The Future of Content

December 21, 2010

A recent study released by the Meltwater Group, the Future of Content, shows the very realistic state of digital media strategies for most businesses around the world. The research shows companies are learning ‘on-the-job’ how best to create and distribute content, and effectively connect with audiences. Furthermore, those emerging in a social media role aren’t necessarily of a traditional marketing or advertising background, but those with enthusiasm and an appetite for new technology. This accounts for 52% of those in a social media position.

Other key takeaways I found valuable:

  • 78% consider content marketing to be important to their organization, although only 49% have a formal strategy
  • 35% have seen their budgets for social media rise in the last 12 months
  • 84% consider it important to monitor what is being said online about their company, yet only 1 in 5 companies have invested in tools to do this
  • The three most popular content marketing channels are e-newsletters (62%), print magazines (61%) and social media (49%)
  • 52% see social media as integral to their marketing efforts and 59% see it as an opportunity for marketing departments, rather than a threat
  • At a corporate level, companies are most likely to be using Facebook (68%), followed by Twitter (55%), LinkedIn (43%) and YouTube (42%)
  • The biggest content marketing challenges are producing interesting (23%) or new / different (21%) content – budget is only an issue for 18%
  • 40% of organizations expect their marketing budgets to go up in 2011 with an average increase of 1.4% forecast
  • 79% of respondents consider that social media is “owned” by the marketing department – with an average of six people having some social media responsibility

The full report is available here.

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The Essence of Influence

November 1, 2010

Enjoyed this short documentary that explores what it means to be an influencer and how trends and creativity become contagious today in music, fashion and entertainment.

Career satisfaction, life-work balance, the reality of the changing workplace, and understanding personal goals and priorities has been on my mind a lot recently.  While on Twitter, I came across this video, which is adapted from Dan Pink’s talk at the RSA.  The animated illustration of the keynote is captivating, but more importantly, it points out some of the underlining factors that motivate people at work:

Money is only a motivating factor to a point for getting good results. After that people seek autonomy, mastery and purpose to be fully productive.

Good Reminder on Branding

October 26, 2010

In Alina Wheeler‘s own words:

The companies who are customer centric—i.e. they see the world through the eyes and experiences of their customers, have the most successful brands. They view each touchpoint as an opportunity to build trust, extend customer loyalty, and fuel word of mouth. The companies that have really strong internal cultures i.e. employees that live the brand, who believe in the core purpose of the brand, and who are passionate about the brand, are off the charts successful.

The best companies have brand guidelines that help employees and other partners understand the brand and make it easy to apply the standards at each new touchpoint.

The brands that are not doing a good job at branding are the ones who are not paying attention to the customer, and the dynamics of the marketplace.

On staying relevant:

A brand does not need to continually reinvent itself. Organizations, however, need to stay relevant, continually find ways to engage their customers, and respond to their needs. It’s critical to have a laser-like focus on answering the question: Why should our customers choose us over others.

View this document on Scribd

Compiled from Wiki by @EricJFernandez

If you own a car, there are countless ways you can find yourself at a body shop: you back into a fire hydrant, you develop a strange attraction to shopping carts, someone keys your door. You get the idea. Most cars have also become quite good at letting us know when someone needs to look under the hood – idiot lights on the dash, funny sounds, a new smoking habit, or one day it just decides to not move.

Why is it then, that we fail to act when we think—sometimes even know— that our brand is in disrepair? Well, whether it’s an abandoned Buick on the side of the road, or a brand new Prius with a sticky accelerator, there are identifiable indicators that it’s time to make a visit to “the brand shop”. The following are a few things that may light up your brand’s dashboard:

1.  Your market environment has changed. Your customers’ expectations of how a brand in your space looks, means, and behaves has altered. Are you keeping up with it? What your brand offers is still relevant to your customers, but how they think of you (and talk about you) needs to change to allow you to be more competitive.

2.  Your organization is transforming. You may have identified a new line of business, or adopted a new model, new markets may have emerged—your brand has to evolve with these changes, right down to its fundamentals. While you are not remotely a start-up, in many respects you need to act like one. You must carefully identify the perfect positioning, employ the right strategies and develop new messages and digital properties that are in sync with your transformation.

3.  Your competition is more aggressively managing its brand to better connect with your customers and prospects. If someone in your category is creating a lot of buzz, inspiring messaging and visual expression. You need to react before it’s too late. They say in the next five years there will be more change than there were in the last fifty. If your brand foundation and products are sound, you should be able to adapt and manage any change.

4.  Your communications—print, video and digital—just don’t reflect your brand position. If you’re on top of your offerings and operations, but find yourself apologizing for every brochure and URL you hand out, then it’s time to take a new look at how you express yourself visually. There have never been more tools available to you to refresh your brand.

5.  You took a wrong direction. A lot of things can lead us down the wrong path: Misinterpreted research, aggressive purchasing, even a shift in the market. Or maybe you just took a gamble.  At any rate, your brand is currently out of sync with the direction your industry is taking—or more importantly what your customers are wanting. A brand course correction is needed.

6.  Your brand has changed, but the perception hasn’t. Your products/services are in the forefront – you offer great innovations, higher quality and greater value to your customers. But they’re just not getting it. You need to eliminate this lag and allow your company to move forward. The good news is that you have the vision, model and value to fuel new messages, a new visual expression and a brand that will advance your evolved organization.

Once you have identified your ‘flashing sign’, understanding what course you need to take to transform your brand will go a long way towards ensuring the work you undertake will be necessary and effective.  A good full service ‘brand shop’ should help you better understand what’s wrong (diagnostic), what it will take to get you from here to there (planning), which experience will take you to your destination (creative), and how to continuously stay on the right track (stewardship/optimization).

Miracle Whip Strikes Back!

November 13, 2009

Last month, Stephen Colbert mercilessly mocked Miracle Whip‘s new TV commercial on his Comedy Central show.

Picture 31

Yesterday, Miracle Whip struck back with an open letter to Stephen Colbert in newspapers yesterday threatening to “dominate the airspace” on his show to expose his viewers to “hardcore Miracle Whip attitude and revelry.”

An open letter to Stephen Colbert from Miracle Whip, as seen in this morning’s amNewYork:   Dear Mr. Colbert, Recently on your show, you tapped into a sore spot in our nation’s psyche: the eternal struggle between mayonnaise and Miracle Whip. And surprisingly, for a man of your impeccable intellect, you’ve chosen the wrong side. A side doomed to a painful, drawn-out, utter and complete defeat. Like the Plantagenets in the Hundred Years’ War. Or whichever on was the cat in “Tom and Jerry.” Mr. Colbert, we found your attacks a little harsh, occasionally funny, and at times, wholly inaccurate (for the record, our target is 18-35, not 34). But unlike most advertisers who are so mayo, who would back down at the slightest whiff of controversy, and pull their advertising from not just your show but from your entire network and all its sister entities – we intend to do the opposite. On Thursday, November 12, we will dominate the airspace on your show. With every commercial break, your viewers will be exposed to hardcore Miracle Whip attitude and revelry. You will see our legion of (as you call them) “mayonay-sayers” snarfing sandwiches topped with our one-of-a-kind flavor in a very cool and totally hip way. They will be in your face and massively dope. It goes without saying, they WILL NOT TONE IT DOWN. And you will begin to see the soft, bland white walls of the mayo empire begin to collapse under the weight of its own whipped-egg pretentiousness. Think about it, Mr. Colbert. In a sense, we will own you. We’re on a mission. We’re taking no prisoners. We’re raising Hell, man. THE BOLD MARKETING TEAM AT MIRACLE WHIP  I don’t like mayonnaise or miracle whip, but this is amazing.Dear Mr. Colbert,

Recently on your show, you tapped into a sore spot in our nation’s psyche: the eternal struggle between mayonnaise and Miracle Whip.  And surprisingly, for a man of your impeccable intellect, you’ve chosen the wrong side. A side doomed to a painful, drawn-out, utter and complete defeat. Like the Plantagenets in the Hundred Years’ War. Or whichever on was the cat in “Tom and Jerry.”

Mr. Colbert, we found your attacks a little harsh, occasionally funny, and at times, wholly inaccurate (for the record, our target is 18-35, not 34). But unlike most advertisers who are so mayo, who would back down at the slightest whiff of controversy, and pull their advertising from not just your show but from your entire network and all its sister entities – we intend to do the opposite.

On Thursday, November 12, we will dominate the airspace on your show. With every commercial break, your viewers will be exposed to hardcore Miracle Whip attitude and revelry. You will see our legion of (as you call them) “mayonay-sayers” snarfing sandwiches topped with our one-of-a-kind flavor in a very cool and totally hip way. They will be in your face and massively dope. It goes without saying, they WILL NOT TONE IT DOWN. And you will begin to see the soft, bland white walls of the mayo empire begin to collapse under the weight of its own whipped-egg pretentiousness.

Think about it, Mr. Colbert. In a sense, we will own you.

We’re on a mission. We’re taking no prisoners.

We’re raising Hell, man.

THE BOLD MARKETING TEAM AT MIRACLE WHIP

Comedy Central’s responded right away in the afternoon to MW’s letter with the following statement on their blog:

Well, now MW has responded with the big guns. That’s right, they’re buying up a bunch of ad space on tonight’s Colbert Report. Aw snap! It’s like they say, you mess with the bull, you get the giant horns made of ad revenue.

Living up to their open letter, MW dominated The Colbert Report last night by airing three new commercials.

I honestly don’t know if this is a parody or not — a big part of me hopes that it’s authentic…  But regardless, what a smart and creative way of expanding out MW’s campaign in traditional media that spot-on supports their new strategic positioning and message – “We’re Miracle Whip and Will Not Tone It Down”.  Great job Bold Marketing Team At Miracle Whip!