche groups that exist under more mainstream areas whether it be food, sports, fashion—lest you think this only applies to “consumer brands” it does not.Subcultures exist in business as well and continue to diversify as business itself becomes more specialized and niche. Brands and Organizations Must Become Collaborators and Co-Creators of Culture Today and tomorrow’s challenge for brands and organizations is to tweak their marketing and communications infrastructure so they can effectively collaborate with influencers of culture across the spectrum. If brands cannot create culture from scratch—they can co-create it with the right partners across the paid, owned, earned and social spectrum. But to do this at scale, they must understand the ecosystem of influence and re-structure internally to connect that ecosystem and approach peer to peer influence from all sides.The Influencer Ecosystem Brands and organizations who wish to influence culture and become co-creators of it, must begin to coordinate how they approach working with those who wield influence, coming at it from different directions. For example, TIME magazine featured a cover telling us that we should “eat butter”. While earned in nature, the story and [...]



Hero, Hub and Hygiene: Where Marketing Meets Publishing

2016-01-23T09:49:58-06:00

Q: When should a brand act like a publisher? A: Ad blocking software You find yourself watching an entertaining series starring your favorite celebrity and Jerry Seinfeld. Or maybe it's your favorite internet cat celebrities joining forces in a holiday... Q: When should a brand act like a publisher?A: Ad blocking softwareYou find yourself watching an entertaining series starring your favorite celebrity and Jerry Seinfeld. Or maybe it's your favorite internet cat celebrities joining forces in a holiday themed music video. Or it's a *satirical article from The Onion showing up in your Facebook feed. What the above have in common is the fact that none of them are the advertising most of us grew up with on our televisions or even desktops for that matter—but they are all working in the service of brands and organizations. Welcome to the age of brands as publishers—designed for mobile screens, Google algorithms, social news feeds and driven by essential success metrics: "sharing and subscribing".  A brand marketing meets publishing model is nothing new, nor is the Hero, Hub, Hygiene approach coined by Google originally as an approach for YouTube. But as many brands are finding out, adding the nimble publishing approach to your existing global behemoth marketing machine is a daunting task. Just like any significant shift organizations must make to any part of their business—marketers both at the brand and agency level must find common ground in how they define major components:Brand PlatformA common mistake made in the worlds of marketing, branding and advertising is confusing a campaign with a brand platform which is akin to confusing a banana with a banana tree. For the sake of clarity—"Dove Campaign For Real Beauty" is a brand platform, while Dove Sketches was an activation that evolved into campaign like territory. As referenced in Building Modern Brands—a brand platform is foundational in nature and modern brands are evolving to reflect not only rational and emotional benefits, but articulating what they stand for in a societal context. Can campaigns be derived from brand platforms? Yes, but they are more evergreen in nature vs. moment in time and should influence all activations no matter how strategic or tactical.   ActivationsUnlike a brand platform—activations are more time and context sensitive. These are your programs, campaigns, events and other activities that will range from highly strategic and pre-planned to highly responsive and in the moment. Activations should be strategically aligned to the brand platform but also possess the flexibility to expand contextually. These are the ways the brand platform comes to life over time.  HeroHero activations are where brands place their big bets. Typically these are the global integrated marketing campaigns though increasingly they can still be big bets without ever coming to life in traditional channels like television. These can also be big communications and engagement activations involving media and influencers. Regardless of classification, brands often times don't support more than one to two of these annually and sometimes they can extend beyond a single year. HubHub activations can be more frequent and are often times less ambitious than a Hero campaign. Partnerships with media companies or digital influencers for example can often fall into Hub territory. Depending on the nature of the brand or organization—Hub activations could be as few as quarterly or as often as monthly. The rise of native advertising and sponsored content is currently fueling the popularity of Hub activations that don't always directly support a specific Hero campaign. Hygiene Hygiene activations can fall into the "always on" "daily" or "content engine" classifications. Often times, Hygiene activations require multiple pub[...]