Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Activate or Evaporate

We talk a lot about "brand activation" and being brand activators in the digital age. Question is, what does it mean? it means getting the right people in the room, pulling a problem apart in every direction like you see here, and then putting together what we discover into new ideas that activate interest, activate involvement and activate interaction. Here's a little glimpse into a recent activator session.

In today's environment, you have two choices. Activate. Or evaporate.

Seek new ideas, seek the next new promise or product, and let your Sharpies™ do the talking.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Happy Convergences

So, doing anything really unique at work?

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Running the regulatory gauntlet

Two things that aren't easy:

1) being green
2) getting product claims through FDA regulatory (See cartoon)


Monday, April 27, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunny and 80

It's sunny and in the 80s today. Time to leave the cave and get out.
Blogging can wait...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Can you keep a promise?

My 17-year old son wrote this note when he was five years old. I recently dug it out of an old scrapbook.

I will behave.
I will behave.
I will behave.

12 years ago, my wife asked him to sit down and write this after some mischief he got into. Perhaps talking back. Or acting up in school that day. He took out a pencil, and did as my wife asked. At the time, he was doing something that brand marketers do every day: creating a brand promise. A brand promise is an agreement or covenant between brands and the people it wishes to start a relationship with. "The ultimate driving machine," "Diamonds are forever," "When you care enough to send the very best," and "Made from the best stuff on earth." These are more than simply well-penned taglines. They're promises that companies can build a business around. They're the rock upon which you build your brand church.

Here's the catch. In order to be successful, you need to actually keep your promise. Today. Tomorrow. And for years to come. In fact, I've always subscribed to the definition that "a brand is a promise made consistently over time." You can't "claim" to be a brand, you must "demonstrate" you're a brand over time. You do this by creating a powerful promise that you know you can keep, and is deemed valuable by consumers.

So the question boils down to this: "how well can you keep your promise?" If it's an authentic promise that grows out of the DNA of your company, it'll probably be easier to keep. And besides, in today's digital branding world, a brand is only as good as its ability to keep the promises it makes. For in today's Age of Transparency, if a brand doesn't keep its promise, it's only a matter of before it makes the rounds on the Internet in blogs and chat rooms.

What does my son's note have to do with the creation of enduring, beloved brands? Simple. If you make a promise today, you should be able to keep it years from now. That is the essence of what makes a brand great. In my son's case, he is planning to attend his senior high school prom in a couple of weeks. A prom that includes a long weekend "after party" at the Jersey Shore. My wish is that by reminding him of the promise he made, he'll remember to live by it during his Prom weekend.

Hey, it was worth a shot.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Units and measures and metrics, oh my

Attended a panel discussion last night around the growth of online video in marketing. Units, metrics, measures delivered by people from Hulu, Tremor Media, WebMD, Point Roll and Digitas Health. Lots of talk around CPMs, CRTs and ROI.

I still have a headache this morning.

One encouraging note for me was that across the board, all the panelists reinforced a single idea: online media and the use of video are only as good as the content you create and the value that users attach to it. In other words, powerful brand stories, narratives and entertaining content drive the day. Another key point is that it's not easy to monetize the "next big thing" in video. Or as someone put it, "how do you monetize Susan Boyle or Paul Potts?" If you haven't seen these two from Britain's Got Talent fame, go check them out on YouTube. Their videos were viral blockbusters. Great stories of personal triumph, too.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Finding the right wave

Sure, it's scary out there. Just ask my son standing on the beach at the Jersey Shore on this particularly gray day. It's alot like many of us feel right now about our business.

You can sit on the shore and wring your hands some more, or you can pick up your board, double-knot the string on your bathing suit, and get out there.

On the bright side, there are fewer surfers out on the water, so choosing a wave isn't as difficult as it usually is. It's less crowded right now, make it work for you.

So, what wave can your brand ride?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Leading edge of indecision

Down economies are bad for a lot of reasons. But one byproduct that keeps rearing its head lately is indecision. Frankly, when times are bad, the headscratchers, fencesitters and handwringers come out in force. There's this wicked inertia happening. It's been really hard to get anyone to make a decision and as a result projects are at a standstill (and worse, projected revenue from these projects are in jeopardy). I can easily understand why(limited dollars and resources), but frankly, it's the last thing you want to have happen when you're trying to build momentum and dig your way out of a hole. I think small teams that develop an actionable strategy, fill-in the right resources around it and then think creatively to get things done are in a better position to win. We're involved in a couple projects right now where out of necessity, small groups of client and agency teams are "hunkered in the bunker" collaborating aggressively, blending strategy and creative, and making decisions around projects that I personally think stand a great chance of being successful. More importantly, any one of these projects could serve as the first step in putting together a "string of wins" that could instill confidence in any team, and keep the momentum moving forward.

Do you have any ways of overcoming indecision within a group or a company that could help any of us?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Life happens fast. Take Kopius notes.

Like most people's lives, mine has gotten more hectic every day, and right now feels pretty top heavy with the demands of things to get done, places to be, work to complete, ideas to sell, pdf's to download, kids' games to watch, new contacts to make, checks to cut, and morning alarms to ignore.

Kopius Notes is my way of capturing the stuff that goes on in my day, in my life, and in my head. Along with the stuff that normally gets scribbled into my Moleskine notepad.