Is it a digital revolution…or just an evolution?

August 31, 2008

Photo credit - Badger.20It’s going to be a crazy week up in Cincinnati.  I’m trying to find a house before our move back, taking part in a P&G digital training, drafting two Fantasy Football teams, and attending a Tweet-up on Wednesday. 

So this week I wanted to turn the conversation to you on something I’ve been pondering lately.  It is a broad question, but I’ve been wondering how the Digital “Revolution” is going to change the way we do business?  It’s a question that many of my favorite marketing bloggers have been asking as well: 

Alan Wolk of The Toad Stool summed up the Real Digital Revolution as being:

…about consumer empowerment, the ability to research and learn about products and services and make decisions independently from, and in spite of, any sort of marketing and advertising messages.

Brian Morrissey wrote in AdWeek that Brands Need a New Kind of Leader to navigate the new media landscape:

The hiring of dedicated teams reflect the rising importance of social media in companies. Once thought of as an interesting new media channel, social media is increasingly seen as a catalyst for changing how companies operate. It points to a new corporate structure that favors open over closed, dialogue over monologue, and decentralized power over command and control.

And of course, Pete Blackshaw has talked about the importance of digital brand advocates for a while now:

Brand advocacy matters today because it precipitates an indelible digital trail of commentary that publicly rewards or indicts brand performance or the fulfillment of brand promises. This digital trail acts like media in both intimate and incidental ways, consistently affecting awareness, trail, and ultimately purchase of products — or the defection from them. And yes, this has everything to do with business growth and health.

So, how do you think the Digital Revolution is going to change the way Brand Managers work?  And is it really a revolution or just an evolution about connecting with consumers in new ways?


Gillette and EA Sports launch the Champions of Gaming Tournament

August 29, 2008

Gillette announced yesterday they are teaming up with video game maker EA Sports to launch the Gillette-EA Sports Champions of Gaming competition that will match gamers against some of the top athletes in sports including Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and Derek Jeter

The Gillette — EA Sports Champions of Gaming — the world’s largest multi-sport gaming tournament — will officially launch in late October and provide gamers the opportunity to compete against others from around the world for the chance to be named a Global Champion of Gaming. The live global finals will be conducted in Tampa, Florida, in January 2009, with the Global Champions in each gaming category competing against one of the Gillette Champions — Gillette’s group of global sports superstars that includes Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and Derek Jeter. Gamers will be able to play via Xbox 360 Live on Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09, NASCAR 09, Madden NFL 09, NBA Live 09 and EA Sports FIFA Soccer 09. More information about the Gillette — EA Sports Champions of Gaming will be available after October 15, 2008, at www.gillette.com.

The official press release had this to say about the partnership:

“Gillette and EA Sports represent the best in grooming and gaming, and this partnership is a natural extension of our ongoing efforts to engage guys through their competitive nature and their passions, including sports,” said Peter Clay. “We’ll be working together to reach consumers with unique programs such as the Gillette-EA Sports Champions of Gaming, a global tournament that will offer gamers the opportunity to compete against the best in the world and then take on the Gillette Champions and other sports legends to see if they have what it takes to be the best.”

Not enough brands are leveraging the tremendous power of gaming to connect with their consumers.  Personally I am really excited to get involved with this.  I doubt P&G employees will be eligible to win (usual rules for promotions), but I’ll still be taking my shot on the Xbox 360 in Madden 09 just for the fun of it [btw, my Xbox 360 Live handle is DKnoxMU if want to play a game].


The Art of (Brand Messaging) Storytelling in the Blogosphere

August 28, 2008

Guest post by Jory Des Jardins (jory@blogher.com) of BlogHer.

Earlier this year, my company started discussions with a client who was contemplating working with us on a word-of-mouth campaign around a new, launching product involving blogger reviews. In the background meeting we learned that the product had once been recalled. The client initially thought that this information should be suppressed but eventually came to agree with our approach to disclose this information.

I could understand the client’s initial rationale: For many marketers a “win” consists of seeing their message adopted by a media outlet, and ultimately by the customer– if not word for word, then at least positively. By providing bloggers with any negative information that would invariably be mentioned, the message is at risk.

And with social media there are many ways that a message can be misinterpreted; for instance, a blogger may overemphasize the product recall and not mention the new version’s value at all. Multiply this by the many formats currently available to customers, and you could see your misinterpreted message show up as a scathing blog post, unappealing photo, snarky poll item, dismissive tweet or overly simplified text message. Read the rest of this entry »


Is there such a thing as Consumer 2.0?

August 27, 2008
Recently the guys over at Mr Youth, sent me a paper they wrote on Consumer 2.0 and the 5 Rules to Engage a New Breed of Consumer.  Accordingly to them, the following 5 rules dictate how brands should interact with a new breed of “connected” consumers.
  1. Authenticity Trumps Celebrity – Consumer 2.0 responds to honest, relevant messaging from peers over marketing speak and celebrity endorsements
  2. Niche is the New Norm – Consumers 2.0 do not form a mass market. They relish in choices and look for products and services that speak to them personally
  3. Bite-Size Communication Dominates – Consumer 2.0 digests short, personal and highly relevant messaging in bulk while growing increasingly adept at blocking out noise
  4. Personal Utility Drives Adoption – Consumer 2.0 chooses to consume what they find useful in their lives over manufactured marketing needs
  5. Consumers Own Brands – Consumer 2.0 will speak about, re-purpose and associate with your brand as they see fit

Overall I think these are great rules, though I would push back on a couple of points they made:

  • Is it really the “Demise of the Glamorized Celebrity”? – Mr Youth makes the point that in today’s world, there isn’t a celebrity a brand can bank on that consumers want to completely emulate.  I tend disagree.  Sure consumers have woken up to the fact that most celebs are simply endorsing a product for the paycheck.  And sure every celeb can fall out of favor and hurt an endorsement.  But celebrities are at an all-time high today…they just aren’t as “lasting” as they once were.  For instance, thanks to The Hills, Lauren Conrad is now a “real” celebrity even though she was a nobody a couple of years ago.  Celebrities can still be a great benefit for a brand, but it is no longer as simple as signing the biggest name.  An authentic celebrity endorsement can still be worth its weight in gold.  Just ask the latest “it” fashion clothing who appeared in the pages of US Weekly or the folks over at Pinkberry if a celebrity endorsement helped them at all.  Authenticity may trump celebrity, but it is trumped by authenticity AND celebrity together.
  • Is there a “Decreased Power of the Brand.” – This is one I just flat out disagree with.  The report says that they aren’t anti-brand but instead they just don’t care about wearing brand logos, don’t believe in advertising, etc.  If anything, I think brands are more powerful than ever today because consumers are looking for brands they can identify with…brands with a purpose that say something about them.  10 years ago, you just needed a powerful brand that could appeal to everyone like Nike.  But today consumers are turning to brands like Method, Whole Foods, and others that stand for something, that have a Brand Purpose.  Brands mean more than ever today, but at the same time, brand building takes more effort than it did in the past in order to make someone care.
  • Does the term “cool” holds less weight with this generation? – I think the point Mr Youth is trying to make is that “cool” has lost its universal meaning…but not its meaning all together.  It is just that the emergence of the niche has allowed cool to mean different things to different people.  And best yet, as they point out, people that define “cool” the same way as you are just a click away.
  • Is there an increase in the type of social connections? – I find this chart from the report pretty interesting.  It says Consumer 2.0 has 3 types of friends.  I do believe this exists but I wonder if the line between each is that defined.  I think to my own social network and I don’t know if I can define people into each bucket (except the bucket of close friends that is). 
Breakdown of Consumer 2.0 "friends"

Breakdown of Consumer 2.0 Friends

The report is for sure worth a read so check it out for yourself.


This One Time at BrandCamp

August 26, 2008

Just about every Brand Manager I know at P&G is a regular reader of Tom FishburneLike Dilbert to engineers, Fishburne is to marketers worldwide.  His sarcastic and witty cartoons bring to life what day to day life is really like for a Brand Manager.  Probably once a week I see a PowerPoint using one of his cartoons to poke fun at how we act in our jobs.

Ironically, despite the fact I have been reading his cartoons for over 5 years, I never took the time to learn about who the man is behind the pen.  Turns out he has been a marketer at General Mills and Nestle, now working at Method Products as their Senior Marketing Director of Europe. 

The Church of the Customer Blog recently posed 10 Questions to Fishburne in promotion for his new book “This One Time at BrandCamp.”  I loved this part of the interview, which just got a spot above my desk as well:

When I was at General Mills and Nestle I tacked this quote over my desk from Doug Hall: “Don’t be afraid to take risks. Corporations have an amazing array of checks, balances, and safety nets to prevent you from hitting the wall at ninety miles an hour. Be bold and brash. Develop a reputation for it.”

If you haven’t read Fishburne before, check out these 4 favorites of mine:


I know, I’m about 4 years late to this party…

August 24, 2008

DKnoxMU Del.icio.us

Even though del.icio.us launched over 4 years ago in 2004 (and got bought by Yahoo), I never really got into the site until now.  I guess I never really understood the concept of “portable bookmarks.” 

Well that has changed now thanks to blogging and WordPress.  You see, WordPress offers a neat little widget where my latest del.icio.us bookmarks appear on the right hand column of this blog.  Thanks to this feature, my use of del.icio.us has skyrocketed recently.   It’s a way to quickly share articles/posts I find interesting and remind myself of stuff I want to post about later.  Here is just a sample of what caught my eye recently:


Weekly Round-Up: 8-19-08

August 19, 2008

Another crazy week of travels, this time to Cincinnati for house-hunting and some really interesting digital meetings/trainings.  In the meantime, here is what caught my eyes the past couple of days:

  • CPG Brands Better Buy Paid Search– Yahoo and Mediavest just released a study that said “brands generated an average 160% increase in unaided awareness by being present in standard sponsored-text search results compared with when consumers weren’t exposed to their search ads.”  This backs up results released by Google a couple of weeks ago as well.
  • Map of Pop vs Soda vs Coke in US – This is one of the coolest graphics I have seen in awhile.  As a “pop” guy living in the heart of “Coke” country, this just fascinates me.  What can I say, I’m a nerd.
  • Techno/Marketer: The Face of Facebook e-book– Matt Dickman of Fleishman-Hillard provides this simple “snapshot of what the real face of Facebook looks like on a Global and US level.”  A perfect, quick read for marketers and Brand Managers.
  • Web Strategy by Jeremiah: The Evolution of Brands on Twitter– Jeremiah Owyang is consistently one of the most rel event and interesting reads on-line for marketers.  He does it again with this easy walk-through of how a brand should wade in the waters of Twitter.
  • David Armano: The Micro-Site Isn’t Dead (It’s Just Not Useful) – A must read for every Brand Manager and marketer, especially since this is coming from an agency guy who works for a company designing a lot of micro-sites for brands (including P&G brands).