Archive for the ‘Advertising’ Category

The Rise of the Political Brand


Corporations are being expected to take a political stand, a risky proposition that could result in backlash, boycotts, or a raving army of advocates.

Since the dawn of business, the influences of politics have resulted in private political advisors, quiet lobbying in political offices, and funding political programs.

But now, customers are expecting brands to take a public, forward expression on how the brand affiliates with a particular political bent, notion, or value.

Careful, if you do it wrong, boycotts are emerging against brands that don’t align with a political stance of their customer base, which results in app downloads, lost revenues, and a tarnished brand.

This means the CEO, CMO, and other executives must lean forward on deciding if they should make a position. The examples are increasing:

  • Last night’s Superbowl game sported ads from Audi, Budweiser, 84 Lumber and others had political bents.
  • Tech companies just signed an anti-immigration ban document, rallying as a group, clearly indicating their values.
  • Uber CEO pushed to step down from White House advisory board, while Elon Musk states a clear stance on why to stay.
  • Starbucks promised to hire many immigrants, and three years ago, Hobby Lobby, stood by their values, which set off the country in debate.
  • Most noticeably, is last night’s Superbowl performer Lady Gaga, is being analyzed for not taking an overt political stance. As this sentiment grows, brands will need to prepare for questions on why they should — or should not take a political stance.

What does this future hold? A few predictions:

  1. CMOs will hire political-brand advisors. No, I’m not talking about lobbyist or government relations professionals, but experts in political campaigning and brand influence. For example, a few years ago, Uber hired David Plouffe, who worked on the Obama campaign.
  2. A new professional category will emerge, agencies, consultants, authors, speakers will emerge that tie together political and brand strategy that aids the CMO — and achieves bottom line growth.
  3. A new feature of enterprise marketing software will emerge to measure customer political preference and affiliation — with a dashboard for the CMO to manage.
  4. CEOs will lead a discussion at board level, with the CMO to discuss if a brand should take a political stance, after carefully examining the impacts to government relations, regulation, customer preference.
  5. Brands will politically poll their customers, partners, prospects and competitor base to ascertain the political bent of their constituent base. Some bold brands will publish these polls in public.
  6. A more public association between brands and their preferred political ideology and perhaps candidate will emerge.
  7. Customers will sport their favorite product as a form of political activism: Supporting, advocating, or boycotting online and in front of their real world friends.

Companies have no choice to consider their political bent, not just behind closed doors, but now in public.

How Brands Add to the Collaborative Economy


Screen Shot 2013-05-30 at 8.27.35 AM
Above: When banks become bikes, meet the Citi Bike

How do brands add to the Collaborative Economy, if they don’t offer physical goods?  They sponsor the sharing movement.

Meet Citi Bike in NY.  I’ve learned from my New York-based colleague, Rebecca Lieb (Marketing and Advertising analyst), that CitiGroup, one of the world’s largest brands, is sponsoring the country’s largest bike sharing program in our most populated city.  That’s right, the sustainability trend for bike access to New York citizens and visitors is rolling out in the next few days, with prominent sponsorship and funding from Citibank.

This program models after the Barclays Card sponsorship of bike-sharing in London, a trend that is starting to sweep across cities around the globe.  Cleverly dubbed a “Citi Bike,” CitiBank will offer 6,000 of these blue unisex bikes and 330 docking stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, with a vision to grow to more than 10,000 bikes.  These all become mobile advertising units, travelling the streets of the financial center of the world.  The data derived from these bikes and their digital check-ins, along with web and mobile features, will provide the CitiBank system with rich data at a local level.  Digital marketers should be drooling.

There are a number of brands that are jumping into the Collaborative Economy space (see index), either by converting their products to a service, fostering a community of reselling around them, or by sponsoring.  Altimeter will be publishing a report on the Collaborative Economy next week in conjunction with my keynote speech at LeWeb.  The Collaborative Economy isn’t just about saving the world through sustainable consumer practices.  It’s also about the brands and corporations who want to be associated with it.

The bottom line:  Branding and sponsorship are just the start.  Expect to see new models emerge, even for financial services companies.

Oscar TV Ads Failed To Integrate Social –A Missed Opportunity for Converged Media


This year, marketers were focused on promoting their owned corporate website. Of the few that promoted engagement with social ads, even fewer integrated paid, owned, and earned.

With 39m American Oscar viewers in 2012, a majority of them are viewing them with a second screen (mobile/laptop/tablet) in hand, disappointingly, most TV ads failed to use paid media to trigger these discussions, indicating that Converged Media of paid owned earned is not consistent in today’s marketing quiver.  A few weeks ago, we conducted similar analysis of SuperBowl ads, and found a greater degree of integration, including cross-channel integration with Hashtags (31% incidence) from TV ads to trigger online discussions.

Last night, at the Oscar’s, integration from the 58 TV spots to the second screen was paltry at best, with a high reliance on advertising corporate URLs, an odd play given that most know how to use Google search to find websites.  While many a brand was active in emulating Oreos “Real Time Marketing” by using pre-created photoshop templates, it felt contrived and forced. There’s a thriving discussion, from Jay Baer on the contrived impact of Real Time Ad Failures, and David Armano gives pause to share his perspective as an agency working with Kellogg who were deploying real time ads –despite no TV spot.

Data highlights

  • We analyzed 58 TV spots, from award kickoff to end (not red carpet).
  • About 75% of all ads integrated cross-channel integration, with a majority promoting URLs
  • While 17% of ads integrated Facebook, and 14% Twitter, they didn’t promote a specific URL, most focusing on the social network icons.
  • Hashtag integration was a mere 13%, (Superbowl ads were over double that at 31%) a missed opportunity, given the amount of second screen activity in this media heavy space
  • Samsung pushed the hashtag #galaxyatwork four times across their many ads, and purchased promoted trends on Twitter.

Most Oscar TV Ads Integrated URLs –Social Integration lower

Marketing Efforts of Note
This year’s Oscar ads were contrived, forced efforts of brands and agencies running after the Oreo’s halo from Superbowl.  Of note, JCP connected both there emotional TV spot, and tied it with Twitter engagement and even sent gift cards to Twitter followers that gave a positive reaction to the ads.  Kellogg’s Special K deployed real time images in salute to award winners (Life of Pi), even without a TV spot, which limited their overall reach and opportunity to trigger engagement.  Stella Artois had several photoshop templates that created Gifs that recognized winners, but didn’t push the content to the next level.  AdWeek highlights how Oreos extended engagement from Superbowl to Oscars.

Converged Media Workflow
Above Diagram: Here’s one way brands should be integrated paid, owned, and earned, in a Converged Media manner. While most Oscar ads failed to complete this, JCP earned high marks, Read the full report.

Concluding Remarks:
Real time marketing was experimental at best, with many brands still trying to develop their playbooks for the second screen.  Brands failed to integrate their paid media with social media, missing out on opportunities for the content to engage and resonate.  Next year, expect greater integration between all the elements of paid, owned and earned, which we call Converged Media.

Update: There’s a discussion on my Facebook page, critiquing the ads.

Breakdown: Converged Media Workflow (Coordinating Paid + Owned + Earned)


The purpose of this post is to serve as an industry reference for converged media workflows: How companies will coordinate paid, owned and earned as one orchestration.  This is continued coverage on Converged Media, read the full report.

Business Needs
Customers already experience advertising, corporate content, editorial, and social media at the same time, often in an integrated manner, although most brands do not approach the experience in one deployment. As Facebook, Twitter deploy social ads that utilize earned and owned content amplified by paid, these worlds are quickly merging. Brands that want to achieve the best experience for their customers in digital channels must approach in an integrated converged method, and understand how to utilize each channel’s strength. Brands that don’t have these workflows are at risk for inefficiency, and give agencies an opportunity to lead. Brands that produce these workflows working with agency and software partners can deliver an orchestrated experience.

Converged Media Workflows Represent Complexity in a Simple Graphic
This is continuing coverage of research I’m conducting with Rebecca Lieb (Bio, Blog, Twitter, Books), my co-author on this report as well as Jessica Groopman (Bio, Twitter), researcher. I recommend you first read the whole report on Converged Media (Paid, Owned, and Earned), in which we didn’t go into depth into the workflow that we found.  As the industry starts to combine these often disparate channels, we’ll see new forms of workflows emerge that coordinate all these channels.  Don’t be fooled by these simple diagrams, as each step transcends a different channel, intense coordination is required on brand side, agency side, as well as software.  A new ecosystem of players will also converge in order to serve this new workflow, and professionals that run to meet this future need now will be ahead in their careers over those that do not.

Definition: A Converged Media Workflow is a simple yet comprehensive diagram that represent complex streams that coordinate paid, owned, and earned channels in a holistic manner across an entire customer experience –beyond a siloed approach. As a result, the entire customer experience has a greater net benefit to customers and brands than individual deployments.

Start with Strategy
Companies should not approach the Converged Media approach without first having a goal in mind, as there are significant changes that happen both internally, with agency partners, and new software requirements.  To get the most return in your effort, start by:

  • Have a Content Strategy that Works Across Paid, Owned, and Earned.  Re-purposing the same content on each channel is not s recipe for success, as each provides a unique opportunity, challenge, and therefore approach.  Instead, develop a broader Content Strategy by first understanding that all companies (even those selling widgets) are now media companies.  Secondly, develop a strategy by understanding how to rebalance your marketing equation by developing a content strategy.  Read Rebecca’s blog with many resources on this topic, or the specific report on Content Marketing to further understand this growing trend.  New roles, content coordination, and the ability to track all of these content changes across the enterprise will emerge, as well as new professional opportunities for those that are seeking to grow.
  • Expect Savvy Marketers to have Playbooks –Supplemented by Agency Partners.  Don’t expect to brands to recreate a new workflow each time from scratch, we’ve started to collect some of the workflows below, and expect that many agencies and brands will develop playbooks and bring them forth in the planning stage.  Don’t overly rely on the same play, as competitors may  exploit the same play time and time again, so expect flexibility based on what the data tea leaves are reading.  When selecting a converged media workflow, ensure that it spans both paid, owned and earned channels, but also looks at media sites, social networks, microsites, brand sites and hosted communities.  Ensure these are also representing a global perspective, and consider how it can impact multiple product sets within the brand.
  • Be Ready: Significant Industry Changes Ahead in Brand, Agency and Software.  While the research report goes into greater depth on the predicted changes coming, we see a few significant changes to the entire ecosystem.  Inside of brands, the marketing department will start to restructure outside of silos so that the advertising group, corporate communication, brand marketing, and social media teams start to work together on a more frequent basis.  Then, we expect marketing leadership to demand that agency partners come together to look at converged media from one strategic viewpoint –digital agencies that lead this discussion will be in a position of power over those that do not.  Lastly, new software solutions are starting manifest including from Adobe Digital Marketing, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Oracle Marketing, Bazaarvoice, Lithium, ThisMoment, IBM, ExactTarget, and a host others of suites that I’m tracking.  Expect a network of software point players to assemble and connect to each other –in order to counter the suites.

Altimeter’s Research Found a Workflow Pattern
There are many workflows –this is just the most common one, although we know many more will emerge.  Altimeter conducted research with 34 ecosystem contributors and continue to take briefings and share this workflow with others.  Depending on who you speak with, you’ll find different emphasize on different parts of the workflow.

Converged Media Workflow
Above: Altimeter found a workflow pattern based on 34 interviews, while we heard a variation on workflow patterns, this one was common, read the full report to learn more.

Matrix: Breakdown of One Converged Media Workflow

Phase What You Need What No One Tells You
Real-Time Measurement & Iteration (Center item) This is a baseline requirement across all phases.  This internal center effort is apart from periodic reporting, as it should be gauging in real time the performance of all paid, owned, and earned channels and allow for rapid iteration.   Don’t expect this team to be able to see the forest through the trees as they peer in closely, so ensure the periodic reporting phase is included –you need both. Real time measurements require a sane way to communicate these changes to the company, by providing daily wrap ups, trend diagrams, and maybe even real time tickers.  Barry Judge, former CMO of Best Buy told me he has a digital ticker in his office with all mentions of his company so he can make iterative changes in real time.
Periodic Strategic Analysis and Reporting (Top) If your effort is kicking off, start by conducting analysis of what’s happened in earned, and owned channels. We often heard from interviews that earned tells you what target market is saying or where they are, which informs owned.  However in most cases, launches were built off existing products so analysis on owned was common.  This analysis should be conducted looking back several periods (months to years). In addition to seeing what your customers say, analyze what’s being said of competitors and what they’ve said.  Find out what’s resonated and what has not and why. Follow colleague Susan Etlinger to learn more.
Content Strategy (Clockwise) Often companies jump to decide what they say, without analyzing what people want to hear, and that’s why the prior phase on analysis and reporting was a requirement.  Companies can now develop a content strategy, but should understand how it changes and varies depending on the following variables:  product type, geography, channel, screen, and source of information.  Note that this spans many internal teams from corp comm, brand marketing, media buying, social media team and all related agency partners. To try to focus on a consolidated content strategy across all of the permutations (we call this the Dynamic Customer Journey) get focused on the top persona behaviors in each of the three channels and top screens. Get focused.
Publication Across Channels This phase requires both internal governance on message and engagement orchestration that includes communication, internal collaboration, a series of meetings, a clear leader and the tools to support.  We’re currently seeing a variety of tools from CMS, media network management, and social media management system (SMMS) technologies span this environment. Agency and brand stakeholders are seeking collaboration tools that will span all teams, in particular, watch how PBworks and Adobe Creative Cloud develop to serve these real time needs.
Engagement Real time measurement and iteration (center item) should be occurring as a baseline, as a result, post-publication, teams will identify hot paths and hot conversations where content is resonating.  Then, teams should invest in sending in content experts, community managers, product leads, executives, or influencers to trigger further discussion. Don’t limit engagement to only when a hot discussion is occurring, but set a baseline in monitoring and engagement.  Consider how many brands are already deploying Command Centers (focused on social now, but quickly going broader)
Amplification New media units have been on the rise from Facebook and Twitter in the form of social ads.  These units often can be promoted based upon resonating with earned or owned content in social networks.  Double and triple down on content that’s resonating to reach a broader audience, or tap into the social graph by allowing those involved to share with their networks. Social ads are not limited to social networks alone.  Bazaarvoice has already launched social ads “media” product that aggregates ratings and reviews into IAB approved units.  Expect new media networks to emerge that support social content.
Restructuring Nothing is static in this real time world –even your umbrella messaging and tag lines.  Understand that messaging must evolve and change in real time to meet needs the changes of the market.  Savvy marketers will know when to bend, by involving customers into these process –and know when to stay on overall message to lead market to a new stance in positioning. New tools will emerge that allow customers/end users to help collaborate in creating future messages and integrating across all channels.  Watch Adobe, Salesforce, Oracle for tools that can enable this at the enterprise level.
Cycle Repeats The workflow is a circle and in this workflow, the cycle should continue repeat, fueling consistent and constant content across coordinated channels. What we don’t know is how often this cycle will repeat, as there isn’t industry data on how fast this process can occur.

Notable Industry Converged Workflows
Altimeter has obtained a few of these workflows through online search, slideshare, as well as received content from contributors. I’ll continue to add notable examples as I see them overtime, please leave comments below.

Engagement around media
Above: Edelman’s David Armano shows a workflow between Paid Owned Earned
Analyst Note: This early diagram quickly delineates a workflow among channels focusing on strength of each

Screen shot 2012-09-02 at 3.34.35 PM
Social Marketing and Engagement, Slideshare
by David J Carr (twitter, blog), Digital Strategy Director, Chemistry Communications
Analyst Note: The integration of social listening, social engagement, email, website and communities

Screen shot 2012-09-02 at 3.42.25 PM
Social Marketing and Engagement, Slideshare

by David J Carr (twitter, blog), Digital Strategy Director, Chemistry Communications
Analyst Note: The integration between multiple channels both from awareness push to engagement and across screens

Related Resources on Converged Media Workflows
I sifted through many online resources, found a few select pieces here, leave comments below, I’ll add to this over time.

Today, most workflows are limited to individual channel deployment and lack a holistic view of the entire customer experience. We found few public workflows in our quest, but see more emerging in briefings with software marketing companies and agency leads. Expect that a playbook will emerge from lead agencies and digital marketing suites that outline how all these channels and efforts work in a consolidated way. New opportunities for the emergence of a new market, professionals, strategists, and software and agency partners will emerge, and those that lead will have more opportunity to shape the conversation over those that follow.

I look forward to the dialog as this space evolves, please leave a comment with your point of view, or URLs to related Converged Media workflows.

A Convergence of Advertising, Social, and Content


While not new, most professional blogs follow the media and advertising model that has existed for decades on TV, internet, and media: Create compelling content, and subsidize with advertisements. We see this as only the start, as ads will now start to integrate the crowd to create, source, become the creative, and share.

Remember the “Markets are conversations” motto from Cluetrain? Yet when it comes to social, Cluetrain believers have tried to keep this medium separate from traditional media models and keep it purely conversational. When we look closely, advertising is the primary revenue driver for Google, Facebook, and most social sites who provide free and compelling services in exchange for brands to share their offerings.

All of this mixture of corporate content, consumer media, and advertising is converging into one media type. In our upcoming Altimeter research report this Thursday (co-author Rebecca discusses the premise), we’ll be sharing The Converged Media imperative, where after dozens of interviews with agencies, brands, thought leaders and software innovators, we have found a trend where a new media type has merged, which we’ve dubbed “Converged Media”.

To celebrate this interchange of paid, earned, and owned, I wanted to get your opinion as readers if how you would react, feel, or engage with advertisements on this blog in the right column or on top banner. My promise is to only bring relevant ads (of companies that are related to topics I write about) and that do not interrupt (no popups, no takeovers, no auto-start media, no page turns). Additionally, I would experiment with new advertising forms (such as converged media), and then write about, sharing my experience.

Your opinion matters, so I’m listening, please leave a comment, ads on this Web Strategy blog? Cool or Drool?

Update: After careful review of comments, discussions, I have now decided to allow advertisements to appear on the right hand column. These will not be disruptive (popups, blocks, tear across) and I will personally review all content to ensure it’s related to the content strategy of this website. I’m thankful we can partner in all directions: website owner (me), readers (you), and sponsors (advertisers), to advance with converged media.

Podcast: Why The Term “Social Media Agency of Record” Will Dissolve


I’m honored to be a guest on Mitch Joel‘s famed podcast, Six Pixels of Separation, to discuss my latest post that’s caught the Industry’s attention how Social Media Agencies are Turning to Ads. Mitch invited me on the podcast to discuss this further.

One of the assertions I make is the term “Social Media Agency of Record” (aka SMaoR) will eventually go by the wayside, as those pure play agencies are starting to move into advertising (starting with social ads), digital, interactive, and more. My take? We’ll just have a broader focus as social becomes nicely integrated with other digital efforts.

Listen in to the podcast below using the embed, or watch on Mitch’s website.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments, should the term Social media agency of Record dissolve? Or will this remain as a dedicated type of pure play firm?