David Armano on Micro Interactions

April 30, 2008

David Armano of Logic+Emotion delivers yet another amazing presentation, this time on Micro Interactions + Direct Engagement in Web 2.0.  He is consistently one of the best bloggers out there, thanks in large part to how he graphically showcases concepts.  Check out the latest:


Social Media Skyrocketing According to Latest Internet Trends Report From Morgan Stanley

April 28, 2008

Just came across the latest Internet Trend report by Mary Meeker, courtesty of TechCrunch.  The rise of Social Media as highlighted in the report is outstanding.

Which companies have the right to be VC’s?

April 28, 2008

Lately there has been some good discussions about other companies acting like Venture Capitalists, especially ad agencies.  Personally I have major concerns if an agency starts acting like a VC, especially if they are investing in New Media companies.  The potential for conflicts of interest are huge.  First, theses agencies need to be media-neutral.  I need to trust my agency is making a recommendation that is best for my brand…not because their agency stands to profit through my support of a business they have invested in.  Second, they are funding those investments based on fees I paid them and then potentially profiting off media buys I make.  That makes me really uneasy.

However, I do think the future of the agency model could be in Shared IP and equity.  I have no problem with an agency working with a new/small brand and taking an equity stake instead of normal fees.  I think this is a great win/win since the brand saves money and the agency gets tremendous upside based on their work.   But if this new brand is a media property that the agency can then pitch to other clients, I get concerned,  My agency’s neutrality goes out the window and I end up feeling like my agency pimped me out.  Not a good place to be.

Now the people I do think have the right be investing in new media companies are the brands themselves.  A media buy from an established company like P&G can end up making a company.  I think back to the small buy I did with Secret on MySpace.com back in 2004.  My counterpart at MySpace said that because of that deal and the media coverage we generated from it, he ended up getting over 50 calls from major brands who before wouldnt even return his call.  Think if instead of a media buy, P&G had made an equity investment in MySpace?  We would have ended up with a major return on our money when MySpace sold out to News Corp.  Plus, many start-ups could benefit tremendously from the brand building knowledge that a major CPG could bring to the table.  Plus it has an employee benefit because marketers could take a “broadening assignment” to go work at the start-up for a year or two.  They would get a chance to scratch their entreprenuerial itch without leaving the CPG company.  That is a major HR win to keep top talent happy.

Now obviously there are drawbacks here.  First, CPG companies aren’t experts in the world of VC investing but that could be solved by partnering with a leading VC.  Second, a company like P&G investing in a company could potentially keep competitors from buying media on that site.    Third, almost all major CPG’s are publicly traded companies and VC is a hit or miss industry.  But then again, technology companies like Dell are publicly traded but they have been investing in start-ups for years now (though Dell Ventures did close after a few years).

The way I see it, there is tremendous upside for a major CPG company to partner with VC’s in the start-up game….but tons of downside if our agencies are acting as the VC’s instead.

Weekly Round-Up 4-26-2008

April 26, 2008

The best from the blogosphere this week:

A Day in the Life of a Brand Manager – 4/24/2008

April 25, 2008

When I started writing this blog, one of the things I wanted it to do was give a peek inside the day to day life of a Brand Manager. The thinking is that it would be helpful for aspiring marketers, students, agencies and anyone else that would like to get inside the head of a BM. I’m hoping to do this type of post every once in awhile so you can see the variety but here is Day 1: Read the rest of this entry »

Is it good or bad to be blogging daily?

April 24, 2008

Ever since I started up Hard Knox Life, I’ve been trying to write a post every day, or at least every work day.  I haven’t quite reached that goal, having posted 38 out of 61 days so far.  But ironically I have done 61 total posts in those 61 days so at least I have that going for me.  I was feeling pretty good about that until I came across an interesting post on the Pandemic Blog about the “negative effects of daily blog posting.”  These negatives were:Daily posts mean hasty readers.

  1. Daily posts mean low quality.
  2. Daily posts mean fewer subscribers.
  3. Daily posts mean fewer comments.
  4. Daily posts mean pressure.
  5. Daily posts don’t guarantee success.

So what do you think?  Are daily posts a good thing?  Or do they cause you to read this blog less frequently and comment less often? 

Super Brand Advocates aren’t new but you need to listen to them

April 23, 2008

Over at Next Great Thing, they pointed to a new social networking report from Hitwise that says that in 2008, we will see the emergence of a “super brand advocate”.  As the report states:

Whether via a personal blog or as a key member within a community, super-advocates are well informed, opinionated and have the ability to make or break a product launch or ruin a hard-earned reputation.

However, NGT hits the nail on the head when they point out that “Super Brand Advocates” are nothing new.  In 2007, Yahoo & Mediavest put together a report on Passionistas that talked about Super Brand Advocates as people who “have both knowledge and a need to share it.”  It’s pretty common sense that some consumers are going to talk more than others…I’m sure you know a few o fthis people yourself.

But while Super Brand Advocates aren’t new, they are powerful and it is getting easier to connect and identify them.  Blogs, social networks, Flickr, Twitter, Amazon, Etsy, eBay, Tweetscan…all of these allow you to listen to your consumers.  And if you can listen, you have a better chance of hearing who is talking the most and/or talking the loudest.  These are your super brand advocates.  These are people like Jeff Jarvis who caused Dell a serious case of heartburn a few years back.  These are people like  Harriet Klausner who has written so many book reviews on Amazon.com that her comments are now highlighted in new book releases.

Every brand out there should be thinking about identifying these super brand advocates for your industry.  At the very least, you need to be aware of them so problems don’t pop up.  But if you use them the right way, they can be invaluable sources of consumer research.  The key is starting a conversation with them so you can really learn what they want from your brand.  This isnt about a simple focus group where you talk for 2 hours, give them a check and then leave.  It is about an honest conversation where you enroll these consumers into your brand.

For most of us, taking the first step isn’t easy but it will be worth it.  We’re not use to open conversations with consumers.  We are use to hiding behind the focus group glass and the safety of being anonymous.  But now is the time to break that glass.  Take the first step and do a blog search to see who is talking about your brand.  Plug your brand name into Tweetscan to see who is saying something.  Even think about engaging your PR agency or a company like Nielsen BuzzMetrics to monitor the conversation.  A good conversation is worth the time.